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Hiroshima Day

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Re: Hiroshima Day

Postby Mad Howler » Wed Aug 14, 2013 9:28 pm

earlfoss wrote:I find it interesting that Japan formally launched the Izumo on August 6. They are currently circumventing their own constitution through building their naval fleet. I wouldn't blame them however given the naval fleet increase made recently by China and the history of conflict between them.

Emphasis mine...
"Aspiring sincerely to an international peace based on order, the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes. In order to accomplish the aim of the preceding paragraph, land, sea and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained. The right of belligerency of the state will not be recognized."

— Article 9, The Constitution of Japan (1947)

I believe our emerging empire, at the time, dictated that this former empire pen that.
Fascinating, no?
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Re: Hiroshima Day

Postby Detritus » Wed Aug 14, 2013 10:48 pm

Mad Howler wrote:I believe our emerging empire, at the time, dictated that this former empire pen that.
Fascinating, no?

More specifically, the staff of General Douglas MacArthur, Supreme Commander of the Allies in the Pacific, dictated the entire constitution to Japan. English is, in fact, the original language of the current Japanese constitution.

To be fair, though, by 1946 MacArthur and Truman were already urging the Japanese to rearm, Article 9 or no Article 9.
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Re: Hiroshima Day

Postby earlfoss » Thu Aug 15, 2013 2:30 pm

I think dropping the 2 bombs was a result of American leaders doing the best they could with the information they had at the time. I also think that it was absolutely the correct choice. It's good to look back and question decisions and the bombing itself but it's also important to look at it in the context of everything else happening at the time.

There are people still saying that the war was already over at that point but there isn't much evidence of that. Even if the actual casualties from fighting on the mainland weren't close to the projected ones,we had thousands of troops being deployed and killed on very active fronts on small islands all over the area and we had American POWs dying under horrible conditions constantly. Thankfully the bombings brought a very abrupt end to the fighting.
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Re: Hiroshima Day

Postby Stebben84 » Thu Aug 15, 2013 2:55 pm

earlfoss wrote:we had thousands of troops being deployed and killed on very active fronts on small islands all over the area and we had American POWs dying under horrible conditions constantly. Thankfully the bombings brought a very abrupt end to the fighting.


Except the people who died from those bombs were not soldiers, but innocent civilians. I'm not saying this didn't happen other places or that civilians wouldn't have been killed if the war went on, but killing civilians to save soldiers is a weak argument at best. Those soldiers chose to go to fight and knew the risks. No civilians killed had a choice.
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Re: Hiroshima Day

Postby Henry Vilas » Thu Aug 15, 2013 3:00 pm

I agree with you in principle, but note that two-thirds of the U.S. military during WWII were draftees and did not choose to serve.
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Re: Hiroshima Day

Postby Stebben84 » Thu Aug 15, 2013 3:18 pm

Henry Vilas wrote:I agree with you in principle, but note that two-thirds of the U.S. military during WWII were draftees and did not choose to serve.


Fair enough.
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Re: Hiroshima Day

Postby gargantua » Thu Aug 15, 2013 8:47 pm

It seems easy for easy to look back at the atom bombings and wonder how we could do something so horrible to civilians. It's important to look at it in this context: We hated Japan. Japan started It by bombing Pearl Harbor. It is impossible now to fully understand just how angry people were with the Japanese. Even as late as the 60's, my grandparents wouldn't let me buy any toys that had been made in Japan. They STILL hated them.
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Re: Hiroshima Day

Postby Comrade » Fri Aug 16, 2013 9:38 am

The whole principle behind bombing was/is to destroy the ability of the enemy to produce arms and supplies needed to wage war. If a country cannot produce the weapons to wage war, the war will be over or at least much shorter. It goes without saying that military targets were legitimate as well.

That notion is a good one and it worked. That is not to say that it didn't/doesn't have its disadvantages like civilians being in harms way. In recent years the US military has become much better at that. Were there some on the side of the allies that were actively targeting civilians--probably, but I would hope it would have been in the context of destroying factories and infrastructure. If not it would certainly have been a war crime, and those were prosecuted even then.

However, the devolpment of the atom bomb and it's use at that time is something that everyone on both sides have come to deeply regret that it ever had to come to that.

Hopefully it will never happen again, but I have my doubts as to the probability of that....
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Re: Hiroshima Day

Postby Henry Vilas » Fri Aug 16, 2013 10:11 am

Comrade wrote:The whole principle behind bombing was/is to destroy the ability of the enemy to produce arms and supplies needed to wage war.
...
Were there some on the side of the allies that were actively targeting civilians--probably, but I would hope it would have been in the context of destroying factories and infrastructure. If not it would certainly have been a war crime, and those were prosecuted even then.

Then explain the bombing of Dresden in WWII.
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Re: Hiroshima Day

Postby Comrade » Fri Aug 16, 2013 3:10 pm

Dresden is not without controversy too and you have a valid point with that. My recollection is that Dresden was of no particular military or industrial importance except for a large rail yard and it was destroyed anyway.

There was not universal agreement amongst the allies on taking that action. I remember reading that this was a largely British undertaking done over the objections of the Americans, but the Americans didn't protest as loudly and vehemently as they should have. Moreover, even though they were against the bombing, American B17s and B24s participated as well.

Dresden can possibly be considered a war crime IMHO. Even if they wanted to take out the rail yards, they would not have needed to level the city like they did.

I am in agreement with you if that is your assertion.
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Re: Hiroshima Day

Postby Henry Vilas » Fri Aug 16, 2013 3:37 pm

You are spot on. Curtis LeMay followed that up with his "bomb them back into the stone age" philosophy.
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Re: Hiroshima Day

Postby green union terrace chair » Sat Aug 17, 2013 10:36 am

There was probably a racial component as well. The Japanese were not viewed as equals or at least as very alien. Japanese-Americans were interred during WWII but German-Americans were not.

If the bombs were ready six months or a year earlier, would the US have used them on Germany?
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Re: Hiroshima Day

Postby Detritus » Sat Aug 17, 2013 11:19 am

green union terrace chair wrote:There was probably a racial component as well. The Japanese were not viewed as equals or at least as very alien. Japanese-Americans were interred during WWII but German-Americans were not.

If the bombs were ready six months or a year earlier, would the US have used them on Germany?

Probably not, given that the fire-bombing of Dresden was treated as a horrific war crime pretty much immediately, whereas in the Pacific, the Allies firebombed every major Japanese city repeatedly, as well as Manila and Manado, which were occupied by the Japanese. Can you imagine the Allies firebombing Paris during the German occupation?
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Re: Hiroshima Day

Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Sat Aug 17, 2013 11:43 am

green union terrace chair wrote:There was probably a racial component as well.
I don't think you need the probably in there...
I've read a few books about the development of the atomic bomb and while the impetus for its invention was a fear the Nazis would make one first (in reality, they never even came close*) I've never seen any evidence that Germany was ever even considered as a target.

*German war technology was greatly feared at the time but truthfully never amounted to much. The highly touted V-2 was more effective in creating panic than it ever was at actually being a useful weapon, as they were ridiculously expensive and notoriously unreliable. There's a great anecdote about Wernher von Braun saying the safest place to be on the testing range was right in front of the target, because that was the one place he knew for sure they would never hit.

"… those of us who were seriously engaged in the war were very grateful to Wernher von Braun. We knew that each V-2 cost as much to produce as a high-performance fighter airplane. We knew that German forces on the fighting fronts were in desperate need of airplanes, and that the V-2 rockets were doing us no military damage. From our point of view, the V-2 program was almost as good as if Hitler had adopted a policy of unilateral disarmament." --Freeman Dyson
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Re: Hiroshima Day

Postby johnfajardohenry » Sat Aug 17, 2013 1:43 pm

Stebben84 wrote:
Except for the fact that the Soviet Union launched an attack on Japanese forces as well. Had we not dropped the bombs, this could have likely ended the war.


How?

While Japan did have almost a million troops in China in the summer of 1945 they were pretty well cut off from Japan and sources of supply. So rather a hollow army as the Russians demonstrated when they did attack.

Since the Japanese were stuck in China, they would really have had no impact one way or the other on the invasion of Japan by, mainly, US forces.

Russia was not at war with Japan and had no reason to go to war with them. They agreed to declare war at Potsdam or were more accurately bribed into declaring war on the Japanese in exchange for possession of the oil and gas rich Sakhelin Islands.

Notably, they did not declare war on Japan until August 8. Conjecture is that they realized that the bomb would likely end the war soon. They also realized that if it ended without them in it, there would be no reason for them to get the Sakhelins.

So yeah, you are right, but there is a bit more to the story.

I think that probably the Russians going after Japan in China strengthened rather than weakened the home forces in Japan since now they no longer needed to be supported, even in theory. Also gave some meat for Japanese home front propaganda. That is conjecture on my part, though.

Last month I read the 3rd volume of Manchester's bio of Churchill which has most of a chapter on Potsdam and discusses this in some detail. Excellent book, though read Vols 1&2 first

Another excellent book that discusses Russia going to war with Japan is Max Hasting's Retribution which covers the last year of the war with Japan, in all theaters, in detail.

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