Did the Japanese deserve the Atomic Bomb?

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

  1. spidge

    spidge RAAF RESEARCHER Patron

    Hi wowtank,

    If you are referring to the Lytton report on the Japanese invasion of Manchuria, the report was softened somewhat as not to portray the Japanese as the aggressors where in fact they were. The French member of the committee (name?) insisted that Japan not be portrayed as the aggressor.

    In February 1933, after the report was tabled and agreement reached to condemn Japan, the Japanese delegation walked out. Japan gave formal notice of its withdrawal from the League of Nations a month later.

    Japan said it acted in self defence and it was also about self determination for Manchuria. Both were rejected as unsound reasons.

    From:
    RELATIONS WITH JAPAN 1938-1940

    The foregoing were the principal considerations which determined this Government's course with regard to proposed use economic pressures.

    "Moral Embargoes"

    Throughout this period there was wide-spread bombing of Chinese civilians by the Japanese. This practice aroused great indignation in the United States. It also adversely affected American nationals in China. The Secretary of State on June 11, 1938 condemned the practice and its "material encouragement". On July 1, 1938 the Department of State notified aircraft manufacturers and exporters that the United States Government was strongly opposed to the sale of airplanes and aeronautical equipment to countries whose armed forces were using airplanes for attack on civilian populations. In 1939 this "moral embargo" was extended to materials essential to airplane manufacture and to plans, plants, and technical information for the production of high-quality aviation gasoline. These measures resulted in the suspension of the export to Japan of aircraft, aeronautical equipment, and other materials within the scope of the moral embargoes. As Japanese purchases in the United States of "arms, ammunition, and implements of war", other than aircraft and aeronautical equipment, were relatively unimportant, these operated ultimately to stop the export of arms to Japan.
    This Government also, beginning in 1938, adopted and put into effect a policy of informally discouraging the extension of credit by United States nationals to Japan.

    United States Protest December 31, 1938

    As the conflict between Japan and China developed, interferences with the rights and interests of the United States and its nationals, by Japanese or Japanese-sponsored agents in China became more and more frequent. The Government of the United States on many occasions protested to the Japanese Government against these interferences. In a note presented December 31, 1938 the United States declared that these interferences were not only "unjust and unwarranted" but also "counter to the provisions of several binding international agreements, voluntarily entered into" to which the United States and Japan were parties. The note stated that the people and Government of the United States could not assent to the establishment of a regime "which would arbitrarily deprive them of the long-established rights of equal opportunity and fair treatment". In reply to Japan's claim that it was establishing a "new order based on genuine international justice throughout East Asia" it was stated that the United States did not admit there was warrant for any one power to prescribe the terms and conditions of a "new order" in areas not under its sovereignty. Finally the note declared that the United States could not assent to the abrogation of any of its rights and obligations by the arbitrary action of any other country, but-was always ready to discuss proposals based on justice and reason for the resolving of problems by the processes of free negotiation and new commitment on the part of all parties directly concerned.
    Notice of Termination of Commercial Treaty With Japan

    As evidence accumulated of the endangering of American lives, the destruction of American property, and the violation of American rights and interests by Japanese authorities or Japanese-sponsored agents in China, and after diplomatic representations had failed to effect a substantial alleviation of the situation, further consideration was given to the possibility of commercial retaliation against Japan. It was felt that the 1911 commercial treaty between the United States and Japan was not affording adequate protection to American commerce either in Japan or in Japanese-occupied portions of China, while at the same time the operation of the most-favored-nation clause of the treaty was a bar to the adoption of retaliatory measures against Japanese commerce. Consequently, in July 1939 this Government gave notice of termination of that treaty at the end of the six-month period prescribed by the treaty. That termination removed the legal obstacle to an embargo by the United States upon the shipment of materials to Japan.

    Secretary Hull's Conversations With the Japanese Ambassador

    Secretary of State Hull in a conversation with the Japanese Ambassador on July 10, 1939 said that while the present interests and rights of the United States in the Far East were highly important, the serious question was whether all of China and the Pacific islands skirting it were to be "Manchurianized" by Japan, with international law destroyed and treaty observance abolished and all other nations excluded from that half of the world.



    Secretary of State Hull in a conversation with the Japanese Ambassador on July 10, 1939 said that while the present interests and rights of the United States in the Far East were highly important, the serious question was whether all of China and the Pacific islands skirting it were to be "Manchurianized" by Japan, with international law destroyed and treaty observance abolished and all other nations excluded from that half of the world.
     
  2. spidge

    spidge RAAF RESEARCHER Patron

  3. peaceful

    peaceful Senior Member

    lol at you. Oil and sanctions force the Japan in to ww2. From a certain point of view. From a certain point of view the USA caused ww2 from not joining the league of nations and undermining it with the Kellogg packed. Some would say that Japan would still been an ally of the UK if the US hand not broke the navel code to get what they wanted from certain treaties.


    Sadly it was a typicality an American post. FYI I use to live there near st Lewis when I was a very little boy.

    Sadly it was a typicality an American post - what's that suppose to mean? I need more info
    Chrissie
     
  4. Tab

    Tab Senior Member

    More people were killed in Japan by the fire bombing of their wooden cities than by the Atomic bombs. If I remember rightly some 100,000 were killed in fire bomb attack on Tokyo. These raids made Dresden look like a minor incident in WW2.
     
  5. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran Patron

    May I pose a hypothetical question ?

    Imagine you are living in wartime Europe either as a serviceman or woman or as a civilian and you have just received a governmental message through the post.

    It tells you that the war in Europe is going well and with a bit of luck it will be all over by May.

    It goes on to say that the next objective for the Allies must be Japan but that everyone should be aware that it is unlikely that there will be any form of surrender because of the Japanese creed that considers such an act as abhorrent.

    It goes on to say that there is an alternative to frontal assault, namely a new bomb that is so powerful that it will cause horrendous casualties to all who live anywhere near the bombing area.

    You are then asked to tick boxes in the enclosed form.

    What percentage of the population do you consider would tick the box that said "Go ahead and drop the bomb" ?

    I would venture that 99.9 % would say YES.

    This is how we saw it in 1945 and I have never considered that my answer would have been anything other than YES.

    Ron

    ps

    and by the way.......hindsight had not yet been invented at the time.
     
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  6. PeterG

    PeterG Senior Member

    May I pose a hypothetical question ?

    Imagine you are living in wartime Europe either as a serviceman or woman or as a civilian and you have just received a governmental message through the post.

    It tells you that the war in Europe is going well and with a bit of luck it will be all over by May.

    It goes on to say that the next objective for the Allies must be Japan but that everyone should be aware that it is unlikely that there will be any form of surrender because of the Japanese creed that considers such an act as abhorrent.

    It goes on to say that there is an alternative to frontal assault, namely a new bomb that is so powerful that it will cause horrendous casualties to all who live anywhere near the bombing area.

    You are then asked to tick boxes in the enclosed form.

    What percentage of the population do you consider would tick the box that said "Go ahead and drop the bomb" ?

    I would venture that 99.9 % would say YES.

    This is how we saw it in 1945 and I have never considered that my answer would have been anything other than YES.

    Ron

    ps
    and by the way.......hindsight had not yet been invented at the time.
    There is no need for hindsight in my case. To quote myself:
    [FONT=&quot]On one momentous evening, on 15 August 1945, I was at another dance arranged by the South Africans. I was quickly told that I would have to interpret an important announcement. I was then rushed up on to the stage where the dance band was seated, and an officer went to the microphone with me standing beside him. A sea of faces looked up at us, puzzled as to why the music had stopped in the middle of a dance number. I felt very embarrassed standing in front of them all, even without speaking. I cannot now remember his exact words, but the officer said something like “I have an important announcement to make. Following the dropping of atomic bombs by the Americans on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Japanese have just announced that they have surrendered!” I had never heard of an atomic bomb and didn’t know what it was in Italian (simple enough, it is bomba atomica), nor had I heard of the cities, so I started to say something like “The Americans have dropped a special bomb on … “, but I got no further. My words were drowned out in a big cheer, and the whole place erupted, as the announcement in English sank in without being translated.

    A British Boy in Fascist Italy , page 163.
    [/FONT]
     
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  7. peaceful

    peaceful Senior Member

    Not so hypothetical was it?

    Chrissie:poppy:
     
  8. canuck

    canuck Token Colonial Patron

    There were many high ranking American Air Force, Army, Navy and advisers to Truman who did not want the new weapon used. They wanted to continue with "Conventional Warfare" ie Firebombing of all Japanese cities.

    Both a fascinating and terrifying statement.

    One has to suspect that monumental egos were behind those positions. After Okinawa, no one could have been under any illusions as to what carnage lay ahead in invading the Japanese mainland. The same mindset that rigidly held, in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, that conventional strategic bombing could, on it's own, bring about surrender, can be seen in that quote.

    If the invasion had proceeded, while the bomb sat unused, the American public would have gone wild. I'm sure Truman fully appreciated that.
     
  9. Dave55

    Dave55 Very Senior Member

    .
    There were many high ranking American Air Force, Army, Navy and advisers to Truman who did not want the new weapon used. They wanted to continue with "Conventional Warfare" ie Firebombing of all Japanese cities.



    Hi Spidge,

    Do you have any more information on who these people were and why they thought the way they did ?

    As many have already pointed out, the fire raids killed far more civilians than the atomic raids, so it couldn't have been that they were against enemy civilian causalities. Or at least it would seem that way.

    I'd be interested in reading about their reasoning.

    Thanks,

    Dave
     
  10. REK

    REK Senior Member

    Hi Spidge,

    Do you have any more information on who these people were and why they thought the way they did ?

    As many have already pointed out, the fire raids killed far more civilians than the atomic raids, so it couldn't have been that they were against enemy civilian causalities. Or at least it would seem that way.

    I'd be interested in reading about their reasoning.

    Thanks,

    Dave

    I believe that both General McArthur and Eisenhower were opposed to dropping the atom bombs, but I'm shaky on what their reasoning was.
     
  11. Formerjughead

    Formerjughead Senior Member

    I believe that both General McArthur and Eisenhower were opposed to dropping the atom bombs, but I'm shaky on what their reasoning was.

    Considering those are both the HMFIC's, of their respective theatres, it sure looks like for neither of them wanting to use the "Bomb" it certainly got used right quick and in a hurry.

    In all fairness it has been discussed before that MacAurthur did not want to use the "Bomb" in a strategic application, it was his intent to wait for several bombs to come on line and use them tactically in advance of an invasion of the Home Island.
     
  12. spidge

    spidge RAAF RESEARCHER Patron

    Hi Spidge,

    Do you have any more information on who these people were and why they thought the way they did ?

    As many have already pointed out, the fire raids killed far more civilians than the atomic raids, so it couldn't have been that they were against enemy civilian causalities. Or at least it would seem that way.

    I'd be interested in reading about their reasoning.

    Thanks,

    Dave

    The link on the "Directive" is here:

    Decision: Part I

    The site is comprehensive but still allows you to make up your own mind about many points.

    Read all of Part (1) or scroll down to (II) MILITARY NECESSITY


    Cheers

    Geoff
     
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  13. spidge

    spidge RAAF RESEARCHER Patron

    Considering those are both the HMFIC's, of their respective theatres, it sure looks like for neither of them wanting to use the "Bomb" it certainly got used right quick and in a hurry.

    In all fairness it has been discussed before that MacAurthur did not want to use the "Bomb" in a strategic application, it was his intent to wait for several bombs to come on line and use them tactically in advance of an invasion of the Home Island.

    In hindsight it seems to a degree that Macarthur had changed his opinion somewhat.

    From: Decision: Part I
    Scroll down to
    (II) MILITARY NECESSITY

    * On the 40th Anniversary of the bombing former President Richard M. Nixon reported that:
    [General Douglas] MacArthur once spoke to me very eloquently about it, pacing the floor of his apartment in the Waldorf. He thought it a tragedy that the Bomb was ever exploded. MacArthur believed that the same restrictions ought to apply to atomic weapons as to conventional weapons, that the military objective should always be limited damage to noncombatants. . . . MacArthur, you see, was a soldier. He believed in using force only against military targets, and that is why the nuclear thing turned him off. . . . [THE DECISION, p. 352.] * The day after Hiroshima was bombed MacArthur's pilot, Weldon E. Rhoades, noted in his diary:
    General MacArthur definitely is appalled and depressed by this Frankenstein monster [the bomb]. I had a long talk with him today, necessitated by the impending trip to Okinawa. . . . [THE DECISION, p. 350.]

    Cheers

    Geoff
     
  14. Wills

    Wills Very Senior Member

    US Strategic Bombing Surveys conventional and Atomic:


    WW2
     
  15. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer Pearl Harbor Myth Buster

    I believe that both General McArthur and Eisenhower were opposed to dropping the atom bombs, but I'm shaky on what their reasoning was.
    Admiral Leahy famously said, "I'm an expert on explosives and I tell you that thing will not work." There was, in deed, no 100% consensus on the use of the bomb, but from my readings I can say that the more a person knew about the bombs, the more likely he was be in favor of their use.
     
  16. canuck

    canuck Token Colonial Patron

    In hindsight it seems to a degree that Macarthur had changed his opinion somewhat.

    From: Decision: Part I
    Scroll down to
    (II) MILITARY NECESSITY



    Cheers

    Geoff

    Good find Geoff.

    But, I'm mystified by the statement," General MacArthur definitely is appalled and depressed by this Frankenstein monster [the bomb]".

    One would have thought that part of him would have been hugely relieved at the prospect of not having to endure hundreds of thousands of U.S. casualties in an invasion of the islands.
    Perhaps he was as much depressed by the role of the 'soldier' becoming obsolete in the face of such destruction?
     
  17. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer Pearl Harbor Myth Buster

    Good find Geoff.

    But, I'm mystified by the statement," General MacArthur definitely is appalled and depressed by this Frankenstein monster [the bomb]".

    One would have thought that part of him would have been hugely relieved at the prospect of not having to endure hundreds of thousands of U.S. casualties in an invasion of the islands.
    Perhaps he was as much depressed by the role of the 'soldier' becoming obsolete in the face of such destruction?
    Either that or his patrician self did not see any problems with tens or hundreds of thousands of casualties if it got him some more glory. I know which way I'd bet.
     
  18. barbaralawrence

    barbaralawrence Senior Member

    I've read most but not all of these very interesting posts. In 1954-55 when I was about 12 we lived in Japan for a year, where my stepfather was posted with CIA. We took long walks every weekend, my stepfather always going in front of my mother and me, jabbing a long stick into the ground as we walked so he could detect pits with pungee sticks that he said had been dug for the defense of Japan. We never found any, but he also told me that he had spoken once with a disgraced princess of the royal family of Japan - disgraced by a general who sent pigs to be cared for at her palace. She apparently told my stepfather that it was essential to use the atomic bomb because honor would have prevented the Japanese from surrendering. I don't know if this is true, or if my memory is serving me correctly, but the it is a vivid memory because it was so startling at the time.

    Barbara
     
  19. spidge

    spidge RAAF RESEARCHER Patron

    Either that or his patrician self did not see any problems with tens or hundreds of thousands of casualties if it got him some more glory. I know which way I'd bet.

    So would I! Not a fan of the man.
     
  20. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Hot air manufacturer

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