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Author Topic:   Was the Use of Atomic Bombs Against Japan Justified?
Itinerant Lurker
Member (Idle past 2735 days)
Posts: 67
Joined: 12-12-2008


(1)
Message 17 of 140 (623185)
07-08-2011 2:17 PM
Reply to: Message 12 by Rahvin
07-08-2011 12:53 PM


Re: Missing considerations
Don't forget the impact that a prolonged naval blockade coupled with the destruction of Japan's railway system would have had on Japan's ability to feed its population building up to and during a land invasion. Without the ability to transport the small percentage of its own food that it produced or the ability to import food via their annihilated merchant fleet, millions of civilians would have starved.
All this, of course, ignores that virtually all allied prisoners of war would have been executed, as well as the nightmare of a Russian invasion leading to a divided Japan in the coming Cold War.

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Itinerant Lurker
Member (Idle past 2735 days)
Posts: 67
Joined: 12-12-2008


Message 36 of 140 (623239)
07-08-2011 7:58 PM
Reply to: Message 31 by frako
07-08-2011 7:00 PM


Re: Missing considerations
No i am simply suggesting that japan had no choice but to surrender and would have surrendered pretty soon.
The "Big Six" planned to draw out the war as long as possible, extracting as many casualties as possible, until they could surrender on their terms.
This did not change after the first bomb was dropped, which is why it took the intercession of the emperor to end the war.
Japan had been losing battles for three years prior to this - they knew they had already lost the war. This did not change the Japanese government's determination that they should continue fighting as long as possible.
Without the bombs I doubt we would have invaded Japan - a naval blockade seems more likely which would have resulted in the disintegration of the government as Japan's cities starved and depopulated into the countryside. All of which would make a complete surrender by a legitimate government unlikely and would likely have invited Soviet involvement.
Moral idealism only exists when there are ideal moral choices to be had - I don't see any of those here.

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Itinerant Lurker
Member (Idle past 2735 days)
Posts: 67
Joined: 12-12-2008


Message 66 of 140 (623918)
07-14-2011 2:16 PM
Reply to: Message 65 by Modulous
07-14-2011 1:36 PM


Re: my unstudied view of the situation
There were numerous casualties estimates done prior to the invasion based on previous Pacific campaigns: http://en.wikipedia.org/...ion_Downfall#Estimated_casualties
That being said, it's very unlikely that, had the bombs not been dropped, Operation Olympic would have been enacted given the intelligence showing that Japan had anticipated the landing sites and mobilized some half a million men into southern Kyushu.
http://www.alternatewars.com/...ownfall/Jap_Plans_Kyushu.htm
I think it's pretty doubtful that Truman would have given the go ahead for an invasion given this revelation. The only alternative, then, would be to blockade and bombard Japan - which would have led to exponentially more Japanese deaths as the fragile rail system Japan was by then solely reliant upon to transport food would have been obliterated.

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 Message 65 by Modulous, posted 07-14-2011 1:36 PM Modulous has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 67 by Modulous, posted 07-14-2011 2:30 PM Itinerant Lurker has replied

  
Itinerant Lurker
Member (Idle past 2735 days)
Posts: 67
Joined: 12-12-2008


Message 72 of 140 (623945)
07-14-2011 4:14 PM
Reply to: Message 67 by Modulous
07-14-2011 2:30 PM


Re: my unstudied view of the situation
Wherever I look, there seems to be a large swathe of doubt, uncertain assumptions and so on. My position is that before dropping atomic bombs on heavily populated areas, we should be sure - not just afraid - of higher casualties via the alternatives.
I don't see how the estimates could possibly get any more sure about casualty rates seeing as, in the case of the study done by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, actual rates from invasions against Japanese islands was used. In a perfect world your sentiment would make more sense; clearly however, this is not such a world.
There's simply no reasonable doubt, then or now, that the alternatives of either an invasion or blockade & bombardment would have resulted in far more deaths. To quote Henry Stimson, it was ". . .the least abhorrent choice."
Alternatives, I believe, included waiting for the Soviets to make their move.
Is there a particular reason we should expect the Japanese in Hokkaido to have suffered any less during a soviet invasion than Japanese (and Chinese) in Manchuria?

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 Message 67 by Modulous, posted 07-14-2011 2:30 PM Modulous has replied

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Itinerant Lurker
Member (Idle past 2735 days)
Posts: 67
Joined: 12-12-2008


Message 74 of 140 (623948)
07-14-2011 6:24 PM
Reply to: Message 47 by dronestar
07-12-2011 4:43 PM


Re: Sorry for the delay.
War Plans Committee prepared a report for the Chiefs of Staff, dated
June 15, 1945, thus providing the closest thing anyone has to
accurate: 40,000 U.S. soldiers killed, 150,000 wounded, and 3,500
missing.
This report assumed that there were a mere 8 divisions with 350,000 troops and 300 aircraft. Subsequent intelligence revealed that the Japanese had anticipated the landing site and moved a full 14 divisions consisting of some 680,000 troops and anywhere from 5,000 to 10,000 aircraft. To quote the report,
"The extent of the objective area gives us the opportunity to effect surprises at the points of landing and, once ashore, to profit by our superiority in mobility and mechanized power through maneuver."
Needless to say, this turned out to be utterly wrong - as such I don't see how on earth you could say that the casualty rates given are anywhere near accurate.
The April study of the operation by the Joint Chiefs of Staff gave a casualty rate of 7.45 per 1,000 man-days / 1.78 per 1,000 man days. That means your casualty rates are going to easily double if the operation had taken more than the very optimistic 90 days - which, given the vast underestimation of Japanese troop strength in Kyushu, it most certainly would have.
As for your thoughts on Russia, here's some excerpts from Truman's diaries and letters. True, you could argue that they are all propaganda disguised to mislead us. . .but that doesn't strike me as particularly likely.
http://www.doug-long.com/hst.htm
Lurker

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Itinerant Lurker
Member (Idle past 2735 days)
Posts: 67
Joined: 12-12-2008


(1)
Message 86 of 140 (624036)
07-15-2011 2:19 PM
Reply to: Message 83 by Rahvin
07-15-2011 12:05 PM


Re: my unstudied view of the situation
I think this point is worth repeating:
The only solution was surrender on the part of the Japanese...and the ball was entirely in their court. The Japanese leadership continually, even after all of these things, to not take the reasonable option and surrender. Instead they continued to wage a propaganda war painting Allied soldiers as murdering, raping, torturing, thieving barbarians.
Not only that, but there really was no indication that this was going to change - in fact the actual plan developed by the Big Six to deal with an allied invasion, Ketsugo, made no qualms about throwing civilians armed with bows and spears against a modern army armed with machine guns and mortars. Bear in mind, they did this not because they thought they could win - but because they thought they could use all the casualties as a bargaining chip to negotiate a better position for themselves.
quote:
In addition, the Japanese had organized the Patriotic Citizens Fighting Corpswhich included all healthy men aged 15—60 and women 17—40, numbering 28 millionto perform combat support, and ultimately combat jobs. Weapons, training, and uniforms were generally lacking: some men were armed with nothing better than muzzle-loading muskets, longbows, or bamboo spears; nevertheless, they were expected to make do with what they had.[25]
One mobilized high school girl, Yukiko Kasai, found herself issued an awl and told, "Even killing one American soldier will do. You must aim for the abdomen."[26]
http://en.wikipedia.org/...n_Downfall#Operation_Ketsug.C5.8D

What evidence is there that this pattern of behavior by the Japanese government would change?
If they deadlocked on a surrender following a nuclear attack why on earth should we expect anything less than a prolonged deadlock during negotiations? Having already decided to throw 28 million civilians into battle as cannon fodder would the Big Six have batted an eye as their country began to starve around them during the inevitable famine? Would the military have even obeyed an order to surrender without the looming threat of defeat without the need for an allied invasion? Would the thousands of prisoners of war suffering in prison camps throughout Japanese controlled territory have survived given the kill all orders which had been issued (and, in some cases, carried out)?
Lurker

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Itinerant Lurker
Member (Idle past 2735 days)
Posts: 67
Joined: 12-12-2008


Message 87 of 140 (624037)
07-15-2011 2:23 PM
Reply to: Message 82 by Modulous
07-15-2011 11:35 AM


Re: my unstudied view of the situation
And yet the Japanese surrendered without committing mass suicide within days.
True, but only because the order was perceived as coming from a legitimate authority as well as because it was recognized that the U.S. could destroy Japan without invading. Without both of these factors I doubt that would have happened - and neither of these factors would have come into play during a prolonged period of blockade & diplomacy.
Lurker

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Replies to this message:
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Itinerant Lurker
Member (Idle past 2735 days)
Posts: 67
Joined: 12-12-2008


Message 89 of 140 (624144)
07-16-2011 7:30 AM
Reply to: Message 88 by Rahvin
07-15-2011 2:45 PM


Re: my unstudied view of the situation
No argument there. I'm simply saying that had Japan's society crumbled under the pressure of massive famine or if the military leadership perceived that they still had a chance to blunt an invasion the order to surrender would likely not have been so consistently followed. And I think both of those scenarios are quite likely had the U.S. entered into a prolonged period of blockade & diplomacy.
Lurker

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