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shyboy

Was Dropping the Atomic Bomb Necessary for Ending the War with Japan?

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Whoa there, Thales.

For a layman, I'm pretty familiar with the atrocities of the Japanese war machine and 20th century Japanese culture. I simply don't see a purpose in post-war punitive action visited on anyone other than the political big wigs and military brass that start hostilities. I am curious why you show an aversion to the thought of ending the war with fewer Japanese deaths.

Why are you saying "post war"? The bombs were dropped during the war to end the war. I didn't mention anything about post-war punitive actions.

If we could have ended the war with a simple warning shot and no actual destruction (I'm not saying we could, just an hypothetical), are you saying this would be wrong for a lack of punished civilians? If so, why not keep dropping nukes until every Japanese person is killed? They were complicit in the deaths of 10s of thousands.

What I'm saying, or implying, is that it's a Platonic idea divorced from reality. The reality is that visiting heavy destruction on such an enemy is the sort of thing that needs to be done so that they know they've been defeated. They have to know it with as much certainty as is possible. And really, they were killers, and you can't lose sight of that because of all of the years-long and drawn out complex strategies and tactics of war. The message has to be Don't murder Americans, because there is a huge price to be paid.

The vast majority of Japan obeyed the terms of surrender, and turned into a great ally for the US. Do you think the citizens of Hiroshima and Nagasaki would have been different?

Japan did not surrender until after both atomic bombs were dropped. They were dropped August 6th and August 9th of 1945. Unconditional surrender was accepted on August 14th 1945.

Just to be clear, I'm a lover of what Japan has become. They have a great and inspiring society today. However, back then it was very different.

Man, I dunno...

Society, if I understand correctly, is merely just a collection of individuals.

David answered this, but I'll add a bit more.

You're right about what a society is, but a great deal of that society worked to support the war machine. Without the Japanese citizenry, the Japanese army would have gone no where. The goods and services required to run a war machine come from society. Moral support for a war comes from the ideas in a culture, not from the military. The military just acts on the ideas. In order for such ideas to spread, there has to be lots of agreement and little resistance.

An individual who recognizes the evil of the war machine would have an obligation to fight the tyranny from within and I'm certain there were such people, just as there were in Nazi Germany at the time. Such people are real heroes.

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A long protracted war against the main islands would have resulted in a much bloodier war for America. Fire bombings, like those on Dresden, would have resulted in lots of deaths on the ground.

A price must be paid for those who are evil enough to start a war against a peaceful nation. When you take military action against a peaceful society you're engaged in mass murder. The gravity of war and the evil of the initiators is not a trivial issue.

When you are a citizen of a society that actively spreads death and destruction, you are not an innocent soul, you are part of the cause of death and destruction, this is why you have to expect to be targeted in righteous anger by those who have been so massively wronged. The idea that you are intrigued by a "warning shot" shows me you how little understanding of what such an enemy can do and what they did. Least it not be forgotten, the Japanese citizens were actively supporting the war machine.

Most countries, including the United States, signed the Geneva Convention agreements, in which it was agreed that specifically targeting noncombatants is a war crime. So this is something we agreed to in principal before hostilities even started, and there was no caveat that exempted the nation state who didn't start the war.

Also, I believe, and so has most of civilized society for centuries now, that the act of killing, either justified or unjustified, takes a psychic toll on the person who commits it. Just ask anyone who's served in combat. It is optimal to avoid as much bloodshed as possible to achieve victory, for the sake of your own humanity. As a journalist, I talked to many war veterans who had and still have a white hot hatred towards the Japanese. But if you ask the guys who actually did the fighting and dying, they would never have dreamed of doing to civilians what the Japanese did.

And the thing about aerial bombardment is that it historically has not weakened the enemy's resolve to continue the fight (atomic bombs aside). Ironically it may have the opposite effect.

Edited by Rourke

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Most countries, including the United States, signed the Geneva Convention agreements, in which it was agreed that specifically targeting noncombatants is a war crime.
Which convention, what does this convention say, and in what year did the US ratify such a treaty?

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And the thing about aerial bombardment is that it historically has not weakened the enemy's resolve to continue the fight (atomic bombs aside). Ironically it may have the opposite effect.

Could you give an example of this? Conventional bombing sure seemed to work against Germany. What is so special about atomic bombs?

Also, Paul Tibbets, who piloted the airplane carrying Fat Man, never felt regret or any kind of psychological trouble for what he did.

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Could you give an example of this? Conventional bombing sure seemed to work against Germany. What is so special about atomic bombs?

Also, Paul Tibbets, who piloted the airplane carrying Fat Man, never felt regret or any kind of psychological trouble for what he did.

He's obviously crazy, then. I mean, there's really no other explanation for being able to do that and suffering no psychological distress from the act. Right? :)

Edited by Maarten

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I am of the opinion that... the eagerness to kill any number of civilians is in most cases too barbaric a cost to pay for victory.

And I am of the opinion that unsolicited opinions of that nature run contrary to the purpose of this forum. I for one don't want the raw opinions of newbies or non-Objectivists. If you have such an opinion, then you might ask for the reasoning behind the fact that Objectivism does not share it. (But of course, the links were already provided to some very definitive articles on the subject... which I wonder if you read) Your other option is to take it to the debate forum.

But this much is not simply my opinion: this forum is a place to learn Objectivism, not to assert your opinions contrary to it.

For more on this, see here.

Edited by Inspector

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And the thing about aerial bombardment is that it historically has not weakened the enemy's resolve to continue the fight (atomic bombs aside). Ironically it may have the opposite effect.
Then you support the A-bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, right? And, in general, the use of nuclear weapons to stop an enemy dead in his tracks.

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I was always told that the Japanese would of surrendered quickly if they had known that they could of kept their Emperor.

I'm not trying to spread anything. I know very well what forum I am on. I'm just telling you what I was told.

Edited by shyboy

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I was always told that the Japanese would of surrendered quickly if they had known that they could of kept their Emperor.

I'm not trying to spread anything. I know very well what forum I am on. I'm just telling you what I was told.

I don't see why this seems like such a trifling condition to you. Would we have accepted a German surrender that left Hitler in power? Would we have accpeted an Italian surrender that left Mussolini in charge? Of course not. They were the leaders of countries that started a war against us and did countless unspeakable things along the way.

The alternative will, at best, end like the first Gulf war. There will still be a brutal tyrant in charge of a country plotting and scheming. He will almost certainly have to be dealt with again.

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The Geneva Convention concerning the treatment of civilians in war was ratified in 1949, so you could hardly say that the U.S. broke this agreement during WWII...

Well we're both wrong as it turns out. However, I'm more wrong as Protocol II to the 1949 Geneva Convention (which addresses targeting civilians in war) wasn't signed until 1977. I was talking a little bit out of my backside there. I regret posting erroneous information. However, 30 years after the end of the war, the US agreed with this Geneva Convention principal. I would argue that this was a principal we ostensibly agreed with before this time. Anyway, I'm not saying that the US deserves some special kind of condemnation, as by the end of the war the attrocities against civilians was rampant by all countries.

Could you give an example of this? Conventional bombing sure seemed to work against Germany. What is so special about atomic bombs?

Also, Paul Tibbets, who piloted the airplane carrying Fat Man, never felt regret or any kind of psychological trouble for what he did.

Conventional bombing of population centers did not crush the Germans' will to continue the war. Stephen Ambrose talks about this in Citizen Soldiers. The German terror bombing of London only solidified the English resolve to fight the Nazis. The carpet bombing of North Vietnam did not weaken the Vietnamese will to go on.

Maybe the reason Tibbets felt nothing about his action was that he was flying miles above the city, far from view of the destruction. When we make killing so antiseptic, it insulates us from its true nature. I'm saying talk to vets, people who have actually had to kill. I'm not saying they are "crazy", as you so snarkily put it in your post. But you carry the weight of that with you forever. So that's my point, and you don't have to agree with it, but the targeting of civilians in warfare should be avoided.

Then you support the A-bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, right? And, in general, the use of nuclear weapons to stop an enemy dead in his tracks.

On the first point, the answer is possibly, depending on the actions of the Japanese, but I would have done the demonstration first. On the second point, the answer is a definite it depends. If it is an attack on our homeland, without question. If its in a place like Korea or Vietnam, or even Iran now, then the answer is no.

And I am of the opinion that unsolicited opinions of that nature run contrary to the purpose of this forum. I for one don't want the raw opinions of newbies or non-Objectivists. If you have such an opinion, then you might ask for the reasoning behind the fact that Objectivism does not share it. (But of course, the links were already provided to some very definitive articles on the subject... which I wonder if you read) Your other option is to take it to the debate forum.

But this much is not simply my opinion: this forum is a place to learn Objectivism, not to assert your opinions contrary to it.

Well I could see your point if I had posted a polemic of some sort. But all I did was add some good information (and one bit of bad info) and add my two cents about what I thought, which I clearly thought added value to the discussion. I'm not sure how I've asserted an opinion contrary to Objectivism here. Please advise the forum on the official Objectivist position on this topic.

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David,

Nope, sorry for the confusion.

What I should have said was this: I am not concerned with killing the enemy. I am concerned with ending the conflict [Edit: permanently] with the least number of deaths from the innocent nation. If there are several options that satisfy this, I then would like to minimize the casualties of those enemies that will present no postwar threat.

The rest of this post is addressed to Thales so he and I can find some common ground. Read on if you want to peek into my mind to find out how the confusion broke out. I doubt it will be interesting to anyone but Thales.

Thales, my replies in post 24 were to your post number 21. In post 21, you reply to post 20 (me) in three segments.

Your first segment of post 21 quotes my objection to the notion that sparing Hiroshima and Nagasaki would have led to fewer US casualties (as presented in post 19). Your reply in this segment supports my objection.

Your second segment lead me to make the statements that started the confusion. In it, you say this:

A price must be paid for those who are evil enough to start a war against a peaceful nation. When you take military action against a peaceful society you're engaged in mass murder. The gravity of war and the evil of the initiators is not a trivial issue.

The last two sentences of this segment are irrelevant; war and evil are serious things, especially when an innocent nation is involved. The first sentence, however, is of note. The statement, “a price must be paid” is literally a reference to recompense. Within the context of your post, this meaning doesn’t make sense; “punishment must be visited” seems a more accurate interpretation. I agree with your third segment except where you attack my understanding of Japan’s role in the conflict.

My confusion was in regard to your objection to the warning shot hypothetical. I interpreted the objection as being on the grounds that not enough Japanese died. Following this idea to its conclusion, I came to the notion that you would have prolonged the war simply to drop some more bombs. I didn't seriously think this could be what you believed, and because I didn't know what you were saying, I put the ball in your court by presenting my understanding to you in the hopes that you would clarify.

Your latest post helps in this regard; you actually object to the usefulness of the hypothetical altogether. On this point, I would like some clarification. I presented two hypotheticals. The first involved the destruction of a Japanese city, then a warning shot. The second involved just a warning shot. Do you object to both hypotheticals as platonic reality-divorcees?

For the record, I do not believe Japan would have surrendered unconditionally in late summer of 1945 without a concrete example of the US’s newfound destructive capability. The US could have gambled on a warning shot 20 miles outside of Tokyo, keeping one nuke in reserve. Instead, it chose to level two cities and afterward, IIRC, fly a scare raid over Tokyo (presumably to show it was in striking distance of the capital with its new weapon). I don’t see why you object to a simple investigation on the reasons behind the US action, which is basically what I was trying to do in this thread.

Edited by FeatherFall

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Well I could see your point if I had posted a polemic of some sort. But all I did was add some good information (and one bit of bad info) and add my two cents about what I thought, which I clearly thought added value to the discussion.
(bold mine)

That's the thing - it didn't really have to be a polemic. I think in this context your two cents were inappropriate. As I said, if you want to ask a question about the Objectivist view, and in doing so for the record state your opinion, then I think that would be okay. But to just put in your opinion like that is counter to the stated purpose of this forum.

If that sounds harsh, then please see the Leonard Peikoff podcast and thread on the podcast as they pretty much directly address what I am concerned about. (note that I have been on the record with that opinion well before the podcast)

I'm not sure how I've asserted an opinion contrary to Objectivism here. Please advise the forum on the official Objectivist position on this topic.

Here is the official Objectivist position on the topic. I also suggest reading the ARI backed articles that were linked to in this thread, as they are very good expansions on the principles given by Objectivism (although they are not - themselves - Objectivism, I think you will see they are a correct application of Objectivism).

Also, perhaps even more relevant than the articles previously linked to is this, John Lewis' piece, which is absolutely brilliant.

When you're done with that, see also here and here - that last one directly addresses some of the questions brought up in this thread.

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David,

Your first segment of post 21 quotes my objection to the notion that sparing Hiroshima and Nagasaki would have led to fewer US casualties (as presented in post 19). Your reply in this segment supports my objection.

Okay, I see the problem here. The reason I missed your point is because you're arguing around the edges, when the elephant in the room is the whole question "Was it moral for the U.S. to use atomic bombs against Japan?"

The answer to that question is a resounding yes! It was.

This is the big point put forth by multiculturalists today, and the one that probably inspired this thread. So, the answer must be clear.

Anything else is secondary. Any other question has to be a lesser issue of tactics. In that case the vital question would be "Was it the best way to crush the enemy?", because crushing the enemy is the goal.

I said:

"A price must be paid for those who are evil enough to start a war against a peaceful nation."

The last two sentences of this segment are irrelevant; war and evil are serious things, especially when an innocent nation is involved. The first sentence, however, is of note. The statement, “a price must be paid” is literally a reference to recompense. Within the context of your post, this meaning doesn’t make sense; “punishment must be visited” seems a more accurate interpretation. I agree with your third segment except where you attack my understanding of Japan’s role in the conflict.

A "price must be paid" is a common metaphor for punishment.

My confusion was in regard to your objection to the warning shot hypothetical. I interpreted the objection as being on the grounds that not enough Japanese died.

I'm just going to let this go, because I gather we had a misunderstanding here. I just want to be clear that if you are just looking at this from the stand point of tactics, that's a different issue than the moral angle. If you want to break down the logistics of the war and think through different scenarios, that's fine.

Your latest post helps in this regard; you actually object to the usefulness of the hypothetical altogether. On this point, I would like some clarification. I presented two hypotheticals. The first involved the destruction of a Japanese city, then a warning shot. The second involved just a warning shot. Do you object to both hypotheticals as platonic reality-divorcees?

No. It's the elephant in the room that was my concern.

For the record, I do not believe Japan would have surrendered unconditionally in late summer of 1945 without a concrete example of the US’s newfound destructive capability. The US could have gambled on a warning shot 20 miles outside of Tokyo, keeping one nuke in reserve. Instead, it chose to level two cities and afterward, IIRC, fly a scare raid over Tokyo (presumably to show it was in striking distance of the capital with its new weapon). I don’t see why you object to a simple investigation on the reasons behind the US action, which is basically what I was trying to do in this thread.

No objection, but, let me say, I wouldn't have taken such a risk, especially after what we learned about the way the Japanese fight. They don't give up at all.

Edited by Thales

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Well as it turns out I did, albeit a bit late. I can deduce by your implied agreement with Maarten that you didn't do your homework either.

Well, the fact that they signed it later than I thought they did only solidifies my point, which was that it doesn't make sense to judge a country for not following a treaty which didn't even exist back then. At least, that part of it didn't. That's like condemning people who lived in 1900 for not being perfect Objectivists. It's quite difficult to consistently follow some idea if it has never been explicitly stated, so I do not think we can hold it against anyone. That's just a different way of setting omniscience as a standard for knowledge.

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(bold mine)

That's the thing - it didn't really have to be a polemic. I think in this context your two cents were inappropriate. As I said, if you want to ask a question about the Objectivist view, and in doing so for the record state your opinion, then I think that would be okay. But to just put in your opinion like that is counter to the stated purpose of this forum.

If that sounds harsh, then please see the Leonard Peikoff podcast and thread on the podcast as they pretty much directly address what I am concerned about. (note that I have been on the record with that opinion well before the podcast)

Here is the official Objectivist position on the topic. I also suggest reading the ARI backed articles that were linked to in this thread, as they are very good expansions on the principles given by Objectivism (although they are not - themselves - Objectivism, I think you will see they are a correct application of Objectivism).

Also, perhaps even more relevant than the articles previously linked to is this, John Lewis' piece, which is absolutely brilliant.

When you're done with that, see also here and here - that last one directly addresses some of the questions brought up in this thread.

You have posted 2 links which are the exact same essay, and the 3rd link is only a different variation of it (all by the same guy), using many of the same points and phrasing. He presents no evidence that avoiding the intentional killing of civilians diminishes the chance of victory, but just states it as fact. He presents the straw man argument that anyone not giving a full throated defence of the atomic bombs wanted to "negotiate" with Japan. He is intellectually immature because he chooses to frame the debate in such a black and white way. I particularly liked this passage:

"After the war, many returning Japanese troops were welcomed by their countrymen not as heroes, but with derision. The imperial cause was recognized as bankrupt, and the actions of its soldiers worthy of contempt. Forced to confront the reality of what they had done, a sense of morality had returned to Japan."

This demonstrates a willful misunderstanding of the truth, that the soldiers were blamed for the failure, and that history was subsequently whitewashed to omit the atrocities commited by the Japanese army. To this day it is difficult to have an honest dialogue about the war in Japan.

As far as Rand's thoughts on war, all I can say is that it is only through the actions of thoughtful and reasonable people that, during the 45 years of the Cold War, we did not follow such hawkish sentiments, or we probably wouldn't be around today to have this conversation.

And as to your thoughts about me or anyone posting opinions, I would refer you to software_Nerd's post in that same thread you linked. He is an adminstrator and comes off as reasonable, and he does not agree with your view.

Edited by Rourke

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...software_Nerd's post ... does not agree with your view.
I don't want to take the focus off the topic; but, since you named me, I'll just say that my presumed disagreement is not obvious to me.

At any rate, the proper reference is the Forum rules. I haven't followed this thread closely enough, but if anyone thinks they're being clearly violated, then use the Report button to report the violation.

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That time in the history of our World, particular the aspect of it that concerns America's interaction with Japan and their with ours, is an unfortunately horrendous debacle fraught with the sacrifice of morality, sensibility, and conscience which was (and to a greater/lessor part may still be for the Japanese) a truly tragic event for both countries...a veritable "black mark" on the records of our (both theirs and ours) very humanity.

With this said (as it needed to be), I'll now address your queries:

First question is was the atomic bombing of Hiroshima necessary?

Yes. This answer is particularly apparent now with our in-depth understanding of the ideology that governed the Japanese mindset during WWII (See the Bushido Code - http://www.bigbearacademy.com/bushido-code.html/ ). After all, how else is one to stop an opponent bent on the annihilation and overthrow of your entire race? Even at their own demise? An opponent that just would not stop?

Are you aware that they even redoubled their efforts after the first bomb was dropped...which brings us to your next question:

Second, given the effect of the Hiroshima bomb, what of the Nagasaki bomb?

After review of the above, you should now be able to understand that the second bomb was, indeed, as necessary as the first.

If not, then allow me to ask whether you are aware that even in announcing their surrender their then governing authority, Emperor Hirohito, was reticent to admit the futility of continuing further military actions against America, passing off their concession with the retraction: "The war situation has developed not necessarily to Japan's advantage...."

They were not going to stop...plain and simple.

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That time in the history of our World, particular the aspect of it that concerns America's interaction with Japan and their with ours, is an unfortunately horrendous debacle fraught with the sacrifice of morality, sensibility, and conscience which was (and to a greater/lessor part may still be for the Japanese) a truly tragic event for both countries...a veritable "black mark" on the records of our (both theirs and ours) very humanity.

With this said (as it needed to be), I'll now address your queries:

Yes. This answer is particularly apparent now with our in-depth understanding of the ideology that governed the Japanese mindset during WWII (See the Bushido Code - http://www.bigbearacademy.com/bushido-code.html/ ). After all, how else is one to stop an opponent bent on the annihilation and overthrow of your entire race? Even at their own demise? An opponent that just would not stop?

Are you aware that they even redoubled their efforts after the first bomb was dropped...which brings us to your next question:

After review of the above, you should now be able to understand that the second bomb was, indeed, as necessary as the first.

If not, then allow me to ask whether you are aware that even in announcing their surrender their then governing authority, Emperor Hirohito, was reticent to admit the futility of continuing further military actions against America, passing off their concession with the retraction: "The war situation has developed not necessarily to Japan's advantage...."

They were not going to stop...plain and simple.

So in your view the demonstration blast was not a good idea?

I disagree with your characterization of the Japanese motive. Their motive was not to overthrow other races, per se, but only in Asia. They wanted to replace the Western imperialism in Asia with their own imperialism, i.e. they wanted to replace the white man as the exploiter of Asian peoples. Their strategy was to fight the US to at least a stalemate, thereby getting much if not all of the Asia/Pacific territories that were controlled by the Western powers in the peace terms.

BTW your link is broken.

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"Was it moral for the U.S. to use atomic bombs against Japan?"

The answer to that question is a resounding yes! It was.

[...]

Anything else is secondary.

This was implicit, if unclear, in my first post.

No objection, but, let me say, I wouldn't have taken such a risk, especially after what we learned about the way the Japanese fight. They don't give up at all.

I don't think I would have either. I was surprised to find an angle I hadn't encountered before.

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It's clear the bomb was intended to send a message to Japan, a message of assured total destruction if they resisted surrender.

There are two premises which form the context of such a message:

First, Japan must be assumed to be building an atomic bomb, or to at least have knowledge of the technical obstacles, including the amount of time needed to purify the material.

Second, the message must be unambiguous, not just to the Japanese leadership, but to the populace.

The bombing of a city was necessary to eliminate any question as to whether this was a man-made act of destruction, as opposed to, say, a volcanic eruption (eliminating Mt. Fuji as an option, for instance).

The three day waiting period was necessary to allow the message to sink in and to imply a tempo.

The bombing of the second city was necessary to remove any doubt that we had more than one nuke. This was critical, in case they were close to completing a project of their own. If we had dropped a single bomb, then nothing, their engineers would guess that we were months from building a second one, and we might have left ourselves open to retaliation. This might have led to a nuclear conflagration, especially if others were close to having the bomb. By dropping the second bomb three days after the first, we were implying a hammer-beat of destruction. I don't know the details, but I assume we told them that the third beat would be Tokyo. It was a bluff, but a well-played one, and they capitulated, rather than risk the next blow.

In hindsight, the U.S.'s use of the bomb should be viewed as a shining example of our basic humanity. Never in the history of the world had a nation assumed such an overwhelming military superiority over the rest of the world; never had such a nation acted with such balanced, rational restraint against an aggressor; and never had a nation acted with such magnanimity in victory as the U.S. acted towards Germany and Japan (contrast the Soviet Union's rape of Eastern Europe).

Had we not used the bomb in this manner, had we not stepped out to be the first (and only, so far) nation to use the bomb, we would have opened the door to a future nuclear holocaust: The terror of Hiroshima and Nagasaki demonstrated to every rational person in the world on a concrete, perceptual level the absolute assuredness of mutual destruction, and ensured that the world's leaders could not pull a fast one on it's peoples, convincing them with abstract arguments that nuclear war was feasible.

Edited by agrippa1

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So in your view the demonstration blast was not a good idea?

By "demonstration blast" I presume you're (inappropriately) referring to Hiroshima, which I would not classify as a "demonstration" as I do not feel that we intended to "demonstrat[e]" our military/technological might to the Japanese, rather, I believe that we were hoping to put an end to all of the bloodshed, human & financial sacrifice & waste, and acted out of desperation for an end to the rationally perceived madness of the Japanese.

On the other hand, if your intended meaning was a "demonstration" to the world of our military might by way of circumventing any other potential threat to the U.S. from other Japanese allied countries (e.g. Germany) then, yes, it was a good idea, but one at great expenditure, both financially and humanely. Let's review:

World War II’s basic statistics qualify it as by far the greatest war in history in terms of human and material resources expended. In all, 61 countries with 1.7 billion people, three-fourths of the world’s population, took part. A total of 110 million persons were mobilized for military service, more than half of those by three countries: the USSR (22–30 million), Germany (17 million), and the U.S. (16 million). For the major participants the largest numbers on duty at any one time were as follows: USSR (12,500,000); U.S. (12,245,000); Germany (10,938,000); British Empire and Commonwealth (8,720,000); Japan (7,193,000); and China (5,000,000).

Most statistics on the war are only estimates. The war’s vast and chaotic sweep made uniform record keeping impossible. Some governments lost control of the data, and some resorted to manipulating it for political reasons.

A rough consensus has been reached on the total cost of the war. In terms of money spent, it has been put at more than $1 trillion, which makes it more expensive than all other wars combined. The human cost, not including more than 5 million Jews killed in the Holocaust who were indirect victims of the war, is estimated to have been 55 million dead—25 million of those military and 30 million civilian.

The U.S. spent the most money on the war, an estimated $341 billion, including $50 billion for lend-lease supplies, of which $31 billion went to Britain, $11 billion to the Soviet Union, $5 billion to China, and $3 billion to 35 other countries. Germany was next, with $272 billion; followed by the Soviet Union, $192 billion; and then Britain, $120 billion; Italy, $94 billion; and Japan, $56 billion. Except for the U.S., however, and some of the less militarily active Allies, the money spent does not come close to reflecting the war’s true cost. The Soviet government has calculated that the USSR lost 30 percent of its national wealth, while Nazi exactions and looting were of incalculable amounts in the occupied countries. The full cost to Japan has been estimated at $562 billion. In Germany, bombing and shelling had produced 4 billion cu m (5 billion cu yd) of rubble.

The human cost of the war fell heaviest on the USSR, for which the official total, military and civilian, is given as more than 20 million killed. The Allied military and civilian losses were 44 million; those of the Axis, 11 million. The military deaths on both sides in Europe numbered 19 million and in the war against Japan, 6 million. The U.S., which had no significant civilian losses, sustained 292,131 battle deaths and 115,187 deaths from other causes. The highest numbers of deaths, military and civilian, were as follows: USSR more than 13,000,000 military and 7,000,000 civilian; China 3,500,000 and 10,000,000; Germany 3,500,000 and 3,800,000; Poland 120,000 and 5,300,000; Japan 1,700,000 and 380,000; Yugoslavia 300,000 and 1,300,000; Romania 200,000 and 465,000; France 250,000 and 360,000; British Empire and Commonwealth 452,000 and 60,000; Italy 330,000 and 80,000; Hungary 120,000 and 280,000; and Czechoslovakia 10,000 and 330,000.

The comments in my initial post in this thread which you might have misinterpreted, thereby prompting your authoring your post, were intended to express the sorrow, shame, embarrassment & disgust over the unavoidable fact that the supposedly intelligent races on this planet acted in such an unintelligent, brutish, Neanderthal fashion, trashing several thousands of years of evolution, intellectual, technological and moral, not to mention obliterating hundreds of years of architectural history, that codifies my perspective on both the Japanese and American actions in WWII, not to mention the rest of the world...war should never be a means to an end for intelligent, civilized people because we should never have to sacrifice our humanity for the sake of a concept, an ideology, as shallow as pride, or greed, or over a squabble over land use rights or passage.

I disagree with your characterization of the Japanese motive. Their motive was not to overthrow other races, per se, but only in Asia. They wanted to replace the Western imperialism in Asia with their own imperialism, i.e. they wanted to replace the white man as the exploiter of Asian peoples. Their strategy was to fight the US to at least a stalemate, thereby getting much if not all of the Asia/Pacific territories that were controlled by the Western powers in the peace terms.

Hmm, I beg to differ and offer a somewhat condensed review of the war and the Japanese interaction with American/other forces during WWII:

It began in 1939 as a European conflict between Germany and an Anglo-French coalition but eventually widened to include most of the nations of the world. It ended in 1945, leaving a new world order dominated by the United States and the USSR global military conflict that, in terms of lives lost and material destruction, was the most devastating war in human history. It began in 1939 as a European conflict between Germany and an Anglo-French coalition but eventually included most of the nations of the world. It ended in 1945, leaving a new world order dominated by the U.S. and the USSR.

More than any previous war, World War II involved the commitment of nations’ entire human and economic resources, the blurring of the distinction between combatant and noncombatant, and the expansion of the battlefield to include all of the enemy’s territory. The most important determinants of its outcome were industrial capacity and personnel. In the last stages of the war, two radically new weapons were introduced: the long-range rocket and the atomic bomb. In the main, however, the war was fought with the same or improved weapons of the types used in World War I. The greatest advances were in aircraft and tanks.

In the meantime, American relations with Japan continued to deteriorate. In September 1940 Japan coerced Vichy France into giving up northern Indochina. The U.S. retaliated by prohibiting the exportation of steel, scrap iron, and aviation gasoline to Japan. In April 1941, the Japanese signed a neutrality treaty with the USSR as insurance against an attack from that direction if they were to come into conflict with Britain or the U.S. while attempting to take a bigger bite out of Southeast Asia. When Germany invaded the USSR in June, Japanese leaders considered breaking the treaty and joining in from the east but, making one of the most fateful decisions of the war, they chose instead to intensify their push to the southeast. On July 23 Japan occupied southern Indochina. Two days later, the U.S., Britain, and the Netherlands froze Japanese assets. The effect of that move was to prevent the Japanese from purchasing oil, which would, in time, cripple its army and make its navy and air force completely useless.

Until December 1941 the Japanese leadership pursued two courses: They tried to get the oil embargo lifted on terms that would still let them take the territory they wanted, and they prepared for war. The U.S. demanded that Japan withdraw from China and Indochina, but would very likely have settled for a token withdrawal and a promise not to take more territory. After he became Japan’s premier in mid-October, Gen. Tojo Hideki set November 29 as the last day on which Japan would accept a settlement without war. Tojo’s deadline, which was kept secret, meant that war was practically certain.

The Japanese army and navy had, in fact, devised a war plan in which they had great confidence. They proposed to make fast sweeps into Burma, Malaya, the East Indies, and the Philippines and, at the same time, set up a defensive perimeter in the central and southwest Pacific. They expected the U.S. to declare war but not to be willing to fight long or hard enough to win. Their greatest concern was the U.S. Pacific Fleet, based at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. If it reacted quickly, it could scramble their very tight timetable. As insurance, the Japanese navy undertook to cripple the Pacific Fleet by a surprise air attack.

A few minutes before 8 am on Sunday, Dec. 7, 1941, Japanese carrier-based airplanes struck Pearl Harbor. In a raid lasting less than two hours, they sank four battleships and damaged four more. The U.S. authorities had broken the Japanese diplomatic code and knew an attack was imminent. A warning had been sent from Washington, but, owing to delays in transmission, it arrived after the raid had begun. In one stroke, the Japanese navy scored a brilliant success—and assured the Axis defeat in World War II. The Japanese attack brought the U.S. into the war on December 8—and brought it in determined to fight to the finish. Germany and Italy declared war on the U.S. on December 11.

In the vast area of land and ocean they had marked for conquest, the Japanese seemed to be everywhere at once. Before the end of December, they took British Hong Kong and the Gilbert Islands (now Kiribati) and Guam and Wake Island (U.S. possessions), and they had invaded British Burma, Malaya, Borneo, and the American-held Philippines. British Singapore, long regarded as one of the world’s strongest fortresses, fell to them in February 1942, and in March they occupied the Netherlands East Indies and landed on New Guinea. The American and Philippine forces surrendered at Bataan on April 9, and resistance in the Philippines ended with the surrender of Corregidor on May 6.

According to the Japanese plan, it would be time for them to take a defensive stance when they had captured northern New Guinea (an Australian possession), the Bismarck Archipelago, the Gilberts, and Wake Island, which they did by mid-March. But they had done so well that they decided to expand their defensive perimeter north into the Aleutian Islands, east to Midway Island, and south through the Solomon Islands and southern New Guinea. Their first move was by sea, to take Port Moresby on the southeastern tip of New Guinea. The Americans, using their ability to read the Japanese code, had a naval task force on the scene. In the ensuing Battle of the Coral Sea (May 7–8), fought entirely by aircraft carriers, the Japanese were forced to abandon their designs on Port Moresby.

A powerful Japanese force, nine battleships and four carriers under Adm. Yamamoto Isoroko, the commander in chief of the navy, steamed toward Midway in the first week of June. Adm. Chester W. Nimitz, who had taken command of the Pacific Fleet after Pearl Harbor, could only muster three carriers and seven heavy cruisers, but he was reading the Japanese radio messages. Yamamoto, the architect of the Pearl Harbor raid, had planned another surprise. This time, however, it was he who was surprised. Off Midway, on the morning of June 4, U.S. dive-bombers destroyed three of the Japanese carriers in one 5-minute strike. The fourth went down later in the day, after its planes had battered the U.S. carrier Yorktown, which sank two days later.

Yamamoto ordered a general retreat on June 5. On June 6–7 a secondary Japanese force took Kiska and Attu in the Aleutians, but those were no recompense for the defeat at Midway, from which the Japanese navy would never recover. Their battleships were intact, but the Coral Sea and Midway had shown carriers to be the true capital ships of the war, and four of those were gone.

Meanwhile, despite the Germany-first strategy, the Americans were moving toward an active pursuit of the war against Japan. The U.S. Navy saw the Pacific as an arena in which it could perform more effectively than in the Atlantic or the Mediterranean. Gen. Douglas MacArthur, who had commanded in the Philippines and been evacuated to Australia by submarine before the surrender, was the country’s best-known military figure and as such too valuable to be left with an inconsequential mission. The Battle of Midway had stopped the Japanese in the central Pacific, but they continued to advance in the southwest Pacific along the Solomons chain and overland on New Guinea. On July 2, 1942, the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) directed the naval and ground forces in the south and southwest Pacific to halt the Japanese, drive them out of the Solomons and northeastern New Guinea, and eliminate the great base the Japanese had established at Rabaul, on New Britain in the Bismarck Archipelago (now in Papua New Guinea).

Operations against Japan in the Pacific picked up speed in 1944. In the spring, the JCS projected advances by MacArthur through northwestern New Guinea and into the Philippines and by Nimitz across the central Pacific to the Marianas and Caroline Islands. The Japanese, on their part, were getting ready for a decisive naval battle east of the Philippines.

After making leaps along the New Guinea coast to Aitape, Hollandia, and Wakde Island in April and May, MacArthur’s troops landed on Biak Island on May 27. Airfields on Biak would enable U.S. planes to harass the Japanese fleet in the Philippines. A striking force built around the world’s two largest battleships, Yamato and Musashi, was steaming toward Biak on June 13 when the U.S. Navy began bombing and shelling Saipan in the Marianas. The Japanese ships were then ordered to turn north and join the First Mobile Fleet of Adm. Ozawa Jisaburo, which was heading out of the Philippines toward the Marianas.

On June 19 and 20, Ozawa met U.S. Task Force 58, under Adm. Marc A. Mitscher, in the Battle of the Philippine Sea. The outcome was decided in the air and under the sea. Ozawa had five heavy and four light carriers; Mitscher had nine heavy and six light carriers. On the first day, in what was called the Marianas Turkey Shoot, U.S. fighters downed 219 of 326 Japanese planes sent against them. While the air battle was going on, U.S. submarines sank Ozawa’s two largest carriers, one of them his flagship; and on the second day, dive-bombers sank a third big carrier. After that, Ozawa steered north toward Okinawa with just 35 planes left. It was the end for Japanese carrier aviation. Mitscher lost 26 planes, and 3 of his ships suffered minor damage.

U.S. forces landed on Saipan on June 15. The Americans had possession of Saipan, Tinian, and Guam by August 10, giving them the key to a strategy for ending the war. The islands could accommodate bases for the new American long-range bombers, the B-29 Superfortresses, which could reach Tokyo and the other main Japanese cities at least as well from the islands as they would have been able to from bases in China. Moreover, U.S. naval superiority in the Pacific was rapidly becoming sufficient to sustain an invasion of Japan itself across the open ocean. That invasion, however, would have to wait for the defeat of Germany and the subsequent release of ground troops from Europe for use in the Pacific. The regular bombing of Japan began in November 1944.

Although the shift in strategy raised some doubts about the need for the operations in the Carolines and Philippines, they went ahead as planned, with landings in the western Carolines at Peleliu (September 15), Ulithi (September 23), and Ngulu (October 16) and in the central Philippines on Leyte (October 20). The invasion of the Philippines brought the Japanese navy out in force for the last time in the war. In the 3-day Battle for Leyte Gulf (October 23–25), the outcome of which was at times more in doubt than the final result would seem to indicate, the Japanese lost 26 ships, including the giant battleship Musashi, and the Americans lost 7 ships.

Although Japan’s position was hopeless by early 1945, an early end to the war was not in sight. The Japanese navy would not be able to come out in force again, but the bulk of the army was intact and was deployed in the home islands and China. The Japanese gave a foretaste of what was yet in store by resorting to kamikaze (Jap., “divine wind”) attacks, or suicide air attacks, during the fighting for Luzon in the Philippines. On Jan. 4–13, 1945, quickly trained kamikaze pilots flying obsolete planes had sunk 17 U.S. ships and damaged 50.

While the final assault on Japan awaited reinforcements from Europe, the island-hopping approach march continued, first, with a landing on Iwo Jima on February 19. That small, barren island cost the lives of 6800 U.S. Marines before it was secured on March 16. Situated almost halfway between the Marianas and Tokyo, the island played an important part in the air war. Its two airfields provided landing sites for damaged B-29s and enabled fighters to give the bombers cover during their raids on Japanese cities.

On April 1 the U.S. Tenth Army, composed of four army and four marine divisions under Gen. Simon B. Buckner, Jr., landed on Okinawa, 500 km (310 mi) south of the southernmost Japanese island, Kyushu. The Japanese did not defend the beaches. They proposed to make their stand on the southern tip of the island, across which they had constructed three strong lines. The northern three-fifths of the island were secured in less than two weeks, the third line in the south could not be breached until June 14, and the fighting continued to June 21.

The next attack was scheduled for Kyushu in November 1945. An easy success seemed unlikely. The Japanese had fought practically to the last man on Iwo Jima, and hundreds of soldiers and civilians had jumped off cliffs at the southern end of Okinawa rather than surrender. Kamikaze planes had sunk 15 naval vessels and damaged 200 off Okinawa.

The Kyushu landing was never made. Throughout the war, the U.S. government and the British, believing Germany was doing the same, had maintained a massive scientific and industrial project to develop an atomic bomb. The chief ingredients, fissionable uranium and plutonium, had not been available in sufficient quantity before the war in Europe ended. The first bomb was exploded in a test at Alamogordo, N.Mex., on July 16, 1945.

Two more bombs had been built, and the possibility arose of using them to convince the Japanese to surrender. President Harry S. Truman decided to allow the bombs to be dropped because, he said, he believed they might save thousands of American lives. For maximum psychological impact, they were used in quick succession, one over Hiroshima on August 6, the other over Nagasaki on August 9. These cities had not previously been bombed, and thus the bombs’ damage could be accurately assessed. U.S. estimates put the number killed in Hiroshima at 66,000 to 78,000 and in Nagasaki at 39,000. Japanese estimates gave a combined total of 240,000. The USSR declared war on Japan on August 8 and invaded Manchuria the next day.

On August 14 Japan announced its surrender, which was not quite unconditional because the Allies had agreed to allow the country to keep its emperor. The formal signing took place on September 2 in Tokyo Bay aboard the battleship Missouri. The Allied delegation was headed by Gen. MacArthur, who became the military governor of occupied Japan. It was at this signing that Emperor Hirohito explained his now famous reasoning for ending their war with America that I mentioned in my previous post which, as you can no doubt discern from it's tone, was definitely begrudgingly conceded, albeit with reservations.

In short, they were not going to stop and they were bent on domination of more than just the Asiatic territories.

BTW your link is broken.

Apologies for that, try these:

The Bushido Code defined - http://arvigarus.bravehost.com/bushido_002.htm

Some additional background that led to the codification of what came to be known as "The way of the Warrior" -

http://www.shotokai.cl/filosofia/06_ee_.html

http://samurai.in-history.com/Bushido.html

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By "demonstration blast" I presume you're (inappropriately) referring to Hiroshima, which I would not classify as a "demonstration" as I do not feel that we intended to "demonstrat[e]" our military/technological might to the Japanese, rather, I believe that we were hoping to put an end to all of the bloodshed, human & financial sacrifice & waste, and acted out of desperation for an end to the rationally perceived madness of the Japanese.

On the other hand, if your intended meaning was a "demonstration" to the world of our military might by way of circumventing any other potential threat to the U.S. from other Japanese allied countries (e.g. Germany) then, yes, it was a good idea, but one at great expenditure, both financially and humanely.

If you read my earlier posts, you would see the demonstration I am referring to is a hypothetical blast in a remote location, observed by a Japanese delegation, not Hiroshima. This scenario is laid out in Michael Bess' Choices Under Fire.

Thanks for the history lesson archimedes. I hope you copied that from somewhere and didn't take the time to write it, because it doesn't give us any new information on which to judge the morality of dropping the bomb on Japan, which incidentally is the topic of this thread. You may have good reasons to disagree with the assessment I presented of the goals of Japan's militarist foreign policy in the 1930's, but you didn't present them in your post.

Edited by Rourke

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