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Surviving Nagasaki

History, memory, and nuclear devastation

Nagasaki: Life After Nuclear War, by Susan Southard, Viking, 416 pages, $28.95.

When the U.S. dropped an atomic bomb on Nagasaki at the end of the Second World War, Yoshida Katsuji was horrifically injured. "Like everyone else in Nagasaki that day," Susan Southard writes, his "immediate survival and degree of injury from burns and radiation depended entirely on his exact location," the direction he faced, his clothing, and which buildings and natural structures stood between him and the blast. Half a mile away from the explosion, Yoshida saw the skin from his arm "peeled off and was hanging down from his fingertips." "Blood was pouring out of my flesh," he recalls.

Dō-oh Mineko's story is even more gruesome. The "whole left side of her body was badly burned, a bone was sticking out of her right arm at the elbow, hundreds of glass splinters had penetrated most of her body, and blood was streaming down her neck," Southard reports. There was a "wide and deep horizontal gash stretching from one ear to the other, filled with shards of glass and wood." By candlelight and without anesthesia, a doctor removed hundreds of glass shards and splinters from her body and head as she screamed all night, praying to die.

The immediate aftermath of days and weeks did not bring an end to the pain and suffering. A decade after the war, Southard notes, survivors still suffered "blood, cardiovascular, liver, and endocrinological disorders, low blood cell counts, severe anemia, thyroid disorders, internal organ damage, cataracts, and premature aging." They tended to face rejection as suitors for marriage. They faced an extreme and often unobtainable burden of proof to secure access to the health examinations provided to survivors under the 1957 Atomic Bomb Victims Medical Care Law. Yoshida's children endured the shameful predicament of telling their friends what had happened to their father's face.

Even the nearly instantaneous destruction of hundreds of thousands of lives can become somewhat lost in a war where 60 million people, mostly civilians, died. In Nagasaki: Life After Nuclear War, Southard, who holds a degree in creative nonfiction, focuses on five survivors, tracking their lives after the ruination and consulting hundreds of other primary and secondary sources.

In addition to Yoshida and Dō-oh, Southard describes the lives of Nagano Etsuko, Tanigucshi Sumiteru, and Wada Kōichi, "among the select few who keep the public memory of the atomic bomb alive." These survivors' memories lend texture and depth to her book, which is built on a solid framework of scholarly literature. Theorists of history should find interest in the tricky methodological balance she strikes.

Southard is up against collective memory. She cites a 1995 Gallup poll finding that one fourth of Americans had no knowledge of the atomic bombings and that few understood their severity. Looking not just at the bombing and its aftermath's history, but at the memory of that history, Southard examines the institutional factors that shaped public understandings. General MacArthur's censors, who required the preapproval of press publications in occupied Japan to prevent "false or destructive criticism of the Allied Powers," rejected Chicago Tribune journalist George Weller's reports on the devastation. The U.S. government, whose scientists had "conducted no studies on the potential effects of high-dose, whole-body radiation exposure on the people of Japan," tried to control the scientific determination of what had happened. More than 8,000 Americans and Japanese worked in the Civil Censorship Detachment, which monitored media, personal correspondence, and telecommunications. In 1945, the United States confiscated Japanese researchers' "early blood samples, specimens, photographs, questionnaires, and clinical records from victims' autopsies and survivors' examinations.'"

The United States had an interest in rationalizing the bombings. In the wake of the war, Americans read about how many lives the bombs supposedly saved. Karl T. Compton, president of MIT, wrote a December 1946 Atlantic piece estimating that the bomb had saved "hundreds of thousands—perhaps several millions" of American and Japanese lives. Former Secretary of War Henry Stimson similarly presented high estimates of the lives saved, neglecting to mention the fraught debates among high officials over the unconditional surrender demand and other complicating facts. Meanwhile, American officials censored publications on the bombings, forcing a U.S.-written appendix that highlighted Japanese atrocities in Takashi Nagai's 1947 book The Bells of Nagasaki. America's nuclear build-up in the early Cold War made officials all the more guarded against bad publicity for this new weapon of war. It wasn't until 1967 that the United States finally sent footage of the post-bombing wreckage back to Japan.

Struggle over memory also transpired within Japan, where the bombing's meaning was highly contested. In 1969 Tatsuichirō Akizuki, a Nagasaki-based doctor, launched the Nagasaki Testimonial Society, calling on written records of first-hand experience with the ultimate goal of abolishing nuclear weapons. The project gave voice to survivors frustrated with the hesitance of the Japanese government, now allied with the United States, to condemn the bombings, and with official textbooks that minimized their calamity in an effort to rehabilitate Japanese nationalism.

According to a 2015 Pew Research Center poll, 56 percent of Americans consider the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki justified. The U.S. government's active attempts to limit public revulsion in the bombings' immediate aftermath appear to have a lasting effect. But even those who think the use of the atomic bomb against Japan was the right choice must still face the scope of destruction and the generations of suffering that rippled out from the detonations in Nagasaki and Hiroshima.

Southard's book is an invaluable tool for that task. The instantaneous death of hundreds of thousands of people in August 1945—and the possible deaths of millions or billions more in a future nuclear war—are imbued much more meaning and immediacy by the personal glimpses that Southard provides.

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  • Jackand Ace||

    "...must still face the scope of destruction and the generations of suffering that rippled out from the detonations in Nagasaki and Hiroshima."

    I suppose that is true. The same can be said of the suffering that caused initially by Japan with their run through Southeast Asia. We fire bombed Dresden too. Just because the casualties were less doesn't make it any less regrettable.

    One might also consider that once nuclear weapons were created, they were bound to be used at least once, and that Hiroshima and Nagasaki proved to be a deterrent in future years as countries grappled with the subsequent immense destruction those weapons caused. The conflagration might have been even worse if the first use of a nuclear weapon was between the U.S. and USSR.

  • Arthur45||

    Anthony Gregory has written basically acompletely distorted picture of the atomic bomb effects - essentialy claiming they were "the worst." That is absurd - the firebombings of all those Japanese cities that preceded the A bomb produced every bit as much devastationand horrible casualties and death, actually far more. I'm surprised that a historian would write an article like this.

  • Steve G||

    You know who else was considered "the worst"?

  • DenverJ||

    Nikki?

  • Akira||

    Nickelback?

  • Swiss Servator, ...ouch.||

    Nikki-back?!

  • SQRLSY One||

    Donald-the-Duck Trump!

  • Anthony Gregory||

    Where did I claim the atomic bombings were the deadliest bombings? And yes, the worst firebombing, probably of Tokyo, killed more civilians than the bombing of Nagasaki. But dozens of Japanese cities were firebombed and on average they were not as devastated as Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The introduction of a radically new weapon of war seems notable, particularly in the creation of the atomic age of warfare that characterized the background consideration throughout the Cold War. The long-term health and cultural effects of the bombings also seem relevant, and so I focus on them here (as does Southard). In any event, one not need think the atomic bombings were "worse" than the firebombings to write the piece I did.

  • Suicidy||

    As horrific as the first bomb was, Imperial Japan was still stubborn and tenacious enough that it took a second bomb to get them to surrender.

  • gaoxiaen||

    Even the second one almost wasn't enough. Some officers started a (failed) coup d'etat to prevent a surrender even after the bombs. Invasion would have been horrendous for all involved.
    1. Don't start wars.
    2. If you start a war, don't lose.

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    Alexis Gilliland put it as "When you lose a war, bad things happen."

  • Scarecrow & WoodChipper Repair||

    Bad things happen to winners too. Sherman put it best: "War is hell."

    Every time I hear any complaints about the conduct of war, I think of Sherman, and "All is fair in love and war." I can't imagine anyone fighting a war who would be satisfied losing because he declined to go the next simple step.

    Every time I hear complaints about the atom bombs, I wonder if the whiners realize the Japanese were killing 100,000 Chinese every month; an invasion, quite aside from the direct casualties, would have meant another million dead Chinese. It doesn't matter whether Truman knew about that or even considered it; war is unpredictable hell, and there was a real good chance that the Soviet Union would have occupied half Japan. Would another North Korea have been good for the world.

    Nobody knows. War is hell.

  • SQRLSY One||

    Amen, thank you, well said!

  • DblEagle||

    In 1945, in the Pacific Theater alone, 7,000 Americans were KIA a week. (To put that in scale we have lost only 7000ish KIA since 9/11.) The last two islands that we seized in the Central Pacific were bloodbaths: Iwo Jima(6,800 KIA 19K WIA) for a few sq miles of volcanic crap and Okinawa (12+K KIA, 40K) for the outermost very small home island. The Japanese showed no inclination toward surrender and still had largely intact Home Island Armies and the ability to reenforce from their huge armies in China. Truman had a weapon that could save American lives and shock the Japanese by destroying entire cities with one plane. His decision to use atomic weaponry was both correct and moral since it was his job to bring the war to a successful conclusion with the absolute minimum of American casualties. The additional benefit that the worldwide shock of what these weapons could do made their use more difficult was a nice bonus.

  • Anthony Gregory||

    Even if you allocate the blame for these bombings on Japan, they are important to study as another example of the horrors of Japan's war. So why do so many folks who lay blame for all the killing at Japan's feet, and correctly have no problem articulating the savagery of Japanese occupation of China and Korea, not want to articulate the savagery than they say Japan brought on itself through the atomic bombings?

    I think they just want to sweep history under the rug, particularly if America had any negative part in it. Even if the US was only 10% responsible for Nagasaki, that's too much for some people to confront.

  • DenverJ||

    If you attack me, then anything I do to stop that aggression is 100% your fault.
    The Japanese had raped their way across Asia and the Pacific, and launched a sneak attack on our navy. They were allied with the fascists who were raping their way across Europe, committing genocide as thru went.
    By all means, study the evil of war, and the effects of nuclear bombs, but I refuse to assign any blame to the US for stopping the bomb.

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    Thank you for not say "unprovoked" about the Pearl Harbor attack. Sneak attack, yes, "unprovoked"? No. FDR was doing his damndest to provoke Japan for (for once in his smug life) good reason. But he was a bigot, didn't believe that the Japanese could attack Hawaii (not many did), and so we got caught flatfooted. We expected them to attack Manilla.

    Oops.

    I have scant sympathy for the Japanese in that War. They got hammered, but they deserved to get hammered. But "unprovoked" annoys me.

  • BBerry12||

    It wasn't an unprovoked attack? Only if you say that any response of the US to the barbaric behavior of Japan towards the Chinese was a provocation. Certainly the Japanese would have preferred that we sit like the 3 monkeys and express no opinion regarding the rape of Nanking; maybe we should have - not many Americans really gave a damn about what happened that far away. Just go along and get along, right?

    FDR took a stand on principle and cut Japan off from US oil. Japan was delusional enough to believe that they could attack the US fleet and not only avoid war with the US, but that we would consider ourselves properly chastised and turn on the oil tap again.

  • Scarecrow & WoodChipper Repair||

    Life is complicated. You may know of the US's "Open Door" policy with respect to China, meaning free trade with everybody. It came about only because the US was late to the imperialist colonizing game, and wanted to pry China out of European hands. Altruism had nothing to do with it.

    FDR supported China only for his own selfish reasons; Japan was naive enough to think they could colonize Korea, Taiwan and China and become an honorary member of the white colonizers' club. FDR imposed all sorts of economic sanctions on Japan for behavior in China that merely matched European behavior.

    Provocation does not exist in a vacuum. Provocation is a tit-for-tat-for-tit game, and there was plenty of provocation on all sides. The biggest difference was their skin color and their close proximity, and FDR used his bigger stick to make up for the longer distance. FDR was blind to the Japanese being as human as the whites, just as the Japanese were blind to the Americans being as bound by honor as the yellows.

    War is hell on all sides.

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    I'm not saying that the provocation was underserved. Just that FDR has a pretty good idea that it would mean some kind of attack from Japan. He failed to understand how strong Japan was (and they failed to understand how strong they weren't, except arguably Admiral Yamamoto, who thought a war with us was a middling poor idea).

    I started feeling this way when people called the 9/11 attacks "unprovoked". I don't think they were; they people responsible were provoked by our disinclination to give them everything they wanted. They were, and are, that kind of idiots. But we need to stop saying "unprovoked" when we mean "We have frustrated their ambitions in every way short of actual war" or to put it bluntly "We've stopped their trade, seized their bank accounts, and called them every sort of evil name (which they richly deserve), but we haven't actually punched them in the nose. Yet."

    We keep using that word, and it doesn't mean what we seem to think it means.

    But I'm a Crank; I think that our foreign policy pose as Benevolent Philanthropists isn't particularly believable, even when it happens to be true (which it is far more of the time than is true for most other nations.). I think it probably makes a lot of people nervous, as they try to figure out what the hell we are up to. And I think that our protestations of indued innocence at times like 9/11 doesn't help.

  • Anthony Gregory||

    If someone from a different city attacks you there are indeed moral limits to how you can respond. You can't kill everyone on his block

  • Radioactive||

    why not?

  • Hooha||

    You can if the people on his block are colluding to destroy you, and are supporting their designated champion with weapons and resources specifically to maintain a constant state of aggression toward you.

    Taking a hit out on somebody exposes you to morally justified lethal retaliation by your target, even though you're not the one planting explosives on their car.

  • -Umbriel-||

    I fully agree with the preceding comments -- I've heard equally horrifying tales from survivors of the Dresden and Hamburg firestorms. One can reasonably argue the ethics of strategic area bombing generally, but the effects of the atomic bombs are really distinguished only by some of the long-term, radiation-based health effects. To assert that they were meaningfully "worse" than conventional firebombing honestly seems to me like nitpicking.

    I suppose there's a value in driving home a general "war is bad" message, though there's always the risk of that message empowering those who ignore it.

  • mtrueman||

    "One can reasonably argue the ethics of strategic area bombing generally"

    The British called the bombing of Hamburg and Dresden 'terror bombing' or 'de-housing.' Strategic bombing is the bombing of war-making infrastructure. Terror bombing was targeted at the civilian population and was aimed at sapping an enemy nation's will to fight. It never really was successful in that and actually strengthened the victim's resolve to fight on.

    "but the effects of the atomic bombs are really distinguished only by some of the long-term, radiation-based health effects"

    You're talking here about the effects on the victims. I think the effects on the perpetrators is just as important to comment on. Since Nagasaki, Americans have seen the bombing of Asians as the easy, safe and surefire way of gaining victory in their various wars in the region. It seems to have worked on Japan, for example, and it accounts for the fact that Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos are still the 3 most heavily bombed nations in the world. It accounts for the ritual incantation of 'all options being on the table' that Americans require their leaders to utter before being elected to the presidency. Their unrivalled air superiority against militias in Afghanistan has not brought victory, any more than it did in Vietnam. Still, most Americans place religious-like faith in the power of their weapons. I doubt this was the case before Nagasaki.

  • Sevo||

    trueman is a liar who posts only to see his name on the screen. Not one word of his posts is credible.
    mtrueman|5.4.15 @ 12:59AM|#
    “[…] What you haven't fathomed is that I'm so morally depraved that my deserved rep here doesn't bother me or interest me in the least. I post for myself; your feelings about me are of no concern.

  • Chipper Morning Wood||

    Your comments added nothing to the discussion, Sevo.

  • Sevo||

    Ya know, I took your comment to heart and started responding to trueman's lies (below).
    And it didn't take long to realize the best response to a congenital liar is:

    trueman is a liar who posts only to see his name on the screen. Not one word of his posts is credible.
    mtrueman|5.4.15 @ 12:59AM|#
    “[…] What you haven't fathomed is that I'm so morally depraved that my deserved rep here doesn't bother me or interest me in the least. I post for myself; your feelings about me are of no concern.

  • gaoxiaen||

    Randomly shooting missiles at population centers in England probably did little to help the Germans to endear themselves to the Allies. How many died in the Battle of Britain? War crimes trials were "Victors' Justice"? Damn right. Unfortunately they could only be executed once.

  • mtrueman||

    "Randomly shooting missiles at population centers in England probably did little to help the Germans to endear themselves to the Allies."

    We know this now, but at the time it was thought that such bombings would shatter to victims resolve and many unnecessary provisions to deal with the anticipated psychological effects were put in place.

  • -Umbriel-||

    Considering the aftermath of WWII and the American Civil War in contrast with that of WWI, it's anything but clear to me that breaking the will of the enemy population is without value. And your comments about American post-WWII policy well-illustrate the consequences of a warlike foreign policy free of consequences to a population. I beg to differ with the assertion that the A-bombs were somehow pivotal to US policy, though. By the beginning of 1945, the Axis were incapable of offensive action, and could be strategically bombed with impunity. The belief of Allied populations in their armed forces was well-established before the bombs were dropped, and they were, in any event, never used again. I don't believe nuclear weapons have especially encouraged interventionist foreign policy.

  • mtrueman||

    "the assertion that the A-bombs were somehow pivotal to US policy"

    I'm not saying that atomic weapons were pivotal. They were an after thought to a war that was drawing to a close. Their importance came later. We see it today in every politician's ritualistic threats to annihilate Iran, for example. It's a comment on the American psyche rather than anything to do with policy.

  • Sevo||

    "They were an after thought to a war that was drawing to a close."

    Development began in 1941; the war was not 'drawing to a close'
    You're a lying sack of shit.

  • mtrueman||

    "Development began in 1941"

    I was referring to dropping them rather than developing them. And I don't believe they were instrumental in ending the war. Nagasaki was simply not important enough. It was expendable, just like the bulk of the Japanese population. You seem to have too rosy a view of the Japanese militarists and don't appreciate their brutality.

  • Radioactive||

    Please to remember that Nagasaki was the secondary target for that bomb...the only reason more weren't dropped was the dearth of fissonable material...though Groves proposed a plan to drop them as they became available...on about a 6-8 week cycle IIRC

  • BearOdinson||

    Except that you are wrong. North Viet Nam came to the negotiating table AFTER the bombing of Hanoi. Operation Rolling Thunder in 1966 was specifically not allowed to drop bombs on Hanoi or Haiphong harbor. While it was a large scale effort, it was still largely tactical in nature (i.e. targeting oil depots, troop locations etc.)
    Operation Linebacker II in 1972 brought North Viet Nam to its knees and led to the Paris Peace Accords.

    The bombing of Dresden has certainly elicited much discussion from historians. But you will never get much sympathy from the Brits after undergoing the London Blitz. And airpower was huge in the First Gulf War. In Afghanistan we really haven't done any strategic bombing campaign. It is much more limited tactical strikes. And frankly, those stone age goat herders can fuck themselves as far as I care. They aren't worth the cost of a smart bomb.

  • mtrueman||

    "Except that you are wrong."

    How am I wrong? The Americans came to the negotiations after the Hanoi bombing failed to bring about the surrender of the Vietnamese. Doesn't this shake your faith in the efficacy of indiscriminate bombing of Asians just a little bit? What would it take?

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    I am sick to the teeth of historians grabbing themselves some spurious moral superiority by second guessing the decisions made by men in hard places. Jaoan started a war, which they prosecuted with brutal ferocity across Asia and the Pacific. They lost, and they have been playing the "poor me" card ever since. When Japan stops ducking issues like Unit 731 and the Comfort Women, then perhaps it will be time to reexamine our part in that war. Maybe.

  • ||

    ^This.

    The blame for what happened to Germany and Japan lies fully on Germany and Japan.

  • Anthony Gregory||

    OK, good. In that case to understand the evils of the Axis powers, we should definitely study the horrors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki—which you say are the fault of Japan—as closely as we study the horrors of the Rape of Nanking.

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    That is to say, hardly at all?

    I know about Nanking and Unit 731 and Comfort Women because I read history for fun. I don't recall running into them in the general pop-culture history of the War. But every few years we are treated to yet another "We weren't justified in bombing Hiroshima! Aren't we awful!" book or documentary.

    The morons who are determined to portray the West in general and The U.S. In particular as absolutely awful are as tiresome and wrong as the worst "manifest destiny" idiots,of the 19th century.

  • ||

    Much of the misdeeds of the Axis powers were buried. If the American and English populations had full knowledge of what had been done it would have been impossible to rebuild them and turn them into allies.

    You are correct that the current crop of proggies are determined to portray western civilization as evil, when in fact almost everything good in the world is the product of western civilization.

    See here (if you haven't already):

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TPukz3rttrk

  • mtrueman||

    "when in fact almost everything good in the world is the product of western civilization"

    A holocaust is an example of all that is good in the world? Are you sure you got the right youtube link?

  • ||

    My second paragraph should have come after the link. I apologize.

    The link is an example of some of the horrors committed by the Nazis that was suppressed. That movie was not released until just recently. The American leadership thought if the American public saw that movie that they would want the germans exterminated or at the least they would not be able to sell us on germany being an ally.

    The second paragraph was an agreement with Schofield about the idiocy of demonizing the west.

  • mtrueman||

    "demonizing the west"

    I'm not sure how the 'west' comes into it. Japan aside, the Axis powers were as western as they come. I don't see how it's idiotic to demonize them.

  • Sevo||

    mtrueman|8.9.15 @ 5:14PM|#
    "demonizing the west"
    "I'm not sure how the 'west' comes into it..."

    Add 'pedantry' to the list of your faults.

  • Chipper Morning Wood||

    "when in fact almost everything good in the world is the product of western civilization."

    When you say something this colossally stupid, it is hard to muster the motivation to type up a response to debunk this lachrymatory stultiloquence. But this href="http://bit.ly/1f2Ksa7" should get you started.

  • Chipper Morning Wood||

    so how about that edit button.....
    Here is the link: http://bit.ly/1f2Ksa7

  • Sevo||

    Nice try at fucking up a link.
    Now, I see you have avoided answering my question regarding "alternatives" below.
    Can we presume this is because "Your comments added nothing to the discussion, Chpper Morning Wood"?.

  • Chipper Morning Wood||

    I should say I was quite successful at fucking up that link.

  • Sevo||

    Chipper Morning Wood|8.9.15 @ 11:16PM|#
    "I should say I was quite successful at fucking up that link."
    Yes, you were good at that and adding immeasurably to the stupidity of the world's population.
    Did you ever wonder why your mom didn't abort you? I do.

  • Road Warrior||

    Agreed. I myself only learned about Nanking, comfort women, Japan's earlier invasion of Manchuria, atrocities in Burma, and its chemical and biological testing from self study and when the History Channel used to be about history. The narrative on the Pacific is Pearl Harbor and the Atomic Bombs, nothing else.

    When I took History of Modern Japan in college, my chinese communist party member professor never mentioned any of the atrocities committed by Japan and weighed heavily on the U.S. "pushed" Japan into a corner it couldn't get out of. I was shocked that he wasn't railing on Japan since China still is rightfully pissed at Japan's revisionism on the topic, notably in its museums, which I mentioned. Me, probably the best versed student in the class on WWII history, brought up all of Japan's atrocities and the fact that the Japanese military junta attempted a coup to prevent the emperor from surrendering after the second bomb was dropped. The professor still pandered the "evil west" line and how Japan was just misguided, partly because we had a few Japanese exchange students in the class.

    When it came to the Atomic bomb, the only counter argument a student made to why we shouldn't have dropped the second one was we should have given them more time to surrender. After seeing a whole city obliterated, 3 days to ponder your situation seems plenty, unless you have no regard for human life and your people, which was something I emphasized.

  • DenverJ||

    Agreed. Start a war of aggression, try to take over the world while committing genocide and other war crimes, and you have no right to complain when those you attack bomb the shit out of you.
    The events of August 6, 1945, were a direct result of the actions taken on December 7, 1941.

  • Anthony Gregory||

    Do you think the US ever started a war of aggression?

  • ||

    "Do you think the US ever started a war of aggression?"

    That has no relevance to what Mr. DenverJ is saying.

    What the hell, Anthony? Are you in junior high school?

  • DenverJ||

    BTW, my name is Jay, and there's no "Mr".
    Thanks for understanding my point, and having my back.

  • Anthony Gregory||

    I think it is relevant. Because if starting a war of aggression means others can justly bomb your cities, and you believe the U.S. has started wars of aggression, it seems like you'd have to think people had a right to bomb American cities. I don't think terrorism is ever justified, no matter how aggressive the state whose population is targeted.

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    I think we have maneuvered ourselves into fighting reactive wars against predictable attacks on our interests, and used the idiocy of others as an excuse more than once.

    We aren't angels. OTOH, angels might be damn terrifying.

  • Steve G||

    Um, what? You're suggesting dropping the bomb(s) was simply revenge for pearl harbor, and that it was coming to them them regardless of what happened in the 4 yrs in between?

  • Anthony Gregory||

    Steve G, very good point. It does seem like some people believe this.

  • ||

    I don't think that is what DenverJ is saying at all. I think he was pretty clear.

  • DenverJ||

    Thank you. Of course it wasn't revenge. But they didn't just attack us one time; they started a war on one date, and on another date, we stopped their aggression against us.
    1+1=2 kinda stuff

  • Chipper Morning Wood||

    That makes no sense whatsoever. The Japanese civilians that were killed in the bombings are in no way responsible for the attrocities committed by the Japanese government. The Japanese atrocities do not in any way excuse the atrocities committed by the U. S. government.

  • DblEagle||

    In a total war, like WWII, you make war on an entire country and EVERY aspect of it. You seek to destroy them militarily, economically, infrastructure, and diplomatically. That means you make war on every person and every two bricks standing in top each other. Germany, the USSR and Japan started the war by invading their neighbors and seeking to remove those countries, and "surplus" populations from the face of the Earth. (Throw in genocide for bonus Axis thuggery)The Allies responded to destroy the capability of Germany and Japan to wage war. People forget that Germany and Japan started strategic bombing and unrestricted submarine warfare. Germany and Japan believe that the US and GB could do both more efficiently and effectively. I have no tears for any German or Japanese citizen who died, of any age.

    If you want a eye opener, find the few remaining Army and Marine infantry soldiers that would have assaulted Japan and ask them about "the bomb". They would kiss Truman today if they could. I had a relative who survived the ETO whose division was being readied for the PTO and till he died he loved Truman for saving his life.

  • Chipper Morning Wood||

    The "total war" concept is, like, totally bogus, man.

  • DenverJ||

    That's why people like you will always lose a confrontation with people like me.
    The corollary of the non-aggression principle is that, if you do initiate violence against me, then I'm within my rights to take any action I deem necessary in order to stop your aggression, up to and including dropping a nuke on your ass.

  • Sevo||

    Chipper Morning Wood|8.9.15 @ 11:11PM|#
    "The "total war" concept is, like, totally bogus, man."

    Chipper Morning Wood is. like, totally an ignoramus, man.
    What a fucking idiot.

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    Total was is the inevitable consequence of a war between near equals. Only a power with a overwhelming advantage on the battlefield can afford to NOT wage total war against an enemy that does not limit itself similarly.

    Read Von Clausewitz on the subject. I suspect Sun Tzu said the same, but have not read him as thoroughly.

  • Hooha||

    They may be a little responsible; they support that government - even via coercion for the unwilling - by not leaving or attempting a civil coup. I accept some level of responsibility for America's foolishness overseas, because my tax dollars are helping make it happen. That money is coerced, sure, but I could leave or fight. I'm not (yet) willing to pay the opportunity costs associated with expatriating, however, and I'm CERTAINLY not going to piss my life away trying to forcibly interdict our government's mismanagement. Thus, the path of least resistance for me is to be a small part of the problem.

    I think given this, and the nature of total war, America was completely justified in dropping the bomb. I also believe that both the United States AND Japan reaped a net benefit from this means of concluding the conflict.

    I also think choosing nuclear deployment under the circumstances that we did was the wrong choice.

  • Hooha||

    I'd have argued vehemently against nuclear deployment at the time, if only to illustrate to the world via actions that we could have used this power against a defeated enemy and chose not to. The precedent that deployment under those circumstances set invites any other nation with the ability to use such technology with only the thinnest of justification. Now M.A.D.ness is the only thing that keeps the bombs from flying.

    Generally, I don't take issue with reckless overkill when it comes to total war, but it's a little different when the tech involved is both A; New in the realms of human experience/morality, and B; Capable of rendering our species extinct and our entire world unfit for habitation. PARTICULARLY when it's the -first time- that 'B' has been on the table.

  • Sevo||

    Hooha|8.9.15 @ 8:07PM|#
    "I'd have argued vehemently against nuclear deployment at the time, if only to illustrate to the world via actions that we could have used this power against a defeated enemy and chose not to."

    Japan was defeated, but it was NOT surrendering and showed no inclination to do so prior to the second bomb on Nagasaki.

  • mtrueman||

    "and showed no inclination to do so"

    The problem with uninformed hyperbole is that is so often untrue. This is no exception. The japanese had been in talks with one of the Dulles brothers posing as a banker in Switzerland, and through other intermediaries since early 1945, maybe earlier, about surrender. The main sticking point was not surprisingly the future of Hirohito. That's the joke of it. In the end they got their way in spite of twice being the target of an atomic attack.

  • Sevo||

    mtrueman|8.9.15 @ 10:04PM|#
    "The problem with uninformed hyperbole is that is so often untrue. This is no exception. The japanese had been in talks with one of the Dulles brothers posing as a banker in Switzerland, and through other intermediaries since early 1945, maybe earlier, about surrender."
    So you are both a liar *and* an ignoramus.
    No they were NOT engaged in discussions regarding surrender. They were sending out feelers in the hopes of getting a negotiated peace.

    "The main sticking point was not surprisingly the future of Hirohito. That's the joke of it. In the end they got their way in spite of twice being the target of an atomic attack."
    Stupidity is your NAME!
    In June, the Japanese ambassador to Russia suggested the best they could get was a promise of Hirohito remaining on the throne. This was rejected OUT OF HAND by the foreign minister, and HE was the 'peace faction' in the cabinet.

    As was your lie regarding the Ukrainians being collaborators, you have again made up ridiculous claims absent any evidence whatsoever.

  • mtrueman||

    "No they were NOT engaged in discussions regarding surrender. They were sending out feelers in the hopes of getting a negotiated peace."

    I believe that discussing the terms of surrender and sending out feelers in the hopes of getting a negotiated peace are essentially the same thing, Both indicate an inclination to surrender, given the circumstances. One is more 'diplomatically worded' is all. Do you see any important difference or are you just spinning your wheels here?

  • Chipper Morning Wood||

    "Japan was defeated, but it was NOT surrendering and showed no inclination to do so prior to the second bomb on Nagasaki."

    False.

    "The Japanese had, in fact, already sued for peace. The atomic bomb played no decisive part, from a purely military point of view, in the defeat of Japan." Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, Commander in Chief of the U.S. Pacific Fleet.

    "The use of [the atomic bombs] at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of no material assistance in our war against Japan. The Japanese were already defeated and ready to surrender because of the effective sea blockade and the successful bombing with conventional weapons... The lethal possibilities of atomic warfare in the future are frightening. My own feeling was that in being the first to use it, we had adopted an ethical standard common to the barbarians of the Dark Ages. I was not taught to make war in that fashion, and wars cannot be won by destroying women and children." Fleet Admiral William D. Leahy, Chief of Staff to President Truman.

  • Sevo||

    "False.
    "The Japanese had, in fact, already sued for peace. The atomic bomb played no decisive part, from a purely military point of view, in the defeat of Japan." Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, Commander in Chief of the U.S. Pacific Fleet.

    "The use of [the atomic bombs] at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of no material assistance in our war against Japan. The Japanese were already defeated and ready to surrender because of the effective sea blockade and the successful bombing with conventional weapons... The lethal possibilities of atomic warfare in the future are frightening. My own feeling was that in being the first to use it, we had adopted an ethical standard common to the barbarians of the Dark Ages. I was not taught to make war in that fashion, and wars cannot be won by destroying women and children." Fleet Admiral William D. Leahy, Chief of Staff to President Truman."

    Cite missing and when you find it, it will cite another source and finally, you will find there is no source for any of that happy horseshit; just a daisy-chain of 'he said and I quoted it'.
    Are you truly stupid enough to presume that if Japan offered surrender prior to the bombing that Truman wouldn't have grabbed at the chance?
    Read "Downfall", Richard B. Frank.
    Until then, you really ought to STFU so your stupidity isn't so obvious. There is not one shred of evidence that Japan was interested in surrender prior to the Nagasaki bombing and not quite interested after that.

  • DenverJ||

    Yeah, it's pretty obvious to anybody not instinctively anti-American that the generals running Japan had no intention of surrendering, either the war or their power.
    Japan is lucky that it was conquered by the US, anybody else would have made them a vassal state (see East Germany).
    We, on the other hand, rebuilt their infrastructure that we had destroyed, and gave them preferred trading status.
    I'm just not willing to entertain any arguments where we were the bad guys in WWII.

  • Hooha||

    Sevo, I said they were defeated, not that they were willing to surrender. Their willingness to surrender or lack thereof is immaterial to my argument; in fact, I pointed out that I think Japan's populace probably suffered less by being nuked into submission in one week than they otherwise would have.

    At the risk of sounding haughty, I have tried to take a broader perspective with my assessment of the decision to nuke Japan than simply what it meant for the warring nations; one that considers the interests of the entire species. I do so because it was the first weapon capable of modifying the state of humanity as a whole, up to and including deleting it entirely. It seems to me that justifies an additional layer of consideration that no previous weapon demanded.

  • Sevo||

    "Their willingness to surrender or lack thereof is immaterial to my argument;"
    OK, so we can ignore your posts here. Fine.

  • Hooha||

    You have trouble staying focused through an entire post, don't you Sevo? You threw up a straw man, and I simply brushed it aside.

    I guess I shouldn't bait you; this is probably as close as you get to graciously bowing out when soundly defeated in a rational discourse... but then, I'm kinda' petty.

  • Sevo||

    Hooha|8.10.15 @ 12:59AM|#
    "You have trouble staying focused through an entire post, don't you Sevo? You threw up a straw man, and I simply brushed it aside"

    Hooha, you're pretty much a 'player with words' who hopes not to be called on your bullshit, right?
    Fuck off, asshole.

  • DenverJ||

    Sevo, I said they were defeated, not that they were willing to surrender.

    Ok, fair enough.
    But, you've also argued that you would have not dropped the bomb.
    So, what would you have done?

  • Sevo||

    Denver, we're dealing with a pedant who hopes a bit of 'clever' makes Hooha look like a 'winner'.
    It is either a sock from one of the H&R losers or a random asshole who wants to play word games.
    Insult the piece of shit and go on you way. Or insult the piece of shit several times for your enjoyment.
    Do not presume there is one bit of value in the asshole's posts.

  • Hooha||

    Sevo: So you freely admit to attempting to quash thought-provoking discourse at this phase, and falling back solely on emotional barriers? Just go take a nap, dude; you're outclassed here, even by the people on your own side. You should aspire to be more like DenverJ.

  • Hooha||

    I appreciate the question, Denver, because it's important to understand that I'm not some starry-eyed idealist about the issue. I'm not the guy that's going to argue 'But they were gonna' surrender!' or 'Teh Radiationz!' (I even saw one of the local lefties decrying the pollution caused by bomb development. Pure retardation.)

    Bomb them. Bomb them with fire and bomb them with gas. Assassinate the leaders. If the children are old enough to attempt to kill a man with a sharp bamboo stick, execute them and don't think twice about it. They start a war, they get war.

    My issue is that I firmly think nuclear arms are a higher issue altogether. No amount of firebombs or mustard gas were ever going to erase humanity from the universe. Trinity changed the whole game.

    I argue that, after that first test firing, a simple look back at historic weapons proliferation would have strongly suggested that humanity would soon have the ability to selectively extinct itself with these weapons. If that is a reasonable position to take, then anyone with the power to deploy these weapons has a special responsibility to consider the circumstances and impetus for their deployment, AND the precedent that deployment under those conditions sets.

    I believe there are conceivable circumstances that would justify the use of nuclear arms, even against civilians. I don't believe that their maiden deployment against defeated Japanese civilians fits that bill.

  • Hooha||

    (Actually, If I was pulling the strings, I think I might have tried to pressure them into surrender with siege/blockade for awhile first, but I wanted to illustrate that I would ultimately be willing to do what it takes to secure victory and neutralize the threat)

  • DenverJ||

    So, if I understand correctly, you are not arguing against bombing Japan, specifically, you are concerned about the existional threat that nukes pose.
    This is a valid position to take. But my argument, and this article, was about whether or not it was immoral for the US, knowing what they did at the time, to drop the bomb on Japan.
    I do not think it was immoral.

  • Hooha||

    I guess that's right. I think I'd call it 'irresponsible', not 'immoral'. You're right that the article is largely an appeal to emotion that attempts to undermine the justifications that Japan gave America to ruthlessly retaliate against an aggressor. The article also leaves the door open, however, for the consideration of my broader perspective with the insertion of "...and the possible deaths of millions or billions more in a future nuclear war..." at the end.

    Also, the discussion in the comments of any such article rapidly becomes about 'Was it the right decision to drop the bomb' (no), not the perhaps more nuanced 'Was America morally justified in dropping the bomb' (yes), which is what I was addressing. (Actually, I started by defending the morality of US nukes: My initial post in this comment chain was in response to Chipper Morning Wood, and that was to point out that civilians are not necessarily free from culpability, and thus cannot be used as a catch-all shield to imply the US had no right to nuke cities. I don't think I've argued against your arguments so far, at least not directly.)

    I think the fact that these are separate issues ('can, and with moral impunity' vs. 'should') is worth of much consideration and many articles in its own right.

  • Anthony Gregory||

    My article doesn't argue that the bombing was immoral.

  • mtrueman||

    "There is not one shred of evidence that Japan was interested in surrender prior to the Nagasaki bombing and not quite interested after that."

    In fact there is evidence, the Japanese had entered secret discussions on the terms of surrender with the US some months before the end of the war. Had there been no interest in surrender, they would not have begun the discussions.

  • BearOdinson||

    The idiot who wrote this column already quoted Leahy.

    "The intercepts of Japanese Imperial Army and Navy messages disclosed without exception that Japan's armed forces were determined to fight a final Armageddon battle in the homeland against an Allied invasion. The Japanese called this strategy Ketsu Go (Operation Decisive)." -- Historian Richard B. Frank

    "But they also showed a meanness and viciousness towards their enemies equal to the Huns'. Genghis Khan and his hordes could not have been more merciless. I have no doubts about whether the two atom bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki were necessary. Without them, hundreds of thousands of civilians in Malaya and Singapore, and millions in Japan itself, would have perished." Lee Kuan Yew, Former Prime Minister of Singapore

  • BearOdinson||

    Another myth that has attained wide attention is that at least several of Truman's top military advisers later informed him that using atomic bombs against Japan would be militarily unnecessary or immoral, or both. There is no persuasive evidence that any of them did so. None of the Joint Chiefs ever made such a claim, although one inventive author has tried to make it appear that Leahy did by braiding together several unrelated passages from the admiral's memoirs. Actually, two days after Hiroshima, Truman told aides that Leahy had 'said up to the last that it wouldn't go off.'

    Neither MacArthur nor Nimitz ever communicated to Truman any change of mind about the need for invasion or expressed reservations about using the bombs. When first informed about their imminent use only days before Hiroshima, MacArthur responded with a lecture on the future of atomic warfare and even after Hiroshima strongly recommended that the invasion go forward. Nimitz, from whose jurisdiction the atomic strikes would be launched, was notified in early 1945. 'This sounds fine,' he told the courier, 'but this is only February. Can't we get one sooner?' -- History professor Robert James Maddox

  • Anthony Gregory||

    "The idiot who wrote this column already quoted Leahy."

    Where did I do that?

  • mtrueman||

    "the decisions made by men in hard places"

    America's position at the time of Nagasaki was not such a hard place. Since Pearl Harbour, America had won all the major battles with Japan and had destroyed what was left of Japan's navy in Okinawa. Japan's defeat was inevitable especially with the Soviet declaration of war.

    "They lost, and they have been playing the "poor me" card ever since. When Japan stops ducking issues like Unit 731 and the Comfort Women, then perhaps it will be time to reexamine our part in that war"

    I don't see the connection. Why would a re-examination be contingent on Japan's attitudes to its own crimes? Do you imagine some quid pro quo here?

  • Sevo||

    mtrueman|8.9.15 @ 1:51PM|#
    "America's position at the time of Nagasaki was not such a hard place."
    You're a lying sack opf shit.

  • Anthony Gregory||

    "ıI am sick to the teeth of historians grabbing themselves some spurious moral superiority by second guessing the decisions made by men in hard places."

    Many of those very men second guessed those decisions over and over. Many of the top brass protested the bombings. Should we forget their memory too?

    I agree that Japanese culture tends to have scandalously swept its horrific 1930s and 1940s crimes, some nearly on the scale of the Third Reich's, under the rug. This scandal is not, I believe, best managed by failing to come to terms with Hiroshima and Nagasaki. But in any event, I don't think we should hold the American government or its collective memory to the low standard suggested here—so long as the Axis Powers were worse, and their crimes have not fully been confronted, Allied crimes should get a pass.

  • Suicidy||

    There are no 'crimes'. We did what we had to. And there is nothing to apologize for.

  • Chipper Morning Wood||

    "We did what we had to."

    Wow, you were there? Man, you must be like 90. Tell us some old tales from those time, O Wise Elder.

  • Sevo||

    Chipper Morning Wood|8.9.15 @ 5:08PM|#
    "We did what we had to."
    "Wow, you were there? Man, you must be like 90. Tell us some old tales from those time, O Wise Elder."

    Lemme guess; you are certain the weapons should not have been used, correct?
    OK, tell us the alternative.

  • Suicidy||

    No, i was speaking as a veteran and an American. so what's your fucking point Chipper?

  • Chipper Morning Wood||

    @ Sevo: Any alternative that does not indiscriminately target innocent civilians would have been better.

    @ Suicidy: My point was that your use of the word "we" in that context is ridiculous. You weren't there, so you didn't have anything to do with that decision.

  • Chipper Morning Wood||

    I am approaching crazy Internet commenter levels with the number of comments I left on this thread, so I am outta here.

  • DenverJ||

    Don't let the door hit you where the good (evolution) split ya.

  • Sevo||

    Chipper Morning Wood|8.9.15 @ 11:22PM|#
    "@ Sevo: Any alternative that does not indiscriminately target innocent civilians would have been better."

    And as a stupid pile of shit, you have NONE WHATSOEVER to propose.
    But stupid piles of shit don't let that bother them one bit! Nope, claims of some self-righteousness are more than sufficient.
    And then, natch, when you're called on your bullshit, why, you have to go 'spend time with the family", right, asshole?

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    I have, in fact, "come to terms" with Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Japan waged a bitter war, and comitted atrocities on civillians. They richly deserved what they got, and got off damned lightly all things considered.

    But I think that there have been several times since when using an atomic bomb might well have been a good idea.

    On Mecca, say.

  • Chipper Morning Wood||

    "On Mecca, say."

    Thanks for establishing, so clearly and succinctly, that we never have to take anything you say seriously. Now run along and go volunteer for Linsey Graham's campaign.

  • DenverJ||

    Eh, there's an argument to be made to bomb like a secondary or triatary holy place, and then warn that there's a missile pointed at Mecca, too.
    I don't think it's very good diplomacy, myself.

  • TheZeitgeist||

    Given nukes were a matter of time after Otto and Lisa figured out fission, right on the eve of WWII, the world in general should be quite thankful the United States alone got them first. Any of the other primary belligerents (including America's superhero mascot Great Britain) in that conflict would have been absolutely terrible - and strategically unstoppable - with such gadgets.

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  • TimothyLane||

    Yes, Hiroshima and Nagasaki were horrifying. So were the fire-bombings that preceded them (I've read about the Tokyo bombing), and so was the campaign to starve the islands out. For that matter, so was the Rape of Nanking, the Bataan Death March, the construction of the Railway of Death, and the Suicide Cliffs of Saipan. Postwar estimates of probable losses may have exaggerated, particularly by conflating total losses (including wounded) with deaths. But the bombings probably killed fewer people than an invasion, or even the existing conventional war. As for unconditional surrender, the alternative was to leave the militarists in power.

  • mtrueman||

    "As for unconditional surrender, the alternative was to leave the militarists in power."

    The 'militarists' remained in power. Hirohito remained on his throne, though he stopped wearing a military uniform, at least in public. The Zaibatsu, who built Japan's military, remained intact. I'm not sure how you can characterize this as an unconditional surrender. On the points that were closest to the hearts of Japan's most powerful, the Americans had already complied with Japanese demands. The atomic bombs did nothing to change this. Again, this seems to be another example of American over-estimation of the efficacy of the bombing of the Asian populace.

  • gaoxiaen||

    It stopped the war instead of it dragging on for another year or two. Imagine having to gun down school children charging with sharpened bamboo poles.

  • mtrueman||

    "Imagine having to gun down school children charging with sharpened bamboo poles."

    We don't need to imagine it. Gunning down school children, even unarmed school children, actually happened during the war. The perpetrators were the Japanese military. It happened in Okinawa. Why did this happen? Because the Okinawan civilians were suspected of collaborating with the Americans. And, sick of fascist brutality, the Okinawans did collaborate with the Americans in their fight with the Japanese military. There was nothing to stop the Americans from attempting to exploit the split between the military and the civilians on the main islands.

  • Sevo||

    mtrueman|8.9.15 @ 4:32PM|#
    "We don't need to imagine it. Gunning down school children, even unarmed school children, actually happened during the war. The perpetrators were the Japanese military. It happened in Okinawa."

    Which, of course, is totally irrelevant to gaoxiaen's comment.

  • Suicidy||

    Yep. Imperial Japan's military didn't believe in surrender. Why should they? No one had beaten them in the previous thousand years.

  • Sevo||

    mtrueman|8.9.15 @ 3:37PM|#
    "The 'militarists' remained in power."
    A lie.

    "Hirohito remained on his throne."
    Undwer orders from Mac Arthur, so that's irrelevant

    "The Zaibatsu, who built Japan's military, remained intact"
    Yes, and the people still ate rice which fed the military, and my comment is equally valid.

    " I'm not sure how you can characterize this as an unconditional surrender."
    That's because you're not real smart.

  • BBerry12||

    I am fed up with the annual pity party Japan throws for itself this time of year to commemorate Hiroshima/Nagasaki. "Look at how we suffered from the bad thing America did to us, aren't we noble for our victimhood."

    Maybe some day they'll have a commemoration for the victims of Nanking, or the Bataan Death March, or the Burma railroad, or the human experimentation on prisoners. You know, just for variety. I wonder if whether in my lifetime the Japanese will show 1% of the contrition and remorse shown by the German people for the war crimes of their ancestors.

  • DblEagle||

    Don't wait on it. The Japanese to this day are among the the most virulent racists on Earth. Their sole regret is that they did not get away with it. OT- For fun, try to discuss with a drunk Japanese male that genetically they are descended from Koreans.

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    They are indeed racists, and the rest of Asia has neither forgotten nor forgiven. There are strains of the Japanese culture that acknowledge this - you can encounter it in some of their Anime and manga if you look - but in general they don't.

    Racism is a normal state, frankly. It is at least a step up from tribalism; you need to have some degree of sophistication to hate something as big as a race and most so-called "Racism" in the world is really Tribalism; a hatred of people who look more or less exactly like you, but who live in the next valley over.

    It appears to be hardwired into the animal, which is why I have scant patience with people who say they want to live a "natural" life. As social apes, "natural" is living in trees, picking parasites off of your relatives, fighting off incursions by other groups of primates, and plotting top murder the alpha male and his offspring, and then rape his harem of females.

    I prefer artificial, thanks.

  • JRS1001||

    and all of the death and destruction in the Pacific War can be laid at the feel of the Japanese imperial leadership PERIOD !!
    The Americans didn't want the war, did everything to avoid the war and conducted themselves before, during and after the war better than any other power.
    The A-bombs were dropped to end the war with as little loss of life (both Japanese and Allied) as possible. If the US was forced to invade the Japanese home Island the casualties on both sides would have been many times as much as the loss at those two cities.
    The Bombing at Nagasaki would have never happened if the Japanese had chose to surrender after the bombing of Hiroshima, the Americans gave the Japanese government days to surrender but they chose not to do so thinking that there was a chance that the Americans only had one bomb. That error caused Nagasaki to be bombed.
    So if you want to blame anyone at all for Nagasaki BLAME THE JAPANESE!!!

    America has never used a nuclear weapon since as it is a weapon of last resort.
    Perhaps some of you should have stayed awake during history class or kept away from the socialist anti-American professors who will tell you lies to convince you that the US is evil.

  • Hooha||

    "...weapon of last resort."

    Remind me; are the 'last resort' weapons the ones you use on a defeated enemy on the eve of total victory, or the ones you use out of desperation as you stare into the fanged maw of defeat?

    I get confused sometimes.

  • JRS1001||

    @hooha

    Ok dumbass

    the Japanese were far from defeated, it was estimated it would take millions of lives both American and Japanese to take the home islands as the Japanese would have rather fight to the last man than surrender. This was proven to be absolutely true as the Americans got deeper into Japanese territory- they simply would not surrender and fought savagely to the last man to inflict as much damage to the Americans as possible.
    The A bomb was used as a last resort to abruptly end the war - still the bomb at Hiroshima did not do it the Japanese refused to surrender that is why the second bomb was dropped. So yes, Truman had to use the bomb as a last resort to save lives on both sides.

    All of this is (perhaps was) taught in world history in 9th grade - perhaps you should go back and retake it
    I'm really sick of having to respond to idiots who don't know history political science, economics law etc.. but I guess that is the state of education nowadays..........

  • Hooha||

    You read a lot of bizarre assumptions about my interpretation of history into my one simple question. Maybe you should go have a drink, cool off, and think things over.

    You claim that Japan was 'far from defeated', but you don't really seem to understand what that means because you then proceed to argue from the common perspective that their defeat was inevitable, the only variable being what victory over Japan might cost in treasure and lives.

    They were defeated. Nobody anywhere thinks that, at the time of nuclear deployment, Japan might have miraculously regained the momentum in the conflict and suddenly become a serious threat to international security again.

    My original point was to illuminate the propaganda-grade hyperbole in your moronic attempt to bastardize the meaning of the phrase 'weapon of last resort'. That's all. Nobody with half a goddamned brain thinks that nuclear deployment against Japan was some last second hail-mary attempt to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. Maybe if you'd stop masturbating into an American Flag long enough to try your hand at some basic reading comprehension, you wouldn't find yourself jumping to so many embarrassingly inaccurate conclusions.

  • Sevo||

    Ya know, Hooha, there are those who find pedantry enjoyable, and it seems you might be one. Is your other handle Tulpa, by any chance?
    Maybe if you stopped beating off to your 'clever' phrasing, someone here might find you other than a raging asshole.
    Maybe.....

  • Hooha||

    So I'm a Tulpa sock now, too, eh Sevo? You're coming off the rails. Have you been spending a lot of time with Red Tony?

  • Sevo||

    Hooha|8.10.15 @ 12:54AM|#
    "So I'm a Tulpa sock now, too, eh Sevo? You're coming off the rails. Have you been spending a lot of time with Red Tony?"

    Maybe not. I don't know. Maybe you're just a random ignoramus.
    Which is it?

  • Hooha||

    "Maybe not. I don't know. Maybe you're just a random ignoramus.
    Which is it?"

    Tedious and disappointing. I'm going to interpret this as a concession from you unless and until you come back with some substance pertaining to the issue,

  • Suicidy||

    The invasion of Japan would have killed maybe a million people on both sides. This was less awful. They were not going to give up.

  • Hooha||

    A: Downfall was the worst alternative to atom bombs among a few choices, including siege and prolonged firebombing.

    B: I agree that nuking probably would have resulted in the fewest casualties on both sides of all the available options for concluding the war, unless Japan pulled a surrender out of nowhere, which I haven't seen enough evidence of to consider plausible.

    C: That point is a Buttplug-caliber non-sequitur regarding my attempt to help JRS reflect on his emotional knee-jerking, jingoistic, indoctrinated hyperbole.

    D: For the record, 'Downfall was a really bad idea' is NOT a good argument for dropping the bombs. There are good ones. Use those instead.

  • Sevo||

    Boy, you are setting records for obscurantist bullshit!
    Is that a new Olympic competition, or are you just an asshole?

  • Hooha||

    Do you have anything of substance to add at this point? Feel free to bow out and consider what was said if you don't; it's what rational thinkers do.

  • Hooha||

    Full disclosure; I am an asshole. That doesn't invalidate my perspective, though.

    (I thought all Libertarians owned the 'asshole' badge. Was I wrong on this?)

  • Sevo||

    Hooha|8.10.15 @ 1:05AM|#
    "Full disclosure; I am an asshole. That doesn't invalidate my perspective, though."

    Sorry, asshole. It does.
    If you want to play word games, go elsewhere. No one here cares whether you construct "IS" as "IS" or "MIGHT BE", 'cause you're so clever.
    Sorry, are you a Bo Sock or just a random piece of shit?

  • Hooha||

    You keep calling me clever and trying to attack my writing voice instead of trying to defend your position on the issue. Are you intimidated or something? Because - I assure you - that was not my intent.

  • Sevo||

    Hooha|8.10.15 @ 1:46AM|#
    "You keep calling me clever..."

    "Clever" is OK; "assholish" is preferred.

  • Suicidy||

    'Downfall'? Are you sure you're responding to my post? You appear to agree with it. To reiterate: Dropping the bomb was the most expedient, and least bloody way to end the war. The Japanese military was so tenacious that it took a SECOND bomb to convince them to surrender.

    That's pretty much it. I will also say that I am continually dumbfounded that any person who has the slightest education regarding the this part of WW2 is capable of reaching any other conclusion.

  • Hooha||

    Operation Downfall was the code name for the Allied plan for the invasion of Japan near the end of World War II.

    Technically speaking, I did and do agree with your post (see 'B'). I was also implying that it presents a false dichotomy, and furthermore was unrelated to my discussion with JRS.

    For more on how informed people can reach differing conclusions in this matter, see the (very productive) discourse between myself and DenverJ up-thread, where he helped me realize/articulate that I was drawing a distinction between a 'morally justified' decision and a 'good' decision.

  • Sevo||

    Hooha|8.10.15 @ 8:56PM|#
    "Operation Downfall was the code name for the Allied plan for the invasion of Japan near the end of World War II."

    OH, OH, look at self-proclaimed asshole imitating Obvious Man!
    So far, you've brought a self-satisfied obscurantism to the discussion and claimed to add information, which has been totally absent.
    So, either Tulpa or Tulpa wannabe, please fuck off.

  • Hooha||

    The adults are talking, honey. Why don't you go play with your G.I. Joes?

  • Sevo||

    "Remind me; are the 'last resort' weapons the ones you use on a defeated enemy on the eve of total victory, or the ones you use out of desperation as you stare into the fanged maw of defeat?"

    They are the ones you use when every alternative is worse.
    Is that clear?

  • JRS1001||

    agreed Sevo .
    Hooha is an idiot.
    He would rather have had over a million dead Japanese military and civilians and American servicemen plus the total destruction of every square inch of Japanese homeland to the Bombings at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Japan would still be rebuilding today from being blown back into the stone age. And as i said Nagasaki was only necessary because the Japanese still refused to surrender after Hiroshima.
    With the A bombs Japan and its population survived relatively intact and was able to be rebuilt ( by the Americans of course) in a few decades

  • DenverJ||

    I don't know; Germany was bombed into rubble, and with help, rebuilt fairly quickly.
    But, the fact that America was unscathed, while the rest of the industrialized world was in ruins, definitely was the major factor in the US's rapid climb to world dominance, in both manufacturing and super power status.

  • Sevo||

    "I don't know; Germany was bombed into rubble, and with help, rebuilt fairly quickly.
    But, the fact that America was unscathed, while the rest of the industrialized world was in ruins, definitely was the major factor in the US's rapid climb to world dominance, in both manufacturing and super power status."

    Really isn't relevant.
    The Japanese were arming civilians with any handy weapon and encouraging them to engage in combat absent any uniform whatsoever.
    As an Allied soldier, you are now faced with deciding whether *that * Japanese bought into it or not. I can tell you what the decision would be.
    As a nationality, the Japanese were probably not to to exist in any meaningful sense if we had invaded.

  • Suicidy||

    It would have been horrific. If it had happened, all the little bitches whining about using the bomb would be whining about the invasion instead.

  • Sevo||

    but of course they'd be swooning over the poverty of the Soviet-occupied portion of Japan, right?
    Starvation is SO photogenic!

  • DenverJ||

    No, no, I was commenting on your opinion that, without the nuke, Japan would have been bombed into the stone age, and would only now be recovering.
    I was pointing out that Germany was bombed back into the stone age, yet recovered quite quickly due to assistance from both the US and the USSR.
    Japan also received assistance, and I think we would have helped them rebuild no matter how damaged they were.

  • Hooha||

    Worse for America? Definitely. Worse for Japan? Debatable. Worse for man kind? Not a chance in fucking hell. Is that clear?

    Elevate your perspective. These weapons were too powerful even back then for the circumstances of their first ever use to be determined by a mere cost-benefit analysis.

  • Sevo||

    Hooha|8.10.15 @ 12:48AM|#
    "Worse for America? Definitely. Worse for Japan? Debatable. Worse for man kind? Not a chance in fucking hell. Is that clear?"
    What is clear is that you are a fucking twit hoping some pedantry will fly here.
    It won't. Fuck off.

  • Hooha||

    My perspective and the arguments supporting it are fully formed and clearly articulated. That you keep referring to it as pedantry suggests that you don't really understand much of it.

    That's okay, if you get back to trying to defend your emotionally structured position on the issue instead of weakly trying to dismiss a carefully considered stance as pedantry, I'm ready to discourse when you are. Otherwise, you should just go and sleep off your buzz, dude. You really do sound like John right now.

  • Sevo||

    Hooha|8.10.15 @ 1:44AM|#
    "My perspective and the arguments supporting it are fully formed and clearly articulated. That you keep referring to it as pedantry suggests that you don't really understand much of it."

    Your bullshit is showing.

  • Hooha||

    D-

    Now you're just being sloppy.

  • Sevo||

    F
    You're an asshole.

  • SusanM||

    Fun Facts: http://tinyurl.com/qgynekd

    A study done for Secretary of War Henry Stimson's staff by William Shockley estimated that conquering Japan would cost 1.7–4 million American casualties, including 400,000–800,000 fatalities, and five to ten million Japanese fatalities. The key assumption was large-scale participation by civilians in the defense of Japan.

    Nearly 500,000 Purple Heart medals (awarded for combat casualties) were manufactured in anticipation of the casualties resulting from the invasion of Japan; the number exceeded that of all American military casualties of the 65 years following the end of World War II, including the Korean and Vietnam Wars. In 2003, there were still 120,000 of these Purple Heart medals in stock. There were so many left that combat units in Iraq and Afghanistan were able to keep Purple Hearts on hand for immediate award to soldiers wounded in the field.

  • Chipper Morning Wood||

    "The Japanese had, in fact, already sued for peace. The atomic bomb played no decisive part, from a purely military point of view, in the defeat of Japan." Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, Commander in Chief of the U.S. Pacific Fleet.

  • Suicidy||

    Very selective and very disingenuous of you. The Japanese military had no real interest in surrender. If that were so, we would not have had to drop a second bomb on them to get a surrender.

    Nice try though.

  • Sevo||

    Chipper Morning Wood|8.9.15 @ 10:58PM|#
    "The Japanese had, in fact, already sued for peace. The atomic bomb played no decisive part, from a purely military point of view, in the defeat of Japan." Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, Commander in Chief of the U.S. Pacific Fleet."

    There is no credible source for that claim, and what's more is that it is simply not true.
    Go ahead, find a source that shows the Japanese had 'sued for peace'. I'm calling you a fucking liar; prove me wrong.

  • Sevo||

    Oh, and CMW (From Susan's link)
    "A study done by Admiral Nimitz's staff in May estimated 49,000 U.S casualties in the first 30 days, including 5,000 at sea.[54] A study done by General MacArthur's staff in June estimated 23,000 US casualties in the first 30 days and 125,000 after 120 days.[55] When these figures were questioned by General Marshall, MacArthur submitted a revised estimate of 105,000, in part by deducting wounded men able to return to duty.[56]"
    Do you really think Nimitz would authorize a study showing those sorts of casualty numbers if 'the Japanese had sued for peace'?
    Are you trying for the gold in 'gullibility'?

  • Sevo||

    So the life form which took the handle Chipper Morning Wood has now bailed, since, well, s/he got tired of answering for his/her bullshit.
    Now, I am going to keep an eye out for the handle; bailing in that fashion is certainly hitting and running, but you know, I can keep asking the questions you haven't answered in your self-righteous fantasies.

  • DenverJ||

    Dude, we beat him in argument. Don't black ball him, he may be converted. Believe it or not, i think Tony has been converted, and only argues because he's lonely.
    Chipper Morning Wood at least understands the wood chipper meme.
    Less confrontation, more persuasion.

  • Sevo||

    "Less confrontation, more persuasion."

    You are welcome to try that; my experience tells me that lefties find that acceptance of *their* position.
    And I've yet to see evidence of your Tony claim.

  • DenverJ||

    Yeah, LOL,I know the Tony claim is out there. But the boy had been posting for yrs, and our arguments are valid. You don't think a decade on these boards can change a person's views?
    The reason I think Tony had been converted is because, occasionally, he makes a point that is libertarian. I really think he started as a troll, then got converted, and keeps taking the derp position because he's lonely.
    I can't cite evidence,I have no proof. I have a feelz, though.

  • Suicidy||

    I think he keeps coming back because he wants Warty to plow his ass.

  • lode||

    nice

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  • keyboard||

    Can't I take the position that Japan did bad things and the U.S. also did bad things during WWII?

    And as libertarians aren't we also supposed to be against collectivizing people? Making the direct comparison between an individual defending ones own person against an aggressor and the acts of two warring nation states seems very un-libertarian.

  • Suicidy||

    Why do you have a need to make ANY argument for moral equivalence between the US and the Axis powers? Seriously, if there was a time in history when we were hands down the good guys, this was it. ANYONE else in our position would have acted with far less decency and restraint.

  • marfadite||

    The aiming point for the bomb was the city center, but the weather was bad and the target was missed, the bomb hitting a factory in the suburbs. It was one of the few bombs we dropped on Japan that hit a military target, a fact which probably saved tens of thousands of lives.

  • ahmed kamel||

    Eh bien, je suis un bon poste watcher vous pouvez dire et je ne donne pas une seule raison de critiquer ou de donner une bonne critique à un poste. Je lis des blogs de 5 dernières années et ce blog est vraiment bon cet écrivain a les capacités pour faire avancer les choses i aimerais voir nouveau poste par vous Merci
    اخبار مصر
    الابراج

  • اخبار مصر||

    Eh bien, je suis un bon poste watcher vous pouvez dire et je ne donne pas une seule raison de critiquer ou de donner une bonne critique à un poste. Je lis des blogs de 5 dernières années et ce blog est vraiment bon cet écrivain a les capacités pour faire avancer les choses i aimerais voir nouveau poste par vous Merci

    اخبار مصر
    الابراج

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