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Warrior
Aug 5th, 2006, 06:36 PM
The Hiroshima Myth

by John V. Denson (donna.moreman@alacourt.gov)
by John V. Denson

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Every year during the first two weeks of August the mass news media and many politicians at the national level trot out the "patriotic" political myth that the dropping of the two atomic bombs on Japan in August of 1945 caused them to surrender, and thereby saved the lives of anywhere from five hundred thousand to one million American soldiers, who did not have to invade the islands. Opinion polls over the last fifty years show that American citizens overwhelmingly (between 80 and 90%) believe this false history which, of course, makes them feel better about killing hundreds of thousands of Japanese civilians (mostly women and children) and saving American lives to accomplish the ending of the war.

http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig2/alperovitz.gif (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/067976285X/sr=1-3/qid=1153857855/ref=sr_1_3/104-8208774-0223107?ie=UTF8&s=books/lewrockwlel/)The best book, in my opinion, to explode this myth is The Decision to Use the Bomb (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/067976285X/sr=1-3/qid=1153857855/ref=sr_1_3/104-8208774-0223107?ie=UTF8&s=books/lewrockwlel/) by Gar Alperovitz, because it not only explains the real reasons the bombs were dropped, but also gives a detailed history of how and why the myth was created that this slaughter of innocent civilians was justified, and therefore morally acceptable. The essential problem starts with President Franklin Roosevelt’s policy of unconditional surrender, which was reluctantly adopted by Churchill and Stalin, and which President Truman decided to adopt when he succeeded Roosevelt in April of 1945. Hanson Baldwin was the principal writer for The New York Times who covered World War II and he wrote an important book immediately after the war entitled Great Mistakes of the War. Baldwin concludes that the unconditional surrender policy ". . . was perhaps the biggest political mistake of the war . . . . Unconditional surrender was an open invitation to unconditional resistance; it discouraged opposition to Hitler, probably lengthened the war, costs us lives, and helped to lead to the present aborted peace."

The stark fact is that the Japanese leaders, both military and civilian, including the Emperor, were willing to surrender in May of 1945 if the Emperor could remain in place and not be subjected to a war crimes trial after the war. This fact became known to President Truman as early as May of 1945. The Japanese monarchy was one of the oldest in all of history dating back to 660 B.C. The Japanese religion added the belief that all the Emperors were the direct descendants of the sun goddess, Amaterasu. The reigning Emperor Herohito was the 124th in the direct line of descent. After the bombs were dropped on August 6 and 9 of 1945, and their surrender soon thereafter, the Japanese were allowed to keep their Emperor on the throne and he was not subjected to any war crimes trial. The Emperor, Herohito, came on the throne in 1926 and continued in his position until his death in 1989. Since President Truman, in effect, accepted the conditional surrender offered by the Japanese as early as May of 1945, the question is posed, "Why then were the bombs dropped?"

The author Alperovitz gives us the answer in great detail which can only be summarized here, but he states, "We have noted a series of Japanese peace feelers in Switzerland which OSS Chief William Donovan reported to Truman in May and June [1945]. These suggested, even at this point, that the U.S. demand for unconditional surrender might well be the only serious obstacle to peace. At the center of the explorations, as we also saw, was Allen Dulles, chief of OSS operations in Switzerland (and subsequently Director of the CIA). In his 1966 book The Secret Surrender (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1592283683/sr=1-1/qid=1153858076/ref=sr_1_1/104-8208774-0223107?ie=UTF8&s=books/lewrockwell/), Dulles recalled that ‘On July 20, 1945, under instructions from Washington, I went to the Potsdam Conference and reported there to Secretary [of War] Stimpson on what I had learned from Tokyo – they desired to surrender if they could retain the Emperor and their constitution as a basis for maintaining discipline and order in Japan after the devastating news of surrender became known to the Japanese people.’" It is documented by Alperovitz that Stimpson reported this directly to Truman. Alperovitz further points out in detail the documentary proof that every top presidential civilian and military advisor, with the exception of James Byrnes, along with Prime Minister Churchill and his top British military leadership, urged Truman to revise the unconditional surrender policy so as to allow the Japanese to surrender and keep their Emperor. All this advice was given to Truman prior to the Potsdam Proclamation which occurred on July 26, 1945. This proclamation made a final demand upon Japan to surrender unconditionally or suffer drastic consequences.

Another startling fact about the military connection to the dropping of the bomb is the lack of knowledge on the part of General MacArthur about the existence of the bomb and whether it was to be dropped. Alperovitz states "MacArthur knew nothing about advance planning for the atomic bomb’s use until almost the last minute. Nor was he personally in the chain of command in this connection; the order came straight from Washington. Indeed, the War Department waited until five days before the bombing of Hiroshima even to notify MacArthur – the commanding general of the U.S. Army Forces in the Pacific – of the existence of the atomic bomb."

Alperovitz makes it very clear that the main person Truman was listening to while he ignored all of this civilian and military advice, was James Byrnes, the man who virtually controlled Truman at the beginning of his administration. Brynes was one of the most experienced political figures in Washington, having served for over thirty years in both the House and the Senate. He had also served as a United States Supreme Court Judge, and at the request of President Roosevelt, he resigned that position and accepted the role in the Roosevelt administration of managing the domestic economy. Byrnes went to the Yalta Conference with Roosevelt and then was given the responsibility to get Congress and the American people to accept the agreements made at Yalta.

When Truman became a senator in 1935, Brynes immediately became his friend and mentor and remained close to Truman until Truman became president. Truman never forgot this and immediately called on Brynes to be his number-two man in the new administration. Brynes had expected to be named the vice presidential candidate to replace Wallace and had been disappointed when Truman had been named, yet he and Truman remained very close. Byrnes had also been very close to Roosevelt, while Truman was kept in the dark by Roosevelt most of the time he served as vice president. Truman asked Brynes immediately, in April, to become his Secretary of State but they delayed the official appointment until July 3, 1945, so as not to offend the incumbent. Brynes had also accepted a position on the interim committee which had control over the policy regarding the atom bomb, and therefore, in April, 1945 became Truman’s main foreign policy advisor, and especially the advisor on the use of the atomic bomb. It was Brynes who encouraged Truman to postpone the Potsdam Conference and his meeting with Stalin until they could know, at the conference, if the atomic bomb was successfully tested. While at the Potsdam Conference the experiments proved successful and Truman advised Stalin that a new massively destructive weapon was now available to America, which Brynes hoped would make Stalin back off from any excessive demands or activity in the post-war period.

Truman secretly gave the orders on July 25, 1945 that the bombs would be dropped in August while he was to be in route back to America. On July 26, he issued the Potsdam Proclamation, or ultimatum, to Japan to surrender, leaving in place the unconditional surrender policy, thereby causing both Truman and Brynes to believe that the terms would not be accepted by Japan.

The conclusion drawn unmistakably from the evidence presented, is that Brynes is the man who convinced Truman to keep the unconditional surrender policy and not accept Japan’s surrender so that the bombs could actually be dropped thereby demonstrating to the Russians that America had a new forceful leader in place, a "new sheriff in Dodge" who, unlike Roosevelt, was going to be tough with the Russians on foreign policy and that the Russians needed to "back off" during what would become known as the "Cold War." A secondary reason was that Congress would now be told about why they had made the secret appropriation to a Manhattan Project and the huge expenditure would be justified by showing that not only did the bombs work but that they would bring the war to an end, make the Russians back off and enable America to become the most powerful military force in the world.

If the surrender by the Japanese had been accepted between May and the end of July of 1945 and the Emperor had been left in place, as in fact he was after the bombing, this would have kept Russia out of the war. Russia agreed at Yalta to come into the Japanese war three months after Germany surrendered. In fact, Germany surrendered on May 8, 1945 and Russia announced on August 8, (exactly three months thereafter) that it was abandoning its neutrality policy with Japan and entering the war. Russia’s entry into the war for six days allowed them to gain tremendous power and influence in China, Korea, and other key areas of Asia. The Japanese were deathly afraid of Communism and if the Potsdam Proclamation had indicated that America would accept the conditional surrender allowing the Emperor to remain in place and informed the Japanese that Russia would enter the war if they did not surrender, then this would surely have assured a quick Japanese surrender.

The second question that Alperovitz answers in the last half of the book is how and why the Hiroshima myth was created. The story of the myth begins with the person of James B. Conant, the President of Harvard University, who was a prominent scientist, having initially made his mark as a chemist working on poison gas during World War I. During World War II, he was chairman of the National Defense Research Committee from the summer of 1941 until the end of the war and he was one of the central figures overseeing the Manhattan Project. Conant became concerned about his future academic career, as well as his positions in private industry, because various people began to speak out concerning why the bombs were dropped. On September 9, 1945, Admiral William F. Halsey, commander of the Third Fleet, was publically quoted extensively as stating that the atomic bomb was used because the scientists had a "toy and they wanted to try it out . . . ." He further stated, "The first atomic bomb was an unnecessary experiment . . . . It was a mistake to ever drop it." Albert Einstein, one of the world’s foremost scientists, who was also an important person connected with the development of the atomic bomb, responded and his words were headlined in The New York Times "Einstein Deplores Use of Atom Bomb." The story reported that Einstein stated that "A great majority of scientists were opposed to the sudden employment of the atom bomb." In Einstein’s judgment, the dropping of the bomb was a political – diplomatic decision rather than a military or scientific decision.

Probably the person closest to Truman, from the military standpoint, was Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral William Leahy, and there was much talk that he also deplored the use of the bomb and had strongly advised Truman not to use it, but advised rather to revise the unconditional surrender policy so that the Japanese could surrender and keep the Emperor. Leahy’s views were later reported by Hanson Baldwin in an interview that Leahy "thought the business of recognizing the continuation of the Emperor was a detail which should have been solved easily." Leahy’s secretary, Dorothy Ringquist, reported that Leahy told her on the day the Hiroshima bomb was dropped, "Dorothy, we will regret this day. The United States will suffer, for war is not to be waged on women and children." Another important naval voice, the commander in chief of the U.S. Fleet and Chief of Naval Operations, Ernest J. King, stated that the naval blockade and prior bombing of Japan in March of 1945, had rendered the Japanese helpless and that the use of the atomic bomb was both unnecessary and immoral. Also, the opinion of Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz was reported to have said in a press conference on September 22, 1945, that "The Admiral took the opportunity of adding his voice to those insisting that Japan had been defeated before the atomic bombing and Russia’s entry into the war." In a subsequent speech at the Washington Monument on October 5, 1945, Admiral Nimitz stated "The Japanese had, in fact, already sued for peace before the atomic age was announced to the world with the destruction of Hiroshima and before the Russian entry into the war." It was learned also that on or about July 20, 1945, General Eisenhower had urged Truman, in a personal visit, not to use the atomic bomb. Eisenhower’s assessment was "It wasn’t necessary to hit them with that awful thing . . . to use the atomic bomb, to kill and terrorize civilians, without even attempting [negotiations], was a double crime." Eisenhower also stated that it wasn’t necessary for Truman to "succumb" to Byrnes.

James Conant came to the conclusion that some important person in the administration must go public to show that the dropping of the bombs was a military necessity, thereby saving the lives of hundreds of thousands of American soldiers, so he approached Harvey Bundy and his son, McGeorge Bundy. It was agreed by them that the most important person to create this myth was Secretary of War, Henry Stimson. It was decided that Stimson would write a long article to be widely circulated in a prominent national magazine. This article was revised repeatedly by McGeorge Bundy and Conant before it was published in Harper’s magazine in February of 1947. The long article became the subject of a front-page article and editorial in The New York Times and in the editorial it was stated "There can be no doubt that the president and Mr. Stimson are right when they mention that the bomb caused the Japanese to surrender." Later, in 1959, President Truman specifically endorsed this conclusion, including the idea that it saved the lives of a million American soldiers. This myth has been renewed annually by the news media and various political leaders ever since.

http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig2/costs.jpg (http://www.mises.org/store/Costs-of-War-P80C0.aspx?AFID=1)It is very pertinent that, in the memoirs of Henry Stimson entitled On Active Service in Peace and War (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0374976279/sr=1-1/qid=1153858134/ref=pd_bbs_1/104-8208774-0223107?ie=UTF8&s=books/lewrockwell/), he states, "Unfortunately, I have lived long enough to know that history is often not what actually happened but what is recorded as such."

http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig2/reassessing.jpg (http://www.mises.org/store/Reassessing-the-Presidency-The-Rise-of-the-Executive-State-and-the-Decline-of-Freedom-P109C0.aspx?AFID=1)To bring this matter more into focus from the human tragedy standpoint, I recommend the reading of a book entitled Hiroshima Diary: The Journal of a Japanese Physician (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0807845477/sr=1-1/qid=1153858163/ref=sr_1_1/104-8208774-0223107?ie=UTF8&s=books/lewrockwell/), August 6, September 30, 1945, by Michiko Hachiya. He was a survivor of Hiroshima and kept a daily diary about the women, children and old men that he treated on a daily basis in the hospital. The doctor was badly injured himself but recovered enough to help others and his account of the personal tragedies of innocent civilians who were either badly burned or died as a result of the bombing puts the moral issue into a clear perspective for all of us to consider.

http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig2/denson.jpgNow that we live in the nuclear age and there are enough nuclear weapons spread around the world to destroy civilization, we need to face the fact that America is the only country to have used this awful weapon and that it was unnecessary to have done so. If Americans would come to recognize the truth, rather than the myth, it might cause such a moral revolt that we would take the lead throughout the world in realizing that wars in the future may well become nuclear, and therefore all wars must be avoided at almost any cost. Hopefully, our knowledge of science has not outrun our ability to exercise prudent and humane moral and political judgment to the extent that we are destined for extermination.


August 2, 2006

John V. Denson [send him mail (donna.moreman@alacourt.gov)] is the editor of two books, The Costs of War (http://www.mises.org/store/Costs-of-War-P80C0.aspx?AFID=1) and Reassessing the Presidency (http://www.mises.org/store/Reassessing-the-Presidency-The-Rise-of-the-Executive-State-and-the-Decline-of-Freedom-P109C0.aspx?AFID=1). In the latter work, he has chapters especially relevant for today, on how Lincoln and FDR lied us into war.

Copyright © 2006 LewRockwell.com

SelesFan70
Aug 5th, 2006, 06:39 PM
What nice piece of propoganda. I'm glad you enjoyed it. :)

Wigglytuff
Aug 5th, 2006, 06:47 PM
What nice piece of propoganda. I'm glad you enjoyed it. :)
you get blood thirstier by the day.

Wigglytuff
Aug 5th, 2006, 06:58 PM
unlike most americans, i have actually been to hiroshima and kyoto. i think 90% who would support something so needless and vile fall into 2 groups. people who are vile and just plain like bloodshed in all its forms (see post #2) and people who just plain dont know. maybe they dont know what it did, maybe they dont know that it could have been avoided, or that the us. gov didnt want to us the bomb on germany, or that many of those in charge knew how evil it was and refused to do that kind of evil to kyoto to as they said in their worlds "to save their souls".

nor do i know how many fit into group one vs. group two. i think either way it veils a failure of not just america but the world to consider humanity. to consider women and child. to see people who are from a different place as "human"

having been to hiroshima and seeing such vivid images of it, it is clear that no one who knows even some of what happened and still think it was a good idea is justified.

Rollo
Aug 5th, 2006, 08:29 PM
From the article
Every year during the first two weeks of August the mass news media and many politicians at the national level trot out the "patriotic" political myth that the dropping of the two atomic bombs on Japan in August of 1945 caused them to surrender, and thereby saved the lives of anywhere from five hundred thousand to one million American soldiers, who did not have to invade the islands.

Uh HELLO-the bombs DID cause Japan to surrender unconditionally. It's the saving lives part that's in dispute.

posted by Jiggly Puff -with my comments in bold.

unlike most americans, i have actually been to hiroshima and kyoto. This American has been there-I lived in Japan from 1988 to 89 i think 90% who would support something so needless and vile fall into 2 groups. people who are vile and just plain like bloodshed in all its forms (see post #2) and people who just plain dont know. Don't know what? maybe they dont know what it did I know what it did-it ended the war. It also killed less people than the firebombs that rained down on Tokyo and Dresden. It killed less people than would have starved to death had we NOT dropped the bomb and waited weeks or months for Japan to surrender, maybe they dont know that it could have been avoided, It could have been avoided had Japan heeded the call to surrender unconditionally.or that the us. gov didnt want to us the bomb on germany, I sort of actually agree with you here. There was a racist element in that regard-but it's also true that these were two different kinds of fronts. We were fighting the Germans on land, where any bomb that was as yet untested might also hurt us or the Russians. As an isolated island Japan was better suited to testing the bomb. might or that many of those in charge knew how evil it was and refused to do that kind of evil to kyoto to as they said in their worlds "to save their souls".

nor do i know how many fit into group one vs. group two. i think either way it veils a failure of not just america but the world to consider humanity. to consider women and child. to see people who are from a different place as "human" 100% with you here JP. While I think it was the right thing to do it does show how horrible we can be to each other. On the other hand sometimes humans have two choices to make-one is bad-the other worse. I'd argue that waiting for Japan to surrender would have been worse.

having been to hiroshima and seeing such vivid images of it, it is clear that no one who knows even some of what happened and still think it was a good idea is justified.

Anyhow-while I don't say it was 100"justified", there were good reasons for dropping the atomic bomb.

Ending the war quickly saved lives. The book claims Truman knew Japan would surrender IF the Emperor got this and that. What part of "unconditional surrender" didn't they get? I could just as easily argue Hirohito was responsible for dragging out a hopeless situation while his people starved.

What kind of scenario would have played out had the bomb not beens dropped? Japan unconditionally surrendered after Hiroshima and nagasaki, but what would have happened had we not dropped the bomb?

Some possibilities:

A. Japan conditionally surrenders-the military group led by Tojo continues-possibly no democracy in Japan. There's a lot of unstability in that scanario.

B. Japan surrenders after weeks and weeks of bombing. People continue to starve-not only in Japan but also in Korea and other areas under Japanese occupation. This kills more people than the two atomic bombs put together.

C. The nightmare scenario of land invasion of Japan. Even more deaths. The book failed to take into account how the invasion of Okinawa influenced the decision to drop the bombs rather than invade.

Finally, there's this to consider. By dropping the atomic bombs in 1945 the United States demonstarted just how awful they were. We can hope (fingers crossed) that it demonstrated how terrible a war could be if BOTH sides were dropping bombs on each other. Had Hiroshima not happened it's possible the US and Russia would have had a real nuclear war rather than a cold war.

Until those arguments are addressed there's still a good case IMO for Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

égalité
Aug 5th, 2006, 09:00 PM
Japan was already on the brink of surrendering when we dropped the bombs. The idea that this saved American lives is nationalistic nonsense.

pav
Aug 5th, 2006, 09:03 PM
I think this can be boiled down to one question,out of the two countries in question,who threw the first punch?

égalité
Aug 5th, 2006, 09:06 PM
I think this can be boiled down to one question,out of the two countries in question,who threw the first punch?

Japan, and then the United States responded to a punch by hitting Japan(ese civilians) in the face with a sledgehammer. A radioactive sledgehammer, no less.

Philip
Aug 5th, 2006, 09:33 PM
Two subjects with neverending arguments, religion, and war.

Wigglytuff
Aug 5th, 2006, 11:03 PM
Japan was already on the brink of surrendering when we dropped the bombs. The idea that this saved American lives is nationalistic nonsense.
exactly,

not to mentionable that to do something that evil to mostly women children, lets not forget, when they were already on the brink of surrender not once but twice.

yeah the japanese where trying to surrender in such way that they would save face, who would not, but to respond with a tool of genocide not once but 2 is just plain evil. and all accounts show the us. knew it was evil and would not be justifiable, so why people at like its anything else is beyond me.

Wigglytuff
Aug 5th, 2006, 11:07 PM
Uh HELLO-the bombs DID cause Japan to surrender unconditionally. It's the saving lives part that's in dispute.



Anyhow-while I don't say it was 100"justified", there were good reasons for dropping the atomic bomb.

Ending the war quickly saved lives. The book claims Truman knew Japan would surrender IF the Emperor got this and that. What part of "unconditional surrender" didn't they get? I could just as easily argue Hirohito was responsible for dragging out a hopeless situation while his people starved.

What kind of scenario would have played out had the bomb not beens dropped? Japan unconditionally surrendered after Hiroshima and nagasaki, but what would have happened had we not dropped the bomb?

Some possibilities:

A. Japan conditionally surrenders-the military group led by Tojo continues-possibly no democracy in Japan. There's a lot of unstability in that scanario.

B. Japan surrenders after weeks and weeks of bombing. People continue to starve-not only in Japan but also in Korea and other areas under Japanese occupation. This kills more people than the two atomic bombs put together.

C. The nightmare scenario of land invasion of Japan. Even more deaths. The book failed to take into account how the invasion of Okinawa influenced the decision to drop the bombs rather than invade.

Finally, there's this to consider. By dropping the atomic bombs in 1945 the United States demonstarted just how awful they were. We can hope (fingers crossed) that it demonstrated how terrible a war could be if BOTH sides were dropping bombs on each other. Had Hiroshima not happened it's possible the US and Russia would have had a real nuclear war rather than a cold war.

Until those arguments are addressed there's still a good case IMO for Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

have you ever been to hiroshima or nagasaki?

like i said before, people who justify this often do so because they just dont know.

there are somethings that regardless the "reason" are just unjustifiable, particularly when done to women and children. this is clearly one of them.

*JR*
Aug 5th, 2006, 11:34 PM
The Japanese religion added the belief that all the Emperors were the direct descendants of the sun goddess, Amaterasu....

2006 LewRockwell.com
IC that like Lakeway, you're now buying into the out of context bullshit that Lew Rockwell puts out. The one sentence I quoted isn't the half of it: the Japanese also considered the Emperor a living God. (It was forbidden for them to even see the Emperor's face).

The Japanese would have surrendered as stated if Hirohito could have kept that status, which would have made him a rallying point for the revival of jingoism. It would have been like (if the Nazi's had a figurehead officially above Hitler) to leave that person on such a hypothetical "throne" in Germany after the war. :rolleyes:

It was entirely necessary to obtain an uncondtional surrender from Japan so that we reduced the status of the Emperor to that of a human being. (And Rollo's point that the shock of the bomb's destructive power may well have prevented a nuclear exchange between the US and the USSR later is quite correct).

If the Japanese didn't want 2B the template on which the bomb was demonstrated, they needn't have launched a sneak attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941 because FDR was *OMG* punishing their agression and atrocities in China (like the 1937 Rape of Nanjing) with economic sanctions.

Another reason for the policy of Unconditional Surrender was probably the American outrage @ said sneak attack... launched while a Japanese delegation was in Washington to supposedly negotiate a way out of the impasse.

controlfreak
Aug 6th, 2006, 01:00 AM
Forget Hiroshima, that POST was an atomic bomb! Isn't there supposed to be a 1000-character limit or something!?!?!

Lord Nelson
Aug 6th, 2006, 01:44 AM
Japan would have surrended even if the bombs would not have dropped but only after a good fight. You think they would have surrended just like that? I doubt it and even if they did by the time this would have happened the northern part of Japan would have been occupied by the Soviets just like with Korea. So we would have a Japanese Kim Il Sung. The nukes were tragic but necessary to ensure a swift surrender and save millions of American and japanese lives. Look at Berlin when it got captured. Millions of people died on both sides. Americans did not want to go throught hayt again and so used the bomb. Today Japan is prosperous and free.

Elisse
Aug 6th, 2006, 02:02 AM
Firstly I just want to start by saying I am totally against war and against the use of nuclear weapons in any situation but I have another point of view to mention on this subject.....

My grandfather was a prisoner of war held in Japan. He was forced into joining the army on his 17th birthday...the day after, whilst aboard a ship, it was bombed by the Japanese and while jumping into the sea he broke two bones in his spine. The Japanese army collected the British solders including my Grandfather from the sea and took them as prisoners - he was held as a prisoner for the entire length of the war - he was forced to take part in building the notorious Burma-Thailand railway, they were forced to work deep underground in the mines and was held at various prisoner of war camps throughout the war. (Remember at this time most of them were just teenagers of 17 and 18) They were given hardly any food and what they were given was usually rotten and full of maggots - most of them had to eat toothpaste to survive. They had no mediations and suffered terrible brutality and crulty from the guards at the camp.

My grandfather used to tell me...on the days leading up to the bomb being dropped in Hiroshima, the guards were acted strange, they knew something was going to happen but they didn't know what...the day before the bomb, they shut all the prisoners including my grandfather in an underground mine and were preparing to kill them all in the following days - then the bomb was dropped in Hiroshima and things changed - the guards ran away and the prisoners were left.

My grandfather was one of the lucky ones to get home alive - he weighed about 4-5 stone due to malnutrition, his spine was still damaged, he had breathing problems due to the dust they used to inhale in the mines, he managed to survive many tropical illnesses due to the kindness of two local villagers who helped him.

He is now in his 90's, he still can speak Japanese and has no hatred for the people who held him in the camps. It is very rare for him to tell of the horrendous things he saw in those days....over the years he has only told me a little of what happened to him and his friends...the rest he keeps to himself and even today he gets nightmares - he saw such terrible acts of violence against his friends and fellow prisoners...he still gets very upset to talk about it. He still has medical problems from his days in the camps including severe breathing problems from the time in the mines.


It was a terrible thing that happened in Hiroshima and as I said before I hate war and the idea of nuclear being used for any reason - but there was also many other terrible things going on at that time too, many of which are never mentioned.

There is always two sides to every story.



http://www.awm.gov.au/alliesinadversity/images/thumb/p00761_011.jpg

http://www.churchill-society-london.org.uk/JapPoW.Jpg

http://news.bbc.co.uk/olmedia/1950000/images/_1953190_powsbbc150.jpg

(Sadly these are some of the only photos I can find online - and they dont illustrate the things that were going on in the camps)

Rollo
Aug 6th, 2006, 02:08 AM
have you ever been to hiroshima or nagasaki?

like i said before, people who justify this often do so because they just dont know.

there are somethings that regardless the "reason" are just unjustifiable, particularly when done to women and children. this is clearly one of them.__________________


Yes I have. Had you read my post it states it clearly.

I was lucky enough to be in Japan in 1989 when the Tenno (Emperor) died. This unleashed a storm of memories about the past and the war. As an English teacher I heard countless stories of those who survived the war.

As for not knowing, most people aren't aware of how horrible and widespead the firebombs were in Tokyo in the last months of the war. I listened to many stories from those who saw their whole families go up in flames in matter of minutes.

I heard from people who were starving, and recalled chasing after US soldiers during the occupation because they were the only ones with food.

Watch the Japanese aniamation movie "Grave of the Fireflies". It will make anyone cry.

My point is these types of deaths far exceeded the toll of Hiroshima-Nagasaki.

All this was while Japan was "on the brink" of giving up. "On the brink" might have meant weeks or months while more people starved to death and the Japanese army brass covered their tracks and war crimes.

Fingon
Aug 6th, 2006, 02:55 AM
as with most political decisions during WWII, there have been uncountable conspiracy theories trying to explain them.

First of all with the project Manhattan.

The official version is that Albert Einstein wrote a letter to Roosevelt urging him to develop the "atomic bomb" (more properly called fision bomb) before the Germans did.

A german physicist, Otto Hahn had discovered the fision process, but didn't reveal it to anybody, his assistant (I don't remember her name), who was a jewish, escaped to Swedden and gave the details to american scientists.

I don't know how true this story is, it sounds too fabricated, probably the
Americans decided to develop the bomb themselves and tried to justify it some way.

In any case, the Americans were perfectly aware of what the bomb was, not only the scientists knew what they were looking for, but they actually detonated at least one device so they knew what they were dealing with, maybe they didn't know all the long time effects but they knew the essential part.

About the decision to drop the bomb in Hiroshia and Nagasaki, that's the most controversial, there are different explanation and probably the true is between them.

One was the official explanation, that the bombs were dropped to force the Japanese to surrender, there is some true on that.

Those who said the Japanese were in the brink of collapse and would surrender soon don't really know what they are talking about.

A few days before, the Americans had attacked the island of Okinawa, just a small island but the battle was really bloody and intense, and attack on Japan itself would be a lot more difficult and bloody.

Second, the Russians, it's true Stalin had promised to join the war against Japan 3 months after the surrender of Germany, that's the time they needed to send the army to the east, and they did declare the war to Japan, but after the Hiroshima bomb, before the Nagasaki one.

It's said the purpose was to keep the Russians out of the negotiations in Asia, in that case they should have done it earlier, they did drop one bomb but that didn't make the Japanese surrender. It could have been more a show of force, showing what the bomb was capable of doing if dropped on a populated city.

Of course, the decision cannot be justified by any means from a human or ethical point of view, even Hiroshima and Nagasaki were selected because they were relatively intact.

However, WWII was extremely hard on civilians, you wouldn't hear what you do now about avoiding civilian casualties, you wouldn't have 900 civilians killed, civilians were targets. The British and the American carpet bombed Germany for years, the attacks were aimed at major cities, some cities such as Leipzing were virtually flattened.

The Germans did the same against England, again, not military targets, just cities, trying to terrorize the British and force them to negotiate. Same for the Americans in Japan or the Japanese against other Asian countries (specially China).

So, Hiroshima and Nagasaki weren't different than other cities such as Leipzig, or Berlin, or Tokyo, the difference it that they used a different type of weapon, and of course, the long term effects that might, and I repeat, might not have been fully known at that time.

But again, the articles is oversimplifying things, the bombs did force the Japanese to surrender. The bombs did persuade the Russians they needed to negotiate, and when 3 years later, during the Berlin crisis Truman ordered the B29s with nuclear bombs to be ready in Europe, the Soviets did negotiate.

Geopolitics and morals are not good friends, WWII was a bloody and cruel war, and all parties acted that way, some more but the Americans, the British, the Japanes, the Germans, the Russians, all showed a complete disregard for civilians lives. Not a justification, just an explanation of how things were.

As horrible as it is, what is happening in Lebanon or Iraq, or Afghanistan is a fairy tale compared to WWII>

Sam L
Aug 6th, 2006, 04:30 AM
It's partly to force Japan to surrender. It's partly a payback for Pearl Harbor. US was humiliated with Pearl Harbor and I don't think they ever forgave the Japanese for that certainly not by 1945. That also probably explains why the bomb was used on Japan instead of Germany. I don't buy this other nonsense.

Also for sure, it would've been harder for US to make a full scale land invasion of Japan rather than Germany. I mean Germany had Russia in the east and wester Europaean alliances in the west. Japan is an island.

Wigglytuff
Aug 6th, 2006, 08:04 AM
Yes I have. Had you read my post it states it clearly.

no it doesnt. its not like we cant scroll up two posts and read it.

*JR*
Aug 6th, 2006, 02:58 PM
Nice 2C that Jiggly Wiggly (who posts about rape so often) conveniently ignores the fact that the Imperial Empire of Japan captured so many Koreans as "comfort women" (sex slaves) for their troops during the war. And that their army raped so many women there, in China, etc.
:shrug:

Sam L
Aug 6th, 2006, 03:33 PM
The bottomline is Japan would not have surrendered without the bombs.

SelesFan70
Aug 6th, 2006, 05:45 PM
The bottomline is Japan would not have surrendered without the bombs.

Exactly

Rollo
Aug 6th, 2006, 05:52 PM
Posted by Wigglystuff no it doesnt. its not like we cant scroll up two posts and read it.

And if you read it it's there in bold. I've pulled it out for you and posted it below:)

unlike most americans, i have actually been to hiroshima and kyoto. This American has been there

*JR*
Aug 6th, 2006, 06:38 PM
And Rollo, it was a BS point anyway (about whether one had been to Hiroshima or Nagasaki) as the thread was about the American decision to demand unconditional surrender, and then to use the bomb. So to Jiggly Wiggly: yes, I have been to Washington DC (where the decision was made).

Also Rollo, your post about the firebombings, etc. was quite informative, and Fingon also has a good grasp of reality here. As does Sam L re. (to expand on it) the fact that the resentment ova the sneak attack on Pearl Harbor was so strong less than 4 years later that the American public (and its political leadership) felt that saving the lives of our servicemen justified extremely disproportionate casualties.

And Lord Nelson is quite correct that the fear of the Soviets winding up in control of whatever % of Japan (ala North Korea, a security threat to this very day) was a legitimate geopolitical concern for Harry Truman and Jimmy Byrnes. (Lew Rockwell should know that the Secretary of State was uniformly referred to by that first name, not James).

IceHock
Aug 6th, 2006, 07:15 PM
I don't agree with the bombing,but Japan brought it upon themselves by attacking Pearl Harbor.

Wigglytuff
Aug 6th, 2006, 10:00 PM
And if you read it it's there in bold. I've pulled it out for you and posted it below:)
thats my message. why are you adding things to my message?? not cool.

Wigglytuff
Aug 6th, 2006, 10:06 PM
Exactly
it is funny, how some who claim to be pro-life are the first to jumping in glee at that wholesale bombing of women and children not only here, but in many other places.

this is not news to me, particularly in your case, but it needs mentioning. repeatedly.

jbone_0307
Aug 7th, 2006, 01:02 AM
Don't start no shit, there won't be any shit. Simple as that.

JustineTime
Aug 7th, 2006, 01:53 AM
Don't start no s--t, there won't be any s--t. Simple as that.

:haha: :haha:

:o

Wigglytuff
Aug 7th, 2006, 02:14 AM
Don't start no shit, there won't be any shit. Simple as that.
the women and children of nagasaki did not start WWII.

spyro
Aug 7th, 2006, 02:18 AM
After the Bomb, my country was free from Japan Romusha, and on Agust 17th we (Indonesia) celebrated our first independence day. For your information : We're colonized by Netherland for 350 Years (Until about 1942), and by Japan for 3,5 Years (Until our Independence day), and those 2 countries didn't bring any good for us.

But now it's over, it's been 61 Years ... But as you can imagine like you nailed a nail in a wood, even you've un-nailed it ... the wood still have the nail mark ....

jbone_0307
Aug 7th, 2006, 02:36 AM
the women and children of nagasaki did not start WWII.

and their government didn't act in the best interest of them.

Wigglytuff
Aug 7th, 2006, 02:42 AM
and their government didn't act in the best interest of them.
again it was not the japanese gov that dropped the bombs on hiroshima.

nor is that fact that the parent fails to care for the child bestly a good excuse to bomb the child. this should go without saying. particularly for people who claim to be "pro-life" and pretend to care about the lives of children.

jbone_0307
Aug 7th, 2006, 02:52 AM
As I stated before, don't start no shit there won't be any shit.

Volcana
Aug 7th, 2006, 03:14 AM
While it is true that we get a propaganda blitz in the media every year, my college history classes (and that goes quite a few decades) actually taught that the bombings of both Hiroshima and Nagasaki were NOT militarily necessary. The Japanese military was crushed. It's air force non-existent. Continuing the blockade would have resulted in eventual surrender without loss of Allied life.

Of course, keeping the Navy deployed waiting for surrender would have cost a lot of money. But no lives.

Wigglytuff
Aug 7th, 2006, 03:21 AM
While it is true that we get a propaganda blitz in the media every year, my college history classes (and that goes quite a few decades) actually taught that the bombings of both Hiroshima and Nagasaki were NOT militarily necessary. The Japanese military was crushed. It's air force non-existent. Continuing the blockade would have resulted in eventual surrender without loss of Allied life.

Of course, keeping the Navy deployed waiting for surrender would have cost a lot of money. But no lives.
certainly not more than were lost in both hiroshima and nagasaki.

JustineTime
Aug 7th, 2006, 03:35 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by LTL
And the fact that they dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima... :rolleyes:



...saved thousands of American lives...AND the Japanese were given a chance to surrender, and refused, EVEN after we dropped the first bomb. :rolleyes:

"Proclamation Defining Terms for Japanese Surrender
Issued, at Potsdam, July 26, 1945
...

13 We call upon the government of Japan to proclaim now the unconditional surrender of all Japanese armed forces, and to provide proper and adequate assurances of their good faith in such action. The alternative for Japan is prompt and utter destruction."

We dropped the Hiroshima bomb on August 6th, eleven days later.

From Wikipedia:

"Although supporters of the bombing concede that the civilian leadership in Japan was cautiously and discreetly sending out diplomatic communiques as far back as January (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/January) of 1945 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1945), following the Allied invasion of Luzon (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luzon) in the Philippines (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philippines), they point out that Japanese military officials were unanimously opposed to any negotiations before the use of the atomic bomb...

...
After the realization that the destruction of Hiroshima was from a nuclear weapon, the civilian leadership gained more and more traction in its argument that Japan had to concede defeat and accept the terms of the Potsdam Declaration (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Potsdam_Declaration). However, even after the destruction of Nagasaki, [the SECOND bomb!] the Emperor himself needed to intervene to end a deadlock in the cabinet."

:shrug:

We had the power to end the war...and we did.

Fingon
Aug 7th, 2006, 03:41 AM
While it is true that we get a propaganda blitz in the media every year, my college history classes (and that goes quite a few decades) actually taught that the bombings of both Hiroshima and Nagasaki were NOT militarily necessary. The Japanese military was crushed. It's air force non-existent. Continuing the blockade would have resulted in eventual surrender without loss of Allied life.

Of course, keeping the Navy deployed waiting for surrender would have cost a lot of money. But no lives.

first, let me clarify that I am definitely against the use of nuclear weapons, and whatever excuse they give doesn't justify literally burning two cities.

As I stated earlier, the reasons for the attack were more political than militar, it was a show of force for the Russians.

But, the concept that the Japanese were defeated and would surrender soon is wrong.

In May 1945, the American attacked Okinawa, an strategic island essential to launch a major attack on Japan.

The Americans had 180,000 soldiers, the Japanese 130,000, the battle was really fiery, the Americans lost more than 4000 men, and 30,000 were wounded. The Japanese lost 107,000 men, the island wasn't taken until July, that's only one month before the bomb was dropped.

Those historians that said Japan was defeated don't know what they are talking about, what do you think would have been a fight in Japan itself, against 20 times more soldiers and with a lot more to lose for the Japanese?

What some people tend to forget is how the Japanese were back then, we all have the image of how they are now, but guess, who were the first to use "suicide bombers", the kamikaze, essentially suicide pilots that will crash planes loades with explosive against US ships.

The order from the Japanese high command to the Okinawa troops were to fight until the last man, pure are simple, what makes some "historians" think the situation would have been different in Japan?

Said that, again, I don't agree with the dropping of the bombs, but the reason isn't that the Japanese were defeated and would surrender soon.

an interesting fact, the death toll of the Japanese in Okinawa was higher than in Hiroshima, of course, in Okinawa they were soldiers, not civilians killed (of course civilians did die in Okinawa but not in huge numbers).

Volcana
Aug 7th, 2006, 05:32 AM
But, the concept that the Japanese were defeated and would surrender soon is wrong.[/quotualte]That's why I said 'eventual surrender'. They didn't have much of a choice. They couldn't feed their population, and they couldn't get to the blockade to fight it.
[QUOTE=Fingon]what do you think would have been a fight in Japan itself, against 20 times more soldiers and with a lot more to lose for the Japanese?
The entire point of a blockade is NOT to have to fight. As for how long that blckade would have had to stay up? Until the Emperor decided enough of his people had starved to death.

However, this isn't the first time I've read or heard that the Japanese were ready to surrender provided the Emporer could stay in place. My father was of the same opinion. He was a history professor. And he fought in World War II in the Pacific Theatre, including Okinawa. (Which of course doesn't mean he was right, just that his opinion was informed.)

Halardfan
Aug 7th, 2006, 10:39 AM
Hiroshima and Nagasaki were an appalling horror and a war of appalling horrors, and I do beleive there is a case to say they were entirely uneccessary.

Though the product of conventional bombing, there is an arguement for saying the devastation of Tokyo was even more dreadful.

Its so difficult to second guess actions in that war though...some of the bombing of Germany towards the end of the war went to far, even Churchill is suspected to have thought so, places like Dresden...

But in the counter balance, we have the horrors of the Nazi regime, the holocaust, its conquest and occupation of Europe.

Japn too, commited appalling atrocities in China and Korea, wounds which remain today.

I think there is a case for an official apology for Hiroshima and Nagasaki from the US, and an official unreserved apology to the Chinese and Koreans on the part of the Japanese. The wounds need to be healed.

I am profoundly anti-nuclear, and have always thought the whole subsequent nuclear arms race was the ultimate insanity, that brought us all so close to absolute destruction.

*JR*
Aug 7th, 2006, 03:57 PM
...
However, this isn't the first time I've read or heard that the Japanese were ready to surrender provided the Emporer could stay in place...Again, had it been on their terms (as a "Living God", thus a rallying point for a future Tojo to make them a military agressor again). MacArthur let Hirohito remain on his throne, but only in a role like Queen Elizabeth.

...
I am profoundly anti-nuclear, and have always thought the whole subsequent nuclear arms race was the ultimate insanity, that brought us all so close to absolute destruction."Mutual Assured Destruction" prevented a (conventional, but very bloody) WW III between the Western and Soviet blocs. Nukes may yet cause a global catastrophe, but they'd likely have been developed by lets say the mid 1950's even without the Manhattan Project.

Lord Nelson
Aug 7th, 2006, 07:22 PM
[QUOTE=Fingon]But, the concept that the Japanese were defeated and would surrender soon is wrong.[/quotualte]That's why I said 'eventual surrender'. They didn't have much of a choice. They couldn't feed their population, and they couldn't get to the blockade to fight it.
The entire point of a blockade is NOT to have to fight. As for how long that blckade would have had to stay up? Until the Emperor decided enough of his people had starved to death.

However, this isn't the first time I've read or heard that the Japanese were ready to surrender provided the Emporer could stay in place. My father was of the same opinion. He was a history professor. And he fought in World War II in the Pacific Theatre, including Okinawa. (Which of course doesn't mean he was right, just that his opinion was informed.)
Such a blockade would not have starved off many of the people like with Biafra in Nigeria. Japan is rich in resources like fish so blockades could not have starved off people and by the all of Japan would be under the clutches of the Soviets who had captured Kuril islands and Sakhalin island and were about to land in japan.
Did any such blockade help us against Saddam?

©@®eLess
Aug 7th, 2006, 07:39 PM
Japan,Chile,Nicaragua,Vietnam,Cambodia,Korea,Bosni a,Serbia,Cuba,Iraq,
Afganistan,Somalia,Grenada,Congo...and so many more were a "colateral" victims of US colonialism.But hey every imperialist ended defeated: Napoleon,Hitler...no need to worry, a slap in the face for US is just around the corner...god help the mankind!

JustineTime
Aug 7th, 2006, 09:48 PM
Japan,Chile,Nicaragua,Vietnam,Cambodia,Korea,Bosni a,Serbia,Cuba,Iraq, Afganistan,Somalia,Grenada,Congo...and so many more were a "colateral" victims of US colonialism.But hey every imperialist ended defeated: Napoleon,Hitler...no need to worry, a slap in the face for US is just around the corner...god help the mankind!

Japan...they started it, although there's little doubt that FDR pretty much drove them to it in a desperate attempt to get out of the 2nd Depression he had created. :tape:

Chile, Nicaragua, Vietnam, Cambodia, Korea...Gee, we're REAL sorry we failed to allow communism to spread unchecked throughout the globe(esp. in our back yard.) :o ...OK, no we're not. :p :shrug:

Bosnia, Serbia :scared: :help:

Cuba...good Ikedea, bad successorcution. :shrug: :o

Iraq...:unsure: Where's the "covering your eyes" icon? :confused: Time to let the Iraqis fight for their own democracy...or not. :shrug: :tape: They had their chance. :secret: I still maintain taking down Saddam was the right thing to do. :secret: :shrug:

Afganistan...they started it, unless you're referring to the mujahedin. In that case, see, Nicaragua et al.

Somalia...Bush 41's parting gift to Clinton??? :confused: :o :tape: Clinton shoulda gotten out & stayed gotten out! :o :shrug: :o

Grenada...:bigclap: :woohoo:

Congo...another dabble in derailing the dastardly Soviets. :shrug:

...and so many more were a "colateral" victims of US colonialism.But hey every imperialist ended defeated: Napoleon,Hitler...

:scratch:

Come to think of it...none of these "adventures" can truly be characterized as "colonialism"...can they??? :confused:

no need to worry, a slap in the face for US is just around the corner...... You may indeed be right. :tears: If so, I hope you don't need someone to save your collective bacon soon thereafter. ;) :rolleyes:

god help the mankind!

YAY!!! We agree on something! :bounce: :)

Lord Nelson
Aug 7th, 2006, 10:45 PM
Japan,Chile,Nicaragua,Vietnam,Cambodia,Korea,Bosni a,Serbia,Cuba,Iraq,
Afganistan,Somalia,Grenada,Congo...and so many more were a "colateral" victims of US colonialism.But hey every imperialist ended defeated: Napoleon,Hitler...no need to worry, a slap in the face for US is just around the corner...god help the mankind!
Grenada was a victory and so was North Korea since we chased out the communists from South Korea. Serbia also was a victory since we there is peace in the balkans. With Congo, his excellency Mobutu Sese Seko Nkuku Ngbendu wa za Banga was highly corrupt but he still managed to keep the country from collapsing. Would Congo have been better under Lumumba? I don't think so since African socialism throughout Africa failed miserably. The ANC is South Africa is not socialist (The party is very diverse). One of its men, Jacob Zuma is a populist but the right wing of the ANC took fright and Mbeki got rid of him.

Cambodia was a stalemate. The Khmer Rouge were removed though Hun Sen remains a dictator. With Somalia, the country is a disaster but as long as Islamists don't control the whole of Somaila this is a voctory. Remember whole of Somalia includes Puntland and Somaliland. So that is not yet a failure there. Afghanistan is not a failure since U.S. got rid of Taliban. Yes theys till lurk arond but Afghan government remains pro U.S.

So overall U.S. policy has more positive points than negative ones. Yes Cuba and Iran are failures. But Cuba could change after the Castro era. Other hot spots include Saudi Arabia and North Korea. But these are mostly British/Turkish (for Saudi Arabia) and Russian/Chinese (for North Korea) failures. As for Iraq it is a stalemate. U.S. got rid of Saddam and Kurdish regions are stable and autonomous. But shiites and sunnis are killing each other.

Fingon
Aug 8th, 2006, 03:01 AM
[QUOTE=Fingon]But, the concept that the Japanese were defeated and would surrender soon is wrong.[/quotualte]That's why I said 'eventual surrender'. They didn't have much of a choice. They couldn't feed their population, and they couldn't get to the blockade to fight it.
The entire point of a blockade is NOT to have to fight. As for how long that blckade would have had to stay up? Until the Emperor decided enough of his people had starved to death.


but that is wrong in two accounts, first, no blockade ever has forced a country, specially a militarist country to surrender, it didn't work against Napoleo, it didn't work against Hitler, often, the effects have been the opposite, only strenghten the country's will to fight.

Second, the emperor had no power, none whatsoever, the ones that needed to decide were the militaristic leaders of the country.

However, this isn't the first time I've read or heard that the Japanese were ready to surrender provided the Emporer could stay in place.


the fact is that they got that, Hirohito was still in the throne after WWII, that was a Japanese demand, even after Nagasaki and the Americans had no problems with that, why would be? the emperor was only a decorative figure.

My father was of the same opinion. He was a history professor.

His opinion is valid, I just don't agree, let's clarify again, the disagreement is about the Japanese willigness to surrender, not about dropping the bombs which I don't agree with.

And he fought in World War II in the Pacific Theatre, including Okinawa. (Which of course doesn't mean he was right, just that his opinion was informed.)
he obviously had a first hand experience on how terrible the fight was, but not a global view (not a better one than everyone else and probably worse because he was a soldier, you know, military censorship, etc.).

Unless all the historical sources I have read over the years are wrong, the resistance in Okinawa was fierce, a lot worse than the German resistance for example was and that was considered just a prelude of what was coming in Japan.