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Author Topic:   Was the Use of Atomic Bombs Against Japan Justified?
Diomedes
Member
Posts: 996
From: Central Florida, USA
Joined: 09-13-2013


(4)
Message 116 of 140 (912411)
08-30-2023 12:47 PM
Reply to: Message 115 by Percy
08-28-2023 5:36 PM


Re: Oppenheimer, the movie
Independent of how Oppenheimer felt about his role in creating the atomic bombs that were dropped on Japan, that approach undoubtedly saved uncountable lives, possibly well over a million.
Many years ago, I had a very interesting conversation with some of my former work colleagues who were from the Philippines and China. We happened to be discussing World War II and how it impacted our families. My family were impacted in the European theatre by the Nazis while their families were of course impacted by the Japanese.
What was interesting is when we got on the topic of the usage of the atom bombs that were used to end the war and force the Japanese surrender, my Asian colleagues both independently said the same thing: the whole 'debate' of whether the usage of the bombs was justified is something only discussed by Western nations. That is never a debate topic for the people in China or the Philippines as they don't even consider it a debate whatsoever. They wholeheartedly agree with the usage of the bombs. And their rational made me realize how I had a myopic view of things when it comes to viewing World War II in the sense that I look at it from a Western perspective.
We see images of the horrors of the what the bombs produced when they detonated over Hiroshima and Nagasaki. But we gloss over the horrible atrocities that the Japanese army inflicted upon the other people of Asia. And they were horrible beyond belief. And that is the facet that is often overlooked when it comes to the discussions around the usage of the bombs. We look at the human toll that it would have taken to invade the Japanese islands. But we don't often consider that it the war progressed longer, the people in areas of China that were still under Japanese occupation, even towards the end of the war would have died in the thousands as well. So ending the war as quickly as possible didn't just save American lives, but the lives of other individuals who were on the front lines in the Asian theatre.
As Percy alluded to, the cultural aspect of the Japanese desire to never surrender can best be summarized by the Japanese soldier Hiroo Onoda. For those not aware of his story, after the war ended in 1945, he lived in the jungles of the Philippines and continued to fight for a whopping 29 years! It was only when he received a decree from the Japanese Emperor Hirohito delivered by a former commander that he finally gave up the fight.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 115 by Percy, posted 08-28-2023 5:36 PM Percy has not replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 117 by dronestar, posted 08-30-2023 2:15 PM Diomedes has replied

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


(1)
Message 118 of 140 (912414)
08-30-2023 2:48 PM
Reply to: Message 117 by dronestar
08-30-2023 2:15 PM


Re: Oppenheimer, the movie
1. IF, the use of the bomb was FULLY justified, THEN why not show the horrific suffering of innocent Japanese civilians, including woman and children, in the movie. Afterall, as you wrote, since Japan made horrible attrocities first, then why isn't america JUSTIFIED to make horrible atrocities too. Whoever said two wrongs don't make a right was apparently, . . . wrong. Errr, am I right?
I can't speak to Christopher Nolan's decisions as to why or why not he didn't show the aftermath of the bombs. You will have to ask him. But my suspicion is it had more to do with the fact that the movie was a character study into Oppenheimer himself and the technical work of the Manhattan project.
Also, if you are going to stipulate that the usage of the atomic bomb was an 'atrocity', then that would imply that the bombing raids using conventional weapons against both the Japanese and German civilians were also atrocities. In that civilians were also killed in those attacks.
My personal opinion is that the difference between the actions of the Allies versus those of the Axis powers were that civilian deaths and the actions therein performed by the Axis powers were deliberate. The German Nazis and the Japanese considered themselves superior so the civilians of other nations were irrelevant to them. They were just vermin in their eyes. Look at the Holocaust or the massacres in the Philippines to get some insight into that.
2. And IF, if even just ONE soldier somewhere in the world wanted to continue fighting, doesn't that especially JUSTIFY that america should kill ALL innocent Japanese civilians, including woman and children. And no one anywhere would say this JUSTIFIED action was based on racism. That would be just crazy, as there's no racism in america.
Uh, no. The operative word that you yourself used was 'soldier'. The civilians did not exhibit the same tenacity that the core soldiers exhibited. The soldiers of the Japanese military were the ones that were excessively dogmatic. That is evidenced further when after the second bomb was dropped and Emperor Hirohito opted to surrender, several members of the Japanese military orchestrated a coup and tried to overthrow him as a means to continue the war.
Ultimately, the senior Japanese military leadership and many of the soldiers were not dissimilar from the Nazi SS or Gestapo. These are zealots who believed in their superiority over all others.
As a sidebar, if you want to discuss 'racism', that is going down a different rabbit hole. But you may want to look into how present day Japan considers outsiders in their nation. They have a declining population and are on the precipice of a massive economic downturn, yet they still adhere to their 'only Japanese' philosophy. Look up the word 'Gaijin' for further details.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 117 by dronestar, posted 08-30-2023 2:15 PM dronestar has replied

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 Message 119 by dronestar, posted 08-30-2023 3:33 PM Diomedes has not 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

This message is a reply to:
 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

  
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:

This message is a reply to:
 Message 138 by Percy, posted 09-09-2023 2:39 PM Percy has not replied

  
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