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Response to Jim Lane (Reply #25)

Wed Aug 7, 2013, 11:26 AM

35. Let's be clear, i.e. an Asian "iron curtain"

I agree completely. One important motivation to bomb was the scenario in which the Soviet Union attacks and then Japan surrenders, with no A-bomb having been dropped. Washington didnít want that. In my OP, I emphasized that the U.S. government wanted the chance to demonstrate the power of the bomb on a city, but itís also correct that there was a big push to get the bomb dropped before the (known date of the) Soviet attack. The supposed concern about the military necessity was largely pretextual. (Notably, none of the military commanders in that theater were even consulted. The only military leader who was asked for an opinion was Eisenhower, who advised against the bombing.)

You write, ďIt would have made Truman's day if the Japanese surrendered because that would achieve his number one and number two strategic goals--ending the war before the Soviets got in on it.Ē Again, I agree completely. Thatís an important reason that he didnít wait a few weeks. Thus the issue is not whether destruction of two cities and massacre of scores of thousands of civilians was justified to save the American lives that would be lost in an invasion, but rather whether those horrendous consequences were justified by these geopolitical considerations. One can argue that they were but itís a different argument from the ones that apologists for the bombing choose to present. I personally believe that because the slaughter was so extensive, and because it involved a weapon with a new order of destructive power, it would require very heavy justification, and gaming the Soviets didnít cut it.


Okay, let's be sure we all understand what is being said here. The US, and the western world, was seeing what was happening in Europe already in areas the Russians (I don't believe they were called the Soviets yet) were controlling. What would become known as the "Iron Curtain" was already forming. The US (and Britain) did NOT want that to happen in the Asian-Pacific. The more land they grabbed, and if they got in on the surrender negotiations with a decent negotiating position, there were real fears that the eastern european situation would repeat.

Again, one has to understand the context under which these decisions were made. It isn't the same perception we have today. They had very "immediate" concerns based upon what they had experienced over the last 4 years. And there was some confusion about what was true and what was not. And they had become familiar with "total war" even while tiring of it such that the mass bombing of two cities (and many didn't understand how powerful these bombs were) wasn't going to be the consideration then that it is to many of us today.

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Arrow 67 replies Author Time Post
Jim Lane Aug 2013 OP
Socal31 Aug 2013 #1
niyad Aug 2013 #3
Nanjing to Seoul Aug 2013 #14
Lancero Aug 2013 #28
Niceguy1 Aug 2013 #29
Jim Lane Aug 2013 #30
niyad Aug 2013 #31
ConcernedCanuk Aug 2013 #40
Name removed Aug 2013 #41
cliffordu Aug 2013 #50
NutmegYankee Aug 2013 #55
telclaven Aug 2013 #56
Bonobo Aug 2013 #2
Fumesucker Aug 2013 #9
Jim Lane Aug 2013 #18
Fumesucker Aug 2013 #24
hack89 Aug 2013 #48
Jim Lane Aug 2013 #59
hack89 Aug 2013 #63
cliffordu Aug 2013 #51
Bonobo Aug 2013 #57
cliffordu Aug 2013 #58
joshcryer Aug 2013 #4
Jim Lane Aug 2013 #12
joshcryer Aug 2013 #15
Jim Lane Aug 2013 #19
joshcryer Aug 2013 #22
GreenStormCloud Aug 2013 #67
LearnedHand Aug 2013 #5
jimlup Aug 2013 #6
Bucky Aug 2013 #10
hunter Aug 2013 #7
Bucky Aug 2013 #11
hunter Aug 2013 #13
Bucky Aug 2013 #20
hunter Aug 2013 #32
Bucky Aug 2013 #39
ConcernedCanuk Aug 2013 #42
Bucky Aug 2013 #43
ConcernedCanuk Aug 2013 #45
Jim Lane Aug 2013 #62
nadinbrzezinski Aug 2013 #54
ConcernedCanuk Aug 2013 #60
nadinbrzezinski Aug 2013 #61
HardTimes99 Aug 2013 #44
GreenStormCloud Aug 2013 #46
hunter Aug 2013 #52
Bucky Aug 2013 #8
joshcryer Aug 2013 #17
Bucky Aug 2013 #21
joshcryer Aug 2013 #23
Jim Lane Aug 2013 #25
LineLineLineReply Let's be clear, i.e. an Asian "iron curtain"
zipplewrath Aug 2013 #35
Bucky Aug 2013 #36
Hulk Aug 2013 #16
Jim Lane Aug 2013 #26
sofa king Aug 2013 #27
hunter Aug 2013 #33
sofa king Aug 2013 #49
Lee-Lee Aug 2013 #34
brooklynite Aug 2013 #37
Jim Lane Aug 2013 #38
Bake Aug 2013 #47
markiv Aug 2013 #53
DCBob Aug 2013 #64
melm00se Aug 2013 #65
ConcernedCanuk Aug 2013 #66
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