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WW2: Reality of the bombings

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posted on Feb, 17 2012 @ 06:56 PM
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At the end of World War 2 one of the most controversial military acts of known history was conducted: two nuclear bombs were dropped on civilians killing a huge number of innocent people. The reasoning for this was simple: the US military leadership considered it more appropriate to kill civilians instead of sending their own soldiers to invade.

How much do you really know about the bombing campaign over the skys of Japan?

Everyone knows about the "insane" kamikaze attacks, the desperate way the Japanese threw everything they had at the US fleet. Everyone knows that even the civilians were prepared to fight to the death against trained, experienced soldiers. What on earth could make them do such things?

Here's one explanation that could offer a partial explanation.

The nuclear bombing of Japan was just the tip of the iceberg.

Before the nuclear bombs the United States firebombed 67(think about that number) Japanese cities to ruins. Now keep in mind that during those times most of Japanese cities were constructed of wood, so firebombing created infernos all over Japan, with the burning cities trapping the civilians without a chance to escape.

Here's some examples to put it into perspective:

Yokohama 58% destroyed, equivalent size to Cleveland
Tokyo 51% destroyed, equivalent size to New York City
Nagoya 40% destroyed, equivalent size to Los Angeles
Osaka 35% destroyed, equivalent size to Chicago
Siumonoseki 38% destroyed, equivalent size to San Jose
Omuta 36% destroyed, equivalent size to Miami
Sasebo 41% destroyed, equivalent size to Nashville

and countless more.

The nuclear bombings under the command of Curtis LeMay have overshadowed the horror that the Japanese went through, and the horror they went through has been disregarded when talking about how fiercely they were ready to resist.

Robert McNamara commented the bombing campaign:



LeMay said that "If we'd lost the war, we'd all have been prosecuted as war criminals." "And I think he's right," "He, and I'd say I, were behaving as war criminals." "LeMay recognized that what he was doing would be thought immoral if his side has lost. But what makes it immoral if you lose and not immoral if you win?"


Here LeMay and McNamara have grasped a fundamental truth of the war and their actions.

Source: The fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara




posted on Feb, 17 2012 @ 07:23 PM
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After all those firebombings Japan refused to surrender, after the 1st nuke they still refused to surrender. It took all that firebombings and 2 nuke attacks to get the attention of the Japanese Emperor and force the surrender.

Remember, Japan started that war and had to be stopped.

My Dad was a Marine and was on Iwo Jima for 3 weeks, after that battle he was on a troop ship and headed to Japan for the invasion that would have been necessary without the 2 nukes. He and a hundred thousand (or more) US military would have been killed had it not been for the nukes. He became part of the occupying force and lived to tell of his actions during the war.

It is a real shame that so many people had to die during this, and all, wars.



posted on Feb, 17 2012 @ 07:29 PM
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Originally posted by rlrsar
After all those firebombings Japan refused to surrender, after the 1st nuke they still refused to surrender. It took all that firebombings and 2 nuke attacks to get the attention of the Japanese Emperor and force the surrender.

Remember, Japan started that war and had to be stopped.

My Dad was a Marine and was on Iwo Jima for 3 weeks, after that battle he was on a troop ship and headed to Japan for the invasion that would have been necessary without the 2 nukes. He and a hundred thousand (or more) US military would have been killed had it not been for the nukes. He became part of the occupying force and lived to tell of his actions during the war.

It is a real shame that so many people had to die during this, and all, wars.



Japan was ready to surrender before the nukes, but not on the terms dictated by the US. One of the main differences of WW2 with most wars in history is that it was a war where a mutual peace was frowned on. Well, WW1 as well since when the Germans basically won the war before US came in(the Russians had agreed to a peace treaty and the western front was on the verge of collapse) and offered a peace treaty to the Brits/French they refused. Just to clarify, it was a peace treaty with quite good terms: everything would return as it was before the war.
edit on 17-2-2012 by Shred because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 17 2012 @ 07:37 PM
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This link goes to a pretty dry military analysis of the military options for the invasion of the Japanese Home Islands. The casualty figure projections ran from 200,000 to north of 700,000 American dead or wounded with a combined total of 5 million men directly involved in the taking of the Home Islands themselves.

Military Analysis of Japanese Invasion..among others

Okinawa, Iwo Jima and a few other major slug fests showed the Japanese to be determined to fight to the death of the very last man. The few U.S. Forces captured were generally stunned silly or knocked unconscious. They were literally ready and DID fight to the death..and then we watched civilians literally jump off a cliff at Okinawa WITH children....instead of falling into the hands of American forces. So total was the propaganda and Japanese outlook on war and their place in the world.

1.5 MILLION. That is the rough estimate for military aged and able men America expected to fight on the first island alone. Just over 11 million men of fighting age and able across the Home Islands as a whole. Recall...Americans had WATCHED them suicide when they couldn't fight to the death...rather than be defeated or surrender. You can guesstimate how many Japanese dead would have resulted from a full blown invasion vs. just a couple bombs. The Atomic Bombs were horrible...but the invasion would have been FAR FAR worse.

If America had just left...and walked away from Japan as a ruined nation incapable of fighting more, we could have.. MAYBE. Stalin would then have thanked us as he finished his own preparations to invade Japan from the north...and the Russians were known for a real slash and burn attitude toward everything by the late stages of the war.


As odd as it is to say...and as totally contrary to logic in MODERN times..I sincerely believe the life lost in Hiroshima and Nagasaki saved lives. Probably millions of Japanese lives and at least a couple hundred thousand America MIA/WIA/KIA from the single action.

To each their own..but it's not impossible to say that Japan may not even exist as they do today if it'd had to go like Okinawa did.

edit on 17-2-2012 by Wrabbit2000 because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 17 2012 @ 07:41 PM
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the lesson learned. moral superiority is key to victory in any war.

the japanese and the germans started those wars and they lost.

the united states invaded vietnam and lost.

the united states invaded iraq and lost. iraq is worse off than when saddam was in charge.

the united states invaded al qaeda in afghanistan and won. al qaeda struck first and lost. but now they are fighting the afgani's for control of the country, and are losing.

the united states is in no moral position to dictate to any country on whether to possess nuclear weapons.

iran has not threatened to bomb any nation with a nuclear weapon. by all accounts are legitimately exercising their right to nuclear energy.

if america invades iran they will lose. and if they place a puppet dictator, it will be civil war without end. like iraq.



posted on Feb, 17 2012 @ 07:43 PM
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Originally posted by Wrabbit2000
This link goes to a pretty dry military analysis of the military options for the invasion of the Japanese Home Islands. The casualty figure projections ran from 200,000 to north of 700,000 American dead or wounded with a combined total of 5 million men directly involved in the taking of the Home Islands themselves.

Military Analysis of Japanese Invasion..among others

Okinawa, Iwo Jima and a few other major slug fests showed the Japanese to be determined to fight to the death of the very last man. The few U.S. Forces captured were generally stunned silly or knocked unconscious. They were literally ready and DID fight to the death..and then we watched civilians literally jump off a cliff at Okinawa WITH children....instead of falling into the hands of American forces. So total was the propaganda and Japanese outlook on war and their place in the world.

1.5 MILLION. That is the rough estimate for military aged and able men America expected to fight on the first island alone. Just over 11 million men of fighting age and able across the Home Islands as a whole. Recall...Americans had WATCHED them suicide when they couldn't fight to the death...rather than be defeated or surrender. You can guesstimate how many Japanese dead would have resulted from a full blown invasion vs. just a couple bombs. The Atomic Bombs were horrible...but the invasion would have been FAR FAR worse.

If America had just left...and walked away from Japan as a ruined nation incapable of fighting more, we could have.. MAYBE. Stalin would then have thanked us as he finished his own preparations to invade Japan from the north...and the Russians were known for a real slash and burn attitude toward everything by the late stages of the war.


As odd as it is to say...and as totally contrary to logic in MODERN times..I sincerely believe the life lost in Hiroshima and Nagasaki saved lives. Probably millions of Japanese lives and at least a couple hundred thousand America MIA/WIA from the single action.

To each their own..but it's not impossible to say that Japan may not even exist as they do today if it'd had to go like Okinawa did.


You're falling into the trap that this post is all about lol. It's exactly about the nuclear bombing overshadowing the rest of the bombing campaign.

You're forgetting that the USSR invasion was a result of an agreement between Stalin and Roosevelt. We can always speculate one way or the other, but the fact is that the Japanese surrender ended the war.
edit on 17-2-2012 by Shred because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 17 2012 @ 07:48 PM
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Originally posted by randomname
the lesson learned. moral superiority is key to victory in any war.

the japanese and the germans started those wars and they lost.

the united states invaded vietnam and lost.

the united states invaded iraq and lost. iraq is worse off than when saddam was in charge.

the united states invaded al qaeda in afghanistan and won. al qaeda struck first and lost. but now they are fighting the afgani's for control of the country, and are losing.

the united states is in no moral position to dictate to any country on whether to possess nuclear weapons.

iran has not threatened to bomb any nation with a nuclear weapon. by all accounts are legitimately exercising their right to nuclear energy.

if america invades iran they will lose. and if they place a puppet dictator, it will be civil war without end. like iraq.


This is not about who won and who did not. It's about how far you're willing to go to achieve total victory and acknowledging the fact that the US leadership acted like war criminals to force their terms on the Japanese.



posted on Feb, 17 2012 @ 07:54 PM
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reply to post by Shred
 

Okay... You lost me entirely. Overshadowing the rest of the campaign? I'm missing your meaning. It ended the war, as you note..and the Japanese did surrender. After not one, but TWO Atomic weapons dropped. Thank God Hirohito didn't wait for a third we didn't have. We came awfully close to being fools with the bluff of all time...at least in the short term while we produced more bombs.

However.. as I said, your reply baffles me.. and what agreement between Roosevelt and Stalin? I'm aware of the allied status and close cooperation...albeit with tensions...in the European theater. Your mentioning something I haven't read about in established agreements and protocols between Washington and Moscow for the final campaign of the Japanese Home Islands?

Then again, you're also referring to a willingness to surrender BEFORE the first Atomic weapon was dropped. Again, your citing facts of history I'm unaware of...I'd love a link to backstop that piece of information on Japan's intentions and what the United States knew of it prior to the first drop. I VAGUELY recall something about the Emperor offering some wacky terms that were laughable...but then, I can't recall if that was historical record or someone's thoughts and analysis. Oh well... I anxiously await your links to see and understand the things your saying, so I may understand where you're coming from on this.



edit on 17-2-2012 by Wrabbit2000 because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 17 2012 @ 08:05 PM
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Originally posted by Wrabbit2000
reply to post by Shred
 

Okay... You lost me entirely. Overshadowing the rest of the campaign? I'm missing your meaning. It ended the war, as you note..and the Japanese did surrender. After not one, but TWO Atomic weapons dropped. Thank God Hirohito didn't wait for a third we didn't have. We came awfully close to being fools with the bluff of all time...at least in the short term while we produced more bombs.

However.. as I said, your reply baffles me.. and what agreement between Roosevelt and Stalin? I'm aware of the allied status and close cooperation...albeit with tensions...in the European theater. Your mentioning something I haven't read about in established agreements and protocols between Washington and Moscow for the final campaign of the Japanese Home Islands?

Then again, you're also referring to a willingness to surrender BEFORE the first Atomic weapon was dropped. Again, your citing facts of history I'm unaware of...I'd love a link to backstop that piece of information on Japan's intentions and what the United States knew of it prior to the first drop. I VAGUELY recall something about the Emperor offering some wacky terms that were laughable...but then, I can't recall if that was historical record or someone's thoughts and analysis. Oh well... I anxiously await your links to see and understand the things your saying, so I may understand where you're coming from on this.



edit on 17-2-2012 by Wrabbit2000 because: (no reason given)


People are not aware of the extend of the destruction that Japan suffered because of the firebombings, which caused much more damage overall than the two nuclear bombs.

In February 1945 Stalin and Roosevelt agreed that the USSR would join in the war against the Japanese three months after the war in Europe ends. The USSR did exactly that.




I had been conscious of a feeling of depression and so I voiced to him my grave misgivings, first on the basis of my belief that Japan was already defeated and that dropping the bomb was completely unnecessary, and secondly because I thought that our country should avoid shocking world opinion by the use of a weapon whose employment was, I thought, no longer mandatory as a measure to save American lives. It was my belief that Japan was, at that very moment, seeking some way to surrender with a minimum loss of 'face'. The Secretary was deeply perturbed by my attitude... - Dwight Eisenhower, Mandate For Change, pg. 380





"It is my opinion that the use of this barbarous weapon at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of no material assistance in our war against Japan. The Japanese were already defeated and ready to surrender because of the effective sea blockade and the successful bombing with conventional weapons. "The lethal possibilities of atomic warfare in the future are frightening. My own feeling was that in being the first to use it, we had adopted an ethical standard common to the barbarians of the Dark Ages. I was not taught to make war in that fashion, and wars cannot be won by destroying women and children." - William Leahy, I Was There, pg. 441.




"...the Japanese were prepared to negotiate all the way from February 1945...up to and before the time the atomic bombs were dropped; ...if such leads had been followed up, there would have been no occasion to drop the [atomic] bombs." -Herbert Hoover

edit on 17-2-2012 by Shred because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 17 2012 @ 08:50 PM
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reply to post by Shred
 

I do appreciate the quotes.. That is an interesting picture of hindsight views of what happened by a couple who were around at the time. Although, it is worth noting that hindsight is what it is. Do you have something contemporary regarding the state of knowledge and opinion BEFORE the Enola Gay made it's flights?

On that last one... Well... Again... Opinions are neat and analysis even holds a bit more credibility, but without supporting factual documents or evidence to at least show basis, it's little more than words on a page and interesting trivia. No offense....but your making some barn burning claims here. It's real important to back that with at LEAST something in the way of solid facts or documents..don't you think? Oh Well... You may very well have them right and ready to follow-up with...and thanks if that turns out to be the case.



A final point... You seem determined, judging by tone and direction of your posts, to push people into somehow realizing the United States was the War Criminal of World War II. I'd draw your attention to the Rape of Nanking, China as just ONE example of the unimaginable brutality and bloodlust of the Japanese Army during World War II. 300,000 Civilian and unarmed, surrendered soldiers murdered in a matter of days...and in a slaughter that had even the German Ambassador to China cabling Hitler to PLEASE ask the Japanese to STOP the madness and the killing. Now THAT says a lot when a Nazi is saying the killing is entirely too much.

Nanking was but ONE example across a dozen nations and islands that Imperial Japan STOMPED across for several years...until WE STOMPED THEM. So in what your aim seems to be? I am MOST PROUD of my nation's conduct in World War II...if I have to judge any combat America has been engaged in during it's history.


edit on 17-2-2012 by Wrabbit2000 because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 17 2012 @ 09:06 PM
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Originally posted by Wrabbit2000
reply to post by Shred
 

I do appreciate the quotes.. That is an interesting picture of hindsight views of what happened by a couple who were around at the time. Although, it is worth noting that hindsight is what it is. Do you have something contemporary regarding the state of knowledge and opinion BEFORE the Enola Gay made it's flights?

On that last one... Well... Again... Opinions are neat and analysis even holds a bit more credibility, but without supporting factual documents or evidence to at least show basis, it's little more than words on a page and interesting trivia. No offense....but your making some barn burning claims here. It's real important to back that with at LEAST something in the way of solid facts or documents..don't you think? Oh Well... You may very well have them right and ready to follow-up with...and thanks if that turns out to be the case.



A final point... You seem determined, judging by tone and direction of your posts, to push people into somehow realizing the United States was the War Criminal of World War II. I'd draw your attention to the Rape of Nanking, China as just ONE example of the unimaginable brutality and bloodlust of the Japanese Army during World War II. 300,000 Civilian and unarmed, surrendered soldiers murdered in a matter of days...and in a slaughter that had even the German Ambassador to China cabling Hitler to PLEASE ask the Japanese to STOP the madness and the killing. Now THAT says a lot when a Nazi is saying the killing is entirely too much.

Nanking was but ONE example across a dozen nations and islands that Imperial Japan STOMPED across for several years...until WE STOMPED THEM. So in what your aim seems to be? I am MOST PROUD of my nation's conduct in World War II...if I have to judge any combat America has been engaged in during it's history.


edit on 17-2-2012 by Wrabbit2000 because: (no reason given)


You somehow seem to take my posts very personally. I am not saying US is the war criminal, I'm saying US is a war criminal. Not less, not more.




It was only after the war that the American public learned about Japan's efforts to bring the conflict to an end. Chicago Tribune reporter Walter Trohan, for example, was obliged by wartime censorship to withhold for seven months one of the most important stories of the war. In an article that finally appeared August 19, 1945, on the front pages of the Chicago Tribune and the Washington Times-Herald, Trohan revealed that on January 20, 1945, two days prior to his departure for the Yalta meeting with Stalin and Churchill, President Roosevelt received a 40-page memorandum from General Douglas MacArthur outlining five separate surrender overtures from high-level Japanese officials. (The complete text of Trohan's article is in the Winter 1985-86 Journal, pp. 508-512.) This memo showed that the Japanese were offering surrender terms virtually identical to the ones ultimately accepted by the Americans at the formal surrender ceremony on September 2 -- that is, complete surrender of everything but the person of the Emperor. Specifically, the terms of these peace overtures included: Complete surrender of all Japanese forces and arms, at home, on island possessions, and in occupied countries. Occupation of Japan and its possessions by Allied troops under American direction. Japanese relinquishment of all territory seized during the war, as well as Manchuria, Korea and Taiwan. Regulation of Japanese industry to halt production of any weapons and other tools of war. Release of all prisoners of war and internees. Surrender of designated war criminals. Is this memorandum authentic? It was supposedly leaked to Trohan by Admiral William D. Leahy, presidential Chief of Staff. (See: M. Rothbard in A. Goddard, ed., Harry Elmer Barnes: Learned Crusader [1968], pp. 327f.) Historian Harry Elmer Barnes has related (in "Hiroshima: Assault on a Beaten Foe," National Review, May 10, 1958): The authenticity of the Trohan article was never challenged by the White House or the State Department, and for very good reason. After General MacArthur returned from Korea in 1951, his neighbor in the Waldorf Towers, former President Herbert Hoover, took the Trohan article to General MacArthur and the latter confirmed its accuracy in every detail and without qualification.


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