August 6, 2015

"How the Hiroshima bombing is taught around the world."

A WaPo article. Excerpt:
Philippines: "Horrible atomic bombs" brought Japan to her knees.

Canada: "Most Canadians are unaware of the crucial role Canada played in the development of the atomic bombs that destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki." (A uranium refinery in Ontario supplied the Manhattan Project.)

Italy: "There was no doubt that in very little time the Japanese, already at the end of their tether, would have had to surrender ... What seems certain is that the show of force, made indiscriminately at the expense of unarmed people, increased the United States' weight in post-war tensions and decisions, especially concerning the Soviet Union. It is probably therefore that Truman's decision was inspired more by post-war prospects than by calculations on the most convenient method to put an end to the conflict with Japan."

111 comments:

Expat(ish) said...

The Conquered, the Commonwealth, and the Fascists.

They probably teach WWII, slavery, and colonialism in what to us would seem odd ways.

-XC

chuck said...

Ah, the left indulging their favorite pastime: rewriting history and promulgating propaganda. And who is to know? Certainly not journalists, they were all suckered or co-opted long ago. Mere argument and historical facts are useless in resisting the Borg collective.

Brando said...

Only one universal truth behind it--war is terrible, total war even more so, and combatants will do the utmost in horror to win. Best to avoid war when possible, and win it quickly when there is no other choice.

I feel for the Japanese who had to pay for their country's awful decision to go to war, but these are the consequences of going up against a country more powerful than yours and determined to win and destroy to do so.

And the atom bombs were no more destructive than previous firebombing raids--they were only different in that they were far more efficient and less risky for the side that used them.

Wilbur said...

Truman made the only decision anyone in his place could have reasonably made. To pretend that he had a choice is just making stuff up.

Alexander said...

That's a hilarious article. Yes, Europeans, tell me more about American immorality during WWII. Especially you, Italy. I'm all ears.

bleh said...

Truman had a choice, but the other choice was more awful.

Chris said...

Europeans should spare a moment to be grateful that the Nazis didn't get the bomb, first.

Kevin said...


Bulls**t. The Japanese had ably demonstrated their devotion to "honor" and their Emperor, and would have defended their home islands with a fury that would have made their previous "death before dishonor" battles in the Pacific look like a cake walk.

The estimates for American casualties in an invasion of Japan scenario were stunning. The consensus was: Wounded: 1,300,000 to 3,200,000 Dead: 400,000 to 800,000.

Ironically, many American apologists for this "war crime" would not exist today, since untold numbers of their direct ancestors would have been killed in the attempt to invade Japan, leaving them unborn.

traditionalguy said...

Without those two nukes exploding the evil little Emperor of Japan would not have had the guts to surrender his perks immediately against a suicidal Japanese Military who planned to kidnap him before he could issue his surrender message over the radio.

More Japaneses were dying from low level mass incendiary raids by LeMay's B-29s than died from the Nukes, anyway. And every week the war went on the Japanese Army of occupation all over the conquered Orient from Indonesia across Viet Nam, China, Manchuria and Korea killed tens of thousands more civilians.

The Japanese Army had just gone suicidal in urban Manila and proved they could pull an Iwo Jima and an Okinawa in every Japanese city over and over at will.

So Truman never hesitated to save a million American young men's lives in 1945. Although he later stopped use of the A-Bombs and H-Bombs by the Joint Chief's of Staff as just another combat weapon, many times thereafter.

From Inwood said...

Bando is correct.

Everyone I knew & all my relatives of the WW II generation were happy that the war was over much sooner & with fewer casualties as a result. And that Jonny came marching home intact.

Self-righteous undereducated, unaware, clerics, academics, & journalists with their counterfeit History came later. But, as Bando suggests these High Moral People don't see that the non-nuke bombing campaign, while arguably to a lesser extent, was equally not nice.

Back when, I gave a lecture to my reserve JAG class involving the killing of civilians in wartime. Of course, most moral people agreed that, among other things, the death of civilians who might be innocent people had to be weighed in relation to the military advantage. I am of the opinion that Hiroshima met that test

Do these people realize that the Axis powers would've used their nukes if they had 'em?

War is heck!

Anonymous said...

It seems so backwards that we reject the logic automatically. Like so many things in life that seem to strain common sense.

But when Dr. Gatling invented the Gatling Gun, he did so to actually save lives. The theory being, the more bullets you shoot, the fewer soldiers you need on the field of battle.

Imagine if we had gone to battle in Iraq with swords instead of the modern equipment we had. Would it have been bloodier against the Saddam Hussien regime? Of course! Probably hundreds of thousands would have died on the field of battle.

The same is true with the atomic bomb. It saved a lot of lives.

hombre said...

The Italian version resembles the version taught in American schools by leftist teachers. The Italian version, however, is less condemnatory.

Mikec said...

The Italian version is LOL. It's not hard to understand why that country is screwed up and near bankruptcy.

marybeth said...

I read a lot of the reddit thread yesterday. I was kind of surprised at the number of people from around the world who were taught that it was the least worst option. I expected the comments to be more anti-US than they turned out to be.

Peter said...

Let me guess: present attitudes toward U.S. use of atomic bombs in WWII correlate with that country's general attitude toward and about the United States at the present time?

In any case, it's an argument that can never be fully settled, as the alternative is counterfactual and therefore no one can say just how alternatives would have turned out.


My understanding is that without the atomic bombs, the United States intended to force a Normandy-style invasion of southern Kyushu from Okinawa (over a much greater distance than Normandy, and with an expectation of severe kamikaze attacks).

After the southern third or so of Kyushu had been occupied and pacified, a naval invasion would be launched from there on Honshu, with the aim of capturing Tokyo.

The invasion plan was so obvious, and the distances so great, that there would be no surprises. Timetables to expected completion ran well into 1946, assuming nothing went much worse than expected.

Nichevo said...

Of course we could have just tightened the blockade and starved 50 percent of Japan to death. I guess then the question is whether the remaining half would have fought.

Hagar said...

Don't overthink it. There was a war on, the bomb had been invented, and it was going to be used.

The Germans were lucky in surrendering before the bomb became available; otherwise it would have been used there first.
(Now that would have given the "bleeding hearts" something to cry about!)

And as for "good guys" and "bad guys," have any of you looked up any history of Japanese behavior in China?

David Begley said...

The way it should be taught, "Saved millions of Japanese and Allied lives."

Recall Imperial Japan didn't surrender until after the SECOND bomb. If not for the atomic bomb, Japan would have fought to the bitter end.

tam said...

My dad was on a ship in the Pacific in August of 1945. There was never any doubt in anyone who lived through the kamikaze attacks that the bombs had to be dropped.

Basically these people are saying that Truman should have let my father, and who knows how many other hundreds of thousands, die. Just to preserve their good opinion of him.

madAsHell said...

My Dad had orders going to Japan. He thought the bomb was a good idea.

He also stated that the kamikaze strategy was much more effective than reported. The Navy was taking a serious beating.

Virgil Hilts said...

I think dropping the bombs was a mistake as was the fire-bombing, which killed as many if not more people. It used to be taken as a given that the deliberate targeting of civilians in war was wrong. The U.S. suffered about 12,000 civilian casualty-deaths in World War II, almost all overseas (people who got caught in the Philippines for example); the number is about 1,000 in World War I. So I think Americans do lack perspective on the horrors of total war being inflicted on a civilian population. My dad was in the Pacific in 1944-45 and I understand the mathematical arguments, but if you had taken all of those women in children in Tokyo and poured incendiary over them and asked me to light the match, so the war could be shortened, I could not have done it or ordered someone else to do it.

Seeing Red said...

How many teach we blanketed Japan with leaflets warning we were going to bomb one of the cities listed and to warn their family and friends to get out?

YoungHegelian said...

Philippines: "Horrible atomic bombs" brought Japan to her knees.

Let me guess: the Filipinos didn't talk to Grandma or Grandpa about this. Because, from the viewpoint of the Asian countries that the Japanese occupied the verdict at the time on the use of the atomic bomb was: "What the fuck do you mean you've only got two? Make some more & finish the job!".

The Japanese were lucky they were surrendered to the Americans. If, in some alternate history, they had surrendered to their Asian neighbors, they would have been exterminated. Remember, the US had lost military men but few civilians to the Japanese. The Chinese lost 12 million people, almost all of them civilians, in WWII. The deep, visceral, hatred of the Japanese in Asia during & after the war is difficult for the modern comfy American to comprehend now.

Gabriel said...

Any fool can predict the past.

Brando said...

As Tolstoy said in his most famous novel, "War...What is it Good For?"

Going to war isn't carte blanche to do whatever you want to the enemy (with a broad definition of who "the enemy" includes, say civilians, POWS). For example, few would think that in the name of frightening our enemies into submission we should be able to commit mass rapes as military policy (as the Soviets did in one of the Allies' most shameful acts of the War) or cook and eat enemy POWs. And the aerial bombings were rightly controversial--in part because of how many civilians were brutally killed vs. the debatable effectiveness of the bombing on lowering enemy morale and destroying vital war industries. But there's at least a good argument to be made that this strategy did help us win the war, or at least didn't needlessly kill hundreds of thousands while steeling their resolve by bringing horror to their homeland.

What makes no sense is the idea that the atomic weapons were "worse". The Tokyo raids killed over 100,000 in one night, and these were very brutal deaths--people boiling in the rivers, firestorms sucking air out of lungs, feet stuck in melting tar. The atomic bombings each killed fewer than that, but what appears to have outraged today's revisionists is that they were so damned efficient--a single plane with a single bomb could do what you needed hundreds of planes heavily loaded to do previously.

Would the Japanese have surrendered if not for the bombing? I read an article today suggesting they would have, because of the Soviets entering the war. But there's no way to be sure of that even today, and certainly after seeing how much fight the Japs still had as recently as Okinawa it's hard to believe that they were ready to quit. Maybe the atom bombs gave them the excuse to say "okay, we took a lot up to now, but it's pretty clear the Americans can systematically wipe us out and there isn't a thing we can do to fight back...let's talk terms." What we do know is they did quit shortly after, and fortunately for everyone the postwar reconstruction was successful, due in part to the Japs accepting their fate and MacArthur handling them with grace.

Murph said...

Citizens of Nanking had no comment.

Big Mike said...

My father was a soldier in World War II; he served in North Africa, Italy, France and Germany. Had the Japanese home islands been invaded he would certainly have gone and might have been killed and I wouldn't have been born. It may seem self-serving, but I think Truman's decision a net plus.

People who think that the Japanese were on the verge of surrender need to take another look at Okinawa, where mothers threw their children from cliffs and jumped after them rather than surrender to the American forces (yeah, it happened, you can watch it on YouTube). How many more Japanese civilians would have died as a consequence of an American invasion of the home islands than were killed by the bombs at Hiroshima and Nagasaki?

TosaGuy said...

The Italian version is currently being embraced by modern leftist historians in our universities. There is a stupid article in Salon where the author "lowers" the casualty expectation of American troops to 40,000 dead and simply stating that dropping the bomb was racist.

Big Mike said...

@Wilbur, you are perfectly correct, of course. Had Truman decided not to employ the atom bomb and gone ahead with an invasion of conventional forces, and had it come out later that he had the bomb and deliberately chosen to kill American servicemen in an invasion of the home islands, then Dewey would have won in 1948 because Truman would have been left dangling under a tree or a streetlamp in 1947.

Hagar said...

Which German city (-ies) would have been chosen if the bomb had been available in 1944?

tim in vermont said...

Everybody plays the result and assumes that the winning player was able to perfectly foresee that result and therefore caused the fight. Especially if that POV dovetails with their prejudices and agendas.

I didn't realize until recently that the reason we had an oil embargo on Japan before the war was that they had seized Viet Nam from the French. That country served as bookends for WWII as far as the US is concerned.

Eugene said...

Japan's Longest Day (1967) is a good account of the surrender from Japan's point of view. Its treatment of Hirohito is understandably hagiographic, but is otherwise historically accurate (Netflix has it).

Toshiro Mifune plays hardliner General Anami, who still wanted to fight a last glorious battle on the homeland. After Hiroshima, he was convinced the U.S. had only one atomic bomb. To his credit, he declined to support the attempted coup and committed suicide instead.

Also recommended is Victory in the Pacific. This PBS documentary pulls no punches. Even after the bloodbath of Okinawa, "it was very clear that the Japanese intended to fight to the bitter end."

Anonymous said...

Let's talk about George C. Marshall sitting on the intelligence for as long as humanly possible that Japan was about to cut off diplomatic relations/commence the Pearl Harbor attack - and then finally sending it the slowest possible way.



mikeski said...

All anyone needs to do is take 15 minutes out of their day and listen to Bill Whittle.

Anthony said...

@Hagar

It depends on when in 1944. How bad was Berlin or other cities destroyed at the time? Early in 1944 I would have used it against Berlin. If it was after D-Day I would have used it against the V-Bomb sites. If it was late 1944 I would have used it in the Ruhr, almost tactically (no one knew about radiation and fallout at that point). Or maybe Dresden as like Hiroshima that city was mostly untouched and also like Hiroshima it was a military target (forgotten in all of this is that Hiroshima was the headquarters for one of the army groups that was meant to defend against the US invasion)

Point is, had the bomb been ready earlier it would have been used against Germany

Quaestor said...

Anyone interested in this subject should read Downfall: The End of the Imperial Japanese Empire (not the most euphonious title, sadly). This work was the first non-specialist assessment of the Imperial Japan in 1945, especially diplomatic overtures to "neutral third parties" such as Sweden and the Soviet Union, since the de-classification of decoded Japanese high governmental communications intercepted by Allied intelligence agencies.

Much is made in popular culture (including the otherwise excellent US/Canadian docudrama Hiroshima) of the notorious "makusatsu" (黙殺 - literally "silence killing") remark made by Prime Minister Kantarō Suzuki made in reply to the Truman's Potsdam Declaration. Popular culture would have us believe that Truman became so incensed by having his ultimatum regarded with silent contempt, that he ordered the nuclear attack. What is excused as dramatic license is really historical distortion. Many days before the "mokusatsu" incident, Truman had been brief regarding instructions given to Foreign Minister Shigenori Tōgō, which boiled down to seeking a neutral power (particularly Russia) demanding a peace settlement based on Japanese withdrawal from all her conquered territories - except parts of China, Manchuria, and Korea - with no occupation or American influence in post-war Japan. For their interference Japan was wiling to cede valuable portions of Manchuria to Stalin's control. It was also clear from coded messages that Japan was preparing to defend Kyushu with upwards of 1 million regular troops and a like number of reserves and militia,the intent being to bleed the Allies into making a deal advantageous to Japan. What Truman sought by the Potsdam declaration was a reason NOT to use nuclear weapons.

Etienne said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
BarrySanders20 said...

A blurb from an article in 1981, discussing a book written by a WWII veteran:

Anticipating objections from those without [infantry] experience,
Jones carefully prepares for his chapter on the A-bombs by detailing
the plans already in motion for the infantry assaults on the home islands
of Kyushu (thirteen divisions scheduled to land in November 1945) and
ultimately Honshu (sixteen divisions scheduled for March 1946). Planners of
the invasion assumed that it would require a full year, to November 1946,
for the Japanese to be sufficiently worn down by land-combat attrition to
surrender. By that time, one million American casualties was the expected
price. Jones observes that the forthcoming invasion of Kyushu “was well into
its collecting and stockpiling stages before the war ended.” (The island of
Saipan was designated a main ammunition and supply base for the invasion,
and if you go there today you can see some of the assembled stuff still sitting
there.) “The assault troops were chosen and already in training,” Jones
reminds his readers

The men going to fight these battles were from a different part of society than those who judge the A-Bombs unnecessary, like the Italian quoted in the WaPo article. Maroons, all of them. The point of WWII was to destroy the enemy and its will to fight. We did that as quickly as possible. To suggest it was a matter of convenience (was anything at all about the manhattan Project convenient?) is so utterly clueless.

Murph said...

Tim in Vermont. It wasn't just Vietnam. Japan had very expansive plans for its neighbors:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greater_East_Asia_Co-Prosperity_Sphere

Quaestor said...

SOJO wrote: Let's talk about George C. Marshall sitting on the intelligence for as long as humanly possible that Japan was about to cut off diplomatic relations...

I would prefer not to since by you comment it is evident you haven't a sufficiently detailed command of the historical facts to discuss the subject intelligently.

Read the works of the late Gordon Prange and get back to me.

Quaestor said...

The most frustrating thing about history is that too many people stop all learning in their mid to late teens, and too many of them comment on the Althouse Blog.

79 said...

What the world learned from Hiroshima and Nagasaki...don't attack Pearl Harbor

rhhardin said...

It's American technology day.

tim in vermont said...

It wasn't just Vietnam. Japan had very expansive plans for its neighbors:

Oh I know, it is just that the oil embargo seemed a specific response to Japan's taking of Viet Nam once the French fell to the Germans.

Lewis Wetzel said...

TBWE.

grackle said...

During WW2 Japanese diplomats used French embassies to secretly(they thought) communicate with Japanese leaders in Japan. Back in 2005, intercepted Japanese diplomatic communications originating from those French embassies were made public for the first time. They reveal that Japanese leaders were going to make the Allied forces pay dearly if they invaded Japan. The Japanese knew that the American public was tiring of the war because of the enormous US casualties already suffered.

Below is a link to just one of those documents:

http://tinyurl.com/ovovaxp

For other documents go here …

http://tinyurl.com/memzmcw

… and look for any document labeled “Top Secret Ultra.”

Even the Japanese were lucky that the bomb was dropped. A conventional Allied invasion would have killed even more Japanese.

The Drill SGT said...

Negative opinions on Hiroshima are directly related to the speakers social class. Actaul WWII soldiers think it was a damned good idea. People that spent the war in the US in "important jobs" e.g. elites, now have second thoughts.

Truman was right. It saved lives on both sides. Having been a combat officer in WWI, Truman looked for any edge to save GI lives.

Truman made another hard call at the beginning of Korea. After WWII, officers being released from active duty were encouraged to keep their commissions in the reserves, with the promise that they would not be called up unless we had WWIII. When Korea came along, Truman was forced to make a choice to keep that promise and send US troops into combat with inexperienced officers, or break the promise and save the lives of troops.

He called up the reservists... Same with Hiroshima. Saving US troops was the mission...

The Drill SGT said...

PS: beyond the invasion of Japan, the UK had a 6 division(200k troops, more than D-Day) planned for Singapore in September and expected 50-80k of causualties

furious_a said...

"Thank God for the Atom Bomb", from someone at the time with skin in the game:

"When the atom bomb ended the war, I was in the Forty-fifth Infantry Division, which had been through the European war so thoroughly that it had needed to be reconstituted two or three times. We were in a staging area near Rheims, ready to be shipped back across the United States for refresher training at Fort Lewis, Washington, and then sent on for final preparation in the Philippines. My division, like most of the ones transferred from Europe, was to take part in the invasion of Honshu. (The earlier landing on Kyushu was to be carried out by the 700,000 infantry already in the Pacific, those with whom James Jones has sympathized.) I was a twenty-one-year-old second lieutenant of infantry leading a rifle platoon. Although still officially fit for combat, in the German war I had already been wounded in the back and the leg badly enough to be adjudged, after the war, 40 percent disabled. But even if my leg buckled and I fell to the ground whenever I jumped out of the back of a truck, and even if the very idea of more combat made me breathe in gasps and shake all over, my condition was held to be adequate for the next act. When the atom bombs were dropped and news began to circulate that “Operation Olympic” would not, after all, be necessary, when we learned
to our astonishment that we would not be obliged in a few months to rush up the beaches near Tokyo assault-firing while being machine-gunned, mortared, and shelled, for all the practiced phlegm of our tough facades we broke down and cried with relief and joy. We were going to live. We were going to grow to adulthood after all."


The people who say the Japanese would have surrendered absent the atom bomb are full of sh*t.

William said...

Terror is a weapon of war, and nuclear bombs are the most terrible weapons ever invented.......I was reading a book about Genghis Khan and his children. They were accomplished in the use of terror as a weapon. After they defeated the Abbasid Caliphate in Baghdad, they killed all the men, raped the women, and enslaved the children. They burned the libraries, destroyed the irrigation canals, and totally demolished the Abbasid dynasty. It was many centuries before the Abbas had another hit record. Their terrible conquest of. Baghdad helped their subsequent course through Mesopotamia. When they marched on Damascus, the Koranic scholars in that city could find nothing in the verses that forbade surrender and paying tribute to a Mongol conqueror.

Static Ping said...

Historically, whenever a country goes to war that country have best considered what will happen if they lose, especially if they lose badly. People tend to forget that mercy is purely optional. The Romans have no requirement to treat civilians with honor and respect. When the city falls the Mongols are not going to be restrained by niceties. The Nazis are not going be kind and generous because you demand human rights. For most of human civilization war has resulted in looting, murder, rape, slavery, starvation, genocide, the stamping out of entire cultures, and other unpleasantries. Is this all horrible? Yes. But it is reality.

Japan started a war, a war that most likely it was going to lose from the start. If you start a war, do not complain when and how your enemies end it. Given how Japan has bounced back, in no small part due to the mercies of its enemies, they should give praise to the mercy they were provided. At the time they certainly didn't deserve it. Then again, no defeated enemy does.

That said, let us pray that nuclear weapons are never used again. I believe their use against Japan was proper and necessary but yet still horrible. God help us if Iran gets hold of one.

furious_a said...

Virgil Hilts said...

...if you had taken all of those women in children in Tokyo and poured incendiary over them and asked me to light the match, so the war could be shortened, I could not have done it or ordered someone else to do it.


You weren't one of the Marines wading through fire on an invasion beach, or getting back-shot from a rifle-pit, were you?

The Godfather said...

I generally like intelligent discussion with people with whom I disagree. However, if you (retroactively) oppose the use of A-bombs to end WWII, then you are either a fool or a villain and there's no point in talking with you.

JAORE said...

Dad was in WWII. He fought in the European Theater. But, had the war gone on, he, and hundreds of thousands of others, would likely have been redeployed to the Pacific.

Thank you, President Truman.

furious_a said...

More from 'Thank God for the Atom Bomb':

"The future scholar-critic who writes The History of Canting in the Twentieth Century will find much to study and interpret in the utterances of those who dilate on the special wickedness of the A-bomb-droppers. He will realize that such utterance can perform for the speaker a valuable double function. First, it can display the fineness of his moral weave. And second, by implication it can also inform the audience that during the war he was not socially so unfortunate as to find himself down there with the ground forces, where he might have had to compromise the purity and clarity of his moral system by the experience of weighing his own life against someone else’s."

John henry said...

From Wikipedia:

During World War II, nearly 500,000 Purple Heart medals were manufactured in anticipation of the estimated casualties resulting from the planned Allied invasion of Japan. To the present date, total combined American military casualties of the seventy years following the end of World War II—including the Korean and Vietnam Wars—have not exceeded that number. In 2003, there remained 120,000 Purple Heart medals in stock. The existing surplus allowed combat units in Iraq and Afghanistan to keep Purple Hearts on-hand for immediate award to soldiers wounded in the field.[6]

And for the Althouse Portal can I recommend Paul Fussell's book "Thank God for the Atom Bomb"

The phrase comes from William Manchester's Goodbye Darkness. He had just gone through several weeks as a Marine on Okinawa. Again Wikipedia on Okinawa campaign:

20,195 dead[5][6][7]
12,520 killed in action[8]
55,162 wounded[9][10][11]
26,000 psychiatric casualties[12]

Manchester recalls laying in a ditch when he heard the news. "Thank God for the atom bomb" he thought. "It means I will live."

Some say that the bombs only shortened the war by a week. Fussell points out that in the last months of the war there were 400,000 deaths per month or 100,000 per week.

I could go on but to those who say we should not have dropped the bomb, my only response is

"Fuck You!"

And yes, I do have a personal stake. My father was in the western Pacific in 1945. Merchant Marine but would have been going in close in the invasion. Might well have died.

So, Bill, Paul, let me add my voice. Thank God for the Atom Bomb.

John Henry

Unknown said...

Wow. I have never made this connection until just this moment.

My dad was stationed in California as part of the coastal defense. I'm guessing that had the end of the war not turned out as it did, his useless in California may have ended with useless in Japan beginning.

Unknown said...

Usefulness.

Dang autocucumber

John henry said...

Why no complaints about the Feb 1945 fire bombing of Tokyo? More casualties than Hiroshima and Nagasaki combined.

Day after pictures look much the same:

http://forum.isthmus.com/viewtopic.php?f=37&t=58232#p738292

John Henry

JAORE said...

Oh yeah, Virgil Hilts...

How a more realistic scenario? If you light the match the women and children in Tokyo die a horrible death. If you refuse to light the match many times as many in dozens of cities would inevitably face a similar fate. As would hundreds of thousands of men under YOUR command.

Still refuse to light the match?

Those are the kinds of choices that are made at times like 1945. Thank God there are those with sterner stuff in their spines.

Still feel that warm and fuzzy moral superiority?

Chuck said...

Here's my A-bomb story. Inspired by JAORE just above.

My dad, then age 21, had just returned to his parents' home in Detroit after service in England with the 8th Air Force. His older brother was, at that moment, flying missions in a B-29 over Japan from Guam.

Dad was awaiting orders to be reassigned to the Pacific that summer, and his older brother was trying to stay alive in a cramped cockpit 35,000 feet above the ocean.

I would not be born for another 11 years.

I'm pretty satisfied with the decision to deploy the two weapons.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Jon Stewart apologizes for calling President Truman a war criminal

Bill Whittle - Jon Stewart, War Criminals, & The True Story of the Atomic Bombs

John henry said...

Blogger Gabriel said...
Any fool can predict the past.


Not so. Look at the global warmists.

John Henry

John henry said...

Point is, had the bomb been ready earlier it would have been used against Germany

Paul Tibbetts,flew the Enola Gay over Hiroshima He was in overall charge of all aviation aspects of the bombs.

In 1944 he actually took one of the specially fitted B-29s to Europe and flew it around for research.

His original mission, as he describes it in his book, was to prepare for the simultaneous dropping of A-Bombs on Germany and France in the summer of 1945.

Germany's surrender in May 45 made that unnecessary.

John Henry

JPS said...

From the guilty pleasure that is "Crimson Tide":

"You do qualify your remarks. If somebody asked me if we should have bombed Japan, a simple 'Yes, by all means, sir, drop that f^*&er. Twice.'"

That used to be my position. I knew that more died in the conventional bombing of Tokyo. I'd read the estimates of how many Americans and how many more Japanese would have died had we invaded. I believed, and believe, that dropping the bombs caused less suffering than would have occurred if we hadn't, because we hadn't. I find facile and trite the arguments that Japan would have surrendered anyway (a cop-out), or that we didn't need to insist on unconditional surrender (need to or not, we were right to), or that we were mainly trying to impress the Soviets (this usually comes from people who think we were the aggressor in the Cold War), or that we never would have dropped the bomb on (white) Germans (the late Brig. Gen. Tibbets had his wing training to do exactly that, until VE day changed their focus).

Then I read Richard Rhodes' "The Making of the Atomic Bomb." I saw the pictures of victims, some who survived and the remains, or shadows, of some who didn't. It's a hard thing to look squarely at those pictures, of people who, in Rhodes' words, "died because they were members of a different polity, and therefore their killing did not officially count as murder," and affirm that, yes, dropping those bombs on cities was the right and necessary thing to do. Too bad for you, ten-year-old kid with fourth- and fifth-degree burns (I hadn't known those existed) - you should have stopped your dictators from the Rape of Nanking back when you were a toddler.

I still think the alternatives were even worse; that yes, even that horror was justified by the need to bring WWII to an end. I find "Thank God for the Atom Bomb" a very powerful essay. But I don't think it's a moral no-brainer, and I can respect the view that this thing was wrong in itself, no matter what good it enabled.

Paddy O said...

BBC History Magazine (which is a great read on Kindle) had a very interesting article on whether the US was justified in using the atomic bomb. They interview historians on the topic and get a variety of answers pro and con.

The whole question is yet another example of how insular ethics has become. The emphasis is on the US action. Was Japan justified in invading China, or Philippines, or Korea, and doing horrific actions there? How many innocent men, women, and children suffered because of the Japanese? How many more would have suffered it if hadn't ended right when it did?

tim in vermont said...

Anybody who posits how they would react today to a hypothetical needs to first go through several years of world war watching loved ones and millions of others killed, day by day by day by excruciating day building into week by week of casualty reports in the thousands blending into months of news of horrific battles where your neighbor's children, cousins, nephews, etc are being killed.

Then you need to fully understand that you can stop it in its tracks, today. End it, end the horrific battles in the Pacific.

But there's more, of course, to really understand the decision you have to be the one who is authorizing the sending of more and more of your nation's young men into these horrific battles, and you must know that if you don't stop the war today, you must send more young men into battle tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow, death death death.

Once you have internalized all those factors fully, then get back to us on what you would decide.

Otherwise, as many other people have said here, FUCK YOU!

tim in vermont said...

I can respect the view that this thing was wrong in itself, no matter what good it enabled.

I can't. I can respect a lot of differences of opinions, but not that one.

JackOfVA said...

Like many of the commenters, my father served in the US Army in WW II, and by virtue of being with the first landings in North Africa and then onto Italy, he accumulated enough combat time points to be eligible for discharge at the end of the war in northern Italy and would not have been sent to Japan.

I can't recall where I read it now, but there was a serious debate within the upper strata of the War Department whether nerve gas should be used to prep the invasion beaches in order to reduce casualties in the landing forces.

In any event, General Sherman said it well:

War is the remedy that our enemies have chosen, and I say let us give them all they want.

Paddy O said...

I just realized the online article on the BBC History isn't quite the same as the magazine article, with the magazine article much better.

Hagar said...

Does it help to point out that Hiroshima today is the headquarters of Mazda Motors - a subsidiary of the Ford Motors Corporation?

William said...

I think the use of the a-bomb in WWII unquestionably saved hundreds of thousands of lives. But the plain fact is that the history of the a-bomb did not end in WWII. I'm sure that it will be used again, and maybe again after that. India and Pakistan may exchange pleasantries. Perhaps Kim will wake up on the wrong side of the bed. Iran and its psychos are sure to acquire them. Saudi Arabia will probably find some Pakistani general willing to sell war products for the good of the Sunni religion. The world may yet end in a catastrophe brought about by our development of nuclear weapons.

Michael K said...

The 600,000 American soldiers and the 1 million Japanese who didn't die in the invasion could not be reached for comment.

Actually, I have read considerable discussion of the invasion plans and it might have failed. The Army was going to be transferred to the Pacific but non coms and offers with high point totals were being sent home already. An invasion using European Theater troops might have been done without experienced officers. Next, read about the typhoon of October 1945.

It was devastating and might well have ended the invasion which was planned for about then.

Although expected to pass into the East China Sea north of Formosa on 8 October, the storm unexpectedly veered north toward Okinawa. That evening the storm slowed down and, just as it approached Okinawa, began to greatly increase in intensity. The sudden shift of the storm caught many ships and small craft in the constricted waters of Buckner Bay (Nakagusuku Wan) and they were unable to escape to sea. On 9 October, when the storm passed over the island, winds of 80 knots (92 miles per hour) and 30-35 foot waves battered the ships and craft in the bay and tore into the quonset huts and buildings ashore. A total of 12 ships and craft were sunk, 222 grounded, and 32 severely damaged. [for listing of vessels] Personnel casualties were 36 killed, 47 missing, and 100 seriously injured. Almost all the food, medical supplies and other stores were destroyed, over 80% of all housing and buildings knocked down, and all the military installations on the island were temporarily out of action.

Anyone who wants to think more about the invasion and what it would have been like should read EB Sledge's With the Old Breed at Okinawa. It's the best book about Pacific war I know of.

furious_a said...

...and I can respect the view that this thing was wrong in itself, no matter what good it enabled.

I can't, because that view is reached in comfort and safe distance purchased by the sacrifice of others dead long ago, far away and now unable to speak for themselves. Like Fussell said, John Maynard Keynes spent the war in the Office of Price Administration. That view would have condemned one's own countrymen to slaugther orders of magnitude greater than Okinawa or Peleliu to salve one's finely honed, 20/20 hindsight moral sense.

I'd go as far to say that it was an awful decision to have to make, when nothing less awful would have served. But then it was the Japanese who chose war, then chose a last stand in the Home Islands.

furious_a said...

Oh, and there was the August 1944 directive from the War Ministry to POW camp commanders to liquidate their prisoners in the event of an invasion of the Home Islands. The Japanese had captured as many as 140,000 Allied military personnel and interned an estimated 125,000 Allied civilians, all of whom were subject to the order.

furious_a said...
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David said...

It saved my father in law's life (he was a prisoner of war in Japan and had lost half his body weight laboring in Mitsubishi's copper mines for three years). He probably would have been dead by the end of September 1945. His survival lead to the birth of my wife in 1948, which I'm pretty sure would not have occurred if her father had died in the prison camp. So personally it was a good result for me, my wife, her mother and brothers and all their children.

People forget that this was not a hard decision for Harry Truman. It was an awesomely consequential one but we were in a war. The Commander in Chief in a war is supposed to win the fight as quickly as possible. Quickly because war is destructive of everything and everyone, but especially because it is destructive to the citizens of the commander's country and their allies. Japan started the war. The Japanese killed millions throughout the world. Americans were a small percentage of their prey. The most immoral thing Truman could have done would have been to allow more Americans to die in order to spare Japanese. If you want to blame someone for the deaths at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, blame Hirohito and the leaders of Japan.

Quaestor said...

I can't recall where I read it now, but there was a serious debate within the upper strata of the War Department whether nerve gas should be used to prep the invasion beaches in order to reduce casualties in the landing forces.

It may have been in Hell to Pay from the Naval Institute Press. I have a book on the same subject written in the 1980s which I cannot lay my hands on at the moment. I studied it closely and my memory of the planning details is pretty good, though I can't quote verbatim.

Nerve gas was very new in 1945, especially to the Allies. All existing nerve agents in mid-to-late 1945 were captured stocks of German weapons, mainly Tabun and the much deadlier Sarin. Only the Russians, who captured a nerve gas factory intact in April 1945, dismantled it, and shipped by rail to Kazakstan had the ability to manufacture nerve gas in 1945. When Olympic was being planned the effects and tactical characteristics of Sarin were only poorly understood, so the discussions of its use during that invasion could only have been speculative rather than operational.

Mustard gas was discussed as a means of destroying Japanese coastal bunkers (being heavier than air mustard gas would be useful in penetrating underground installations) however the plans were shelved when it was learned that the Japanese were planning a mobile defense rather than their more typical (and suicidal) static techniques. Without suitable concentrated targets staff planners concluded that mustard gas, which is very persistent, would pose unacceptable hindrances to American troops. Therefore mustard gas would be retained strictly as a hedge against first use of chemical warfare by Japan.

Another form of chemical warfare that was considered was herbicidal attacks on the Kanto Plain, Japan's breadbasket. This was discarded as well when submarine warfare estimates showed that imports of phosphates and nitrates had fallen so low that the fall rice harvest would be in severe shortfall, enough to doom 10 million Japanese to starvation by January 1946. Hiroshima critics never consider the fate of those 10 million who did not starve because of the Bomb.

buwaya said...

My grandmothers opinion was firmly
"Era un castigo de Dios"

It was a divine punishment.
The US military were just his unwitting agents, a force of nature. About the same as a storm, an earthquake, or a volcano. Considering the nature of war as a collective, chaotic process that seems to direct itself, once started, this is not an absurd point of view.

That's more or less the general Philippine opinion at the time.

Hagar said...

It is said that in the 1930's Chiang Kai-shek told his inner circle that sooner or later the Japanese will do something to make the Americans really angry and they will come and defeat the Japanese. Then the Americans will go home again, but Mao and his communists will still be here.

I have also read that the differences between the Japanese and the Americans are settled, and no hard feelings on either side.
The score between the Chinese and the Japanese, however, that is still not settled in the eyes of either nation.

Mark said...

The problem with the "they were already near defeat and would have surrendered anyway" argument is that the Japanese didn't. They didn't surrender. Even after the Japanese were warned of the horror if they didn't surrender, still they persisted in war. Even after the Hiroshima bomb was dropped -- they didn't surrender. It took two. It took two bombs. Even after Hiroshima was utterly destroyed, they refused to surrender. So it is pretty clear that if there had been a ground invasion instead, the Japanese would have fought to the last man, block by block, house by house, room by room, with even more people killed.

Gospace said...

What YoungHegelian said at 8/6/15, 3:08 PM is right on the money.

And what Hagar said, "The score between the Chinese and the Japanese, however, that is still not settled in the eyes of either nation." is also true if you substitute Korea for China. Post WWII, the Koreans dug up, removed, destroyed anything identifiably Japanese in origin, removing all visible traces of Japanese occupation. Except for the Cherry Trees. Those they kept.

Pugsley the Pug said...

The liberal revisionists today call Truman a war criminal for dropping the nuclear bombs on Japan. They have no idea what they are talking about. We had just suffered horrific casualties in both ground troops and sailors at Iwo Jima and Okinawa. Our troops were getting skittish since both of these island groups were considered Japanese home soil and we had paid dearly for them (HBO's "The Pacific" TV miniseries did an excellent job of portraying the Marines plight in both battles). The US Navy was frantically searching for ways of combating the Kamikazes to the point that in July they were placing on the decks of refitted aircraft carriers carrier air groups of all-high performance fighter planes. Also, Vought was souping up the F4U Corsair to be faster and carry heavier cannons in a Super Corsair than what was on their regular Corsair and Grumman was racing to get the F8F Bearcat, a faster, lighter, and more powerfully armed carrier fighter than their outstanding F6F-5 Hellcat to the Pacific. The US Army was scrambling to find troops for the Pacific, either from draftees, which we were starting to scrape the bottom of the barrel in our population or redeploying veteran troops from Europe. The Soviets declared war on Japan the day of the Nagasaki bombing (pretty much for the spoils of war in Japanese held territory taken from them in 1904-95 and then some). It took the Japanese almost a full week after the Nagasaki bombing and the Soviet invasion of their territory before Emperor Hirohito surrendered and even then, his own generals were willing to kill their Emperor-god to keep the war going. Yes, the nuclear bombings were horrible to the people on the ground, but the Japanese were no slouches in the murder of many millions of more civilians in their occupied territories along with barbaric enslavement, torture, medical experimentation, and murder of civilians and captured military members of their enemies. The Japanese militaristic culture in 1945 was willing to sacrifice their best and brightest to save their country in suicide bombings and banzai charges.

My son left for basic training with the US Army this past Monday. I pray to God that our bumbling commander-in-chief (unlike President Truman) didn't sign away our country's protection and my son's safety while protecting our country with the Mad Mullahs (who are unrepentant even after getting everything they wanted and then some additional goodies for good measure from Barry and Kerry). The parallel for today - the Iranians are like the Japanese in that they are willing to sacrifice themselves for the greater glory of their culture and god(s) whereas our culture can't fathom committing suicide for our country, something that Obama never learned in history class about World War II and in the recent past in Israel at Harvard.

rhhardin said...

Tim Blair podcast covers Hiroshima this week.

The Japanese mistake was not having a nuclear free zone.

Paco Wové said...

My father's wartime experience was as part of the allied occupation force in Japan, late '45 through '46. He was always very taciturn about his time in the Army, and it wasn't until a few years before he died that I asked him where he was when he found out about the bombings and Japan's surrender.
"On a troop ship near Saipan," he said.
Being a quiet man, he didn't need to say more than that.

Paul said...

Well considering Mussolini's blackshirts helped ship Jews off to the concentration camps, I guess Italy has to feel they are superior to someone.. anyone.

As for the A-bomb, one looks at how fanatical the Japanese were on Iwo Jima, Saipan, and Okinawa to see they would fight to the death in a very super sized island full of bunkers.

Oh, and the Japanese documents after the war said they were gonna fight and kill all the prisoners once we invaded.

So Italy is just blowing smoke to make up for what dastardly deeds they did in WW2.

Beldar said...
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Beldar said...

On this day in 1945, my father was a junior officer on the USS Zeilin (APA-3), a fast attack transport (a/k/a armed troopship) that had landed U.S. soldiers and Marines during the invasions of Guadalcanal, the Aleutian Islands, and Tarawa before my dad joined her, and during his service at the invasions of Guam, Luzon, and Iwo Jima. In route to the last, while my father was on the bridge, the Zeilin was struck by a kamikaze that, had its left wingtip not clipped a guy wire, diverting the plane a dozen yards in a different direction, would have killed my father along with the dozens of other crew who were indeed killed or seriously wounded.

Having been repaired in San Francisco, the "Mighty Z" (formerly the passenger liner SS President Jackson before the war) was en route to load troops for the planned invasion of mainland Japan — as part of which she would again have been among the most preferred kamikaze targets (after only aircraft carriers and battleships). Thousands of such remained, and would doubtless have been used. My dad's chances of surviving that invasion, either aboard the Zeilin or again commanding one of its landing craft, would, realistically, have been measured in single- or perhaps very low double-digits. In short, but for the dropping of the atom bombs, my dad would not likely have survived the war, and I'd not likely exist.

This affects, rather profoundly, my views about the Bombs. I suppose I might be able to carry on a civil discussion on this topic with those who are critics of the decision to drop the Bombs, for perhaps about five minutes, after which I'd likely end up either in jail, in the hospital, or in the jail hospital.

Beldar said...

There is a framed photo of the Zeilin, taken in late 1945 with the Golden Gate Bridge behind her, on the wall above my computer as I type this. She's an ugly ship, one of many such that won that war, but she's beautiful in my eyes, as she always was in my father's.

tim in vermont said...

According to a Wikileaks cable released in October 2011, then U,S, Ambassador to Japan John Roos told then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in September 2009 that the Japanese government was not amenable to the idea of President Obama visiting Hiroshima to issue an apology for the bombing.

What a tool that man is.

Rusty said...

Beladar
My father in law managed to do 31 missions as a radio operator in a B24 over Germany. The European war ended on his 31st mission. He was given 30 days leave and then ordered to report to begin duty on a B29. He was going to Japan.
My step fathers destroyer was in the Panama canal when the Pacific war ended. He had spent 3 years on that destroyer. First in the north Atlantic and then in the Med. My father was testing German jet engines at Wright Patterson AAFB.

Unknown said...

I used to think hindsight is 20/20. When words mean whatever you want them to mean in order to justify your own personal view, why should history be any different?

Fernandinande said...

John said...
Enola Gay


Ebola LGBLT.

Robert Cook said...

"Truman made the only decision anyone in his place could have reasonably made. To pretend that he had a choice is just making stuff up."

Of course he had a choice. He could have chosen to NOT use the nukes. This is independent from whether you or anyone else thinks the choice to use nukes was a good and proper one.

Anthony said...

@Robert Cook -- you are right that Truman had a choice. But imagine he decided it was too horrible to contemplate and so did not use the bomb. The invasion goes on. There are horrific casualties. Japan is utterly destroyed with 15M dead though starvation and carpet bombing. 500K American men missing limbs start showing up in US cities. We win eventually but it is horrible.

And then it comes out there was a weapon that could have ended it all in one stroke (really two as Nagaski showed). There woul dhave been hell to pay.

Robert Cook said...

"I generally like intelligent discussion with people with whom I disagree. However, if you (retroactively) oppose the use of A-bombs to end WWII, then you are either a fool or a villain and there's no point in talking with you."

Heh. So much for your enjoyment of "intelligent discussion with people with whom (you) disagree."

There were American military leaders at the time who disagreed with the necessity to use nukes in Japan. One may still disagree with these opinions and consider the use of nukes to have been necessary and right, but one can hardly dismiss these men as either fools or villains.

Robert Cook said...

"...Truman had a choice. But imagine he decided it was too horrible to contemplate and so did not use the bomb. The invasion goes on. There are horrific casualties. Japan is utterly destroyed with 15M dead though starvation and carpet bombing. 500K American men missing limbs start showing up in US cities."

But we don't know that is what it would have taken. One reason the Japanese resisted surrender is that they wanted Hirohito, whom they considered a deity, be permitted to remain in his position. America refused this condition.

When the Japanese did surrender...we permitted Hirohito to remain in his position.

If this was a condition we considered acceptable after having dropped the bombs, why wasn't it acceptable previous to those events? If we had given our "yes" to this condition earlier rather than later, perhaps there would have been no further casualties and V-J Day might have occurred earlier.

President-Mom-Jeans said...

Fuck you Cooktard.

There is a special place in hell reserved for unrepentant Stalinists like you. I hope you find it soon.

President-Mom-Jeans said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mikee said...

I have been in Japan on a Hiroshima anniversary, and Grave of the Fireflies was played on TV that night. Japan today sees itself as a victim of an injustice, not the recipient of violence to stop their aggression. I hope the Chinese keep this in mind; the Japanese are perfectly capable of occupying China again, substituting another totalitarian regime for the existing one.

grackle said...

The world may yet end in a catastrophe brought about by our development of nuclear weapons.

Sure, because it would have been so much better if the Nazis had developed it first. Right? Please …

One reason the Japanese resisted surrender is that they wanted Hirohito, whom they considered a deity, be permitted to remain in his position. America refused this condition.

Untrue. Actually the Japanese ruling elite wanted the emperor to retain all his power, NOT just his “position.” Instead the USA allowed Hirohito to retain his position but only as a figurehead. It was part of the Japanese plan to make the upcoming invasion so costly to the Allied forces that the Allies would settle for a surrender that would allow Hirohito to retain all his powers, with no occupational force and the ruling elite, especially the military elite, to remain in place to carry on another try at world domination in another few years. The use of the atomic bomb ended that scheme permanently and instantly. It is important to be factual in discussions of history.

I’ve already listed the documents that completely debunk the above commentor’s misinformed viewpoint but apparently the commentor did not avail himself of those links. Readers, go to the links below to read them yourself.

http://tinyurl.com/ovovaxp

For other documents go here …

http://tinyurl.com/memzmcw

… and look for any document labeled “Top Secret Ultra.”

These documents were withheld from public scrutiny until 2005 because they were secretly intercepted from French embassies during WW2 and secretly bugging an ally’s embassies is diplomatically embarrassing.

tim in vermont said...

Cook never ever critically examines a point that supports his pre-judged position. Not once, ever.

Paco Wové said...

Thanks for those links, grackle. Very interesting, especially the second one. Helps put Cook's (one-sided, as per usual) information in better context.

grackle said...

Another viewpoint about this issue at the below link:

http://tinyurl.com/prsmtty

Bill Whittle doesn’t bring up the Top Secret Ultra communiqués but he doesn’t need to. There was always plenty of prima facie evidence that the Japanese had no intention of surrendering unless their conditional surrender was accepted by the Allies. Among those conditions were Hirohito keeping his power, no occupational troops and the military clique intact to start a new war a few years down the road. Of course the atomic bomb put an end to all that nonsense.

grackle said...

There were American military leaders at the time who disagreed with the necessity to use nukes in Japan.

Maybe, but none of them knew about the intercepted Top Secret Ultra communiqués. It took 50 years for the archives to be released to the public. The US military leaders all thought that Japan was ready to surrender but Japan was actually preparing to fight to the last man, woman and child. Even after the second bomb. And after Hirohito had come to his senses and realized the bombs changed everything, the Japanese military elite tried to kidnap the emperor on his way to the radio station where he made the announcement of surrender to the Japanese public. Fortunately the kidnapping did not succeed. At this late date I think the ignorance of the “American military leaders at the time” can be forgiven.

Robert Cook said...

"Actually the Japanese ruling elite wanted the emperor to retain all his power, NOT just his 'position.' Instead the USA allowed Hirohito to retain his position but only as a figurehead."

How much actual power did Hirohito exercise and how much was he a figurehead before WWII?

From the article:

"First, the crucial issue of Hirohito’s power is very enigmatic, to put it mildly. On paper, the Meiji Constitution, promulgated by his grandfather Emperor Meiji in 1889, gave the emperor vast prerogatives, to make war and peace, to appoint ministers, to run the government, and to exercise the right of supreme command over the armed forces. But what complicates this picture is that again on paper, and in practice, the emperor was limited at every point by the principle that he would exercise his prerogatives through his ministers of state, who alone bore responsibility for governmental policy, or on matters of defence, through the Army and Navy Chiefs of Staff, who had direct access to the throne, bypassing the cabinet.


"What was left, then, for the emperor to do? Basically, his main role was to symbolize the State, to try and hold the government together, and ultimately to ratify national policy by formally declaring it as the ‘imperial will’, which he did by virtue of his supreme sacred authority as the lineal descendant of the Sun Goddess. This last role was not new: as you may know, Japan’s emperors had always sanctioned the policies of the shoguns from medieval to early modern times. Only now, they performed this legitimating function in the unprecedented context of constitutional monarchy."


So, you're making a distinction without a difference. Even if Hirohito had not been permitted to retain his "position," the Japanese knew that, as a conquered nation,they would have to abide by externally imposed authority. Their insistence on keeping Hirohito on the throne was always primarily to fulfill a symbolic purpose. So, if we had agreed earlier to allow Hirohito to remain as Emperor, even with all his purported "power," there would have been no difference in post-war affairs...except that neither the battles at Okinawa or Iwo Jima would have occurred, and the bombs would not have been dropped...saving thousands of American as well as Japanese lives.

grackle said...

Even if Hirohito had not been permitted to retain his "position," the Japanese knew that, as a conquered nation, they would have to abide.

Really? But just how effective would that “externally imposed authority“ be if postwar Japan had not been occupied? The Japanese military and ruling cliques, including Hirohito himself, wanted these conditions for surrender:

The emperor would have retained all the power and authority that he had before the surrender.

The military clique and ruling elite would have remained in situ with the same status, prerogatives and power as before the surrender.

No occupying force after the surrender.

Fortunately the Allies never even came close to agreeing to these surrender conditions. Agreeing to them would probably have guaranteed another war with Japan in a few years.

Their insistence on keeping Hirohito on the throne was always primarily to fulfill a symbolic purpose.

If Hirohito primary purpose was merely symbolic, why did the Japanese resistance end only after Emperor Hirohito made a radio address to the Japanese people?

And why did the military attempt to kidnap the emperor on the way to that radio station? After all, he was only a figurehead, right? Why be worried about what a mere figurehead with no authority was about to broadcast to his subjects? And this was after the second bomb was dropped!

Readers, contemplate this: The Japanese military clique wanted to continue resistance using every man, woman and child against the impending invasion even after the second bomb was dropped!

So, if we had agreed earlier to allow Hirohito to remain as Emperor, even with all his purported "power," there would have been no difference in post-war affairs...except that neither the battles at Okinawa or Iwo Jima would have occurred, and the bombs would not have been dropped...saving thousands of American as well as Japanese lives.

The commentor is still clinging to the misinformed viewpoint that Japan was eager to surrender, even after being informed about the secretly intercepted Top Secret Ultra communiqués that prove just the opposite. We now know that if Hirohito had not come to his senses and made that radio surrender speech to his Japanese subjects the war would have continued with an Allied invasion that would have been costly in American lives – some estimates as high as a million US soldiers.

Robert Cook said...

"...the war would have continued with an Allied invasion that would have been costly in American lives – some estimates as high as a million US soldiers."

Given that the total of deaths of U.S. Soldiers from all causes in WWII was under a half-million, an estimate of "as high as a million U.S. soldiers" killed in a continued fight against Japan alone is absurd beyond belief. It's self-justifying fear-mongering on the order of claiming that Hussein had WMD and was an actual threat to America. (Colin Powell and Condi Rice admitted--on videotape--in the months before 9/11 that Hussein was contained and he could not reconstitute his weapons programs or pose any threat to his neighbors in the region. Jeez...he was too weak to be a danger to his nearby neighbors in early 2001, but a few months later he's suddenly an "existential" threat to the most militarily powerful nation in the world...a nation bounded by thousands of miles of ocean on either side? 100% U.S. Baloney. We're peerless at making and selling it.)

grackle said...

Given that the total of deaths of U.S. Soldiers from all causes in WWII was under a half-million, an estimate of "as high as a million U.S. soldiers" killed in a continued fight against Japan alone is absurd beyond belief.

Here’s the Wiki estimate:

The Japanese planned an all-out defense of Kyūshū, with little left in reserve for any subsequent defense operations. Casualty predictions varied widely, but were extremely high. Depending on the degree to which Japanese civilians would have resisted the invasion, estimates ran up into the millions for Allied casualties.

Readers, keep in mind that Wiki is referring to only ONE invasion of only ONE of the several islands that comprised the nation of Japan. Subsequent invasions of the other Japanese islands would presumably reap their own high number of casualties.

http://tinyurl.com/qgynekd

Note: Invasions normally result in many more casualties than other combat operations.

Nichevo said...

Italy is just jealous because it took two nuclear weapons to subdue the Japanese and all you need to get Italians in line is truncheons and castor oil.

For the Philipines you need to look at the original Tagalog. I would suspect that "horrible" actually translated to "a little horrible, but not nearly horrible enough."

Nichevo said...

Cook, I know it would be better for you if the Japanese had been left alone and, with the same elites in power, had triggered another world war in 20 years as happened with Germany after Versailles, but the Allies thought it would be better to avoid that. When you defeat someone, you need them to acknowledge the defeat. Dictating terms of your "surrender" is not much of a defeat. The Japanese appear to have no equal in the matter of fooling themselves and if you don't have GIs in the street dating your daughters, you may still be able to tell yourself lies.

I know you don't understand this as you don't allow yourself to understand anything that doesn't suit your worldview, but I just didn't want you to feel ignored.