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Author Topic:   Was the Use of Atomic Bombs Against Japan Justified?
Percy
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Posts: 22613
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 4.5


Message 136 of 140 (912511)
09-07-2023 9:28 PM
Reply to: Message 135 by dronestar
09-07-2023 5:40 PM


Re: 'Oppenheimer' the movie
dronestar writes:
As I previously wrote, I should have started a new thread, my deep apologies.
You should still start a new thread to discuss the things about the movie that bothered you, for instance that it didn't show the suffering of Japanese civilians.
But the movie *would* be on-topic here if you discussed aspects that touch on this thread's topic. For instance, if Oppenheimer believed that use of the atomic bomb against Japan was not justified, what was his reasoning? You haven't touched on that at all.
--Percy

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 Message 135 by dronestar, posted 09-07-2023 5:40 PM dronestar has not replied

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 Message 137 by Diomedes, posted 09-09-2023 12:43 PM Percy has replied

  
Diomedes
Member
Posts: 996
From: Central Florida, USA
Joined: 09-13-2013


Message 137 of 140 (912534)
09-09-2023 12:43 PM
Reply to: Message 136 by Percy
09-07-2023 9:28 PM


Re: 'Oppenheimer' the movie
Hey All.
Wanted to share this article I happened to come across on Time's website that contains an interview with a former Time editor and expert on this part of history that talks about the historical accuracy and aspects of the Oppenheimer film. It also provides feedback on some of our debate topics:
Atomic Bomb Expert Weighs in on Oppenheimer | Time

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 Message 136 by Percy, posted 09-07-2023 9:28 PM Percy has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 138 by Percy, posted 09-09-2023 2:39 PM Diomedes has replied

  
Percy
Member
Posts: 22613
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 4.5


(1)
Message 138 of 140 (912537)
09-09-2023 2:39 PM
Reply to: Message 137 by Diomedes
09-09-2023 12:43 PM


Re: 'Oppenheimer' the movie
In the Evan Thomas interview there's this exchange:
quote:
Could the U.S. have won the war without dropping the atomic bombs on Japan?
Yes, they could have by starving the Japanese to death, by blockading Japan and continuing to bomb Japan with conventional weapons. Eventually, Japan would have surrendered. But it would have been a nightmare because there would have been mass starvation. The Japanese were running out of food. The rice crop was not coming in. It is a certainty that there would have been mass famine that fall, that winter. Hundreds of millions of people would have died. There might have been a civil war.
In all my reading, in all the documentaries I've seen, this is the first time I've seen no mention that we were planning an invasion and assessing the means and costs and so forth. We were already bombing and blockading Japan, but it was widely believed among the top brass that an invasion was necessary to forcing a Japanese surrender.
And a cost in lives of "hundreds of millions" is just absurd, ridiculous and impossible. In 1945 the population of Japan was 77 million.
Thomas is correct that the Japanese were not ready to surrender, but he could have stated it more strongly. Japan was nowhere close to surrendering. It was not even considered an option. The kamikazi attacks, the incredibly costly taking of Okinawa and other Japanese island possessions, were very convincing evidence that the Japanese were in every way serious when they said they were prepared to sacrifice every single soldier and civilian in defense of their homeland.
--Percy

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 Message 137 by Diomedes, posted 09-09-2023 12:43 PM Diomedes has replied

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 Message 139 by Diomedes, posted 09-09-2023 4:50 PM Percy has not replied
 Message 140 by xongsmith, posted 09-09-2023 7:21 PM Percy has not replied

  
Diomedes
Member
Posts: 996
From: Central Florida, USA
Joined: 09-13-2013


Message 139 of 140 (912543)
09-09-2023 4:50 PM
Reply to: Message 138 by Percy
09-09-2023 2:39 PM


Re: 'Oppenheimer' the movie
And a cost in lives of "hundreds of millions" is just absurd, ridiculous and impossible. In 1945 the population of Japan was 77 million.
I noticed that too. It's possible he mis-spoke or was thinking of Japan's present population. But either way, that is an over-estimate.
Thomas is correct that the Japanese were not ready to surrender, but he could have stated it more strongly. Japan was nowhere close to surrendering.
I read some other historical articles about this as there had been some who claimed the Japanese had attempted to surrender prior to the bombings. But apparently, these were not exactly accurate in the sense that it was not anything official. There was a subset of the government who were attempting to engineer some kind of armistice talks that would be brokered by the Soviets. The Americans were aware of this as they had broken the Japanese codes. But the war cabinet did not endorse nor support this. It was merely the actions of lower level portions of the government that were attempting to usurp the current ruling authority.
In the end, as I understand things, after the second bomb dropped, the war cabinet met again and was still deadlocked regarding surrender. The politicians at this point were opting to surrender, although they were still attempting to maintain the Emperor system. The army generals however had no intention of surrendering. So Prime Minister Suzuki did something unprecedented and asked the Emperor to break the deadlock. Up to this point, Emperor Hirohito had stayed out of decision making as he was told it was 'beneath him' as a living god. Regardless, Hirohito wanted to end the suffering even if it meant a shameful surrender. At that point, radical factions of the army tried to overthrow him but ultimately failed and the final surrender was acknowledged.
The BBC has a pretty good dramatization of how this unfolded in the following video:

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 Message 138 by Percy, posted 09-09-2023 2:39 PM Percy has not replied

  
xongsmith
Member
Posts: 2602
From: massachusetts US
Joined: 01-01-2009
Member Rating: 4.6


(2)
Message 140 of 140 (912555)
09-09-2023 7:21 PM
Reply to: Message 138 by Percy
09-09-2023 2:39 PM


Re: 'Oppenheimer' the movie
Percy writes:
And a cost in lives of "hundreds of millions" is just absurd
Perhaps referring to Korean and Chinese lives as well, and others.

"I'm the Grim Reaper now, Mitch. Step aside."
Death to #TzarVladimirtheCondemned!
Enjoy every sandwich!

- xongsmith, 5.7dawkins scale


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