posted on Oct, 18 2012 @ 07:46 AM
In the summer of 1945 you had the United States in firm control of the Pacific, save for that small area called Japan.
To defeat them totally, which was the objective, there were three options.
1) Invade. The preliminary planning for it revealed that casualties were going to be just this side of several millions dead, with an additional
several million wounded. That invasion would have involved using naval bombardment, the army air force bombing. The use of poison gas to clear the
beach heads, though this is conjecture on my part, but my father who was on Saipan at the time, remembers seeing containers of just such an item being
readied for transport to the staging areas.
With the casualties of Okinawa fresh in their minds, the planners of Downfall were none too keen on this idea.
2) Blockade. Starving them out. The U.S. had been utilizing unrestricted submarine warfare against the Japanese since the beginning of the war, and
the merchant fleet of Japan was virtually extirpated by 1945, so this was a strategy that would have worked. But how many millions would have starved
to death, not to mention the diseases that usually accompany this sort of thing? We'll never know...but my guess is several million would have
3) Drop the Atomic bomb. Nagasaki. Hiroshima. Several hundred thousand died, many more injured, and suffered long term illnesses as a direct
result of this action.
War forces decisions that are only differing shades of horrible. There was no good alternative. Japan was not, by any stretch of the imagination
ready to surrender. They were, in fact, more than ready to continue the fight in the streets and alleyways of Japan, and were laying plans to do just
that. Those two explosions, and the fear that more might follow, awakened the Japanese warlords to the inescapable reality that the war was all but
So... Three alternative plans to end the war. Invasion. Blockade. Bomb. In all three the casualty count is going to be hideous. One of them is a
bit less hideous. They used it.
...it was horrific. It was barbarous. It was just about any word you care to use that means horrific. Yet it doesn't change the basic mathematics
of the situation. Fewer people died than would have with the other two solutions to the problem of ending the war.
Several hundred thousand versus millions. The mathematics are horrifying in their simplicity.