Hiroshima & Nagasaki: moral acts?

pointless debate removed; see first reply to Chet for all that needed saying

We dropped the 2 bombs is short succession because we wanted Japan to think that we had an unlimited supply of them. Had we dropped one, waited 3 months, dropped another, waited another 3 months, etc… it was thought that the Japanese would be able to figure out just how hard it was to make these bombs.

The Japanese knew they couldn’t win by offensive messures, but they still thought they could win a stalemate through staunch defense. It was essentially Saddam’s philosophy from the Gulf War: make an invasion so costly that the invaders will sue for peace and give you some concessions.

Make no mistake, the Japanese were ready to surrender long before the atomic bombs were dropped. The problem is, they wanted a conditional surrender. They wanted to keep onto their Chinese holdings, retain their Emporer, and be allowed to maintain their armed forces. Truman wanted unconditional surrender, including occupational forces, complete disarmament, and a brand new Japanese constitution. The only way for Truman to get what he wanted was with The Bomb. The Japanese thought losing was bad enough, they weren’t about to give up their Emporer and their constitution without a massive hamer to convince them.

ciparis - next time then why don’t you just kick in how much you love christmas in your posts? Then we will know, you were just mentioning your love for christmas and not commenting on anything dealing with any posts.

Chet

Yes, how do you stop him? Do you put him on fire, do you threaten to kill his kids, do you try to reason with him? The question is what you consider to be justified (and effective) in the situation at hand. I certainly don’t think it is an easy question.

But do the WWII vets have the Answer to the ethical question? I don’t think you should equate any war with another, but it is interesting to compare the effects of similar actions in different wars.

Firebombing (= dropping tons of napalm) is not a very nice thing.
The workers in Tokyo might have been an “industrial target” but both they and their families were human beings. Did they really deserve to be boiled to death in an inferno of burning flesh. Was it justified? I don’t claim to have the answer to this question but I would never label it “good” under any circumstances.

As for the comparison, the firebombings during WWII were accepted (by the western world at least) because of what the Japanese and the Germans had been responsible for. When firebombing was used in Vietnam the result was very different however.

As for the result in Sweden I can say that politicians who had been great admirers of the US suddenly started to participate in demonstrations and started to view anything the US did with great suspicion. And I’m sure it probably caused a lot of intellectuals to start overlooking the crimes of Soviet & Co. I suppose a lot of people felt “betrayed” somehow. That is the price you might have to pay for using terror against civilians.

I don’t really buy the “strategic” argument. You don’t use an Atomic Bomb to knock out factories. The Atomic Bomb is an exclamation point. We could have dropped it on some remote part of Japan and still proved the point.

I really do think one was probably enough, we just needed to say “Tokyo is next” with number two. How long did we wait before Little Boy? I’m thinking if it was a short time, well, that was probably an immoral act.

pointless debate removed; see first reply to Chet for all that needed saying

Yes, thank goodness the civilized nations are around to demonstrate against us bloodthirsty barbarians. I guess the Swedes needed something to do after 7 years of aiding the Nazis without having the balls to publicly commit to their side.

Avoiding civilian casualties is a relatively recent invention. Civilians have always been recognized as the base of power for your enemy and, as such, were generally considered fair targets. In the Pacific theater, the US was fighting an enemy who refused to give in to superior military might. The only way to defeat Japan was to make their military leaders’ decisions irrelevant. Hence, the decision to make war on the people of Japan.

I will leave ciparis with the last word on what a great debator he is as he wants to post publicly then tell me to “BACK OFF” in a private message. HE HAS TO HAVE THE LAST WORD!! Nice. So i will give it to him.

Erik, that was my point. You can’t compare the dropping of the atom bomb to much else. Because it doesn’t equate to the vietnam war where the reason for the war and the US being there were questionable. The reaction between the two are pretty far apart as well.

The one answer we do know - was it effective? Yes.

It is hard for people to believe anything could be clear cut - allies vs axis, there had to be something the allies did. WE NEED GUILT!! Sometimes it just doesn’t work that way and some people really are that evil.

Chet

Eh, no, actually my intent was to take this dispute out of the public forum in the hopes that we could cool things off. If you want to choose 2 words out of a lengthy PM as a summary and bring it back in here, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised.

Since cip is now crying in a private message that I CAN NEVER MESSAGE HIM AGAIN, I will clarify here.

I seem to remember reading that the firebombing of Tokyo caused massive civilian casualties compared to the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs. It’s been awhile though, my memory is fuzzy.

It’s all pretty upsetting. The whole thing is inexcusable on all sides :/ we can be so inhuman.

I know you are dim. So i bolded your point for you. I am saying, that america’s actions were not only excusable they were justifiable.

You then want to cry you were talking about war in general - which again is my point. Few times in history have sides been drawn so clearly and so widely.

But this is all wasted on you. You are another great debator who will just say - “that is not what i was saying, i was saying doom is the genesis for mmogs” You keep good company.

Chet

:shock:

I think it is important for Americans to remember that what we foreigners see the effects of is mainly the foreign policy. The “intellectuals” see the similarities between Soviet treatment of Eastern Europe and American treatment of Latin America and so on. Since some people desperately want to believe that there has to be a “good” side and they have already identified the bad one (USA) it’s natural for them to disregard evidence reports of the terror in Soviet and elsewhere as capitalist propaganda.

A troll, but I guess I should make some kind of comment. Sweden sold wares (mainly steel) to the Nazis. American companies (such as IBM) also sold wares to the Nazis. It’s just business after all, you know the talk about the only concern being the profit of the stockholders.
Sweden didn’t join the war, but the USA didn’t join the war before it was attacked, did it (and yes, I do know about the aid to the British, I’m just trolling back)?

If Sweden would not have sold the steel the Nazi war machine requested then the country would have been conquered. (My grandfather was sent to the border with a Mauser rifle and three bullets.) This is what happens when you don’t have the power to defend yourself. Instead Germany had to conquer Denmark and Norway to prevent the British from attacking Sweden.

Besides, Hitler wasn’t the main concern. After five centuries of warfare with Russia it was pretty clear who the real enemy was. Hitler admired Scandinavians, Stalin hated everybody. Stalin also attacked the only country the Sweden had a moral obligation to aid, Finland. And that’s where the Swedish aid went. Finland fought with the German troops against Soviet.

It’s so confusing everything, Hitler bad but Stalin not good? Moral questions too hard to anlalyze. Brain overheating.

pointless debate removed; see first reply to Chet for all that needed saying

cip, i understand you must have some crazy reading problem. While it could be considered reading between the lines - i just suggest you go back to my post. That line between the two you have an issue with - was that directed towards you? Did you talk about blockades? Did you?

Now think. Try. Think. line 1, response to you. line2, response to whoever mentioned blockades. line 3, response to general hippie love fest feel of the posts. And yes, your post fits that but is not directly addressing it, why else would you post it. Are you going to post in the thread about sound problems with battlefield 1942 how you love your video card?

It is called context. In the context of the thread, my post was appropriate, as was yours - for a complete hippie idiot.

Chet

You know I look at threads like this and wonder if American Democracy isn’t that far removed from Soviet Communism.

Brainwashing is well and truly alive in this world.

So Chet, I’m wrong for taking exception to your post attacking sentiments I didn’t voice, because although you confirm that your comment was in fact directed towards a group including me, that direction was not directly and/or solely indicated by your use of the quote?

uh-huh :wink:

I really wasn’t going to reply anymore, but that was just too amusing :)

What a great service this Chet guy does for his hosted websites, haunting their forums and chasing readers away by harranguing them about being idiots, historical revisionists, morons, etc. no matter how hard they try to bury the hatchet or simply avoid his constant streams of ill-informed bile.

Amusing shit. I’m sure mom&pop corner stores would love it if their landlords performed a similar service for customers… Sitting in the corner at all hours and yelling at people, calling them idiots.

Yeah, baby!

Cips, I was leaving the choice to you of if it applied to you or not. But as you have repeatedly asserted, you are in that group.

That is why you take exception, which is rather confusing.

Either you would see the post wasn’t directed towards you because you decided to post just some general, all humanity is evil post, or it was directed towards you because you were posting about the topic at hand.

Which is it?

Chet

Actually, the concept of civilians as a base of power for your enemy is also a fairly recent invention. Blame France for that one. Prior to the French Revolution, civilians had little to nothing to do with wars. Armies were typically composed of professionally trained career soldiers and/or mercenaries, who would fight the career soldiers and/or mercenaries of the enemy. If civilians happened to get in the way… well, shit happens. But killing off the peasantry was generally not considered to be rational military strategy.

After Napoleon did his tour of Europe, introduced the world to the concept of nationalism, and primed the continent for both World Wars (thanks, France!), most nations rewrote the book on military policy.

Bub: dropping an atomic bomb on the uninhabited countryside would absolutely not have had the same effect as dropping it on a population center. Even after Hiroshima, Emperor Showa refused to surrender unconditionally. It took Nagisaki and the Soviet Union signing on for the war in the Pacific to change his mind. It seems unlikely that bombing a field in the Japanese countryside would have done the trick.

Well, let me relate a little tale…

One of the guys in town I do computer work for is an elderly guy who served in the army during WW2. He was in the pacific for the entire duration of the war, and from the stories he tells, God must have really wanted to keep him alive pretty bad. I’ve heard Vietnam stories and seen the movies and such - but the shit this guy tells me about fighting the japanese in WW2 makes my hair stand up.

First off, you’re not in hedgerows in France here. You’re in jungle that’s so thick you can walk five feet away from your buddies and never find them again. The places were jammed full of birds, monkeys, and all sort of other critters that were raising hell all the time, so the first indication you had of spotting the enemy is when you bumped into one. Furthermore, every island was a beach assault - and they made Omaha D-day in Private Ryan look pretty by comparison from what he said. The Marines got the worst of it, but the Army hit their fair share of beaches right along side them - and sometimes alone.

So, you’d sail up, hit the beach and charge into the machine guns. Hide behind a stack of your dead buddies and toss grenades and pray a lot. If it was a real bad day, the Japanese navy was in town and THEY’d start shelling the beach behind you - so you had it coming from both sides. Frank was a scout, so it was his job to sneak up the side of the battle and see what he could see, then call the navy’s 16" guns down on it. More often than not, however, he ended up right in the middle and had to call fire almost on top of himself.

After they’d cleared the pillbox city on the beach, they’d set up a base camp and then his squad played “point man” for getting them from the beach to whatever hill they had picked out as an objective. He told me about a buddy of his that swore this one hill was absolutely crawling with Japanese, so they called a ton of artillery down on it… when they went up to clear the place out, they found that they’d killed a few hundred monkeys. The guy earned himself the nickname “monkeyshines” and it stuck with him until the end of the war… in fact, he was one of the only other guys from the area here that did come back with Frank from the pacific.

Once they spotted a patch of bannanas off the side of the trail, so they decided to shimmy up the tree and grab some. As soon as they got their hands full, some Japanese walked right out of jungle to their side and into the clearing - scaring the shit out of both parties. One of the guys yelled “GRENADE!” and whipped a bannana at them. Apparently “grenade” is a word that’s pretty universal in any language, so they must not have noticed it was a bananna and dove - which gave the guys time to pick up their rifles and put up a fighting retreat back into the jungle.

Occasionally, they’d get a couple of prisoners captured. They drew straws to see who had to march these poor guys all the way back to the base camp. It was utterly dangerous, because the islands were crawling with the enemy and the only clear path was the one you’d been on for the past five minutes. There was no such thing as “securing an area”… wherever you were, that was secure, but anything 5 minutes back the trail could be hot again. Thus, a lot of these prisoners made it about a half mile before “trying to escape” and needing to be shot.

Being Army guys, they had the job of digging out the remnants of enemy forces and occupying villages after the Marines had moved on. From what he said, we were greeted by the locals as saviors from the treatment of the Japanese. We behaved ourselves, but their previous hosts hadn’t - or as he put it “we could have raped every woman in town and still been gentlemen by comparison it seems.”

Frank’s last mission of the war was the occupation of Osaka. He and five of his buddies were the first white men into town, and they said there wasn’t a Japanese in sight - they’d see curtains move, but that was about it. They were in town a week before they saw a woman for the first time there. The people were very afraid and starving - one night he caught a man who had sneaked into the Army compound to steal food out of a trash barrel. He flipped him in and popped the lid on, and sat on it until the MP’s could get there to take him off the base. Technically he was supposed to shoot the guy, but he knew the desperation they had just to get something to eat. Apparently life in wartime Japan hadn’t been too rosy for the civilians. They seemed almost relieved to have the whole thing over, even if they did lose.

So, when I asked him about “the bomb” he said “well, you do what it takes - and by God that’s what it took. We could have fought years more and they’d have never given up… we had to prove that there was NO winning possible, no stalemate, no holding their ground. We had to show the emperor that he was dead at any time we decided to do it, and that finally convinced him. Do I pity them? The kids… everybody else? Fuck 'em. They got what they had to have to stop them, and stopping them was the whole point.”

I left out a lot of what he said, and honestly there was quite a bit of it with tears in his eyes even after 50 years… but those are the highlights. Until you actually sit down and talk to someone who was there, I don’t think you can be an armchair historian and debate right and wrong.