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Your View: Truman's decision an act of barbarism?

Discussion in 'Atomic Bombs In the Pacific' started by Spartanroller, Apr 30, 2011.

  1. freebird

    freebird Member

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    Well actually he's right (or arguably right) on this point.
    The text of the pact was that it's in force until April 1946, and there isn't an early "opt out" clause. The denunciation only meant that it wouldn't be in force after April of '46.

    (from your link)
    So the Soviets did break the pact by attacking before April '46.
    (Stalin - "So sue me" :p )


    But back to the topic:
    Can you post the text of the "proposed surrender"?
    I doubt that it would agree to return all conquered territory, pay reparations, give up war criminals etc. ;)
     
  2. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Any chance they will be posted afterwards? I'd love to read/see them.
     
  3. OpanaPointer

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

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    I think I posted all my material on isolationism here already. :cool: The appeasement lecture will be more of a challenge, I haven't been into the Color Books in quite a while. I'll post what I can if I decide to do them.
     
  4. Tristan Scott

    Tristan Scott Member

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    My only response to this apparent "drive-by" is that the poster evidently does not want to back up his or her opinion with any discussion so why bother.
     
  5. Neutron

    Neutron Member

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    Apparently very few here have engaged in a neutral approach to that period of history and made the effort of endeavoring in some personal research. Pity because nowadays many genuine documents are (at last) available on the net.
    I agree, it is much easier to stick with a preconception and have it confirmed by one or another author.

    History is not written on a flag but on a blank paper.

    To try to comprehend the events and decisions leading to the droppings of A-bombs, the end of the war in the East and ultimately a fragile peace between the two big blocks, we need a huge spreadsheet.
    Why is that ? because many actors are involved from four countries, relevant documents are in the hundreds or more and the chronology of events is crucial and it is only after careful scrutiny of inputs covering summer '44 - summer '45 that one might discover some correlations, find Ariadne's thread and reconstitute a story close enough to the historical truth or at the least logical conclusions with a substance.

    I will be glad to discuss any particular point and provide sources, though being a perfect zero in Japanese and Russian, Mr Hasegawa's latest book certainly encompasses a much wider area than I could.

    Again, there are excellent sources available on the web and if
     
  6. OpanaPointer

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

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    Believe it or not, we do have some very balanced people here.
     
  7. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    It appears to me you have a rather warped defintion of "neutral". The fact that you attack your opponents rather than their posts is indicative of it.
    Indeed. Opana is at least in part responsible for a considerable number of them. I note however that you aren't using any to make your case. Instead you are just complaining.
    Pot calling kettle.
    Talk about a meaningless platitude.
    Why would a spread sheet be of any special use? Other tools would be much better. The players are not just from four contires by the way. On the otherhand a fair amount of the work has been done.
    Then why don't you? It would certainly beat posts such as I am replying to which IMO constitute little more than a waste of bandwidth.
    And your point is? if what?
     
  8. Neutron

    Neutron Member

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    Of course, respect to them.

    From F D Roosevelt, report to Congress, March 1st (immediately after Yalta's conference).

    [SIZE=-1]“….the three most powerful nations have agreed that the political and economic problems of any area liberated from nazi conquest are a joint responsibility of all three governments. They will join together (sic) during the temporary period of instability after hostilities.…to solve their own problems through firmly established democratic processes. They will endeavor to see….and that free elections are held as soon as possible thereafter.”
    “….but I am sure that under the agreement reached at Yalta there will be a more stable political Europe than ever before.”
    “….one outstanding example of joint action by the three major Allied powers was the solution reached on Poland….I am convinced that this agreement on Poland is the most hopeful agreement possible for a free, independent and prosperous Polish State.”
    [/SIZE]


    The adjective "candid" seems an understatement, is it not ?
    Poland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Moldavia, Bulgaria, Hungary, Czechoslovakia and to a certain extent Albania and Yugoslavia might have some sound reasons to use another adjective.

    From Henry Stimson's diary

    [SIZE=-1]Apr 2 “I had a very important conference with Stettinius and Forrestal……but as soon as he came in (Stettinius) he asked to bring up emergency news that he wanted to consult us about. The principal part of this was the increasing strain of the relations between us and Russia, which, as he told us, had resulted in a pretty sharp message from the President to Stalin.”[/SIZE]

    Apr 12, Harry Truman is sworn in as President.

    [SIZE=-1]Apr 23 “…E Stettinius has got in a jam with Molotov (the soviet F.M)….the subject is Poland…the Russians had apparently flatly refused to permit the agreement at Yalta…we are at loggerheads with Russia on an issue which in my opinion is very dangerous and on which she is not likely to yield on in substance.”

    Apr 25 “we simply cannot allow a rift to come between the two nations without endangerous (sic) the entire peace of the world.”
    [/SIZE]


    [SIZE=-1]May 14 “…I told him (Mc Cloy) that my opinion was that the time now and the method now to deal with Russia was to keep our mouths shut and let our actions speak for words. The Russians will understand them better than[/SIZE][SIZE=-1] anything else. It is a case where we have got to regain the lead and perhaps do it in a pretty rough and realistic way. I told him this was a place where we really held all the cards. I called it a royal straight flush and we mustn’t be a fool about the way we play it. They can’t get along without our help and industries and we have coming into action a weapon which will be unique. Now the thing is not to get into unnecessary quarrels by talking too much and not to indicate any weakness by talking too much; let our actions speak for themselves.[/SIZE]"


    [SIZE=-1]June 6 (about Truman) “I told him I was a little fearful before we could get ready, the Air Force might have Japan so thoroughly bombed that the new weapon could not have a fair background to show its strength.”[/SIZE]

    As everybody knows, Henry Stimson is the US Secretary of War, the No 2 figure in the USA, and incidentally also the ultimate responsible for the Manhattan Project.

    How do you interpret these sentences having in mind the chronology and the change of President ?
     
  9. OpanaPointer

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

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    As quote mining?
     
  10. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Given that it appears completely unrelated to the decision to drop the bomb which was the OP's focus, off topic would work as well.
     
  11. Tristan Scott

    Tristan Scott Member

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    Yes. It's kind of ironic that we are recieving a history lecture form someone who is intent on drawing conclusions from a few exerpted quotes instead of detailed analysis of all the discussions surrounding this event.

    This was discussed upthread-I certainly don't question that there were political considerations that needed to be addressed over the use of the bomb and the post war ramifications. It's my belief that it would have been irresponsible not to have made these considerations. But none of this has very much bearing on the situation in Tokyo and the Japanese military's complete refusal to accept unconditional surrender. They weren't even close, and when you read the communications between Togo and Sato, as the American cryptologists did, you see that they are in Togo's words "with regard to unconditional surrender we are unable to consent to it under any circumstances whatever.." Not only that he goes on to instruct Sato that the Japanese are not ready to discuss specifics at all.
     
  12. OpanaPointer

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

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    Not if you want to build a shakey case that the bomb was used solely to impress the Soviets. Which it didn't, and which is probably the silliest of the "reasons de jour" for using the bomb. You see, but making it a purely political gambit you can say that HST dropped the bombs without regard to the many thousands of deaths. So you can paint him as an even bigger monster. So how much fun it is?
     
  13. Neutron

    Neutron Member

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    "raison du jour" is the correct expression.

    There is an old point of contention between the SU and the USA dating back to 1917.
    Note that the USA recognized the SU in 1933 only.

    Assurances were given by FDR to Stalin about opening a second front in Europe. He reneged three times on his assurances.
    Stalin had some reasons for distrust.

    11 million served in US forces in several theaters, nearly 35 million under the Red banner, the vast majority in Europe.
    The first suffered 400,000 casualties, the latter several millions (8 to 11 according to various estimates).
    USA was the dominant power everywhere except for Europe and China.
    The Soviet forces were, in numbers, largely superior to all other allied forces combined.

    http://web.archive.org/web/20101116155514/http://www.history.neu.edu/PRO2/pages/002.htm (and following pages)
    If one deigns reading this, he might see that Churchill had asked his JPS to study Operation Unthinkable, with a D-day July 1st 1945. (the document is dated May 22nd).
    The military deemed it unfeasible, the main factor being a 2:1 advantage to the Soviets in armor and 4:1 in infantry vs USA+UK+reformed Wehrmacht+Western allies.


    US Secretary of War Stimson writes: [SIZE=-1]that the time now and the method now to deal with Russia was to keep our mouths shut and let our actions speak for words. The Russians will understand them better than[/SIZE][SIZE=-1] anything else. It is a case where we have got to regain the lead and perhaps do it in a pretty rough and realistic way. I told him this was a place where we really held all the cards. I called it a royal straight flush and we mustn’t be a fool about the way we play it.
    [/SIZE]
    [SIZE=-1]
    Since it comes from his diary and revolves about something that will allow the USA to regain the lead...
    What is this ? what lead has to be regained ? how will they play this "royal flush" ?
    I will suggest: atom bomb, the strategic advantage on the world scene, drop it somewhere to make it rough and realistic.

    On the 14th of May, the date of this entry, the Soviet Union has a tremendously powerful military presence everywhere in Southern, Eastern and Central Europe, it is clear that the promises of Yalta
    [/SIZE]
    [SIZE=-1]three months before [/SIZE][SIZE=-1]concerning democratic elections were empty, the attack on Berlin was announced for mid-May (Stalin to Eisenhower in March) and took place April 16, and in high circles in the USA it is feared that communism expansionism (political) will very soon encompass Western Europe as well, including France (but probably not the UK though there are some doubts).
    Greece and Turkey are expected to fall (= the Eastern Med and the Detroits), some areas in the ME and perhaps (by proxy) even some of the Indian subcontinent as well.

    In May, tensions between the West and Stalin are very high, I suppose nobody will argue.
    Fast Communist expansionism was an undeniable evidence and who or what could stop the Soviets and their allies ?

    Who ? Harry Truman: a timekeeper cum bank clerk cum small shop owner, modest judge, VP and suddenly President at an extremely critical point in time.
    On April 12th in the evening, Truman is briefed on Manhattan. He is very quick to realize the strategic potential of the weapon but first it needs to be tested.
    What ? on July 16th, Harry knows he has a red button labelled THE STRATEGIC SOLUTION, what remains is to use it "roughly and realistically" to show that he has what it takes to push the button and that he is not afraid to drop it on inhabited targets.

    Harry Truman is the only person so far in History that has shown the world what Armageddon looked like, and in doing so I believe he prevented something nobody would dare to imagine.


    [/SIZE]
    [SIZE=-1]
    [/SIZE]
     
  14. OpanaPointer

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

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    You focus on one aspect of the situation and neglect the overall picture. That is your weakness in this topic.
     
  15. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Source please.
    Source please. Your numbers look a bit off to me.
    Not sure what your point is with this in any case.
    Again your point is what?

    Everywhere in Southern Europe? I don't think so. Note also that Red army was not in great shape at that point either.
     
  16. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    I have to call BS on this statement.

    Roosevelt only met with Stalin & Churchill twice the whole war for planning and the first was the Tehran Conference in Nov-Dec 1943.

    One of the points concluded and agreed upon at the conference was that a cross Channel invasion would occur in May, 1944. That goal was missed by 6 days.
     
  17. freebird

    freebird Member

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    And suppose he didn't drop the bombs, and Japan would have been blockaded for a couple of years? How many would have died?

    The claim that Japan wanted to surrender ignores the fact that they wanted to negotiate terms, mainly that the top leader(s) would skate away without punishment for the crimes comitted.
    Not something that was acceptable to the Allies
     
    Skipper likes this.
  18. Skipper

    Skipper Kommodore

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    Put it this way : if the Japanese had acquired the bomb first, they wouldn't have hesitated to use it (suppose they could) , would they? So so far for moral considerations. The U.S. got it first. It was war, not a coctail where gentlemen drop caviar from their toast. It is easy to criticize a 1945 decision with 2011, political correct thoughts, but it certainly took guts to make the decision with the 1945 thoughts.
    I'm sure Truman took into consideration that many years later some would blame him. He also knew others would be aware that he made the difficult decision for our freedom.
     
  19. OpanaPointer

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

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    Stalin demanded a "Second Front" almost from Day One. He wanted the Western Allies to draw troops away from the Ostfront, a natural thing to be sure, but an invasion that would do that in the long run faced a few problems.

    #1 The number of landing craft available. In the summer of 1942 we had pitiful few, in 1943 we had more but not the thousands we needed to get those five divisions across the Channel as an effective force.

    #2 We didn't have the forces available. Troops ships were crossing the Atlantic and arriving in England almost daily. But those troops had to be found, processed, trained, equipped, trained some more, transported, sorted at the destination, trained yet again, and then lined up properly for embarkation.

    #3 Unlike Stalin, who was sitting on his hands in regard to the Japanese, the Western Allies had other theaters of action to supply and maintain. SWPA, Burma, North Africa, and the Pacific islands all needed troops and material.

    We weren't going to toss away our forces in a premature invasion. Stalin knew this as a war leader, but the "you're just waiting for the Nazis to finish us off for you" theme was a big hit "back home", so he ran with it.
     
  20. rkline56

    rkline56 USS Oklahoma City CG5

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    Great post Skipper! Thank you for nailing those thoughts. For the most part, Japanese prosecution of the war was in all ways reprehensible. That is unfortunate but it was their call; in the end, if they got the full measure of justice that was coming to them......... those are the breaks in all out war.

    IMHO Truman was a great man and worried long and hard over this decision. Our men and women had fought and suffered long enough and I am glad he saved the untold million or more from more tragedy than they had already endured.

    P.S. The political correct set these days makes me hurl.
     

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