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Thread: Dropping of atomic bombs on hiroshima and nagasaki

  1. #1 Dropping of atomic bombs on hiroshima and nagasaki 
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    do you think it was a good idea for the Americans to drop the atomic bombs on hiroshima and nagasaki during world war 2?


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    This can be debated forever.

    I have a very difficult time justifying the intentional killing of civilians in war, or failing to take active measures to try to prevent the killing of non-combatants.

    That said, if you do the cold calculus of death, I do think the atom bombings saved lives, both US and especially Japanese (and likely Soviet lives too, since they would also have joined the invasion). An invasion would've killed perhaps 5x more people in total than the combined deaths from the atom bombs.

    Thus comes the question of whether there were alternatives to atom bombings of cities filled with non-combatants which could have achieved the same goal of preventing an invasion, and thus prevented a huge death toll.
    - What if the US had stopped insisting on a complete unconditional surrender? Post-war documents do suggest that the Japanese government would've surrendered with some minor negotiated concessions (in fact, we did give them one concession of not hanging their emperor!)
    - What if the US had given a couple more weeks before bombing Nagasaki, to allow the Japanese government time to surrender?
    - What if we dropped the bombs on military targets, instead of civilian targets, would this have accomplished the same goal?
    - What if we dropped the first bomb as a demonstration on an unihabited target, such as Mt Fuji, would this have accomplished the same goal?


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  4. #3  
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    the a-scienctists petitioned for a public demonstration first. it was a balls up on the largest scale!
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    It’s worth keeping in mind that the Japanese government still refused to surrender after the first bomb was dropped; many people in the Japanese government and military thought that it was either a trick or a feat that we couldn’t repeat. Also, even after the second bomb had been dropped there was an attempted coup by some of Japan’s military and political leaders who wanted to seize control from the Emperor and prevent him from surrendering.
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    In my opinion, it was a good idea to a certain extent, for America to drop the atomic bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

    The Americans had warned Japan that they would drop the atomic bomb if they refused to surrender but Japan did not heed the warning. Although Japan was on the verge of surrendering, the Japanese were very loyal to their emperor and without the bombs, the surrender of the Japanese would have taken longer, and it is estimated 5,000,000 people could be killed during this period as compared to the thousands who would be killed by the atomic bomb, thus it seemed more logical to drop the bombs and end the war earlier.

    However, the atomic bombs had many side effects, so the Americans should not have dropped the atomic bombs on the Japanese cities so readily. The bombing of the cities had caused much psychological distress and people miles away from the explosion were killed due to radiation and the effect of the bombings still lingers on today. The Americans could have, as suggested by the makers of the bombs, could have dropped the bombs on a deserted island and let the Japanese see the power of the bombs, and maybe reconsider surrendering, before the Americans really bomb them.

    In conclusion, I think that the American should have given the Japanese another warning, considering the damage the atomic bombs could bring. An explosion over somewhere more desolate would have killed less people, and the impact would still have been able to cause Japanese to consider surrendering. If the Japanese did not want to surrender after witnessing the effects of the bomb, than it was necessary to bomb the Japanese cities to end the war.
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    Comparable (perhaps greater) numbers of people were killed in the fire bombings of Tokyo and of Dresden, using conventional weapons. I do not believe it is valid to separate the use of atomic weapons from conventional weapons at that point in history.
    Today we know what those weapons can do. In 1945 the true power of the weapons was not fully appreciated by most involved in the decision to bomb.
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    Quote Originally Posted by silversparkles
    In my opinion, it was a good idea to a certain extent, for America to drop the atomic bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
    You later go on to make a reasonable argument against this. (By the way, the Japanese leaders were not explicity warned about atom bombs)

    Given that there were only two atom bombs in existance after Trinity, and no more for several months later, it is unwise that two bombs could not be used for demonstration blasts. Perhaps one could, but not two.

    I think my list of alternatives in the earlier post summarized the situation well.

    IMO, the best alternatives were:
    1) Bomb military targets
    or
    2) Accept a less than unconditional surrender.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    Today we know what those weapons can do. In 1945 the true power of the weapons was not fully appreciated by most involved in the decision to bomb.
    Historical records show that this statement is incorrect. Truman and his cabinet knew full well the awesome power and destruction that a sngle atom bomb would create. Truman had daily updates on Manhattan from Sec State Stimson since the day he assumed the presidency. The decision to drop the bomb, its true power, and the damage it would wreak were the subject of daily hours-long cabinet level meetings for the two weeks leading up to the decision to drop it. Basically all the contemporary memoirs of Truman and his cabinet state that Truman regarded the atom bomb as a legitimate weapon of war, and thus used it. There was also the desire to impress the Soviets of the US strength (since the secret of the atom bomb had been withheld from Stalin). Many very good well-researched books have been written on the subject of how the decision was made to drop the bomb.

    The facts do show that Truman appreciated the true power of the atom bomb before he made the decision to drop it. What Truman didn't appreciate was the worldwide outcry and revulsion afterwards against that decision.

    I do not believe it is valid to separate the use of atomic weapons from conventional weapons at that point in history.
    This is correct, as I discussed above.
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    Quote Originally Posted by silversparkles
    The Americans could have, as suggested by the makers of the bombs, could have dropped the bombs on a deserted island and let the Japanese see the power of the bombs, and maybe reconsider surrendering, before the Americans really bomb them.
    If dropping an atomic bomb on Hiroshima didn't get the Japanese to surrender, why would dropping a bomb on some uninhabited area have worked? Remember that many Japanese didn't want to surrender even after the second city was bombed.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    Comparable (perhaps greater) numbers of people were killed in the fire bombings of Tokyo and of Dresden, using conventional weapons.
    This is a great point that many people seem to overlook. I don't think that there's any moral difference between killing 50,000 people with one bomb dropped from one plane vs. killing 50,000 people with many bombs dropped from many planes. Both sides in WWII routinely killed tens of thousands of people with bombing raids. 40,000 British civilians were killed when Germany bombed London. About 30,000 people were killed when the Allies bombed Dresden. For some reason people seem to single out the atomic bombings as especially bad.

    Of course this doesn't mean that it's a good thing to wipe out a city, but people should keep in mind that it was a regular thing in WWII for a bombing raid to completely destroy a large city.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scifor Refugee
    If dropping an atomic bomb on Hiroshima didn't get the Japanese to surrender, why would dropping a bomb on some uninhabited area have worked? Remember that many Japanese didn't want to surrender even after the second city was bombed.
    Actually, if you read up on the details of the end of this war, we never gave the Japanese government enough time between Hiroshima and Nagasaki to make the decision to surrender. So, in that sense, the Nagasaki bomb is completely unwarranted.

    As far as the theorretical question of whether the Japanese government would have surrendered after witnessing the bomb's effects on Mt Fuji or a naval base...we will never know the answer, since this wasn't done.

    Then again, had we agreed simply to allow for a conditional surrender (the condition that their emperor not be put on trial), the Japanese government would've surrendered before either atomic bombing. Of course we agreed to just that condition after Nagasaki, which makes one wonder why we ever dropped the two atom bombs to begin with.
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    Today we know what those weapons can do. In 1945 the true power of the weapons was not fully appreciated by most involved in the decision to bomb
    they knew becasue the sciencists told them in reports and letters,
    but they were alseo told before the the begining of S-1 that the bombs were possible, it wasn't until the war started that FRD took notce, agreed to meet sachs. even then he had to sleep on , dismissing dr. sachs.

    they knew, but politics is bliss.
    they wanted a quick end, they got it, and paid the price

    all these sugestions can keep flying arounsd as to what they did or didn't do, fact is, one could say that if leo szilard didn't leave germany the day he did (the same train that was packed the next day was stoped by the germans and jews taken off) the whole project could of been ten years too late,

    thast what i hate about history, too many people (including myself) decide what should have been done!

    i think the reason we single them out, was they were the first of there kind, im sure if tecnolagaly ahdn't advance we could still be shocked at the gas of world war one!
    when a new weapon is used, one that is worse , we will zoom on that!
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    im a little negative considering hiroshima was a military base and what they done to SEA...
    still though i wonder what tsar bomba would have done to hiroshima..
    tsar bomba=king of bombs,50megaton hydro bomb not full yield unless u238 was added to it then wud be 100mt in russia
    compare to little boy... little boy wud really be little little boy only 13kilotons... look @ what it done
    horrible even if less than 2% acuallly underwnet fission
    tsra bomba=no man survives whole hiroshima wiped out +surroundings
    no time for lots of things
    must save time
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    Quote Originally Posted by notime
    im a little negative considering hiroshima was a military base and what they done to SEA...
    still though i wonder what tsar bomba would have done to hiroshima..
    It was a city with a military base in it.
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    pardon me for my lack of grammar
    my english sucks
    :P
    no time for lots of things
    must save time
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  17. #16  
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    IMO, the best alternatives were:
    1) Bomb military targets
    or
    2) Accept a less than unconditional surrender.
    I would says

    1) Bomb a military target

    AND

    2) Accept a less than unconditional surrender


    I have a question, given that japan was battered and apparently depended on off island ressources for its military, what threat did it pose once its navy was smashed, as in why the need for an invasion of mainland japan?

    THen, how much of the "urgency" was due to the desire to prehempt and prevent the USSR's envolvent?


    ( I would also say that I'm disturbed by the apparent abscence of recognition by Japans for the massacres it has commited and the re-writing of history books. )
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  18. #17  
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    Hmmm Interesting debate, tell me how many of you think the Germans or Jpanese (if they had the bomb) would have been so concerned about using it? It was known that many German secrets were shipped to Tokyo after the fall of Berlin some allies thought that a crude bomb could be manufactured by the Japs within months. The problem is, that when you start a war you have to assume it is or may be to the death, after that you get what you deserve. The notion that a 'demo' could be staged is ridiculous, the Japanese would undoubtedly have shipped all their remaining POW's to the spot, there was always the chance that the device would not detonate properly. As horrific as war always is, the Atomic bomb bought an end to the war, and the devasting power it displayed may have played a significant part in keeping the US and Russia at arms length fo r decades following, and may still be a reason why all wars since have been 'local' affairs. Had japan just been left alone once it was isolated the gov and generals would have hailed themselves victorious to their people (remember almost all jap defeats were kept secret from it's citizens right to the end).
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    the mind set of the international community in the 1930's to 60's was somewhat different than that after the sixties. in the earlier years and going back to mans first conflict, success was decided by total destruction of the foe. there is little or no question, any nation with the power of an atom bomb in 1945 or before would have used it. Germany, Japan, England or any Nation. the US perfected the process and pick you reason
    delivered the two bombs and just as any other nation, was not concerned with non combatant deaths. reasons have been developed since and no doubt the actual results were a little more destructive than expected.

    in my opinion; there is no such thing as innocence in the population of a waring nation or people. maybe you can pick out 10 or 20 %, but the rest are like minded in total or to a degree. if the, so called Muslim extremist on 9/11 had used five thousand aircraft and bombed most every major area in the US, killing say 100 million and taking out our major industrial capacity the rest of us would respond in as an aggressive manner as possible. defeat of the US would only be possible, by occupation and the killing of those opposed to this.

    i am not suggesting, we or any one else, should go around killing Muslims, but the mindset of OBL, SH or others in that movement is very much in the populations of that faith and even some not in the faith, but anti one thing or another and will accept anything other than what they have. let
    me say it this way; i would fight to the death, any entity that tried to kill off my way of life, my government or my people. not to kill me would leave that one person to fight back, unless my will was so defeated no recourse could achieve my objective.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scifor Refugee
    It’s worth keeping in mind that the Japanese government still refused to surrender after the first bomb was dropped; many people in the Japanese government and military thought that it was either a trick or a feat that we couldn’t repeat. Also, even after the second bomb had been dropped there was an attempted coup by some of Japan’s military and political leaders who wanted to seize control from the Emperor and prevent him from surrendering.
    Erm...Think you will find that Japan WAS infact about to surrender (even before the first bomb was dropped) That is historical FACT.
    They were planning on using the first bomb over Tokyo, but on that day there was bad weather, so in fearing they may not get a chance to test the bomb, if they waited for good weather and in the meantime Japan surrendered. SO...It was dropped over Hiroshima instead.
    The hand of time rested on the half-hour mark, and all along that old front line of the English there came a whistling and a crying. The men of the first wave climbed up the parapets, in tumult, darkness, and the presence of death, and having done with all pleasant things, advanced across No Man's Land to begin the Battle of the Somme. - Poet John Masefield.

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    The problem is, that when you start a war you have to assume it is or may be to the death
    -thats the answer to the question

    -ive read that they were thinking about surrendering but as the americans liberated japanesse controlled lands and found all the mass killings and concentration camps and other horrors would u trust them cause on paper the war is over??????

    -Personally if i were the president i wouldnt have trusted the japs at the time, cause what if i sent my boys in and they were attacked in a way similar to the way the americans are in iraq. I had no way of knowing, im moving towards japan and there pilots are killing themselves to cripple my aircraft carriers? Not even the germans were that crazy.... These people didnt want me near there island and were fighting to the death, which is very respectable. But could they be trusted at the time, no.
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    I think they should have dropped them on Bill Gate's Parent's house, that really would have changed history.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Megabrain
    I think they should have dropped them on Bill Gate's Parent's house, that really would have changed history.
    Would it ?

    What if the Germans had won ? Would the world be any different than it is today ?

    I dont think so.
    The hand of time rested on the half-hour mark, and all along that old front line of the English there came a whistling and a crying. The men of the first wave climbed up the parapets, in tumult, darkness, and the presence of death, and having done with all pleasant things, advanced across No Man's Land to begin the Battle of the Somme. - Poet John Masefield.

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    as per our view point non voilence is the best, strongest and safest weapon to attain peace and harmony rather than bombing attack
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    Quote Originally Posted by leohopkins

    What if the Germans had won ? Would the world be any different than it is today ?

    I dont think so.
    we'd all be speaking german, haggen daz lol
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  26. #25  
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    If the Germans had won, I suspect most around today would not be here but others would, there would be no Israel. NOt sure how long the world could be ruled by one or two countries I suspect it would have collapsed in the mid 50's at the latest. All empoires eventually collapse, history mostly shows the quicker they are built the faster they collapse.
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    Some perspective:

    On VE day in 1945 my then 18-year-old mother in London came home from the celebrations. She found her mother crying. Like many mothers she now feared that her two remaining sons in the British military (one had been killed in 1943) would now be sent to fight the Japanese. The stories were already known about the sadistic torture of British and Allied soldiers.

    There's also a chance that my own father, a Canadian soldier at the time, would then be transferred to the Pacific for even a bloodier assault than the one he had experienced in Normandy.

    On my wife's side. Her mother (dutch) spent 3 years interred in a Japanese concentration camp in indonesia (dutch at the tine). My wife's grandfather murdered by the Japanese. Her mother when liberated (beause of the sudden surrender)was near death and barely able to stand on her feet. They escaped death. They knew that any assault on Japan was their death sentence as it had been for those in the Philipines.

    The war was lost for the Japanese in early 1945. The Japanese knew it. They had every opportunity to surrender a hundred times but refused. They continued to butcher hundreds of thousands of civilians.... they continued to starve hundreds of thousands of civilians..they continued to torture civilians. The emperor did nothing to stop this. The Japanese were more obsesed with honour than any morality that we would recognize.

    The dropping of the two bombs was horrific but far less horrific than allowing the atrocities to continue and numbers of allied casualties that were estimated to be up towards the million mark. To keep fighting was the choice of the Japanese. If acriminal is given the opportunity to put his weapon down but continues to murder civilians then his death is his own responsibility.

    My wife's mother survived. My mother's brother weren't sent for an assault on Japan. My father returned to Canada directly instead of experiencing some unknown fate in the Pacific.

    Our family's story is not unique. There are millions like it from Manchuria to Indonesia to the Phillipines to veteran's hospitals in Australia to villages in Scotland to suburbs in big cities in the USA. Millions of 'what ifs'.

    No regrets in our family that the war ended decisevely with two bombs instaed of potentially millions of more horror stories.
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  28. #27  
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    yes, it's all to easy to forget the horrors of the time, many of course today were not around to know, today we can sit back in almost total security and say ' it should not have been done' but in wartime your own survival and those of your countrymen far outway politcal correctness.

    What was done, was done, hopefully mankind has learned from it, had it not happened and the horrors of radiation poisoning not been discovered at that time, the bomb most probably would have been used elswhere, perhaps even the 'cuban crisis' might have ended differently, the memory of the two bombs and their long term after affects were clearly a consideration to Kennedy and Khrushchev.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Megabrain
    yes, it's all to easy to forget the horrors of the time, many of course today were not around to know, today we can sit back in almost total security and say ' it should not have been done' but in wartime your own survival and those of your countrymen far outway politcal correctness.

    What was done, was done, hopefully mankind has learned from it, had it not happened and the horrors of radiation poisoning not been discovered at that time, the bomb most probably would have been used elswhere, perhaps even the 'cuban crisis' might have ended differently, the memory of the two bombs and their long term after affects were clearly a consideration to Kennedy and Khrushchev.
    Your view reflects what my father said. The average soldier or citizen had no perspective of the atom bomb until well after it was seen in newsreels. It was just another bomb but bigger. 'If' the horror of the two bombs had not been documented and put into newsreels then the potential of a nuclear exchange might never have been as paralyzing a concept as it became. Avoided at all costs. For over 60 years since WW2 a nuclear device has not been used despite thousands of them being produced. Hopefully the streak continues.

    Nuclear devices are often described to the public as 'x' times the explosive power of the bomb used at Hiroshima. In the 60's as a kid air raid sirens scared the %&*# out of me when they went off.
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  30. #29  
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    So in a way the continual raising of the issue, whether to condemn or explain it, is a good thing, the worse that could happen is that after a few more generations the lessons learnt are forgotten, sadly there's usually only one way to re-learn, and that's practice. Maybe the 'ancients' telling stories around the fire to the next generation was more important than people think.
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    Yes, also think how many lives have been saved since by countries not going to war because of the nuclear deterrent. This would not have been possible had the bombs not been dropped.
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