Atomic Bomb did not save lives

The simple fact was that American fire bombing could, and did, kill 100,000 people in Japan. In Europe, the USAAF was flying 1000 bomber raids. Back to Japan, the B-29 was coming into service. The P-80/F-80 jet fighter was coming into service.

Then the Russians entered the war against Japan. So an invasion was not required. Atomic bombs were not required.


Firebombing had not caused the Japanese to surrender. If the war continued there was going to be either 1) more conventional bombing of Japan (which would have caused MORE deaths than the A-bomb, as your Tokyo example shows) 2) an invasion, which would have caused MORE deaths or 3) a starvation blockade, which would have caused MORE deaths.

The shock of the A-bombs caused the surrender. The Japanese government was completely unconcerned with the lives of their citizens.

God Bless

It saved my Daddy’s life. He was about to be sent from Europe after that war ended, to the War in the Pacific. It’s likely millions of us Boomers would never have been born, had there been a land invasion of Japan – and for you who are saying “hurrah for that” – remember that means we would not have given birth to you either. :slight_smile:

The war in the Pacific showed that the Japanese were willing and able to fight to the last man. I am thankful that the Bomb meant the last man was not my Daddy.

My dad fought in World War II. The invasion was designed to put America in control of Japan instead of the Russians. That’s all.


So you wanted us to let the Russians invade Japan?

The death toll from combat would have been just as high, or higher than an American invasion.

Also, are you aware of the murders, rapes and other atrocities they committed in invading/occupying Germany and Eastern Europe?

A Russian invasion would have caused MILLIONS of deaths, as opposed to 100-150,00 from the A-bombs.

I don’t claim to be an expert on this, but I do know that direct attacks on civilian populations are **always **wrong, (see St. Thomas Aquinas, etc). It was not necessary to attack innocents, there were pleanty of military targets that could have been selected and that would have kept the intimidation factor present (both against the Japanese, and the Soviets). The bomb was political, meant to establish American power in the face of the world - especially with the Soviets who we had only a convient alliance with. Our war was with the regime in control of Japan, not the Japanese people, but we killed them without discrimination; and with the latter suffering the worst of it. I’m almost of the opinion that Truman should have been charged with war crimes!

Please know I mean no disrespect towards people like Appleby and her father, but I do firmly disagree with anyone who believes the A-bomb was necessary, or that it saved lives.

Why are you bringing up Russian atrocities? The United States provided a lot of equipment to the Russians under Lend-Lease. Germany and Austria were all divided between the British, French, Americans and Russians before the last bullets were fired. Should Patton have been allowed to start fighting the Russians as he wanted?

But back to my point: America was ready to take over Japan and rewrite their constitution, which they did. The goal was to get there before the Russians did. What I’m saying is that conventional bombing could have had the same effect as the atomic bombs but without the radioactive fallout and the injury and deaths related to that.


Well, yes it would have been more moral to fight for the freedom of Eastern Europe rather than to betray those countrys like we did at Yalta.

Conventional bombing would have caused MORE deaths. You, yourelf cited that ONE raid on Tokyo killed almost as many people as both A-bombs. Another year of such bombing would have caused MILLIONS of deaths.

Also, both Hiroshima and Nagasaki had legitimate military and industrial targets that were being intentionally hidden among the civilian populace to try to make them harder to find/destroy.

We cannot know for certain what would or would not have happened if conventional warfare continued instead of te quick end that resulted from the bombing Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

We do know what had transpired upto that decision including the loss of life and destruciton of every fire bombing raid. We know the fear that the Japanese placed into the people of the Pacific Islands that caused mothers to through their children off cliffs and jump after them while Marines [hardened by battle] cried and tried desparetly to prevent them from doing so.

We know of the atrocities meeted out to US POW’s *

We know that captured Japanese soldiers were found to have human flesh in their messkits …

The Japanese leaders could have surrendered at any time and chose not to until those bombs fell … They chose to continue the fight …

The Americans could have surrendered at any time, they too chose to fight on. They made the decision to end the war in the shortest time and to hopefully spare asmany lives as possible [on both sides - but admittedly - their priority was on Allied personnel and innocent civilans] … They made a decision to drop a ferocious bomb. They sent warnings that were ignored … they even had to drop a second bomb because tje leadership of Japan failed to surrender after the first one …

Such is history … the rest conjecture and …

How easy it is for “second guessing” …

War is never pretty, the innocent civilians are possible victims, it is often times hard to distinguish between the innocent and the warrior …

Pray for peace …*

Atomic bombs could not possibly be required. The use of atomic weapons is always morally repugnant. It is a gravely evil act to deliberately target innocent civilians in the conduct of war. It can never be admitted, and is totally irreconcilable with the Just War theory.

The use of atomic weapons against civilians is nothing short of a war crime. The attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki are some of the worst crimes committed during the 20th century. It stuns me that anyone who calls themselves Catholic would defend these acts.

When the Russians/Soviets came in control of Eastern Europe, the atrocities continued long after WWII until the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. They imposed a monstrous world order for more than 40 years. The Japanese are VERY lucky that America got there before the Russians did. From Romania, the Russians deported scores of people with German names to their Gulags, men and women alike, and many perished there to starvation. Never mind that Romania switched to the Russian side and fought against Hitler at the end of the war. My biology teacher, a Jew named Uhlrich, who first had to hide during German occupation of Romania, was deported by the Russians because his name sounds German. In Hungary in 1956, when the Hungarians decided to get out of the Warsaw pact and end the Communist dictatorship, the Soviets invaded with endless tank columns and killed tens of thousands of people. I submit that even in such a small country as Hungary (10 million inhabitants), more people died due to the Soviet imposed Communist terror regime than in Japan due to the 2 A-bombs combined.

I don’t know, could it be that the swift surrender of the Japanese to the USA after the A-bombs spared them from being invaded partly by the Russians? Were they in a danger of being invaded from two sides and being partitioned, similar to Germany? I could also see a scenario where parts of Japan, more than just the Kuryll Islands, would be permanently annexed to Russia. Take Finland as an example. Stalin invaded and annexed Western Karrelia and that still belongs to Russia now, they didn’t return it to Finland after the USSR fell apart, and I doubt that they will ever return it. Russia was insatiable and remains insatiable to this day (see Georgia 2008). But I didn’t realize that Japan was also in danger of getting occupied by the Russians and the USA had to scramble to get there first.

The nature of an intrinsic evil is that it can never be committed, even for the gravest of reasons.

If the death of a single innocent human being could prevent the destruction of millions of lives, it would still be morally inadmissible. The law of God is immutable.

I see your point, Dauphin. I hope I don’t get too much OT by saying this: my mother was a teenager working in a textile factory in Romania, while Romania had a fascist regime and fought alongside Hitler. There were daily bombings by the British and American planes of the industrial infrastructure in our city, the textile factory that produced uniforms for the troops, the railway machine factory that supplied the army with wagons, etc. I heard a similar situation existed in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, they were industrial centers. Not only the arms factories, but even textile factories etc contribute to the war efforts of a country. I don’t know where do you draw the line, according to the teaching of the Catholic Church. Is it OK to bomb weapons factories that employ civilians? Is it OK to bomb the textile factories? My mother says that the airplanes that bombed the factory also used to strafe the civilians as they were running and hiding in a nearby cemetery adjacent to the factory. That clearly seems too much to me, even if these civilians were contributing to the war effort by their work. But where do you really draw the line, and is there a specific Church teaching on this? :confused:

War cannot be fought without killing the enemy. You cannot defeat them by throwing flowers and kisses at them, by surrendering to them, or by throwing your civilian population at their feet.

I can see this thread is going nowhere new so i will gracefully bow out now.

The Just war theory says that when there is a legitimate military target, civilian deaths must be proportionate to the value of the target and must be totally incidental. So, you can’t use the presence of a single factory as a pretext to destroy an entire city. The means to achieve the military objective must use the minimum force necessary.

But Dauphin, you can’t use minimum force when the enemy refuses to surrender. Once the war starts (remember Japan started it, not the U.S.) the U.S. had to prosecute the war to its conclusion.

The Japanese had shown no inclination to surrender, zero. They were preparing their entire population (women and children included) to resist an invasion to the last person. They were arming women and children with spears to fight American troops.

Given the weapons of the period, it was not possible to target individual buildings, like factories, which were in built up areas. Any attack, conventional or nuclear, would kill many civilians.

I abhor the targeting of civilians, and I think you have a good case that the firebombings of Germany were war crimes (because the Germans showed willingness to give up when militarily beaten). It is quite likely that the war would have ended much earlier, without the Soviets gaining all of Eastern Europe if it wasn’t for Roosevelt’s ridiculous unconditional surrender demand.

But, the Japanese just refused to surrender. Given that, the only moral option was to end the war with as little loss of life as possible. It was a choice between 4 bad options 1) invasion 2) conventional bombing 3) starvation blockade and 4) atomic bombing.

The death toll among Japanese only would have been orders of magnitude higher under the first 3 options. Millions dead, not 100-150,000. Not to mention all the Allied troops, POWs, and innocent civilians under Japanese rule in Asia, that would have perished in another year or more of Japanese rule.

There really isn’t any “minimum force in war”. Does that mean I must attack my enemy with a knife, if the bullets might hit a civilian.

Aquinas has 3 criteria for just war.

First, the authority of the sovereign by whose command the war is to be waged…
Secondly, a just cause is required, namely that those who are attacked, should be attacked because they deserve it on account of some fault…
Thirdly, it is necessary that the belligerents should have a rightful intention, so that they intend the advancement of good, or the avoidance of evil.

God Bless

So if the United States had been on the losing end of the war, it would have been perfectly morally legitimate for the Japanese or Germans to utterly destroy New York and Los Angeles, simply because the government refused to surrender? After all, an invasion of the United States would likely be the bloodiest war in word history, and lives would ultimately be saved by such actions.

The argument is utterly morally corrupt. It is never right to deliberately target innocent civilians in war. You cannot commit a grave and intrinsic evil because you think it will be the lesser of two evils. This is one of the most fundamental laws of moral theology.

There really isn’t any “minimum force in war”. Does that mean I must attack my enemy with a knife, if the bullets might hit a civilian.

It means force which is proportionate to the military advantage and is designed exclusively to achieve a legitimate military goal. A single military target cannot be used as an excuse to decimate and entire city.

Aquinas has 3 criteria for just war.

That’s the Jus ad Bellum. The Jus in Bello addresses conduct in war. The targetting of civilians and lack of proportionality is forbidden.

I would never suggest war is a good idea, along with targeting civilians. The point is, Japanese women were given small machines to make bombs in their homes. However, I am only focusing on the reasoning used at the time to justify dropping not only bombs of great power but which would harm people through radiation and kill them that way as well.



I don’t think it would be accurate to say that the use of atomic weapons is always and everywhere morally repugnant. During the Cuban Missile Crisis, Soviet troops had the U.S. military base at Guantanamo targeted with tactical nuclear weapons, which the U.S. did not even realize were there. Would the use of tactical atomic weapons against a military target always be a moral evil? Not only that, there is evidence that Fidel wanted the U.S. to invade so as to force the use of the tactical nukes by the Soviets. Kruschev vetoed that idea.

The subject was covered pretty extensively in this thread:

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