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Nuke Japan?

Do you drop the bomb on Japan?

  • Yes, drop the bomb

    Votes: 54 83.1%
  • No, don't drop it

    Votes: 11 16.9%

  • Total voters
    65
  • Poll closed .
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swing_voter

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Say back in 1944 President Roosevelt picked you as his vice president. You're 40 years old.

Roosevelt dies, making you president.

WWII is raging. Germany surrenders. The Russians had to sack Berlin to get them to surrender.

The war with Japan is still on. Over a million American troops are about to invade.

They tell you there will be 50,000 to 100,000 casualties during the first few days. Up to 5 million Japanese will die during the conquest. A lot of them will die due to famine.

Your advisors tell you that they have been working on a new weapon, the atomic bomb. It was so secret that they didn't even tell you, the vice president.

Do you authorize the military to drop the bomb?

Reasons to do so:

1. Save the lives of American troops

2. Get the Japanese to surrender immediately

3. Save Japanese lives

4. Scare the Russians

5. Test the atomic bomb

Reasons not to:

1. Killing that many people, in an instant is a horrible thing.
 

Drawdown

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Nothing horrible about dying instantaneously. I just wish we had had more to drop.
 

Irredentist

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Whatever way WW2 ended it was going to be bad. It's difficult to say whether dropping the bombs was the right decision or not, given the context. Was it an act of evil, to kill so many at once? Possibly. But you have to balance that against the weight of all the evil that had come before, all the human lives already lost to the conflagration of war. In that context, individual suffering has a way of losing its meaning amid statistics. And wiping an entire city off the face of the earth in an instant can start to seem like a rational decision.
 

Slavister

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How about telling Japanese: 'Hey, we got the bomb - we'll drop it over here in the ocean tomorrow for you to see. If you don't surrender within 24 hours after, next one goes on you.'
 

ALiberalModerate

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Nothing horrible about dying instantaneously. I just wish we had had more to drop.

Most of the people that died did not die instantly, they died horrible slow deaths from radiation poisoning over a period of 2 to 4 months.
 

vegas giants

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Say back in 1944 President Roosevelt picked you as his vice president. You're 40 years old.

Roosevelt dies, making you president.

WWII is raging. Germany surrenders. The Russians had to sack Berlin to get them to surrender.

The war with Japan is still on. Over a million American troops are about to invade.

They tell you there will be 50,000 to 100,000 casualties during the first few days. Up to 5 million Japanese will die during the conquest. A lot of them will die due to famine.

Your advisors tell you that they have been working on a new weapon, the atomic bomb. It was so secret that they didn't even tell you, the vice president.

Do you authorize the military to drop the bomb?

Reasons to do so:

1. Save the lives of American troops

2. Get the Japanese to surrender immediately

3. Save Japanese lives

4. Scare the Russians

5. Test the atomic bomb

Reasons not to:

1. Killing that many people, in an instant is a horrible thing.

Reason not to


The greatest military minds this country has ever known say you dont need to
 

Drawdown

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Most of the people that died did not die instantly, they died horrible slow deaths from radiation poisoning over a period of 2 to 4 months.

The OP is the one who stated that dying in an instant is a "horrible thing". It isn't. It is preferable to die that way. Anyway, like I said, I wish we had had more. The world would have been spared the tragedy that is Anime.
 

Jredbaron96

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By the time of the atomic bombing Japan was effectively ruled by the War Council, also known as the Big Six. Following the Postdam Declaration, a division formed between the Big Six, split down the middle.

Prime Minister Zuzuki, Foreign Minister Togo, and Admiral Yonai wanted to sue for peace under the condition that the Emperor would be allowed to reign. They were opposed by General Anami, General Umezu, and Admiral Toyoda, who wanted to continue fighting at least until the the expected American invasion occurred, since they were hopeful that a Japanese victory there or at least heavy casualties would allow Japan to negotiate a better position. Specifically, they wanted to avoid Allied occupation of Japan and allow Japan to try her own war criminals, not before an Allied tribunal.

This division remained until 9 August 1945, even after the atomic bombings and the Soviet entry into the war, when Togo again suggested surrender General Anami responded with "“I oppose the opinions of the Foreign Minister...If not, we must continue fighting with courage and find life in death. I am quite sure we could inflict great casualties on the enemy, and even if we fail in the attempt, our hundred million people are ready to die for honor, glorifying the deeds of the Japanese race in recorded history!” (Source:Toland, John. The Rising Sun: The Decline and Fall of the Japanese Empire, 1936-1945 (Modern Library War) . Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.)

Unable to come to an agreement, the Prime Minister asked the Emperor to weigh in, who declared his desire for Japan to surrender. Among the Emperor's arguments in favor of surrender was the fact that the atomic bomb effectively eliminated the possibility of a climactic final battle, since the Americans could simply drop atom bombs on Japan until there was nothing left.

The rest is history. The US certainly could have not dropped the bomb, and instead focused on a blockade or strategic bombing campaign, but at this point there were still millions of Japanese soldiers in China murdering Chinese civilians, by some estimates of 100,000 a month. In addition, Japan was facing imminent starvation as a result of the American submarine campaign. A sustained bombing campaign would have destroyed Japan's transportation network and brought mass starvation. In real life that was only narrowly avoided by emergency food imports from the United States. Without those millions of Japanese would have starved.

Were the bombs morally right? IDK. Were they the quickest way to end the war? Yes.
 

vegas giants

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The OP is the one who stated that dying in an instant is a "horrible thing". It isn't. It is preferable to die that way. Anyway, like I said, I wish we had had more. The world would have been spared the tragedy that is Anime.

How many would you have dropped?
 

vegas giants

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Other U.S. military officers who disagreed with the necessity of the bombings include General of the Army*Douglas MacArthur,[97][98]*Fleet Admiral*William D. Leahy*(the Chief of Staff to the President), Brigadier General Carter Clarke (the military intelligence officer who prepared intercepted Japanese cables for U.S. officials), Fleet Admiral*Chester W. Nimitz*(Commander in Chief of the Pacific Fleet), Fleet Admiral*William Halsey Jr.*(Commander of the US Third Fleet), and even the man in charge of all strategic air operations against the Japanese home islands, then-Major General*Curtis LeMay:

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.

— Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, Commander in Chief of the U.S. Pacific Fleet,*[89]

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 because of the effective sea blockade and the successful bombing with conventional weapons*... The lethal possibilities of atomic warfare in the future are frightening. My own feeling was that in being the first to use it, we had adopted an ethical standard common to the barbarians of the Dark Ages. I was not taught to make war in that fashion, and wars cannot be won by destroying women and children.

— Fleet Admiral William D. Leahy, Chief of Staff to President Truman, 1950,*[99]

The atomic bomb had nothing to do with the end of the war at all.

— Major General*Curtis LeMay,*XXI Bomber Command, September 1945,*[100]

The first atomic bomb was an unnecessary experiment*... It was a mistake to ever drop it*... [the scientists] had this toy and they wanted to try it out, so they dropped it.*

— Fleet Admiral*William Halsey Jr., 1946,*[100]
 

Rexedgar

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Say back in 1944 President Roosevelt picked you as his vice president. You're 40 years old.

Roosevelt dies, making you president.

WWII is raging. Germany surrenders. The Russians had to sack Berlin to get them to surrender.

The war with Japan is still on. Over a million American troops are about to invade.

They tell you there will be 50,000 to 100,000 casualties during the first few days. Up to 5 million Japanese will die during the conquest. A lot of them will die due to famine.

Your advisors tell you that they have been working on a new weapon, the atomic bomb. It was so secret that they didn't even tell you, the vice president.

Do you authorize the military to drop the bomb?

Reasons to do so:

1. Save the lives of American troops

2. Get the Japanese to surrender immediately

3. Save Japanese lives

4. Scare the Russians

5. Test the atomic bomb

Reasons not to:

1. Killing that many people, in an instant is a horrible thing.

HST was 60 years old, not sure what that does to your post.
 

Noodlegawd

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Say back in 1944 President Roosevelt picked you as his vice president. You're 40 years old.

Roosevelt dies, making you president.

WWII is raging. Germany surrenders. The Russians had to sack Berlin to get them to surrender.

The war with Japan is still on. Over a million American troops are about to invade.

They tell you there will be 50,000 to 100,000 casualties during the first few days. Up to 5 million Japanese will die during the conquest. A lot of them will die due to famine.

Your advisors tell you that they have been working on a new weapon, the atomic bomb. It was so secret that they didn't even tell you, the vice president.

Do you authorize the military to drop the bomb?

Reasons to do so:

1. Save the lives of American troops

2. Get the Japanese to surrender immediately

3. Save Japanese lives

4. Scare the Russians

5. Test the atomic bomb

Reasons not to:

1. Killing that many people, in an instant is a horrible thing.

Too many assumptions are needed to answer meaningfully, most significantly, was it really necessary either to invade or drop the bomb to end the war?
 

Jonsa

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Say back in 1944 President Roosevelt picked you as his vice president. You're 40 years old.

Roosevelt dies, making you president.

WWII is raging. Germany surrenders. The Russians had to sack Berlin to get them to surrender.

The war with Japan is still on. Over a million American troops are about to invade.

They tell you there will be 50,000 to 100,000 casualties during the first few days. Up to 5 million Japanese will die during the conquest. A lot of them will die due to famine.

Your advisors tell you that they have been working on a new weapon, the atomic bomb. It was so secret that they didn't even tell you, the vice president.

Do you authorize the military to drop the bomb?

Reasons to do so:

1. Save the lives of American troops

2. Get the Japanese to surrender immediately

3. Save Japanese lives

4. Scare the Russians

5. Test the atomic bomb

Reasons not to:

1. Killing that many people, in an instant is a horrible thing.

all of the above to nuke with rationale prioritized.

As for not doing it, the only criminals in all out war are the losers.
 

grip

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I always wondered if they couldn't have tried to drop a couple of nukes in nonpopulated areas to first show the Japenese that we had such awesome power before targeting cities? Tell the enemy to watch and record such and such coordinates and look at what we got, now give up before we decimate your country.
 

Redress

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Say back in 1944 President Roosevelt picked you as his vice president. You're 40 years old.

Roosevelt dies, making you president.

WWII is raging. Germany surrenders. The Russians had to sack Berlin to get them to surrender.

The war with Japan is still on. Over a million American troops are about to invade.

They tell you there will be 50,000 to 100,000 casualties during the first few days. Up to 5 million Japanese will die during the conquest. A lot of them will die due to famine.

Your advisors tell you that they have been working on a new weapon, the atomic bomb. It was so secret that they didn't even tell you, the vice president.

Do you authorize the military to drop the bomb?

Reasons to do so:

1. Save the lives of American troops

2. Get the Japanese to surrender immediately

3. Save Japanese lives

4. Scare the Russians

5. Test the atomic bomb

Reasons not to:

1. Killing that many people, in an instant is a horrible thing.

The question is somewhat more complex than that, but still without a clear right answer. Other options would include as mentioned by someone else include dropping the bomb on one of the thousands of uninhabited islands around Japan as a demonstration with the threat to drop the next one on Japan itself, bombing a purely military target such as Kure Naval Base limiting civilian casualties and making any invasion if still needed easier, pressing hard on diplomatic solutions before dropping any bombs, or isolating Japan and letting them sit awhile until they where ready to surrender(which may not have taken very long). In a purely binary "nuke Japan or invade Japan", yes, nuking Japan would be the better solution, but the options where not binary like that.

In the classic "Once an Eagle"(required reading for potential officers in the military), the hero makes a speech about how war should be terrible, to ensure we use war as an instrument as rarely as possible. Few wars highlight just how terrible war is like the World Wars did. It is easy to sit back from our armchairs, far displaced from WW2 in time and space, and render our judgements. And to some extent we should, saying that these are lines we crossed that we never should again. But sometimes we just have to accept that the people at the time did the best they could. I think that there are other, better solutions to get Japan to surrender than what we did, but I am not going to criticize the choice made at the time. It is done and we can no longer change it.
 

distraff

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Say back in 1944 President Roosevelt picked you as his vice president. You're 40 years old.

Roosevelt dies, making you president.

WWII is raging. Germany surrenders. The Russians had to sack Berlin to get them to surrender.

The war with Japan is still on. Over a million American troops are about to invade.

They tell you there will be 50,000 to 100,000 casualties during the first few days. Up to 5 million Japanese will die during the conquest. A lot of them will die due to famine.

Your advisors tell you that they have been working on a new weapon, the atomic bomb. It was so secret that they didn't even tell you, the vice president.

Do you authorize the military to drop the bomb?

Reasons to do so:

1. Save the lives of American troops

2. Get the Japanese to surrender immediately

3. Save Japanese lives

4. Scare the Russians

5. Test the atomic bomb

Reasons not to:

1. Killing that many people, in an instant is a horrible thing.

An alternative to invading Japan would have been to blockage then until they surrendered.

But there are some reasons not to do this:
1. The Japanese were still active outside Japan especially China. Dropping the bomb saves lives in those areas and meant that we didn't have to snuff the Japanese out of these areas.
2. We were already fire-bombing their cities and killing hundreds of thousands of people. You can argue this was inhumane but the Japanese were doing this to China, Germany did this to Britain, and Britain did this to Germany. This was a war of survival and not bombing when everyone else was was shooting yourself in the foot.
3. The USSR was invading China at this point. If they had taken over China, they could have united with the Chinese communists. China did turn out to be communist and did cooperate with the USSR, but their relationship was often antagonistic. If the Russians had taken over China, it could have become another proxy state for them.
4. By using the bomb we let humanity see for itself the horrors to creates. People often only learn from tragedy and if we hadn't dropped it, then it would probably have been dropped at some later time. And maybe at that point more nations would have had the bomb and it would have been a lot more powerful. This could have caused a nuclear war.
5. Using the bomb is considered unethical today. But a big reason for this is that nukes today can be easily launched anywhere with ICBMS, can kill millions of people each, and can cause a nuclear war. Back then nukes were still pretty weak, had to be dropped by planed manually, and only the US had the nuke. Even if another country had a nuke, they would have likely used it upon completion during the war anyway.
 

vegas giants

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Dwight D. Eisenhower*wrote in his memoir*The White House Years:

In 1945 Secretary of War Stimson, 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.[96]
 

Cardinal

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Say back in 1944 President Roosevelt picked you as his vice president. You're 40 years old.

Roosevelt dies, making you president.

WWII is raging. Germany surrenders. The Russians had to sack Berlin to get them to surrender.

The war with Japan is still on. Over a million American troops are about to invade.

They tell you there will be 50,000 to 100,000 casualties during the first few days. Up to 5 million Japanese will die during the conquest. A lot of them will die due to famine.

Your advisors tell you that they have been working on a new weapon, the atomic bomb. It was so secret that they didn't even tell you, the vice president.

Do you authorize the military to drop the bomb?

Reasons to do so:

1. Save the lives of American troops

2. Get the Japanese to surrender immediately

3. Save Japanese lives

4. Scare the Russians

5. Test the atomic bomb

Reasons not to:

1. Killing that many people, in an instant is a horrible thing.

There's are parallel realities in which America did not drop the bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In nearly all these parallel realities, human civilization is wiped out by global nuclear war. How do I arrive at this extraordinary conclusion? Simple.

In the first and only example of nuclear war, two minuscule atomic bombs are used on civilian populations. The outcome is so perfectly horrifying and revolting that in spite of amassing thousands of nuclear weapons... not once (knock on wood) are they used again, not even on military targets.

I think it's extremely likely that without the first relatively small examples, full-on thermonuclear weapons would have been used, and in far greater numbers.

It's a pretty ****ing dark analysis, but I believe the sacrifice Japanese civilians paid in 1945 ultimately saved the world afterwards.
 

bearpoker

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How about telling Japanese: 'Hey, we got the bomb - we'll drop it over here in the ocean tomorrow for you to see. If you don't surrender within 24 hours after, next one goes on you.'

They dropped one on Hiroshima and said "surrender or we'll drop another one". They didn't surrender. Do you really think dropping a bomb in the ocean would have made a difference?
 

vegas giants

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There's are parallel realities in which America did not drop the bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In nearly all these parallel realities, human civilization is wiped out by global nuclear war. How do I arrive at this extraordinary conclusion? Simple.

In the first and only example of nuclear war, two minuscule atomic bombs are used on civilian populations. The outcome is so perfectly horrifying and revolting that in spite of amassing thousands of nuclear weapons... not once (knock on wood) are they used again, not even on military targets.

I think it's extremely likely that without the first relatively small examples, full-on thermonuclear weapons would have been used, and in far greater numbers.

It's a pretty ****ing dark analysis, but I believe the sacrifice Japanese civilians paid in 1945 ultimately saved the world afterwards.

This is science fiction
 

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This is science fiction

Sort of, but I think of it more like game theory. Assuming the inevitability of the development of nuclear weapons, and assuming no bombs had been dropped on civilian populations in Japan, what prevents the use of much more destructive and more numerous nuclear weapons later? What evokes the emotional horror at their use?
 

vegas giants

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Sort of, but I think of it more like game theory. Assuming the inevitability of the development of nuclear weapons, and assuming no bombs had been dropped on civilian populations in Japan, what prevents the use of much more destructive and more numerous nuclear weapons later? What evokes the emotional horror at their use?

It's an interesting theory.
 

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...

The first atomic bomb was an unnecessary experiment*... It was a mistake to ever drop it*... [the scientists] had this toy and they wanted to try it out, so they dropped it.*

— Fleet Admiral*William Halsey Jr., 1946,*[100]

The experiment took place @ the Trinity site in New Mexico. The plutonium bomb worked.

[the scientists] had this toy - The Manhattan Project scientists & engineers & staff across the country worked out the physics & materials science & designed the weapons, & built the prototype for the test shot. They never considered it a toy, & the bomb was not in their keeping, nor in their control. The scientists would have preferred a test shot on say - an island near Japan - to demonstrate the weapon, without killing anyone. They were turned down by the military & the Truman administration.

& of course the scientists didn't fly the bombers nor release the bombs. That wasn't their task.

If Imperial Japan had not attacked Pearl Harbor & the Philippines & all around the Pacific @ their targets without warning, mistreated, looted, raped; & killed POWs, civilians, & anyone else who got in their way, & had followed the Geneva Conventions on treatment of POWs & civilians, they might have gotten some consideration when it came time to deploy nuclear weapons.

Geneva Conventions (see Page Not Found

"White Flag and Red Cross
"In 1864, representatives of thirteen nations met in Geneva to discuss the plight of people wounded in wartime. On August 22, 1864, they signed the first Geneva Convention, agreeing that those wounded in war, as well as the people and facilities catering to the wounded, would merit non-belligerent status. Further, they agreed that prisoners should be returned to their native countries. The white flag and red cross would serve both hospitals and ambulances as symbols of neutrality.

"Japan's Agreements
"Over the course of the next century, more qualifications and rules were added to the conventions. Standards for the "humane treatment" of POWs were established in 1907 at an International Conference at The Hague, Netherlands. In 1929 the Geneva conventions Relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War was signed by 47 governments. Japan signed the 1929 convention but failed to ratify it. However, in 1942, Japan indicated it would follow the Geneva rules and would observe the Hague Convention of 1907 outlining the laws and customs of war.

"Japanese Violations
"That Japanese forces did not strictly follow the Geneva Conventions is hardly a matter of debate. According to Dr. William Skelton III, who produced a document entitled American Ex Prisoners of War for the U.S. Department of Veterans' Affairs, more POWs died at the hands of the Japanese in the Pacific theater and specifically in the Philippines than in any other conflict to date. In Germany in WWII, POWs died at a rate 1.2%. In the Pacific theater the rate was 37%. In the Philippines, POWs died at a rate of 40%. In total 11,107 American soldiers captured in the Philippines died. Some died in the Philippines. Others were transported and died in places like Korea, Taiwan, Manchuria, or the Japanese home islands. Still others were killed in the "Hell Ships" en route to Japan, ships that were bombed by American planes or torpedoed by American ships whose crewmen did not realize their countrymen were in the transport holds."

IJ adopted state terror as a method to deal with POWs & civilians. They treated their own civilians like Go game pieces on a board.
 

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Moreover, the enemy has begun to employ a new and most cruel bomb, the power of which to do damage is, indeed, incalculable, taking the toll of many innocent lives. Should we continue to fight, it would not only result in an ultimate collapse and obliteration of the Japanese nation, but also it would lead to the total extinction of human civilization.

Speech by Emperor Hirohito accepting the Terms of Surrender, 14 August 1945




Here's Emperor Hirohito's surrender speech, listing the atomic bomb as one of the main reasons he surrendered.
 
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