Nukes, were they justified...

Discussions on WW2 in the Pacific and the Sino-Japanese War.
Ron Birch
Member
Posts: 515
Joined: 05 May 2002 00:56
Location: USA

Post by Ron Birch » 16 May 2002 13:02

If your point is the effects of generations to come, I can see your point. But this is also done with hindsite as this was a new technology. We are all entrenched whether the bomb should be used or not, and to continue in this line is pointless. That is why I suggested, just a suggestion though, that besides the loss of life what changed with the use of the bomb, who and what different decisions were made with the result of the bomb.

We can argue till the cows come home and still continue, thought this might be another avenue to walk down.

User avatar
Cezarprimo
Member
Posts: 121
Joined: 12 Mar 2002 10:28

Post by Cezarprimo » 17 May 2002 14:24

Cheshire Yeomanry, now, that your question has become a little bit more clear as in "What would the american command do ?" I belive I have already answer it in one of my previous posts in this thread.

There are two sides involved in this problem, one tries to justify the bombing and the other one tries to demonize it. Now most of the "justifiers" only try to disculpate the US of A as in "they were forced by the prospect of huge casualties to do it" ?!! than why not let the russians do the job and be happy that your most powerful ally (and possible future adversar) gets his nose bloodied. The other side sustains the inhumane aspect of an A-bombing, but states that conventional bombing even if more costly in lives was OK ?!!

My opinion is that the bombing was the way USA tried to show off, the japanese were only the one target at hand. The USA tried than to make a statement of dominating power on the world stage. Thus the A-bombings were not intended to end the war (that was already lost by Japan) or to avoid high casualties (that the russains were ready to admit).

The USA did it because it saw it fit for it's interest and its' interest alone. So, geopolitically, the american command had to drop the bombs to prove Americas' stance and so it did.

There were no military aspects behind it only geopolitical ones.

Regards

Ron Birch
Member
Posts: 515
Joined: 05 May 2002 00:56
Location: USA

Post by Ron Birch » 17 May 2002 15:08

As said before this same point can be argued till' the cows come home. :roll:

User avatar
Birgitte Heuschkel
Member
Posts: 660
Joined: 18 Mar 2002 08:07
Location: Fredericia, Denmark

Post by Birgitte Heuschkel » 19 May 2002 20:03

The way I see it, the US command wanted to end the war with Japan as fast as possible, to save lives, to bring the boys home, to cut back expenses, to ... lots of reasons, no doubt.

At the same time they saw an opportunity to throw down the hammer and show off to the rest of the world, which no doubt was intimidated by the events. It may not have been the primary objective in dropping the bombs, but I'm quite certain it was considered a nice side effect.

Knowing that Japan had a nuclear program, the US intelligence may or may not have known that it was not ready to be put to use. But even if they did know that the Japanese were not quite ready to reduce Pittsburgh to rubble yet, you can never be completely certain of spy reports' accuracy. To an extent you have to assume that if it exists, it is a threat.

I personally feel that using the atomic bombs over Japan was a grave crime, just as I feel that the fire bombing of Dresden was a grave crime, and the bombing of Pearl Harbor, and...

There is nothing such as right or wrong in war. Killing is wrong, ergo all is wrong. All a government can do is to attempt to secure the best possible outcome for its own soil and people, and to an extent, try to minimize civilian losses and suffering in enemy territory. We can praise the powers that be that Hitler lost his war, certainly, but to a child dying in fire, it matters little who dropped the bomb, or why.

User avatar
HaEn
In memoriam
Posts: 1911
Joined: 13 Mar 2002 00:58
Location: Portland OR U.S.A.

amen

Post by HaEn » 19 May 2002 20:23

To Birgitte. AMEN ! from one who was there. HN

Ron Birch
Member
Posts: 515
Joined: 05 May 2002 00:56
Location: USA

Post by Ron Birch » 20 May 2002 04:22

Very well put

tonyh
Member
Posts: 2911
Joined: 19 Mar 2002 12:59
Location: Dublin, Ireland

re

Post by tonyh » 22 May 2002 16:52

>>I may be mistaken but I thought that the actual radiation step down from Generation to Generation was not particulary high.<<

That depended on who was siring the children, Andy. I've read accounts that the effects of the A bomb stayed with many families for years, in a very physical way, in the likes of cancers, deformaties and mental deficiencies etc. The step down gradualy decreased as is the natural thing to do. However again, I'm sure that depended on the physical strength of the subjects concerned.

>>I agree conventional bombing was doing fine...Also would the continued convential bombing bring Japan to the table to surrender?<<

Well yes, eventually. The country was entirely blockaded, nothing was getting in or out. People would soon begin to starve on a huge scale. The Russians were finishing up the the Japanese Army in the West, which ceased to be an effective fighting unit long before. The Americans were bombing with impunity. The Japanese were already putting out peace feelers, even with the Allied "unconditional surrender" mallet over their heads. Regardless of what anybody says, there was NO NEED for a land invasion of Kyushu or Honshu or any other of the home islands. An alternative could have and should have been reached. For instance a demonstration in front of a Japanese envoy or such. A demonstration of such magnitude would have forced japans final decision.

>>If your point is the effects of generations to come, I can see your point. But this is also done with hindsite as this was a new technology.<<

Not necessarilly Ron. The tests carried out with the A Bomb showed that the after effects would be considerable. Oppenheimer himself was of dubious support for dropping the bomb on such a large civilian area, iirc.
The total effects may not have been known, but the effect of radiation sickness was known or at the very least suspected.

Tony

User avatar
Birgitte Heuschkel
Member
Posts: 660
Joined: 18 Mar 2002 08:07
Location: Fredericia, Denmark

Re: re

Post by Birgitte Heuschkel » 22 May 2002 17:51

tonyh wrote:The total effects may not have been known, but the effect of radiation sickness was known or at the very least suspected.


In fairness' sake, not suspected enough to prevent the US from granting soldiers the boon of watching an explosion from relative close distance, leading to many cases of radiation sickness and cancer later in life.

Xanthro
Member
Posts: 2803
Joined: 26 Mar 2002 00:11
Location: Pasadena, CA

Post by Xanthro » 23 May 2002 01:51

The americans were not confronted with prospect of huge losses because the russians were ready to enter in war with Japan. So if they were not willing to complete the job they could let the russians to do it. Anyway, by that time the Emperor already decided to surrender to the americans, because of the danger of being defeated by the russians.


I guess the Japanese Emperor must actually be divine since he'd have to be able to forsee the future to know on 6Aug1945 that the Soviets were going to attack on 8Aug1945.

Maybe this divine Emperor shouldn't have kept this information to himself as his Army in Manchuria was caught completely by surprise.

Seriously, that's one of the lamest arguments ever made against dropping the A-bomb. That the Japanese were surrendering because of a Soviet attack that hadn't happened yet, and there were no indications it would happen.

The Japanese for trying to use the Soviets to as an Intermediary in peace talks.

There was no change in the Japanese governments war plan after the first bomb, there was no change after the Soviets attacked, there wasn't even a change after the SECOND bomb.

It took the Japanese Emperor, and others to break tradition and have the Emperor speak about the matter. This was just unheard of. The cabinet was shocked into silence that the Emperor would speak in such a meeting, much less advocate surrender. However, the Emperor's word had to be followed, though traditionally, he wasn't allowed any word.

Even after all this, there was a plot to assisinate the Emperor to keep from surrendering.

Xanthro

Ron Birch
Member
Posts: 515
Joined: 05 May 2002 00:56
Location: USA

Post by Ron Birch » 23 May 2002 02:53

Tonyh I think Brigett's post to radiation effects was a good answer. My problem here is I think all sides are firm in what they believe, right or wrong in my view or yours that's just the way it is. At least the last few posts have been more in line of opinion than painting the opposing views with hogwash. I would find it more interesting to see what everyone thinks changed AFTER the bombs were dropped. But I will continue reading this thread no matter which road it takes. :mrgreen:

User avatar
Cezarprimo
Member
Posts: 121
Joined: 12 Mar 2002 10:28

Preparations

Post by Cezarprimo » 23 May 2002 08:54

Xanthro one can not lunch an offensive without massing his forces. In Manchuria even the last one eyed short sighted japanese soldier could have seen that the russians are concentrating their troops, and I belive the soldier in cause didn't think the russians were there in large numbers for a military parade.

I belive the japanese knew they are going to be attacked at least with a couple of weeks in adavance, the alternative was that they were plain stupid.

The japanese in Manchuria were not cought by surprise, they were simply not able to resist to the russian onslaught. I mean with the antitank weapons they had, this comes as no surprise...

User avatar
Scott Smith
Member
Posts: 5602
Joined: 10 Mar 2002 21:17
Location: Arizona

DROPPIN' DA BOMBZ...

Post by Scott Smith » 23 May 2002 12:17

My comments are not directed against anyone in particular, and I apologize for any repetition as I have discussed this many times already.

Xanthro wrote:I guess the Japanese Emperor must actually be divine since he'd have to be able to forsee the future to know on 6Aug1945 that the Soviets were going to attack on 8Aug1945.

Maybe this divine Emperor shouldn't have kept this information to himself as his Army in Manchuria was caught completely by surprise.

The Russians were preparing to attack in order to honor their secret treaty obligations at Yalta, which were completely exposed by leaks from anti-Communist critics and then broadcast to the world by Goebbels, who coined the phrase Iron Curtain, later borrowed by Churchill. So, that the Soviets would break their non-aggression pact as soon as Germany was defeated was no surprise, least of all to Japanese diplomats, who had been rebuffed when they asked the Russians to arbitrate a surrender deal with the Americans. Perhaps there was a tactical surprise in some places considering low morale of the Japanese occupational troops, and regarding the actual date, but nothing more.

Seriously, that's one of the lamest arguments ever made against dropping the A-bomb. That the Japanese were surrendering because of a Soviet attack that hadn't happened yet, and there were no indications it would happen.

The Japanese were trying to surrender because they'd gotten their asses kicked and the next step was invasion of the homeland and an imminent Soviet invasion of Asia. They had also been blown to smithereens by the conventional bombing attacks which were designed to burn as many Japanese civilians in their homes as possible. General Le May was using the tactics that Bomber Harris had wished he could do with impugnity. And, of course, the American submarines had totally blockaded Japan, with starvation already manifesting itself.

There was no change in the Japanese governments war plan after the first bomb, there was no change after the Soviets attacked, there wasn't even a change after the SECOND bomb.

First of all, Japan was an oligarchy not a dictatorship from a Western point-of-view. Even the Army and the Navy didn't talk to each other. Only tradition and the Emperor could tie all kites together in wartime and the political Rightwing was not yet discredited. Japanese diplomats had dropped peace feelers but the stumbling block was the American Unconditional Surrender demand, nor could any serious neutral be found that could urge the U.S. to negotiate surrender with impartial arbitration. Finally, on MacArthur's suggestion, one condition was agreed upon, that the Emperor was to be preserved instead of hanged in order to issue the surrender command and act as stooge for the occupation. That is why assassinating the politicos is not always such a good idea.

To sum-up, the first atomic bomb acted as a catalyst for modified Unconditional Surrender, but before anything could be done the Soviets had invaded and an automatic second atomic bomb had been dropped, with a third being readied.

The question is, why the hurry?

The starvation and bombing and the Soviet attack would have discredited the Rightwing in short order if they were really such a problem. The atomic bombing makes no sense unless it was so vitally necessary to have the boys home in time for Thanksgiving dinner!

But it was necessary to send a message to the Russians anyway, which actually had no more effect than the similar gratuitous bombing of Dresden had just before Yalta, or the A-bomb test at Trinity just before Potsdam. Using the bomb so cavalierly only further aroused Stalin's paranoia and made the Russians work as hard as possible to get the bomb (1949). In other words, it had the opposite effect than what these geopolitical geniuses thought it would.

Using the bomb harmed American security in the long term because it proved to the world that the Americans were dangerous and not just potentially dangerous, but utterly incapable of restraint if it affects the public opinion polls. That Ugly Americans are hypocrites is no surprise to foreigners. Four Japanese cities were preserved from conventional bombing in order to study the effects of the atomic bomb (only two of which were hit). Once-upon-a-time Americans were respected for a commitment against imperialism; now the pax americana was exposed as simple capitalist expansionism. Yet we were curiously soft on Communism at times; for some reason, Stalin never aroused the same degree of hysteria as the Nazis did.

Btw, it has been wondered if the Japanese were developing the bomb. Well, they had some rudimentary cyclotrons. Big deal. From the collapse of Germany it was learned that the German A-bomb program was a sorry joke, and there is no reason for the Americans to think that the Japanese would have been any farther along. Plus, the Americans knew what mobilization of industry was involved with the Manhattan Project and knew from bombing intelligence that this was not the case.

On the question of warcrimes, I do not see what-is-absolutely-necessary-to-win-a-war as being a warcrime. (Of course anything the Axis did would be a "warcrime," whether applicable to the Allied situation or not, but I digress.) Nevertheless, I would not make my victory conditions unconditional because THAT is a warcrime. Sometimes conflicts are not worth fighting to annihilation over.

The A-bomb was a warcrime because it was NOT necessary and a harmless demonstration for Japanese experts, diplomats, and neutrals would have given the desired political effect, albeit slower. A bloody invasion would never had been necessary and didn't have to occur immediately in any case, except in the minds of American media-savvy politicians and commanders. The one-million casualty figure is bunk. Planners tend to use what statistics are favorable to their case and reject other arguments.

Did dropping the atomic bombs insure that atomic warfare would not be repeated? Well, the jury is still out on that one. One day atomic technology may be a-dime-a-dozen for any nation that wants it. Nobody else has used atomic bombs yet, not even for tactical purposes, but that may not always be so. Atomic bombs only make sense if the enemy cannot retaliate in kind, the same with chemical weapons. Weapons of mass-destruction have limited strategic and tactical flexibility. Guns are much more versatile. Sometimes possession of a super weapon is more valuable than actually using it militarily. Hitler could have won the war by possessing the bomb because it would have given him diplomatic leverage. But its use would NOT have won the war for him, nor would it have made him quit the fight any more so than did the bombings of Dresden or Hamburg.
:)

Image

User avatar
Birgitte Heuschkel
Member
Posts: 660
Joined: 18 Mar 2002 08:07
Location: Fredericia, Denmark

Re: Preparations

Post by Birgitte Heuschkel » 23 May 2002 12:18

Cezarprimo wrote:The japanese in Manchuria were not cought by surprise, they were simply not able to resist to the russian onslaught. I mean with the antitank weapons they had, this comes as no surprise...


Do tell, this is a front I know very little about. They weren't trying to stop tanks with swords, I hope?

Xanthro
Member
Posts: 2803
Joined: 26 Mar 2002 00:11
Location: Pasadena, CA

Re: Preparations

Post by Xanthro » 23 May 2002 20:08

Cezarprimo wrote:Xanthro one can not lunch an offensive without massing his forces. In Manchuria even the last one eyed short sighted japanese soldier could have seen that the russians are concentrating their troops, and I belive the soldier in cause didn't think the russians were there in large numbers for a military parade.

I belive the japanese knew they are going to be attacked at least with a couple of weeks in adavance, the alternative was that they were plain stupid.

The japanese in Manchuria were not cought by surprise, they were simply not able to resist to the russian onslaught. I mean with the antitank weapons they had, this comes as no surprise...


Not to sound too mean, but please study the material before making statements like this. If you don't want to reseach that's one thing, but to make others have to research for you is a asking a bit much.

How do we know the Japanese were surprized? Because they told us so.

Here is a time line.
21July45 US Warns Japan that it faces destruction if Japan doesn't surrender.
29July45 Japan offically rejects the surrender proposal.
30July45 The Kwontaung Army sends a report back to Japan noting that the Soviets are building up forces. The state that the Soviets will be able to attack in late August, and an attack should be expected in the Fall.
6Aug45 First Atomic bomb dropped.
8Aug45 Japan asks the Soviet Union again to mediate surrender terms with the Allies.
8Aug45 The Soviet reject this mediation and declare war on Japan effective 9Aug45
9Aug45 Soviet Union attacks Japan.
9Aug45 Second atomic bomd dropped
14Aug45 Emperor asks that the Japanese people surrender
15Aug45 Truce goes into affect. Emperer addressed Japanese people
2Sept45 final surrender documents signed.

Japan rejected the proposed peace the day before the report on Soviet troop build up. The were aware that the Soviets were building up forces even before this, but were completely unaware of the size and disposition of this buildup.

The expected that the Soviets would launch an attack in a few months, and that they had the ability to beat this attack back.

They certainly didn't expect the attack to happen 9 days later, and that the attacking forces would be more than twice as strong as those that were expected to be used months from then.

This historical record makes it pretty clear that before the first bomb was dropped, that an attack by the Soviets wasn't a motivation in having Japan surrender.

Any attempt to make out that it is, constitutes either a deliberate attempt to paint the United States in a more unfavorable light, or a gross misunderstanding of the Pacific theater.

Xanthro

User avatar
Scott Smith
Member
Posts: 5602
Joined: 10 Mar 2002 21:17
Location: Arizona

Re: Preparations

Post by Scott Smith » 24 May 2002 01:55

Xanthro wrote:Any attempt to make out that it is, constitutes either a deliberate attempt to paint the United States in a more unfavorable light, or a gross misunderstanding of the Pacific theater.

What paints the U.S. in the most unfavorable light as far as I'm concerned is the annihilation-threat coupled with the Unconditional Surrender demand itself. Furthermore, there was no warning or demonstration of the atomic bomb. It was entirely superfluous to victory conditions but on an obvious timetable because the U.S. no longer wanted Soviet involvement. A Communist Asia? They hadn't thought that one through and were hoping that the bomb would end things instantly and unilaterally on U.S. terms. Ironically, it would have been more effective diplomatically with the Soviets if the bomb had not been "demonstrated" on Japan.

Again, I say the atomic bomb was a "warcrime" (for lack of a better word) primarily because it was NOT necessary for victory, and no warning or demonstration was given before upping the ante. And of course, the Unconditional Surrender demand itself is a warcrime, AFAIC. We condemn regimes as Aggressors and Conspirators that renounce diplomacy for military force and then we do the same once we are at war, as if in a Medieval Crusade enforcing our justice and light with blinding atomic energy and radioactive poison.

Best Regards,
Scott
:)

Return to “WW2 in the Pacific & Asia”