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Thursday, August 6, 2015

A good decision was made 70 years ago today

A gentleman who served in the Army during World War II told me once that President Truman was a godsend for ordering the bombs to be dropped because most likely he would have been in on the invasion of Japan which would have led to even more deaths.


  1. I had the same experience with a gentleman from my church. What is ironic is that we are a peace church, and there he was, ready to gun down Japanese human beings. I don't see this as a 'good decision.' Killing people is never justified. Never. And anyone who believes in God and claims to have read the Bible who says otherwise is deluding themselves. If God created this Earth and all on it, are they not all valuable? Once you start dehumanizing a group, be it ISIL, blacks, women, Japanese, Germans...where does it stop? It doesn't. We have endless war on this planet because we only, deep down, think WE are valuable to God. Listen to the GOP..only white males have value in America, and it helps if you were born rich as well. Otherwise, the hell with you. Listen to them many times will you hear that a Latino has value; a woman; a poor child? Never. They want to end public education, ensuring that generations of Americans will be too stupid to realize the GOP is enslaving them. We all have value. We are all worthy of a decent life. Embrace that attitude around the world, and wars will end.

    1. I was shocked years ago when talking to elderly dear friends. We were discussing WWII, in which he fought, and I could not believe how much he still hated the Japanese race! He was still so angry - I actually saw rage!

      War effects people so differently.

  2. It was a terrible decision with long-lasting consequences. Thousands of innocent victims, particularly chidren born and unborn at the time, were maimed, killed, or doomed to horrible cancers. The earth is still contaminated in parts of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

    1. Nuclear bombs dropped on anyone and anywhere - were and are a huge mistake. I know it ended WWII, but the destruction was horrible!

      I love the fact President Obama is anti nuclear bombs and war! Thank God he and VP Biden are running our country today!

  3. LevidumpedthepalinsAugust 6, 2015 at 10:34 AM

    Most Japanese experienced the war as civilians. Neither side wanted an invasion. The Japanese were terrified of the Soviets as a result of fighting during the late 30s. When Stalin declared war and as he massed troops for invasion, Japan faced the prospect of partition into Soviet North Japan, like N. Korea and N. Vietnam. Stalin would sacrifice hundreds of thousands of troops without blinking an eye. The Soviet economy was so bad, there was no way to employ millions of Red Army veterans.

    Good decision? It did deter an "invasion." HOWEVER, "invasion" was not the only option. A blockade was an option. Japan and the the U.S. were negotiating through the Swiss. The main unresolved issue was the status of the emperor.

    Historian Barton Bernstein: “Whatever one thinks about the necessity of the first A-bomb, the second — dropped on Nagasaki on August 9 — was almost certainly unnecessary.”

  4. Seventy years ago my uncle, an army private who had already served in combat in Belgium and Germany, was on a ship on its way to Japan. He expected to be part of the invasion forces. He was convinced that those bombs saved his life. He is dead now, and we have lost the voices of that generation, who understood the price of WWII far better than younger people.

    I believe that both bombs were necessary. The Japanese showed no signs of surrendering after Hiroshima. However, I can understand the argument that Nagasaki wasn't absolutely needed.

    I've been to Hiroshima and visited the Peace Park and the museum there. I have no doubt it was horrible, but unfortunately, it was necessary. I truly hope that it never happens again.

  5. People who start wars against other people, should not complain when those other people take steps to end them. My uncle died at Pearl Harbor.

    Bear in mind that when Hiroshima was bombed, nobody else had ever employed a nuclear bomb. Hiroshima was our chance to see what it actually did to real cities and to humans. We already knew what the Japanese had done to China and to prisoners of war. We had no evidence that they would not continue fighting under the assumption that if we had more atomic bombs, we would have used them. They had to learn it. They had to know in their guts that we had them, and we would use them, so it was time to surrender.

    I feel the same way about Dresden and the bombing of Germany, although those were conventional bombs. Europe was under thrall to the worst elements of humanity: people who didn't hesitate to torture and murder other human beings. Thank all gods that we had Roosevelt and Churchill running things. Both of them understood that sometimes you have to choose the lesser of the evils, and both of them understood perfectly well what they were fighting. All honor to the British who hung in there alone while Europe was crushed by the Nazis. I can't imagine what it would have been like for them.

    My father was employed into the European theater. He was not sent into France on D-Day. While he almost never talked about the war- you had to ask him direct questions, which occasionally he might answer- he put his foot down when I was thinking of becoming an Army nurse. "You'll go straight to Vietnam," he told me. "My daughter is not going into a war zone!" And I have read his war diary.

    The atomic bomb is a truly terrible weapon. It should never be employed without serious consideration. But equally, we should not submit to invasion. We are also human, and our lives matter too.

  6. Japan was already negotiating to surrender. We didn't need to drop either bomb and we dropped them on civilians which was cowardly.

  7. LevidumpedthepalinsAugust 6, 2015 at 3:06 PM

    Good discussion. More food for thought:

    The nighttime fire-bombing of Tokyo on March 9–10, 1945, was the most destructive bombing raid of the war, and in the history of warfare. In a three-hour period, the main bombing force dropped 1,665 tons of incendiary bombs, which caused a firestorm that killed some 100,000 civilians, destroyed a quarter of a million buildings and incinerated 16 square miles of the city. The fire bombing campaign had been so effective that there were concerns that there wouldn’t be enough targets left standing to try these weapons out on. Most other cities in Japan had already been firebombed into the ground, yet the Japanese kept producing arms and fighting. Given all that, there was no special reason to think that one or two atomic bombs would end the war. Rather, these would have likely been seen as just another tool in the arsenal.

    "Sneak Attack:" Flying Tigers in China were the surprize attack by U.S. before Pearl Harbor (without declaration of war between U.S. and Japan).

    "Forced Prostitution:" Mr.Yoshida (The japanese Writer & his book “My War Crimes” was the basis of the UN Coomaraswamy Report) testified in 1996 that all the contents of his book were lies.

    It’s worth recalling that the Joint Chiefs of Staff under FDR were strong advocates of chemical warfare against Japan in the final portion of the Pacific War, particularly in the case of Iwo Jima. FDR vetoed the plan to drench Iwo Jima with poison gas, after the Joint Chiefs had signed off on it – would Truman have instead approved that plan?

  8. Read the Rape of Nanking by Iris Chang.

    I'm quite sure that Mr. Yoshida would have loved to testify that his crimes were all lies. No innocent men in prison, right?

    Sorry. They started the war. We ended it. End of story. I'd worry about Japanese civilians if they had ever worried about Allied civilians, or Chinese civilians. The Axis wasn't remotely interested in preventing civilian deaths. Given that, I'm not worried about failing to protect theirs.

    My father was given the opportunity to help in the death camps in Europe. His CO said that nobody had to enter if they didn't want to. He chose not. He said there was enough to see from the outside that he couldn't have gone in.

    Not worried about the Axis. Not at all.

  9. Don't forget the Germans who were burned alive in Dresden by that fat bastard Churchill and many died in concentration camps under the orders of Eisenhower.

  10. LevidumpedthepalinsAugust 6, 2015 at 5:26 PM

    Robert S McNamara:

    You can't change human nature.

    Rationality will not save us.

    There's something beyond one's self.

    Why was it necessary to drop the nuclear bomb if LeMay was burning up Japan? And he went on from Tokyo to firebomb other cities. 58% of Yokohama. Yokohama is roughly the size of Cleveland. 58% of Cleveland destroyed. Tokyo is roughly the size of New York. 51% percent of New York destroyed. 99% of the equivalent of Chattanooga, which was Toyama. 40% of the equivalent of Los Angeles, which was Nagoya. This was all done before the dropping of the nuclear bomb, which by the way was dropped by LeMay's command. Proportionality should be a guideline in war. Killing 50% to 90% of the people of 67 Japanese cities and then bombing them with two nuclear bombs is not proportional, in the minds of some people, to the objectives we were trying to achieve.

    LeMay said, "If we'd lost the war, we'd all have been prosecuted as war criminals." And I think he's right. He, and I'd say I, were behaving as war criminals. LeMay recognized that what he was doing would be thought immoral if his side had lost. But what makes it immoral if you lose and not immoral if you win?

  11. The fact that we had firebombed a bunch of Japanese cities and they weren't serious about surrendering, and then we dropped a nuclear bomb and they still did not surrender are arguments that the two bombs were both necessary.

    Japan was determined to fight for every inch of their homeland. Invasion would have been a blood bath and if the firebombing didn't cause them to surrender, no conventional weaponry would have. The nukes were a horrible, sad necessity.

  12. I live in Santa Fe and have visited Los Alamos a few times. There's a museum there called the "Bradberry" which has an interesting on-going exhibitions - among the science ones - about why we dropped the bomb. It is fascinating and there's a book in which visitors can sign and say whether or not they'd have dropped the bomb(s).

    I have a fully agree with Ivyfree and various Anons who say the bomb(s) had to be dropped. As peace loving as I am, I know the toll of civilians alone - both Allied and Japanese - would have been horrendous had we been forced to invade the Japanese Home Islands. The fighting on Iwo Jima proved that.


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