In your informed opinion (stress on informed), was the dropping of the atomic bomb in 1945 justifiable?
How do you respond to the 1970s scholarship that said that Truman really didn't face a categorical decision of choosing the bomb vs. a land attack on Kyushu? There was a controversy in 1995 when the Smithonian Insitute decided to exhibit the Enola Gay, the plane responsible for dropping the bomb on Hiroshima. Several veterans group claimed that the script was "revisionist" in the sense that the decision to drop the bomb included diplomatic considerations. Diplomatic considerations being that the US was trying to flex its muscles to the Soviets.
Read Atomic Diplomacy by Alpervotiz (published '65). This influenced a trend of books taking up more or less the same line of argument.
As for veterans, the Air Force Association was one of the first to accuse the Smithsonians of depicting a one-sided distortion.
The Emperor, while the most visible figure of Japanese polity, was not in charge of the decision making and planning to go into war. He was mostly sidelined by the military faction. A day after Hiroshima, the Supreme Council for the War Direction raised the issue of surrending. There was a deadlock that prevented it from achieving anything, until finally they heard news of Nagasaki. The unconditional surrending positions that half of the Council wanted included the preservation of the national polity, the US to stay out of Japan, and Japan disarming on its own. After much debate, it was finally Hirohito's call. That's the accepted history I've seen. The emperor really wasn't in charge. He only used his prestige towards the end, but all the decision making before it was his generals.
- Mr. SmartypantsLv 79 years agoFavorite Answer
The idea that we used the nukes to intimidate the USSR is a theory. It's not -informed-. It may well be true, it certainly fits all the facts we know, but you can't say it for sure. I will try to limit my comments to actual fact. See if I can make a case.
In Truman's defense, we do know (1) that there was 'a war on', justifying some rather extreme actions and (2) that he was never told of the lingering danger of radiation, only that it was a big bomb that could flatten an entire city. How do we know that? Because the US govt. and military obviously didn't know it themselves, as shown by the testing we did of nukes in the 1950s in Nevada and Utah. Hundreds or thousands of troops who took part in those tests later developed horrible cancers, including my father in law.
We also know that Hiroshima was picked as the first target because it was the biggest city in Japan that hadn't already been bombed with conventional weapons, so it would allow a good opportunity for damage assessment for the new weapon. And that although Truman said it was a 'military target', while it did have some small defense industry on the edge of town, the bomb was targetted at city hall, in the center of population.
Allied leaders said an invasion of Kyushu would have cost 900,000 to 1,000,000 Allied deaths. Of course that can't be known. But a lot of experts consider it unlikely. Everyone knew the war was over, and Japan was already trying to work out a cease fire so they could negotiate a surrender (but OTOH it was the Russians they were talking to, and the Russians hadn't invaded Japan yet). Allied leaders said that Japan would fight to the last little boy and old lady. That they'd been trained to lash a kitchen knife to the end of a broomstick as a weapon of last resort. So if the invasion really killed a million Allies, it would have been several million Japanese. I have to doubt they would really have done that, but it really can't be known.
Conservatives have a particular view of US history, what you might call 'false patriotism'. In the 1830s, a man named Mason Weems wrote a biography of George Washington which included the story about Washington as a boy chopping down a cherry tree. Years later, Weems announced that he'd make the story up, and suggested it should be removed from elementary school textbooks. And what do you think? Many Americans, even education experts, insisted the story be kept, because it was now part of our nation's mythology. They reacted the same way to the proposed modification of the Enola Gay/Hiroshima story as it was told immediately after the war.
When you take US history in college, you often have to unlearn everything you learned about history in high school. I think this is because high school teaches the legendary, mythological version of US history. Because kids come home from school and tell their parents what they learned, and parents get upset if the tone of the class is too 'realistic'. College history is much more realistic, but often there are more than one side to a story. 8^)
- paytasLv 44 years ago
Yes, of direction. At the time, NOT making use of the atomic bomb was once unthinkable. If you do not comprehend why, then you realize not anything approximately WW2. Russia hastened the defeat of Japan through invading Manchuria in a while earlier than we dropped the atom bombs within the south (why do you consider we stored the goals clear of our allies' forces....). Russia had remained impartial involving Japan by way of among the conflict, which stored the Emperor hopeful that Russia could lend its weight to negotiating a truce that could preserve the Emperor in vigour after the top of the conflict. The Emperor knew he would no longer win, however he refused to give up except he was once allowed to stay in vigour after the conflict. When Russia invaded, the Emperor's hopes had been dashed. When we dropped the atom bomb two times, the Emperor was once pressured to give up unconditionally. The Emperor is the monster who subjected his folks to such an utter and humiliating defeat, due totally to his possess vanity. In the top, he was once pressured to confess that he was once no longer a divine being.
- Anonymous9 years ago
Yes, of course.
At the time, NOT using the atomic bomb was unthinkable.
If you don't understand why, then you know nothing about WW2.
Russia hastened the defeat of Japan by invading Manchuria shortly before we dropped the atom bombs in the south (why do you think we kept the targets away from our allies' forces....). Russia had remained neutral regarding Japan through most of the war, which kept the Emperor hopeful that Russia would lend its weight to negotiating a truce that would keep the Emperor in power after the end of the war. The Emperor knew he could not win, but he refused to surrender unless he was allowed to remain in power after the war.
When Russia invaded, the Emperor's hopes were dashed. When we dropped the atom bomb twice, the Emperor was forced to surrender unconditionally.
The Emperor is the monster who subjected his people to such an utter and humiliating defeat, due solely to his own arrogance. In the end, he was forced to admit that he was not a divine being.
- Anonymous9 years ago
Yes it was justifiable.....kill the enemy instead of letting them kill you.
Now, as for your information......you don't say any names as to who you are referring to. A "1970's scholarship". What's that? Many people got scholarships in the 70's. That doesn't qualify as any type of fact. Unless you were in the White House with Truman, you don't know what went on.
"Several veteran's groups" said the script was revisionist? What veteran's groups and what script?
If you disagree with nuking the Japanese fine. But you yourself are using revisionist history to make your point.
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- Anonymous9 years ago
Japan started the war. If they hadn't surrendered and we would have had to invade the mainland, there would have been way more than the 200,000 people killed.
Maybe the whole thing was meant to demonstrate to the world what would happen if you messed with us, but it clearly ended the war with less loss of life then would have been experienced had the fighting kept on.
- smsmith500Lv 79 years ago
The invasion of the Home Islands of Japan would have cost us over half a million men killed or wounded and over 3 million Japanese. By any considered opinion ending the war was the main goal. I for one have another consideration, my father was slated to be in the first wave in the land attack on Kyushu. So yes the bombing was justifiable.
- mollyLv 79 years ago
Yes it was it saved a lot of people lives you only have to look at Changi and The Burma railway to know it was the right thing to do.
The Japanese would never have surrendered and this was the only the way to end the war.
- RomeoLv 79 years ago
I think it was one of those decisions that any moral leader hopes he never has to make.
It is similar to making the decision to shoot down an airliner loaded with passengers and headed for a major metropolitan city, which has been hijacked by terrorists who intend to use it for a bomb.
I believe that the right decision was made.
- 9 years ago
it was predicted that 1 million allied lives would be lost. Do you want to know another military prediction? That WW1 would last less than a year. It's a good thing that we "saved" millions of imaginary soldiers' hypothetical lives by killing hundreds of thousands of civilians.Source(s): WW1 6 months? 20th century battlefields, episode five.
- GARFLv 69 years ago