Was there a good reason to drop the nuclear bomb on Japan at the end of WWII ??
Another way of asking the question could be.Could the war have been won without resort to the nuclear bomb to which the answer was yes but at what
cost.Also as was alluded to in the reply above me after 4 years (in the case of the US and nearly 6 in the UK's) of all out war everyone was weary and
wanting an end to it all.
The invasions of Iwo Jima and Okinawa just prooved that the Japanese people weren't going to peacefully allow their home territories to be invaded by
the U.S.On the contrary they would make the fight hard and die for every yard the gained.The prospect of a full blown invasion of the Japanese home
islands would be a costly,drawn out,bloody affair and the estimated casualty numbers nearing one million were enough to make any politician
The bombing campaign although successful and terrifying,it is trur that firebmbing raids on Tokyo killed more in one raid than the nuclear bomb did
but any amount of bombing won't win a war.That was proven in Europe.The truth is that soldiers have to occupy the ground to finish it for certain,once
and for all.
Yes some factions of the Japanese government were contemplating surrender but they weren't able to effect a full surrender on their own and the
majority of the administration remain defiant while the emporer,as ever,said nothing.The prospect of Japan capitulating on it's own was slim
The Russian offensive in Manchuria was incredibly successful possibly taking the US by surprise and forcing their hand in the decision they were to
take.They were adamant that the Soviets wouldn't be involved in Japan after the war so a rapid defeat of Japan was necessary to quash any prospect of
the USSR invading Japan themselves which was highly unlikely but the US were probably in no mood to risk it however unlikely.After seeing the Soviets
tendency to hold onto any territorial gains they made they weren't for taking chances.
**It has been said that the Soviets didn't allow their allies access to their gains or honour agreements made during the war but Berlin stands as a
perfect example of the Russians standing by their agreements.They had full control of the city,won in the hardest fashion by a lot of Russian blood
and control of the whole area way beyond.Berlin fell square in the Soviet zone of influence as agreed beforehand yet they allowed the Allies to have
occupation zones in the city and free access to them.It has often been claimed since how unreasonable the USSR was in europe at the end of the war
over allowing the allies access to their hard won territories but it's not strictly true.Would we have allowed the Soviets direct access and influence
in Italy??.No we fought hard for Italy and never offered the Soviets any form of access to Italy.Maybe the conduct of the USSR should be reviewed in
modern times,or more likely our conduct towards the USSR.**
Remember also that the whole Manhattan Project had consumed billions of dollars and had been by far and away the biggest project in the whole war
effort.It had produced what it had set out to and it's highly unlikely anyone was going to just let it sit on the backburner,never trying it out or
making a demonstration of it on the world stage.Even the scientist right at the centre of the development of the bomb didnt truly appreciate the
weapons power until it was tested.
The worst thing we can do is to judge what happened from our perspective.We know what the bomb did,particularly in relation to it's long term
effects.We also know now how acutely the Japanese population were suffering in those last few months.All things that the US war planners didnt know of
to any true sense at the time.Dropping the bomb seems incredibly barbaric and almost gleefully vengeful when you look back from our point of view but
thats always a mistake when you judge history through your eyes and not the eyes of the people living through those times.
Was the quick resolution to the war the only reason for dropping the bomb ??
It was the main reason,for sure and it provided the US military the unique oppurtunity to study it's effectiveness in a real war situation which would
prove invaluable.That it also demonstrated the power that the US could wield directly and unequivocably to the Soviet Union wouldnt have been lost on
the US but it's with the benefit of hindsight and the passing of time that it looks to many that that was the real intention of dropping the bomb but
as I say that's our perspective not facts.
In the UK there's been a similar attitude towards RAF Bomber Command and the bombing campaign on German cities which began almost the instant the war
was over.They were the only arm of service not to be awarded a campaign medal yet the one that had the highest casualty rates and the highest
percentage of dead of all the arms of service from Britain.Everyone,including Churchill tried to distance themselves from the bombing campaign and it
wasn't until very recently,this year in fact,that Bomber Command was finally awarded a campaign medal and recognition for their service.
Possibly the firebombing and devastation wrought by the RAF seems out of line with the kind of warfare that a civilised society would wage but after
Dunkirk and until Italy and really until Normandy it was the only real weapon we had t strikeback at Germany.It was also a very real 2nd front to
assist the Soviet Union.
The Luftwaffe had bombed Warsaw,Rotterdam,London,Bristol,Glasgow etc,etc and burnt the heart out of Coventry so the feelings of revenge were very,very
real.The words of 'bomber' Harris the head of RAF Bomber Command,'He's sown the wind and now he'll reap the whirlwind'.It was a total war of survival
and as such anything goes I'm afraid but to play down and try to disassociate himself from what happened was very unworthy of Churchill despite the
obvious obliteration of Germany that the RAF had wrought.
By the same token to villify those who decided to drop the nuclear bomb because of the consequent effects and our modern day liberal views about such
things is completely wrong.There was an incredble lot that happened in that war that was brutal,violent and arbitary done by all sides but to try and
see them outside the context of the time does a great disservice to those that lived through it.
Also in a vain attempt to make history align with our values today we loose the chance to learn the very real and stark lessons of the
edit on 20/10/12 by fastbob72 because: more tweaking my BBcode