The Bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki

TheCainer

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right Hirohito didn't read the Proclamation of Surrender until the night of August 15. Even then there was a coup attempt by fanatics in the military to stop the surrender. But Japan would not formally surrender until September 2.
Hey, preshlock. Long time no see. How ya been?
 
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haw-key

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There were no innocent Japanese lives lost. They followed a leader that brought them into a war with US after attacking US. It’s very sad that many had to die without question but again lives were likely saved even so, in total.
 

86Hawkeye

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Disagree

unneccessary dr strangelove pricks who wanted to announce to the world we were the nuclear power


Japan was going to surrender
No way to know this.

What we do know, is that the bombs ended a war that was killing tens of thousands of people on an almost daily basis due to nightly American bombings with conventional weapons.....and Japan had not surrendered from that. The shock value of the A-bombs is what ended the war.
 

TheCainer

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No way to know this.

What we do know, is that the bombs ended a war that was killing tens of thousands of people on an almost daily basis due to nightly American bombings with conventional weapons.....and Japan had not surrendered from that. The shock value of the A-bombs is what ended the war.
I think it was a combination of the A-bombs and the fact that the Soviets declared war on Japan on, I believe, the same day as the Nagasaki bombing. Prior to that, Japan had hoped that maybe they would be able to broker a peace deal through an "outside" party, the Soviet Union, that would not require unconditional surrender to the Allies. Unbeknownst to Japan though was that Stalin had pledged to FDR and Churchill that the Soviets would enter the war against Japan no later than 3 months after the defeat of Germany. I think that agreement was reached at the Tehran Conference, late in 1943.

Some have speculated that that pledge is why the Soviets staged such a high casualty offensive against Germany on their push to Berlin. Stalin had been promised some territorial expansion in Asia if they went to war against Japan and Stalin may have feared that Japan would surrender before before he entered the war against them, which would have nullified his ability to claim said territories.

Going back to the atomic bombs, there were a couple of our scientists who died during experimental testing at the Los Alamos center on what was a nuclear core to be used for a third bomb on Japan. That core became known as The Demon Care. Here is a link to that story for anyone who might be interested.

The Demon Core and the Strange Death of Louis Slotin

https://www.newyorker.com/tech/annals-of-technology/demon-core-the-strange-death-of-louis-slotin
 
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Titanhawk2

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Unfortunately, my family had the opposite result. My grandfather was in the Navy at the time and was sent to poke around the ruins. Apparently they didn’t really understand how much radiation was going to remain and how bad it would be. Died of leukemia at 60. I guess you can’t really say it was directly caused by that but...,
One of my grandfathers was in the Marines, he was in charge of handling remains and possessions of soldiers. He had to go there as well afterward, had massive brain tumor 30 years later, they figure it was from that visit
 

IamHawkeye

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Why did it say they were shunned?
Says, little was known about it then and some thought it was infectious. Others who might know more thought survivors would be poor marriage partners because of possible genetic damage.. It may be also be, my opinion, their culture and being connected with Japan's loss. As it doesn't seem like those first two reasons would be enough for them to keep so quiet about it that only now are the few left revealing that they were survivors of the Abombs.vb
 

IamHawkeye

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There were no innocent Japanese lives lost. They followed a leader that brought them into a war with US after attacking US. It’s very sad that many had to die without question but again lives were likely saved even so, in total.
Even the babies and children weren't innocent.? Also Hiroshima had a large number of Korean workers (Korea was colonized by Japan from 1910 to 1945) many of them forced to work without pay..
I agree dropping the bombs saved many American lives and cannot fault Truman for the decision, but aren't you being a bit harsh, as if Japan voted fhat leader in..
 

INXS83

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It meant my Dad got to be on a ship on his way home in September of 1945 instead of being sent as part of the invasion of Japan.
My siblings and I are grateful for that. He might not have come home.
My Dad was on a carrier that had just left San Diego and was headed for Pearl Harbor to be loaded up and assigned to a fleet for the invasion of the Japanese homeland. My Dad was a signalman, stationed on the bridge. He heard the captain and XO's opinions every day. The captain was itching to get in the fight as he lost a brother at Okinawa and was out for blood. Dad said the crew was split about 50/50 between those wanting to get in the fight and those who just wanted the war to end.

They had been trained the enemy would fight to the last old woman and infant child to protect their homeland for Emperor Hirohito. They were mentally prepared for the worst.

The dropping of the A-bombs and the Japanese surrender 'blew their minds'. Their carrier turned around and headed back to CA well before they reached Pearl.

Once, Rear Admiral Gallery was on the bridge and he stated the same thing Gen. Patton supposedly said just after VE day; "We should turn our war machine on the Russians. If we don't, they'll be the next ones trying to take over the world". He was right.
 
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tarheelbybirth

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I would say AT LEAST, rather than up to...

Japan was not going to surrender no matter what the Monday Morning Quarterbacks and history revisionists will say.
They were growing more and more fanatical as their effort became more and more futile. They were training near children to serve as kamikaze pilots.
 
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Old_wrestling_fan

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Very interesting, well researched article on why it was the right thing to do. I have always thought so, but understand that others do not. Would love to hear explanations from those who do not think it was the right thing, why not?

https://thefederalist.com/2020/08/0...ear-truman-was-right-to-drop-the-atomic-bomb/
This is a very weighty subject to consider. In the end...I am OK with the decision given ALL of the parameters AND that Truman gave them one final warning that they rejected. War is hell.
 

bagdropper

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Says, little was known about it then and some thought it was infectious. Others who might know more thought survivors would be poor marriage partners because of possible genetic damage.. It may be also be, my opinion, their culture and being connected with Japan's loss. As it doesn't seem like those first two reasons would be enough for them to keep so quiet about it that only now are the few left revealing that they were survivors of the Abombs.vb
There was a lot of Japanese guilt after the war. Both in the military as well as civilian population.

Keep in mind, this was a culture that gave us kamikazes, mass suicide attacks instead of surrendering, parents tossing children off cliffs instead of surrendering on I believe Saipan it was. It was also a military structure that right up to the very end - while mostly all in power realizing the war was lost - actually stopping the war and surrendering was inconceivable.

Even after facts came in about the atomic bombings, many of the highest members of both the civilian and military side of the government wanted nothing more than to keep fighting on and if every single Japanese was killed in the process, so be it. Hell...there were even fanatics who tried to stop the Emperor's rescript announcing the surrender.

I've read a couple books about things on the Japanese side of things during the war. More than once I read about soldiers who had been thought to have been lost that returned later on were often ridiculed for not having died a glorious death in battle. "What? What are you doing alive? Why didn't you commit hara-kiri?"
 
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binsfeldcyhawk2

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The Japan was going to surrender narrative is with the benefit of hindsight and postwar findings.

With the evidence Truman had of the Japanese fighting basically to the last man on every island...Kamikaze's....don't think he or the military leadership would give any credence to "Japan's about to surrender" intelligence.

They didn't surrender in hopeless situations up to then....
 

Hoosierhawkeye

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It was ultimately a tough situation in which I don't think there are any easy answers. I think given the information the A Bomb was the best solution. An invasion of mainland Japan would have likely cost a lot more lives.

They quite simply were not going to give up that easily. The A bomb was basically a way to force them to give up because it presented them with a weapon that they really just couldn't fight back against.
 
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tarheelbybirth

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It was ultimately a tough situation in which I don't think there are any easy answers. I think given the information the A Bomb was the best solution. An invasion of mainland Japan would have likely cost a lot more lives.

They quite simply were not going to give up that easily. The A bomb was basically a way to force them to give up because it presented them with a weapon that they really just couldn't fight back against.
One of those "there are no good answers" scenarios. As horrific as the death tolls were, the bombs saved literally millions of Japanese lives by slamming the door on plans to fight to the last man, woman, and child.
 

Hoosierhawkeye

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The Japan was going to surrender narrative is with the benefit of hindsight and postwar findings.

With the evidence Truman had of the Japanese fighting basically to the last man on every island...Kamikaze's....don't think he or the military leadership would give any credence to "Japan's about to surrender" intelligence.

They didn't surrender in hopeless situations up to then....
Crap they had a couple guys conducting a guerrilla war into the 1970's refusing to believe the war was over.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_holdout

With one of them they had to track down his last CO fly him to the Phillipines and have the man personally order him to surrender. Guy missed out on nearly 30 years of his life waiting for those orders.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hiroo_Onoda

This isn't a culture that quits.
 

binsfeldcyhawk2

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Crap they had a couple guys conducting a guerrilla war into the 1970's refusing to believe the war was over.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_holdout

With one of them they had to track down his last CO fly him to the Phillipines and have the man personally order him to surrender. Guy missed out on nearly 30 years of his life waiting for those orders.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hiroo_Onoda

This isn't a culture that quits.
There's pretty compelling evidence that they were in fact on the verge of surrender. That evidence was obtained after the war and has the benefit of hindsight with the folks that push that narrative.

Have to judge Truman with the evidence he had at the time of his decision. He made the correct decision...
 

FormerlyCyberCy

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There's pretty compelling evidence that they were in fact on the verge of surrender. That evidence was obtained after the war and has the benefit of hindsight with the folks that push that narrative.

Have to judge Truman with the evidence he had at the time of his decision. He made the correct decision...
No question he did the right thing. My folks took us to the Truman Library when we were kids. He was there and gave a short talk to a group of college students and visitors. During the Q and A he got asked the obligatory question, “would you drop the Bomb again if you could do it over.” He didn’t hesitate to say yes and confidently explained that it saved millions of Japanese lives, as well as hundreds of thousands of Americans.
 

BubsFinn

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There were no innocent Japanese lives lost. They followed a leader that brought them into a war with US after attacking US. It’s very sad that many had to die without question but again lives were likely saved even so, in total.
By the end of the war, Japan had all but stopped training pilots to land. Boys as young as 16 were trained to fly into US Naval ships.
Japan was not going to surrender without Allied ground forces obliterating the population.
 

haw-key

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By the end of the war, Japan had all but stopped training pilots to land. Boys as young as 16 were trained to fly into US Naval ships.
Japan was not going to surrender without Allied ground forces obliterating the population.
Right. And as had been said, if they were on the verge of surrender as many claim, they would have done it after Little Boy.
 

preshlock

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Destroying Hiroshima and three days later Nagasaki with atomic bombs was the main reason Emperor Hirohito read the Proclamation of Surrender on August 15. Since mid 1944 bombers based in the northern Mariana Islands had been turning Japanese cities into ash. Before August 6 these bombing missions destroyed most of the major cities in Japan and killed over 400,000 Japanese civilians. Still despite the devastation Japanese leaders were resolved to fight to the bitter end and unquestioningly the fanatical Japanese army would obey.

Creating the atomic bomb was a history altering event. Never before did a country have such a powerful weapon. Harnessing the power of the atomic bomb meant one bomber could achieve what had taken hundreds or even a 1,000 to accomplish. In the Potsdam Declaration made in July Truman warned that unless Japan surrendered he would unleash a reign of unimaginable destruction on them.

Truman made the decision to use the atomic bombs over an invasion to end the Pacific War shortly after becoming President. While Truman was never given a thorough briefing of Operation Downfall, the invasion of the Home Islands, he knew it would be enormously costly. Using the atomic bombs provided Truman the opportunity to effectively shock and awe the Japanese leaders into submission.

Truman made the correct decision.
 

TheCainer

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What people may not realize is that our air force continued to bomb Japanese cities with conventional high explosive and incendiary bombs even after the 2 A-bombs were dropped. They only surrendered about a week after the 2nd bomb. The last night of the war, we sent out over 800 bombers to bomb various Japanese cities. We kept the pressure on them until the last. Sadly, even after they surrendered, there were still a couple of aerial confrontations that led to the loss of life when Japanese fighters attacked a couple of our reconnaissance planes over Japanese cities. The Japanese were suspicious of single bombers flying overhead after the 2 bombings. Of course, this was before we had occupational forces on the islands.
Due to my late night work schedule and a lack of actual work activity, I was able to browse the internet tonight and came across this account of the last great bombing raid of WWII. My dad was a ground based radio (think Morse Code) operator on Guam who was told when he came on duty that night that the Japanese may surrender at any time, and, if they did, he was to send out the recall signal to all of the bombers on their missions that night. His claim to fame was that he could have recalled somewhere between 800-1,000 B-29s that were assigned to hit various targets across Japan that night, in the last great bombing raid of the war. Unfortunately for those involved, the Japanese did not surrender until after each of those planes had reached their objectives.

Anyway, here is one person's account of the raid that night and all that went into their effort. He was the radio operator on a single B-29 that would have received my dad's recall signal if all had gone according to plan. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I have tonight.

http://www.normandy1944.org.uk/last_mission_wwii.htm
 

Kinnick.At.Night

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It’s hard to believe that within 15 years of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, thermonuclear weapons had been developed that were thousands of times more powerful than either of those blasts.
 

TJ8869

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Japan was NOT going to surrender. They were prepared to fight to the death of every man, woman and child.

The bombs saved millions of lives.
If they were prepared to fight to the death of every man, woman, and child then why did they surrender after we dropped the bombs? Why didn't they continue fighting?
 

Kinnick.At.Night

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If they were prepared to fight to the death of every man, woman, and child then why did they surrender after we dropped the bombs? Why didn't they continue fighting?
They were prepared to sacrifice everything given that victory was still a possibility. Atomic weapons made victory impossible for Japan.
 
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SSG T

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Interesting note, while he gave full approval for the use of both A bombs, Truman didn't actually order their use on either city. The order for the first came from Gen Handy, the second came from Gen Marshall. It wasn't until after Nagasaki that POTUS would become solely responsible for giving the order for their use...at the request of Truman.

Another note, Kokura was the primary target for the second bomb, Nagasaki was secondary target. Kokura was obscured by clouds and smoke from a firebomb raid on a nearby city (Yahata, IIRC) so they moved to Nagasaki. The plane also nearly ran out of fuel while flying to Okinawa, which they weren't supposed to be flying to. They had a fuel pump issue and were unable to use nearly 700 gallons of fuel and spent so much time over the target area, they couldn't return to Tinian.
 

Nole Lou

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The Soviet invasion angle is an interesting one. However, I'm not sure whether that's relevant to whether the U.S. should have dropped the bomb or not. Truman doesn't have access to what the Japanese were thinking or not thinking about that. Hell, it's just being speculated now. How would the U.S. be expected to know that.

All the U.S. had to go on was what the Japanese were saying, and how they were fighting. I'm not seeing any evidence that the U.S. was to somehow know they were close to surrendering.

Hundreds of thousands were killed by the conventional firebombings and that didn't cause surrender. Dropping the bombs almost certainly saved Japanese lives.

In fact, I think when it comes to whether it was right or moral to drop the bomb, I think the more damning question is whether it was immoral to firebomb all of Japan for months and months, rather than drop the bomb first. I tend to find the extent of the firebombing more questionable than the atomic bombs to honest.

If two A bombs could have ended the war months and months earlier (and there's no guarantee they would have at an earlier point), was it immoral to wait as long as we did considering the nightly firebombing?