Do you think the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was a war crime or a terrible act of war ?

by truthseeker100 20 Replies latest social current

  • Bonsai

    I agree with LoveUniHateExams. It was a terrible thing to do, but in the end it most likely saved lives. I've lived in Japan for years and spoken to many who fought and survived the war. It's very interesting to hear the Japanese side of things. The common people were petrified of the government and of displeasing the emperor, but by 1944 most people could see which way the wind was blowing. The Japanese people wanted out of the war long before it ended, but the government had too much power over them. I wish America had detonated a bomb over a non populated area to give the people a chance to override the government. By the time the U.S. dropped the bombs the Japanese navy was non existent and the U.S. had time to try various things. Hindsight is 20/20.

    My wife was born in Nagasaki and I've been to Hiroshima a few times. The changes and the goodwill between America and Japan today is nothing short of miraculous.

  • Finkelstein

    I think also there was an element of revenge that the US wanted to inflict onto Japan for the attack on Pearl Harbor and the brutal aggressiveness that Japan laid onto its neighboring countries, as well it was known how brutal the Japanese Amy treated prisoners of war.

    As I mentioned before there were many circumstantial elements to why Truman gave the go ahead to drop those nuclear weapons.

  • sparrowdown

    The ultimate "short sharp shock" I spose, but I could never "justify" nuking innocents.

  • fulltimestudent

    The moral defense for the terror unleashed by the nuclear bombs is that countless lives (of Allied soldiers) would be saved if an invasion of the Japanese home Islands became unneccessary.

    Unfortunately, that defense is nullified, by something else happening, that the American government had full knowledge of.

    What did they know?

    They knew that the long requested Russian declaration of war on Japan was about to happen. This suggests that there were other reasons for using the atomic bombs.

    They could be:

    1. The American high command wanted to see what the bomb would do when used on a civilian population.

    2. They wanted to demonstrate the bomb to the Russians, sort of, "Look what we've got?" This argument is dependent on being able to show that the USA was already re-considering their relationship with the Soviet Union. It can be argued that the success of Russia's final drive on Germany concerned the USA.

    But back to the very short Russian-Japanese war.

    The first nuclear bomb was dropped on August 8, but the planning for the Russian-Japanese war had commenced 3 months before, and shortly after the defeat of Germany. Train load after trainload of Military gear had been sent to Siberia and the huge Russian bases that were prepared for the Invasion. The USA knew something of those preparations, at the very least.

    On August 8, the Russians declared war on Japan, and invaded Japanese held Manchuria and the islands to the north of Japan in three great pincer movements. In little more than a week Russian forces had wiped out the occupying Japanese Army in Northern China, Korea and the Japanese section of Sakhalin Island.

    They also were preparing to invade the large northern Japanese Island of Hokkaido.

    Faced with a choice of surrendering to the United States or the Soviet Union, the Japanese elite chose the soft touch and were rewarded for their choice.

    If you want to know more I suggest this Foreign Policy overview as a starter:

  • fulltimestudent

    Apologies to Saintbertholdt:

    Being in a hurry when I posted, I fast scanned the conversation but failed to pick up your mention of the Russian entry to the Pacific war. Stalin may have been a bastard, but the Russian people finally got their sh*t together (after the German successes) and put together a creditable fighting force that not only pushed the Germans back but pushed Japan to the brink also.

    The Russian occupation of all of Sakhalin and all of the Kuril islands still stands, a fact that raises Japanese ire. Their occupation gives Russia complete control of the Sea of Okhtosk with its rich fisheries.

  • truthseeker100
    Thanks for the perspectives so far all. I would like to hear more from the Japanese, Russian and European members on this forum. Again lets all hope that history never repeats itself when it comes to atomic weapons. In the words of many WW2 vets that I've known "Never Again!"
  • Simon

    I've gone back and forth on this.

    On the one hand the Japanese were truly barbaric in their treatment of POWs and the bombs did transform their society for the better.

    On the other hand I think it's true that there was less of a military need for the bombs and more of a desire to use them as a demonstration to others. In this regard it seems different to other debatable wartime acts such as the British bombing of Dresden.

    If it was a straight "us or them" then I think it's justified as they were the aggressors but I don't believe that was the case. The bombers flew unchallenged - they were already beaten and trying to surrender.

  • Village Idiot
    Village Idiot

    Simon: The bombers flew unchallenged...

    If I recall that was because they were just single bombers instead of the several dozen or so that would make for a bombing run. A single one would not be enough for a city using conventional bombs. They probably thought the plane was on a sighting mission instead of a bombing run.

  • millie210
    Bonsai5 hours agoThe common people were petrified of the government and of displeasing the emperor, but by 1944 most people could see which way the wind was blowing. The Japanese people wanted out of the war long before it ended

    I loved your entire post bonsai but found the above words especially poignant.

  • Brokeback Watchtower
    Brokeback Watchtower
    Innocent people got killed indiscriminately and if I remember right Japan was in the process of working out a surrender but the US conditions(unconditional) were too destabilizing for the country to accept. I think it was not justified but a show of power by the US.

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