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  #41  
Old 07 August 2015, 12:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Richard W View Post
I've noticed before that the conversation has already been massively spun in the direction of the Hiroshima bombing, not the Nagasaki bombing.
You can't debate if the bombing of Nagasaki was necessary until you decide if any atomic bombing was neccesary. And that is what the debate over Hiroshima is.
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  #42  
Old 07 August 2015, 01:02 AM
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A Turtle Named Mack A Turtle Named Mack is offline
 
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Heading to the gym today, I heard of a video discussing the decision to use the atomic bombs. I found it and am providing the link. It is by a history professor from Notre Dame.
http://www.prageruniversity.com/Hist...-on-Japan.html
Essentially it says that the bombing was justified as the least deadly of the alternatives - people were starving on the main Japanese islands from the effects of the blockade, and an invasion was estimated to be likely to result in at least 1 million deaths. Of course, if the a-bombs had not been sufficient to motivate surrender, then the invasion would have proceeded and those lives would have been lost anyway.

I would add that as I read of the specific events, even after the Hiroshima bombing, the Japanese military leaders were adamant that they would make a final (and very bloody) stand on the home islands, and communicated this to the allied forces. The emperor was still not moved to intervene, so the Nagasaki bomb was dropped. Even then, most of the military/government leadership wanted to fight on, but the emperor insisted that it would all be futile and too bloody. Only then did sufficient numbers of the military leadership agree to surrender.
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  #43  
Old 07 August 2015, 01:04 AM
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If you ever get into such a mess that hundreds of thousands of people are dying because of political decisions that either amount to leaders being scared to back down in case they look weak or stupid, or (much worse) they think that it's necessary to kill hundreds of thousands, or millions, of people to maintain their own security, then I don't think it much matters where you put the sarcastic quotes. I'm not sure it matters "who started it".
Of course it matters who started it. Honestly, how is this hard? It's not like you just reach some point in your war with a country that bombed you where you go, "Eh, things are confusing at this point. So who cares what this war's all about?"
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  #44  
Old 07 August 2015, 01:12 AM
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Originally Posted by snopes View Post
Exactly. And hindsight often overlooks the political realities of the time, such as how long the American public would have tolerated keeping huge naval/air/ground forces sitting idle in the Pacific theater waiting for the Japanese to surrender.
I diccussed this issue with my grandmother during a visit in the early '80s. She told me that the prevailing attitude in America at the time was that the average American was sick of the war. Germany had surrendered 3 months earlier, yet the fighting was dragging on in the Pacific with seemingly no end in sight. Talk was now about a prolonged and dragged out invasion of the home islands.

They were tired of burying loved ones. (If there was anything left to be buried.) They were tired of the food and gas rationing. They were tired of being badgered to "Buy More Bonds!" She told me that the average American's attitude in mid-'45 was "END this war. Get our people home. NOW!"
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  #45  
Old 07 August 2015, 01:17 AM
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No just Americans. My grandfather and two of his brothers fought in Europe and there was very real concern that despite having spent 6 years fighting there they would be shipped out to the Pacific theatre had the war not ended when it did.
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  #46  
Old 07 August 2015, 02:03 AM
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Originally Posted by A Turtle Named Mack View Post
[...] and an invasion was estimated to be likely to result in at least 1 million deaths. [...]
What is the contemporary (i.e. prior to Aug '45) evidence for that estimation?

ETA - You can look at what the US itself says abut the estimates here:
https://www.cia.gov/library/center-f...001.html#rtoc5

Last edited by ganzfeld; 07 August 2015 at 02:18 AM.
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  #47  
Old 07 August 2015, 03:13 AM
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I'm not sure it matters "who started it".
So your solution is that the UK should have laid down their arms and told the Germans to take their land and everything in it? Who are you to shoot back at someone just because they're trying to kill you? I take it you're not Jewish or gay or Slavic or Romani or disabled or... Well even still, you might have been killed anyway because your subversive level of pacifism was politically inappropriate.

It very much mattered who started the war in the Pacific to the millions of Chinese and Indonesian civilians that Japan killed.
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  #48  
Old 07 August 2015, 05:32 AM
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Do you mean to suggest those atrocities are what "started it" - even for the US and the UK??
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  #49  
Old 07 August 2015, 05:41 AM
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Originally Posted by ganzfeld View Post
Well, ASL, I think you just happened to have some relatively good history teachers, frankly. I don't think most Americans have ever seriously been exposed to the idea that these incidents were not necessary. (If they are at all it's sort of, "now maybe they weren't necessary, lessee... uh, yep, they were. Next topic...")
This is flat-out false. We read about the bombings back when I was in school, watched the movies, debated the morality in teams, and in the end the class was almost evenly divided on it. The United States is not a hivemind.

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Originally Posted by Errata View Post
So your solution is that the UK should have laid down their arms and told the Germans to take their land and everything in it? Who are you to shoot back at someone just because they're trying to kill you? I take it you're not Jewish or gay or Slavic or Romani or disabled or... Well even still, you might have been killed anyway because your subversive level of pacifism was politically inappropriate.

It very much mattered who started the war in the Pacific to the millions of Chinese and Indonesian civilians that Japan killed.
Nonono Errata. Calling the actions of the Nazi's and Imperial Japan "evil" makes it seem like we're judging them with our obviously inferior "western" logic.

This is unfortunately an increasingly common attitude on the left. The United States is assumed to always be in the wrong. And since it is always evil, it stands to reason that it's enemies MUST be the good guys. So you get people on tumblr defending the Islamic State, or saying how great life would be if Japan had conquered all of Asia. Oh and Unit 731? The Rape of Nanking? The Bataan Death March? Comfort Women? All lies and propaganda from the CIA obviously.

Isn't revisionist history great?
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  #50  
Old 07 August 2015, 05:45 AM
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Originally Posted by ganzfeld View Post
Do you mean to suggest those atrocities are what "started it" - even for the US and the UK??
Those atrocities would have occurred in the UK. It was an existential struggle for them. They didn't know the full extent of it yet, but every country has the right to defend itself, and if they didn't it would have been a disaster. Germany was the one picking the terms of the conflict, because they started it. If Germany hadn't started it, nobody would be fighting back with them, so it's highly relevant to which side was most justified in their actions.

That's not why the US got pulled into the war in the Pacific, but Japan committed 100 Nagasakis on their neighbors, and they absolutely did need to be stopped. If the US hadn't done it, they would have committed 100 more Nagasakis. The right thing would have been to go to war against them long before then rather than waiting for them to strike at us. The pacifists here would have pushed for a temporary ceasefire for their current regime to rebuild and then go out attacking again. They needed to fully surrender after what they'd done, and they weren't prepared to do it without a prolonged fight.

Germany and Japan were both guilty of horrendous crimes, and they were very lucky at how light the consequences ultimately were.
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  #51  
Old 07 August 2015, 05:52 AM
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Originally Posted by ganzfeld View Post
The controversy was only about whether or not to include any mention of the effects of the bombs on the city, not on the question of the necessity of the bombing. It's utterly ridiculous, in my opinion, to bring up - as an example of the controversy over the necessity - a controversy about whether we should even mention the truth about the bombing or not in one museum exhibition.
Sorry, no. Those who opposed exhibiting the plane with an emphasis on the casualties caused by the bombings viewed it as taking an anti-bombing slant - and their preferred point of emphasis for the exhibit was on the motivation for the bombing as an alternative to a potentially costly invasion plan. It was very much a microcosm of the larger debate over whether or not the bombings were necessary - would the exhibit present a pro- or anti-bombing perspective? In the end, the issue was sufficiently controversial that the plane was ultimately displayed on its own, with no accompanying information supporting either side.

News article from the time period:
http://www.nytimes.com/1994/10/01/us...criticism.html
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  #52  
Old 07 August 2015, 05:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Errata View Post
Those atrocities would have occurred in the UK. It was an existential struggle for them. They didn't know the full extent of it yet, but every country has the right to defend itself, and if they didn't it would have been a disaster. Germany was the one picking the terms of the conflict, because they started it. If Germany hadn't started it, nobody would be fighting back with them, so it's highly relevant to which side was most justified in their actions.

That's not why the US got pulled into the war in the Pacific, but Japan committed 100 Nagasakis on their neighbors, and they absolutely did need to be stopped. If the US hadn't done it, they would have committed 100 more Nagasakis. The right thing would have been to go to war against them long before then rather than waiting for them to strike at us. The pacifists here would have pushed for a temporary ceasefire for their current regime to rebuild and then go out attacking again. They needed to fully surrender after what they'd done, and they weren't prepared to do it without a prolonged fight.

Germany and Japan were both guilty of horrendous crimes, and they were very lucky at how light the consequences ultimately were.
This. 100% this. I wish we could Like posts. The only reason that this is being debated at all is because the bad-old USA was involved. Unless the same posters are ragging on Poland for being big meanies and making Germany invade them and unfairly fighting back.
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  #53  
Old 07 August 2015, 06:17 AM
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I totally disagree. I don't think they were willing to debate the point at all. As I think is fairly obvious from reading the article you posted. If the facts supported their view then why would they have opposed more facts being presented? The Smithsonian pointed this out (with the clear point of view that an exhibition of the all facts speaks for itself, which is a pretty good attitude for a museum) but the opponents responded as in your article:
Quote:
"This appears to be part of an ideological campaign of those who wish to say the dropping of the bomb was unnecessary," Mr. Manchester said.
Where's the debate there? That the bombings were necessary was a premise for them, not a matter of debate. I'm not saying they were right or wrong but these are the facts: they were not willing to debate the necessity. They took it as a matter of history.
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  #54  
Old 07 August 2015, 06:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Errata View Post
Those atrocities would have occurred in the UK.
I don't get how your rant begins to address the point Richard W was making. But maybe I should let Richard speak to that, if he wants to.
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  #55  
Old 07 August 2015, 06:34 AM
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I don't get how your rant begins to address the point Richard W was making. But maybe I should let Richard speak to that, if he wants to.
Did he have a point? Apart from nihilism and moaning that genocide is morally equivalent to resisting genocide?
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  #56  
Old 07 August 2015, 06:45 AM
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Roll eyes

I guess not. Good thing clever you saw through his disguise.
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  #57  
Old 07 August 2015, 08:02 AM
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Did he have a point? Apart from nihilism and moaning that genocide is morally equivalent to resisting genocide?
My point was more that deliberately killing hundreds of thousands of people seems morally equivalent to deliberately killing hundreds of thousands of people. I'm sure both sides thought they were killing hundreds of thousands of people for the right reasons rather than for fun because they were evil...

Not sure what the bombing of Hiroshima or Nagasaki had to do with stopping the Nazis, either. The war in Europe was over by then. If we were talking about carpet-bombing German cities, maybe.
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  #58  
Old 07 August 2015, 08:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Richard W View Post
My point was more that deliberately killing hundreds of thousands of people seems morally equivalent to deliberately killing hundreds of thousands of people. I'm sure both sides thought they were killing hundreds of thousands of people for the right reasons rather than for fun because they were evil...
OK, subtract off hundreds of thousands of deaths, and Japan was still responsible for millions more. And they did it offensively, not in defense of anything. What was Japan's right reason for murdering millions of civilians? Were the rapes for a good cause too? They were the aggressor. They invaded other people's countries for no other reason than to expand their power and resources, and they would have kept on aggressing if not stopped. Stopping them was a moral thing to do, and they weren't offering to stop voluntarily. All military solutions would have killed people, and most of them likely would have killed more Japanese people than the bombs, to say nothing of US casualties. None of the possible military solutions would have killed remotely as many as the Japanese had already killed or would have killed in the future if left unchecked.

Not all things are morally equivalent, despite your wish to oversimplify reality into oblivion.

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Originally Posted by Richard W View Post
Not sure what the bombing of Hiroshima or Nagasaki had to do with stopping the Nazis, either. The war in Europe was over by then. If we were talking about carpet-bombing German cities, maybe.
Typical British perspective. Only the war in Europe was justified, eh? You did carpet bomb German cities. Bombing Hamburg alone killed 40,000 civilians.

Both Germany and Japan in WW2 were objectively wrong. It's about as one sided as any conflict can possibly be. Their opponents were entirely justified in stopping them. There just aren't two sides to this particular story. At least Germany acknowledges that they were wrong. Japan acts like the victim and won't confront their war crimes.

Last edited by Errata; 07 August 2015 at 08:41 AM.
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  #59  
Old 07 August 2015, 10:54 AM
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I remember being taught about the bombings and how the population of the two cities suffered, particularly in high school, where my American History teacher didn't pull many punches (He did get fired for teaching us about the culture and history of Vietnam, though). It must have struck me pretty hard, because I do remember discussing (arguing) about it with my Dad about the decision to bomb. My Dad always believed that if not for the atomic bombs, neither he nor his brother would not have survived the war, since the US was preparing for the invasion of the Japanese mainland.

I do remember that we were not taught about the US arresting American citizens of Japanese decent and sending them to camps. I had to learn about that from a made-for-TV Movie of the Week. That one really blew me away, but also stimulated my interest in reading more about US history on my own.

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  #60  
Old 07 August 2015, 11:02 AM
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Japan acts like the victim [...]
Please do elaborate. What specifically are you referring to?
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