Should we have dropped the atomic bombs on Japan?

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Nickolai77:

nicodeemus327:

Nickolai77:
I think Truman should have explictly warned the Japanese before dropping the bomb. The war needed to be ended, Imperial Japan needed to be defeated, but firebombing and atomic bombing civilians in order to achieve that end does cause moral concerns. If the the Americans told the Japanese that they would use the bomb if Japan does not surrender (noting that they can keep the Emperor, subject to Alled Commander of the Pacific), and if the Japanese had not surrended, the "moral blame" would have gone to the Japanese government rather than the Americans.

I don't think warning them would have changed a thing. If anything it would given them time to prepare, the effect wouldn't have been as devastating, and the war might have continued anyways.

I know the effect may not have been as devistating, but my point is that the moral responsability of using the atomic bomb would have shifted to the Japanese Imperial Government if the Americans had clearly warned them. If that had happend, in a way, a good part of the blame would have been removed from the Americans and put onto the Japanese- whom could have stopped the use of the bomb if they had surrendered on the condition that they can keep the Emperor. This is because the Americans knew that a significant proportion of the Japanese cabinet was in favour of surrendering, so long as they could keep the Emperor. All the Americans had to do was ask on these terms. If the Japanese refused, it's their loss, Hiroshima and Nagasaki get destroyed. The Japanese could have stopped it, but they didn't.

My essential point here is that if the Americans told the Japanese they had the atomic bomb, regardless if they had surrendered or not, it would have avoided a lot of contraversy which lingers to this day.

In the Potsdam Declaration, Truman said that if the Japanese didn't agree to unconditional surrender, it would lead to "the inevitable and complete destruction of the Japanese armed forces and just as inevitably the utter devastation of the Japanese homeland". And even if they did explicitly mention the atom bomb, that's assuming they even believed the US. Seriously, if you heard from your dire enemy that they claim to have a city-destroying bomb, would you believe them? Keep in mind that this was before anyone but the US, UK, and Soviet Union (due to spies) knew of the capabilities or even the existence of the bomb.

Nickolai77:

GunboatDiplomat:
....
The war in the pacific was incredibly racist on both sides. And the scale and cruelty of the slaughter in Indochina (including vietnam) by the americans and the french later on rivaled that of the japanese slaughter in manchuria and elsewhere......

However, i'm fairly sure that the war-crimes commited by the Japanese in China are a thounsand times worse than what the French, and then Americans (not the other way round) did Indochina. Let me clarify though that what the French and Americans did in Vietnam was far from "good", i just think the Japanese were a lot worse.

Two million dead civilians in vietnam alone, many killed by the most horrific methods, tortured to death, ripped apart being ragged behind vehicles, napalm, toxic chemicals, starvation, the list is endless. Suffice to say sights like this were commonplace in vietnam:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:My_Lai_massacre.jpg

I visited the what used to be called the Museum of american war crimes (now called the War Remnants museum) in Saigon a few years ago and despite having studied the conflict in some detail I was horrified by the images on display the like of which I have never seen in any book and which are simply not available on the internet.

Also I'm quite aware of the history of vietnam, although I'm sorry for my badly structured and ambiguous sentence which gave you the wrong impression.

Mr.Mattress:
They didn't test Humans with Atomic Bombs, only buildings

Very true. The Japanese however, did test human beings with their chemical weapons.

GunboatDiplomat:

Nickolai77:

GunboatDiplomat:
....
The war in the pacific was incredibly racist on both sides. And the scale and cruelty of the slaughter in Indochina (including vietnam) by the americans and the french later on rivaled that of the japanese slaughter in manchuria and elsewhere......

However, i'm fairly sure that the war-crimes commited by the Japanese in China are a thounsand times worse than what the French, and then Americans (not the other way round) did Indochina. Let me clarify though that what the French and Americans did in Vietnam was far from "good", i just think the Japanese were a lot worse.

Two million dead civilians in vietnam alone, many killed by the most horrific methods, tortured to death, ripped apart being ragged behind vehicles, napalm, toxic chemicals, starvation, the list is endless. Suffice to say sights like this were commonplace in vietnam:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:My_Lai_massacre.jpg

I visited the what used to be called the Museum of american war crimes (now called the War Remnants museum) in Saigon a few years ago and despite having studied the conflict in some detail I was horrified by the images on display the like of which I have never seen in any book and which are simply not available on the internet.

Oh, yes, 2 million dead. How many do you reckon were killed by the Viet Cong, the NVA and the Viet Minh? 1 million? One and a half million? Does that figure include Viet Cong fighters (who are not, by definition, civilians) or not?

Ask, before accepting an interpretation. The US would have you believe there were a few incidents like My Lai. The Viet Cong would have you believe it was nothing but the Americans. The truth lies somewhere in between these two equally fallacious viewpoints.

The choice was never between an all out invasion or dropping the bomb. Japan desired peace, they were trying to negotiate peace through the Soviet Union, the US was aware of this. The problems were establishing terms that both sides could accept.

The US didn't need to drop the bomb, they could have waited a few weeks for the Soviet union to join the war(or indeed a few hours in the case of the Nagasaki bombing), they could have tightened the nose around Japan with a blockade.

The Soviet Unions entry to the war had a comparable impact(if not greater according to some Japanese Politicians) to the dropping of the atomic bombs. Many American generals and admirals themselves said that dropping the bomb was completely unnecessary and barbaric.

Ultimately the US chose to kill hundreds of thousands of civilians rather than wait, or use less drastic means to force a Japanese surrender. Such acts of unnecessary wanton slaughter can never in my opinion be justified.

GunboatDiplomat:

Two million dead civilians in vietnam alone, many killed by the most horrific methods, tortured to death, ripped apart being ragged behind vehicles, napalm, toxic chemicals, starvation, the list is endless. Suffice to say sights like this were commonplace in vietnam:

As Rolling Thunder said, i'm sure the Reminants Muesium is far from unbias. I'm sure the North Vietnamese did all sorts of evils to civilians, as the Americans did sometimes too. In history there are no good guy's and bad guy's, only those who are in between.

mdk31:

In the Potsdam Declaration, Truman said that if the Japanese didn't agree to unconditional surrender, it would lead to "the inevitable and complete destruction of the Japanese armed forces and just as inevitably the utter devastation of the Japanese homeland". And even if they did explicitly mention the atom bomb, that's assuming they even believed the US. Seriously, if you heard from your dire enemy that they claim to have a city-destroying bomb, would you believe them? Keep in mind that this was before anyone but the US, UK, and Soviet Union (due to spies) knew of the capabilities or even the existence of the bomb.

The Japanese would have never surrenderd unconditonally, even the Japanese cabinet members who advocated peace would refuse to surrender if the Emperors position was not guaranteed. The Potsdam Decleration said nothing about the preservation of the Emperor, so the Japanese ignored it. The Americans could have dropped several atomic weapons all over Japan, and the Japanese would have still not surrenderd if it meant loseing their Emperor. Their Emperor was like a God to them, he's lie a deity, Jesus on earth if you will. After the atomic bombs were dropped, the Japanese cabinet sent a teligram to the American's saying they would surrender if the Emperor was retained. Relutantly, the Americans complied.

If the Americans wanted to end the war with a cleaner war-record, they should have teligrammed the Japanese cabinet and told them that they can surrender on the one condition that the Emperor remains, but subject to Allied Pacific Commander. Failure to comply would result in the USAF dropping atomic bombs on Japanese cities.

Even if the Japanese cabinet did not surrender and the atomic bombs were used (i'm not saying they would have) America would have avoided a lot of the blame and contraversy, which is the point i'm trying to make. This is because the Japanese cabinet and Emperor had the chance to stop the Americans using the atomic bomb, and if they refused then they shoulder the blame rather than the Americans.

Rolling Thunder:
Oh, yes, 2 million dead. How many do you reckon were killed by the Viet Cong, the NVA and the Viet Minh? 1 million? One and a half million? Does that figure include Viet Cong fighters (who are not, by definition, civilians) or not?

Ask, before accepting an interpretation. The US would have you believe there were a few incidents like My Lai. The Viet Cong would have you believe it was nothing but the Americans. The truth lies somewhere in between these two equally fallacious viewpoints.

Strangely enough National Liberation movements tend not to be in the habit of massacring their own people, not least becuase they depend for their very existence on the active support of those people. This is as true in vietnam as in ireland or in the american war of independence. But perhaps you think Ho chi minh, Michael collins and George Washington are all just "trrursts"

Time for a chant I think, an american chant in fact: "Hey hey LBJ how many kids did you kill today?"

Nickolai77:
As Rolling Thunder said, i'm sure the Reminants Muesium is far from unbias. I'm sure the North Vietnamese did all sorts of evils to civilians, as the Americans did sometimes too. In history there are no good guy's and bad guy's, only those who are in between.

Ah so you have no side in the American civil war for example? No good guys and no bad guys after all.

The freed slaves in the south though saw people like General Sherman rather differently though, even before he started distributing 40 acres and a mule...

Thread = been done.

Answer: Yes, unless you like being ignorant of history and you wanted millions of Japanese and American troops to die.

Nickolai77:

mdk31:

In the Potsdam Declaration, Truman said that if the Japanese didn't agree to unconditional surrender, it would lead to "the inevitable and complete destruction of the Japanese armed forces and just as inevitably the utter devastation of the Japanese homeland". And even if they did explicitly mention the atom bomb, that's assuming they even believed the US. Seriously, if you heard from your dire enemy that they claim to have a city-destroying bomb, would you believe them? Keep in mind that this was before anyone but the US, UK, and Soviet Union (due to spies) knew of the capabilities or even the existence of the bomb.

The Japanese would have never surrenderd unconditonally, even the Japanese cabinet members who advocated peace would refuse to surrender if the Emperors position was not guaranteed. The Potsdam Decleration said nothing about the preservation of the Emperor, so the Japanese ignored it. The Americans could have dropped several atomic weapons all over Japan, and the Japanese would have still not surrenderd if it meant loseing their Emperor. Their Emperor was like a God to them, he's lie a deity, Jesus on earth if you will. After the atomic bombs were dropped, the Japanese cabinet sent a teligram to the American's saying they would surrender if the Emperor was retained. Relutantly, the Americans complied.

If the Americans wanted to end the war with a cleaner war-record, they should have teligrammed the Japanese cabinet and told them that they can surrender on the one condition that the Emperor remains, but subject to Allied Pacific Commander. Failure to comply would result in the USAF dropping atomic bombs on Japanese cities.

Even if the Japanese cabinet did not surrender and the atomic bombs were used (i'm not saying they would have) America would have avoided a lot of the blame and contraversy, which is the point i'm trying to make. This is because the Japanese cabinet and Emperor had the chance to stop the Americans using the atomic bomb, and if they refused then they shoulder the blame rather than the Americans.

Japan didn't respond at all to the Potsdam Declaration. They were given the chance to surrender.

Yes. It saved lives. Studies and simple logic dictate that years of fighting would've led to many more lives lost and more money spend in the long run. Also, Japan started it, so good riddance. Don't start a fight you aren't prepared to win. THEY forced us to drop the bombs. In the end, all things considered, Japan isn't doing too badly as a country, now are they?

GunboatDiplomat:

Rolling Thunder:
Oh, yes, 2 million dead. How many do you reckon were killed by the Viet Cong, the NVA and the Viet Minh? 1 million? One and a half million? Does that figure include Viet Cong fighters (who are not, by definition, civilians) or not?

Ask, before accepting an interpretation. The US would have you believe there were a few incidents like My Lai. The Viet Cong would have you believe it was nothing but the Americans. The truth lies somewhere in between these two equally fallacious viewpoints.

Strangely enough National Liberation movements tend not to be in the habit of massacring their own people, not least becuase they depend for their very existence on the active support of those people. This is as true in vietnam as in ireland or in the american war of independence. But perhaps you think Ho chi minh, Michael collins and George Washington are all just "trrursts"

Oh what rot. The IRA killed plenty of people in Northern Ireland.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Provisional_Irish_Republican_Army_campaign_1969%E2%80%931997

Six hundred civilians killed by the IRA (confirmed). Only two hundred killed by the British Army. Well, that makes you a liar, or just plain stupid. But hey, so long as people are 'freedom fighters', then they're magically occupying some moral high ground and are completely free of blame and guilt; and likewise, any organisation working on behalf of the state is an evil totalitarian bastion of dark oppression which is responsible for all the evil in the world.

I'm going to leave you with a quote from Chiuna Achebe: "These who can see no stain of wrong on the beloved oppressed, nor any glimmer of humanity in the hated oppressor, are partisans, patriots and party-liners."

Yureina:

nick_knack:

Darkside360:

Just remember would could have just gone and dropped the bombs on Tokyo, but we didn't.

Its sad it happened but it was a necessary evil.

Correct me if I am wrong, but as I recall from my history class, Tokyo was originally a target but got called off because of weather. I don't remember whether it was Hiroshima or Nagasaki that replaced it though.

I think Nagasaki was a secondary. I don't remember what the primary was though.

The primary target of the Nagasaki bomb was Kokura, another city in northern Kyushu. The city today is called Kitakyushu, which literally means "North Kyushu". It was called off due to cloud cover and the target was switched to Nagasaki. The bombing itself was almost called off due to inclement weather until in the last moments the clouds broke long enough to drop the bomb on the target.

Rolling Thunder:

GunboatDiplomat:

Rolling Thunder:
Oh, yes, 2 million dead. How many do you reckon were killed by the Viet Cong, the NVA and the Viet Minh? 1 million? One and a half million? Does that figure include Viet Cong fighters (who are not, by definition, civilians) or not?

Ask, before accepting an interpretation. The US would have you believe there were a few incidents like My Lai. The Viet Cong would have you believe it was nothing but the Americans. The truth lies somewhere in between these two equally fallacious viewpoints.

Strangely enough National Liberation movements tend not to be in the habit of massacring their own people, not least becuase they depend for their very existence on the active support of those people. This is as true in vietnam as in ireland or in the american war of independence. But perhaps you think Ho chi minh, Michael collins and George Washington are all just "trrursts"

Oh what rot. The IRA killed plenty of people in Northern Ireland.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Provisional_Irish_Republican_Army_campaign_1969%E2%80%931997

Six hundred civilians killed by the IRA (confirmed). Only two hundred killed by the British Army. Well, that makes you a liar, or just plain stupid. But hey, so long as people are 'freedom fighters', then they're magically occupying some moral high ground and are completely free of blame and guilt; and likewise, any organisation working on behalf of the state is an evil totalitarian bastion of dark oppression which is responsible for all the evil in the world.

I'm going to leave you with a quote from Chiuna Achebe: "These who can see no stain of wrong on the beloved oppressed, nor any glimmer of humanity in the hated oppressor, are partisans, patriots and party-liners."

1. I was clearly referring to the irish war of independence not The Troubles (michael collins - duh)
2. Even in The Troubles the IRA tended to kill protestants NOT catholics, ie not their 'own' people.
3. National liberation movements (I never use the term 'freedom fighter' captain straw man) tend not to massacre their own people because it turns the people against them, at whcih point they're fucked. Guerilla warfare 101.

Do lets not talk rot.

mdk31:

Tokyo was never a target. They didn't want to decapitate the leadership, since that would've made it even more difficult for Japan to surrender.

Yureina:

I think Nagasaki was a secondary. I don't remember what the primary was though.

I am wrong. I checked, and the primary target was the military base located at Kokura. That was called off due to weather, and Nagasaki was bombed instead.

GunboatDiplomat:
The deliberate mass murder of civilians such as the atomic bombings in Japan and the firebombings of other cities is nothing less than barbaric and is considered a war crime by practically every nation on earth.

Had american cities been nuked or firebombed everybody responsible would have been strung up at the first opportunity and rightfully so. Its no less barbaric because the victims were japanese and not american.

Some of the more honest mass-murders such as former US Defence Secretary for state Robert McNamara admit that they participated in war crimes for their part in firebombing japanese cities and the only reason they were not prosecuted was they were on the winning side. (He says this in an interview in the documentary "fog of war")

The war was practically over for Japan, they were incapable of continuing to fight in any effective way. The only reasons for dropping the bombs were:

a) as an experiment to see what the effects of these new weapons would be (a remarkably similar attitude to that of Dr. Mengel)
b) As a show of strength to the soviet union
c) as part of a bloodthirsty racist revenge.

The war in the pacific was incredibly racist on both sides. And the scale and cruelty of the slaughter in Indochina (including vietnam) by the americans and the french later on rivaled that of the japanese slaughter in manchuria and elsewhere.

So from the point of view of the people of that region it made no difference who won.

"A pox on both your houses" as they saying goes.

You gotta remember that when you're fighting to win none of what you stated comes into play. Either we killed a few hundred thousand japanese with a pair of bombs or we kill millions in a land invasion. Besides, nobody prosecutes the winners of a war. All you've done here is try to make America feel bad for saving millions of people by decimating two cities. It's not working now nor will it ever.

GunboatDiplomat:

Ah so you have no side in the American civil war for example? No good guys and no bad guys after all.

The freed slaves in the south though saw people like General Sherman rather differently though, even before he started distributing 40 acres and a mule...

I'm fairly sure the Union army wern't saints, and neither were the conferderacy- i wouldn't call either side the "objective" good and bad guys.

nicodeemus327:

Nickolai77:

The Japanese would have never surrenderd unconditonally, even the Japanese cabinet members who advocated peace would refuse to surrender if the Emperors position was not guaranteed. The Potsdam Decleration said nothing about the preservation of the Emperor, so the Japanese ignored it. The Americans could have dropped several atomic weapons all over Japan, and the Japanese would have still not surrenderd if it meant loseing their Emperor. Their Emperor was like a God to them, he's lie a deity, Jesus on earth if you will. After the atomic bombs were dropped, the Japanese cabinet sent a teligram to the American's saying they would surrender if the Emperor was retained. Relutantly, the Americans complied.

Japan didn't respond at all to the Potsdam Declaration. They were given the chance to surrender.

As i said above, the Japanese would never have surrenderd if they felt there was a good chance that they could lose their Emperor. The Potsdam Decleration made no such concessions, nor could it have really. All i'm arguing is that the Americans could have ended the war with Japan without shouldering the full blame for using atomic weapons.

GunboatDiplomat:
The war was practically over for Japan, they were incapable of continuing to fight in any effective way.

They were still willing to fight to the death, and take as many Americans with them as they could. The war was not over for them, they would have fought to the last man if given the chance.

a) as an experiment to see what the effects of these new weapons would be (a remarkably similar attitude to that of Dr. Mengel)

Uh, no. Not true at all.

b) As a show of strength to the soviet union

Partially true; but at the time they were coming down to take Japan. And if they took it, they wouldn't give it back.

c) as part of a bloodthirsty racist revenge.

No, not true at all.

You seem to forget that that Japanese were the most fanatical army on the face of the planet; how many Japanese soliders were taken POW during the entire war? Even after two nuclear weapons they were still willing to fight. Unlike what you seem to believe, they would have fought on despite the odds and the total body count would be in the millions.

GunboatDiplomat:

Strangely enough National Liberation movements tend not to be in the habit of massacring their own people, not least becuase they depend for their very existence on the active support of those people.

Not necessarily so. Said guerrilla movements often resorted to killing the people they live amongst lest they think of supporting the other side. As Machiavelli said, often fear is a more potent reaction than love. Sad, but true.

Shaoken:

GunboatDiplomat:
The war was practically over for Japan, they were incapable of continuing to fight in any effective way.

They were still willing to fight to the death, and take as many Americans with them as they could. The war was not over for them, they would have fought to the last man if given the chance.

This is hyperbole if you analyze it. If the Japanese wouldn't surrender and were ready to fight to the death, why didn't they? They had endured several months of seeing all of their major cities turned into ruins and smoldering debris from american strategic bombings and firebombings specifically targeted at residential areas where most structures were made out of wood.

The fact that the Japanese surrendered proves that they weren't ready to fight to the death. You can't force a surrender in a nation that won't surrender, it's an oxymoron. I will refer you to my previous post in this thread. Once the Kwantung Army was destroyed in under a week, there was simply nothing left to conduct a war with.

I mean, are people around here seriously implying that the Japanese were stupid enough not to realize that they lost the war? By August 1945, their Navy was almost completely wiped out, they were retreating in China and had lost all of their vital pacific holdings. Anyone with half a brain can realize that this is a loss. What the Japanese hoped to do was to create a situation where they could negotiate at least one term of surrender (namely, that the Emperor be left in place, which he eventually was allowed to anyway).

No matter how you look at it, the American bombing raids over Japan and the Atomic bombs are war crimes. And they are warcrimes on a scale that not even Nazi-Germany or the Soviet Union can rival. Those who agree with the deployment of the atomic bombs are saying that heinious warcrimes are acceptable as long as they bring around a quick victory.

For what it is worth, Gunboat Diplomat has assessed the whole situation in the pacific during ww2 very well I think.

Gethsemani:

Shaoken:

GunboatDiplomat:
The war was practically over for Japan, they were incapable of continuing to fight in any effective way.

They were still willing to fight to the death, and take as many Americans with them as they could. The war was not over for them, they would have fought to the last man if given the chance.

This is hyperbole if you analyze it. If the Japanese wouldn't surrender and were ready to fight to the death, why didn't they? They had endured several months of seeing all of their major cities turned into ruins and smoldering debris from american strategic bombings and firebombings specifically targeted at residential areas where most structures were made out of wood.

The fact that the Japanese surrendered proves that they weren't ready to fight to the death.

Do you even know their history? The only reason they surrendered was because the Emperor surrendered. If he had decided to continue the war, then they would have fought.

I mean, are people around here seriously implying that the Japanese were stupid enough not to realize that they lost the war? By August 1945, their Navy was almost completely wiped out, they were retreating in China and had lost all of their vital pacific holdings. Anyone with half a brain can realize that this is a loss. What the Japanese hoped to do was to create a situation where they could negotiate at least one term of surrender (namely, that the Emperor be left in place, which he eventually was allowed to anyway).

You seem to be under-stating how fanatical they were. They would have fought if that's what they were told to be by the emperor. Hell there were generals who plotted to stop the Emepror's decleration of surrender so that they would fight to the death. That is a well documented fact.

Now tell me why would they do that if they were willing to surrender? Surely such intelligent men to attain such a high rank would know if their troops would obey such an order.

No matter how you look at it, the American bombing raids over Japan and the Atomic bombs are war crimes. And they are warcrimes on a scale that not even Nazi-Germany or the Soviet Union can rival.

So they killed tens of millions of Japanese? Because if not then that's hyperbole. Not to mention that you're applying modern standards to a time where it wasn't the case. Again, willingness to die for the emperor.

Those who agree with the deployment of the atomic bombs are saying that heinious warcrimes are acceptable as long as they bring around a quick victory.

Or to put it another way, those who are for it think that fighting an invasion that would result in tens of millions of deaths is just plain stupid. I am not exaggerating it would have been the single bloodiest battle in human history; civillians were being instructed to give their lives to stop the invaders.

For what it is worth, Gunboat Diplomat has assessed the whole situation in the pacific during ww2 very well I think.

Only through a revisionist point of view, ie ignoring all the facts relating to Japanese fanaticism.

@Gethsemani: Your right to bring up the Kwantung Army and it's defeat by the Soviets, their loss was a major blow to the militant Japanese cabinet members, although considering the invasion of Manchuria and the atomic bombing happend so closely to one another it is hard to judge what effect the invasion itself had.

The Militant Japanese cabinet members planned to utilise virtually the entire Japanese population to fight against the Allies should they try to invade Japan, they wern't relying on the Kwantung army alone. There plan was to inflict so many casulties on the attacking Americans, British Empire&Commenwealth forces that these two allied powers would agree to a Japanese surrender on terms favourable to the Imperial Japanese government. However, the sudden and sweeping invasion of Soviet forces into China through these plans into dissary. Japanese resistance on the Japanese mainland would have been easily brushed aside under the combined weight of America and the Soviet Union, and the allies could impose whatever terms they want on Japan. Of course, while the Japanese cabinet was disgesting this news, atomic bombs were being dropped- so its hard to know what their response to the invasion of Manchuria was by itself, but only in relation to the atomic bombs.

Shaoken:
Not to mention that you're applying modern standards to a time where it wasn't the case.

A few people have brought up this issue and seem to be under the impression that the killing of civilians was considered perfectly ok before the Geneva Convention of 1949. It was not.

The intentional killing of civilians has been considered a war crime for hundreds of years at least. The established rules of war (which you won't find in wikipedia but you constantly find if you read actual history books) were:

1. Offer terms of surrender to a towns inhabitants.
2. If the terms are accepted both armed defenders and civilians would be allowed to live.
3. If the defenders continue to resist all those UNDER ARMS in a town would be put to death.
4. Civilians - those not under arms - would however be allowed to live in any case.

Of course these rules were often not followed. However those who did not follow them were vilified and hated for not doing so. This is why the "thirty years war" for example was so bitter, because thousands of towns and villages were sacked and their inhabitants often slaughtered.

One of the reasons Cromwell is hated in ireland for is the accusations that he massacred women and children after he conquered various towns. He is seen as a monster because of this and has been for a long time (Although the historian Tim O'Reilly in his book "Cromwell: an honorable enemy" argues there is very little evidence for these accusations)

These rules of war made sense for all sides in conflicts because if you conquer an area you usually hope to profit from it and theres less profit if everyones dead. Also should YOU be conquered by an enemy you would hope at least some of your family would survive.

And actually despite the war crimes of the japanese state they generally followed these rules - not massacring civilians en masse in most of their conquests. And this is also one of the reasons why their rule was so barbaric because they often DID masscre civilians esepecially in manchuria but also in many other places.

And the US state proved it could be just as barbaric.

GunboatDiplomat:

Rolling Thunder:

GunboatDiplomat:

Rolling Thunder:
Oh, yes, 2 million dead. How many do you reckon were killed by the Viet Cong, the NVA and the Viet Minh? 1 million? One and a half million? Does that figure include Viet Cong fighters (who are not, by definition, civilians) or not?

Ask, before accepting an interpretation. The US would have you believe there were a few incidents like My Lai. The Viet Cong would have you believe it was nothing but the Americans. The truth lies somewhere in between these two equally fallacious viewpoints.

Strangely enough National Liberation movements tend not to be in the habit of massacring their own people, not least becuase they depend for their very existence on the active support of those people. This is as true in vietnam as in ireland or in the american war of independence. But perhaps you think Ho chi minh, Michael collins and George Washington are all just "trrursts"

Oh what rot. The IRA killed plenty of people in Northern Ireland.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Provisional_Irish_Republican_Army_campaign_1969%E2%80%931997

Six hundred civilians killed by the IRA (confirmed). Only two hundred killed by the British Army. Well, that makes you a liar, or just plain stupid. But hey, so long as people are 'freedom fighters', then they're magically occupying some moral high ground and are completely free of blame and guilt; and likewise, any organisation working on behalf of the state is an evil totalitarian bastion of dark oppression which is responsible for all the evil in the world.

I'm going to leave you with a quote from Chiuna Achebe: "These who can see no stain of wrong on the beloved oppressed, nor any glimmer of humanity in the hated oppressor, are partisans, patriots and party-liners."

1. I was clearly referring to the irish war of independence not The Troubles (michael collins - duh)
2. Even in The Troubles the IRA tended to kill protestants NOT catholics, ie not their 'own' people.
3. National liberation movements (I never use the term 'freedom fighter' captain straw man) tend not to massacre their own people because it turns the people against them, at whcih point they're fucked. Guerilla warfare 101.

Do lets not talk rot.

1. My interest in the Irish "War" of Liberation is the same as my interest in every other low-grade conflict - negligible.

2. And yet, somehow, this rationale does not apply to the Viet Cong? What, did they refrain from killing people who supported the South Vietnamese government. No they bloody didn't. SO, once again, you find your counter-points slowly disintegrating. You argued that National Liberation Movements/Freedom Fighters/Terrorists/Ski Mask wearing criminal groups don't tend to kill civilians, because it weakens their own position, as you restate in Point #3. My argument, however, is that they do kill civilians - usually more than official forces - because there are hundreds of ways that you can be 'not your own people'. Not a member of the Communist Party? Not one of ours. Works for the government? Not one of ours. Relatives work for the government? Not one of ours. Is a Buddhist/Protestant? Not one of ours. Doesn't actively support us? Not one of ours.

Whereas official forces tend to not kill civilians under the fact that the average soldier does not want a bollocking for creating another PR disaster that weakens their position in the country. Vietnam is a exceptional example, because the Viet Cong deliberately hid themselves amongst the civilian population and indeed, invited savage reprisal from the American forces.

Now, I was never in Vietnam, but one of the most telling moments about that war was in Francis Ford Copula's Apocalypse Now, where, upon landing an air ambulance in a village square, a disguised Viet Cong runs up and throws a grenade into it, killing everyone in the vehicle. The sheer helplessness of the people in the helicopter, the sheer...wrongness of the act is highlights what I feel is the base nature of guerilla warfare. Only one side takes prisoners, only one side wears a uniform, and only one side obeys the rules. And that side isn't the guerillas.

Of course, you can denigrate my point because it is a movie, and probably never happened in reality. But I feel it symbolises the fundamental moral fact that, in that kind of conflict, no one is a hero and every combatant is a villain. Every side is stained in the blood of innocents.

So stop pretending that 'National Liberation Movements' have some monopoly on decent behaviour. They start the guerilla wars. They wear no uniforms. They kill unarmed men and civilians. They carry out the attacks, the assassinations and the general harassment that pushes regular soldiers to respond with equal savagery and greater force.

Shaoken:
You seem to be under-stating how fanatical they were. They would have fought if that's what they were told to be by the emperor.

..... ie ignoring all the facts relating to Japanese fanaticism.

Your view of Japanese society and army is a good illustration of the racist basis of the war. The idea that the typical Japanese soldier was some sort of monster ready to die in an instant is as ludicrous as the one that the typical American soldier was a barbarian who wanted nothing more than to kill and rape Japanese women.

Yet this is how the opposing armies were presented in the propaganda at the time and is STILL presented in American propaganda to justify their heinous war crimes.

In reality most of the soldiers on both sides were ordinary people who wanted nothing more than for the stupid war to be over so they could go back home. Like most soldiers in most wars.

And you reference the small number of prisoners as evidence of their fanaticism? They were told they would be tortured and killed by the Americans if they surrendered and indeed they often were as illustrated in the Hollywood movie 'the thin red line.'

But go on, quote from the code of the bushido or talk about the kamikaze attacks or civilians killing themselves rather than be captured and keep believing in your fantasy monster enemy.

George Orwell ridiculed this type of propaganda very well indeed with his descriptions of the soldiers of the fictional 'Eurasia' in 1984.

Ethically I say they shouldn't.

Tactically and Strategically it makes perfect sense. It saved a lot of lives.

Rolling Thunder:
2. And yet, somehow, this rationale does not apply to the Viet Cong? What, did they refrain from killing people who supported the South Vietnamese government. No they bloody didn't. SO, once again, you find your counter-points slowly disintegrating. You argued that National Liberation Movements/Freedom Fighters/Terrorists/Ski Mask wearing criminal groups don't tend to kill civilians, because it weakens their own position, as you restate in Point #3. My argument, however, is that they do kill civilians - usually more than official forces - because there are hundreds of ways that you can be 'not your own people'. Not a member of the Communist Party? Not one of ours. Works for the government? Not one of ours. Relatives work for the government? Not one of ours. Is a Buddhist/Protestant? Not one of ours. Doesn't actively support us? Not one of ours.

Whereas official forces tend to not kill civilians under the fact that the average soldier does not want a bollocking for creating another PR disaster that weakens their position in the country. Vietnam is a exceptional example, because the Viet Cong deliberately hid themselves amongst the civilian population and indeed, invited savage reprisal from the American forces.

Now, I was never in Vietnam, but one of the most telling moments about that war was in Francis Ford Copula's Apocalypse Now, where, upon landing an air ambulance in a village square, a disguised Viet Cong runs up and throws a grenade into it, killing everyone in the vehicle. The sheer helplessness of the people in the helicopter, the sheer...wrongness of the act is highlights what I feel is the base nature of guerilla warfare. Only one side takes prisoners, only one side wears a uniform, and only one side obeys the rules. And that side isn't the guerillas.

Of course, you can denigrate my point because it is a movie, and probably never happened in reality. But I feel it symbolises the fundamental moral fact that, in that kind of conflict, no one is a hero and every combatant is a villain. Every side is stained in the blood of innocents.

So stop pretending that 'National Liberation Movements' have some monopoly on decent behaviour. They start the guerilla wars. They wear no uniforms. They kill unarmed men and civilians. They carry out the attacks, the assassinations and the general harassment that pushes regular soldiers to respond with equal savagery and greater force.

Ah so you think George Washington was just a terrorist then? After all the continental congress started a guerrilla war, often wore no uniforms, hid among civilians and much more. No one is a hero and everyone is a villain eh? After all lots of Americans supported Britain's 'legitimate right' to govern and there was all sorts of harassment of citizens loyal to the crown.

And as for those terrorists in the French resistance during WWII how dare they execute collaborators, refuse to wear uniforms, assassinate and generally harass the Nazis thus pushing the German army to respond with equal savagery and greater force.

Your position is as ludicrous as it is reactionary.

Oh in vietnam the vast majority of civilian deaths were caused by the americans and their ARVN puppets, but actually they were all the fault of american imperialism for being there in the first place. But I'm not going to debate that matter any further with someone who names his avatar after an act of mass murder against mainly vietnamese civilians.

Japan has used-panty vending machines. They also have quite the market for porn wherein a group of people are defecating the the mouth of a woman wearing a bridal gown as well as videos of women inserting live eels into various orifices.

Yeah, I think dropping that bomb was a pretty bad idea...

I also just got an assignment about this. I think that should have kept going on with the war even though more soldiers could die. We didn't need to bomb them. The choices were lose soldiers or slaughter thousands upon thousands of innocents, irradiate many others, and make it so you can't come back to the bomb sites for millions of years. We kind of fucked Hiroshima up.

Or, we could have sent them videos of bombs going off and threatened them to give up with no bloodshed at all.

Darkside360:
Yeah this has been done to death. Usually ends in anti Americanism.

I'll fire away anyway.

It saved lives in the end. Not just American lives but Japanese lives too. Japan was ready to fight for every inch of the mainland. Casualties would have been in the tens of millions. Japan was equipping every citizen to fend us off. They were willing to fight to the death.

We dropped pamphlets for many days telling them to surrender or face destruction. They figured we were bluffing. The fact it took 2 atomic bombs to convince them to surrender shows that nothing short of dropping those bombs would have ended the war without blood.

Just remember would could have just gone and dropped the bombs on Tokyo, but we didn't.

Its sad it happened but it was a necessary evil.

1. You didn't drop the bombs on Tokyo because Tokyo was already in ruins from your constant firebombing missions. In fact, you pretty much turned dozens of Japanese cities into ashes and burned many thousands of civilians alive before you finally decided to nuke Japan.

2. It did not take 2 nukes to force the Japanese to surrender. The Japanese would have surrendered eventually (it was simply a matter of time). You dropped two nukes because you only had two to drop. Yes, it's THAT simple. If you had ten you would have dropped ten and then you would probably have said "OMG! We had to drop ten A-bombs to make the Japanese surrender!"...you get the point (irony).

3. War is supposed to be bloody. The fact that you think otherwise is really scary and absurd.

Shaoken:

You seem to forget that that Japanese were the most fanatical army on the face of the planet; how many Japanese soliders were taken POW during the entire war? Even after two nuclear weapons they were still willing to fight. Unlike what you seem to believe, they would have fought on despite the odds and the total body count would be in the millions.

I've read a lot of ridiculous stuff in regards to this issue but -as the saying goes- you take the cake!

The Japanese army was indeed guilty of many heinous crimes (just like the Germans, the Russians and the Americans), but the two nukes were not aimed and dropped on the people that commited those crimes. The victims were civilians that for all we know had never even held a rifle or harmed a person.

Rolling Thunder:

Oh, yes, 2 million dead. How many do you reckon were killed by the Viet Cong, the NVA and the Viet Minh? 1 million? One and a half million? Does that figure include Viet Cong fighters (who are not, by definition, civilians) or not?

Ask, before accepting an interpretation. The US would have you believe there were a few incidents like My Lai. The Viet Cong would have you believe it was nothing but the Americans. The truth lies somewhere in between these two equally fallacious viewpoints.

WOW! I was not aware you perceived this matter as a contest...

GunboatDiplomat:

Ah so you think George Washington was just a terrorist then? After all the continental congress started a guerrilla war, often wore no uniforms, hid among civilians and much more. No one is a hero and everyone is a villain eh? After all lots of Americans supported Britain's 'legitimate right' to govern and there was all sorts of harassment of citizens loyal to the crown.

Yes, he was. Next question?

GunboatDiplomat:
And as for those terrorists in the French resistance during WWII how dare they execute collaborators, refuse to wear uniforms, assassinate and generally harass the Nazis thus pushing the German army to respond with equal savagery and greater force.

Well, obviously they dared. And the consequences were often brutal and savage, and they must take some responsibility for that (as must the Nazis). That was not a moral point I was attempting to make, it was a point that, the average soldier, upon seeing 'civilians' murder his friends and compatriots from behind a fašade of neutrality, will begin to treat civilians with suspicion, and eventually as enemies. That is not a moral issue, it's a fact. Deal with it.

GunboatDiplomat:
Your position is as ludicrous as it is reactionary.

Your argument is weak as it is juvenile.

GunboatDiplomat:
Oh in vietnam the vast majority of civilian deaths were caused by the americans and their ARVN puppets,

Inconveniently, however, you have no proof of this, and a clearly biased viewpoint that does your argument no favours.

GunboatDiplomat:
but actually they were all the fault of american imperialism for being there in the first place.

To which I respond with the immortal line - you can take a girl to the dance, but both of you must tango.

GunboatDiplomat:
But I'm not going to debate that matter any further with someone who names his avatar after an act of mass murder against mainly vietnamese civilians.

How very hurtful....

Rolling Thunder:

GunboatDiplomat:
But I'm not going to debate that matter any further with someone who names his avatar after an act of mass murder against mainly vietnamese civilians.

How very hurtful....

So, your username was inspired from a Native American medicine man?
Is that the Native American medicine man we can see on your avatar?
If I'm not mistaken that's Lieutenant Colonel Bill Kilgore (Robert Duvall).

BTW I'm attaching a picture of your avatar :
image
and the link you posted about the Native American medicine man :
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rolling_Thunder_(person)

Rolling Thunder was the code name for the American bombing of North Vietnam from early 1965 to late 1968, the longest aerial-bombardment campaign in the history of American air power.

AND your avatar is Lieutenant Colonel Bill Kilgore.

Yet you would have us believe that you chose "Rolling Thunder" as your username because of a Native American medicine man.

I'm just not convinced...should I be convinced? Because I'm REALLY not convinced...

Lupus in fabula:

Rolling Thunder:

GunboatDiplomat:
But I'm not going to debate that matter any further with someone who names his avatar after an act of mass murder against mainly vietnamese civilians.

How very hurtful....

So, your username was inspired from a Native American medicine man?
Is that the Native American medicine man we can see on your avatar?
If I'm not mistaken that's Lieutenant Colonel Bill Kilgore (Robert Duvall).

BTW I'm attaching a picture of your avatar :
image
and the link you posted about the Native American medicine man :
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rolling_Thunder_(person)

Rolling Thunder was the code name for the American bombing of North Vietnam from early 1965 to late 1968, the longest aerial-bombardment campaign in the history of American air power.

AND your avatar is Lieutenant Colonel Bill Kilgore.

Yet you would have us believe that you chose "Rolling Thunder" as your username because of a Native American medicine man.

I'm just not convinced...should I be convinced? Because I'm REALLY not convinced...

Yeah...

But hey, at least he has good taste in movies. :)

Yureina:

Lupus in fabula:

Rolling Thunder:

GunboatDiplomat:
But I'm not going to debate that matter any further with someone who names his avatar after an act of mass murder against mainly vietnamese civilians.

How very hurtful....

So, your username was inspired from a Native American medicine man?
Is that the Native American medicine man we can see on your avatar?
If I'm not mistaken that's Lieutenant Colonel Bill Kilgore (Robert Duvall).

BTW I'm attaching a picture of your avatar :
image
and the link you posted about the Native American medicine man :
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rolling_Thunder_(person)

Rolling Thunder was the code name for the American bombing of North Vietnam from early 1965 to late 1968, the longest aerial-bombardment campaign in the history of American air power.

AND your avatar is Lieutenant Colonel Bill Kilgore.

Yet you would have us believe that you chose "Rolling Thunder" as your username because of a Native American medicine man.

I'm just not convinced...should I be convinced? Because I'm REALLY not convinced...

Yeah...

But hey, at least he has good taste in movies. :)

Actually, I chose it because it was a cool name and I had a vague idea that it had something to do with aerial warfare. Basically, it was that or "Operation Strangle". So yes, mea cupala, I chose it because of the air offensive.

Mind you, my original avatar was that of a Salvar Chem-Dog from Warhammer 40,000. I chose Kilgore later simply because I approve of his style. Men shooting your men? Shoot back? What rot. Napalm their positions and flatten the rest with rockets.

Lupus in fabula:

2. It did not take 2 nukes to force the Japanese to surrender. The Japanese would have surrendered eventually (it was simply a matter of time). You dropped two nukes because you only had two to drop. Yes, it's THAT simple. If you had ten you would have dropped ten and then you would probably have said "OMG! We had to drop ten A-bombs to make the Japanese surrender!"...you get the point (irony).

I love how you say "it was simply a matter of time", as though the Japanese were totally about to surrender,, they just hadn't gotten around to it yet. And not, y'know, like they had just refused to surrender.

The facts of the matter are, if not the atom bomb, then it would have taken time, yes, but also a conventional invasion to force surrender. The conventional bombings up to that point had already caused a comparable number of deaths, and would have intensified during the preparation for invasion. Conservative projections, based on the battles in the outlying islands, rather than any racist notion of Japanese relentlessness, led the US to anticipate upwards of a million casualties on both sides, especially once civilians are factored in, and the loss of thousands more civilians to famine in the immediate aftermath of the war. Compared to all that, the ~120,000 killed in Hiroshima and Nagasaki are, indeed, chump change.

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