Jump to content

Another day in history


maddmaxx
 Share

Recommended Posts

On August 6, 1945, the United States becomes the first and only nation to use atomic weaponry during wartime when it drops an atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima. Approximately 80,000 people are killed as a direct result of the blast, and another 35,000 are injured. At least another 60,000 would be dead by the end of the year from the effects of the fallout.

  • Sad 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

War, of course, is making choices that have consequences.

The advice Truman received about his alternatives was far from perfect.  Consider: literally nobody knew what kind of damage and casualties an atomic bomb would inflict.

He didn't even know how many casualties American forces would suffer in a conventional invasion, as estimates of servicemen killed ranged from 500,000 to 750,000 and some of his advisors thought that estimate exceptionally low.  Pretty much everyone estimated it would not be lower than that.  Casualty, i.e. injury, estimates ran in the millions.  The time to force the Japanese into a surrender varied from 12 to 24 months.

The Japanese military was not ready to surrender by any means.  Their plan was to cause so many deaths and casualties that the Allies - and America in particular - would grow tired of war and Japan could negotiate good peace terms without actually 'surrendering'.  Their defenses of the various islands showed the military's ability to do exactly that - fight to the death with the goal of not surviving but inflicting maximum injury and death on the enemy before dying themselves.  The defense of the home islands would have been even more fierce and costly, and the Japanese knew where the Allies were going to land because the Allies did not have that many choices.  The Japanese military was losing, and they knew they were losing but they weren't stupid.

So, if you are Truman and those are your options (other options were variants and combinations of the two) drop the bombs or a conventional invasion, you make the least costly choice from your perspective.  If the atom bombs failed to cause a Japanese surrender, well, there was always the conventional invasion as a backup plan. 

Maxx's numbers are consistent with most historians' tallies about the consequences of dropping the atomic bombs.  The numbers related to radiation and fallout afterwards vary because there was no way to accurately track and count those deaths at the time and even during the many years after peace was established.  I think it would be safe to say, even, a number eventually in the hundreds of thousands depending on the criteria used to establish how a death may be related to the atomic bomb blasts.

But I also think that significant events should have a wider perspective presented so people might have a better chance at understanding why there are no really 'good' choices in war, a better understanding why the bombs were dropped, and what would likely have happened if they hadn't been.

  • Like 1
  • Thank You 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Truman did the right thing. When you analyze the evil Japan inflicted on Asia before and during the war, you realize that Japan needed to be stopped. Truman made some very bold decisions in his years in office. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, Thaddeus Kosciuszko said:

War, of course, is making choices that have consequences.

The advice Truman received about his alternatives was far from perfect.  Consider: literally nobody knew what kind of damage and casualties an atomic bomb would inflict.

He didn't even know how many casualties American forces would suffer in a conventional invasion, as estimates of servicemen killed ranged from 500,000 to 750,000 and some of his advisors thought that estimate exceptionally low.  Pretty much everyone estimated it would not be lower than that.  Casualty, i.e. injury, estimates ran in the millions.  The time to force the Japanese into a surrender varied from 12 to 24 months.

The Japanese military was not ready to surrender by any means.  Their plan was to cause so many deaths and casualties that the Allies - and America in particular - would grow tired of war and Japan could negotiate good peace terms without actually 'surrendering'.  Their defenses of the various islands showed the military's ability to do exactly that - fight to the death with the goal of not surviving but inflicting maximum injury and death on the enemy before dying themselves.  The defense of the home islands would have been even more fierce and costly, and the Japanese knew where the Allies were going to land because the Allies did not have that many choices.  The Japanese military was losing, and they knew they were losing but they weren't stupid.

So, if you are Truman and those are your options (other options were variants and combinations of the two) drop the bombs or a conventional invasion, you make the least costly choice from your perspective.  If the atom bombs failed to cause a Japanese surrender, well, there was always the conventional invasion as a backup plan. 

Maxx's numbers are consistent with most historians' tallies about the consequences of dropping the atomic bombs.  The numbers related to radiation and fallout afterwards vary because there was no way to accurately track and count those deaths at the time and even during the many years after peace was established.  I think it would be safe to say, even, a number eventually in the hundreds of thousands depending on the criteria used to establish how a death may be related to the atomic bomb blasts.

But I also think that significant events should have a wider perspective presented so people might have a better chance at understanding why there are no really 'good' choices in war, a better understanding why the bombs were dropped, and what would likely have happened if they hadn't been.

I suspect that many more Japanese would have perished if the invasion had gone on and the war lasted another year.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just now, maddmaxx said:

I suspect that many more Japanese would have perished if the invasion had gone on and the war lasted another year.

 

The military was training civilians, including children, to fight - basically as sacrificial fodder to inflict damage and preserve the military for the longer fight.  One of the 'weapons' the civilians were to use was a sticky bomb on the end of bamboo pole.  The idea was to jam the sticky bomb against a tank or vehicle, upon which it would explode.  If you think about it, what are the odds of surviving a sticky bomb exploding ten feet away from you?

The Japanese people were starving.  Most of the rice crops had failed, and what was produced was mostly in the northern islands.  The war had destroyed the ferries or boats that moved the rice to the southern islands where most of the people were.  The 'official' government calorie allotment was less than 1000 calories per day per person at the end of the war.  When people left their homes to go to the air raid shelters they didn't bring the valuables you might expect - they brought their food with them.  After the surrender, MacArthur requested, and received, massive shipments of grains to keep the Japanese people alive.

If the Allies had mounted a conventional assault landing, many of those people would have died either trying to fight the invasion or by starvation.

  • Thank You 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sadly, the US had to only look at the Battle of Okinawa to see that taking the Japanese homeland would be HORRENDOUS beyond even the horrors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. 

There were no good options - only least horrific.  

The battle has been referred to as the "typhoon of steel" in English, and tetsu no ame ("rain of steel") or tetsu no bōfū ("violent wind of steel") in Japanese.[20][21] The nicknames refer to the ferocity of the fighting, the intensity of Japanese kamikaze attacks and the sheer numbers of Allied ships and armored vehicles that assaulted the island. The battle was the bloodiest in the Pacific, with approximately 160,000 military casualties combined: at least 50,000 Allied and 84,166–117,000 Japanese,[22][12]: 473–4  including drafted Okinawans wearing Japanese uniforms.[13][6] According to local authorities, at least 149,425 Okinawan people were killed, died by suicide or went missing, roughly half of the estimated pre-war population of about 300,000.[6]

...Okinawa was the bloodiest battle of the Pacific War.[37][38] The most complete tally of deaths during the battle is at the Cornerstone of Peace monument at the Okinawa Prefectural Peace Memorial Museum, which identifies the names of each individual who died at Okinawa in World War II. As of 2010, the monument lists 240,931 names, including 149,611 Okinawans, 77,485 Imperial Japanese soldiers, 14,010 American soldiers, and smaller numbers of people from South Korea (382), the United Kingdom (82), North Korea (82) and Taiwan (34).[6]

This is NOT something any American GI wanted to face, and it beyond tragic that the Allies had to face that, the Okinawans had to resort to that, and that Japan had to be brought to it's knees with atomic bombs.  The war was essentially "lost" for Japan by Okinawa but the Japanese leaders still persisted without yielding.  That's a shitty situation for the Allies in that you're forced to keep applying pressure when only folks stuck in the middle - civilians & conscripts - are paying the biggest price which often was their lives.

Childsoldier_In_Okinawa.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Truman did the right thing.  There were so many Purple Hearts, the award for being wounded in action, in preparation for the invasion of Japan that no more had to be printed through the Vietnam War.

Additionally, there were more deaths due to the fire bombing of Tokyo than from the atom bomb at Hiroshima or the one at Nagasaki.

As has already been mentioned, Okinawa showed that there would be tremendous Allied casualties and much greater Japanese casualties if there was a conventional invasion.

Truman's military people, Gen. Marshall, etc. had told him about the huge number of deaths of Americans expected in the invasion.

Japan started the war, Japan was so exhausted that those determining bombing missions were running out of targets, yet Japan was training its children to use sharpened sticks to attack invaders.  The atom bomb hopefully eliminated hundreds of thousands of American deaths and men who, like my Darby's Rangers father, would go through the rest of their lives disabled and often among lower income people.  Even if it the bombs would have killed more Japanese, they were forcing our hand.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...