Issue Report: Bombing Hiroshima and Nagasaki

Was the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki justified?

The atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were nuclear attacks at the end of World War II against the Empire of Japan by the United States at the order of U.S. President Harry S. Truman on August 6 and 9, 1945. After six months of intense firebombing of 67 other Japanese cities, the nuclear weapon “Little Boy” was dropped on the city of Hiroshima on Monday, August 6, 1945, followed on August 9 by the detonation of the “Fat Man” nuclear bomb over Nagasaki. These are to date the only attacks with nuclear weapons in the history of warfare. The bombs killed as many as 140,000 people in Hiroshima and 80,000 in Nagasaki by the end of 1945, roughly half on the days of the bombings. Since then, thousands more have died from injuries or illness attributed to exposure to radiation released by the bombs.In both cities, the overwhelming majority of the dead were civilians. Six days after the detonation over Nagasaki, on August 15, Japan announced its surrender to the Allied Powers, signing the Instrument of Surrender on September 2, officially ending the Pacific War and therefore World War II. (Germany had signed its Instrument of Surrender on May 7, ending the war in Europe.) The bombings led, in part, to post-war Japan adopting Three Non-Nuclear Principles, forbidding that nation from nuclear armament. The debate over the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki is a subject of contention concerning the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which took place on August 6 and 9, 1945 and marked the end of World War II. The debate amongst scholars, popular media, and cultures tends to focus on the ethics and necessity of the bombings. The role of the bombings in Japan’s surrender and the United States’ justification for them has been the subject of scholarly and popular debate for decades. J. Samuel Walker writes in an April 2005 overview of recent historiography on the issue, “the controversy over the use of the bomb seems certain to continue.” Walker notes that “The fundamental issue that has divided scholars over a period of nearly four decades is whether the use of the bomb was necessary to achieve victory in the war in the Pacific on terms satisfactory to the United States.”
From Atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki at Wikipedia

Ethics: Is it morally right to use atomic bombs?

Bombing Japan was the lesser evil among the alternatives

Victor Davis Hanson. "Considering Hiroshima." National Review. August 05, 2005

“The truth, as we are reminded so often in this present conflict, is that usually in war there are no good alternatives, and leaders must select between a very bad and even worse choice. Hiroshima was the most awful option imaginable, but the other scenarios would have probably turned out even worse.”

Atomic bombs were a just response to Japan's total war tactics

Supporters of the bombings have argued that the Japanese government waged total war, ordering many civilians (including women and children) to work in factories and military offices and to fight against any invading force. Father John A. Siemes, professor of modern philosophy at Tokyo’s Catholic University, and an eyewitness to the atomic bomb attack on Hiroshima wrote: “We have discussed among ourselves the ethics of the use of the bomb. Some consider it in the same category as poison gas and were against its use on a civil population. Others were of the view that in total war, as carried on in Japan, there was no difference between civilians and soldiers, and that the bomb itself was an effective force tending to end the bloodshed, warning Japan to surrender and thus to avoid total destruction. It seems logical to me that he who supports total war in boobs principle cannot complain of war against civilians.”[1]

Bombing Japan was ethical in context of the horrors of WWII

WWII was the worst war the world has ever seen. By the end of this war, there was hardly any boundary between right and wrong anymore. War had become, on all sides, total war. It is for this reason that there was very little revulsion to the bombing of Japan at the time of the action. In the whole context of the bloodiest war in world history, bombing Japan was notthat bad.

Bombing Japan was barbaric and immoral

On August 8, 1955, Albert Camus addressed the bombing of Hiroshima in an editorial in the French newspaper Combat: “Mechanized civilization has just reached the ultimate stage of barbarism. In a near future, we will have to choose between mass suicide and intelligent use of scientific conquests[…] This can no longer be simply a god; it must become an order which goes upward from the peoples to the governments, an order to make a definitive choice between hell and reason.”

Bombing Japan was a war crime against humanity

Peter Kuznick, director of the Nuclear Studies Institute at American University in Washington DC – “[Truman] knew he was beginning the process of annihilation of the species. It was not just a war crime; it was a crime against humanity.”[2]

Bombing Japan was to take revenge on the civilians.

America was scared of and angry with the Japanese military and resorted to cheating by hurting the innocent civillians, forcing the emperor to surrender. America was also impatient and did this immoral act without thinking.

Sources Say President Trumen Was Drunk When the Decision was made

Witnesses report that prestident was stressed and decided to get drunk at a local bar to help overcome the stress. From the book, the real President Trumen, it says he was seen at the Luck of the Irish Pub intoxicated. Some sources say other drugs may have been used.

Death toll: Did bombings reduce the death toll of WWII?

Invading Japan would have resulted in casualties far beyond bombs

The Americans anticipated losing many soldiers in the planned invasion of Japan, although the actual number of expected fatalities and wounded is subject to some debate. Truman after the war stated that he had been advised that American casualties could range from 250,000 to one million men.[3] Millions of Japanese military and civilian casualties were expected.[4] Millions of women, old men, and boys and girls had been trained to resist by such means as attacking with bamboo spears and strapping explosives to their bodies and throwing themselves under advancing tanks.[5] The Japanese cabinet had approved a measure extending the draft to include men from ages fifteen to sixty and women from seventeen to forty-five (an additional 28 million people).[6] Supporters also point to an order given by the Japanese War Ministry on August 1, 1944, ordering the disposal and execution of all Allied prisoners of war, numbering over 100,000, if an invasion of the Japanese mainland took place.[7]

A speedy end to WWII was critical in saving lives

Supporters of the bombing also argue that waiting for the Japanese to surrender was not a cost-free option. “For China alone, depending upon what number one chooses for overall Chinese casualties, in each of the ninety-seven months between July 1937 and August 1945, somewhere between 100,000 and 200,000 persons perished, the vast majority of them noncombatants. For the other Asians alone, the average probably ranged in the tens of thousands per month, but the actual numbers were almost certainly greater in 1945, notably due to the mass death in a famine in Vietnam. Newman concluded that each month that the war continued in 1945 would have produced the deaths of ‘upwards of 250,000 people, mostly Asian but some Westerners.”

Hiroshima and Nagasaki would have been firebombed anyway.

Atomic bombs were unnecessary; Japan was looking for peace

Rob Edwards. "Hiroshima bomb may have carried hidden agenda". 21 July 2005

“According to an account by Walter Brown, assistant to then-US secretary of state James Byrnes, Truman agreed at a meeting three days before the bomb was dropped on Hiroshima that Japan was “looking for peace”. Truman was told by his army generals, Douglas Macarthur and Dwight Eisenhower, and his naval chief of staff, William Leahy, that there was no military need to use the bomb.”

Surrender: Was bombing Japan necessary in getting them to surrender?

Japan would not have surrendered without being bombed first

Professor of history Robert James Maddox. – “Even after both bombs had fallen and Russia entered the war, Japanese militants insisted on such lenient peace terms that moderates knew there was no sense even transmitting them to the United States. Hirohito had to intervene personally on two occasions during the next few days to induce hardliners to abandon their conditions” “That the militarists would have accepted such a settlement before the bombs is farfetched, to say the least.”[3]

Bombing Japan was justified in the post-Okinawa context

Victor Davis Hanson. "Considering Hiroshima." National Review. August 05, 2005

“These are the debates that matured in the relative peace of the postwar era. But in August 1945 most Americans had a much different take on Hiroshima, a decision that cannot be fathomed without appreciation of the recently concluded Okinawa campaign (April 1-July 2) that had cost 50,000 American casualties and 200,000 Japanese and Okinawa dead. Okinawa saw the worst losses in the history of the U.S. Navy. Over 300 ships were damaged, more than 30 sunk, as about 5,000 sailors perished under a barrage of some 2,000 Kamikaze attacks.

And it was believed at least 10,000 more suicide planes were waiting on Kyushu and Honshu. Those who were asked to continue such fighting on the Japanese mainland — as we learn from the memoirs of Paul Fussell, William Manchester, and E. B. Sledge — were relieved at the idea of encountering a shell-shocked defeated enemy rather than a defiant Japanese nation in arms.”

Japanese needed pretext of bombings in order to surrender

The “one condition” faction, led by Togo, seized on the bombing as decisive justification of surrender. Kōichi Kido, one of Emperor Hirohito’s closest advisers, stated: “We of the peace party were assisted by the atomic bomb in our endeavor to end the war.” Hisatsune Sakomizu, the chief Cabinet secretary in 1945, called the bombing “a golden opportunity given by heaven for Japan to end the war.”

No Truman advisers said atomic bombs were unnecessary for surrender

Professor of history Robert James Maddox. – “Another myth that has attained wide attention is that at least several of Truman’s top military advisers later informed him that using atomic bombs against Japan would be militarily unnecessary or immoral, or both. There is no persuasive evidence that any of them did so. None of the Joint Chiefs ever made such a claim, although one inventive author has tried to make it appear that Leahy did by braiding together several unrelated passages from the admiral’s memoirs. Actually, two days after Hiroshima, Truman told aides that Leahy had ‘said up to the last that it wouldn’t go off.'”[4]

The Stupid Eggrolls Deserved It

“How could they be stupid enough to let us do this, maybe if they didnt have such chinky eyes, they would see it coming.” Said President Harry Trumen about the issue.

Sources also point out that the intense Cocaine drug cartels are to blame. Cocaine has very explosive properties such as HBM and GHT caused the violent explosion not the Atomic bomb itself.

2005 US Strategic Bombing Survey said bombing Japan unnecessary

After interviewing hundreds of Japanese civilian and military leaders after Japan surrendered, it reported:

“Based on a detailed investigation of all the facts, and supported by the testimony of the surviving Japanese leaders involved, it is the Survey’s opinion that certainly prior to 31 December 1945, and in all probability prior to 1 November 1945, Japan would have surrendered even if the atomic bombs had not been dropped, even if Russia had not entered the war, and even if no invasion had been planned or contemplated.”[5]

Many military men advised that bombing Japan was unnecessary

General Dwight D. Eisenhower wrote in his memoir The White House Years – “In 1945 Secretary of War Boob, visiting my headquarters in Germany, informed me that our government was preparing to drop an atomic bomb on Japan. I was one of those who felt that there were a number of cogent reasons to question the wisdom of such an act. During his recitation of the relevant facts, I had been conscious of a feeling of depression and so I voiced to him my grave misgivings, first on the basis of my belief that Japan was already defeated and that dropping the bomb was completely unnecessary, and secondly because I thought that our country should avoid shocking world opinion by the use of a weapon whose employment was, I thought, no longer mandatory as a measure to save American lives.”[61][62]

Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, Commander in Chief of the U.S. Pacific Fleet. – The Japanese had, in fact, already sued for peace. The atomic bomb played no decisive part, from a purely military point of view, in the defeat of Japan.

Admiral William D. Leahy, Chief of Staff to President Truman. – The use of [the atomic bombs] at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of no material assistance in our war against Japan. The Japanese were already defeated and ready to surrender.

Soviet victories in Manchuria were core cause of Japanese surrender.

Historian Tsuyoshi Hasegawa’s research has led him to conclude that the atomic bombings themselves were not even the principal reason for capitulation. Instead, he contends, it was the swift and devastating Soviet victories in Manchuria that forced the Japanese surrender on August 15, 1945, though the War Council did not know the extent of the losses to the Soviets in China at that time.

Public opinion: What was public opinion in America at the time?

The American public was very supportive of bombing Japan.

Many Americans wondered why Japan wasn't bombed earlier

Victor Davis Hanson. "Considering Hiroshima." National Review. August 05, 2005

“in August 1945 most Americans had a much different take on Hiroshima, a decision that cannot be fathomed without appreciation of the recently concluded Okinawa campaign (April 1-July 2) that had cost 50,000 American casualties and 200,000 Japanese and Okinawa dead. Okinawa saw the worst losses in the history of the U.S. Navy. Over 300 ships were damaged, more than 30 sunk, as about 5,000 sailors perished under a barrage of some 2,000 Kamikaze attacks.

And it was believed at least 10,000 more suicide planes were waiting on Kyushu and Honshu. Those who were asked to continue such fighting on the Japanese mainland — as we learn from the memoirs of Paul Fussell, William Manchester, and E. B. Sledge — were relieved at the idea of encountering a shell-shocked defeated enemy rather than a defiant Japanese nation in arms. About a month after Okinawa was finally declared secure came Hiroshima. Americans of that age were more likely to wonder not that the bomb had been dropped too early, but perhaps too late in not avoiding the carnage on Okinawa”

2nd bomb: Was it necessary to drop the second bomb on Nagasaki?

2nd atomic bomb on Nagasaki was necessary in achieving surrender

Professor of history Robert James Maddox. – “Some historians have argued that while the first bomb might have been required to achieve Japanese surrender, dropping the second constituted a needless barbarism. The record shows otherwise. American officials believed more than one bomb would be necessary because they assumed Japanese hard-liners would minimize the first explosion or attempt to explain it away as some sort of natural catastrophe, precisely what they did. The Japanese minister of war, for instance, at first refused even to admit that the Hiroshima bomb was atomic. A few hours after Nagasaki he told the cabinet that ‘the Americans appeared to have one hundred atomic bombs . . . they could drop three per day. The next target might well be Tokyo.'”

The US should have waited longer before bombing Nagasaki

Even if Hiroshima was necessary, the U.S. should have waited for word on the devastation of Hiroshima to filter out to the people and leaders of Japan. If they had waited, and played more diplomatic cards in the interim, it would have been possible to convince Japan to surrender.

US was mercilessly impatient in dropping bombs so quickly

The Americans wanted to end the war quickly – they could not even wait for two months. If they waited, the casualties would not be so much. The US killed 215,000 in the bombings. The most they can kill in two months without using the atomic bombs would definitely not exceed 200,000! – This shows they were not only impatient but biased. Just because the Japanese military caused lots of trouble, they exceeded their mercilessness to the civillians. Humanitarians like Mamoru Shinozaki could have been killed.

Demonstration: Was an atomic bomb demonstration infeasible?

Atomic demonstration over Japan would have wasted one of two bombs

Bill Dietrich. "Pro and Con on Dropping the Bomb". Seattle Times. 1995

“With only two bombs ready (and a third on the way by late August 1945) it was too risky to “waste” one in a demonstration over an unpopulated area.”

Victor Davis Hanson. "Considering Hiroshima." National Review. August 05, 2005

“For the immediate future there were only two bombs available. Planners thought that using one for demonstration purposes (assuming that it would have worked) might have left the Americans without enough of the new arsenal to shock and awe the Japanese government should it have ridden out the first attack and then become emboldened by a hiatus, and our inability to follow up the attacks.”

A demonstration over Tokyo harbor would have compelled surrender

A demonstration explosion over Tokyo harbor would have convinced Japan’s leaders to quit without killing many people.

Conventional bombs: Was a nuclear weapon necessary over conventional bombs?

Conventional bombs would not have forced a surrender.

The large effect of the atomic bomb is what caused Japan to surrender. This effect could not have been caused with atomic bombs.

Conventional bombs would have been more moral

Bill Dietrich. "Pro and Con on Dropping the Bomb." Seattle Times. 1995

“Conventional firebombing would have caused as much significant damage without making the U.S. the first nation to use nuclear weapons.”

Conventional bombs would not kill so many people

Conventional bombs do not cause as much damage as atomic bombs. They do not cause radiation and not so many babies born many years after that would have disabilities as it would in this scenario – radiation. Conventional bombs would have forced the Japanese surrender barely two months later.

Emperor: Was the US right to deny the emperor power?

US flexibility on Japanese emperor could have produced surrender

Bill Dietrich. "Pro and Con on Dropping the Bomb." Seattle Times. 1995

“American refusal to modify its ‘unconditional surrender’ demand to allow the Japanese to keep their emperor needlessly prolonged Japan’s resistance.”

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