One of the sadder chapters in human history that ended up in some people being vaporized, maimed, or sick for life. Japan of course has some responsibly due to the state of war they created, but this country still hasn’t really considered the racial hatred that minimized the value of the average Japanese person. The internment camps and some of the cartoons I saw growing up reflect this. I’d be willing to bet there was a much lower chance that we would have used these weapons in Europe.
I’d hope you’d be incorrect. I am wondering whether these were weapons of necessity or were barbaric. Despite the tragedy of the people killed, maimed, or burned due to these weapons, there were also many lives saved, potentially millions. Had we invaded Japan, the US death toll likely would have been 1.1 million instead of 400,000 during the war and many millions of Japanese soldiers and civilians would have also been killed.
I do think that we actually warned the populace to evacuate. I hope that if we hadn’t defeated the Nazis by that point in the war that we would have used them if it was necessary to topple the Nazi German regime. If race (i.e. including them being European) meant we didn’t drop the nuclear weapons in Germany, than we would be cowards who didn’t fight the war with the necessity to achieve victory and topple a regime that massacred 11-13 million people, including 6 million Jews. The Japanese emperor also killed many of his own citizens. The smallest estimates are 3-10 million people while the largest estimates are 10-30 million people by the Japanese emperor. So in total, as many as 40 million people may have been killed by fascism during WWII and another 100+ million people by communists from 1917 to the present. That doesn’t necessary warrant the A-Bomb’s use, but it was the strategy chosen among available options perceived to force the Japanese surrender.
The dropping of the atomic bomb was one of the most unfortunate (but necessary) military strategies in world history. 54 million people died in WWII including the nearly 300,000 who were killed by the A-Bomb in Hiroshima and Nagaski. We definitely shouldn’t forget the 300,000 people to ignore the power of these weapons and/or the even worse hydrogen bomb or the deployment of these weapons in space with the intent of wiping out the electrical grid starving hundreds of millions of people, thus these need to be taken seriously.
World War II was a very sad time in human history.
The political regime that controlled Japan at the time was on a path to conquer as much of southeast Asia as possible. They killed many, many people before they event went to war with America.
As with the case of the Nazis in Germany, the Japanese could have saved a lot of lives by surrendering. But they felt they could win by outlasting and make the victory by the Allies costly.
Hiroshima and Nagasaki were horrible endings to the War.
Unfortunately these are simply estimates and I suspect justification of the act was built in. It must be remembered that we intentionally left Hiroshima and Nagasaki alone such as to observe the results. We used these people as part of an experiment.
This was not a factor. What is known was not widely accepted at the end of the war. You must remember the results of the Holocaust were mainly discovered by the Russians, many of the horrific video clips you see were actually shot by the Russians. If racial bias was not present, then we should have rounded up all of the German and Italian US citizens in the same way as we did the Japanese at the beginning of the war.
This is a form what-about-ism. Just because they did horrific things it doesn’t exonerate all the things we did. Yes fighting the war to its completion was a moral thing to do given their actions, just not necessarily the means.
To the Creator of nature and man, of truth and beauty I pray:
Hear my voice, for it is the voice of the victims of all wars and violence among individuals and nations;
Hear my voice, for it is the voice of all children who suffer and will suffer when people put their faith in weapons and war;
Hear my voice when I beg you to instill into the hearts of all human beings the wisdom of peace, the strength of justice and the joy of fellowship;
Hear my voice, for I speak for the multitudes in every country and in every period of history who do not want war and are ready to walk the road of peace;
Hear my voice and grant insight and strength so that we may always respond to hatred with love, to injustice with total dedication to justice, to need with the sharing of self, to war with peace.
O God, hear my voice and grant unto the world your everlasting peace.
Pope John Paul II
February 25, 1981
Hiroshima Peace Memorial Pa
The Japanese military committed horrific acts all over from Nanking to the Phillipines. But two wrongs don’t make a right.
One of these cities had a lot of martyrs.
The US did not have a working atomic bomb on VE Day. Depending on whether you are British/Commonwealth, American or Russian, VE day is May 7 (UK) May 8 (US) or May 9 (USSR). Hitler killed himself on April 30, 1945 as the Russians took Berlin.
The first atomic bomb was tested on July 16, 1945.
However, when the work on the bomb was started, the impetus was Germany. US work on the bomb was started before Pearl Harbor.
By the beginning of Spring, 1945, much of Germany was already occupied by allied troops anyway.
A lot of innocent people died in bombings carried out by the Allies, whether over Europe or Japan.
I know that!
You must know that the science behind the Manhattan Project, which started in 1942, was well understood by even junior Physicists. The problem was the Engineering of the bomb.
The thing is this is getting bogged down in dates and figures. The point I’m trying to make is that I’ve seen real little reflection as to why we did this. It is well documented that the treatment of us citizens, who happened to be of Japanese decent, was racially motivated. Just about every clause in the Constitution that they were unquestionably and permanently entitled to as us citizens was violated. This is clear evidence that the war planners were more than willing to treat Japanese differently and inter them with our trial or cause. You also don’t have to go all that far to find very racial media directed at the Japanese that was not even close to that of the Axis powers.
There was not a gun pointed at our heads to drop these bombs. Where they entirely not justifiable give the sate of war? Absolutely not. But we knew what these bombs could do and we methodically chose to use them on cities of no military importance on a mostly civilian population and intentionally preserved them until the bombs were dropped. If we are honest, these people were treated at bit like lab rats and our obvious racial bias let us have an easier time fooling ourselves into fervent justification of our actions.
You find other items like this when it comes to the European victories. We glorified ourselves as the shining savior of Europe with no appreciation given to the millions of Russians who died vs the 400k or so Americans who died.
Actually, Roosevelt approved the bomb program in October 1941.
Again, facts, figures, dates, or whatever are not the point. Your house gets broken into, you buy a sub-machine gun in case someone else does. A different person breaks in, you have a choice of a hand gun or the sub-machine gun. Justifying the use of the sub-machine gun over the hand gun is not dependent of the first break-in.
I am not defending the use of atomic weapons, in 1945 or 2018, btw. They are evil and the world would be better if they were all disarmed. There is no justification for wiping whole areas off the map with bombs, indiscriminate killing.
I argued against them up thread as well.
And you will never see me justify the US policy towards Japanese civilians in the US either. Wrong is wrong is wrong.
The urgency of our bomb development program was specifically aimed at use in Europe, fueled by the fear that the Germans would get the bomb first.
Annual appearance of a topic that has been a hobby of mine for over 20 years,that I always hope, if it appears as expected, stays in the morality discussions, especially with the respect to the RCC position on weapons of mass destruction, and not stray into the usual ill-informed attempts at the history.
As often noted in discussion of the history, it was the least worst option at the time. The history of the decision is long and completed. Reading lists are available, if desired. I’ve been posting on this here and elsewhere for over 11 years.
Bottom line: the use of the bombs saved more lives than any other option, save only if we, in August 45, had surrendered to the Japanese. Which would have led to more problems, of a different sort.
This is correct.
Dates, figures, facts are the essence of history, that thing that one needs to be deep into, as is often mentioned in another regard. Your opening sentence is overstated, but essentially accurate.
As with many things in history, one should resist a reductionist approach here. Racism played a huge part in the internment of the Japanese, indeed, in the conduct of all sides in the Pacific Theater. Dower’s WAR WITHOUT MERCY is recommended. But the Japanese differed slightly from the Germans/Italians at the time. They had struck directly at America, were physically identifiable in ways the Germans/Italians were not, and were concentrated in areas that were thought to be vulnerable to followup attacks. And, racism. Long a feature of American attitudes, esp. in the west, toward orientals.
More people would likely have been killed on both sides if the allies had invaded Japan.
Further, the Soviet Union would have been involved in the invasion. Chairman Stalin would have undoubtably sought to make at least part of Japan into a Soviet satellite like he did in eastern and central Europe, causing Japan a lot more woe there as well.