Sunday, August 8, 2010

Hiroshima and Nagasaki, plus 65

above: Hiroshima's so-called A-Bomb Dome
Reuse permitted with citation.

I've been busy with family matters the past few days, so I missed the sixty-fifth anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima two days ago and I may not be posting tomorrow on the anniversary of the bombing of Nagasaki.

These unspeakably heart-wrenching events have long been near and dear to my heart, and I'd rather just point you in the direction of an old post of mine, "The Unluckiest Town on Earth," about a South Korean hamlet very adversely affected by the attacks, and a post at The Western Confucian that may influence you to rethink what you believe about the necessity to drop these two weapons of mass destruction on what actually were civilian targets, and this post on the recent death of the only official "double A-bomb survivor" (a man who was in both cities when they were bombed).

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10 comments:

  1. There was an alternative option?

    The atomic bombs are justified. Japan seems to exploit atomic Korean deaths for its own victim position of WW2, instead of teaching its society their true crimes.

    The US saved SK, and also Japan. Japan should be thankful.

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  2. The US killed more Koreans in those two bombings than Japan did in forty years of control and occupation.

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  3. Yes, that is a sad fact, but that is irrelevant to what I said.

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  4. also, a nuclear death is more quick and easy compared to slow 35-year-long mental and physical rape of the entire nation

    u disagree, thats ok

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  5. John, as usual, you are deciding what I think, don't think, agree with, or disagree with, without actually knowing what I think, don't think, agree with, or disagree with. In other words, you keep trying to pigeonhole me and my beliefs into something you have pre-decided I think and then go arguing against that strawman.

    First off, tens of thousands of the deaths in Hiroshima and Nagasaki were not "quick" or "easy." Many of them have lasted longer than the forty years (see, I count from when Japan actually took control and began its brutal reign, which was before 1910) of Japanese rule. Did you read the article in the link about the Korean hibakusha in that "unluckiest town"?

    And I'm not for a minute going to get into a discussion about the "slow 35-year-long mental and physical rape of the entire nation" or a comparison, because it is a false one.

    It is you, not I, who have suggested one is okay and justified and the other is not. I am actually saying neither was.

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  6. John writes:
    There was an alternative option?

    Yes. The Japanese were far closer to surrendering than most people realize (though this is not a secret for anyone who wants to look at the public record). An invasion on Honshu would likely not have been necessary. The atomic bombings provided the pro-surrender group in a pretext for doing so.

    The atomic bombs are justified. Japan seems to exploit atomic Korean deaths for its own victim position of WW2, instead of teaching its society their true crimes.

    Japan seems to exploit this? Who in Japan? The Hiroshima camp has been putting Korean deaths in with Japanese deaths as sufferers of the atomic bombing that was precipitated by Japan's military aggression (did you even read my post?) and they are a group that is angered by the Yasukuni camp's rhetoric, which is closer to what you described.

    The US saved SK, and also Japan. Japan should be thankful.

    Maybe, maybe not. With the atomic bombings, Japan collapsed quickly in East Asia, giving the Soviets a chance to move in quickly to areas they might not otherwise have been able to control had the Japanese remained stronger.

    If Japan had had a more orderly surrender, then the Soviets might not have gotten the foothold on Manchuria and Korea that they did. The atomic bombings upset the apple cart so badly that the Russians were able to grab at a bunch of things they otherwise wouldn't have been able to touch (at least not for very long).

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  7. US saved Japan, bbecause Gen McArthur was gentle on the Japanese criminals, esp. the elites, like the emperor...Japan was given dignity and honor in their post-WW2 existence, unlike what happened to korea, by the criminal Japan.

    Also, US sved Japan because an invasion would kill millions of millions of not just soldiers on both sides, but many more Japanese civilians.



    "The Japanese were far closer to surrendering than most people realize" ...where is the clear proof of this? I give you my proof: Do you know what happened in Okinawa, Saipan, etc etc?? These battles suggest Japanese would do anything to save their criminal empire, so of course the Americans believed Japan would not surrender easily. What would the brave US soldiers think if they saw the many kamikaze attacks? "Wow, these kamikaze Japanese would surely surrender if we just ask them! Lets not drop the bombs, we don't want to win this war by being so mean!"

    "If Japan had had a more orderly surrender, then the Soviets might not have gotten the foothold on Manchuria and Korea that they did." Proof? THis is such an imaginative suggestion. The Soviets promised an invasion against japan from Yalta Conference, and whether Japan was destroyed by the atomic bomb or by losing millions of soldiers does not seem relevant to whether Manchura and Korea would fall to Soviets. Esp. with Chinese presence helping out.


    "It is you, not I, who have suggested one is okay and justified and the other is not. I am actually saying neither was. " I said the bombs were justified in the name of saving lives. I never said anything was "OK". Of course this is war. You do whatever you can to win as quickly as possible, unless you like more pain and suffering.

    "And I'm not for a minute going to get into a discussion about the "slow 35-year-long mental and physical rape of the entire nation" or a comparison, because it is a false one. " So maybe, you think those years were full of bright technogoical advancement and economic modernisation, like some japanese say?

    I apologize for assuming your opinions on the matter. You get angry easily, though. Be careful, I like you!

    and this is strange: I am praising US military when I am not American. but you an american, criticizes US military. You are so funny

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  8. My 2 cents:

    "....about the necessity to drop these two weapons of mass destruction on what actually were civilian targets"

    The Japanese outsourced production of components into small businesses and homes. Thus Japanese cities were military targets as they were essentially factories dispersed over a wide area.

    "The Japanese were far closer to surrendering than most people realize (though this is not a secret for anyone who wants to look at the public record)."

    Perhaps. I am aware of a notion percolating in the lower levels of the Defense Department of the time about how a planned air campaign against Japan's railroads would have wrecked food distribution and may have brought about the militarists throwing in the towel. Note I said "may". The North Korean famine didn't result in the collapse of North Korea. I don't necessarily see a Japanese famine in 1945 resulting in the end of Imperial Japan (though it might have).

    "An invasion on Honshu would likely not have been necessary."

    Almost certainly true. Personally, I think without Little Boy and Fat Man, we would have had to have invaded Kyushu per OPERATION OLYMPIC to get a surrender. Low end deaths for that are estimated at 50,000 Americans and around 1 million Japanese. Which is better, these deaths or 200,000 or so Japanese and 100 or so (to be generous) Allied POWs killed in the A-bomb attacks?

    "If Japan had had a more orderly surrender, then the Soviets might not have gotten the foothold on Manchuria and Korea that they did."

    Too many assumptions here. I think it more likely given the longer time it will take for Japan to surrender without the bombs and the likelihood of the US being occupied in a ground campaign in Kyushu, all of Korea and perhaps Hokkaido get overrun by the Red Army.

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  9. Whatever anyone's opinion may be, honesty requires that everyone make mental note of the fact that we have the whole remainder of history to second-guess. There was a time when these events were occurring point-blank, and decisions were made without the luxury of decades of hindsight. As La Rochefoucauld said, "Philosophy triumphs over past and future evils, but present evils triumph over it."

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  10. I tend to think that nuclear weapons are stronger when they aren't used. When you use a nuclear weapon there is no going up from there. That said though, the use of the Atomic bombs predated the cold war, so it was a time when we didn't quite know what we were dealing with.

    Personally I don't think that Japan had much more fight left in it. The places that it had invaded were pretty much defeated. I guess a justification for using an atom bomb would have been to get them out of Korea and China, but getting the Japanese out of South East Asia was much more important because of the natural resources. A demonstration of the Atom bomb could have convinced the Japanese to lay down their arms.

    I don't know. The debate seems a bit moot now. We can't change the past. The inscription of "We're sorry, we'll never do this again." at the Hiroshima memorial museum seems to sum things up well. (The apology was directed towards the Korean, Chinese, and Taiwanese workers in the Hiroshiman factories.)

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