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


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World War Two on the Land

2,434 hits since 1 Nov 2018
©1994-2019 Bill Armintrout
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Ruchel10 Nov 2018 5:35 a.m. PST

It is evident that my comments and arguments have not been carefully read.

Fred,

You have written: "say a blockade of Japan (his suggestion, not mine) and a million Japanese starved to death Ruchel would consider it lives worth losing as it avoided the war crime of dropping the bombs"

I have never talked about that blockade, and never "suggested" it. Maybe other member talked about it. So please, read carefully the posts.

You have written: "but in Ruchel's morality any worse outcome is fine providing no mass war crimes such as dropping the atomic bombs".

Again, we can see another misunderstanding due to a lack of a correct reading.
I have said that a war crime is never an option, and that we have to look for other alternatives in order to get the best outcome, because other alternatives are always possible. So I never said or suggested that "any worse outcome is fine".

Maybe you think that any option other than committing war crimes is not possible. But that is not true.


Levi,

No, I am not so set on the immorality of nuclear bombs. I am so set on the immorality of war crimes in general, of course, including those nuclear bombs.

And yes, I have engaged with many other concepts and aspects related to morality, immorality and war crimes. Please, read carefully all the previous posts (and other similar topics on the same matter discussed in this forum few years ago).


Lion on the Stars,

I have always answered your comments in a polite and respectful way. A strong disagreement does not mean a lack of respect.

And I have participated in many other discussions and topics here, not only WW2 but also Ultramodern and Napoleonic.


Regarding this discussion, I think that the positions of each participant are clear and well-defined. I think that there is little to add to this discussion.

Bill N10 Nov 2018 7:47 a.m. PST

You say you are "set on the immorality of war crimes in general". Your argument suggests that what you mean is that you insist on judging the morality of actions taken by others in the past based on your standards today. What some of us are saying is that they are not the same thing.

If you accepted that your indisputable truths were in fact disputable when applied to those who lived in different times and faced different circumstances, then I suspect this discussion would not have developed as it did.

Legion 410 Nov 2018 8:16 a.m. PST

Truman in 1945 what would you have done?
It was made clear to Truman. The invasion would cost the US [and some of it's Allies] a million+ dead and wounded, etc.

As it was also made clear an election was coming up. Who would vote for a President who allowed the US to suffer a million troop losses if there was a way to stop it ? I.e. the A-bombs … An example of "Realpolitik" I think …

And from what I can tell Japanese losses were of no real concern to the US/Allies. The meatgrinder of a number of invasions of islands near the Japanese homeland made it abundantly clear. They were not going to surrender. And once again from a Grunt's standpoint it's … us or them …

Timbo W10 Nov 2018 8:52 a.m. PST

There is another possibility but uncertain how the Japanese leadership would have reacted. Drop a 'demonstration' nuke on an isolated military target, eg army base, airfield or port.

Fred Cartwright10 Nov 2018 9:47 a.m. PST

I have never talked about that blockade, and never "suggested" it. Maybe other member talked about it. So please, read carefully the posts.

Apologies. I had thought you suggested in one of the previous discussions as an option to avoid an invasion of Japan as a response to the huge loss of life expected from the invasion of the Japanese homeland.

Again, we can see another misunderstanding due to a lack of a correct reading.
I have said that a war crime is never an option, and that we have to look for other alternatives in order to get the best outcome, because other alternatives are always possible. So I never said or suggested that "any worse outcome is fine".

The problem is there is simply no guarantee that that the alternatives will produce a better outcome in terms of loss of life, however diligently one seeks them out. To take one example that you have quoted in this thread. Military cooperation with the Russians which you blithely assert will cause the Japanese to surrender. There is no proof of this. Military cooperation means continuing the war, which means more killing of soldiers, civilians, allied POW's, Chinese, Koreans and Malaysians under Japanese rule. Average death toll per day inflicted by the Japanese (civilian and military) was around 20,000. The fighting does not have to go on very long before the casualties sustained exceed those of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Some comparison figures which are enlightening. Japanese total civilian deaths (all causes) 550-800,000. Chinese civilian deaths (all causes) 12.3-28.1 Million! Civilian losses in the bombing of Dresden 18-25,000. Killed at Auschwitz-Birkenau over a million. Auschwitz-Birkenau was very efficient. Average daily death rate for the time the gas chambers were in operation was 1,500. That is equivalent to 1 Dresden every 12-16 days.
You also pepper your arguments with logical fallacies. For example you use the success of the bombing campaign against Japan to argue it is not necessary. As you said the Japanese have no industry worth destroying and yet the reason they have no industry is due to the bombing! Your analogy of the burglar giving advance warning is deeply flawed. First given advancing warning of the theft you can wait up and catch the burglar in the act (in military terms prepare your defences). Second if you take the chance to remove all your valuables, money, jewelry etc and the burglar still comes it suggests that those items are not what he is after and he steals your furniture instead (in military terms it is not the civilian population , but the buildings that are the target).
Here is a challenge for you. You are US president in August 1945. You decide not to drop the bombs. You have less than 2 weeks to bring the war to a close before the death toll exceeds that from dropping the bombs.

Zinkala10 Nov 2018 9:49 a.m. PST

Timbo W, the problem I see with that option is that is would have been easy to cover up/ignore it. In my opinion what was needed was maximum exposure with no way for the japanese government to hide it from the public which is what happened with Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It was a terrible tragedy but without that shock I don't think they would have considered surrendering.The US also only had 2 bombs so they needed to be used with maximum effect both as a propaganda tool and in military terms.

Blutarski10 Nov 2018 10:38 a.m. PST

Worthy of close reading – link
After doing so, folks are invited to draw their own conclusions as to the mindset of the Japanese leadership.


B

Blutarski10 Nov 2018 10:41 a.m. PST

Hi Zinkala,
The Wiki page link I posted stated that a third atomic bomb would be ready by late August, with an additional eight devices by November of 1945.

FWIW.

B

Levi the Ox10 Nov 2018 11:50 a.m. PST

Fred,

Thanks for your figures! I hadn't seen good statistics before on the overall effects.


Ruchel,

I appreciate your continued involvement in this discussion, but your position has been to pass absolute moral judgment on certain actions while avoiding a similar analysis of their context. The absolute nature in which you have presented those judgments weakens your arguments for them, as many of your justifications have come across as cyclical (i.e. "it's true because it's true because it's true"). Your invocation of several philosophical concepts as fundamental truths hasn't addressed how to resolve the potential conflict between moral principles that arises when considering this stage of the war.

I *agree* with you that the nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were terrible actions, as I believe do many others in this thread. I wish they could have been avoided, but the alternatives that seem most plausible I find even more terrible.

As others here have addressed, the likely alternative paths to the end of the war involved a significantly greater scale of potential suffering and death for both sides. However, none of them require any Allied leader to bear the personal responsibility for *directly* ordering the deaths of Japanese civilians.

Your arguments for the absolute immorality of these events, and especially your repeated emphasis on the absolute guilt of those who were responsible, suggests that your primary concern is not the preservation of the lives of others but rather the avoidance of personal responsibility for sin.

(That's not intended as a personal attack, by the way, but as a critical observation of how the difference between belief systems has affected this discussion.)

Regards,

– Levi

Zinkala10 Nov 2018 1:24 p.m. PST

Hi Blutarski, thanks for the link. The pacific isn't one of my main interests and I didn't realise that the next bomb was that close to completion.I knew they were in production but I thought the delay would be longer from the sources I'd seen. They still didn't have enough to throw at any target though.

Ruchel10 Nov 2018 3:50 p.m. PST

Fred,

You wrote: "The problem is there is simply no guarantee that that the alternatives will produce a better outcome in terms of loss of life, however diligently one seeks them out. To take one example that you have quoted in this thread. Military cooperation with the Russians which you blithely assert will cause the Japanese to surrender. There is no proof of this."

Precisely that is the point. There is no proof of anything. I have proposed one possibility amongst many others. I have pointed that the military cooperation with the Russians had many chances of provoking the surrender with minimal casualties, taking into account that Japanese government were divided and in state of shock. But I said that it was a possibility and not a proven fact. I have offered that example, and many others in a previous discussion few years ago, in order to demonstrate that there were several options others than the use of those nuclear bombs.

I reaffirm that war crimes never is an acceptable option. It is mandatory to look for other alternatives. The use of those nuclear bombs was an option, a criminal option. It was not the only one option and nobody can prove that it was the better option. Even the justifications given at that time hardly seemed convincing: taking into account that it was supposedly considered that Japanese government could admit the loss of millions of lives, those two bombs could have been to no avail.

You wrote: "For example you use the success of the bombing campaign against Japan to argue it is not necessary. As you said the Japanese have no industry worth destroying and yet the reason they have no industry is due to the bombing!"

I think you have misunderstood my comments. I was talking about Hiroshima, Nagasaki and Tokyo. I wrote that given that, in March-August 1945, those cities were no longer military or industrial targets, the civilians were the only one target. It is obvious. They knew that they were going to annihilate defenceless civilians. They bombed civilians consciously. They carried out terror bombings. They committed horrendous and heinous war crimes. It is a fact. It is an undeniable and indisputable fact. The proof: hundreds thousands of civilians annihilated, mostly women, children and old people.

Regarding my analogy of the burglar, the analogies are examples used in order to improve the understanding of an argument. Obviously, an analogy it is not identical to the real fact, it is not its purpose. To put this even more plainly: it is absurd to warn and then bombing an empty place. Bombing a desert, an empty place is useless and a waste of resources (according to most basic military logic). They knew that with or without warning those cities were densely populated, and that they were going to bomb civilians.

Answering your challenge, the best instruments are: diplomacy and military cooperation, but never a war crime.


Bill N,

The horrendous and immoral war crimes committed by Axis nations were considered war crimes at that time. Nowadays, those crimes are considered war crimes as well. Allied nations committed horrendous and immoral war crimes too. For the same reason those crimes must be considered war crimes today. The victorious countries hardly ever admit their own war crimes. They do not bring themselves to trial. And after the war, they had the best propagandists and well-paid "historians".

Fred Cartwright10 Nov 2018 5:32 p.m. PST

I have pointed that the military cooperation with the Russians had many chances of provoking the surrender with minimal casualties,

I think many possibilities is very much overstating it. One chance provoked by the shock that the Russians were not going to negotiate a favourable peace settlement for the Japanese where they get to keep all their conquests. Considering the disconnect with reality the Japanese leadership had been under since 1943 and the number of hammer blows they had already endured a slim chance at that. If that fails then the military cooperation involves actual fighting and the loss of life that goes with it. And remember you only have 2 weeks to bring it off before the death toll is higher.

The horrendous and immoral war crimes committed by Axis nations were considered war crimes at that time.

Actually that is not right. Dönitz was not convicted of a war crime for unrestricted submarine warfare none of the Luftwaffe high command were convicted for the bombings of Guernica, London, Coventry, Plymouth etc. They were convicted of crimes connected with mass killings, mal treatment, persecution, torture, use of slave labour etc, nothing to do military operations. IIRC Nimitz even gave evidence on Dönitz behalf. A. Umber if other allied leaders also testified on behalf of those accused when it was related to the conduct of military operations. The military commanders were convicted on things .ime issuing Hitler's infamous commando order to those under their command.

Bill N10 Nov 2018 8:11 p.m. PST

There is no question that Allies committed war crimes for which they were not prosecuted. (Same could be said for many Axis war crimes.). That is dodging the argument. This is about whether certain actions which you, sitting in the safety of your 21st century home, have judged to be "horrendous, immoral war crimes" were war crimes when committed by Allied leaders and commanders in 1939-1945.

Ruchel11 Nov 2018 7:23 a.m. PST

Levi,

No, I have not avoided the analysis of the context. The moral judgement of certain actions is focused precisely on the context. It is obvious. You think that absolute moral principles cannot be applied in those circumstances. You think that moral principles can be reduced, distorted or manipulated in order to carry out certain actions and justify them.

You are unable to understand and accept the absolute nature of certain moral principles because your way of thinking is based on the moral relativism which leads to the amoral pragmatism. According to this way of thinking, moral principles are secondary and may be modified or perverted depending on the circumstances and aims. According to this "doctrine", moral principles do not guide actions and decisions, but, on the contrary, the actions and decisions establish which moral level is the most suitable in order to justify them. Following this line of thought, moral values can be modified and reduced at will. So, according to this way of thinking, it is obvious that you consider my arguments to be insufficient and "cyclical".

Basic moral principles, such as Fundamental Human Rights, are absolute principles. They are the absolute principles that must guide every human action under any circumstances. They show that there are red lines that should not be crossed ever. Those fundamental moral principles cannot be distorted, reduced or manipulated, even although that moral relativism uses the excuse of "how to resolve the potential conflict between moral principles". Sorry, but fundamental moral principles do not contradict themselves.

You have "misunderstood" my primary concern. You have missed the point. I intend to emphasize that war crimes are not acceptable options, precisely because war crimes do not save lives, they annihilate lives. And I reaffirm that committing war crimes as a mean in order to achieve an end does not change the intrinsic nature of those war crimes, whatever argument you use to justify them.

Moral relativism and amoral pragmatism are the best ways of thinking you can follow in order to accept blindly the absurd justifications given by government's propagandists and well-paid historians. Obviously, you can believe whatever you like.

That's not intended as a personal attack, by the way, but as a critical observation of how the moral relativism and the amoral pragmatism lead to the acceptance and justification of worst war crimes.


Fred,

I reaffirm my choice: diplomacy and military cooperation, never a war crime. I really think that Japanese government was nearly collapsed and willing to negotiate a peace settlement.

Yes, I know that certain Axis war crimes were not duly prosecuted. It is a shame. Perhaps the Allies committed similar ones and they did not want to be accused of the same crimes…


Bill N,

No, I am not dodging the argument. To put it clearly: those war crimes were war crimes in 1939-1945 and they are war crimes today as well. And you can say it both in the safety of your 21st century home and in the homes destroyed by those war crimes. They were atrocities at that time and they are atrocities today.


In conclusion, as I said in a previous post, regarding this discussion, I think that the positions of each participant are clear and well-defined. I think that there is little to add to this topic. I finish my participation in this discussion.

Regards

Fred Cartwright11 Nov 2018 1:39 p.m. PST

I reaffirm my choice: diplomacy and military cooperation, never a war crime. I really think that Japanese government was nearly collapsed and willing to negotiate a peace settlement.

Considering how hard the war faction fought to continue the war even after the Soviets attacked and the bombs were dropped I have grace doubts it would have worked. Given that in the challenge you are US President how long would you have been prepared to go on with diplomacy? 1 month? 2 months? What form does this military cooperation take? Presumably fighting of some sort. For some reason you seem unable to specify.

Yes, I know that certain Axis war crimes were not duly prosecuted. It is a shame. Perhaps the Allies committed similar ones and they did not want to be accused of the same crimes…

More likely no one considered them crimes. The absence, in particular, of the German bombing campaigns from indictments is striking. I presume you would consider the bombing of Guernica, London, Coventry etc as war crimes although you have never expressly stated it. Perhaps you don't?
Many of the "war crimes" trials were consumed with things that weren't strictly war crimes at all, just crimes pure and simple, that happened to occur during a war and involved serving military personnel in many cases. The horrors that the Nazis unleashed on occupied populations they also released on their fellow countrymen. German Jews were the first to be persecuted and killed as were the native gypsies, homosexuals, dissidents etc. Those crimes in occupied countries qualified as war crimes, of course, as they were strictly forbidden when those countries were taken by conquest by the various conventions which the Germans were signatories of.

To put this even more plainly: it is absurd to warn and then bombing an empty place. Bombing a desert, an empty place is useless and a waste of resources (according to most basic military logic).

The problem with that logic is that cities are not deserts, empty, worthless places even you remove all the population. They contain all the infrastructure that is needed to produce materials of war. Buildings, resources, transport etc are valuable military targets in their own right, people or no people. Remember all the furore over the neutron bomb? Nicknamed the capitalist bomb as it killed the people, but left all the other stuff intact for the invading army to use for itself. It clearly showed the value placed on the infrastructure those buildings, roads, electricity and water supplies, communications, factories etc represented.

Blutarski12 Nov 2018 10:35 a.m. PST

Waste of time, Fred. You are dealing with a closed and locked mind.

B

Legion 412 Nov 2018 9:44 p.m. PST

I can say if the 2 A-bombs were not dropped. There would have fewer WWII Vets at the Veterans Day activities that went on over the past couple of days. There were very few at it was …


As a side bar … Was watching an interview on the news of some highly decorated Iraq and A'stan Vets. As time went on, the fear of collateral damage made their jobs a little tougher.

One recalling asking for fire support on village they were taking fire from. Higher denied it saying, they did not know if there were any civilians in the village. Told them to clear it an find out. The response was if we clear it we won't need the support.

Wolfhag Supporting Member of TMP12 Nov 2018 10:24 p.m. PST

Legion,
Yes, the ROE's were very tricky. One civilian causality by accident in a village could undo all of the goodwill and money spent in the last 6 months. It's always a tough call.

I think the worst ROE was "Call Outs" where the US forces would call out to a house requesting that everyone vacate the premises. Of course, the bad guys would not comply and the civilians were afraid to give a warning to the US guys. Some serviceman were killed when they had to knock on a door first as the ROE.

In one incident, after a callout two SEAL's entered the building and were ambushed and killed. A few months later CO who was in charge and complying to the ROE's committed suicide.

That's how my son got shot being the first one through a door. Fortunately, his body armor took most of the round but a couple of millimeters to one side and it would not have turned out so well. Chris Day, another Navy SEAL, survived being hit by 27 rounds and a grenade as he went through a door first. He then killed his three attackers with his pistol and walked to the medivac. He recovered and now runs triathlons.

The Japanese became aware of the landing on Kyushu and were already reinforcing it with 917,000 Japanese troops and the US would have had 9 A-bombs ready in Nov 1945. The Japanese operation to use civilians was called "The glorious death of the one-hundred million" which gives you an idea of the level of resistance they were willing to force people to put up.

Wolfhag

Blutarski13 Nov 2018 10:04 a.m. PST

Hi Wolfhag,
Very happy to hear that your son came back with a "war story" instead of something more problematical.

Happy holidays.

B

ScottWashburn Sponsoring Member of TMP13 Nov 2018 10:45 a.m. PST

The idea of a 'Demonstration Nuke' was seriously considered but eventually rejected. They worried that if the bomb failed to detonate (a real concern) then not only would it be a big embarrassment, but it would allow the Japanese to recover the remains of the bomb and its load of fissionable material.

Blutarski13 Nov 2018 11:21 a.m. PST

Just a thought – The fact that tactical employment of nuclear weapons in connection with Operation Downfall was seriously considered does place MacArthur's proposal for a similar employment against the Communist Chinese in Korea in a rather less outrageous light.


B

William Ulsterman13 Nov 2018 8:01 p.m. PST

Fulimina Regis Justa

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