The day we dropped the bomb

May it never happen again.

60 years ago today, 8:15 am, in Hiroshima. The watch of a victim:



This week the U.S. Government announced that for security reasons it will begin production again of the most poisonous form of Plutonium “for security purposes” (it is used in batteries in spy satellites and underwater listening devices, inter alia). It is not the kind they use in bombs, but it is part and parcel of an attitude that has taken us ever closer to another use on innocent people.

Great Subject matter for discussion… Tom… ??? :O

This week… the CBC carried an hour long Documentary on the event… It gave a tipical account of the history from a Cannuck, perspective…

Who knows what the out-come would have been, had the event never happened… ??? :O

Bill…

Quote (woxnerw @ Aug. 06 2005,10:21)
Who knows what the out-come would have been, had the event never happened.. ??? :O

A land invasion of Japan that would have taken at least another year, and would have cost the allies an estimated 100,000 dead soldiers and an even greater number of dead Japanese soldiers and citizens.

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A land invasion of Japan that would have taken at least another year, and would have cost the allies an estimated 100,000 dead soldiers and an even greater number of dead Japanese soldiers and citizens.


Possibly John, but who can say?

As far as “what if’s” are concerned; you can estimate and guess any way you like, and who’s to nay say you?

A quote from: Baudat and Marcel, encyclopedia of WWII: "President Harry S Truman decided to allow the bombs to be dropped because, he said, he believed they might save thousands of American lives. Some historians have speculated that the decision was influenced by a desire to exhibit the new weapon to the Soviets in preparation for postwar power struggles."

But, another “what if?”.

Was it Tojo who after Pearl Harbour said; “I fear we have awakened a sleeping giant”?

Well, perhaps they did, but it took the USA six months to get out of bed, and another year to get dressed.

At the time, the USA had one of the most powerful navies in the Pacific, but its army and air force were a joke.

If Japan had continued with an attack on the west coast of the USA, military experts argue whether they would have successfully crossed the Mississippi or not. But they agree that there was nothing west of that to stop them.

So, what if? Who knows?

Anyway, I can only agree with Tom and say I hope it all never happens again.

However, knowing humanity, it undoubtedly will.
Quote (Sceptic Tank @ Aug. 06 2005,19:06)
Possibly John, but who can say?

As far as "what if's" are concerned; you can estimate and guess any way you like, and who's to nay say you?

These are not *my* estimates; these are the figures that any decent non-revisionist history book will give as the actual numbers that were calculated by the military at that time.

And I agree that it shouldn't happen again. The fact that nuclear weapons have never again been used in anger since that time despite the various wars that the major powers have been involved in leads me to have some optimism for the future. What scares me is when the desperate little countries get a hold of these things.

:cool:

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These are not my estimates; these are the figures that any decent non-revisionist history book will give as the actual numbers that were calculated by the military at that time.


What is a “decent non-revisionist history book” John? :D

Anyway, I’m not arguing with you John; the “military experts” may well have been correct, who knows? I certainly don’t. :)

i wonder if some will also decry the fall of 1937, when imperialist japan was bombing shanghai, and proceeded to invade nanjing - where japanese soldiers were responsible for murdering more than 200,000 chinese innocents and then burned the city?..

or how more than 7000 american and allied soldiers - who had surrendered to the japanese forces in the phillipines - died during the batan death march…

and many people don’t realize that more casualties and damage were incurred during firebombing campaigns than with both nuclear bombs… the first six hours alone account for more than 100,000 civilian deaths… why is there no bemoaning this fact?..

while these are all horrible events, the differing views of the use of nuclear weapons has always been especially interesting… i agree that i hope we never have to see the weapons used again… but then, there’s that old remark - something about not bringing a knife to a gun fight…

i’ve been to japan and met the people… i would dare say that they’re better off after surrendering and abandoning their imperialist expansion actions…

and yes, i love asian women…

isaac

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i wonder if some will also decry the fall of 1937, when imperialist japan was bombing shanghai, and proceeded to invade nanjing - where Japanese soldiers were responsible for murdering more than 200,000 Chinese innocents and then burned the city?..


Why not? And let’s also decry Britain and the USA for slaughtering an equal number of Chinese in the opium wars. After all, chinks is just chinks, but money is money!

No nation can sit blameless I think.

Wars are terrible things, but if you’re attacked, I believe that it’s justifiable to defend yourself; I know I do.

And then your objective is a resolution, and sometimes the only resolution is to win; there’s no runner’s up medal in wars.

But one wonders at the motive behind Hiroshima. Not a strategic or military objective for sure.

Was it just to say; “Look, see what we can do”?

And why Nagasaki? Was that to say; “Err…just in case you missed the first one…”?

Why not just drop the bomb on the Japanese fleet? Or in empty ocean in sight of Tokyo? I think the message; “Surrender, or the next one is in your lap sunshine!” would have been obvious to anyone.

Or was the motive revenge? Or was it “boys toys”, after all, ain’t no point in having a bomb if you can’t make it go "bang!"

Or was it a message to the Soviet Union? That seems very possible to me, "The game’s almost over lads, time to start thinking about the next game."

Anyway, a soldier is just a civilian who’s in the army, but killing and being killed is part of the job description I’m afraid.

But the deliberate killing of civilians; men, women and children, just seems wrong to me, and in my personal ethos it’s never right, no matter who does it; Britain, the USA, Japan, anyone.


But perhaps Hiroshima did save lives, but it’s not something to look back on with pride nor patriotism, just sorrow and regret.

And yes Isaac, that goes for the fire-bombing of Cologne too. Terrorism is terrorism, even when it’s carried out by a legitimate government.

But if we’re arguing whether Hiroshima was a “necessary evil” or an unnecessary one, I’d probably better butt out, 'cos I’m not wise enough to know either way.

But one thing I do know, is that it was an evil.

“I am become death, the destroyer of worlds…” Robert J Oppenheimer.

Ali

This was an excellent topic for discussion and the various sides of the debate are fascinating.
From my point of view I have searched my soul and tried to understand the reason for dropping the Bombs and in all honesty I can’t find the justification for it. You can bandy figures around til the cows come home, but we’re talking basic humanity here, and why Hiroshima? Was it a stategic military target, I don’t think so! Nagasaki was completely fathomless, if you wanted to demonstrate what this thing could do, why twice? Also, why those places?, ####!! why not Tokyo?, was it a cold calculated decision on how many people to kill? If so why did the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki win that particular lottery?
There are a lot of good Christians posting in this Forum, it would be interesting to know how this stacks up against your beliefs( a genuine comment not a sarcastic one, I was brought up a Christian ). A lot of what the Japanese did was wrong but was this right?
But one thing for sure. I side with Ali, this is not a subject for pride or patriotism, only for using to work out how not to get in that position again! R.I.P. the people who died and peace to the souls of the people who had to commit this act.

By the way Isaac, your last two sentences are incredibly patronising, I don’t think we Brits and you Americans can accuse the Japanese of expansionist imperialist actions. We Brits have colonised half the world at some stage and only moved out when the countries involved had outlived thier usefulness, become too difficult to handle, or simply kicked our sorry asses out!! The Asian women I won’t comment on as my girlfriend is a Filipina.

Tis sad to reflect on the innocent lives lost in wars. People like you and me, just trying to make a buck feed our families, and live to the best of our abilities. Then war breaks out, WMD are used to erradicate those lives.

Let’s just say too, that no nation can put claim to being a compasionate state. Mankind has been on the path of erradicating our ownselves since the dawn of time.

Let’s also go back to fist fighting. Wars fought without guns and bombs. You invade a country, drop out of a plane or land with your ship and storm the beaches with your fist balled up.

Better yet, no armies, air force, or navy. Let the men who start these wars go an fight the leaders of the country they want, face to face.

America’s armed forces are called for the defense of our nation. What about when we have the ball and go on offense. Still proud to wave the flag? Still feel patriotic? I don’t. Seeing the dang flag on cars and the support our troops crap makes me sick to my stomach. This ain’t patriotism, just another money making scheme and you just jumped on the band wagon.

War is EVIL INCARNATE!

Quote (YazMiester @ Aug. 07 2005,06:47)
Tis sad to reflect on the innocent lives lost in wars. People like you and me, just trying to make a buck feed our families, and live to the best of our abilities. Then war breaks out, WMD are used to erradicate those lives.

Ain't that the truth Yaz! Our politicians make the decision to go to war and the ordinary people like us reap the "rewards" of those desicions. Do we think the people of Hiroshima were any different to us? I suspect not!
It's a cold hard world for the little people sometimes.

Ian

Y’know, the figures for the number who would have died were generated from within a certain group in the white house and military at the time, and the vast majority of military historians today agree that they are without basis, and over-estimate what would have happened significantly. But the myth that we had to do it to save lives persists, in spite of lots and lots of good historical scholarship that says otherwise. That the myth persists is quite interesting - I’ve often pondered what it tells us about ourselves - and I usually conclude that it is not good.

That the targets were chosen because they were not significant military targets, and hence were relatively untouched by prior bombing and could be used to see what would happen if a nuclear device was dropped makes it even more appallingly immoral.

WWII: there were 3 times as many “noncombatant” deaths as there were “combatant.” ANyone hazzard a guess as to the present conflict in Iraq?

It’s been said many times: there is no path to peace, peace is the path.

Quote (TomS @ Aug. 07 2005,12:52)
and the vast majority of military historians today agree that they are without basis, and over-estimate what would have happened significantly. But the myth that we had to do it to save lives persists, in spite of lots and lots of good historical scholarship that says otherwise.

Monday morning quarterbacks have the advantage of knowing more than the real players knew while the game was in progress.

Facts, figures, dates, names, etc… are not “myth.”

The *fact* remains this - they made the decision to drop the bomb based upon the casualty forecasts presented to them at the time, in the face of an enemy that was prepared to go to extraordinary means to defend their country, and unlikely to capitulate without a long drawn-out land battle for Japan itself.

While they had successfully detonated one bomb during testing, it was under very controlled circumstance, not in free-fall from an airplane. They only had two bombs, and they weren't sure if they were even going to work, and they did not have enough enriched plutonium(uranium?) prepared to make any more. That was it - two chances to end this thing. They certainly could have tried the "demonstration", and told all of the Japanese people to "watch this deserted island disappear", but if the bombs did not work, it would only have served to embolden the Japanese against an embarrassed and incompetent enemy.

The decision to drop both bombs only a few days apart was an attempt to make the Japanese think that the USA had an unlimited supply of these things, and that the USA was about to destroy every Japanese city in rapid succession. In essence, it was a bluff that worked; The USA had used up it's entire supply of nuclear weapons, but the Japanese didn't know that. They surrendered, and the war ended.

And yes, it was terrible. That's what war is.

May it never happen again.

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The fact remains this - they made the decision to drop the bomb based upon the casualty forecasts presented to them at the time, in the face of an enemy that was prepared to go to extraordinary means to defend their country, and unlikely to capitulate without a long drawn-out land battle for Japan itself.


Well, that’s sort of true. You gotta look at who was giving what figures, and under what conditions. It was a scam - reminds me a lot of the present adminstration in that respect. That it was necessary is false - and yes, history is done in hindsight, but that makes the judgment all that much better. Supposing it is false, then two questions present themselves: first, should Truman or anyone else have known? Second, now that we know that it was not necessary, why do most Americans still believe it was?

IN fact, Truman was scammed, and it was not necessary, and anyone who defends it as necessary now just hasn’t looked at the evidence.
Quote (TomS @ Aug. 07 2005,20:48)
Second, now that we know that it was not necessary, why do most Americans still believe it was?

IN fact, Truman was scammed, and it was not necessary, and anyone who defends it as necessary now just hasn't looked at the evidence.

OK. Instead of us going round and round on this - because your argument is contrary to every piece of history that I've read, will you please point me to a credible source that supports your statements?
:cool:

Bruffie, how does this stack up against my beliefs ?

Let me tell you in the most clear and in no uncertain way what I believe (as a Christian) about war.




It is fucked up.


And please excuse my french.

Old testament had lots of bloodshed in it, and the new testament didn’t mention much of any wars (if you don’t look at whats still to come).
Then there’s also the whole ‘turn the other cheek’ bussiness and everything that goes with that.
I’m not shure that you can have a ‘Christian view’ about a war.

I am airing my own opinion here, but if it truely was a case of making a decision to save lives it was the right one.
If America was saving a couple of thousand people from dying a horrible death (on both sides) over a couple of months/years by letting a couple of thousand people die in an instant, and that was the motivation, then it was the right thing to do.
If you find yourself in a war you didn’t ask for, what do you do ? Sit back and be killed ‘cause killing isn’t right’ ?

I can tell you, if someone gets into my house in the dead of night threatening to kill me and rape and kill my wife, my 1st thaught is not going to be ‘turn the other cheek’, I can assure you. No, i didn’t ask for this situation, but now that I’m in it I will do what needs to be done to protect my wife and myself. If it is only one guy and I know I can overpower him, that is what I’ll do without hurting him more than what’s needed to get him to submit. If, however he had 2 other buddies coming down the corridor and I knew it was going to be a tough fight that I might lose, I’ll kill the one right there to let his buddies know I’m serious. It doesn’t make killing right, but the situation didn’t ask for ‘the right thing’ to be done. In my heart I’m not a killer, but if that guy is forcing me to make that desicion (kill or be killed), he has already counted the cost and submitted himself to the same rules. Then that will be the rules I play by.

AFAICT there is no ‘Christian’ viewpoint on this one.

Did America do the right thing ?
If there is no ‘behind the scenes hidden reason’ ? Probably.
Was it good thing to do ? H e l l no…


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there’s no runner’s up medal in wars

Ali, I think there’s no winners in a war. There’s just the one party who lost (and was hurt) a little less than the other.

Just my bit…

W.
Quote (John @ Aug. 08 2005,09:20)
Quote (TomS @ Aug. 07 2005,20:48)
Second, now that we know that it was not necessary, why do most Americans still believe it was?

IN fact, Truman was scammed, and it was not necessary, and anyone who defends it as necessary now just hasn't looked at the evidence.

OK. Instead of us going round and round on this - because your argument is contrary to every piece of history that I've read, will you please point me to a credible source that supports your statements?
:cool:

Sure - I'm at the office right now, the references are back at home, but I'll post them tonight. The story is really a fascinating one. :)

Whian, what you have identified is a contradiction in Christian “just war theory.” Anabaptists, e.g., take the “turn the other cheek” stuff in the Sermon on the mount seriously, and argue for nonviolence, often total nonviolence (although even that varies in various anabaptist communities). Catholic just war theory allows wars in self defence, but no targeting of noncombatants. It would also not allow preemptive wars. Bush’s Christian war theory looks more like that espoused by some popes in the 11th and 12th centuries, in whcih “holy war” was thought justified even in the absence of a claim of self-defense. These all have scriptural support. Hence there is no single “Christian” theory of just war. :)

Agreed, Tom.

That was just my own thaughts, and I would not be able to take any stance on it based on scripture.

And by the way, I think anyone that uses religion to justify picking a fight is contradicting himself (and is a nutcase). Most religions strive for peace and happiness and the greater good of mankind.


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But these are only boys, and I will never know
How men can see the wisdom in a war…

– Chris de Burgh