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"Okinawa, Kamikazes, Hiroshima and the End of the War" Topic

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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP01 Nov 2018 2:10 p.m. PST

Of possible interest?


Hope you enjoy!.


Lee49401 Nov 2018 2:19 p.m. PST

Outside of the fact that the people who decided to use Nukes should have been on trial at Nuremberg, along with the people like Bomber Harris who directed the Terror Bombing of Europe, and the rest of the Nazi's … NO! The sheer hipocracy of those trials was despicable. The Germans killed Jews. That was a No No. The Americans and Brits killed women, children and babies. But that was OK because it was "Strategic Bombing". BS! They ALL should have been tried and HUNG. Cheers!

ZULUPAUL Supporting Member of TMP01 Nov 2018 2:35 p.m. PST

Nukes ended the war.

Legion 401 Nov 2018 2:49 p.m. PST

Well we have gone round and round about dropping nukes on Japan. Here on TMP before. I'm of the thought like many others that in the long run it saved lives. Both US, Allied, plus many Japanese who may have fought to the death. But again, some don't agree with that.

As far as the strategic bombings by the Allies. Some may have been overkill. But again it was a long time paradigm of war. If you kill enough of the enemy, they will cease resistance. We have not seen that always play out after WWII. But at that time, it was the way wars were fought. For better or worse.

Blutarski01 Nov 2018 3:12 p.m. PST

Lee494 – Welcome to modern warfare, where the winners get to name the war criminals. Nevertheless, although it is by no means a pleasant calculus to perform, the dropping of the atom bombs upon Japan without doubt SAVED the lives of several million Japanese and no small number of American and Allied soldiers, sailors and airmen.


pzivh43 Supporting Member of TMP01 Nov 2018 3:33 p.m. PST

I am appalled more and more by the ignorance of some people. The alternative to victory had been made clear by the Japanese and Germans---refer to Nanking and what the Germans did in the Ukraine. We had to win. And nukes allowed us to win much more quickly and with a lower death count (on both sides) than we would have faced if we had invaded the Japanese home islands.

Dn Jackson01 Nov 2018 3:36 p.m. PST

The Germans and the Japanese sowed the wind, and they reaped the whirlwind. Just because you can't tell the difference between a bombing campaign with mid-20th century technology and the deliberate gassing of Jews and experimenting on Chinese prisoners, doesn't make you right.

coopman01 Nov 2018 3:38 p.m. PST

Dropping the nukes was the best way to end the war quickly and saving a lot of additional bloodshed. It was also a way to show the Russians who was BOSS at least for a short time, as it turned out.

Lee49401 Nov 2018 4:09 p.m. PST

Yeah I really love the American value set. Dropping bombs all over and killing hundreds of thousands of INNOCENT CIVILIANS was ok because it allowed us to win the war quicker and with less loss of life to OUR TROOPS. And after all they deserved it right? My point precisely. If you're American you can do no wrong. The ends justify the means because as Americans we are ALWAYS right. Whether keeping millions of slaves, or practicing genocide on millions of Indians or bombing women, children and babies to extinction. If you're American it's all OK ! My God no wonder the rest of the world hates us! Cheers!

ZULUPAUL Supporting Member of TMP01 Nov 2018 4:11 p.m. PST

Many Japanese civilians were saved by using the nuclear weapons. And yes American lives saved were important in the decision.

Lee49401 Nov 2018 4:21 p.m. PST

OMG! So you really buy into the BS that by killing hundreds of thousands of Japanese civilians (not just those nuked but those firebombed as well) we "saved millions" more from death? My God! The US propaganda ministry that controls our "history" has proved much more effective that I feared. Cheers!

Wackmole9 Supporting Member of TMP01 Nov 2018 4:37 p.m. PST

So Lee494 was any of your family(father,Grandfather) In the Service during the war? If the Allies had Invaded and
maybe they might have been killed. Japan Wasn't worth the loss a single more Allies death. If the shoe was on the other foot. Do you for a moment think they wouldn't have nuked the Bleeped text out of us? The main Point we weren't there, with our life on the line and have no right to judge them.

Mark 101 Nov 2018 5:07 p.m. PST

Seriously, Lee? You don't see the difference?

How many hundreds of thousands of innocent Japanese civilians were killed in the firbombings and nuke attacks in 1946?

Or 1947?

Or even in the campaign of mass exterminations that was conducted by the US occupation forces in September/October/November of 1945? You know, those well documented cases of 30, 60, 80 thousand people being rounded up and massacred as the US Army passed through their city / province?

Oh, yeah, it's kind of hard to recall all of the details of those events, because they never happened. But it doesn't matter, because you are sure there is no difference between killing enemies in war, and murdering people who are not engaged in a war against you.

You have no problem with 20,000 – 30,000 Chinese civilians dying each week that the war was prolonged. That doesn't bother you because no one is to blame for the war against China, right? But you care very deeply for the Japanese civilians who died due to US attacks, because the US was seeking to bring the war to a close faster for no good reason? What's another million dead Chinese, plus or minus, for heaven's sake? Don't hurt those poor innocent Japanese to stop the war!

I mean really, the USA killed as many Japanese in one day at Hiroshima as it took the Japanese in China in a whole month to kill! Oh those wicked Americans. Never mind, of course, that the Japanese had been killing people in China at that rate for more than 60 months, non-stop. And that their position in negotiations was that they would accept peace so long as they still remained in control of their holdings in China and no one interfered with their sovereign campaigns of mass murder.

OMG! So you really buy into the BS that by killing hundreds of thousands of Japanese civilians (not just those nuked but those firebombed as well) we "saved millions" more from death?

Yep. Buy it 100%. I've read the transcripts from the Japanese war counsel meetings. The war faction was very open and clear that 5 or 8 million dead would be a small price to pay for repelling the invasion. That is why they were arming civilian militias with sharpened bamboo sticks. They expected human wave charges with pointy sticks to overwhelm the US Marines on the beaches and beyond.

They considered the path as simple -- victory or national suicide. They cared not a bit if 70,000,000 Japanese died … it was their policy that this was preferable to surrender.

My God no wonder the rest of the world hates us!

I don't know who else in this world hates America for it's behavior in WW2.

I've been to Japan more than 30 times. Germany not quite as often, but certainly more recently (going again next week). One whole branch of my family is Japanese. I've never seen even a hint of hatred for how they were treated once they had laid down their arms.

Try asking a Pole how he views the German treatment of Poland after September of 1939.

Ask anyone from Korea or China how they view the Japanese, even today.

Sorry, but the notion that the world hates the US for what happened in WW2 is pretty much entirely a construction of internet chat rooms. It is not a reality out in the real world.

(aka: Mk 1)

Blutarski01 Nov 2018 5:32 p.m. PST


Propaganda? Really?

Read the wartime internal analyses and casualty projections related to a physical invasion of Japan. That was planning documentation contemporary to 1945 classified as secret hardly "propaganda". Review the Japanese military and civilian casualty figures actually suffered in the battle for Okinawa alone. Ask the Japanese if those numbers were faked. The "Home Islands" defenses involved 40x the number of the Japanese who had defended Okinawa ….. and that doesn't count an estimated 30 million civilian conscript militia.

I remember quite well when all this "propaganda" foolishness suddenly appeared in the US press it was when the Enola Gay exhibit opened at the Smithsonian in 1995 to mark the 50th anniversary of the end of the war; the Left saw Enola Gay and the atomic bomb drops as a smear opportunity too good to resist. Before that moment in time, no one was ever apparently interested in examining or disputing the casualty projections made in connection with Operation Downfall.

Don't assume that propaganda originates only from one direction.


Lion in the Stars01 Nov 2018 6:04 p.m. PST

On a more practical level, Japanese industry was scattered all over the city, not concentrated in large buildings like in Europe. The only way to hit all the War Factories was to destroy the entire city (at least with WW2 technology, we could probably do better today with guided bombs and missiles). Because of that, the US had been burning every city to the ground in thousand-bomber raids, the only difference was that the atomic bombs only took one bomber to destroy the city.

It took the Japanese nearly 20 years to rebuild.

@Lee494, did you know that at Donitz's trial, he had both Nimitz and Lockwood testify that if Donitz commanding Unrestricted Submarine Warfare was a War Crime, then the Allies needed to try Nimitz and Lockwood as well (the embarrassed silence supposedly lasted about 5 minutes).

A friend of mine's mother remembers the day that 78,000 Americans showed up for an uninvited beach party on Okinawa. Fortunately, her mother told the soldier to pack off and kill himself, rather than kill all the civilians.

I also know a gentleman who was going to be on the first wave to hit the beaches at Kyushu. He says that the only reason he is still alive today is because the US dropped the bombs.

ZULUPAUL Supporting Member of TMP02 Nov 2018 12:43 a.m. PST

My Father was USMC sniper/scout & was scheduled to land in Japan before the pre invasion bombardment. His life expectancy was 17 MINUTES after his first shot. I am here (& my 2 brothers) because the war ended with the nuclear strikes.

ScottWashburn Sponsoring Member of TMP02 Nov 2018 3:36 a.m. PST

Lee494, war is inherently immoral, but sometimes you have to go to war to stop a worse evil. World War II (from the Allied perspective) was certainly one of those times. The Axis had to be defeated. Period. Whatever evils the Americans and Allies may have committed during the war pale to near invisibility against what the Axis did and wanted to do. In case you've forgotten, Hitler's LONG TERM plan was the extermination of all other races than the Aryan.

There is no doubt that the Allied strategic bombing program took a very ugly turn in the later stages of the war. The objective became delivering bombs to targets irrespective of whether it would actually help win the war. But there is also no doubt that much of the campaign did help win the war. The atomic bombings of Japan also helped win the war. And the only way to stop the killing was to win the war. We did what we needed to do.

TGerritsen02 Nov 2018 3:57 a.m. PST

In addition to the excellent arguments above as to why the bombings saved lives, I have another. Had the atomic bomb not been dropped at the end of World War Two and revealed the truly destructive nature of such weapons, I strongly believe that they would have been used much more widely in a later conflict. Without having seen irrefutable proof of how horrible these weapons were, there would have been strong temptation to use them later. Many would not have believed in their destructive power without proof, and it is possible that the Cold War may have been far more likely to become a hot war with terrible ramifications for humanity.

Imagine the Cuban Missile Crisis without the example of Hiroshima and Nagasaki looming in the background. Imagine Korea and Vietnam without that same prescendent. What about the Czech or Hungarian crises? Or the Indian, Pakistani conflict?

Had there not been those two terrible examples, I believe that if we were around now to discuss it, there would be many, many more examples of their destructive power to contemplate.

Whether you want to accept it or not, many more civilians would be dead today than alive if the Allies had not done what they did in World War Two. It is too easy to second guess them from a self righteous rear facing lens many decades after the fact, but that does not change the cold, hard truth.

athun2502 Nov 2018 4:40 a.m. PST

Well Lee494, my father was a twice wounded combat engineer on Okinawa, and surely would have been part of the invasion of the home islands. I figure he used his luck up, so personally I am glad we ended the war quickly, or I might never have been, and that would be a real tragedy!

skipper John Supporting Member of TMP02 Nov 2018 5:18 a.m. PST

Here is some practical thought Mr Lee. They fully expected a million US casualties in the conquest of Japan's homeland. I wonder if YOU would even be around today had we had that fight? I wouldn't have. My Dad was informed his division was to go but, the war ended abruptly because of those 2 beautiful bombs.

Legion 402 Nov 2018 6:38 a.m. PST

I agree with much of what most of the TMPers here posted. We saw that fighting in places like Okinawa, Iwo, etc., etc. The IJFs were not going to surrender. They pretty much all decided to die for their Emperor. Being a former Infantryman and having study WWII in detail as well as my Father served in the ETO. As an Infantry SGT. I can't imagine any US leader at that time concluding it would be OK to send US forces into a meatgrinder like invading the Japanese main islands would be.

Sadly war is a very bloody and very messy undertaking. We are more concerned today about things like collateral damage to both people and infrastructure. As well as we don't generally do forced entry ops e.g. Normandy, Tarawa, Okinawa, Saipan, Iwo, etc. The first 2-3 minutes of SPR should make that clear, ops like that are not acceptable.

So if we can end the war without incurring massive losses that seems to be the right solution. And for better or worse it does come down between us or them. Again, I know as former Infantry Officer, the answer to that equation is very simple. It's going to be them. And killing them, the enemy frequently and in large numbers is the way to not only win the war but end it. And in our favor.

And in turn we saw the growth of guerilla/insurgent/terrorism/asymmetric warfare becoming much more the norm. E.g. the French and US in Indochina/SE Asia, the USSR in Afghanistan, etc.

And as pointed out and I think similarly as well. The advent of dropping 2 Nukes to end the WWII has made warfare overall a much generally smaller and limited affair. We see because 1st World nations, i.e. USA, Russia, China etc. understand a WWIII type scenario would be to no ones advantage. Again not just expending massive amounts of blood but treasure as well.

Fred Cartwright02 Nov 2018 6:41 a.m. PST

I am not a big fan of the strategic bombing campaign or Bomber Harris in particular. While it did cause a lot of damage to the German economy it also consumed a vast amount of resources. The focus on the bomber force left other areas like Coastal Command very short of aircraft, which I would argue would have been a much better use of the resources. By mid 44 I personally don't think Bomber Command was contributing much to winning the war. Far better to have converted some of those planes to transports then they may have been able to deliver the lift for Market Garden more effectively.
However when it comes to the dropping of nukes on Japan my reading of the history is that it was the key that unlocked the Japanese surrender. There were a lot of Japanese that wanted the war to end, but the war mongers held sway. The nukes enabled the Japanese to surrender and save face and that was just enough to silence the war party long enough to get it through. The emporer was able to claim to the ajapenese people in his broadcast that they had no alternative, but to surrender in the face of this devastating new weapon. It wasn't true of course, the bombs did nothing that the B29 raids weren't doing already, but it was a useful fiction that enabled the Japanese to save face. Without the nukes I am sure the war would have continued.

deephorse02 Nov 2018 8:41 a.m. PST

I am not a big fan of the strategic bombing campaign or Bomber Harris in particular. While it did cause a lot of damage to the German economy it also consumed a vast amount of resources. The focus on the bomber force left other areas like Coastal Command very short of aircraft, which I would argue would have been a much better use of the resources. By mid 44 I personally don't think Bomber Command was contributing much to winning the war.

Whilst this is one way of looking at the bomber offensive, it fails to consider the enormous amount of effort and resources that it forced the Germans to put into their attempts to defend against it.

The Germans had to put an ever increasing proportion of their fighters into the air defence of the Reich in the West, some 81% by October 1944. These were fighters that might otherwise have been used to support German ground operations. From 1943 German fighter production rose rapidly in order to meet the threat, whilst that of bombers fell equally quickly. Albert Speer considered the bomber offensive to be a Second Front by 1943.

The vast majority of A.A. batteries were pulled away from the various fronts and concentrated in defending the industrial areas. Millions of people were employed in the various military and civil defences against the bombers, people that might otherwise have become soldiers or factory workers.

So without a bomber offensive, or a much reduced one, consider what Germany might have done with the resources it would have been free to employ elsewhere.

Fred Cartwright02 Nov 2018 9:30 a.m. PST

Whilst this is one way of looking at the bomber offensive, it fails to consider the enormous amount of effort and resources that it forced the Germans to put into their attempts to defend against it.

You get into circular arguments quite quickly here. Providing the resources freed up were used for offensive purposes the Germans would have been forced to commit resources to counter it. Consider this if a proportion of the bomber resources had been invested into Coastal Command leading to higher U boat losses the Germans would have had to respond or give up the U boat attacks. It could have also saved merchant ships and their cargoes from going to the bottom of the sea. The US cut back on tank production late 43 to free up steel principly for Liberty ships.
Other options would have been possible. I think it is possible to construct an argument where a reduced expenditure on bombers yields greater rewards than the bombers did. By late 44 the RAF bomber attacks are looking very much like terror attacks with very little military impact. I am sure we could have got more bang for our buck.

Marc33594 Supporting Member of TMP02 Nov 2018 10:35 a.m. PST

Richard Overy, in his book "Why The Allies Won" gives a pretty good wrap up of the direct and indirect effects of the bombing campaign. For direct just one example in his discussion:
"At the end of January 1945 Albert Speer and his ministerial colleagues met in Berlin to sum up what the bombing had done to production schedules for 1944. They found that Germany had produced 35 percent fewer tanks than planned, 31 percent fewer aircraft and 42 percent fewer lorries as a result of the bombing."

For indirect he offers this up as part of the discussion:
"The indirect effects were more important still, for the bombing offensive forced the German economy to switch very large resources away from equipment for the fighting fronts, using them instead to combat the bombing threat. By 1944 one-third of all German artillery production consisted of anti-aircraft guns; the anti-aircraft effort absorbed 20 percent of all ammunition produced, one-third the output of the optical industry, and between half and two-thirds of the production of radar and signals equipment. As a result of this diversion, the German army and navy were desperately short of essential radar and communications equipment for other tasks. The bombing also ate into Germany's scarce manpower: by 1944 an estimated two million Germans were engaged in anti-aircraft defense, in repairing shattered factories and in generally cleaning up the destruction."

Legion 402 Nov 2018 1:01 p.m. PST

Yes, I always thought the bomber offensive was effective in the long run. With someone dropping tons & tons of HE, Incendiary, etc., on your factories, towns, population, etc., it's bound to have an effect.

E.g. Operation Linebacker over Hanoi in '72. Brought the North's leadership back to the peace talk table. And forced them to use up most of their SAMs, trying to stop the B-52s and F-111s. As well as turning Hanoi and many locations in the North into rubble …

Blutarski02 Nov 2018 5:33 p.m. PST

Postscript for Lee494
Are you aware that even AFTER the two atomic bombs had been dropped, an extremist Japanese military faction intent upon continued resistance attempted a coup against the Emperor and the civilian government officials who had decided upon surrender?


ScottWashburn Sponsoring Member of TMP03 Nov 2018 2:28 a.m. PST

TGerritsen makes an excellent point. This is something I've thought about from time to time. If the nukes had not been used on Japan, it is almost inevitable that they would have been used somewhere else at a later date. Bigger ones and a lot more of them.

Fred Cartwright03 Nov 2018 4:16 a.m. PST

At the end of January 1945 Albert Speer and his ministerial colleagues met in Berlin to sum up what the bombing had done to production schedules for 1944. They found that Germany had produced 35 percent fewer tanks than planned, 31 percent fewer aircraft and 42 percent fewer lorries as a result of the bombing."

But the question is could you have produced almost the same returns with less resources, freeing up resources to pressurise the Germans in other areas. I don't know what percentage of UK output was devoted to bomber production, bombs, airfield construction and defence, maintenance personnel and aircrew, training , fuel, radio equipment, optics etc, but it was a significant percentage and left the U.K. critically short of Coastal Command aircraft, transports, engines and alloys for tanks. For example the Covenanters roadwheels were supposed to be made from aluminium alloy, until they discovered the RAF had a total monopoly on aluminium for aircraft production. Who knows maybe if more transport aircraft were available for Market Garden maybe Albert Speer would not have been in a meeting in January 1945 discussing 1944 production targets, he would have been a POW instead. I would also point out that given Germany's lack of oil the extra production lost would have made little difference to the situation. They didn't have the fuel to fly the planes they did make.

Murvihill03 Nov 2018 6:51 a.m. PST

I think we need to look at Lee's argument from a moral perspective. He says the Americans killed hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians and that was wrong. However, ever since the rise of nationalism the concept of civilian versus military has been blurred. When war was the exclusive domain of kings the average peasant could look at it distantly because the king was their sovereign, not their elected leader ("I didn't vote for him!"). After democracy and nationalism arose the actions of a nation's leader became the responsibility of the electorate. So Hitler's actions were partially the responsibility of the people of Germany as a whole. And the corollary of that is that if you make the people of Germany suffer enough they will get rid of that leader and replace him with someone who will reduce the suffering.
Also, the difference between citizen and soldier was blurred because of the war. In 1939 the US had only 334,473 people in the military, by 1945 there were 12,209,238. By 1947 there were only 1.5 million in the military. That means that over 10 million 'soldiers' were civilians in uniform during WW2. Killing them was killing a civilian. Further, women and children contributed to the war effort as well, if you told Rosie the Riveter or the Boy Scouts collecting scrap metal they weren't helping the war effort they'd protest vehemently. If you told them there was some risk associated with their work supporting the war they'd probably say 'my husband/father is taking a bigger risk, this is the least I can do." From what I've read Russian, Japanese and German civilians had the same attitude despite their authoritarian governments. Bottom line is that Lee's perspective on civilians versus military is based on a pre-nationalism concept that was outdated in the 1940's. Nationalism as a philosophy has been under attack since Vietnam by internationalists and fascists on both the left and right, but in WW2 it was an accepted philosophy on all sides.

Legion 403 Nov 2018 7:14 a.m. PST

an extremist Japanese military faction intent upon continued resistance attempted a coup against the Emperor and the civilian government officials who had decided upon surrender?
Yes, that is very true and some ignore that. But for better or worse, that the dropping of nukes ended any thought of this generally.

Blutarski03 Nov 2018 8:33 a.m. PST

Hi Legion 4,
The agreement between the civilian leadership and the emperor to surrender was only reached AFTER the two bombs had already been dropped. The coup attempt took place in response to the surrender decision, i.e. – fanatical young officers in the IJA were undeterred by the atomic bombings and determined to carry on the war.


Legion 403 Nov 2018 10:33 a.m. PST

Yes, I think I remember reading or seeing that in a show on the History Channel a long time ago. old fart

VonBlucher03 Nov 2018 10:58 a.m. PST

We are still using the purple hearts to this day that they created for our attack on the home islands, My dad was Army air corps and was moved to the infantry for the invasion of Japan as we were running out of foot soldiers and was told they expected to have 90% casualties among the first wave alone, They also expected to lose a million men for the invasion of Japan. So I might not be here writing this if we did invade.

Legion 403 Nov 2018 11:31 a.m. PST

thumbs up

Ruchel03 Nov 2018 4:43 p.m. PST

The use of those nuclear bombs was a horrendous and despicable war crime. Killing consciously thousands of defenceless civilians (including women and children) is a war crime. Those bombs caused the death of dozens thousands of civilians even after the detonation. For decades until now, those bombs have been causing horrible malformations and cancer, killing thousands of additional victims.

So, it was a massive war crime. It was an immorality. It was coward villainy. And those people who planned, ordered, carried out and supported that villainous action were criminals. Supporting that kind of actions only can be justified by fanatical nationalism and insane patriotism, and by an absolute lack of moral and humanity.

The same thing can be said about the bombing of Dresden, for example, or about any other similar actions carried out by any nation (Germany, Japan, France, Russia, UK, …).

This topic has been discussed previously at this forum, and I made all my arguments, so I do not want to repeat them. You can search and check them if you consider it convenient.

But I would like to summarize some issues.

Firstly, you may think that "the end justified the means" and that the use of those bombs was justified by a supposed better end. But the supposed justification does not change the nature and the meaning of the action. It is a massive war crime regardless the justification you offer. In other words, the end does not change the meaning and the nature of the means. It is an evident and indisputable fact. For example, livestock manure may be useful for agriculture. But the correct plant development resulting from its use does not change the fact that livestock manure is livestock manure, and it is a dirty, disgusting, repulsive substance that produces an offensive smell.

So it would be sane and honest to recognize that a massive war crime was used for other purposes, regardless the supposed justification. If you negate this evidence, you are lying. This is an absolute truth everywhere in the world, USA included. "American" and "war crimes" are not contradictory terms.

Secondly, regarding the justification based on Japanese crimes in China, it should be noted that Japanese armed forces committed horrendous war crimes in China and Korea well before the beginning of the war. USA, before the war, did nothing and did not show any real concern. In fact, USA was not even a member of the League of Nations. So, the justification based on the concern for Chinese victims makes no sense. Even it sounds sarcastic.

The war against Japan had its roots in the struggle for hegemony in the Pacific area. USA fought the war due to strategic and economic interests, it had nothing to do with saving the poor Chinese and Korean victims. USA wanted that absolute hegemony in the area (the same thing can be said about Japan) and Japan was an obstacle that had to be removed. USA policies and measures against Japan were clever and effective and the stupid Japanese government fell into the trap, starting a war which they could not win. Those were the true reasons, but then you can make up whatever philanthropic justifications you desire. It sounds very "American": USA fighting for "freedom and democracy", yes, in your imagination or in your own fairy tale.

Americans fought for their own strategic and economic interests, not for saving anybody. USA behaved like any other nation around the world. That is the truth.

Thirdly, the supposed justifications are based on hypothetical data, conjectures and statistics. But statistics are not facts. There is not a necessary connection between cause and effects in this case. And other options were possible. I offered a deeply explanation of those arguments and options in previous topics at this forum. I do not want to repeat them. They can be searched in the TMP archives.

Regarding the Japanese and their expected casualties, if, according to your assumptions, they could admit several millions of dead, then the use of two nuclear bombs makes no difference. Taking into account the supposed Japanese ability to accept the loss of millions of civilians, how many nuclear bombs do you need to use?

Fourthly, the attack of Soviet army was the key point. That attack was a shock for the Japanese government and armed forces, a severe blow to their morale that caused a rupture within their leadership and ruling group. Japanese armed forces became demoralized and unreliable, diminishing significantly their fighting spirit. Thousands of Japanese soldiers surrendered massively, something never seen before. So, an effective military cooperation between USA and the Soviet Union would have resulted in the Japanese surrender, with minimal losses.
But the last stages of the war in the Pacific were the beginning of the Cold War (like in Europe, few months earlier). USA wanted to affirm its power and hegemony, and the nuclear weapons were the best instrument in order to achieve that aim.

Finally, despite the use or abuse of any kind of arguments, the fact remains that nothing can justify the massive annihilation of hundreds thousands of defenceless civilians. It is an unjustifiable atrocity.
The idea of conducting the massive and indiscriminate annihilation of civilians in order to undermine the enemy's morale is an abhorrent and heinous way of thinking. The implementation of such actions reflects a complete moral degeneration. Those criminals find their insane justifications in the immoral concept of Total War, a concept that is very useful in order to disguise their lack of humanity, their lack of morality and their lack of courage.

Sorry, but unarmed civilians (old people, women and children) are not soldiers and they cannot defend themselves, regardless the ambiguity displayed by criminal nationalist ideologies. Armies must fight against the enemy armed forces. Soldiers fight against soldiers. They should avoid indiscriminate killing of prisoners and civilians. During battles, it is impossible to control the outbursts of rage and other episodes of uncontrolled violence, but those unavoidable episodes have nothing to do with consciously planned actions which cause massive war crimes. An army which accept the concept of Total War becomes an institutionalised band of criminals and murderers.

An "American" life is not more valuable than a "Japanese" one. Being born in a particular country does not give you a higher value. Thinking that an American life is intrinsically more valuable than any other is nonsense, and it is the result of fanatical nationalism and insane patriotism.

I am not a "leftist". In fact, I dislike left and right ideologies. Actually both ideologies practice realpolitik, using Machiavellian and Hobbesian principles. My ideas are based on basic and fundamental moral principles. And I am not anti-American. In fact, USA is irrelevant to me, like any other country. I do not care so much about countries, national flags or national anthems. I am interested in common people, regardless their national origins. I am against those governments that pursue immoral and criminal policies, and against people who support them in the name of fanatical nationalism and patriotism, showing a complete lack of self-criticism and critical thinking.

Blutarski03 Nov 2018 5:44 p.m. PST

Dear Ruchel,
As you pointed out, you've been down this road before. I still find your argument speculative, unsupported, unreferenced and unconvincing.

Strictly my opinion, of course.


Zephyr103 Nov 2018 9:21 p.m. PST

"The use of those nuclear bombs was a horrendous and despicable war crime. Killing consciously thousands of defenceless civilians (including women and children) is a war crime. "

So which was a worse "war crime", Hiroshima or Nanking? Nagasaki or Manila?

No need to answer, nobody's mind will be changed…

Lee49403 Nov 2018 10:39 p.m. PST

And the fact that nobody's mind will be changed is the true tragedy because it means there are more Hiroshimas and Nagasakis in our future.

Perpetration of a war crime by one nation does not justify war crimes committed by other nations. The ends do not always justify the means. And there is NEVER any justification for the slaughter of women, children and babies by any nation, at any time, for any reason.

Now all of you who would like to continue to argue "justified" versus "senseless" slaughter of innocent civilians have at it. Cheers!

Legion 404 Nov 2018 7:05 a.m. PST

Yes, Ruchel I too remember your comments from the past. So in response, my short answer is I agree totally with Blutarski and Zephyr … My response to Lee is the same.

"senseless" slaughter of innocent civilians have at it.
Then everyone is guilty … that is a very sad reality. Only recently did the 1st World get really concerned about collateral damage, i.e. killing and destroying non-combatants and non-military targets. Sad but true. But that is reality. We in the 1st World understand that. But groups like ISIS, AQ, IRGC, etc. don't …

true tragedy because it means there are more Hiroshimas and Nagasakis in our future.
No that is a lack of understanding of the current Geopolitical situation, IMO. And again reality.

The 1st World, e.g. the USA, Russia, and China, etc., know a nuclear exchange would be to no ones' advantage. Now there are 3d world fanatic fringe groups, e.g. ISIS, IRGC, etc. that see using nukes on the 1st World, etc., anyone who believes differently will insure their place in heaven, etc..

That is the only real threat of a use of nukes again. The Realpolitik of the current situation seems to allude Lee and Ruchel, IMO. I could be wrong ?

I'm totally against the use of Nukes, but we can't ignore their existence and hard reality. And who is actually most likely to actually want to use them. The e.g. USA today can do everything that could need to be done with high tech non-nuclear devises launched from sea, air and ground. They are very accurate and very effective at taking out specific targets surgically. And again non-nuclear, not WMDs …

Among my duties in the Army. '79-'90, I was "chosen" to be an Atomic Demolitions Missions Officer as a 1LT. And went thru training to be able to execute that mission. We knew if we had to employ back pack nukes it would really have been a very, very, bad situation. And would probably have been a one way trip. But we knew we had to be prepared to use such weapons if the situation got that bad. And no one talked about the fact that we would never have to do such an operation. But the reality of the geopolitical situation then may have got very bad and we had no choice.

Sometimes it does come down to us or them. And as a Rifle Plt Ldr, then Air Ops Officer and later a Mech Inf Cdr, I as well as my comrades understood the cold hard realities. That may have come about. Hoping for the bad, the evil, the negative, etc., things that exist in the world didn't is not an effective solution.

Ruchel04 Nov 2018 7:42 a.m. PST


Firstly, the massive annihilation of hundred thousands of defenceless civilians (old people, women and children) caused by the use of those nuclear bombs, and decades after it, is not a speculation, it is a fact, an undeniable and indisputable fact.

As you probably know, there are photographs, testimonies, and many other proofs. Even there are many physical examples of the monstrous malformations and cancer caused by the after-effects, examples preserved in glass containers.

So, that horrendous and immoral war crime is not a speculation, is a fact.

Secondly, I do not need to support "my argument", or look for references either, because it is not "my argument". A massive war crime defines itself. You do not need a plethora of historians or thinkers in order to establish that the heinous annihilation of hundred thousands of defenceless civilians is an immoral war crime. You do not need any support or reference in order to establish that nothing can justify that monstrous war crime. You do not need a bunch of philosophers in order to confirm that a massive war crime is never an option.

Thirdly, I am not trying to convince anyone. And the fact that you become convinced or unconvinced is totally irrelevant because that immoral war crime remains the same atrocious war crime, regardless the opinion you have about it. But what is surprising is that someone needs to be convinced that the massive annihilation of hundred thousands of defenceless civilians (old people, women and children) is a despicable and unjustifiable war crime. It is an evident truth.


Please, read carefully my previous comments again.
I wrote: "the same thing can be said about the bombing of Dresden, for example, or about any other similar actions carried out by any nation (Germany, Japan, France, Russia, UK, …)."
There are no differences between massive war crimes. All of them are despicable and unacceptable, regardless the country that commits them.

If I had to change my mind and accept, and support, the commission of massive war crimes like that, I would become an immoral beast. I do not intend to lose my humanity and my morality.

Bill N04 Nov 2018 8:58 a.m. PST

Sorry Lee but I cannot agree. Throughout human history international law including the rules of war have been self enforcing. You do something bad to us and we can respond by doing something bad to you. It is well to speak of the ends not justifying the means. But fighting a virtuous war means nothing if your nation ends up being conquered or bless white. Plus it is usually the victors who are in a position to meet out justice at the end of the war. If Nazi Germany had survived the war there would have been no Nuremberg trials. Simplistic, brutal, but still true.

The actions taken by Nazi Germany and Japan in the early stages of WW2 were not simply wrong. They were also short sighted. I don't know whether Japan even considered whether its cities would be bombed to rubble when it decided to bomb Chinese cities. I think the Germans did anticipate a level of retaliatory bombing, but assumed the war would be won before the damage got severe.

Starfury Rider04 Nov 2018 10:38 a.m. PST

I remember the old days, when the justification of the use of the A bombs against Imperial Japan only got hauled round the arena once a year or so, normally around the anniversary of the bombs or the surrender. It seems to come up so more often now, just a link click away.

And having seen enough of these threads now, even daring to get hooked into a few, they just basically seem like action replays. The thing to remember is this is the internet, so you don't have to produce a real world outcome, you don't have to deliver an actual resolution. You just have to make the other guy try to defend something that is obviously indefensible and ideally occupy a position that you have already pre-registered multiple targets across.

Take Lee494's posts for example. To prove him wrong I have to prove it is OK to incinerate men, women and children in a nuclear blast. He's saying quite clearly there's never a justification for that. From that absolute truth you move to the next point, that anyone who does that is an undoubted war criminal. From that unassailable logic then obviously the US in particular and the Allies in general were war criminals who deserved to be hung (see post 2 of the thread, possibly the only call for world peace that also embraces the death penalty).

So to undermine that 'logical' island hopping campaign I need to undermine the jumping-off point, that's it's NEVER acceptable to kill civilians. Now that's uncomfortable isn't it, having to devise an argument that supports the death of non-combatants in the pursuit of an end to a wider conflict that is claiming non-combatant lives on a daily basis regardless. You don't have to propose a detailed alternative strategy that proves the war could have been fought with nil to minimal civilian casualties, you don't have to prove anything, just follow your strict moral compass totally unmolested by the reality of fighting a world war against two extremist ideologies, then wonder why those of the day fall so far short of your own moral perfection.

And I still think most of the posters here are missing the real point of these arguments over the last few years at least. It's no longer about just condemning the use of the A-bombs, it's about condemning and destroying the acceptance of the argument that dropping the A-bombs ended the war and thus prevented a continuation of land, sea and air operations that would have themselves reaped a considerable death toll of civilians. Because if you can successfully argue that A-bombs saved lives in 1945, then some jerk might be able to argue they can do that in 2025 or 2035, or whenever.

I wonder if anyone, anywhere, has ever worked through one of these threads and changed their minds? There seems as much chance of an action replay ending in a different result.


Legion 404 Nov 2018 3:50 p.m. PST

I never try to prove anybody wrong and/or convince them of my POV. I state my POV usually in response to another POV I disagree with. So that being said, I will agree to disagree and move on. But again, my POV has and will remain the same.

And thank God I never had to go on an op where we had to deploy any back pack nucs … Of course if that had happened probably none of us or at least many of us would not be here having this discussion.

Blutarski04 Nov 2018 5:03 p.m. PST

Interesting essay here -


Lion in the Stars04 Nov 2018 5:49 p.m. PST

The use of those nuclear bombs was a horrendous and despicable war crime. Killing consciously thousands of defenceless civilians (including women and children) is a war crime. Those bombs caused the death of dozens thousands of civilians even after the detonation. For decades until now, those bombs have been causing horrible malformations and cancer, killing thousands of additional victims.


That is not correct. The risk of cancer and birth defects is not significantly greater in Hiroshima or Nagasaki than it is in Tokyo.

As I mentioned before, the US was already having to utterly destroy a city to remove it's war production capabilities because Japanese industry was hundreds of small workshops instead of one large factory.

jupe195504 Nov 2018 6:26 p.m. PST

If I remember correctly, and I don't care enough to look it up, no one was charged for bombing a city. There maybe some exceptions for things like ordering the bombing of surrendered or open cities but a bombing campaign, no.
The duty of a wartime president is to save the lives of his troops. To argue that the leader of any nation should allow the enemy to inflict hundreds of thousands of dead simply to get the enemy leadership to accept something they already knew is absurd. The fact that decision also saved the lives of millions of Japanese was simply a bonus.

Legion 405 Nov 2018 6:53 a.m. PST

The duty of a wartime president is to save the lives of his troops.
Very true and the same goes for many of commanders in charge of those troops. As I said, it comes down to us or them basically. The math is cold and cruelly very simple … for better or worse.

Ruchel05 Nov 2018 7:12 a.m. PST

Starfury rider,

Firstly, living according to strict moral values is immensely more difficult than following an immoral behaviour. Someone who decides to follow fundamental human values has to educate himself as much in order to achieve personal growth, moral maturity and critical thinking. This attitude usually leads to the complete misunderstanding and hostility from most people, because the masses prefer to live instinctively and without moral constraints. For this reason, most people can be easily indoctrinated in fanatical nationalist and insane patriotic ideologies. For this reason, the masses believe blindly the justifications made up by their governments and accept immorally and uncritically the worst war crimes ever seen.

Only a minority of people, those people who follow those strict moral values, are the only dissenting voices that are unwilling to accept lies, absurd justifications and the commission of horrendous war crimes. And they suffer the social rejection. So, following strict moral values and practising critical thinking are not easy.

Secondly, the "reality of fighting" is not created by itself. The reality of fighting is a human action, carried out by human beings, and includes activities such as planning, organizing, design of strategies and tactics, use of armies and weapons, delimitation of objectives, and so on. So, if it is a human activity, it is evident that it can and must be object of moral reflection and it can and must be object of application of moral values.

Fundamental moral values affect every human action, and the "reality of fighting" is not an exception. If you decide consciously not to include moral values in that action, you are opening the door to every kind of atrocity, based on the fallacy that moral values have nothing to do with the "reality of fighting".

Thirdly, in this topic we are not talking about the unavoidable and unintended loss of civilian lives due to the intensity of fighting. We are talking about the conscious and planed annihilation of hundred thousands of defenceless civilians (old people, women and children), that is, a despicable, horrendous, monstrous, immoral and unjustifiable war crime. It is entirely different, right?

Fourthly, it cannot be proven that the use of those nuclear bombs saved lives. The real and proven fact is that those bombs caused the annihilation of hundreds thousands of defenceless civilians. It cannot be proven that the use of those nuclear bombs was the only possible option. It cannot be proven that it was the "best" option. It is impossible to know in advance that it was the "best" option, considering that there were many other possible options and that you cannot know in advance the effects of those other options (no possible comparisons).
So it was absolutely possible to find other alternatives that did not imply the commission of a massive war crime.

Again, there was not a necessary connection between cause and effect (the fallacious argument: the use of those nuclear bombs was necessary because there was no other option). All political justifications given were based on fallacies, conjectures and statistics which did not consider the existence of other alternatives.

As I have already said, I have explained deeply those comments about proofs and options in other previous topic at this forum. I do not want to repeat it.

Lion in the Stars,

Yes, what I said is absolutely correct. For decades after the detonation, the effects have caused malformations (birth defects) and cancer which affected thousands of people. You cannot negate this. And your comments reinforces the tremendous importance of recognize the harm and pain suffered by victims.

You have said that "the risk of cancer and birth defects is not significantly greater in Hiroshima or Nagasaki than it is in Tokyo", so you do not deny the existence of those horrendous effects. In fact, you recognize the existence of those effects in Tokyo as well. We agree: the indiscriminate bombing of Tokyo is another example of despicable and heinous massive war crime (as in the case of Dresden).

Fred Cartwright05 Nov 2018 1:37 p.m. PST

Ruchel I am not sure how you can discuss morality and war. War is of itself inherently immoral, evil and a crime against humanity. It is, after all, nothing less than state sanctioned mass murder. The concept of a war crime is thus a peculiar one! War crimes are defined by international convention. The morality of the conventions are questionable when they place a premium on the life of a civilian vs that of a soldier, particularly when the vast majority of those soldiers have no choice, but to serve. One also has to question the morality of something that seeks to make a crime more palatable, and this more likely to occur. The only logical moral choice is to oppose all war and condemn all those who participate in it as criminals. Then one is left with the difficult moral dilemma of what to do when the only options are war or genocide, because it takes 2 sides killing to make a war, but only one side killing to make a massacre. Those are the absolute moral choices. However once you accept that war is a necessary evil, as you seem to, then I think it is very difficult to argue that any civilian death is unnecessary or a crime as it seems to me the guiding principle becomes one of do the greatest good (or least harm) for the greatest number. In that context then rules about how one should treat prisoners, non combatants etc becomes relevant, and you can argue about whether the actions of combatants achieved that or not, but if I save 1 civilian life by causing a million soldiers to lose their lives where is the morality in that?

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