Discussion in 'Atomic Bombs In the Pacific' started by Michael Timothy Griffith, Jan 29, 2022.
"The best way to lie is to tell the truth, then stop."
When the first test bomb was used Oppenheimer said "Now we are all sons of bitches".
If you always tell the truth, the whole truth, you never have to remember what you said.
But your marriage might be very short.
I believe with thread topics like this the response should be, 'Yes they were'. The End.
That was Kenneth Bainbridge, he said it to Oppenheimer after Trinity.
Whenever I hear this take against bomb use I start to formulate the structure of a very detailed and lengthy response, then I just get tired and decide against it. Ultimately this is about applying presentism to a complex ethical decision made in the past, which is a basic failure of historiography.
I'll keep it as simple as is reasonable. You are operating in a total war scenario with unconditional surrender as a goal, against an enemy that regularly uses suicide attacks against you, and had perpetrated ongoing war crimes (reprisals for Doolittle, Nanking, Bataan Death March, etc). You have in your possession a weapon that you spent $2 Billion USD (in 1945 dollars), money that could have been used to expand/increase many other existing weapon systems, a weapon that has a very good chance to end the war and cease the human meatgrinder that has spanned multiple years with tens of million of people dead. Even without direct combat with the enemy every day that passes you are losing soldiers, sailors, and servicemen.
It would have been unethical not to use such a war ending weapon to do what it was explicitly designed for.
Well said, Otto. Too frequently we judge the actions of the past knowing the outcome of a decision. We cannot presume to know what was in the minds of those tasked with making a difficult choice. This especially is true when faced with a conundrum too complex to be easily made. They made their choice and it difficult to fault them. Hindsight is always 20/20.
It wasn’t just about a difficult decision, or Japan being beaten even…two other factors were that the US was tired of war, communities were tired of losing its men…Any idea that would bring a swift close to the war, end in a surrender and to do it with minimal or no US loss was an attractive option. Another reason is that the US wanted to test the brand new weapons in real war scenario…One must look at the USSR here and realise the US already new that they would probably be the next enemy and wanted them and the world to know they had this weapon and it worked…A bunch of factors led to the use of the weapons.
Let’s not forget Japan surprise attacked the US and they vowed revenge…military and political statements were being made with the use of the weapon.
Also the emperor was god to the people. Japan would not surrender without his order, and I doubt he intended to do that. Also removing the "god" glory would be hard or even impossible to remove by outside forces, and the nation would fight to the last person. I recall reading about breaking the god "mode" from the emperor in some way.
The Atomic Bomb and the End of World War II | National Security Archive
Helps to read what the people involved were thinking at the time.
There were many ideas on ending the war.
Lemay and the "Bomber Mafia" expected the war to be over when they ran out of targets(except this didn't work with Germany). Invasion - which only appealed to MacArthur(and such an invasion was an anathema to prewar planning). Blockade - liked by the navy but was expected to continue the war for another year and a half to two years.
Sending a message to Russia is a figment of modern revisionists - The Soviets marched through many bombed out German cities to have a great appreciation for Western air power...Whether a city is destroyed with 1 bomb or 20,000 bombs...The message is still the same, and very clear at that.
Which "God" here are you talking about?
The one on the left or right?
No problem for me if your knowledge from the books say the emperor was not considered god, and the US did not think about the best way to remove his heavenly powers that the Japanese believed he had inherited.
I think he was referring to MacArthur's god complex.
And, of course, NOT using the bombs would allow all and sundry to say "You had a potential war ender and didn't use it? Do you like seeing GIs and Japanese children die?" Because, as usual, the object isn't find the truth of the matter, it's to attack, attack, attack.
I apologize. I misunderstood.
Thanx. I missed it completely.
I'm going to need help there. There was no difference between dropping a bomb on Nagasaki and dropping one on some patch of Utah desert.
And we were still debating whether or not to share the technology with the USSR.
There is a big difference to the world and enemy between a film of a big explosion…and a film of the devastation it could do to a city. Also, it showed potential enemies that the US had already reduced it to a deliverable size and could genuinely deliver this device to a city, and hit it, and devastate it…