Catholic FAQ


Help support Catholic Answers!

Latest Threads
newest posts



Go Back   Catholic Answers Forums > Forums > Apologetics > Social Justice
 

Welcome to Catholic Answers Forums, the largest Catholic Community on the Web.

Here you can join over 400,000 members from around the world discussing all things Catholic. Membership is open to all, Catholic and non-Catholic alike, who seek the Truth with Charity.

To gain full access, you must register for a FREE account. Registered members are able to:
  • Submit questions about the faith to experts from Catholic Answers
  • Participate in all forum discussions
  • Communicate privately with Catholics from around the world
  • Plus join a prayer group, read with the Book Club, and much more.
Registration is fast, simple and absolutely free. So join our community today!

Have a question about registration or your account log-in? Just contact our Support Hotline.

View Poll Results: As a Catholic, What do you think about the bombing of Hiroshima?
Morally Wrong 180 61.43%
We had to it 113 38.57%
Voters: 293. You may not vote on this poll

Closed Thread
 
Thread Tools Search Thread Display
  #1  
Old Jun 23, '11, 5:47 pm
followingtheway's Avatar
followingtheway followingtheway is offline
Regular Member
 
Join Date: May 30, 2011
Posts: 1,861
Religion: Catholic
Unhappy As a Catholic, What do you think about Hiroshima?

What is your opinion on the matter?
__________________
I am a proud young Hispanic Roman Catholic from NYC.



Are you a proud Hispanic Catholic too? Come join the group!

http://forums.catholic.com/group.php?groupid=1318
  #2  
Old Jun 23, '11, 6:47 pm
dmar198 dmar198 is offline
Regular Member
 
Join Date: December 21, 2006
Posts: 1,228
Religion: Catholic
Default Re: As a Catholic, What do you think about Hiroshima?

Quote:
Originally Posted by followingtheway View Post
What is your opinion on the matter?
From the Catechism of the Catholic Church #2314: "Every act of war directed to the indiscriminate destruction of whole cities or vast areas with their inhabitants is a crime against God and man, which merits firm and unequivocal condemnation. A danger of modern warfare is that it provides the opportunity to those who possess modern scientific weapons especially atomic, biological, or chemical weapons - to commit such crimes."
__________________
The best way to put someone at ease
is to be informed
and just stick with the truth.
  #3  
Old Jun 23, '11, 6:54 pm
Transformer Transformer is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: September 14, 2006
Posts: 498
Religion: Catholic (Latin Church)
Send a message via AIM to Transformer
Default Re: As a Catholic, What do you think about Hiroshima?

Quote:
From the Catechism of the Catholic Church #2314: "Every act of war directed to the indiscriminate destruction of whole cities or vast areas with their inhabitants is a crime against God and man, which merits firm and unequivocal condemnation. A danger of modern warfare is that it provides the opportunity to those who possess modern scientific weapons especially atomic, biological, or chemical weapons - to commit such crimes."
  #4  
Old Jun 23, '11, 6:55 pm
JacquesMaritain JacquesMaritain is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: December 22, 2010
Posts: 293
Religion: Catholic
Default Re: As a Catholic, What do you think about Hiroshima?

Quote:
Originally Posted by followingtheway View Post
What is your opinion on the matter?
Hi following the way:

I wanted to comment here because it seems that some people (such as myself) will be tempted to pick both choices. The morality of war is always problematic, so Catholic theologians developed the theory of "just war" under Medieval scholastics like Augustine and Aquinas. Basically, the damage caused by the aggressor must be significant (it was); other means of ending the conflict were ineffective (not sure about that); the methods used (tactics, weapons) must be significant enough to ensure success (almost certainly true); and the weapons used must not cause more evil than the evil you're trying to eliminate (I think that's hard to argue here). The Catechism (2314) has more:

"Every act of war directed to the indiscriminate destruction of whole cities or vast areas with their inhabitants is a crime against God and man, which merits firm and unequivocal condemnation. A danger of modern warfare is that it provides the opportunity to those who possess modern scientific weapons -- especially atomic, biological, or chemical weapons -- to commit such crimes."

I think it's clear that the Hiroshima atomic bomb is an example of the "indiscriminate destruction of whole cities or vast areas with their inhabitants", as much of the city was destroyed and 70,000 people (mainly civilians) died. So it seems clear that the bombing was a moral evil. On the other hand, some military historians have looked at Allied battle plans, noting that the cities of Honshu and Kyushu would have been invaded in the autumn and winter of 1945 (had the Japanese not surrendered after the atomic attacks).

These scholars argue that the alternative to the Atomic Bomb was a full scale invasion of the Japanese mainland by Allied forces, which would have resulted in casualties exceeding 1 million (Allied soldiers) and 2-3 million (Japanese). So their take on it, basically, is that the Bomb, horrendous as it was, was the "lesser of two evils". So if you believe this view, then I suppose, yes, it is morally wrong, and yes, we had to do it. Unfortunately, for many modern problems, there may not be definitive "black and white, right or wrong" answers...not all problems are soluble.

I hope this helps.

Jacques
  #5  
Old Jun 23, '11, 7:04 pm
mdgspencer mdgspencer is offline
Regular Member
 
Join Date: September 11, 2006
Posts: 3,601
Religion: Catholic
Default Re: As a Catholic, What do you think about Hiroshima?

The usual justification for using the atomic bomb against two Japanese cities is that it saved at least a million American lives. However, using the exact same reasoning, then this would also be justified--if the Japanese had developed the atomic bomb first and used it on two American cities--say Washington and New York City--and saved at least a million Japanese lives, they would have been morally justified doing this. Still today, in 2011, they would be justified in saying that it was morally right to use the atomic bomb against U.S. cities then.
  #6  
Old Jun 23, '11, 7:20 pm
JacquesMaritain JacquesMaritain is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: December 22, 2010
Posts: 293
Religion: Catholic
Default Re: As a Catholic, What do you think about Hiroshima?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mdgspencer View Post
The usual justification for using the atomic bomb against two Japanese cities is that it saved at least a million American lives. However, using the exact same reasoning, then this would also be justified--if the Japanese had developed the atomic bomb first and used it on two American cities--say Washington and New York City--and saved at least a million Japanese lives, they would have been morally justified doing this. Still today, in 2011, they would be justified in saying that it was morally right to use the atomic bomb against U.S. cities then.
Hi mdgspencer:

Well, as you said. But I think the military historians are saying more than this...that preventing an invasion of the Japanese homelands saved 1 million Americans and 2-3 million Japanese. So it isn't just the Americans who "benefitted" here. I don't want to engage in speculative history, as there was no way Japan could have developed nuclear technology in the 1940s. There were only 2 nations really capable of this at the time, Germany (who under the Nazis started a nuclear weapons program at the beginning of the War, the uranverein) and the USA (the 1942 Manhattan project, ironically started by the German-American physicist and pacifist Albert Einstein). I think the Americans really started to develop nuclear weapons to fight Nazi Germany, but the research took so long (to the Spring of 1945) that by the time the weapons were made, the Nazis had surrendered and the only antagonist left in the war was Japan. So at the end of it all, the military commanders, eager to end the War and save further losses of life on both sides, decided to order the Atomic strikes. From a military point of view, I think they were trying to "minimize" the destruction needed to definitively end the conflict.

Jacques

Last edited by JacquesMaritain; Jun 23, '11 at 7:35 pm.
  #7  
Old Jun 23, '11, 7:26 pm
Samuel63's Avatar
Samuel63 Samuel63 is offline
Regular Member
 
Join Date: December 28, 2010
Posts: 869
Religion: Catholic
Default Re: As a Catholic, What do you think about Hiroshima?

It ended the war early. It saved lives.
  #8  
Old Jun 23, '11, 7:28 pm
MarkThompson MarkThompson is offline
Regular Member
 
Join Date: February 22, 2010
Posts: 5,330
Religion: Catholic
Default Re: As a Catholic, What do you think about Hiroshima?

You know, we manufactured so many purple hearts in preparation for the eventual invasion of Japan that after all the conflicts in Korea, Vietnam, the Persian Gulf War, Iraq, and Afghanistan, not to mention Grenada, Panama, Mogadishu, Kosovo, etc., we're still trying to use them up, and there are over 100,000 more sitting around in boxes. That should give you an idea of the quantity of casualties we anticipated suffering in an invasion.

And don't forget the countless thousands of Japanese civilians who marched to commit "honorable" mass suicide wherever American troops landed. Yeah, I'm sure it would have worked out really great for everyone concerned if we had had to send a half-million troops to conquer the home islands.
__________________
Qui meditabitur in lege Domini die ac nocte, dabit fructum suum in tempore suo.

  #9  
Old Jun 23, '11, 7:53 pm
valentino valentino is offline
Regular Member
Forum Supporter
 
Join Date: January 31, 2011
Posts: 2,276
Religion: catholic
Default Re: As a Catholic, What do you think about Hiroshima?

The Japanese were as fanatical as the Nazis.they were told that the Americans would turn them into slaves,and the women would be raped,and children would be hurt.Japan was closed to the outside media just like Germany.There would have been fighting in the streets,all women without rifles would have committed suicide and Japan would have fought to the last man.The atom bomb was a necessary evil.
  #10  
Old Jun 23, '11, 7:55 pm
mdgspencer mdgspencer is offline
Regular Member
 
Join Date: September 11, 2006
Posts: 3,601
Religion: Catholic
Default Re: As a Catholic, What do you think about Hiroshima?

The Japanese considered trying to develop the atomic bomb and decided nuclear weapons were unfeasable. But what if the decision of the few officials who made it had gone the other way?
You raise the possibility that millions of Japanese lives were saved because the U.S. used nuclear weapons on two Japanese cities. (I doubt this, but this is another matter.) But what if Japan started wiping out major U.S. cities and ended the war? They could not only have saved a million Japanese lives but also saved all the American soldiers who would have died in the war afterwards. (A considerable number of U.S. soldiers lost their lives then.) Is it actually true that saving all these American lives could increase the moral justification for Japan's use of nuclear weapons on U.S. cities?

Quote:
Originally Posted by JacquesMaritain View Post
Hi mdgspencer:

Well, as you said. But I think the military historians are saying more than this...that preventing an invasion of the Japanese homelands saved 1 million Americans and 2-3 million Japanese. So it isn't just the Americans who "benefitted" here. I don't want to engage in speculative history, as there was no way Japan could have developed nuclear technology in the 1940s. There were only 2 nations really capable of this at the time, Germany (who under the Nazis started a nuclear weapons program at the beginning of the War, the uranverein) and the USA (the 1942 Manhattan project, ironically started by the German-American physicist and pacifist Albert Einstein). I think the Americans really started to develop nuclear weapons to fight Nazi Germany, but the research took so long (to the Spring of 1945) that by the time the weapons were made, the Nazis had surrendered and the only antagonist left in the war was Japan. So at the end of it all, the military commanders, eager to end the War and save further losses of life on both sides, decided to order the Atomic strikes. From a military point of view, I think they were trying to "minimize" the destruction needed to definitively end the conflict.

Jacques
  #11  
Old Jun 23, '11, 8:21 pm
Ghosty Ghosty is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: June 3, 2004
Posts: 8,371
Religion: transferring to the Melkite Church
Send a message via MSN to Ghosty Send a message via Yahoo to Ghosty
Default Re: As a Catholic, What do you think about Hiroshima?

The Japanese government, from the highest levels, was seeking a conditional surrender leading up to the atomic bombings, and the U.S. government knew this. Japan's one "non-negotiable" was the status of the Emperor, but the U.S. and Great Britain wanted an unconditional surrender. After their unconditional surrender we left the Emperor in place anyway, so there was no reason to push that particular issue to the point of nuclear war. They were not insisting on keeping any territory they had claimed in the war. First hand document here.

Furthermore, an invasion was not at all necessary either; Japan's navy was completely obliterated, and they did not have the natural resources on their home islands to support a war machine, let alone basic industry. They might have remained belligerent, but they wouldn't have been able to do anything about it.

It's possible that even after negotiation Japan wouldn't have surrendered, that the militarists would have won out over the Emperor and continued the war. The problem is that the surrender offer was never even taken up or pursued.

This is not to excuse the horrendous things the Japanese government did to the occupied nations and their own people, it's just to say that we should expect better of our own people.

Peace and God bless!
__________________
But I will look for some means of going to heaven by a little way which is very short and very straight, a little way that is quite new.
  #12  
Old Jun 23, '11, 10:17 pm
roughrider_1776 roughrider_1776 is offline
Trial Membership
 
Join Date: June 23, 2011
Posts: 4
Religion: Roman Catholic
Default Re: As a Catholic, What do you think about Hiroshima?

I think the question is not whether it should have been dropped, but where it should have been dropped. Hiroshima and Nagasaki had very little strategic value for destruction, but there were other centers of what little industry Japan had left in mid-1945, with far less civilians inhabiting them (I don't recall what cities/bases right now).

Extreme loss of life is not necessary with a show of force as huge as the first two A-Bombs. This is going into speculative history, but I think that Japan would have surrendered, regardless of where the A-Bombs were dropped, but I may be wrong on that.

At any rate, I think we should all be thankful that WWII ended when it did. The war could very easily have continued with Russia afterwards, what with the numerous close calls regarding Berlin. Thanks be to God that it didn't (I get the feeling that prayer helped on that one! ).
  #13  
Old Jun 24, '11, 3:13 am
thistle thistle is offline
Forum Elder
 
Join Date: August 23, 2005
Posts: 19,441
Religion: Catholic
Default Re: As a Catholic, What do you think about Hiroshima?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mdgspencer View Post
The usual justification for using the atomic bomb against two Japanese cities is that it saved at least a million American lives. However, using the exact same reasoning, then this would also be justified--if the Japanese had developed the atomic bomb first and used it on two American cities--say Washington and New York City--and saved at least a million Japanese lives, they would have been morally justified doing this. Still today, in 2011, they would be justified in saying that it was morally right to use the atomic bomb against U.S. cities then.
That doesn't hold water. It was the Japanese who started the war. They were the aggressor so nothing they did is justified. ALL loss of life was down to the Japanese, on their side and the US and its allies.
The US was the country attacked and are entitled to self defence. Like it or not the bombs were the way to end the war sooner and save countless lives more than were lost due to the bombs.
  #14  
Old Jun 24, '11, 6:29 am
JaneGrey JaneGrey is offline
Regular Member
 
Join Date: July 27, 2009
Posts: 867
Default Re: As a Catholic, What do you think about Hiroshima?

Have people forgotten that with the atomic bomb, unlike other types of warfare, people and their families are affected for generations. I dont see how any Christian can justify nuclear warfare - maybe they didnt realise it then, but now we know the full effects.
  #15  
Old Jun 24, '11, 8:07 am
BillP BillP is offline
Regular Member
 
Join Date: December 17, 2004
Posts: 1,307
Religion: Roman Catholic
Default Re: As a Catholic, What do you think about Hiroshima?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mdgspencer View Post
The usual justification for using the atomic bomb against two Japanese cities is that it saved at least a million American lives. However, using the exact same reasoning, then this would also be justified--if the Japanese had developed the atomic bomb first and used it on two American cities--say Washington and New York City--and saved at least a million Japanese lives, they would have been morally justified doing this. Still today, in 2011, they would be justified in saying that it was morally right to use the atomic bomb against U.S. cities then.
The difference (and to my mind it is HUGE difference) is that while we were fighting a "just" war of self defense, the Japanese were prosecuting an aggressive war that they launched against us because we brought diplomatic and economic pressure on them to try to curb their prosecution of yet another aggressive war against China.

Not at all the same thing.

Your post is like saying that a person who kills an assailant in self defense is no different from the assailant.
Closed Thread

Go Back   Catholic Answers Forums > Forums > Apologetics > Social Justice

Bookmarks

Tags
hiroshima, japan, nagasaki, war

Thread Tools Search Thread
Search Thread:

Advanced Search
Display

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump



Prayer Intentions

Most Active Groups
8034Meet and talk,talk talk
Last by: tawny
4822CAF Prayer Warriors Support Group
Last by: Irishmom2
4288Devotion to the Sorrowful Mother
Last by: James_OPL
4027OCD/Scrupulosity Group
Last by: fencersmother
3811SOLITUDE
Last by: tuscany
3367Let's empty Purgatory
Last by: James_OPL
3184Catholic Vegetarians & Vegans
Last by: libralion
3146Poems and Reflections
Last by: PathWalker
2960For seniors and shut- ins
Last by: KrazyKat
2686Petitions Before the Blessed Sacrament
Last by: James_OPL



All times are GMT -7. The time now is 5:32 pm.

Home RSS Feeds - Home - Archive - Top

Copyright © 2004-2013, Catholic Answers.