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Author Topic:   Was the Use of Atomic Bombs Against Japan Justified?
Percy
Member
Posts: 22614
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 4.5


(3)
Message 115 of 140 (912388)
08-28-2023 5:36 PM
Reply to: Message 114 by dronestar
08-28-2023 3:34 PM


Re: Oppenheimer, the movie
There were two alternatives available to the U.S. as the war neared its end:
  1. Invade the Japanese mainland with estimated US casualties in the neighborhood of a million, and Japanese casualties of 5 to 10 million. Estimates at the time ranged widely, and the hypothetical numbers are still debated.
    But the first invasion of the Japanese homeland was Okinawa, southernmost island of the Japanese chain and representing less than 1% of the total area of Japan. Japanese resistance was fanatical. A third of the civilian population was killed. There were 50,000 Allied casualties and 100,000 Japanese. Projecting this level of resistance to the rest of Japan would have meant 5 million Allied casualties, 10 million Japanese casualties, and an unbelievably horrific number of civilian casualties. By this measure the casualty estimates I mentioned earlier were highly conservative.
    The Japanese antipathy toward surrender was cultural, tactical and strategic. Culturally they were conditioned to believe in Japanese superiority, so surrender was unacceptable. And by applying a tactic of imposing unacceptable costs in terms of men and materiel on an invading force they hoped that strategically the Allies would tire of the costly effort and agree to an armistice that would allow Japan to remain independent and the Japanese government and emperor to continue in power.
  2. Use the atomic bomb and hope Japan surrendered. As we all know, that approached worked. Total casualties were 200,000.
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.
--Percy

This message is a reply to:
 Message 114 by dronestar, posted 08-28-2023 3:34 PM dronestar has not replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 116 by Diomedes, posted 08-30-2023 12:47 PM Percy has not replied

  
Percy
Member
Posts: 22614
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 4.5


(5)
Message 120 of 140 (912417)
08-31-2023 9:23 AM
Reply to: Message 117 by dronestar
08-30-2023 2:15 PM


Re: Oppenheimer, the movie
dronestar writes:
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 don't think a movie is very relevant to the topic unless it introduces new facts or arguments.
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.
I see no logic in this, and it just sounds horrific.
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.
I've never seen any evidence that war decisions were *based* on racism. The degree of autonomy allowed Japan after the war and the generousness of the terms would seem to argue against racism playing any significant role.
Sooo, why not be proud of america's JUSTIFIED actions, show it on the big screen.
Any pride would be that fewer lives were lost and the war shortened. There's no pride in killing.
--Percy

This message is a reply to:
 Message 117 by dronestar, posted 08-30-2023 2:15 PM dronestar has not replied

  
Percy
Member
Posts: 22614
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 4.5


(2)
Message 121 of 140 (912418)
08-31-2023 9:55 AM
Reply to: Message 119 by dronestar
08-30-2023 3:33 PM


Re: Oppenheimer, the movie
dronestar writes:
Hmm. You are sure that no american viewed or propagandized or forced internment of Japanese citizens as vermin stereotypes. You are equally confident that no one who asserts the bombs were justified are actually racists then or now?
Diomedes didn't say anything like this, but this is the second time you've hinted that you have an argument for racism playing a significant role, though you've never fleshed this argument out.
Hmm, it seems I misunderstood your previous reply, you are actually saying that IF only soldiers wanted to continue fighting, then Americans should NOT punish the civilians by dropping an atomic bomb which indiscriminately and disproportionately killed civilians. That would NOT be justified. Okay.
You're raising a different issue now, that once the decision to drop the atomic bombs had been made, what should be the targets? One of the goals was to judge the atomic bombs' destructive powers, which would have been difficult in many other major Japanese cities because they'd already been largely destroyed by air attack. Hiroshima had only been rarely bombed, and it also included a military presence. Nagasaki had similar qualities.
President Truman initially expressed a preference for prime military targets but was persuaded that urban centers might produce a greater impact on the will of the Japanese people to continue the fight. There was also the risk that prime military targets would be more staunchly defended, making dropping the bombs a more iffy proposition. His advisors also presented the argument about the importance of obtaining accurate measures of the bombs' destructive powers.
--Percy

This message is a reply to:
 Message 119 by dronestar, posted 08-30-2023 3:33 PM dronestar has not replied

  
Percy
Member
Posts: 22614
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 4.5


Message 124 of 140 (912435)
09-01-2023 11:17 AM
Reply to: Message 123 by dronestar
09-01-2023 10:15 AM


Re: Okinawa
dronestar writes:
HOWEVER, the lengthy post I created here Message 47 describes why there were much much much better reasons NOT to use atom bombS on innocent civilians, including woman and children.
However, as I previously wrote and am writing again, I don't want to rehash that debate again, especially if people refuse to read my original post the first time.
You seem to be of two minds regarding your interest in rehashing Message 47. It seems to have already received a lot of attention, so I don't see any need to discuss it further. My own position is that killing anyone for any reason is wrong, but the real world presents situations where even those who most sincerely believe this have to support the killing of others.
But what is undeniably true is that the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki ended the war earlier and saved a huge number of lives. Were there others ways and/or places the bombs could have been dropped that would have produced as good or even better results? Possibly, but it's hypothetical. What we know for sure is that there were 200,000 total casualties compared to potentially 10 to 20 million total casualties for an invasion.
Could we have ended the war with only 100,000 atomic bomb casualties? 50,000? 10,000? Who knows? It's all speculation. But the facts before us say the dropping of the bombs preventsed millions of casualties and perhaps saved as many as a million lives.
Perhaps I should have created a new thread, but as I wrote in Message 114, it was about the movie Oppenheimer and why it COMPLETELY ignored the death of the Japanese civilians.
I think you need a new thread. The movie is based on an historical event but makes no original contributions to the record of history. You have issues with some of the movies directorial and editing decisions, and that has nothing to do with history. That's Hollywood.
Knowing that nobody on this forum is a racist, and furthermore, I am not accusing anybody on this forum of being a racist, let me ask a question:
If, IF, you were an angry racist, would you be MORE LIKELY to agree with a limited amount of reasons to drop multiple atom bombS on innocent Japanese civilians, including women and children?
We're all racists. It's part of being human. Tribalism is an evolved trait. What matters is how one manages and expresses their racism.
That being said, I don't think bombs or bullets or anything lethal should be directed at anyone anywhere ever, but the world isn't constructed in such a way as to make this possible. The Japanese were carrying out war against countries and committing atrocities against civilian populations all around the Pacific, and we were presented with the problem of how to make them stop. Peaceful means were not an option. Once killing people becomes an option it's difficult to figure out where to draw the lines. Whatever racist feelings those conducting the war might have held concerning the Japanese, they had little effect. If Japan had instead been populated with the British and if those British had bombed Pearl Harbor and committed all the same war acts and atrocities as the Japanese, we would have reacted the same.
In other words, of course many people held racist feelings against the Japanese, but that had little impact on how the war was conducted.
--Percy

This message is a reply to:
 Message 123 by dronestar, posted 09-01-2023 10:15 AM dronestar has not replied

  
Percy
Member
Posts: 22614
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 4.5


Message 133 of 140 (912498)
09-06-2023 7:01 PM
Reply to: Message 128 by dronestar
09-06-2023 3:47 PM


Re: Okinawa
I think everyone concedes racism. As I said earlier, tribalism is an inherent human trait. But you haven't offered any evidence or argument that racism was a factor in the decision to drop the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. You start out here by expressing agreement:
Racism wasn’t the reason for using the atomic bombS (see Message 47),...
But then you descend into a nonsensical argument:
...but governmental/institutional racism made the flimsy justifications (it would have been wasteful not to use atom bombS on woman and children) easier to use the atom bombs.
Justifications like this were never offered or even thought of by those responsible for decisions regarding the conduct of the war.
From a money-priority POV, Nolan made the correct decision not to show a MILI-SECOND of Japanese woman and children suffering in a THREE-HOUR movie about the atom bomb.
You're back to the movie again. My opinion remains that discussion of this movie belongs in another thread because it offered no new historical facts and in fact is a dramatization that takes liberties with the facts.
--Percy

This message is a reply to:
 Message 128 by dronestar, posted 09-06-2023 3:47 PM dronestar has not replied

  
Percy
Member
Posts: 22614
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

This message is a reply to:
 Message 135 by dronestar, posted 09-07-2023 5:40 PM dronestar has not replied

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

  
Percy
Member
Posts: 22614
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

This message is a reply to:
 Message 137 by Diomedes, posted 09-09-2023 12:43 PM Diomedes has replied

Replies to this message:
 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

  
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