Did the Japanese deserve the Atomic Bomb?

Discussion in 'War Against Japan' started by LostKingdom, Feb 25, 2004.

  1. LostKingdom

    LostKingdom Junior Member

    (I'm not sure if this belongs here... this is more of the Pacific War than WW2... :unsure:)

    First of all, I am a pure Japanese citizen. I've lived abroad for more than half my life though, but I still speak Japanese at home.

    Anyway, what I want to talk about it the atomic bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which was dropped by the US at the end of WW2. My grandmother was from Hiroshima and she was a survivor of the bomb - although she died quite early from leukemia - and it had a big impact on me.

    I think you know what my opinion is about them considering I am Japanese, but what are your views on it? Do you think we deserved it? Or do you think otherwise?

    (I won't be angry, I promise :lol: )
     
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  2. Friedrich H

    Friedrich H Senior Member

    Of course the Japanese did not deserve it. But it was a much necessary thing to do to end the war and prevent many millions from dying.

    Unfortunately some 100.000 people died from the atomic explosions. But that —and the Soviet sweeping of Japanese positions in Asia— brought a quick end to a conflict which could have last until 1947 and which would have meant the death of more than 200.000 American soldiers, many thousands of Soviet soldiers and millions of Japanese —mostly civilians—, as well as the complete destruction of Japan and a post-war division like that of Korea, Vietnam and Germany. A Tokio Wall...

    Ironically, those 100.000 Japanese killed in Hiroshima and Nagasaki saved the lives of millions of people and allowed many more millions to live in a post-war Japan which rapidly recovered and became the 2nd richest country in the world. B)
     
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  3. Thomas McCall

    Thomas McCall Senior Member

    I agree with Friedrich the Japanese didn't deserve the bomb, but by the bomb being dropped it saved the lives of British, American, Soviet and further loss of Japenese lives. The bombs forced Japan to surrender therefore stopping a Soviet invasion of Japenese territory as the Soviets were going to invade the northen Japenese island the name slips my mind at the moment. If the Soviets had landed there would have been a situation like Germany in the 50's with Japan divided.
    From,
    Thomas McCall.
     
  4. CROONAERT

    CROONAERT Ipsissimus

    Just to add a statistic about the planned "Operation Olympic" (Invasion of the Japanese mainland).... The US government were (conservatively) estimating a loss of 1,000,000 lives during this operation. I believe that this figure is much lower than what the reality would have been. These (both allied and Japanese)were all saved by "the bombs".

    Would the possible casualties of "Olympic" have ever been allowed by public opinion in the US or other allied nations?, or would the Atom bombs have continued (a third bomb was, I believe, scheduled for Tokyo on the day of the Japanese surrender).

    My opinion is that, although no nation actually "deserves" to be nuked, theres no argument about the fact that they did end the war and save millions of lives.

    B.
     
  5. Friedrich H

    Friedrich H Senior Member

    The US government were (conservatively) estimating a loss of 1,000,000 lives during this operation.

    I think this number is way-too high. Maybe a million casualties, not dead. But still, 200.000 men killed are already 2/3 of the total human losses of the USA since Pearl Harbour to Okinawa... :eek:

    Would the possible casualties of "Olympic" have ever been allowed by public opinion in the US or other allied nations?

    I don't think the US people would have tolerated so many casualties. And that was precisely what the Japanese strategy was seeking. If the Americans invaded Japan, every single person was going to kill as many invaders as possible to make the American people, back home to force the war to a quick termination. There were 900.000 regular troops, fully armed, 9.000 aircraft ready to be used in Kamikaze attacks and some 21.000.000 militia men awaiting for the Americans. :eek:
     
  6. Jeff Floyd

    Jeff Floyd Junior Member

    The bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki had the additional aspect of stopping the incendiary raids on Japanese cities. Had the US decided not to attack these two cities, bombing raids would have devastated every major and most minor cities in Japan. The incendiary raids on Tokyo killed more people than the two atomic weapons combined. The Japanese suffered mightily in the atomic raids, but far less than if the incendiary raids had continued.
     
  7. CROONAERT

    CROONAERT Ipsissimus

    Originally posted by Friedrich H@Mar 4 2004, 10:53 AM
    The US government were (conservatively) estimating a loss of 1,000,000 lives during this operation.

    I think this number is way-too high. Maybe a million casualties, not dead. But still, 200.000 men killed are already 2/3 of the total human losses of the USA since Pearl Harbour to Okinawa... :eek:
    Friedrich.

    The US estimate was referring to total dead (U.S., other Allied, Russian? and Japanese). It possibly (though I'm uncertain) may have also taken into consideration civilian deaths.

    B.
     
  8. Friedrich H

    Friedrich H Senior Member

    Oh, excuse me then. Sorry, :huh: :eek:

    But then the number might be too low... :(

    Anyway, let's not discuss such cyphers. We should be glad the invasion never happened. B)
     
  9. Will O'Brien

    Will O'Brien Member

    I would suggest that with hindsight, the world today owes a great debt to the people of Hiroshima & Nagasaki.................The use of Atomic weopons when still in their infancy showed how terrible the consequences were.............and perhaps stopped future generations from using them again when the weopons became many many times more powerful.
     
  10. Charles Fair

    Charles Fair Junior Member

    Ohayo Gozaimas LostKingdom-san
    Originally posted by LostKingdom+Feb 26 2004, 12:15 AM-->(LostKingdom @ Feb 26 2004, 12:15 AM)</div><div class='quotemain'> (I'm not sure if this belongs here... this is more of the Pacific War than WW2... :unsure:)[/b]
    Welcome to the forum. Your question most certainly belongs here - what the Japanese call the Pacific War is very much a part of WW2 to the British or Americans.
    <!--QuoteBegin-LostKingdom@Feb 26 2004, 12:15 AM
    I think you know what my opinion is about them considering I am Japanese, but what are your views on it? Do you think we deserved it? Or do you think otherwise? I made several good Japanese friends when I studied in Paris a few years ago. More recently I lived and worked in Japan for a few months in 2002, and had the opportunity to travel around Japan. I think Japan is a wonderful country and found the Japanese to be the most peace-loving, courteous and helpful people that I have ever met. I certainly felt far safer late at night in Tokyo than I would ever feel in much of London. I hope to go back one day to travel round the rest of Japan.

    Hiroshima was one place that I visited. It was a very moving place to visit, particularly the testimony of the eyewitnesses displayed in the museum. Having now been there, the A-bomb seems even more unreal than it does from black and white films. I visited on a sunny day, and it was hard to believe that someone could ever have taken a decision to visit instantaneous destruction on such a bustling city.

    I dont think the Japanese deserved it - no civilian population could ever deserve such a fate. However, as other posters have pointed out, it did shorten the war and probably saved many hundreds of thousands more lives as well as probable partition. It may well have helped prevent the cold war from becoming hot.

    I believe the Soviets had already occupied Sakhalin and had designs on Hokkaido. Keeping the Soviets out of Japan was a key reason for bringing the war to a rapid end. Truman and Churchill had observed the iron curtain descending over Europe and could see that the USSR was shaping up to be the next enemy. I have read that the Nagasaki bomb was as much for Soviet eyes (to give the impression that the West had many more than one A-bomb and an unassailable lead in nuclear research) as it was for those of the Japanese government. There is also the fact that Britain and the USA felt that they had prior 'rights' in forcing a surrender since they had been at war for nearly 4 years whereas the USSR had only declared war on Japan in about June 1945.

    I have long wondered on the effect of the bombing on the Japanese national self-image. Did the humiliation of an unconditional surrender lead to an immense 'loss of face'? If so, has Japan recovered?

    Charles
     
  11. Justin Moretti

    Justin Moretti Junior Member

    The justification I always understood was that it allowed a Japanese surrender without loss of face. That is, to die in battle when your sacrifice has even the slightest chance of bringing about victory for your side is 'honourable' whereas to struggle when struggle constitutes absolute futility is 'dishonourable' and surrender then becomes 'honourable' (or at least 'allowable'): the A-bomb was the weapon against which struggle was futile.

    I also later came to understand that demonstrating power to the USSR was a significant factor (but by no means the only factor) in the decision to use the bombs.

    A 'side benefit' (as has already been pointed out) is that the world could see just what nukes were capable of when...
    a ) They were not really all that powerful and,
    b ) There were not that many of them,

    so that when both sides had thousands of the little buggers (and much more powerful thousands), it was patently obvious to everyone exactly what they would do. Slightly off the topic, had the US, Britain, USSR, France etc. not engaged in the testing they did and discovered the issue of fallout, the world might have been tempted to think it could get away with a large-scale nuclear exchange.

    As it was, we got a fair idea of what they could do against people because of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs, and a very good idea of what they would do to the environment from the many A-bomb and H-bomb tests after the war (not to mention a Japanese citizen on board the fishing trawler Fukuryu Maru, who died as a result of exposure to test fallout... Source: Norman Moss, Men Who Play God: the story of the hydrogen bomb).

    Would I order their use if I were in Truman's position? It is easy (and politically correct) to say "no," but in that position, under the circumstances and without the benefit of hindsight, I suspect that most reasonable people would give the order.
     
  12. angie999

    angie999 Very Senior Member

    As you will see, I have posted a separate topic on "Downfall", the American plan for the invasion of Japan, with some related links.

    Had this gone ahead, it would have resulted in huge casualties, both American and Japanese. Apart from the ground fighting, casualties due to conventional area bombing of Japanese cities would have been immense.

    If I recall correctly, the firestorm raid on Tokyo produced more casulaties than either Hiroshima or Nagasaki, which shows the potential for destruction.

    Had the invasion been necessary - and there is no reason to suppose that the Allies would have accepted anything less than unconditional surrender - it would have been accompanied by fighting to defeat Japanese forces in Burma and the Malay peninsula, Indochina, China/Manchuria itself and Korea.

    I have looked at the political arguments about why the A-bomb was dropped and part of me finds some of the arguments that the US had a deeper political motive compelling, but I have also concluded that it was fully justified on military grounds.

    I do believe that Japan "deserved" to be defeated in WWII, but I am uneasy about whether the Japanese "deserved" the A-bomb. From the victim's point of view, I can find no moral distinction between a bullet, a shell, an iron bomb, an incendiary bomb, a cannister of napalm or an A-bomb. It is not only A-bombs which fail to kill outright and cause slow, lingering deaths.
     
  13. asubsk

    asubsk Junior Member

    Came across this site and just wonder how important japan was( in comparism to germany ) during the war.
     
  14. angie999

    angie999 Very Senior Member

    Originally posted by asubsk@Jun 5 2004, 12:08 PM
    Came across this site and just wonder how important japan was( in comparism to germany ) during the war.
    Well certainly the western allies adopted a Germany first policy, which relegated the Pacific theatre to a secondary level of importance up to the point were the defeat of Germany was assured. And of course the Soviet Union stayed out of the war against Japan until right at the end.

    However, in addition to the planned invasion of Japan in November 1945, which would have been on a far larger scale than D-day, the invasion of the Malay peninsula by the British was also in preparation when the war ended.

    So, in 1945 there was no lack of commitment.

    The planned invasion of Japan was to be all American as far as the land war was concerned, although the British Pacific Fleet would have been involved and had been substantially reinforced by 1945.
     
  15. Ryuujin

    Ryuujin Member

    The Japanese people did not deserve the A Bomb but neither was it nessasary. the Japanese have been trying to make peace with the Allies since 1944 through Moscow and Lisbon ambassadors trying to send out unofficial peace feelers. The Emperor himself wanted the war to end and said so when the government asked for his final say. All the Japanese government wanted at the end was to keep the Emperor's divinity and for the words "uncondition surrender" from the Potsdam declaration, and geuss what? They were able to keep it anyways even after the bombs fell.

    The point of the bombs being used was not to end the war early since the allies could've ended it by 44 for pretty much the same effect if the tried, the point was that they spent over 2 billion dollars and 2 bill is ALOT of money back then and the public would've cried bloody murder if they're tax dollars had went to waste or so is the possible "justification" for using the bombs.

    The arguement that using those 2 bombs prevented anyone from ever using them for fear of the damage is wrong. Russia, exhuasted from the Great Patriotic War had no wish to develope those wishes with so much of the country devastated. However seeing America use the bombs first Stalin no doubt believed that he had to get them else America might use them on them.

    The war in the pacific I will say again would've ended in 44.
     
  16. Will O'Brien

    Will O'Brien Member

    Originally posted by Ryuujin@Apr 26 2005, 09:23 PM

    The arguement that using those 2 bombs prevented anyone from ever using them for fear of the damage is wrong. [post=33569]Quoted post[/post]

    I have to disagree with this point I'm afraid.................I believe that the knowledge of how devastating atomic weapons could really be (through their application in 1945 on Japan) together with the knowledge that subsequent incarnations were far more powerful & likely to threaten the very existence of mankind did prevent those in positions of power ever using them, particularly during the 1950's & 1960's when Nagasaki & Hiroshima were still relatively fresh in the mind rather than the historical occurrence they are today.............An example of this would be Truman declining Macarthur’s request to sanction the use of atomic weapons against the Chinese during the Korean War. From a military point of view, the use of the atomic bomb against the numerically superior Chinese forces which were threatening to drive the American/UN forces off the Korean peninsula made sense. However the knowledge that this course of action could cause a catastrophic chain of events possibly involving Soviet retaliation in support of communist China/North Korea stopped atomic warfare being a viable option. This knowledge was not theoretical but borne from the actual events which occurred in Japan some five years previous....................I would also disagree that the USSR had no wish to develop atomic weapons at the end of the war............Soviet scientists had a atomic program in place during the war & prior to the US Manhattan project being completed had done some preliminary work. Whilst Joseph Stalin may have initially portrayed a disinterest in developing atomic weapons, this was to my mind merely a cover for his true intentions. The Soviets distrusted the Americans as much as the Americans distrusted the Soviets & the famous spy ring of Fuchs & Hall kept the USSR informed of the progress being made on the Manhattan project. It is rumoured that this spy ring was so good that Stalin knew of the Atomic program before Truman did, who was at the time the Vice President. The end of world war two gave the Soviets the opportunity they needed to develop their initial research & purloined technical data. During the war the Soviet program was limited by the lack of readily available sources of Uranium. However sources in Eastern Europe which was under the Soviet sphere of influence were utilised whilst a domestic source was developed.............
     
  17. GUMALANGI

    GUMALANGI Senior Member

    this taken from 'I Was There', McGraw Hill
    Admiral William D. Leahy,..one of a staunch believer that atomic bomb was not necessary

    "A large part of the Japanese Navy was already on the bottom of the sea. The combined Navy surface and air force action even by this time had forced Japan into a position that made her early surrender inevitable..., and I urged it strongly on the Joint Chiefs, that no major land invasion of the Japanese mainland was necessary to win the war. The JCS did order the preparation of plans for an invasion, but the invasion itself was never authorized

    It is my opinion that the use of this barbarous weapon at Hiroshima and Nagaski 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.,

    .... I was not taught to make war in that fashion, and wars cannot be won by destroying women and children"


    and following is my own opinion;

    after so many napalms droppped on Tokyo and others Jap.cities. Does it really imperatif to drop an atomic Bomb on Kyoto (the original target).

    beside,.. should atomic bomb was meant to sent a very very very strong signal for Japanese to surrender,.. after Hiroshima,.. they should've be given descent time to reconsider their actions,.and to consilidate on preparation for surrender...
    however it was 3 days sharp,.. the second was dropped onto Nagasaki...

    Regards
    Gumalangi
     
  18. angie999

    angie999 Very Senior Member

    Originally posted by Ryuujin@Apr 26 2005, 08:23 PM
    The Japanese people did not deserve the A Bomb but neither was it nessasary. the Japanese have been trying to make peace with the Allies since 1944 through Moscow and Lisbon ambassadors trying to send out unofficial peace feelers. [post=33569]Quoted post[/post]

    But they were seeking a negotiated settlement. I do not think they were prepared to give up all the territorial gains, including Korea, Manchuria and China, or to surrender unconditionally, the only peace which was on offer. I am also not convinced that they were prepared to acknowledge Japanese guilt for the war.

    "Deserve" is a moral term. in a sense, nobody "deserves" to be a casualty of war, but under the circumstances I think the decisionm to use nuclear weapons was justified in military terms.

    Let us not also forget that more people died in the conventional bombing of Tokyo than in either of the nuclear bombings.
     
  19. Blackblue

    Blackblue Senior Member

    Well said Angie.....negotiated settlment and surrender are to completely different things.

    Rgds

    Tim
     
  20. Blackblue

    Blackblue Senior Member

    Well said Angie.....negotiated settlment and surrender are two completely different propositions. China, Malaya, Korea and most of the South Pacific did NOT accede to Japanese occupation. What ocurred within these countries during and after occupation gives some insight into what would have continued to happen had this course of action not been taken. As far as I am concerned the means justified the ends. Nobody deserves to die.....the point is that many lives....probably millions....were saved.

    Rgds

    Tim
     

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