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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

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  #46  
Old Jun 26, '11, 6:16 pm
Syllogisms Syllogisms is offline
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Default Re: As a Catholic, What do you think about Hiroshima?

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Originally Posted by dmar198 View Post
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."
Says it all.
  #47  
Old Jun 26, '11, 6:59 pm
JimG JimG is offline
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Default Re: As a Catholic, What do you think about Hiroshima?

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Originally Posted by estesbob View Post
Difficult question
My father was on a ship off the coast of Japan waiting to take part in the invasion when the bombs were dropped. Although my father was always very, very liberal he always bristled when people suggested that the bombs should not have been dropped. I think from the distance of time it is easier take a dispassionate view and condemn the bombings. However, I will not condemn those who had to make tough decisions based on what they knew at the time.
Yes. I knew a guy who at the time I knew him was quite elderly. He had been a POW in Japan, survived the Bataan Death March, and would surely have died soon had the war not ended. When the war did end, shortly after Hiroshima and Nagasaki, he came home. He told me often that Harry Truman was his hero.

Now I'm sure that Harry T. didn't do it just for him, but I can imagine that hundreds of thousands of GI's preparing for invasion, and knowing the tremendous casualties that had been taken in landing on Iwo Jima and other small islands, probably felt the same way.

As others have mentioned, the fire bombing of Tokyo with conventional weapons caused far more casualties. If Hiroshima and Nagasaki were morally unacceptable, so were the carpet bombing runs over Germany, the bombing of Dresden, as well as the numerous deaths inflicted by Japan cited by Mickey Finn. And I doubt that losing the war would have been the right thing to do, nor would it have saved lives.

Edit: And, I should have added, so were the V2 bombings of England by Germany, directed at civilians and intended to demoralize the population.

Last edited by JimG; Jun 26, '11 at 7:14 pm.
  #48  
Old Jun 27, '11, 2:11 am
patrick457 patrick457 is offline
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Default Re: As a Catholic, What do you think about Hiroshima?

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Originally Posted by JimG View Post
Now I'm sure that Harry T. didn't do it just for him, but I can imagine that hundreds of thousands of GI's preparing for invasion, and knowing the tremendous casualties that had been taken in landing on Iwo Jima and other small islands, probably felt the same way.
Just a little aside: Iō-tō, aka Iō-jima (硫黄島: いおうとう, いおうじま, Historical orthography: いわうとう Iwau-tō, いわうじま Iwau-jima) literally translates to 'Sulfur Island', after of course for the sulfur deposits that extend to the very surface of the island (it is, after all, a volcanic island). As for the pronunciation, historical (i.e. medieval) あう /au/ in this instance becomes おう (IPA [oː]) via regular phonological rules resulting in [iwoːtoː]. With the exception of the low vowel /a/, /w/ is no longer phonetically realized. Thus, the word is pronounced in modern Japanese as IPA [ioːjima].

The island's proper name was actually Iō-tō. An alternative reading of the Chinese characters, Iō-jima, became popular due to its use by U.S. forces who arrived during World War II. When the island was returned to Japan in 1968, the island's name was labeled as Iō-tō on maps issued by the Geospatial Information Authority of Japan, only for it to be officially re-labeled as Iō-jima in 1982. The island's former residents (and their relatives and descendants), however, protested this rendering, and the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport's Geographical Survey Institute announced on June 18, 2007, that the official pronunciation of the island's name would be reverted to Iō-tō. This was somewhat officially ratified by the map issued by the GSI in September of the same year, where the reading of the kanji appears as Iō-tō. This decision was not controversy, however; I've heard tell that some American veterans protested this change (or reversion) or reading, citing the fact that the island was famous as the setting of the 1945 Battle of Iwo Jima.

Iwo-jima, aka Iō-tō, was first sighted by the Spanish sailor Bernardo de la Torre aboard his ship San Juan de Letran, in 1943. Captain James Cook, in 1779, also found the island and dubbed it Sulphur Island. Exploration was begun by the then-prefecture of Tokyo in 1887. Two years later (June of 1889), an inhabitant of nearby Chichi-jima named Eijiro Tanaka and a few others embarked on the island, intending to fish sharks and mine sulfur there. This is the first recorded setting foot on the island by the Japanese. Eventually, the island was included in Japanese territory (administered by Tokyo under the Ogasawara Subprefecture) and given the name Iō-tō, a literal translation of the name Captain Cook gave it. Commercial sulfur mining commenced in 1892.

A census in June 1943 reported an island civilian population of 1018 (533 males, 485 females) in 192 households in six settlements. The island had a primary school, a Shinto shrine, and a single police officer from Chichi-jima; it was serviced by a mail ship from Haha-jima once a month, as well as a Nippon Yusen ship once every couple of months. The island's economy relied upon sulfur mining, sugarcane, coca, and lemongrass farming, and fishing.

Even before the beginning of World War II, there was a garrison of the Imperial Navy at the southern part of the island. It was off-limits to civilians, who already had little contact with the naval personnel, except for trade purposes. Throughout 1944 there was a massive military buildup on Iwo Jima, in anticipation of a U.S. invasion; in July its civilian population was forcibly evacuated (aside from 230-something conscripts), and no civilians have permanently settled on the island since.
  #49  
Old Jun 27, '11, 5:52 am
smichhertz smichhertz is offline
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Default Re: As a Catholic, What do you think about Hiroshima?

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Originally Posted by Transformer View Post
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."
Pretty straightforward.
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  #50  
Old Jun 27, '11, 8:40 am
JimG JimG is offline
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Default Re: As a Catholic, What do you think about Hiroshima?

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Originally Posted by smichhertz View Post
Pretty straightforward.
Yes, it's pretty straightforward. Yet, we seldom see threads about the targeting of civilians and entire cities such as the Allied bombing of Dresden, the firebombing of Tokyo, The German V2 attacks on London, the Bataan Death March, the Nanking Massacre, Pol Pot's massacres of Cambodians, Stalin's starvation of millions, North Korea's starvation of its citizens, only the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which killed fewer even in comparison to other aspects of World War II.
  #51  
Old Jun 27, '11, 9:19 am
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Default Re: As a Catholic, What do you think about Hiroshima?

Quote:
Originally Posted by JimG View Post
Yes, it's pretty straightforward. Yet, we seldom see threads about the targeting of civilians and entire cities such as the Allied bombing of Dresden, the firebombing of Tokyo, The German V2 attacks on London, the Bataan Death March, the Nanking Massacre, Pol Pot's massacres of Cambodians, Stalin's starvation of millions, North Korea's starvation of its citizens, only the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which killed fewer even in comparison to other aspects of World War II.
This thread isn't about those incidents, however. The OP was pretty specific, and so were the answers. Getting into comparative atrocities (especially ones that don't even have anything to do with WWII) would merely derail the thread. Besides, the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki carry a bigger symbolic weight than, say, the firebombing of Tokyo or Dresden because the atomic bombs "ended the war" in the minds of many, and therefore make for thornier moral questions about ends and means.

I do agree, however, that several of the incidents you described fall into the same category as the bombing of Hiroshima.

Peace and God bless!
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  #52  
Old Jun 27, '11, 9:28 am
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Default Re: As a Catholic, What do you think about Hiroshima?

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...because the atomic bombs "ended the war" in the minds of many...
You propose some other agency that caused the end of the war? Wishing made it so?
  #53  
Old Jun 27, '11, 9:34 am
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Default Re: As a Catholic, What do you think about Hiroshima?

Hindsight is 20/20 Is there any evidence the Church condemned these bombings at the time?
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  #54  
Old Jun 27, '11, 9:50 am
stevegravy stevegravy is offline
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Default Re: As a Catholic, What do you think about Hiroshima?

Ask yourself a couple questions, how long can a modern army operate on a battlefield with a logistical supply that goes not just to the factory but also to the mines, wells, and farms where the raw materials come from? The answer is not long a week maybe a month that is it. Now ask who is operating and working in the fields, mines and factories? The answer is almost always civilians. Consider now the complex at Oak Ridge Tenn. and the thousands of civilian workers almost all women, sorting uranium isotopes. If the Japanese had the opportunity to bomb that facility to kingdom come should they have done it and would it have been moral? I would say yes because the civilians actively engaging in manufacturing war materials for an enemy is no different than the uniformed soldiers doing the fighting and dying. They are part and parcel of the whole military industrial complex that is killing and murdering by the bushel full.

Fact is soldiers are the spear point of a nation at war. The long shaft of that spear is a civilian supply chain. War is about killing an enemy and destroying them to such an extent that it will be a generation or more before they every think of fighting you again. That means mangling the spear point and demolishing the shaft. I think it is disingenuous to try to make these fine distinctions between civilian and soldiers in our highly technical and interwoven societies.

It is an undeniable fact; atomic weaponry is intended to be a city killer. It is in the cities that the factories are often build and operated by non-uniformed workers supporting the military industrial complex. The fact that cities also contain babies and old people not participating in the complex is bad luck for them. Wars are about killing and breaking things and atomic weapons do it efficiently and economically.

So no atomic weapons are not moral but neither is sticking a bayonet into somebody's belly. You can justify it by telling yourself if you donít do it he will do it to you. Self-defense is then the qualifying citation but I asked if it was moral. After all, it was a couple societies through their political institutions that went to war and put you in that particular predicament.

It the long and the short of it the nuclear weapon makes the society the spear point because it doesnít distinguish the uniformed from the non-uniformed they are all the same. In a way it is kind of honest in that regard. Sad commentary on this world.
  #55  
Old Jun 27, '11, 9:56 am
smichhertz smichhertz is offline
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Default Re: As a Catholic, What do you think about Hiroshima?

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Originally Posted by estesbob View Post
Hindsight is 20/20 Is there any evidence the Church condemned these bombings at the time?
This blog does a nice job of summarizing the issue:

http://socrates58.blogspot.com/2006/...n-paul-ii.html

It would appear that the incident was not first addressed until 1954 (approximately 9 years later). Pope Pius XII laid guidelines for how WMDs could morally be used. These guidelines only allowed them to be used in defense (such as a deterrent) which indirectly suggested that their use in WWII was morally wrong.

So you are correct, hindsight is 20/20 and it would be unfair to condemn these bombing without admitting that at the time, the Church had provided no clear teaching on this matter, as no technology with that kind of destructive power had existed at that time.
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  #56  
Old Jun 27, '11, 10:00 am
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Default Re: As a Catholic, What do you think about Hiroshima?

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Originally Posted by smichhertz View Post
This blog does a nice job of summarizing the issue:

http://socrates58.blogspot.com/2006/...n-paul-ii.html

It would appear that the incident was not first addressed until 1954 (approximately 9 years later). Pope Pius XII laid guidelines for how WMDs could morally be used. These guidelines only allowed them to be used in defense (such as a deterrent) which indirectly suggested that their use in WWII was morally wrong.

So you are correct, hindsight is 20/20 and it would be unfair to condemn these bombing without admitting that at the time, the Church had provided no clear teaching on this matter, as no technology with that kind of destructive power had existed at that time.
I have never talked to anyone who was alive at the time who thought their use was wrong.
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  #57  
Old Jun 27, '11, 10:07 am
Flavius_Aetius Flavius_Aetius is offline
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Default Re: As a Catholic, What do you think about Hiroshima?

Quote:
A new book or two have come out recently with a somewhat revisionist view of World War II. What I mean is that for many years the carpet bombing the allies did in Germany and Japan had seldom been questioned - killing, perhaps, as many as 100,000 in such cities as Hamburg, Dresden and Tokyo in a single raid. It certainly does present a moral dilemma, and I have (over the years) gained more and respect for those Christians - Amish, Quakers, others - who simply refuse to get involved in war. "Love your enemies" presents a challenge, doesn't it? I have a special admiration for those medics who would not carry guns but went out in the midst of fierce fighting to bring the wounded to safety. If I were young and drafted, I hope I would choose that alternative. I've had it with war, especially modern war, when so many innocent people are slaughtered. How much lifelong pain this inflicts upon those loved ones who manage rto survive.
And if America decided to follow this train of thought and remain neutral through all of WWII then what?! The best scenario would be the Soviet Union dominating Western and Eastern Europe along with being unopposed in all the historically challenged regions fought for during the Cold War.

If America as a nation kept out of war communism would have been spread like cancer throughout the world by force OR Fascism would remain standing strong in the Axis nations and Spain.

To answer the OP, yes the atomic bombing was necessary and in fact the best course of action. It brought unconditional surrender to an aggressive Empire, it kept the Soviet Union from entering Japan which would have split the country between communism and capitalism, and it saved millions of American and Japanese lives by keeping invasion off the requirements.
  #58  
Old Jun 27, '11, 10:37 am
smichhertz smichhertz is offline
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Default Re: As a Catholic, What do you think about Hiroshima?

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Originally Posted by estesbob View Post
I have never talked to anyone who was alive at the time who thought their use was wrong.
I know a few on our side, none who served at the time.

But on the flip side of things, I've never talked to anyone from Japan who was alive at the time who thought their use was right.
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  #59  
Old Jun 27, '11, 11:27 am
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Default Re: As a Catholic, What do you think about Hiroshima?

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Originally Posted by estesbob View Post
I have never talked to anyone who was alive at the time who thought their use was wrong.
This is probably true, but it is more of a statement about the world's moral attitude towards war at that time, then about the morality of the actions.

Other's have mentioned the bombing of Dresden, fire bombings of Tokyo, etc. All were equally wrong. Starting around the Napoleanic wars, getting a big boost in the American Civil War, and finally becoming the norm in WWI; the world, in the age of the Enlightnment, became quite uncivilized with regards to warfare. Simple put, people had become so accustomed to war being waged against whole populations; no one really considered it to be wrong.

We had some great men as generals in WWII, I am a particularly big fan of Ike; he was not only a great man, but he was a good man. Yet, under him, civilian bombings in Europe were the norm. This was simple accepted.

However, even though the entire world may loose its compass with respect to a moral issue, does not make the entire world right.

WWII was the great, just cause for the allies to fight; there is no doubt about that. However, the means of fighting the war should be examined for errors. That does not mean the people in charge of it all should be condemned to infamy; just that their shortcomings should be acknowledged.
  #60  
Old Jun 27, '11, 11:53 am
Eloh Eloh is offline
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Default Re: As a Catholic, What do you think about Hiroshima?

The Japanese were pretty much defeated before Hiroshima. It wasn't necessary.
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