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Would you consider the atomic bombs a war crime?

Discussion in 'Atomic Bombs In the Pacific' started by thecanadianfool, May 5, 2012.

  1. thecanadianfool

    thecanadianfool Member

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    It is one of the most frequently asked questions regarding the war, were the dropping of the two Atomic Bombs "Fat man" and "Little boy" a war crime after all?
    There are many different ways to look at it, for example

    Concidering the fact that thousands of woman and children, (civilians) for that matter were incincerated in a split second. The people farther away from the blast were likely blinded by staring at it and/or diagnosed with extremly high amounts of radiation poisioning and died anywhere from hours to days at a time.

    Since these were civilian targets wouldn't this be concidered...immoral?

    It's understood that if the Americans launched Operation Downfall (The invasion of the Japanese mainland), millions of young men would have died and Stalin (who also had plans on invading Japan) would have likely sent troops there too, this would have caused even more tension between these two superpowers (USA and the USSR)

    So yes the bombs saved the lives of millions of young Americans, but it also took the lives of hundreds of thousands of innocent Japanese civilians.
     
  2. Biak

    Biak Adjutant Patron  

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    No
     
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  3. brndirt1

    brndirt1 Saddle Tramp

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    A "War Crime"? NO, not a chance.
     
  4. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    Directly under the bomb there were ~5,000 soldiers lined up for morning parade. The bombs were intended to cause dreadful damage in order to prevent even greater dreadful damage.
     
  5. George Patton

    George Patton Canadian Refugee

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    I agree with Clint and Biak. The bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki is not a war crime.

    I strongly recommend reading the long thread somewhere on this forum (I forget the name of it) that examines this in detail. To quickly summarize my stance:

    -Operation Downfall would have resulted in the deaths of millions of people -- both Japanese and Allied. Military personnel would not have been the only casualties. Japanese civilians were trained to fight the allies with anything and everything at their disposal, and do so until their death. 'Downfall' called for an amphibious assault from the south, and then onto Tokyo -- a long slog north over hundreds of miles of Japanese homeland. The battle would have been the bloodiest campaign of the war. Okinawa and Iwo Jima are an indication of how desperately the Japanese would have fought to protect their homeland. However, unlike the latter, Japan would have been able to use every resource at her disposal to fight 'Downfall' -- including her damaged air force, navy and kamikaze corps. Logistics would have been simplified and likely would have been more effective as it would not necessarily involve convoys that were easily wiped out in earlier 'island hopping' campaigns. In short, the Japanese would have opposed 'Downfall' to the death, would have been more motivated and would likely have been able to fight more effectively than they had in the past.

    -Yes, the bombings killed hundreds of thousands of civilians. As unfortunate as this was, a demonstration of atomic weaponry was the only way to force the Japanese hard-liners to surrender. In the months leading up to the bombings, the Japanese cabinet was split between those wanting to reach a peace settlement and those wanting to fight on. The latter were steadfast, and would not change their positions. Without a show of force harsh enough to force the hard-liners to change positions, Japan would not have surrendered.

    -Hiroshima and Nagasaki were cities that had military infrastructure and industries. Notably, Hiroshima was home to the headquarters of the 2nd Army, which commanded the defenses in Southern Japan. The 58th Army was also based here. Hiroshima Bay was a naval installation, and the Japanese Naval Academy was located on an island in the bay. Additionally, Hiroshima was an important road and communications junction. Both cities were untouched by conventional bombing because both were designated as potential atomic bomb targets. Had the bomb not been used, both cities would have been wiped out by conventional carpet bombing (most likely using firebombs) anyway. The cities were not merely the test grounds for a science experiment -- they were militarily significant, and would have been destroyed anyway.

    I could add more, but I think that covers the important points.
     
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  6. formerjughead

    formerjughead The Cooler King

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    While the Japanese suffered tremendous casualties from the blast and the after effects you need to remember; manytimes that number would have been lost in the ensuing invasion of the home islands.
     
  7. Victor Gomez

    Victor Gomez Ace

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    Atomic bombs can be considered a war crime in the same sense that the first caveman resorted to a club to whack his enemy. What is criminal is not the weapons but the irresponsible behaviors that lead to and cannot be stopped without the use of the "weapon of choice". If you study history, what you think today as your moral judgement for what is criminal and what is not criminal is as changing as the weather over time. I like to think we are advancing in this regard but one can also argue that our development and application of devices of war are also changing as each day goes by.
    I strongly recommend the old threads be read in full to see why it has been so strongly established that the nuclear bombs actually saved lives on both sides of the conflict and the decisions to use the bomb were made after assessments of the predicted reactions and the assessed losses of life from the two "kinds" of fighting. It was clear that the prolonged conventional weapons fight would have been so much longer it proved to be a deadlier solution. Because it was as carefully assessed by leadership at the time it can be seen that the decision was an "Honorable" decision much to the chagrin of those who only cast shallow and ill-researched conclusions about the subject. There is enough data readily available in the historic facts of this argument that clearly establish this conclusion if one chooses to inform themselves on this subject. So often it is that the casting of stones in this matter finds a great deal of popularity as people even have tried to gang up on this argument only to slowly have to face the facts of this situation as they get revealed. This need not allow us to be insensitive to those individuals who suffered dearly for the use of these weapons. There is no greater sadness than to lose human life in any form of suffering while nations are engaged in warfare. No argument succeeds with me, in glorifying warfare as a means of settling differences. It is always better if we spend enough time, effort, and money or whatever it takes short of war to prevent the human loss of lives as a suggested solution of a conflict. Indeed I think war in fact does not always settle the problems but does delay the solutions to our human conflicts. What can be glorified is the soldiers contribution to his own kind to preserve his family, kindred and people in the lives he wishes to protect from unjust attack. I am highly inspired by those who serve the just causes for their own kind. In this we remember well the knights in shining armor that forms a root of human admiration in society today. It is in that spirit I hope to honor and make our veterans feel appreciated for their contributions that have preserved our efforts towards a righteous pursuit of the ideals held in our founding papers of government. Those who asked the thread question I encourage your thoughts on this matter, especially if you pursue them to a point of knowledgeable conclusions based on the known facts.
     
  8. Biak

    Biak Adjutant Patron  

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    After reading the others posts I guess I should explain why I answered with a one word reply. This subject has been discussed and will continue to be discussed, forever. For some very good explanations check this out :

    Atomic Bombs In the Pacific
     
  9. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

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    I liked your first answer better! :)
     
  10. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    Is this :eek::rolleyes::mad: reappearing again ?
     
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  11. formerjughead

    formerjughead The Cooler King

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    Yes it is and I think we all remember what happened last time.:stickpoke:
     
  12. Tamino

    Tamino Doc - The Deplorable

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    NO – The USA had to make a swift end to suffering of millions in Asia and at Pacific!


    Regarding this subject, let me paraphrase Golda Meir (London, 1969):
    “When peace comes we will perhaps in time be able to forgive the Japanese for killing our sons, but it will be harder for us to forgive them for having forced us to kill their sons.”
     
  13. efestos

    efestos Member

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    Why the A bombing but not all the campaign? Fire bombardments over the japanese cities were far more deadly than the A bombing ... those days A-bomb was more a technical change in the way to make the job than a moral matter. (MAX Hastings' .. "What would you have done?"). A diferent point of wiew , maybe a matter of a what if ... The allies just do NOT invade Japan, but blocked the country ... How many people would have killed the famine? Nowadays ... How would be the live of the current janpanse population? ... May be like the North Korea's population.
     
  14. brndirt1

    brndirt1 Saddle Tramp

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    The atomics were less deadly in the short run than conventional bombings had been on the Japanese home-islands. Unless you believe that the fire-bombings started by the Germans is also a "war crime". It might be, but nobody was ever charged let alone convicted of a war crime in WW2 for any bombing campaign, whether simple explosives, or incendiary (fire-bombing). The "rules" were too loose to claim a war crime had been committed. And really only actions in war which have been defined as "outside" civility are defined as "War Crimes". But many of those have been delineated for centuries.

    I would add this old post/thread in which I participated to more clearly define my position here.

    http://www.ww2f.com/wwii-general/31563-i-found-three-links-atomics.html


     
  15. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Staff Member Patron  

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    The simple answer is "no". The Japanese "civilians" were being urged to fight and many were prepared to do just that. In addition, many war industries were spread out among the population. They were hardly innocents. There are other threads which deal in some detail with this topic. Many are referenced above. I would urge you to read them before you bring up the topic again.
     
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  16. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    Agree. Every Japanese was being ordered to die for the homelands and the Emperor. School girls were being given wooden awls and instructed to stab the Gaijin in the groin. The IJHQ decided to decentralize the war industries, when meant the bombing was decentralized as a result.

    War ain't purdy.
     
  17. thecanadianfool

    thecanadianfool Member

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    I apologize for any inconvinience in this thread and I meant no disrespect to any veterans still living or diceased.
     
  18. tomflorida

    tomflorida Member

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    No. What would have been a war crime, is if US could have but did not end the war sooner and thus sentenced to death hundreds of thousands of its own citizens as well as hundreds of thousands (if not millions) peoples all over the Asian part of the world. The only people who committed war crimes was the Japanese Army and government. First by murdering by the millions and then not giving up when it was too late. They were ready to murderer millions of thier own just in the name of their own selfish honor.
     
  19. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

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    For a few, Strategic Bombing is a war crime. A smaller number view the Atomic's as war crimes by virtue of how they kill. I do not ascribe to either notion.

    It is worth noting that no one, on either side, was ever charged, convicted or punished for the bombing of population centers. Despite the fact that both sides, and pretty much every nation that had a plane and crew did so. The only element seperating the Axis from the Aliies was a matter of scale and efficentcy, not morality. Bombing of population centers along with unrestricted submarine attacks and artillery barrages of cities were accepted military actions, period.

    As for the inhumanity of the Atomic's, dead is dead. If you perished in moment by incineration, or over days from being crushed by rubble, you were just as dead. Fire house's, water mains, bomb shelters and other life saving or rescue centers were as likely to be destroyed/damaged in a conventional bombing as they were by atomic's. Again the only real difference was that 6 planes (only one actually a armed bomber) could do what it took hundred's planes to do before.

    Well into the early 1960's, Atomic's were still aimed largely at population centers because delivery systems were still pretty crude in reguard to accuracy. Only with targeting improvements and the ability to construct smaller warheads has there been a movement to see them used 'discreetly' on purely military targets. The rub is that even with this, many 'purely military' targets are too close to population centers for this to mean all that much.

    If you were to go down to the sub-basement of the Pentagon, a half dozen door's down from where the Roswell Alien Autopsy Report's are kept, you will still find war plans that call for nuking of major cities. These range from a single city "I'm Warning You" strike to the "Now you really Ticked Me Off" packages. Russia has them, China too and every other country with a Nuke and a delivery system has them as well.

    The WWII War Crimes trials were as much about convincing ourselves that humanity was not as morally corupt as it appeared to be, as it was about seeking justice from the guilty. The sad truth is that mass murder, ethnic cleansing, Starvation, torture and experimentation that were declared outlaw then, have been repeatedly done right up to today. It matters not if you are an serviceman beheaded by a Jihadist or a Bataan prisoner beheaded by a Japanese officer. The calender may change, but not human nature.
     
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  20. urqh

    urqh Tea drinking surrender monkey

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    No....But a search of our previous discussions will tell you many of our reasons for those on both sides of the argument...What am I on about, there is no argument.

    But I'll ask anyway...is it the weapon itself or the amount of people killed in one attack that is the controversy?

    How many were killed in other forms of bombing missions in that and other theatres...So I'll answer my own question...Its the weapon rather than the numbers killed or how killed that seems to be most peoples problem.

    I get fed up stating I'm anti bomb always will be...that ironically does not preclude me stating that the 2 bombs were dropped in good faith...strange sentence but I'll stand by it.
     

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