There are one or two major problems with the "Hiroshima and Nagasaki stopped the war and so they were justified" claims being put forth here. I'll leave addressing the the 'Well, they were warned so it was OK' rubbish being spouted here, since as has already been noted such an approach is akin to blaming someone who gets knifed while being mugged for not just handing over their wallet like they were told, except that in this case it's like someone getting knifed in a mugging by workers from a rival company because their boss wouldn't hand over their wallet.
EhimeDave wrote:You still assume we think that the bombing of Japanese cities was wrong or that the US government is morally responsible for it. After all, Japan was the aggressor nation and the Japanese citizens were given ample opportunity to evacuate and/or end the war before the bombs fell.
Firstly, such an approach is basically endorsing collective punishment of the people of Japan - at the time - for the actions of their military leadership. Culpability-wise it gets grey enough just according responsibility for the indirect consequences of peoples' own individual actions, let alone holding civilian populations accountable for the choices of their army's commanding officers. All of this 'Japan was the aggressor nation so it was OK' crap only works if you make Japan out to be one homogenous whole, and it's not. Some six-year-old schoolkid in Hiroshima is a bit different from some soldier in the field of war, let alone the military leadership who actually issues the orders. If you're going to hold the whole of Japan responsible for the choices of their war leadership then by that same reasoning you yourself have to accept responsibility for everything bad that your country has ever done. Since the USA - like my own native country Australia - was inhabited prior to colonisation/being 'settled' and said colonisation/settled-ness came at the expense of wiping out the native populations, I'm not sure any of us want to go down that road. Anyone who does, well: you're a genocidal maniac and that kind of shoots down your moral standing.
StaticNZ gets a pass on that one, but only because the pakeha couldn't actually beat the Maori and so opted for a Treaty instead.
Coincidentally, collective punishment of civilian populations is a war crime.
So, you know: Still Not OK
Secondly, and more importantly, it's probably not true. As the article I linked to mentioned
, neither mass civilian casualties nor mass destruction of Japanese cities had stopped the war effort previously, and neither did Hiroshima. The simple fact is that horrific "collateral damage" historically hasn't been much of a deterrent to stopping any given country's armed conflicts, hence why, say, Syria is still in the mess it's in. It's the accepted historical version, sure, but in all likelihood that's really got more to do with historical/political expediency - it allows Japan (sorry for the collectivisation again, it's kind of unavoidable from a concise language standpoint) to gloss over things like Nanking/Comfort Women/being 'the aggressor'/etc and portray themselves as the Poor Nuked Victim, and the US to portray nuking population centers as a Necessary Evil, and thus arguably Excusable.
Sure, It Was Horrible, But We Won And They Would Have Kept On Fighting To The Last Man, Woman, And Child, So In A Way We Actually Saved Countless Lives. We're Still the Good Guys, Guys.
When you think about it, such an outlook is actually pretty freaking ridiculous - quite besides the need to endorse collective punishment, for such a theory to work the Japanese WW2 military leadership would basically have to have had the mindset and tactical proficiency of a particularly sociopathic and stupid cartoon supervillain. I mean, seriously, which seems more likely: that a group of professional, highly ranking military officers who had been fighting a war for years were all like...
Bucktoothed, coke-bottle-glasses-wearing Honorable Evil Japanese General-San wrote:Ah so, Ai'ru getto yuu Honorable Amerika-man San, iban ifu itto desutoroi asu oru!!!
*Hiroshima gets nuked*
Oh no, Hiroshima! Amerika-Man habu Supaabomu?!
Hm, we no care! Mebi onri habu one supaabomu, so so!
*Nagasaki gets nuked*
"Oh no, ze habu two supaabomu! OK, we gibu appu now Honorable Amerika-Man San. Yuu win, beri sori."
...or that they...
Seriously, read the article and think about it FFS wrote:...were in fact quite savvy, well aware of their difficult position, and holding out for strategic reasons. Their concern was not so much whether to end the conflict, but how to end it while holding onto territory, avoiding war crimes trials, and preserving the imperial system. The Japanese could still inflict heavy casualties on any invader, and they hoped to convince the Soviet Union, still neutral in the Asian theater, to mediate a settlement with the Americans.
'Cos for the whole 'Japan was going to keep fighting to the bitter end, until we bravely dropped two nukes on their cities' theory to work, that's the kind of stupid 'I'll get you Captain America!' mindset you'd have to ascribe to them (i.e. the career soldiers in charge of the war effort), and when you stop and think about it that's just stupid. I'll be the first to admit that this country has more than it's fair share of crazies and that there's something of a cultural trend towards obsession (to put it nicely), but running headlong towards total national/cultural/racial annihilation for what amounts to bloodyminded spite is a couple of hundred steps too far...especially when there's the much more plausible alternative explanation of 'maybe if we hold out a little and surrender to these guys who we haven't
been at war with for the past few years we'll get a more lenient punishment'.
@William - while I reckon you're pretty much spot-on for most of this topic, I do have to disagree with you on this one point:
William MacDonald wrote:...The U.S. gained absolutely nothing strategically from the bombings...
The bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki served a few strategic/PR purposes for the US (again with the collectivisation, and again sorry for the linguistic necessity). Where you're reading it wrong is in placing Japan as the target audience for what was at the time the world's biggest bang . Firstly, they resulted in the extremely-expensive-to-develop
new nuclear weapons actually being used, whereas had they not been dropped all those resources and time (roughly 4 years and $26 billion adjusted for time) would have been arguably wasted. Using them against the last major World War 2 holdout 'enemy nation' gave them a target that wouldn't be strenuously
objected to at the time, as opposed to having to find a new post-WW2 target or relying on the much less intimidating field tests to show the world - especially any other emerging would-be superpowers, for example the Soviet Union
- how powerful their new superweapon was. As far as 'stopping the War' goes, yeah - it was unnecessary mass-murdering overkill; but as far as telling whoever else looked like coming out of the war as a future big player 'don't mess with the US' it was pretty damn effective, not to mention the influence on the arms race of the Cold War. It also gave the military-industrial complex a nice lucrative gig for the next few decades, and those guys are powerful and have deep pockets. And then of course there's the aforementioned "We Totally Stopped The War, Not Those Commie B*****ds" PR boost.
Just like the heads of the Japanese military weren't stupid cartoon caricatures
, neither were the US powers-that-be. After VE day (probably much earlier) they had to have turned at least half an eye towards how the post-WW2 world would look, and to have started making plans to make sure they were on top accordingly. They'd be fools if they didn't.
Forgive the assumption if I'm wrong about your thoughts on this btw, it's the way the above comment comes across.