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MichMary

(1,714 posts)
Mon Aug 6, 2018, 08:38 AM Aug 2018

No Choice: Why Harry Truman Dropped the Atomic Bomb on Japan

https://www.yahoo.com/news/no-choice-why-harry-truman-060000970.html

Critics of the decision to use the “special bomb” in 1945 are judging men born in the 19th century by the standards of the 21st.
No Choice: Why Harry Truman Dropped the Atomic Bomb on Japan

Nuclear arms are hideous, immoral weapons whose existence continues to threaten our civilization. To say, however, that Harry Truman should have sacrificed hundreds of thousands of American lives because of what happened in the nuclear arms race decades later is not only ahistorical, it is moral arrogance enabled from the safe distance provided by time and victory.


Interesting article. My son did an internship at Oak Ridge some years ago, so we toured the facility where the bombs were built. They were projecting some scary American casualty numbers, had an invasion been necessary.
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No Choice: Why Harry Truman Dropped the Atomic Bomb on Japan (Original Post) MichMary Aug 2018 OP
Here's a longer article that also talks about the secret talks with Stalin... TreasonousBastard Aug 2018 #1
Thanks for posting the article. MichMary Aug 2018 #3
My father was in Patton's 3rd Army and managed to escape unharmed... TreasonousBastard Aug 2018 #16
So was my father! greatauntoftriplets Aug 2018 #22
My dad was in the Pacific dflprincess Aug 2018 #110
saying "there was no choice" is such a cop-out cvoogt Aug 2018 #2
Japan was negotiating surrender.. MicaelS Aug 2018 #4
And it ended up being a nice show of force to the Soviets Roland99 Aug 2018 #19
Absolutely. MicaelS Aug 2018 #20
Absolutely Separation Aug 2018 #33
The Japanese government was MichMary Aug 2018 #6
Consider that the Italian Government surrendered in 1943... brooklynite Aug 2018 #94
That sounds all well and good BannonsLiver Aug 2018 #8
Good lord. Goodheart Aug 2018 #15
Over a million Japanese troops under arms in China at the time of the surrender, perfectly capable.. Marengo Aug 2018 #31
At the time Separation Aug 2018 #37
I'm not sure you understand the meaning of hindsight is 20/20 BannonsLiver Aug 2018 #95
I know precisely what it means. Goodheart Aug 2018 #134
And, that's a bad argument in any case... Goodheart Aug 2018 #28
Asked and answered BannonsLiver Aug 2018 #96
Plenty Of Hindsight There ProfessorGAC Aug 2018 #11
Some people believed that their was an added factor of racism... CTyankee Aug 2018 #29
Bombing Germany would have raised eyebrows sarisataka Aug 2018 #32
+1000 NT Adrahil Aug 2018 #104
I dont. The bombs weren't ready in time for Germany DetroitLegalBeagle Aug 2018 #35
It Wasn't Done Until The Euro Theater Was Over ProfessorGAC Aug 2018 #46
Germany wasn't considered as a primary target as its defeat was expected to occur before before Marengo Aug 2018 #63
Hindsight goes both ways cvoogt Aug 2018 #81
Huh? ProfessorGAC Aug 2018 #102
not circular logic cvoogt Aug 2018 #105
If Japan blockaded Vladivostok and destroyed some of the bridges and tunnels of the... TreasonousBastard Aug 2018 #13
The Soviets Declaring War on Japan Leith Aug 2018 #25
Truman found out fast at Potsdam. Separation Aug 2018 #48
Wasn't aware Putin was anywhere near Yalta. shanny Aug 2018 #57
Lol freudian slip Separation Aug 2018 #58
Racism would have been a factor. dixiegrrrrl Aug 2018 #103
. sarisataka Aug 2018 #5
Wait . . . MichMary Aug 2018 #7
Yeah, sorta kinda... Wounded Bear Aug 2018 #10
Indeed it is nt sarisataka Aug 2018 #26
Yup, it's the annual self-flagellation day hardluck Aug 2018 #49
No choice, my ass. Goodheart Aug 2018 #9
Ask the POWs in Japanese camps what they think about shortening the war. BSdetect Aug 2018 #12
+1 geardaddy Aug 2018 #21
Our atomic bombs killed 40,000 to 50,000 innocent Koreans who were held in Japan as slaves. Goodheart Aug 2018 #27
The Japanese or Germans would have used atomic weapons if they had them before us. BSdetect Aug 2018 #38
Both the Germans and Japanese were years away from making an atomic bomb VMA131Marine Aug 2018 #62
Uh, in regards to Germany being "years away", you are wrong. Heavy water was already being produced. tonyt53 Aug 2018 #127
Uh, no! They were years away. VMA131Marine Aug 2018 #135
I went to the Japanese military shrine and museum at Yasukuni last week Yupster Aug 2018 #117
A quotation from Felix FRANKFURTER, though even this will be gigged by some: UTUSN Aug 2018 #14
I think genxlib Aug 2018 #17
I used to think that also. Eko Aug 2018 #80
You could be right genxlib Aug 2018 #93
I agree that waiting a few more days would have been right Yupster Aug 2018 #119
I was just a day or two over a week old when it happened. MineralMan Aug 2018 #18
My opinion had MicaelS Aug 2018 #23
Really, I never get involved in arguments MineralMan Aug 2018 #24
It was a weapon we developed to fight WWII, no one else had one until long after WWII was in the braddy Aug 2018 #39
Someone had to be first Cartoonist Aug 2018 #40
As I said, I don't get into arguments about this at all. MineralMan Aug 2018 #41
Good point. nt zanana1 Aug 2018 #133
It was a good decision. nt LexVegas Aug 2018 #30
Fact is, we are the only country to have killed thousands of innocent people with a "special" bomb. Hoyt Aug 2018 #34
We had them surrounded and cut off from the world Cartoonist Aug 2018 #47
We have different views on humane. Hoyt Aug 2018 #50
You didn't answer my question Cartoonist Aug 2018 #53
Ask top generals, admirals from the time. Starvation is your rationale. Hoyt Aug 2018 #56
The Nation is a Russian propaganda rag BannonsLiver Aug 2018 #111
They didn't have to go because there was no reason to go. Those in charge were Hoyt Aug 2018 #112
My dad was ONE of them. In the first US landing in the Pacific, and war effort ended at Iwo Jima. tonyt53 Aug 2018 #129
They Were Already Starved Leith Aug 2018 #64
Maybe we should have taken them food, rather than burning kids with our bombs. Hoyt Aug 2018 #65
Is the First Name on the List Tojo? Leith Aug 2018 #66
Why do you believe the "bomb em" folks. I don't see how annihilating two important Japanese Hoyt Aug 2018 #67
sigh... Leith Aug 2018 #78
Some people are fine with bombs whether defeated Japan, Vietnam, Iraq, etc. Hoyt Aug 2018 #79
That Was Going Too Far and You Know It Leith Aug 2018 #85
Oh, that's a fat load of horse crap. GaYellowDawg Aug 2018 #113
War was over, we are only country to nuke anyone, we are racist, we bully the world now and Hoyt Aug 2018 #114
Wrong GaYellowDawg Aug 2018 #115
And you aren't willing to accept another narrative either. No, I got the point on Civil War and I Hoyt Aug 2018 #118
You have to understand where the population was zipplewrath Aug 2018 #36
Not just us, I bet the Chinese, Brits, Filipinos, Aussies, New Zealand, Koreans, etc., etc., etc., braddy Aug 2018 #43
Some folks might have taken to streets, probably same ones who'd vote for trump or bush. Hoyt Aug 2018 #55
Sorta zipplewrath Aug 2018 #74
"Use it" especially against Asians. We could have demonstrated it on a deserted island. Hoyt Aug 2018 #76
They were afraid it might not work zipplewrath Aug 2018 #88
Oh cool. It might not work, so let's drop it on a bunch of Asians, Hoyt Aug 2018 #91
Sumpin' like that zipplewrath Aug 2018 #92
If Asian casualties are a marker, what about Imperial Japan's "Rape of Nanking," in 1937? VOX Aug 2018 #98
So are you saying we nuked innocent Japanese 8 years after Rape of Nanking as justified retribution? Hoyt Aug 2018 #99
No, I'm not saying that at all. The thread was implying that nukes were okay'd, because...Asians. VOX Aug 2018 #116
The Japanese were slaughtering innocent Chinese, Filipinos, Indonesians, etc until the very end. hack89 Aug 2018 #120
So China should have nuked us for slaughtering innocent Vietnamese and Iraqis? Hoyt Aug 2018 #121
The Chinese were not also killing Americans hack89 Aug 2018 #122
Eisenhower, Halsey, etc., think you are wrong. Hoyt Aug 2018 #123
When would the firing bombing of cities have ended? hack89 Aug 2018 #128
They were defeated and surrounded, do a little reading including Eisenhower's view. Hoyt Aug 2018 #130
So you really think the killing was going to end on 15 August no matter what? hack89 Aug 2018 #131
We appear stuck on this issue, just like your support of guns. The two are similar in many ways. Hoyt Aug 2018 #137
I will take that as a no - the killing would have continued. nt hack89 Aug 2018 #138
The ludicrously expensive and dangerous uranium bomb was a sure thing. hunter Aug 2018 #109
WRONG!!! In the words of Truman's own former CoS: malchickiwick Aug 2018 #42
Except for this inconvenient fact Cartoonist Aug 2018 #44
They surrendered after the Soviets declared war on Japan. Correlation or causation? malchickiwick Aug 2018 #45
Do you know how to read a calendar? Cartoonist Aug 2018 #51
Actually, they had offered terms of surrender before Hiroshima (via the Swiss). malchickiwick Aug 2018 #60
They were dropped for alot of reasons zipplewrath Aug 2018 #89
"They" zipplewrath Aug 2018 #72
All true, can't argue with anything in your post, which is well-nuanced. malchickiwick Aug 2018 #75
I was born after the bomb was dropped cvoogt Aug 2018 #82
Several of those quotes likely don't mean what you think they mean stevenleser Aug 2018 #84
Japan chose not to end the war and vowed to fight to the death before the first beachbum bob Aug 2018 #52
We didnt just kill Japanese Tiggeroshii Aug 2018 #54
My Dad was about to be sent over there. rickford66 Aug 2018 #59
This comes up every year on August 6th sdfernando Aug 2018 #61
Every year, like clockwork. roamer65 Aug 2018 #69
Both my parents were serving in the Pacific in 1945 csziggy Aug 2018 #68
We weren't going to stop at Nagasaki. roamer65 Aug 2018 #70
This BULLSHIT again? GeorgeGist Aug 2018 #71
Cool kids gotta prove how cool they are. nt Codeine Aug 2018 #73
Oh, god. Here we go again. Iggo Aug 2018 #77
My Father Was in the Navy in the Phillipines. Preparing for invasion. bitterross Aug 2018 #83
Exactly zipplewrath Aug 2018 #90
My father Mendocino Aug 2018 #86
It was the last opportunity to test these new atomic weapons on living cities. hunter Aug 2018 #87
It must be the first week in August: DU gets to refight the war none of us remembers personally Hekate Aug 2018 #97
I Come And Stand at Every Door. Hoyt Aug 2018 #100
My problem is more with the second bomb thucythucy Aug 2018 #101
Welcome to the 2018 DU A - Bomb debate Algernon Moncrieff Aug 2018 #106
I had long discussions with my parents, especially my Mom on this before they passed... hlthe2b Aug 2018 #107
My dad was in Guam and the Phillipines nini Aug 2018 #125
Those who opposed the bombings will always oppose it left-of-center2012 Aug 2018 #108
I smell divide and conquer. McCamy Taylor Aug 2018 #124
Fully support his decision. nt LexVegas Aug 2018 #126
"Projecting some scary American casualty numbers"? zanana1 Aug 2018 #132
Not that I expect this to change anyone's mind on the subject melm00se Aug 2018 #136

TreasonousBastard

(43,049 posts)
1. Here's a longer article that also talks about the secret talks with Stalin...
Mon Aug 6, 2018, 09:03 AM
Aug 2018

and after what we did to Dresden, we weren't about to be any nicer to Japan.

https://historynewsnetwork.org/article/169567

Revelations of direct US support to the Soviet invasion of Manchuria are only the most recent blow to Revisionist contentions about the end of World War II, not that it matters much to these fellows. Some scholars have for years — indeed, decades — picked over the bones of every decision relating to the use of nuclear weapons against Imperial Japan. Every nuance of Truman’s most casual asides has been examined, parsed, and psychoanalyzed as critics of the decision have tried to prove that the president lied when he stated that the atom bombs were dropped in the hope that they would induce a defeated Japan to surrender before US forces — being gathered in the Pacific from as far away as the battlefields of Germany — were forced into a prolonged, bloody ground invasion.

In 1945, however, Truman and his senior military and civilian advisors had no such luxury. The clock was ticking on the invasion countdown, and George M.Elsey, who handled the atomic bomb message traffic at Potsdam and worked closely with Truman throughout his presidency, later remarked: “You don’t sit down and take time to think through and debate ad nauseam all the points. You don’t have time. Later somebody can sit around for days and weeks and figure out how things might have been done differently. This is all very well and very interesting and quite irrelevant.”

MichMary

(1,714 posts)
3. Thanks for posting the article.
Mon Aug 6, 2018, 09:10 AM
Aug 2018
would induce a defeated Japan to surrender before US forces — being gathered in the Pacific from as far away as the battlefields of Germany — were forced into a prolonged, bloody ground invasion.

My dad fought in the ETO, was wounded, and in a VA hospital at the time of the bombings. I'm not sure of the extent of his injury at the time, although I know he subsequently made a full recovery. He could possibly have been re-called in the event of an invasion, and I might not be here. Makes it seem a lot more personal.

I'm going now to read to the article you posted.

TreasonousBastard

(43,049 posts)
16. My father was in Patton's 3rd Army and managed to escape unharmed...
Mon Aug 6, 2018, 09:29 AM
Aug 2018

He wasn't happy about the thought of being sent to the Pacific. Or Korea.

And like so many veterans, he never spoke much about what he saw while in action.

greatauntoftriplets

(175,591 posts)
22. So was my father!
Mon Aug 6, 2018, 09:48 AM
Aug 2018

He also was happy to come home a bit late for my sister's 1st birthday in 1945, instead of going to Japan. I probably wouldn't be here if he had gone to Asia.

dflprincess

(28,005 posts)
110. My dad was in the Pacific
Mon Aug 6, 2018, 09:23 PM
Aug 2018

he was about to be rotated to Australia for some R&R as he'd been grounded for "battle fatigue" (I read his file and, knowing what we know now about the air crews being pumped full of speed, his symptoms sounded a lot like a guy who'd had too many amphetamines)
Per the paperwork, his commander expected a full recovery after a brief break from the action. As it was he didn't get the break, but had enough "points" that he did get home pretty quickly after VJ day.

cvoogt

(949 posts)
2. saying "there was no choice" is such a cop-out
Mon Aug 6, 2018, 09:09 AM
Aug 2018

There is always a choice, and there's a good deal of evidence that Japan was already defeated and negotiating surrender. An invasion was not going to be necessary anyway, I think, because the Red Army had also declared war on Japan, and so Japan knew that had no chance. It was a choice, and that author thinks it was the right one. I disagree.

MicaelS

(8,747 posts)
4. Japan was negotiating surrender..
Mon Aug 6, 2018, 09:13 AM
Aug 2018

On their terms, which were unacceptable to the Allies.

Even if there was just a Naval Blockade, millions of Japanese would have started to death. So lots of Japanese would have died no matter what.

MichMary

(1,714 posts)
6. The Japanese government was
Mon Aug 6, 2018, 09:14 AM
Aug 2018

willing to surrender, but that doesn't mean that the military and the civilian population were. IIRC from what I learned at Oak Ridge was that the population was being advised to sharpen sticks to fight the invasion force to the bitter end.

Was it worth 500,000 (maybe more) American lives to stage an invasion? I think that's the crux of the matter, as Truman saw it.

brooklynite

(93,347 posts)
94. Consider that the Italian Government surrendered in 1943...
Mon Aug 6, 2018, 03:43 PM
Aug 2018

...but the Germans continued to fight in occupied Italy until 1945.

BannonsLiver

(16,053 posts)
8. That sounds all well and good
Mon Aug 6, 2018, 09:18 AM
Aug 2018

Except for one minor detail. They didn’t surrender after the first bomb was dropped, which punches all kinds of holes in your Monday morning QB theory. Hindsight is always 20/20.

Goodheart

(5,127 posts)
15. Good lord.
Mon Aug 6, 2018, 09:28 AM
Aug 2018

So you fry civilians for the pride of their leaders? And aren't YOU making the 20/20 argument... basing your opinion on AFTER the decision had been made?

They were neutered and incapable of inflicting massive casualties against us, but I believe the precedent alone should have dissuaded Truman from using it... unless our backs were against the wall.

 

Marengo

(3,477 posts)
31. Over a million Japanese troops under arms in China at the time of the surrender, perfectly capable..
Mon Aug 6, 2018, 10:16 AM
Aug 2018

Of continuing to inflict massive casualties as they had been for at least a decade in the interest of naked imperialism.

Separation

(1,975 posts)
37. At the time
Mon Aug 6, 2018, 10:30 AM
Aug 2018

We already at the time would end up having.

North Korea

North Vietnam

Given a few weeks, to a few months later and Russia would have had the manpower to invade mainland Japan. Imagine how a communist, Russian allied Japan would have went over.

Stalin was playing nice with Churchill, and a sickly American President at Yalta. He wanted to eat our lunch and ended up with Eastern Europe.

Just my opinion of course and we all know what that's worth.


BannonsLiver

(16,053 posts)
95. I'm not sure you understand the meaning of hindsight is 20/20
Mon Aug 6, 2018, 04:49 PM
Aug 2018

Actually, it's pretty clear you don't since any second guessing, questioning, etc. of Truman's decision is in fact hindsight given that it came AFTER the event itself.

As to the point you were attempting to make, it's rooted solely in your emotion about the event. My point was factual. The other poster said the Japanese were ready to surrender before the bombs were dropped, yet that theory contradicted by what actually happened after the first bomb was dropped.

Try harder next time.



Goodheart

(5,127 posts)
134. I know precisely what it means.
Thu Aug 9, 2018, 07:16 AM
Aug 2018

And you employed it by basing your opinion on what happened in hindsight.

Try harder next time.

Goodheart

(5,127 posts)
28. And, that's a bad argument in any case...
Mon Aug 6, 2018, 10:11 AM
Aug 2018

If the first bomb didn't persuade them to surrender why would we have thought that the second one was a guarantee they would?

BannonsLiver

(16,053 posts)
96. Asked and answered
Mon Aug 6, 2018, 04:53 PM
Aug 2018

But since you don't seem to know much about WW2 or the event itself I'll explain it again. They didn't know whether it was a guarantee or not. It was an effort to twist the knife harder. They were going to keep dropping bombs until they surrendered. There was a third bomb that was being readied at the time the first two were dropped.

Again, try harder next time.

ProfessorGAC

(63,885 posts)
11. Plenty Of Hindsight There
Mon Aug 6, 2018, 09:22 AM
Aug 2018

You may be right, but you also may be wrong. And, this isn't 1945, and we are not in a 5 year world conflagration killing MILLIONS and MILLIONS and hoping to get it over as soon as possible.

Also, on "negotiating surrender", there was a militant faction in the military that didn't want to surrender even AFTER the bombings. That's well documented. So, the "end in sight" seems less a certainty than you suggest.

With what we know now, we might agree that it was the wrong thing to do. The prism through which we're looking is very different than those of the mid-1940's.

CTyankee

(63,633 posts)
29. Some people believed that their was an added factor of racism...
Mon Aug 6, 2018, 10:12 AM
Aug 2018

that we didn't droop the bomb on white Germans. I don't know if I believe that or not...

DetroitLegalBeagle

(1,900 posts)
35. I dont. The bombs weren't ready in time for Germany
Mon Aug 6, 2018, 10:28 AM
Aug 2018

And the Soviets were already advancing on Berlin.

If we had the bomb a year earlier, we would have nuked Berlin.

Total war is a terrible thing.

ProfessorGAC

(63,885 posts)
46. It Wasn't Done Until The Euro Theater Was Over
Mon Aug 6, 2018, 10:55 AM
Aug 2018

The first test of the plutonium weapon didn't occur until July. The Nazi's surrendered in very early May.

For the uranium weapon that didn't need to be tested, they didn't have all the uranium until the middle of June.

So, i'm dubious of that claim. You don't drop a bomb on a civilian population after the war in that region is over.

Besides, the fire bombing of Dresden was no picnic.

 

Marengo

(3,477 posts)
63. Germany wasn't considered as a primary target as its defeat was expected to occur before before
Mon Aug 6, 2018, 12:11 PM
Aug 2018

Operational Nukes were available. There was also a concern that should a nuke deployed against Germany malfunction and survive intact, the German nuclear weapons program was sufficiently advanced to be to take considerable advantage of this. However, General Groves stated that FDR was so alarmed by the German Ardennes offensive that he inquired about the possibility of using nukes against Germany.

cvoogt

(949 posts)
81. Hindsight goes both ways
Mon Aug 6, 2018, 01:58 PM
Aug 2018

The history is not as cut and dry as the articles seems to make it out to be. Calling things facts when they are not does not sit well with me. At least some of Japan was preparing or trying to surrender.

cvoogt

(949 posts)
105. not circular logic
Mon Aug 6, 2018, 07:20 PM
Aug 2018

I saw responses talking about Monday morning quarterbacking (wrt my comments), but the article in question is also looking at this with the benefit of decades of hindsight. We're all Monday morning quarterbacking, really.

TreasonousBastard

(43,049 posts)
13. If Japan blockaded Vladivostok and destroyed some of the bridges and tunnels of the...
Mon Aug 6, 2018, 09:24 AM
Aug 2018

Trans Siberian Railroad, the Soviets would have been completely cut off.

Stalin no doubt cared little about Soviet casualties, but he did not want his lifelines cut off.

Again-- it's easy to reflect on this long after it's over, but to anyone living in those times there was an urgency. The entire planet was at war, and whatever could end it had to be done.

Leith

(7,797 posts)
25. The Soviets Declaring War on Japan
Mon Aug 6, 2018, 10:04 AM
Aug 2018

just hastened Truman's deadline.

If the Soviets had taken part in the victory over Japan, their plan was to divvy Japan up like Germany. They wanted the northernmost major island of Hokkaido. Take a look at a map of the area and visualize the world's largest natural naval base. Soviet occupation of Hokkaido would remove any way of Allied monitoring of Soviet submarines and ships. It was obvious at the time that communists were hellbent on "expanding their influence" around the world and their behavior in the following decades proved it (Chinese revolution, Korean War, infiltration in Southeast Asia). They didn't declare war against Japan until it was all over, but they were eager to claim the spoils.

In order to understand why the US dropped The Bomb, it is worse than useless to look at the Japan of today. The Japan from the late 1920s to 1945 was a wild war machine. They spread out all over East Asia, SE Asia, and the western Pacific at breakneck speed and held it all. Even Australia was threatened. The atrocities they committed would sicken anyone who even heard about them. I have known people who grew up in the Philipines, Korea, and Taiwan during the occupation who were alarmed 50 years later that Japan would rise again.

If you think that dropping The Bomb was the height of barbarity, try learning about the enemy that had to be defeated. Truman knew what he was up against. Too many people today don't seem to know.

Separation

(1,975 posts)
48. Truman found out fast at Potsdam.
Mon Aug 6, 2018, 11:01 AM
Aug 2018

It's just a damn shame that Roosevelt was so sick during Yalta. Putin capitalized on this and got eastern Europe.

dixiegrrrrl

(60,010 posts)
103. Racism would have been a factor.
Mon Aug 6, 2018, 07:07 PM
Aug 2018

There's an excellent book I have been reading....Imperial Cruise...which addresses the racism behind events in our history
from the 1700's on up.
It's written by James Bradley, whose father was one of the Marines in the famous picture of raising the flag at Iwo Jima.

BSdetect

(8,988 posts)
12. Ask the POWs in Japanese camps what they think about shortening the war.
Mon Aug 6, 2018, 09:22 AM
Aug 2018

Ask the inmates of Harbin especially.

Or any survivor from Nanking (as it was known then).

BSdetect

(8,988 posts)
38. The Japanese or Germans would have used atomic weapons if they had them before us.
Mon Aug 6, 2018, 10:31 AM
Aug 2018

We came so close to that.

VMA131Marine

(4,114 posts)
62. Both the Germans and Japanese were years away from making an atomic bomb
Mon Aug 6, 2018, 11:49 AM
Aug 2018

even at the end of the war. They didn't have the scientific data on reaction cross-sections to make a plutonium bomb, and they could not have built the infrastructure necessary to enrich uranium for a U-235 bomb because it would have become a massive target for the allied bombers. The US centrifuge facility at Oak Ridge was one of the largest buildings in the world at the time it was built.

There is a wonderful history of the US bomb development effort and the parallel work going on in Japan and Germany called "The Making of the Atomic Bomb" by Richard Rhodes. It's an excellent read:

https://www.amazon.com/Making-Atomic-Bomb-Richard-Rhodes/dp/1451677618

 

tonyt53

(5,737 posts)
127. Uh, in regards to Germany being "years away", you are wrong. Heavy water was already being produced.
Wed Aug 8, 2018, 09:20 PM
Aug 2018

Germany used massive underground facilities. Yes, I saw K25, the building you refer to, in 1996. If I recall correctly, it was about 1.5 million square feet. It was built so large because they had no exact idea about what would be needed - according to the lead guy I was working with.

VMA131Marine

(4,114 posts)
135. Uh, no! They were years away.
Thu Aug 9, 2018, 07:42 AM
Aug 2018

The Germans got their heavy water from the Norske Hydro plant in Norway, which was effectively sabotaged by 1944. Their technical approach, to use the heavy water as a neutron moderator in a plutonium breeder reactor was theoretically viable, but the Germans had done none of the engineering work required to design such a reactor. They would have needed to invent the Chemical process to separate the plutonium from the spent nuclear fuel and they had done no work on the design of a practical bomb itself. When you compare the scale of the German effort with that of the Manhattan Project it's clear that it would have taken years to develop a bomb without a massive increase in manpower and resources. These, of course, were not available due to the deteriorating was situation.

Yupster

(14,308 posts)
117. I went to the Japanese military shrine and museum at Yasukuni last week
Tue Aug 7, 2018, 07:24 AM
Aug 2018

It is their main museum of "The Greater East Asia War" .

I was surprised how biased it was. I guess it's their museum, and they suffered horribly in the war, but the Rape of Nanking was the "Nanking incident." Once the city was surrendered many Chinese soldiers retreated to the foreign section of the city rather than surrendering. When found they were disciplined severely. No pictures or numbers or descriptions of what happened there.


A big part of the museum was dedicated to the special weapons meaning kamikazis. Not just planes, there were torpedoes, and even divers with TNT attached to sticks to detonate on landing crafts.

UTUSN

(70,297 posts)
14. A quotation from Felix FRANKFURTER, though even this will be gigged by some:
Mon Aug 6, 2018, 09:28 AM
Aug 2018

​FRANKFURTER (applicable also to Pius XII, FDR on Holocaust) :

​​​​

“Fluctuations of historic judgment are the lot of great men, and Roosevelt will not escape it … But if history has its claim, so has the present. For it has been wisely said that if the judgment of the time must be corrected by that of posterity, it is no less true that the judgment of posterity must be corrected by that of the time.”

- Felix Frankfurter







genxlib

(5,490 posts)
17. I think
Mon Aug 6, 2018, 09:33 AM
Aug 2018

Asking whether the bomb should have been used is the wrong question.

The question is whether it should have been used on a population center.

Perhaps I am naive and looking at history with rose colored glasses. But it seems to me that the first bomb could have been used on a more remote island or military installation. If the point was to show them the war was unwinnable, then less civilian involvement would have been more humane. If the point was to inflict suffering to the populace then mission accomplished.

War has always been hell. But it has not always involved innocent civilians to the same degree. That is a philosophical choice that combatants make in an attempt to change the political calculus for their opponents.

Eko

(7,050 posts)
80. I used to think that also.
Mon Aug 6, 2018, 01:52 PM
Aug 2018

But we bombed one city with it and they still didn't give up not to mention the kamikaze attacks from their planes, soldiers attacking machine gun nests with bayonet charges and their fanatical defense of the pacific islands.

genxlib

(5,490 posts)
93. You could be right
Mon Aug 6, 2018, 03:37 PM
Aug 2018

However, three days is not a lot of time when it comes to something like that.

I did a paper on it when I was in college. It was piss-pour undergraduate crap but I do remember some of the research.

If I recall correctly, the Japanese were intending to surrender. However, they reached out to the Soviets to act as neutral party. Instead the Soviets declared war on August 8. The gig was up and Japan was going to surrender but the second bomb dropped on the 9th.

In much of the research I read, there was the implication that the US was already afraid of the rising power of the USSR. They were anxious to end the war quickly to cut off the Soviets from staking a claim. I came away feeling that the rush to end the war was an attempt to keep the Soviets in check. Otherwise, they could have waited a little longer to allow the Japanese to react.

It is hard for me to criticize the people that made that decision. Once you get to a point of weighing the pros and cons of the least worst option that will still kill a lot of people, it becomes an impossible choice.

Yupster

(14,308 posts)
119. I agree that waiting a few more days would have been right
Wed Aug 8, 2018, 07:05 AM
Aug 2018

Three days didn't give Tokyo a chance to assess and react to the bomb. Tokyo was hardly functioning at all at the time with the firebombings, the starvation, then the Russians overrunning Manchuria and the Japanese fighting desperately to hold onto southern Sakhalin. A few more days would have been okay with me.

MineralMan

(146,062 posts)
18. I was just a day or two over a week old when it happened.
Mon Aug 6, 2018, 09:39 AM
Aug 2018

My mother was staying with her parents while my father was flying B-17s over the Mediterranean. I remember none of that, of course. About three months later, my father returned home and the three of us began our post-war life. My sister was born a year and three days after I was, so the family began to grow soon after Dad's last B-17 flight, ferrying a plane with a dozen soldiers back to the United States, stopping in Africa, Brazil, and Florida along the way.

It wasn't until years later that I started thinking about the United States being the only country every to use a nuclear weapon against another country. I'm still not over that realization.

MicaelS

(8,747 posts)
23. My opinion had
Mon Aug 6, 2018, 09:50 AM
Aug 2018

Always been that if the bomb has been available 6-12 months sooner, or the war lasted 6-12 months longer, then Berlin would have been the first target. Those who now condemn the use of the bombs on Japan would not have said a thing about their use on Germany. Their attitude would have been that the dirty Fascists got what they deserved.

The Nazis were executing more people toward the end of the war in the concentration camps because they had perfected the mechanical means of the Holocaust. How many Jews, Poles, Gypsies, homosexuals and others might have been saved if the war in Europe had ended 6-12 months sooner?

Those scientists who worked on the bomb (many of the Jewish refugees from Hitler) did not seem to develop scruples until it was clear that Germany would no longer be the target. They knew for a fact that Berlin, and its civilians would certainly be the main target. They certainly didn’t have any concerns about German civilians being killed.

And for those who cry moral outrage I see no difference between the fire-bombing of Dresden, Tokyo and other Japanese cities and the atomic bombings. Dead is dead.

The Japanese were just as bad as the Nazis. But too many people weep tears for the “victims" of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, as if the Japanese did nothing to start the war in Asia. The Chinese suffered between 20-35 million casualties during the Japanese invasion of China (1937-1945). The Japanese forced Korean women into sexual slavery as “comfort women” in field brothels where the women were forced to sexually service, as many as 70 Japanese soldiers a day. In other words these women were raped 70 times a day for years on end. Everywhere the Japanese conquered, they acted like barbarians toward Allied POWS and civilians. The Japanese beat, starved, tortured and executed men and women. They used living human beings as living test subjects in their infamous biological warfare Unit 731.

People these days find it easy to take some moral high-ground when they are not involved in a war to the knife for the future of civilization. Hindsight is easy.

If Truman had not used the bomb out of moral scruples, and Operation Downfall had gone ahead, then America would have suffered terrible casualties. The truth about the bomb would have come out. And I think Truman would have been impeached.

And millions would died of starvation if we imposed a naval blockade, without invasion.

MineralMan

(146,062 posts)
24. Really, I never get involved in arguments
Mon Aug 6, 2018, 09:56 AM
Aug 2018

about our use of nuclear weapons in WWII. It's history that can't be changed.

I also, however, never forget that the US has been the only nation ever to use them. That informs my understanding of how other nations see the United States. It helps me to understand some issues from time to time.

 

braddy

(3,585 posts)
39. It was a weapon we developed to fight WWII, no one else had one until long after WWII was in the
Mon Aug 6, 2018, 10:40 AM
Aug 2018

history section and no one else has needed to nuke an enemy under such conditions as Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan world conquest and mass murder of civilians and POWs measured in the tens of millions. After WWII the U.S. set out to make sure that the other countries quit their World War stuff, and it has worked, of course, nukes have not been used by anyone else so far, unfortunately, that will end eventually and then the U.S. won't be the "only nation ever to use them". During and since WWII the tiny handful of other world leaders who have had a bomb have not avoided using nukes because they are nice guys but if they were fighting WWII they would have used it.

Cartoonist

(7,280 posts)
40. Someone had to be first
Mon Aug 6, 2018, 10:41 AM
Aug 2018

And I'm not being snarky. I've heard, but don't know, that Germany was working on a super bomb. They would have been first if they had the opportunity. Does anyone think Japan would have hesitated to use the bomb if they had it?

One side effect of the bomb is that it is so horrifying that no one else has dropped one. I agree with the guy who said the bomb should be awarded the Nobel Peace prize because it ended world wars. We had a Cold War with Russia when we could have rained bombs on each other.

 

Hoyt

(54,770 posts)
34. Fact is, we are the only country to have killed thousands of innocent people with a "special" bomb.
Mon Aug 6, 2018, 10:23 AM
Aug 2018

Yet, we are willing to threaten others who want the same weapon with dropping it on them. If Iraq had nuclear weapons or a strong military, we would never have invaded them.

By the time we annihilated Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the war was over. The argument that we would have lost tens of thousands invading Japan is bogus, because we didn't have to invade Japan. We had them surrounded and cut off from the world. I suspect if Japan were inhabited by white Germans, we would have found another way.

The only thing bombing Japan did for us, is allow us to bully the world for decades because of the specter of the results if countries pushed America too far. I'm not real comfortable with that.

Cartoonist

(7,280 posts)
47. We had them surrounded and cut off from the world
Mon Aug 6, 2018, 11:00 AM
Aug 2018

You're right. It would have been more humane to starve everyone in Japan rather than limit it to just a city or two. How many civilian deaths do you think it would have taken for Japan to surrender? And how long? That's the trouble with some choices. Sometimes both choices are bad, but you have to make one.

Cartoonist

(7,280 posts)
53. You didn't answer my question
Mon Aug 6, 2018, 11:20 AM
Aug 2018

Is it better to starve millions of people or drop a bomb on thousands? Damn right we have a different view. I'm glad I don't share yours.

 

Hoyt

(54,770 posts)
56. Ask top generals, admirals from the time. Starvation is your rationale.
Mon Aug 6, 2018, 11:27 AM
Aug 2018

"The top American military leaders who fought World War II, much to the surprise of many who are not aware of the record, were quite clear that the atomic bomb was unnecessary, that Japan was on the verge of surrender, and—for many—that the destruction of large numbers of civilians was immoral. Most were also conservatives, not liberals. Adm. William Leahy, President Truman’s Chief of Staff, wrote in his 1950 memoir I Was There that “the use of this barbarous weapon at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of no material assistance in our war against Japan. The Japanese were already defeated and ready to surrender.… in being the first to use it, we…adopted an ethical standard common to the barbarians of the Dark Ages. I was not taught to make war in that fashion, and wars cannot be won by destroying women and children.”

The commanding general of the US Army Air Forces, Henry “Hap” Arnold, gave a strong indication of his views in a public statement only eleven days after Hiroshima was attacked. Asked on August 17 by a New York Times reporter whether the atomic bomb caused Japan to surrender, Arnold said that “the Japanese position was hopeless even before the first atomic bomb fell, because the Japanese had lost control of their own air.”

It was a mistake.... [the scientists] had this toy and they wanted to try it out, so they dropped it.” —Adm. William “Bull” Halsey. Fleet Adm. Chester Nimitz, Commander in Chief of the Pacific Fleet, stated in a public address at the Washington Monument two months after the bombings that “the atomic bomb played no decisive part, from a purely military standpoint, in the defeat of Japan…” Adm. William “Bull” Halsey Jr., Commander of the US Third Fleet, stated publicly in 1946 that “the first atomic bomb was an unnecessary experiment…. It was a mistake to ever drop it…. [the scientists] had this toy and they wanted to try it out, so they dropped it…”

"Gen. Dwight Eisenhower, for his part, stated in his memoirs that when notified by Secretary of War Henry Stimson of the decision to use atomic weapons, he “voiced to him my grave misgivings, first on the basis of my belief that Japan was already defeated and that dropping the bomb was completely unnecessary, and secondly because I thought that our country should avoid shocking world opinion by the use of a weapon whose employment was, I thought, no longer mandatory as a measure to save American lives…” He later publicly declared “…it wasn’t necessary to hit them with that awful thing.” Even the famous “hawk” Maj. Gen. Curtis LeMay, head of the Twenty-First Bomber Command, went public the month after the bombing, telling the press that “the atomic bomb had nothing to do with the end of the war at all.”"

https://www.thenation.com/article/why-the-us-really-bombed-hiroshima/

BannonsLiver

(16,053 posts)
111. The Nation is a Russian propaganda rag
Mon Aug 6, 2018, 10:45 PM
Aug 2018

Go talk to soldiers who had skin in the game who were on their way to the pacific from Europe who were thankful that they didn’t have to go. Never met one who said otherwise and I’ve spoken to hundreds of them. Your comments reveal a spectacular level of naivety about the war. Thank God those in charge at the time had more wisdom and fortitude.

 

Hoyt

(54,770 posts)
112. They didn't have to go because there was no reason to go. Those in charge were
Mon Aug 6, 2018, 11:52 PM
Aug 2018

Eseinhower, Halsey, etc., had more insight.

Most of the soldiers were fine with killing Asians, just like they are fine killing Muslims today. I think WWII was necessary, but the nukes weren’t. By the time we nuked them, the war was over except for signing some papers.

 

tonyt53

(5,737 posts)
129. My dad was ONE of them. In the first US landing in the Pacific, and war effort ended at Iwo Jima.
Wed Aug 8, 2018, 09:33 PM
Aug 2018

He said they would have fought until the last one was dead, and they would have taken as many Americans with them as they could. He spent time in Australia after Guadalcanal for a bayonet wound through his side and leg. Most of those in that first landing were evacuated and sent to Australia when they main US invasion force arrived. Those men, like my dad, fought against an army that would not surrender, even if it meant death. My dad was on Suribachi when the US flag was raised, but down a bit lower clearing caves of Japanese troops. He ended up with malaria and ended up spending the rest of the war hospitalized in Australia. Didn't come home for six months after the war ended. He said that more US troops would have died until Japan accepted an unconditional surrender, than the people that died in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The wounded would have been double the dead. And this was without an invasion. Hundreds of thousands Japanese troops were still on islands that were by passed and in other parts of Asia. Not a chance in hell they would have surrendered.

Before those that start writing novels about the events of WWII, they should have interviewed the thousands that fought against the Japanese. Too damned easy to sit in a chair and write about what they themselves, have only read about.

Leith

(7,797 posts)
64. They Were Already Starved
Mon Aug 6, 2018, 12:15 PM
Aug 2018

They were already surrounded.

Near the end of WW II, everything - and I mean everything - was reserved for the military. Japanese civilians starved every day. Some resorted to trying to eat inedible plants like grass. They still trained children as young as 3 with sharpened bamboo sticks to fight off the foreign devils. Civilian deaths did not concern the military so that would not have been a deterrent.

The reason for The Bomb dropped on Hiroshima was to show Japan's power center that we had the technology, we could use it, and we were not afraid to use it. The reason one was dropped on Nagasaki was to show them that we had more than one. At that point, they did not know how many we had or where more would be dropped. They knew that they were vastly outgunned and that was only thing they understood and respected.

In terms of the situation at the time, hindsight is not 20/20 when one refuses to look at all the facts. They were not going to surrender until it was proven to them beyond all doubt that they had irreparably lost.

I am not approaching this as a racist, but a realist. When I was in my 20s, I lived in Tokyo for 3 years. I lived among the Japanese, spoke the language, shopped on the local shopping street, made friends with the proprietor of the nearby coffee shop, the whole deal. Almost every day I saw old women bent over and deformed from wartime privation. My neighborhood was evacuated because an old WW II bomb had been discovered at a nearby building site (the year was 1982). Nearly 40 years later, it still wasn't "over" for Tokyoites, myself included. Truman had complete knowledge of the situation and made his decision. He made the right one.

 

Hoyt

(54,770 posts)
65. Maybe we should have taken them food, rather than burning kids with our bombs.
Mon Aug 6, 2018, 12:19 PM
Aug 2018

Sorry, I'll trust the generals and admirals who say it was unnecessary and immoral to drop that bomb.

Leith

(7,797 posts)
66. Is the First Name on the List Tojo?
Mon Aug 6, 2018, 12:20 PM
Aug 2018

And why do you think that generals and admirals had the complete picture?

 

Hoyt

(54,770 posts)
67. Why do you believe the "bomb em" folks. I don't see how annihilating two important Japanese
Mon Aug 6, 2018, 12:25 PM
Aug 2018

cities helped anyone, starving or not. Japan was no threat to us at that point.

Leith

(7,797 posts)
78. sigh...
Mon Aug 6, 2018, 01:32 PM
Aug 2018

I have explained the reasons already. Pushing the point on what I have already answered is just trailing a fishing line behind a slow moving boat.

 

Hoyt

(54,770 posts)
79. Some people are fine with bombs whether defeated Japan, Vietnam, Iraq, etc.
Mon Aug 6, 2018, 01:38 PM
Aug 2018

I’m not, no matter what the rationalization.

Now if the bomb had been dropped early in the war, when the outcome was uncertain, I’d likely accept the rationale(s). But that’s not what you are talking about.

Leith

(7,797 posts)
85. That Was Going Too Far and You Know It
Mon Aug 6, 2018, 02:32 PM
Aug 2018
79. Some people are fine with bombs whether defeated Japan, Vietnam, Iraq, etc.

I’m not, no matter what the rationalization.

Now if the bomb had been dropped early in the war, when the outcome was uncertain, I’d likely accept the rationale(s). But that’s not what you are talking about.



Nobody here is "fine" with bombs. One could turn your statement around and claim that you are fine with checking a sword's sharpness by cutting a person's head off, or taking the vast majority of a country's agricultural output to feed the military. And it would be just as true as what you just posted because that is what happened all over occupied Asia.

GaYellowDawg

(4,441 posts)
113. Oh, that's a fat load of horse crap.
Mon Aug 6, 2018, 11:57 PM
Aug 2018

I’m so tired of the bullshit revisionist history. It’s as egregious as the Confederarses who try to revise the history of the Civil War.

FACT: Japan was a brutal, hyperaggressive, racist, expansionist regime that would never have stopped going to war unless an occupying army fought house to house throughout the entire country or they were intimidated into total surrender. We would have lost tens of thousands of American soldiers’ lives with the former. And you know what? I can live with that, because that brutal warrior culture didn’t merit spending rivers of American blood to satisfy second guessers.

FACT: The war wasn’t “over” when Hiroshima and Nagasaki were bombed. Not even close. They were prepared to fight a lot longer.

FACT: If Japan were inhabited by “white Germans” they still would have been nuked. The only difference between Dresden and Nagasaki or Hiroshima was the number of bombs used. Germany was absolutely devastated by Allied bombers. The only reason Germany didn’t get nuked was because the bomb wasn’t ready to go in time for that campaign.

As for your last comment: Yeah, because the U.S. was all about wanting to bully the world. What a bunch of self-righteous asinine drivel. The main reason the bomb was used was because the country was tired as hell of war and wanted it to be done.

 

Hoyt

(54,770 posts)
114. War was over, we are only country to nuke anyone, we are racist, we bully the world now and
Tue Aug 7, 2018, 12:04 AM
Aug 2018

have for decades, alternatives were viable but didn’t kill enough Asians and make Americans feel vindicated. Hell, plenty of Americans were similarly fine with killing tens of thousands of innocent Iraqis and torture.

BTW, The Civil War was about slavery and Southern disregard for humanity, that continues today. Never been a doubt in my mind, even when racist white wing Georgia Bulldogs I grew up with have tried to convince me otherwise.

GaYellowDawg

(4,441 posts)
115. Wrong
Tue Aug 7, 2018, 12:21 AM
Aug 2018

The war wasn’t over, but you’re clearly unwilling to accept a narrative other than your own, which appears to be that the violent, brutal, aggressive United States gleefully nuked the poor, innocent Japanese so that the US could get its racist rocks off and enable the decades-long bullying of the rest of the world. Riiiiiiight.

As for the Civil War, well, DUH. The only reason I brought it up was as an example of revisionist history on the part of many Southerners. The point apparently evaded you, which was completely predictable. But then again, your pursuit of the truth is akin to playing tag after a bottle of tequila and a quadruple dose of Ambien: lots of staggering around, coming nowhere near the target, and looking both pathetic and stupid in the process.

 

Hoyt

(54,770 posts)
118. And you aren't willing to accept another narrative either. No, I got the point on Civil War and I
Tue Aug 7, 2018, 01:08 PM
Aug 2018

made it clear white wing racists never convinced me it was anything but about preserving slavery. Another example of hatred/disregard of foreign ethnicity.

I'll accept Eseinhower's view of the need to bomb Japan. "In his 1963 memoir, "Mandate for Change," former President Dwight D. Eisenhower criticized the use of the atomic bombs, saying they weren't necessary to force the surrender of Japan."

He was right on the Military Industrial Complex, and he was right on the atomic bombing of Japan. Again, you can't accept any narrative other than bombing innocent people is OK if we can come up with some scenario where one American life will be saved.

_______

"It is my opinion that the use of this barbarous weapon at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of no material assistance in our war against Japan. The Japanese were already defeated and ready to surrender because of the effective sea blockade and the successful bombing with conventional weapons.

"The lethal possibilities of atomic warfare in the future are frightening. My own feeling was that in being the first to use it, we had adopted an ethical standard common to the barbarians of the Dark Ages. I was not taught to make war in that fashion, and wars cannot be won by destroying women and children."

- William Leahy, I Was There, pg. 441.


"MacArthur biographer William Manchester has described MacArthur's reaction to the issuance by the Allies of the Potsdam Proclamation to Japan: "...the Potsdam declaration in July, demand[ed] that Japan surrender unconditionally or face 'prompt and utter destruction.' MacArthur was appalled. He knew that the Japanese would never renounce their emperor, and that without him an orderly transition to peace would be impossible anyhow, because his people would never submit to Allied occupation unless he ordered it. Ironically, when the surrender did come, it was conditional, and the condition was a continuation of the imperial reign. Had the General's advice been followed, the resort to atomic weapons at Hiroshima and Nagasaki might have been unnecessary.""

William Manchester, American Caesar: Douglas MacArthur 1880-1964, pg. 512.


"Norman Cousins was a consultant to General MacArthur during the American occupation of Japan. Cousins writes of his conversations with MacArthur, "MacArthur's views about the decision to drop the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki were starkly different from what the general public supposed." He continues, "When I asked General MacArthur about the decision to drop the bomb, I was surprised to learn he had not even been consulted. What, I asked, would his advice have been? He replied that he saw no military justification for the dropping of the bomb. The war might have ended weeks earlier, he said, if the United States had agreed, as it later did anyway, to the retention of the institution of the emperor.""

Norman Cousins, The Pathology of Power, pg. 65, 70-71.



(Assistant Sec. of War)
"I have always felt that if, in our ultimatum to the Japanese government issued from Potsdam [in July 1945], we had referred to the retention of the emperor as a constitutional monarch and had made some reference to the reasonable accessibility of raw materials to the future Japanese government, it would have been accepted. Indeed, I believe that even in the form it was delivered, there was some disposition on the part of the Japanese to give it favorable consideration. When the war was over I arrived at this conclusion after talking with a number of Japanese officials who had been closely associated with the decision of the then Japanese government, to reject the ultimatum, as it was presented. I believe we missed the opportunity of effecting a Japanese surrender, completely satisfactory to us, without the necessity of dropping the bombs."

McCloy quoted in James Reston, Deadline, pg. 500.


~~~RALPH BARD
(Under Sec. of the Navy)
On June 28, 1945, a memorandum written by Bard the previous day was given to Sec. of War Henry Stimson. It stated, in part:

"Following the three-power [July 1945 Potsdam] conference emissaries from this country could contact representatives from Japan somewhere on the China Coast and make representations with regard to Russia's position [they were about to declare war on Japan] and at the same time give them some information regarding the proposed use of atomic power, together with whatever assurances the President might care to make with regard to the [retention of the] Emperor of Japan and the treatment of the Japanese nation following unconditional surrender. It seems quite possible to me that this presents the opportunity which the Japanese are looking for.

"I don't see that we have anything in particular to lose in following such a program." He concluded the memorandum by noting, "The only way to find out is to try it out."

Memorandum on the Use of S-1 Bomb, Manhattan Engineer District Records, Harrison-Bundy files, folder # 77, National Archives (also contained in: Martin Sherwin, A World Destroyed, 1987 edition, pg. 307-308).

Later Bard related, "...it definitely seemed to me that the Japanese were becoming weaker and weaker. They were surrounded by the Navy. They couldn't get any imports and they couldn't export anything. Naturally, as time went on and the war developed in our favor it was quite logical to hope and expect that with the proper kind of a warning the Japanese would then be in a position to make peace, which would have made it unnecessary for us to drop the bomb and have had to bring Russia in...".

quoted in Len Giovannitti and Fred Freed, The Decision To Drop the Bomb, pg. 144-145, 324.

Bard also asserted, "I think that the Japanese were ready for peace, and they already had approached the Russians and, I think, the Swiss. And that suggestion of [giving] a warning [of the atomic bomb] was a face-saving proposition for them, and one that they could have readily accepted." He continued, "In my opinion, the Japanese war was really won before we ever used the atom bomb. Thus, it wouldn't have been necessary for us to disclose our nuclear position and stimulate the Russians to develop the same thing much more rapidly than they would have if we had not dropped the bomb."

War Was Really Won Before We Used A-Bomb, U.S. News and World Report, 8/15/60, pg. 73-75.

____________________





zipplewrath

(16,646 posts)
36. You have to understand where the population was
Mon Aug 6, 2018, 10:29 AM
Aug 2018

My father tends to believe that if the people had found out that we had that bomb and didn't use it to end the war one day sooner, they would have taken to the streets and drug Truman out and hung him.

By that time, the American people had been on a war footing continuously. Everything was rationed. There were things you just couldn't get at all. Every day there was news of the war. You didn't go to a movie, or read a paper, or listen to the radio without hearing about the war. But worst of all, there were those small banners. They had those banners with the stars on them. Blue, red and worst of all Gold. By the time this bomb was dropped, gold stars were plentiful. Everyone knew someone so to speak. Husbands had been gone for years. The wounded had been coming back for years. The people were tired. Every day meant one more day that people had to worry that the telegram that no one wanted to receive, would come telling you that your father, brother, husband, etc. was dead.

Every, single, day.

 

braddy

(3,585 posts)
43. Not just us, I bet the Chinese, Brits, Filipinos, Aussies, New Zealand, Koreans, etc., etc., etc.,
Mon Aug 6, 2018, 10:48 AM
Aug 2018

were all very happy to see the war taken to that monstrous enemy and quickly finished after 8 years of mass murder, rape, torture and death camps.

 

Hoyt

(54,770 posts)
55. Some folks might have taken to streets, probably same ones who'd vote for trump or bush.
Mon Aug 6, 2018, 11:23 AM
Aug 2018

The war was over before the bombs were dropped. It's not like the Japanese were going to attack us.


"The top American military leaders who fought World War II, much to the surprise of many who are not aware of the record, were quite clear that the atomic bomb was unnecessary, that Japan was on the verge of surrender, and—for many—that the destruction of large numbers of civilians was immoral. Most were also conservatives, not liberals. Adm. William Leahy, President Truman’s Chief of Staff, wrote in his 1950 memoir I Was There that “the use of this barbarous weapon at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of no material assistance in our war against Japan. The Japanese were already defeated and ready to surrender.… in being the first to use it, we…adopted an ethical standard common to the barbarians of the Dark Ages. I was not taught to make war in that fashion, and wars cannot be won by destroying women and children.”

The commanding general of the US Army Air Forces, Henry “Hap” Arnold, gave a strong indication of his views in a public statement only eleven days after Hiroshima was attacked. Asked on August 17 by a New York Times reporter whether the atomic bomb caused Japan to surrender, Arnold said that “the Japanese position was hopeless even before the first atomic bomb fell, because the Japanese had lost control of their own air.”

“It was a mistake.... [the scientists] had this toy and they wanted to try it out, so they dropped it.” —Adm. William “Bull” Halsey. Fleet Adm. Chester Nimitz, Commander in Chief of the Pacific Fleet, stated in a public address at the Washington Monument two months after the bombings that “the atomic bomb played no decisive part, from a purely military standpoint, in the defeat of Japan…” Adm. William “Bull” Halsey Jr., Commander of the US Third Fleet, stated publicly in 1946 that “the first atomic bomb was an unnecessary experiment…. It was a mistake to ever drop it…. [the scientists] had this toy and they wanted to try it out, so they dropped it…”

"Gen. Dwight Eisenhower, for his part, stated in his memoirs that when notified by Secretary of War Henry Stimson of the decision to use atomic weapons, he “voiced to him my grave misgivings, first on the basis of my belief that Japan was already defeated and that dropping the bomb was completely unnecessary, and secondly because I thought that our country should avoid shocking world opinion by the use of a weapon whose employment was, I thought, no longer mandatory as a measure to save American lives…” He later publicly declared “…it wasn’t necessary to hit them with that awful thing.” Even the famous “hawk” Maj. Gen. Curtis LeMay, head of the Twenty-First Bomber Command, went public the month after the bombing, telling the press that “the atomic bomb had nothing to do with the end of the war at all.”"

https://www.thenation.com/article/why-the-us-really-bombed-hiroshima/

zipplewrath

(16,646 posts)
74. Sorta
Mon Aug 6, 2018, 12:56 PM
Aug 2018

That's a bit harsh. Most folks at the time knew little about what the bomb was and would do. What they would have been told, and would have believed, was that it would advance the war. It had become habitual which is why events like Dresden could happen, the public had become rather numb to the effects of war on the enemy, even citizens of those countries. Remember, we bombed the heck out of France and we were trying to "rescue" them. The concept of Total War had pretty well been accepted by then. It isn't really clear how many of the people involved in the decision to drop the bomb, really understood what it was other than a "really big bomb". Dropping big bombs, or lots of bombs, had become relatively common by then. It would have been a fairly accepted point of view among the population that if we had such a thing, we should use such a thing.

 

Hoyt

(54,770 posts)
76. "Use it" especially against Asians. We could have demonstrated it on a deserted island.
Mon Aug 6, 2018, 01:20 PM
Aug 2018

I’m sorry, there is just no excuse for being the only country barbaric enough to drop that bomb on a country no longer a threat to us.

zipplewrath

(16,646 posts)
88. They were afraid it might not work
Mon Aug 6, 2018, 02:58 PM
Aug 2018

That was discussed, but there was a serious fear that it wouldn't work (remember they had never actually dropped one before) and that it would be counter productive if it failed. But if they dropped it on a populated target and it was a dud, no one would be particularly wiser.

There are plenty of "excuses". What it is illustrative of is why war is so bad to begin with. We did alot of things in that war that is hard to rationally justify after the fact, and was so easily and quickly accepted at the time. Truth is the first casualty of war, even for those fighting it.

 

Hoyt

(54,770 posts)
91. Oh cool. It might not work, so let's drop it on a bunch of Asians,
Mon Aug 6, 2018, 03:26 PM
Aug 2018

to test it out, they are starving anyway. Then, if it works, we’ll drop another one.

VOX

(22,976 posts)
98. If Asian casualties are a marker, what about Imperial Japan's "Rape of Nanking," in 1937?
Mon Aug 6, 2018, 05:34 PM
Aug 2018

Imperial Japan — whose emperor was believed to be a god, was not exactly an exemplar of human rights.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nanking_Massacre
The massacre occurred over a period of six weeks starting on December 13, 1937, the day that the Japanese captured Nanjing. During this period, soldiers of the Imperial Japanese Army murdered Chinese civilians and disarmed combatants who numbered an estimated 40,000 to over 300,000,[7][8] and perpetrated widespread rape and looting.[9][10]

Since most Japanese military records on the killings were kept secret or destroyed shortly after the surrender of Japan in 1945, historians have been unable to accurately estimate the death toll of the massacre. The International Military Tribunal for the Far East in Tokyo estimated in 1946 that over 200,000 Chinese were killed in the incident.[11] China's official estimate is more than 300,000 dead based on the evaluation of the Nanjing War Crimes Tribunal in 1947. The death toll has been actively contested among scholars since the 1980s.[3][12]
<snip>

 

Hoyt

(54,770 posts)
99. So are you saying we nuked innocent Japanese 8 years after Rape of Nanking as justified retribution?
Mon Aug 6, 2018, 06:04 PM
Aug 2018

VOX

(22,976 posts)
116. No, I'm not saying that at all. The thread was implying that nukes were okay'd, because...Asians.
Tue Aug 7, 2018, 04:20 AM
Aug 2018

My point is that The Imperial Japanese, with its proud warrior culture that believed in their divinity of purpose, were not hesitant to take the lives of other Asians by hundreds of thousands.

The fact that nukes were used in WWII on Japan is far more sickening now (as is the entirety of that war) that killed more than 60 million people.

hack89

(39,171 posts)
120. The Japanese were slaughtering innocent Chinese, Filipinos, Indonesians, etc until the very end.
Wed Aug 8, 2018, 07:36 AM
Aug 2018

every day the war was extended meant more innocent people died. There is absolutely no other solution that did not result in fewer deaths.

 

Hoyt

(54,770 posts)
121. So China should have nuked us for slaughtering innocent Vietnamese and Iraqis?
Wed Aug 8, 2018, 08:23 AM
Aug 2018

I'll still go with Esienhower, etc.

hack89

(39,171 posts)
122. The Chinese were not also killing Americans
Wed Aug 8, 2018, 08:41 AM
Aug 2018

we were at war with Japan. If you have to make a choice between who to kill, you kill your enemies and save your allies. Not complicated.

Here's the thing. Not dropping the bomb would have most likely killed more innocent Japanese. Because the mining and conventional bombing campaigns would have continued. Hiroshima and Nagasaki would have simply been fire bombed with similar loss of life. And if the war had extended six months into the winter then the mining campaign would have produced starvation on a massive scale. And while I know their lives mean less to you then the Japanese, untold Chinese and other innocents in occupied Asian countries would have also died.

hack89

(39,171 posts)
128. When would the firing bombing of cities have ended?
Wed Aug 8, 2018, 09:31 PM
Aug 2018

Because they certainly did not say that Japan was close to surrender. They simply supported the continued killing of Japanese civilians using conventional weapons.

Extending the war even a week meant hundreds of thousands would die - such was the scale of violence in WWII.

hack89

(39,171 posts)
131. So you really think the killing was going to end on 15 August no matter what?
Thu Aug 9, 2018, 06:28 AM
Aug 2018

Really? Because I don't think Eisenhower thought that.

 

Hoyt

(54,770 posts)
137. We appear stuck on this issue, just like your support of guns. The two are similar in many ways.
Thu Aug 9, 2018, 08:08 AM
Aug 2018

hunter

(38,217 posts)
109. The ludicrously expensive and dangerous uranium bomb was a sure thing.
Mon Aug 6, 2018, 08:54 PM
Aug 2018

Scientists understood it clearly enough that they didn't test it.

Rather than being a "dud," they were much more worried this bomb, built from a modified gun barrel, would go off in some accident. If a plane carrying one of these bombs crashed, and even if a bomb like this suffered an "oops, I dropped it!" kind of accident, the consequences would have been catastrophic.

The "Fat Man" plutonium bomb was the bomb of the future. Over 100 "Fat Man" atomic bombs of the type dropped on Nagasaki were built, and these were already obsolete and retired by 1950 for new and improved bombs.

After Japan's surrender an army of researchers swarmed Nagasaki carefully documenting the damage this plutonium bomb did.

To many observers it was clearly an experiment.

malchickiwick

(1,474 posts)
42. WRONG!!! In the words of Truman's own former CoS:
Mon Aug 6, 2018, 10:44 AM
Aug 2018

Adm. William Leahy, President Truman’s Chief of Staff, wrote in his 1950 memoir that “the use of this barbarous weapon at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of no material assistance in our war against Japan. The Japanese were already defeated and ready to surrender.… in being the first to use it, we…adopted an ethical standard common to the barbarians of the Dark Ages. I was not taught to make war in that fashion, and wars cannot be won by destroying women and children.”

More?

Fleet Adm. Chester Nimitz, Commander in Chief of the Pacific Fleet, stated in a public address at the Washington Monument two months after the bombings that “the atomic bomb played no decisive part, from a purely military standpoint, in the defeat of Japan…”

Adm. William “Bull” Halsey Jr., Commander of the US Third Fleet, stated publicly in 1946 that “the first atomic bomb was an unnecessary experiment…. It was a mistake to ever drop it…. [the scientists] had this toy and they wanted to try it out, so they dropped it…”

Gen. Dwight Eisenhower, for his part, stated in his memoirs that when notified by Secretary of War Henry Stimson of the decision to use atomic weapons, he “voiced to him my grave misgivings, first on the basis of my belief that Japan was already defeated and that dropping the bomb was completely unnecessary, and secondly because I thought that our country should avoid shocking world opinion by the use of a weapon whose employment was, I thought, no longer mandatory as a measure to save American lives…” He later publicly declared “…it wasn’t necessary to hit them with that awful thing.”

Even the famous “hawk” Maj. Gen. Curtis LeMay, head of the Twenty-First Bomber Command, went public the month after the bombing, telling the press that “the atomic bomb had nothing to do with the end of the war at all.”


Sauce: https://www.thenation.com/article/why-the-us-really-bombed-hiroshima/

Cartoonist

(7,280 posts)
44. Except for this inconvenient fact
Mon Aug 6, 2018, 10:51 AM
Aug 2018

They surrendered AFTER the bombs fell, not BEFORE.

Anything else is speculation.

malchickiwick

(1,474 posts)
45. They surrendered after the Soviets declared war on Japan. Correlation or causation?
Mon Aug 6, 2018, 10:54 AM
Aug 2018

I suggest you give the article a read.

Cartoonist

(7,280 posts)
51. Do you know how to read a calendar?
Mon Aug 6, 2018, 11:16 AM
Aug 2018

Hiroshima - August 6
Russia declares war - August 8
Nagasaki - August 9

I doubt Russia was the first item on the agenda at the meeting on the 10th.

malchickiwick

(1,474 posts)
60. Actually, they had offered terms of surrender before Hiroshima (via the Swiss).
Mon Aug 6, 2018, 11:37 AM
Aug 2018

And those terms were nearly identical to the terms ultimately granted. Face it, the bombs had NOTHING to do with ending the war -- you can believe the military experts who were there. The bombs were dropped to signal American might to the Soviets and the rest of the world.

zipplewrath

(16,646 posts)
89. They were dropped for alot of reasons
Mon Aug 6, 2018, 03:09 PM
Aug 2018

No single one is the sole reason. Each reason contributed. Inertia is possibly the largest single one. Some of the island hopping fell into that category as well. The need for taking some of the later/closer islands was becoming less necessary. But the plans were in place and the machine of war kept moving forward. It's sort of in military doctrine these days. During the American Civil war, the north had a tendency not to pursue and "finish" battles. Grant changed much of that. The result has lived on. After WWII, they discovered how many soldiers didn't fire their weapons, even when under attack. The result is that we now teach them to fight and finish.

Towards the end of a war, it is very often difficult to put the breaks on the machine. Look at the "highway of death" in Kuwait. There was no tactical reason for what they did. But no one took the time to suggest that it be stopped. It went on for 10 hours.

zipplewrath

(16,646 posts)
72. "They"
Mon Aug 6, 2018, 12:38 PM
Aug 2018

People tend to speak of Japan as monolithic. At the time there were severe forces internal to Japan that were in conflict. Even the surrender that did occur was a struggle. There were military forces internal to Japan that attempted to block the surrender and prevent it from happening.

The statements saying that the bomb was unnecessary were correct, Japan was already defeated. However, what isn't clear is how and when Japan would acknowledge that. It isn't clear what caused the forces for surrender to become more powerful than the forces that wanted to continue to fight. It was touch and go at the end as it was.

And it is easier to believe one knows now what was true and what was not. At the time, the "fog of war" was very real. Surrender always seemed imminent to some. In the fog of war one has to deal with three problems simultaneously. 1) knowing what you know is true. 2) knowing what you think is false really is. 3) Not knowing what you think is false is really true. Now, we can sort that all out. Then, not so much.

malchickiwick

(1,474 posts)
75. All true, can't argue with anything in your post, which is well-nuanced.
Mon Aug 6, 2018, 01:13 PM
Aug 2018

I'd have to do some research to discover exactly which "they" had reached out through the Swiss, but as I understand it, it was somebody actually authorized to sit down with Mac and hammer out an Armistice.

My only reason for jumping into this discussion was to counter the prevailing, and frankly baffling, notion that we dropped the bombs for some military objectives.

 

stevenleser

(32,886 posts)
84. Several of those quotes likely don't mean what you think they mean
Mon Aug 6, 2018, 02:27 PM
Aug 2018

Anyone who has studied Curtis LeMay knows exactly what he meant by that. He meant to try to ensure that people believed that the multiple raids daily by 50+ and in some cases 100+ bombers on Japan are what did it (secured the surrender) and not the Atomic bombs. The point would be to ensure that post-war, the US would continue to spend tons of money on large bomber and fighter squadrons and not rely on nuclear weapons for defense. LeMay's bailiwick was commanding squadrons and wings of bombers and fighters and he wanted that to continue. That was LeMay's pretty obvious agenda here.

Eisenhower, Nimitz and Halsey are likely both correct in one respect, militarily it wasn't necessary. Of course no one is arguing that point is the problem. Militarily Japan was finished. Everyone knew that and no one disputed it then or disputes that now.

But being militarily finished doesn't necessarily translate into a nationwide surrender, which is a political decision. Zipplewrath gives a good outline here https://www.democraticunderground.com/?com=view_post&forum=1002&pid=10969236 of the fact that obtaining an actual surrender was very difficult and was touch and go up until the very end. Meanwhile, their entire populaces was being trained to resist an invasion.

On top of that, a very confusing message was given by the Japanese in response to the Potsdam declaration that made it very difficult for the folks in Japan who wanted peace to let that be known to the allies. The "Mokusatsu" response.

 

beachbum bob

(10,437 posts)
52. Japan chose not to end the war and vowed to fight to the death before the first
Mon Aug 6, 2018, 11:18 AM
Aug 2018

bomb fell. They said the same after the 2nd bomb fell...until the Emperor yanked back control and said enough is enough. The blame for the deaths of both bombs fall directly on the Japanese military...all other blame is pure bullshit

 

Tiggeroshii

(11,088 posts)
54. We didnt just kill Japanese
Mon Aug 6, 2018, 11:23 AM
Aug 2018

There were an estimated thousand or so allied POWs who had been caught in the blasts. And another several thousand American citizens who had been visiting the country at the time a travel ban was put in place.

rickford66

(5,480 posts)
59. My Dad was about to be sent over there.
Mon Aug 6, 2018, 11:37 AM
Aug 2018

He was drafted immediately after Pearl Harbor and was a crewman on a B24.

sdfernando

(4,878 posts)
61. This comes up every year on August 6th
Mon Aug 6, 2018, 11:41 AM
Aug 2018

Everyone re-litigating this decision. So many armchair quarterbacks...except these quarterbacks are calling plays for a game held 73 years ago.

csziggy

(34,113 posts)
68. Both my parents were serving in the Pacific in 1945
Mon Aug 6, 2018, 12:26 PM
Aug 2018

Mom was a Navy Nurse and treated the injured from many of the battles on the Pacific Islands including Iwo Jima. Dad was an ensign (j.g.) serving on a submarine (USS Spot) and engaged in action in the Sea of Japan (and earned a Navy and Marine Medal).

Neither of my parents believed that dropping the bombs on Japan were a bad thing. At the time he was in a rotation off patrol as a harbor pilot at Pearl, then posted to a newly arrived sub (USS Menhadin) which never went on patrol. Mom was too busy taking care of the wounded but did not see a chance the war was ending soon.

Dad's letters were about how no end was in sight - even AFTER the bombs were dropped.

They did not meet until well after peace was declared - it was months after that before most of the wounded were shipped back to the mainland. Then Mom was posted back to the mainland where she waited for Dad to arrive so they could get married.

They were not happy with the atomic bombings but saw them as a necessary step to end the war without losing tens of thousands more lives.

roamer65

(36,736 posts)
70. We weren't going to stop at Nagasaki.
Mon Aug 6, 2018, 12:31 PM
Aug 2018

I did a bit of research on declassified documents. The third one was ready to go and could be dropped as soon as August 19th.

 

bitterross

(4,066 posts)
83. My Father Was in the Navy in the Phillipines. Preparing for invasion.
Mon Aug 6, 2018, 02:08 PM
Aug 2018

Had the bomb not been dropped and the invasion proceeded he may have been killed and I would not be here to annoy so many people.

Seriously, I think it's a bit late to Monday-morning quarterback this one. I do not know what information was available to Truman nor can I see inside his heart and mind. I also do not really trust anyone who says "Truman knew this..." or "Truman knew that..."

All of us here on DU know that the winners write history. What we know is, generally, what we are allowed to know in order for us to be moved to one position or another. Everyone writing about these things has an agenda.

Am I cynical about things? Yes, I am. Reality has a way of doing that to me.

zipplewrath

(16,646 posts)
90. Exactly
Mon Aug 6, 2018, 03:12 PM
Aug 2018
Seriously, I think it's a bit late to Monday-morning quarterback this one. I do not know what information was available to Truman nor can I see inside his heart and mind. I also do not really trust anyone who says "Truman knew this..." or "Truman knew that..."


It is hard to know what he "knew" that he believed, and what he believed that wasn't true. That's the fog of war in many cases. Even more so in a time when communications was a fraction of what we enjoy today.

Mendocino

(7,393 posts)
86. My father
Mon Aug 6, 2018, 02:32 PM
Aug 2018

Last edited Mon Aug 6, 2018, 03:09 PM - Edit history (1)

was an officer on a LST. Had an invasion of Japan taken place, he most certainly have been in involved. Due to the topography and tidal patterns, his vessel would have been beached, with no withdraw. There was a good chance that he as his shipmates would die.

He and his crew had no qualms about the destruction of the Japanese military. Whatever the geopolitics of the moment, these men didn't want to perish.

hunter

(38,217 posts)
87. It was the last opportunity to test these new atomic weapons on living cities.
Mon Aug 6, 2018, 02:57 PM
Aug 2018

With the success of the "Gadget" in New Mexico the world was never going to be the same again.

wikipedia

Any plans for a conventional invasion of Japan were moot. The two atomic bombs dropped on Japan didn't "save" anyone.

If Japan refused to surrender the plan was to keep on dropping two or three atomic bombs on them every month until nothing was left.

People today may not realize how much U.S. Americans hated Japan, and how thoroughly racist that hatred was. Even Doctor Seuss got in on it...

wikipedia

People also don't realize how big the Manhattan project was. When the war ended there was only a brief shutdown of plutonium production to improve the safety and reliability of the process. By 1950 the U.S.A. had a hundred "Fat Man" type bombs of the type used on Nagasaki, and these were obsolete and being taken out of service, to be replaced with improved weapons.

Hekate

(89,764 posts)
97. It must be the first week in August: DU gets to refight the war none of us remembers personally
Mon Aug 6, 2018, 04:56 PM
Aug 2018

Carry on

thucythucy

(7,912 posts)
101. My problem is more with the second bomb
Mon Aug 6, 2018, 06:28 PM
Aug 2018

than the first.

We could have waited a week. Communication within Japan was slow, there was no way for the central government or the military to evaluate and understand what had happened in only a few days.

Waiting a week wouldn't have cost "hundreds of thousands of American lives" and it might have saved tens of thousands of Japanese civilians.

But we'll never know.

Algernon Moncrieff

(5,780 posts)
106. Welcome to the 2018 DU A - Bomb debate
Mon Aug 6, 2018, 07:31 PM
Aug 2018

Since everything here is essentially a repeat of what is said every year, I'll repeat essentially what I said the last time I was in this debate:

On April 12, 1945, Franklin Delano Roosevelt died, and the weight of the world fell on the shoulders of Harry S. Truman. The US participation in the war had been close to 3 1/2 years. Europe was about mopped up. The Pacific was another subject. Hopping from island to island, the Marines and the Army suffered horrific casualties fighting an enemy that would not surrender. Operation Olympic loomed in 1946 (after Europe was mopped up, and the US had time to transport and refit the armies of the European theater for use in the Japanese homeland). The anticipated allied casualties were high - very high. There was no reason to believe the conquest of Japan would take place prior to '47 - and by Allies, really just us, because Britain and France would need to rebuild, and the USSR was an ally only in the sense that we had common cause against Germany and Italy. They were going to be a problem in Asia.

And then something very unexpected happened to HST. A couple of days into his presidency, an obscure general named Leslie Groves came to visit him in the White House to tell him a secret that had been kept from his predecessor Henry Wallace. Groves told Truman something right out of science-fucking-fiction. In Oak Ridge Tennessee, a group of scientists - working in near-total secrecy under the guise of the Manhattan Project -- were developing a bomb based on the principles of nuclear fission theorized by physicists such as Albert Einstein (who wrote FDR before our entry into the war). A test was soon to be conducted to see if the bomb - a single bomb, mind you - would live up to its promise of destroying an entire city. If so, it was reasoned that the war would be quickly concluded, as Japan would realize that they truly had no option but annihilation.

It's easy to second guess Truman now, but his calculus was straightforward (as most things were with HST): we could continue a conventional fight against Japan, which would be Okinawa, Leyte Gulf, Iwo Jima, Tarawa, and Guadalcanal times (probably literally) 1000, or we could drop the bombs. We dropped the bombs. And even still, the council that ran Japan deadlocked between continuing the fight and surrender, and Hirohito himself had to break the tie and surrender.

You can hate Truman and hate the bomb, but upwards of half a million American lives were most likely saved, as well as a million or more Japanese - civilians and military.

Part of the reason we are seeing so much stupidity around Europe and the US right now is that with the deaths of the greatest generation, the lessons of WWII are being forgotten. Let us all pray we do not forget how truly horrific both conventional and nuclear war are.

hlthe2b

(101,339 posts)
107. I had long discussions with my parents, especially my Mom on this before they passed...
Mon Aug 6, 2018, 07:36 PM
Aug 2018

It made me see the decision in a very different light. In general I believe in judging issues within the context of the time, even while we have every right to evolve in our viewpoints today.

I've always admired Truman, having come to know quite a bit of his upbringing and environmental influences in Missouri. He was homespun in personality and on paper, severely unprepared for the job, but he rose to the occasion. Of course, compared to Trump, he would have been extremely WELL PREPARED, but then so too would a garden slug.

nini

(16,670 posts)
125. My dad was in Guam and the Phillipines
Wed Aug 8, 2018, 08:53 PM
Aug 2018

My mom worked at home in the war effort.
Both thought it was the right choice at the time and also hated it. In their view it saved far more lives than it took.

left-of-center2012

(34,195 posts)
108. Those who opposed the bombings will always oppose it
Mon Aug 6, 2018, 08:52 PM
Aug 2018

Those who say it was necessary will always say that.

Time to move on.

McCamy Taylor

(19,240 posts)
124. I smell divide and conquer.
Wed Aug 8, 2018, 08:49 PM
Aug 2018

Do we really want the Democratic Party to be seen as the party that loves to nuke Asians?There is absolutely no excuse for dropping nukes on civilians. I don't even know what this thread is doing here, except dividing and conquering Democrats. What is next? A thread about how members of the KKK in the 1920s were mostly Democrats? Or how the Republicans under Lincoln freed the slaves?

zanana1

(6,055 posts)
132. "Projecting some scary American casualty numbers"?
Thu Aug 9, 2018, 07:05 AM
Aug 2018

There would be far more "scary" casualties if the bomb is dropped on us!

melm00se

(4,953 posts)
136. Not that I expect this to change anyone's mind on the subject
Thu Aug 9, 2018, 07:50 AM
Aug 2018

but try and put yourself in Truman's shoes:

- Your country has been involved in WWII since late 1941 and war planners projected that the war would have continued for at least 1 more year.

- 22 US servicemen were being killed every day.

- Your two most recent Pacific invasions/battles (Iwo Jima and Okinawa) cost you:
Iwo Jima - 6,800 KIA and 19,217 wounded
Okinawa - 20,195 KIA and 55,162 wounded (and 40,000 to 150,000 civilians killed).

- The Japanese losses were:
Iwo Jima: ~18,000 dead
Okinawa: 77,000+ dead

- You faced USA casualty projections at least 1 order of magnitude greater if a Japanese invasion was necessary.

- The Japanese fought to the death in the major battles:
Saipan: of a garrison of 31,000, less than 1000 were captured.
Tarawa: of a garrison of 3,000, less than 20 were captured.

- Japan, in addition to the ~4,000,000 military personnel on the Japanese Home Islands (+31 million in civilian militias), had ~1,000,000 to draw on in China.

- Japanese casualties (both military and civilian) would have been absolutely atrocious during an invasion and post invasion.

- In the month's leading up to August 1945, the Japanese refused to surrender post-VE day and then again after the Potsdam Declaration (the split in the Japanese Supreme War Council on the topic of surrender was not definitively known at that time).

- The Soviets pledged to attack Japan 3 months after the German surrender.

- You had some serious concerns in regards to the Soviets post-Potsdam especially after Stalin indicated that the Soviets planned to impose Soviet control over certain territories annexed by Germany and Japan.

- You are told that you have a weapon or two that could cause such devastation that ending the war in very short order. Bearing all of the above in mind:

Knowing all of this, can you fault Truman for dropping the bomb(s)?

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