Welcome to the WWII Forums! Log in or Sign up to interact with the community.

Would you consider the atomic bombs a war crime?

Discussion in 'Atomic Bombs In the Pacific' started by thecanadianfool, May 5, 2012.

  1. Victor Gomez

    Victor Gomez Ace

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2010
    Messages:
    1,292
    Likes Received:
    115
    I have an admiring view of the Japanese people in the post war period. To understand why that is so one needs to explore deeply the work ethic that was a necessity for the economic recovery of the country. Yes we helped them but they also worked tirelessly to accomplish the recovery. I suggest a person take it year for year and compare the entire populations hours worked each day and compare it to what was worked in our country in those same years. The difference is reflected even today in how dedicated they are as a people to two things. Those things are a long work day and education. We would do good as a people to adopt some similar values, we could help ourselves and our children a great deal if we re-thought some things about how we use our leisure time and how hard we each work at what we do. Our economy has benefited from helping them. Trade as we do with Japan is a two way street of benefits, each trading partner is able to improve things in one way or another. As I know many people that have worked the factories in Michigan I know better than to blame everything on Japanese production. We had periods when our companies would not make a dependable car. We also had periods when they defied consumer needs for economic automobiles to try and sell the bigger and more luxurious. Over the many years there were many reasons the American population chose a foreign car. I, who sometimes had to suffer a lot to come up with the money for a new car bought a lemon with my hard earned money and that set me back about 10 years in trying to make up for the loss of money. I buy mostly American automobiles unless I cannot find one with good consumer reviews. What I bought in the 80's(an American brand) really killed the car budget for a lot of years. I have watched the news....those people affected by the tsunami and the nuclear leaks haven't complained that much but what they have done is gone to work....hard at work to recover. There are many things I don't understand about this different culture but their work-ethic and educational-ethic speaks loudly to me in their silent manner of moving to conquer the tasks at hand.
     
  2. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2008
    Messages:
    11,577
    Likes Received:
    1,945
    If the Zaibatsu had gained control of the Japanese government in the 1930s not only would the war have gone differently, the Japanese would have gotten a twenty year jump start on their post-war economy. They wouldn't have had to start from zero and they could have been much more successful than they were under the actual conditions.
     
  3. lwd

    lwd Ace

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2007
    Messages:
    12,312
    Likes Received:
    1,232
    Location:
    Michigan
    I'm not so sure that it would make as much difference as you seem to imply. Starting from 0 in 1945 allowed the industry to be completly restructured with all new equipment and organization. Furthermore the comination of US aid and not having to provide for thier own defence allowed a huge amount to be reinvested in the economy. The war also proved conclusivly that some attitudes and strategies were sub optimal while others were much better and put the Japanese in the frame of mind where they were willing to discard many of the former and institute the latter. It's likely that if they gained control there either wouldn't have been a war with China or it would have been later and Japan's participation in WWII wouldn't even be assured. I suspect however that by sometime in the 70's Japan would pass the cross over point where their economy would be weaker than their real world one.
     
  4. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2008
    Messages:
    11,577
    Likes Received:
    1,945
    lwd, I give more points to the Japanese than you do I guess. The marketplace would dictate whether a strategy was successful or not, at least that's how I've seen it happen.

    Another thought about that, suppose Japan helped Chiang against Mao without going to war with the whole country. The Zaibatsu would be interested in keeping communism down in their area, I think. The militarists would get their war and China might find that it was hard to get the Japanese out once they got in. (But we're straying off the OP with that.)
     
  5. lwd

    lwd Ace

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2007
    Messages:
    12,312
    Likes Received:
    1,232
    Location:
    Michigan
    I think I just see the changes as a bit more complex. If a lot of the component production for instance is spread out to small shops it takes a significant effort and results in signficant cost and disruption to create factories where it's all in one place. Indeed just acquiring the land might be a problem in Japan. Post WWII that wasn't nearly as much of a problem. Everything was already disrupted and many of the buildings destroyed, sort of instant urban renewal. Furthermore not having to devote any resorces to the military means that as country Japan has considerably more resources especially since this compounds over time and there's also the aid that jump starts them after the war. I'm not saying they wouldn't be successful just that the above would give them a real boost in the post war years. It also made it easier for them to adopt some of the new post war technologies
    It would make a lot of sense and while I'm not an expert on Japanese culture would seem to fit well.
     
  6. Biak

    Biak Adjutant Patron  

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2009
    Messages:
    6,757
    Likes Received:
    1,099
    Formerjughead pointed out a big factor;

    The one thing (that appears to me) is Japan, Russia, China and a list of other countries have, with our assistance, learned the Capitalist way of doing things. After the War our coffers were opened to multiple Countries for 'Reconstruction' and zero or low cost loans. We not only helped rebuilt places like Japan but did much of the construction solely on our own. Trade practices benefited us to a great extent then and the others a little less so. Russia now holds neighboring Countries hostage with it's natural gas pipeline as an example. What we have now is those same Countries have been able to excel at Capitalism while we fall further and further behind due to short sighted Representatives and the "Instant" gratification of 'payback' for shareholders.
     
  7. Tristan Scott

    Tristan Scott Member

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2008
    Messages:
    168
    Likes Received:
    41
    I agree with most of what has been written here, specific to dropping the ABombs on Japan, however i think what Belasar said; that some consider strategic bombing in general to be a war crime is a key point to the discussion. Some did, during the war, after the war, and some still do consider the bombing of civilian targets to be war crimes.

    I think we really have to look at how modern warfare had evolved by the start of WWII. Prior to the twentieth c. warfare was fought mostly in set peice battles, either on land or at sea, where both sides would essentially line up in files and shoot at one another. It was almost seen as a spectator sport by the civilian populations. Something for the elite classes to drive their carriages out to the country to watch the spectacle and make a day of it. The young men lining up and killing one another were for the most part the sons of peasant families who's only other prospect was a life of drudgery. WWI was a different kind of war-it was total war, but WWI still entailed the loss of life almost exclusively among the military. WWI saw nearly a whole generation in Europe wiped out on a salient a few miles wide on the French-Belgian border. The soldiers who fought there, the generals, the captains, all the way down to the privates couldn't help but wonder what the war was all about. Their civilian leaders had blundered into war with a complicated series of pacts and treaties, and now their civilians populations pumped out a seemingly endless stream of war material.

    Many of these soldiers would be the military leaders of WWII, and many of them understood that to end wars that supply stream had to be disrupted, and that breaking the enemy's civilian spirit was as important important as demoralizing his military.

    Total war is just that. If we are going to send people off to get slaughtered, then we should expect to pay as well. Do children in a bombed school have a say? No they don't, but that's just it, we're the adults, we have to do all we can to avoid war. There have been no world wars, no large scale total wars since WWII. Strategic bombing is a major reason why, Atomic bombs are a major reason why. I firmly believe if it weren't for nukes and strategic warfare that WWIII would have erupted in Europe by the mid 50s.
     
    OpanaPointer and brndirt1 like this.
  8. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2008
    Messages:
    11,577
    Likes Received:
    1,945
    Good post! I think the Korean War was, in part, a test of Western resolve with regard to deployment of nuclear weapons. I'd love to see some of the "informal" communications from that period.
     
  9. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Staff Member Patron  

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2009
    Messages:
    13,792
    Likes Received:
    2,276
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Excellent analysis of the situation in 1945. Generals, for the most part, fight the previous war. The realization that this war was different came quickly, but the idea of total war came to be the touchstone of WW2. Without this concept and the nuclear bomb, I think the war would continue, and there would be similar wars throughout the 50s and 60s.
     
  10. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2008
    Messages:
    11,577
    Likes Received:
    1,945
    The build up of conventional forces favored the Warsaw Pact in Europe in the 1950s, IIRC. Only nuclear retaliation kept the Soviets under Stalin out of France, this I do believe.
     
  11. urqh

    urqh Tea drinking surrender monkey

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2002
    Messages:
    9,683
    Likes Received:
    953
    Do children in a bombed school have a say? No they don't

    And that just about sums up all I stand for today, not yesterday as in my youth when I did not have time to think and work out things for myself. Naive to hope but I want no more children anywhere killed by any military accident or purposely or terrorist or whatever. For politics of any colour.

    It won't happen I know, but they...being they...have to know some of us are watching and acting.

    I want no more dads cradling their dead kids in their arms no matter who they are, and I want no more dads having go bend over their child while some uniformed brute takes pot shots at them while laighing...No matter what country or ideology.

    Strategic bombing of world war 2 was done with the ideology and the morals of that time and I believe we cannot transfer our ideals and morals of today to the folk of the past. Today we have no excuse for ourselves.
     
    belasar, formerjughead and Tamino like this.
  12. CTBurke

    CTBurke Member

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2012
    Messages:
    80
    Likes Received:
    44
    War itself it a "crime". I think ENDING THE WAR is the ultimate anti-war-crime. The atomics were such a quantum leap in lethality that Japan conceded defeat. This was a BLESSING, with the cost in human life only as much as a conventional city-bombing.

    If using the atomics was a "crime", then our "punishment" has been a world free from the use of atomic weapons for....72 years!!
     
  13. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2008
    Messages:
    11,577
    Likes Received:
    1,945
    Too loose a definition of "war" there for me. "Offensive war" may be a crime. "Defensive war" may be a crime. They have to be taken on their individual merits to determine this.
     
  14. formerjughead

    formerjughead The Cooler King

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2008
    Messages:
    5,627
    Likes Received:
    1,003
    Japan made absolutely no concessions as a result of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. If anything the less restrictive terms of surrender is what ended the war. There could very well be an argument made that the Soviet invasion of Manchuria, on August 8-9 and the Soviet entry into the War against Japan, forced the allied decision to lessen the terms of the Unconditional Surrender.
     
  15. brndirt1

    brndirt1 Saddle Tramp

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2008
    Messages:
    9,713
    Likes Received:
    1,501
    I agree that at least one part of the surrender requirement was lessened, but it was also strict and a "term" set by the west, not Japan. That is sort of what unconditional surrender means, accept our terms without negotiation or keep fighting. They accepted our terms, which made the Son of the Sun a non-god, and subservient to a mortal human in all things governmental.

    The bomb was the "beginning" of the end without doubt, the Soviet Red Army coming in between the two helped, but the Soviets didn't stop fighting until they had captured all of Sakhalin many weeks after Hirohito's acceptance of America's demand from the Potsdam Declaration. Which the Soviets never signed BTW, the bomb forced Stalin to accelerate his declaration of war and beginning of action by one week, he wasn't due to do so until Aug. 15th. So they had that effect as well.
     
  16. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2008
    Messages:
    11,577
    Likes Received:
    1,945
    Keeping the Emperor was a pragmatic decision based on the necessity of keeping the military and civilian population under control during the occupation. It was not a concession to Japan, IMHO.
     
    CTBurke and brndirt1 like this.
  17. brndirt1

    brndirt1 Saddle Tramp

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2008
    Messages:
    9,713
    Likes Received:
    1,501
    Too true OP, the Emperor was kept as a pragmatic answer. There were three options discussed long before Japan was even on the radar of surrendering. They were put together by the "asia scholars" back in the US, including Joseph Grew former ambassador to Japan. They included trying Hirohito and his staff as well as war criminals, having him abdicate and be replaced by one of his siblings, or keeping him as a secular leader subservient to the Allied Commander in place.

    I think those were the options sort of "hashed around", and option three was the one chosen since it made the occupation so much less problematic. I probably also kept the dang place from being split like Germany into Soviet and Allied zones.
     
  18. Tristan Scott

    Tristan Scott Member

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2008
    Messages:
    168
    Likes Received:
    41
    The Japanese Military was not about to surrender, their honor demanded they continue the fight to the end. The committee that the emporer had comissioned to end the war, the so called "Big Six", were deadlocked, with the military not wavering with their desire to continue the fight, even after the atomic raids and even after the Soviet invasion of Manchuko. The Emperor, on the other hand, was obsessed with the idea of atomic bombs raining down on the empire and was pushing for surrender, finally demanding it. The bombs gave the Japanese military a less dishonorable way out. It could, they felt, be said that they were not defeated on the field of battle, but instead by the superior technology of the enemy.
     
  19. arthur45

    arthur45 Member

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2012
    Messages:
    35
    Likes Received:
    1
    The problem with the logic about dropping an atomic bomb constituting a war crime is that if
    this were so, then so were the incendiary/conventional bombings of many Japanese cities, which
    inflicted more death and destruction than either atomic weapon. One could say that the only advantage
    of the atomic bomb was that it had more psychological shock value. Which , of course, was the
    whole idea. By the time the atomic weapons were ready, it was hard to find any targets left in
    Japan worth bombing.
     
  20. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2008
    Messages:
    11,577
    Likes Received:
    1,945
    The advantage I see in the atomic bombs is that you don't need hundreds of planes to stage an attack.
     

Share This Page