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Obama's Hiroshima trip stirs debate on Truman's fateful choice

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"Japan showed no signs of surrender."

What about the peace overture through the Swiss and Portugese months before the bombing? Truman even mentions it in his diary.

The terms of surrender in August were the exact same terms offered by the Japanese. Even MacArthur mentioned this when be voiced his disapproval of the bombings, along with the disapprova of the bombingsl by 5-star officers Eisenhower, Leahy, Nimitz, King and Arnold.

The 5 star officers at the time said It wasn't necessary and Japan was beaten and would surrender without a full-scale invasion. But you'll see posters here who think that they know better than these men.

This is going to be yet another rehash of the same myths over and over. This historically inaccurate article sets the tone.

"The first casualty when war comes, is truth" - Hiram Johnson, US Senator

6 ( +27 / -21 )

in Japan, where a majority of Obama’s hosts still believe the mass bombing of civilians was unnecessary and perhaps a crime.

A crime? How about what the Japanese did in China, South Korea, Taiwan, the Phillipines and Singapore? Not to mention the totally unprovoked attack on Pearl Harbor. Yes, Japan was the victim in WW2, but it was a victim of its own stupidity.

12 ( +29 / -17 )

"...totally unprovoked attack..." Oh my.

-8 ( +14 / -22 )

By the end of the war Japan's leadership was so factionalised that anything except the emperor's voice saying it was over would not have ended it. Some military factions were determined to fight on to the end in any capacity possible and regarded it as betrayal of the country and those who had died to surrender. Some even tried mightily to stop the emperor's recorded message getting out.

17 ( +20 / -3 )

What about the peace overture through the Swiss and Portugese months before the bombing? Truman even mentions it in his diary.

What about these peace overtures? Do you know who made them? Do you know what was being asked?

15 ( +19 / -4 )

The key word there is "civilians". The wanton slaughter of countless non-combatant civilians is the crime. Regardless of whether their gov't/military started it.

-3 ( +11 / -14 )

sensei258 MAY. 18, 2016 - 07:27AM JST The key word there is "civilians". The wanton slaughter of countless non-combatant civilians is the crime. Regardless of whether their gov't/military started it.

Did IJA distinguished the differences in slaughter of civilians in Nanking, Manila or Southeast Asia during 1930-1945? Facts are Japanese military didn't care about civilians. They were brutal.

14 ( +24 / -10 )

The terms of surrender in August were the exact same terms offered by the Japanese.

This is simply false. The ideas floated -- of which their were multiple -- all rejected 'unconditional surrender': principally Imperial Japan wanted to maintain its independence (no occupation, no disarmament), preserve the Imperial System (with the Divinity of the Emperor) and no war crimes trials.

In short, the 'peace feelers' represented the desire for a do-over. Japan wished to set back geopolitical map to 1932, keep its independence, and its system.

The notion that Japan was ready to surrender before the dual shock of two atomic attacks and the Soviet Declaration is fantasy. Not history.

22 ( +26 / -4 )

domtoidi

What about the peace overture through the Swiss and Portugese months before the bombing? Truman even mentions it in his diary.

That's all they were, peace overtures. The Japanese military and political elites, right up to the Emperor's surrender speech, still believed that they could get out of the war with some 1918 Versailles like agreement. Stop distorting the facts. Even when Japan had decided to surrender at the last privy council meeting, sections of the Japanese army tried to stop the Emperor's speech from being broadcasred.

domtoidi

The terms of surrender in August were the exact same terms offered by the Japanese. Even MacArthur mentioned this when be voiced his disapproval of the bombings, along with the disapprova of the bombingsl by 5-star officers Eisenhower, Leahy, Nimitz, King and Arnold.

Again not true. japan signed up to unconditional surrender and if she had been prepared to do that anytime after Midway, when it was obvious that japan was going to lose the war, the war would have ended then... Again the only terms offered both japan Germany, after Casablanca 1943, were UNCONDITIONAL surrender and even after Nagasaki, the privy council were split 50-50 on accepting the surrender terms, with the Emperor having the deciding vote.

domtoidi

The 5 star officers at the time said It wasn't necessary and Japan was beaten and would surrender without a full-scale invasion. But you'll see posters here who think that they know better than these men.

What 5 star officers? There weren't many around in 1944-45. It was news to my relatives who were busy as hell practicing with their bamboo spears on Shinjuku park.

domtoidi

This is going to be yet another rehash of the same myths over and over. This historically inaccurate article sets the tone

.

You should do some reading before you opine. Japan got what it deserved and some might say, after its rampage through Asia from 1937, it deserved a lot worse. This 'Japan as a victim' is something I find reprehensible and frighteningly I find it more and more common in the younger educated generation.

While most of my relatives that lived through the second world war experience - many sadly gone now - thought that the atomic bombings, while being a tragedy, were necessary to force Japan to surrender.

I like Obama, but this visiting of Hiroshima is a big mistake, especially with the present Japanese government and its large contingent of atrocity deniers and just look how it's being played out in the Japanese media, 'aren't we Japanese magnanimous, we don't need the US to apologize for their war crime?'.

13 ( +21 / -8 )

What's the point of arguing it? It happened 70 years ago and nothing will ever change it from having happened.

I do want to add that civilians were never the target in the bombings of Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Osaka, Tokyo, ect. These cities were centers of manufacturing of material that supported the Japanese war effort. Civilian casualties were unfortunate collateral when trying to eliminate Japan's ability to conduct warfare.

5 ( +12 / -7 )

“I think it’s hard to look back and second-guess it too much.”

Really? Seems like everyone likes to do it. Yet, there are few alive today that can share their experiences from either side and everyone has an opinion based upon their own education and beliefs.

I for one like to think that I can see things from both sides, having close relatives and friends from both sides sharing stories and experiences from preceding, during, and after the war.

I personally wish that they would not have been used. Yet I do not think apologies are necessary from Obama either.

I would rather there be a message of peace and a message about getting rid of all nuclear weapons in the world, and then I would like to see Abe go and visit the Arizona memorial at Pearl Harbor and do the same!

13 ( +15 / -2 )

If you look at the history, the real problem is how U.S. handle the peace treaty after the WWII. PRC's Zhou Enlai supported the Soviet proposal that all states that participated with their armed forces against Japan should prepare the treaty. Instead, the U.S. had monopolized the task to exclude China. Why did the U.S. wanted to exclude China in 1951 SF Treaty? On the surface of course the Communist Party was now in power and U.S. and Chinese troops were fighting each other in Korea. But Britain also had troops in Korea and yet was prepared to invite the PRC to the conference. It was actually the Soviet Union that was behind the North Korean attack on the south, yet the U.S. permitted the Soviet Union actively to participate in the conference. China suffered the longest and the deepest from Japanese aggression. The SF Treaty divided China with numerous other territorial disputes that the U.S. used in justifying its continuing presence in the region.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

What's often overlooked is people who led normal life then in Japan. I mean people who had nothing to do with the war. Maybe the reason that they use the bombs was right, but you can't say the consequences they caused is right. I don't think Obama should apologize, however, I don't like to hear people saying "It was right thing to do.", because it ignores the lives lost. Don't criticize me saying "Japan killed a lot of innocent people.". I know that, and I already fell terrible about it.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

Let us never forget wartime atrocities! For the sake of posterity! For the sake of humanity!

Well... unless it's inconvenient or uncomfortable for us... In that case we should just quietly destroy the evidence and pretend it never happened.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

The way I look at it, is that it's like kicking a dog. Sure, the dog shouldn't bite you, and if it does, it's wrong, but you only have yourself to blame, because you kicked the dog.

Japan kicked the American dog, and Japan paid for that action. The result was a direct result of Japanese action. Japan only has Japan to blame.

6 ( +12 / -6 )

Gary Raynor MAY. 18, 2016 - 07:41AM JST I like Obama, but this visiting of Hiroshima is a big mistake, especially with the present Japanese government and its large contingent of atrocity deniers and just look how it's being played out in the Japanese media, 'aren't we Japanese magnanimous, we don't need the US to apologize for their war crime?'.

If you look at the history after end of WWII, Japan spent basically from 1950's through mid 1990s under the same conservative LDP government. There was no change in thought or attitude. At best, the Japanese government was able to buy off the Chinese and Koreans, providing loans and grants while those governments kept nationalistic sentiments tamped down. When the LDP hold was toppled in the 1990s, the coalition government was so weak that even though it began reconciliation with a formal apology, it couldn't make much progress before the LDP came back to power one year later. Japan needed a strong center-left party to lead the way. Unfortunately, Murayama and the Japanese Social Democrats were simply too weak. Japan's delay in the process has only made it more difficult for any real reconciliation. Had they done it back when Japan was at its peak, Chinese and Korean nationalism were somewhat under control and Japan had bought some goodwill through economic aid, they might have gotten their message across more smoothly. Instead, now you have Japan in a weak position, China and Korea ascendant, and both those nations experiencing near-rabid nationalistic sentiments, it'll be much harder for all involved to come together.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

You need to look at the matter from both macroscopic and microscopic points of view. If you do this, you just can't say what's right or wrong.

-6 ( +4 / -10 )

Truman made the right decision, but too kind, for wartime atrocties done by the Japanese, more atomic bombs should be used to the in human Japanese !

-23 ( +4 / -27 )

So the atom bombs were dropped and tens of thousands of people were killed due to a poor translation of mokusatsu 黙殺.

-15 ( +1 / -16 )

“Mokusatsu,”

That sounds about right. Instead of blaming the US, Japanese should blame Suzuki. They offered an ultimatum, but he responded with the usual.

I can say without reservation that if Japan would of had the A bomb, they would of used it first.

Look at every country Japan occupied. From Guam to Singapore, they refused to allow English to be spoken and you were executed or beaten if you did not acknowledge the Emperor. Acts of kindness included "reeducation" but when Japan started loosing, "reeducation" was scrapped and slave labor took priority.

12 ( +15 / -3 )

Another tired and debunked revisionist meme. 黙殺 was not mistranslated. It literally means "to kill with silence." It means to give the silent treatment. It is, if anything, stronger than "ignore."

The US dropped the atomic bombs because it demanded "unconditional surrender" from Imperial Japan, and the Supreme War Council was unwilling to surrender unconditionally. It wanted a negotiated peace -- and though deadlocked on what that meant, all six, to a man, wanted to preserve the empire, both domestically and abroad.

9 ( +11 / -2 )

Had the atomic bomb not been used, the war would have continued on land, with horrific consequences. The Japanese were under and religiously followed orders not to surrender.

The land war, without the A-bomb, was estimated to result in over two million Japanese and a half-million Allied casualties. That figure does not include civilians, who were ordered to fight with available weapons - pikes, fence posts, scrap iron, etc. Without the dramatic message of the A-bomb, the war would have continued to a brutal end.

8 ( +12 / -4 )

all rejected 'unconditional surrender': principally Imperial Japan wanted to maintain its independence (no occupation, no disarmament), preserve the Imperial System (with the Divinity of the Emperor) and no war crimes trials

Nothing has changed, same cake and eat it too mentality we see today, with revisionist busy denying, lying, trying, buying? their version of history

I dont know really what the purpose of Obamas visit is, unless its for his legacy, but you can change history, and it would be disrespectful to that generation to apologize for it.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

I didn't write my opinion; I wrote facts. Six of the seven 5-star US officers at the time said this:

Admiral William Leahy, White House chief of staff and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the war. Leahy wrote in his 1950 memoirs 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." Moreover, Leahy continued, "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."

President Dwight Eisenhower, the Allied commander in Europe during World War II, recalled in 1963, as he did on several other occasions, that he had opposed using the atomic bomb on Japan during a July 1945 meeting with Secretary of War Henry Stimson: "I told him I was against it on two counts. First, the Japanese were ready to surrender and it wasn't necessary to hit them with that awful thing. Second, I hated to see our country be the first to use such a weapon."

Admiral William "Bull" Halsey, the tough and outspoken commander of the U.S. Third Fleet, which participated in the American offensive against the Japanese home islands in the final months of the war, publicly stated in 1946 that "the first atomic bomb was an unnecessary experiment." The Japanese, he noted, had "put out a lot of peace feelers through Russia long before" the bomb was used.

General Douglas MacArthur, Commander of US Army forces in the Pacific, stated on numerous occasions before his death that the atomic bomb was completely unnecessary from a military point of view: "My staff was unanimous in believing that Japan was on the point of collapse and surrender."

General Curtis LeMay, who had pioneered precision bombing of Germany and Japan (and who later headed the Strategic Air Command and served as Air Force chief of staff), put it most succinctly: "The atomic bomb had nothing to do with the end of the war."

Henry H. ("Hap") Arnold, commanding General of the Army air forces, declared in his 1949 memoirs: "It always appeared to us, atomic bomb or no atomic bomb, the Japanese were already on the verge of collapse." This was confirmed by former Japanese prime minister Fumimaro Konoye, who said: "Fundamentally, the thing that brought about the determination to make peace was the prolonged bombing by the B-29s."

Admiral Ernest King, US Chief of Naval Operations, said that "the effective naval blockade would, in the course of time, have starved the Japanese into submission through lack of oil, rice, medicines, and other essential materials."

-2 ( +7 / -9 )

Japan itself was trying to develop the A-bomb, with both Navy and Army units working separately on development programmes. A shortage of uranium was one of the main factors in its lack of success. Does anyone doubt that the Japanese would have used it, as they had no hesitation in carrying out germ warfare in Asia?

11 ( +14 / -3 )

'As long as America and England insist on unconditional surrender our country has no alternative but to see it through in an all-out effort for the sake of survival and the honor of the homeland.'

Japanese prime minister Shigenori Togo in turning down surrender demand, July 11, 1945.

13 ( +15 / -2 )

It was one of the worst and most in humane acts (two, really) in human history, done solely for economic and political reasons. No one in their right mind can argue that weapons that took hundreds of thousands of lives "saved lives", unless they are insane. It is merely how they sleep at night.

But, there should be no apology from Obama as that, too, would be merely for political purposes, otherwise why the importance on a president doing it?

-11 ( +7 / -18 )

The mark of maturity is to read and learn something, then realize that perhaps clinging to a stubborn myth is not what a reasonable person should do. I suspect some people here would be clining to the idea that the Sun revolves around the Earth, even when presented with facts to the contrary.

These six men knew more than anyone here. Read their words.

-12 ( +4 / -16 )

Until that moment, Truman had no idea about the Manhattan Project to build the world’s first atomic bomb—despite being Roosevelt’s vice president and a former senator who made his name investigating wartime defense contracts.

Proof that Truman was not Roosevelt's first pick as vice-president and of what little trust he had in him. Truman had made a name as pliable and easily swayed by political hardliners. The war was wrapping up, and the previous empire (Britain) was in rubble. The hardliners in the US saw an opportunity to take the reins, and the atomic bombs were intended to show their closest rivals (Russia) who's boss.

Obviously, I disagree that bombing was not necessary for Japan's surrender, but let's say that it was. In that situation, was it really necessary to drop a second bomb? Not if your intention wasn't to show the world what you had and that it could be repeated.

If you find it hard to believe that the US government would do such a thing, you only need to look at their actions after the war.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Six of the seven 5-star US officers at the time said this:

This is often repeated, and false. Not one of those people at the time objected. Not one. Not Mac. Not Eisenhaur. Not LeMay. None of them. At that time. I wonder if you understand the importance of that. I can explain why, if you are curious.

You have not stated your source(s). Ultimately, all of the balderdash you've posted, and I have debunked, thus far goes straight back to Gar Alperowitz' original revisionist work THE DECISION TO USE THE ATOMIC BOMB. The book -- actually his phd thesis, is shoddy, rife with misquotes, quote mining, and fabrications along the lines of "I...like pizza," when the source is "I don't like pizza." He uses these creative ellipses in such a manner so frequently that the kindest interpretation is incompetence on his part; a less kind being he intended it. They are so numerous and importantly placed that, back when Alperoqitz had cache in the academy, a term arose to describe such poor scholarship: to Alperowitz.

His work has be so thoroughly discredited it is no longer considered reliable by anyone in the academy these days outside of the back wash of doctrinaire Marxists known as post modern scholars( who like it because its central thesis is the atomic bombs were not aimed at Japan, but at the Soviet Union in the "first shot of the cold war.")

But the pestilent memes live on, in the gutters and shadowed recesses of our ivory towers. And no matter how many times we inoculate, the peste springs back and seized, with new vigor, the minds of new cohort of willing dupes.

Now, you say the mark of maturity is to read and learn something, and yet you have proven yourself here to be entirely uninteresting in doing just that. You post tired and silly ideas, and when those tired and silly ideas challenged, you go on your merry way, spreading more lies.

Poor showing, old, boy.

And here's why: the atomic attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki were two of the more terrible things to come out of a global conflict that was far from lacking in terrible things. Understanding why such terrible attacks happened, and, from the study of them learn for the purpose to prevent such terrible things from happening again, is perhaps the only good thing we can ever hope to glean. In short, the lessons of Hiroshima and Nagasaki are not to treat them lightly, from ignorance and certainly not to lie or repeat lies in order to advance your particular ideology.

For shame.

13 ( +14 / -1 )

Sean Malloy had it right. There should have been a public demonstration first. If Japan still refused to surrender, they could have dropped it somewhere on Japan that would have resulted in less sacrifice of civilians. At the very least, the second bomb was unnecessary, as they could have given Japan more time to decide what to do (although the Russian invasion of Japan would have complicated things greatly. North and South Japan, anyone?).

That being said, civilian sacrifice is always a part of war, and most definitely the most horrible part of war. Stalingrad saw terrible civilian sacrifice, Berlin was bombed to the ground, Tokyo was fire bombed, Sherman marched across the South during the American Civil War burning and destroying everything in his way, and Syria is perhaps the most modern example of this. If only the madness would stop...

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Mokusatsu.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

@domtoidi

"These six men knew more than anyone here. Read their words."

no, they didnt. They were masters of the battlefield but not global security strategy nor the science of the bomb.

IT's true that many military men didnt like the bomb, since it was the work of scientists, politicians and civil servants, not fellow military types, and they were largely kept ignorant of the Manhattan project as well as the top-level strategic-diplomatic activities.

So there was some resentment there. Le May, for example, thought the A-bomb was not needed --, but only because his incendiary attacks on Japanese cities were more effective and a lot cheaper! That kind of key context is always conveniently edited out of the revisionist narratives. Which is why those narratives are so full of holes.

5 ( +9 / -4 )

"...totally unprovoked attack..." Oh my. oh dear no matter how many bells , whistles or whip cream people try to put on Japans wartime past, Japan was far from a victim. there was so much much more death and destruction during WW2, the vast majority committed by Hiltler and the IJA. This pathetic debate about the A bombs should or shoudnt have been dropped is about as irrelevant as whether the IJA should have invaded asia and slaughtered millions. Japan has about as much chance of getting some confirmation of guilt/apology from America as Asian countries have of getting a Japanese PM visit them and doing the same

7 ( +9 / -2 )

In those days wiping out a huge number of civilians for military goals was pretty standard, look what happened all around the world in WW2. Today I doubt there would be any support for nuking a civilian population, but back then it was likely the best option for the US to end the war

5 ( +6 / -1 )

"...totally unprovoked attack..." Oh my. oh dear no matter how many bells , whistles or whip cream people try to put on Japans wartime past, Japan was far from a victim.

Very far from victim. The Japanese were lucky Kyoto or Tokyo (a city of more historical significance than H & N) were not chosen to be bombed.

Obama should apologise to the Japanese people. Not for the bombings, but for MacArthur and the CIA giving Japan back to the fascist / imperialist / yakuza rump that coalesced into the LDP.

No he should NOT apologize. Doesn't matter what MacArthur did nor how the fascist-imperialist formed the LDP. Tokyo (in one way or another) often bows down to Washington DC.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Very far from victim. The Japanese were lucky Kyoto or Tokyo (a city of more historical significance than H & N) were not chosen to be bombed.

It has nothing to do with historical significance but something to do with US friends living there.

-20 ( +0 / -20 )

It has nothing to do with historical significance but something to do with US friends living there.

Who sold you those beans tina?? The US knew they would be criticized in the eye of world opinion if they'd wiped out all of those temples & castles and historical landmarks. That's why the joint chiefs decide other targets.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Tinawatanabe: you REALLY need new textbooks! Are you quoting from the same sources that you said " Christians were expelled because they destroyed temples and shrines"?

They avoided bombing Kyoto because of historical and cultural significance; it would have driven a hole so deeply in the Japsnese psyche that it would be hard to get the cooperation of the emperor after surrender. Tokyo had already been leveled and they needed an intact city to measure the devastation.

6 ( +10 / -4 )

Black Sabbath: Did you not read what and when Eisenhower said what he did?

This is truly sad to see such pathalogical denial.

-7 ( +3 / -10 )

Obama - PLEASE STAY HOME...

Obama - please stay home........

What do you wish to accomplish by visiting Japan ? News Flash: ... "Japan is doing just fine without you"

John Kerry didn't screw up anything when he came here. Can we hope for the same with you ?

Japan does not 'need' and apology ... they have said this clearly. And frankly, you of all people should not be the one to apologise.

And if you try and say your visit is to help solidarity with US in response to China's recent aggression ... well sorry, you won't be around when and if anything happens.

Oh and Barack, when you visited in May 2011, there were street protests in Tokyo ... are you coming for an encore ?

Obama - please stay home !

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

What do you wish to accomplish by visiting Japan ?

Good relations.

Japan does not 'need' and apology ... they have said this clearly. And frankly, you of all people should not be the one to apologise.

Have you not been reading the news behind this? The administration has been clear that they will not apologized, so whatever makes you think that Obama would suddenly do other than what he said?

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Obama does not have to apologize.

This, however, does not change the fact that the two atomic bombs were one of the most inhumane acts in recorded history. It does not excuse the stupidity of the argument that killing hundreds of thousands of civilians (most of them elderly, women and children) and crippling tens of thousands for life and generations to come saved lives. Justifying the bombs by saying that the IJA did not differentiate between military and civilians only puts you as low as the deeds of IJA. So let’s not be so naïve as to think that the Americans were the good guys they want the world to believe they were/are. The IJA did terrible things. But do not stop there if you want to be objective. If you have a look at the world history after WW II, it is way too obvious that the American foreign policies and actions have been on a par with any colonial aggression, only conducted under the excuse of peace-making. Look at their meddling in the politics of Central and South American states, Asia, the Middle East… Their “peace missions” have brought so much grief to local people as has any other colonial aggression before.

The point is not the apology. Ii is to learn for the sake of humanity and never repeat any acts like the A-bombings in 1945.

@Gary Raynor: You should do some reading before you opine. Japan got what it deserved and some might say, after its rampage through Asia from 1937, it deserved a lot worse.

If I apply your logic to 9/11, may I say that America got what it deserved for starting the war in the Middle East? And that after its rampage through Iraq (which was initiated thanks to a fabricated “fact”) it deserved a lot worse than what it got on that single day?? How do you think the families of the people who got killed that day (all of them civilian) feel?

-5 ( +4 / -9 )

@JaneM

In all probability prior to November 1945, Japan would have surrendered even if the atomic bombs had not been dropped, even if Russia had not entered the war, and even if no invasion had been planned or contemplated. But Truman and his advisors were obsessed with the atomic bomb because it guaranteed the U.S. a position as the undisputed victor of the war, independent of Soviet assistance. This was crucial because both Roosevelt and his successor Truman were reluctant to accept military assistance from communist Russia. More importantly, they refused to grant the Russians postwar concessions that would have accompanied that wartime assistance. As it stood the U.S.-Soviet alliance during World War II was uneasy at best.

-7 ( +0 / -7 )

Maybe for Americans it was very cathartic. This way, Japan and US could go from great enemies to best friends pretty instantly, continuing up to today.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

h of Hydrogen bombs on each other and in Europe? We might not be here exchanging our thoughts on the internet.

I have been to the Hiroshima Peace Museum and when I entered the first room there is a display on what was Hiroshima like during the war before the bomb was dropped. Looking at the displays in that room, I got the feeling that Hiroshima was deeply involved in the war effort and not an innocent victim. Leaving the museum I got the feeling that war and the use of atomic bombs should be avoided at all cost.

If Hiroshima or Nagasaki didn't get targeted for nuclear destruction, they would have probably be bombed conventionally.. America got very good at carpet bombing, and the destruction in Tokyo was worse than Hiroshima. I'm not sure if links are allowed in the comments, but google and read up on Tokyo firebombing. I would rather be in Hiroshima, than in Tokyo during the firebombing,, at least it is a faster death.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

At the end of July, with the bomb now successfully tested, Truman gave Japan one last chance.

I will admit, it must have seemed so at the time. There was no guarantee that the Soviet Union would actually enter the war as promised in the east. They only did so after being offered a free hand among the Northern Territories. In hindsight however, it was Russia's entry to the war that brought about Japan's surrender, not the atom bombs. It was a face-saver for the emperor to say he surrendered because of the bombs. He could hardly say he did it because Russia was in the war - and it made the US look good. The fact is, if Japan hadn't surrendered when it did the Russians could've made it to Hokkaido - and landed themselves a role in the postwar admin of Japan. http://foreignpolicy.com/2013/05/30/the-bomb-didnt-beat-japan-stalin-did/

2 ( +4 / -2 )

@domtoidi

Have you even talked to Japanese people who lived through the war? I have (including some who were in Hiroshima at the time of the atomic bombing). I think there are some arguments to be made for and against, but please don't distort the facts about the state of Imperial Japan (circa 1945).

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

bruinfanMAY. 18, 2016 - 12:43PM JSTHave you even talked to Japanese people who lived through the war?

What could they tell you? There was censorship during war. Many true information was not available. Hiroshima was a major army base that housed the headquarters of the Japanese 5th Division and the 2nd Army Headquarters.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Obama should say something like, "Ya'll should've let sleeping dogs lie." Then do a mic drop and walk off the stage.

But he's probably going to make something that sounds like an apology and the US will find itself being sued for compensation.

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

@Dan Lewis. lmfao! Great post. . . First half at least.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Mr Abe will be anticipating Obama's visit with glee. He's going to be in the spotlight again, and hoping some of Obama's glitz will rub off on him when the election comes up. Abe is going to portray himself as the man who got the first US president to come to Hiroshima. Come the election, he will be untouchable.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Wc626, Kyoto was air raided several times but stopped later because Kyoto became the first cadidate place for A-bomb, which was canceled later.

There were historical structures all over in Japan. US burned down Nagoya Castle too. So it is unlikely US cared Japan's historical things. Didn't US attack Benedictine Monastery in Italy?

-13 ( +1 / -13 )

The U.S. and allies faced a fanatical enemy. Remember they were shocked by the kamikaze's desire to commit suicide, had experienced the fanatical resistance of the Japanese armed forces on the pacific islands and had seen the Japanese civilian population committing suicide on Okinawa. Japanese newsreels showing women and children in their millions preparing to fight to the death on the mainland and Japanese government preparations and exhortations to the populations to die gloriously for the emperor convinced almost everyone ( including the Japanese) that their was going to be a bloodbath of epic proportions. The atomic bombings may well have been a mercy.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Didn't US attack Benedictine Monastery in Italy?

I have absolutely no idea.

Wc626, Kyoto was air raided several times but stopped later because Kyoto became the first cadidate place for A-bomb, which was canceled later.

Good. I'm glad they cancelled Kyoto as a prime target. Even bitter adversaries can show respect.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Obama is the first American leader to know anything about Japan. He has a great interest in the country, partially through its connection with Hawaii, and has a favorite Buddhist Temple (Kamakura). I think it's great that he's visiting, and I know the Japanese do, too.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

The U.S. and allies faced a fanatical enemy. Remember they were shocked by the kamikaze's desire to commit suicide, had experienced the fanatical resistance of the Japanese armed forces on the pacific

Yes, they did. But the atom bombs didn't end the war. That is a myth people have swallowed too long. Stalin did.

2 ( +4 / -4 )

This year is the last year of his presidency. He is looking for anything that might promote his reputation in contemporary American history. He has been to Havana and now Hiroshima...... next stop is Tehran

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

Truman is an American hero, and saved Japan from the Soviet invasion

Nope, the Japanese saved themselves, by surrendering when they did. The bombs allowed the emperor to save face. The same for other advisers in the war cabinet. The link I provided makes this clear.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

He has been to Havana and now Hiroshima...... next stop is Tehran

Yep! Amazing man.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Obama hasn't been to Hiroshima yet.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

"But the atom bombs didn't end the war."

Emperor Hirohito said they did. Read his surrender speech.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

The truth is that the US military new exactly what the effects of the bombs would be. They also deliberately avoided bombing at least 6 key cities which were not military targets and kept these cities "available" to inflict maximum civilian casualties.?...Kyoto, Nagasaki, Hiroshima included. Surrender was only a matter of days away as they sides were negotiating terms of the agreement ....this is tantamount to killing the bearer of a white flag. The military and political Hawks of they day made the decision to bomb innocent women and children because they believed this would stimulate the Japanese to unconditionally surrender .....hundreds of thousands died and many hundreds of thousands have lived their entire lives with physical and mental trauma as a result of an unnecessary ......in my view criminal .....act. Obama will NOT apologies but his visit should be a start of nuclear dismantling process and it may at least leave a permanent legacy of his 8 years as POTUS ....he did after all get a Nobel Peace prize (inappropriate choice for mine) and now maybe he can demonstrate he actually deserved that award. There is no point in using the excuse of atrocities carried out by Japanese soldiers because all wars have atrocities on both sides and the US is no exception ....their historical record in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afganistan and every other conflict across the globe since WW2 ended proves they are only hypocrites to think otherwise ...

-7 ( +3 / -10 )

The war would have ended much sooner if the US hadn't demanded Japan's unconditional surrender. Many lives would have been saved on both sides, including the A bomb victims. I hope Obama's visit to Hiroshima will be a first step toward true reconciliation between Japan and America.

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

Emperor Hirohito said they did. Read his surrender speech.

The link I provided makes it clear why he said they did. 1, to save face by losing to an "unbeatable weapon". 2, to deny credit to the Soviet Union for bringing about Japan's surrender. The article gives convincing reasons as to why Japan surrendered because of the Soviets and not because of the bomb.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

It's unfortunate that some of you can only see the bombings through your 21st Century eyes and not through those of leaders and commanders in the 1940's when the concept of total war was prevalent and accepted, and the use of all tools at your disposal to preserve life on your own side was a foregone conclusion and collateral damage, civilian or not, on the other side was not a consideration for the most part.

3 ( +8 / -5 )

Pro PEACE and UNITY.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Sorry, but the past is the past. And there is absolutely nothing we can do about the choices those before us made. What does matter is what we've LEARNED from it. What has Japan and the US learned from atomic weapons? Actually the world learned just how nasty it could be... and yet many countries (US included ofc) still made even more powerful weapons that make the first atomic bombs look like childs play.

Stirring up whether it was right or wrong is moot since nothing will change what happened. It was an era when people didn't know about such things such as radiation fallout, and how long lasting the damage was. It was an era when the Nazi's were attempting to get the bomb first. It was an era when ignorance was bliss. Nobody is saying it was just. Even back then when the US saw the aftermath, America didn't cheer for the destruction and problems left behind after the atomic weapons were first used.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@ USNinJapan2: It's unfortunate that some of you can only see the bombings through your 21st Century eyes and not through those of leaders and commanders in the 1940's

And how unfortunate is it that some of you can only repeat what you have been fed by your government so that they and you can justify two of the most horrible mass killings in human history?

I would rather take the Japanese “It was horrible. We should remember so that it is never repeated again,” than the American “By dropping the bombs (and indiscriminately killing hundreds of thousands) we saved thousands of lives.”

It is indeed very convenient, isn’t it, to ignore all the historical evidence that Japan was close to the point of surrender when the bombs were dropped.

@HonestDictator: Stirring up whether it was right or wrong is moot since nothing will change what happened.

It is indeed moot. But those who say it was right, the winner/s who claim the moral high ground, have not learned anything from the bombings. They still go on “peace missions” around the world, wreaking havoc on countries and regions for the sake of their economic interest.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

tinawatanabe: "There were historical structures all over in Japan. US burned down Nagoya Castle too. So it is unlikely US cared Japan's historical things. Didn't US attack Benedictine Monastery in Italy?"

Once again, tina, where are you getting your history from? The other day you said FLAT OUT that the reason for the expulsion of Christians was because they "destroyed shrines and temples", and when proven wrong and asked for sources, you could not answer, saying only, "You thought it was well known".

Now again you've made a completely incorrect statement based on what you THINK happened and have zero to back it up, and are now trying to back track. WHERE do you get your information from?

The US had a list of candidates, among them Kyoto. Kyoto was quickly crossed off the list because the US was worried that if it destroyed the city, with it's history, culture, and ties to the heart of the nation (especially with it having been a capital), they would not have easy cooperation with the Japanese people. There are other factors, such as geographical layout, which made Hiroshima preferable (and remember, Kokura was the primary target for the second bomb but was called off due to cloud cover; Nagasaki was only a secondary target and nearly called off as well until there was a fateful break in the clouds), but the comment:

"It has nothing to do with historical significance but something to do with US friends living there."

Is utterly ridiculous, and I want to know where you get such rubbish from.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

"Surrender was only a matter of days away as they sides were negotiating terms of the agreement."

Then why did the Japanese ignore the Potsdam Declaration, issued 2 weeks before Hiroshima and calling for surrender?

"The war would have ended much sooner if the US hadn't demanded Japan's unconditional surrender."

Yeah, and the Allies should have negotiated with Hitler, so he and his mates could have stayed in power. Great idea!

Anyway, unconditional surrender would have been a dangerous fiasco in Japan. As it was, the first postwar Japanese government officials rejected the US written constitution, claiming it to be "un-Japanese." One thing they really hated was equal education for girls. The Americans simply had to force democracy, equality, and all those other wonderful things on the Japanese, otherwise they would never would have accepted it.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

US way of war. 1. Force the country US wants a war against into first strike, 2. Destroy the enemy completely 3. Don't accept enemy's surrender until US get what they want. 4. Change the history and pretend they are just, 5. Bully the enemy in eternity.

-16 ( +0 / -16 )

@tinawatanabe, there are quite a few countries besides the US that would state your assessment is incorrect from that time period. Even the Germans would wonder where you get your "history" from.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Because it didn't guarantee the status of the emperor. And Japan was aiming for Russian mediation. It's all in the link

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Clearly it was unfortunate the bombs were used, BUT there are plenty of reasons they were used.

And in help ending the war quickly Japan seriously lucked out, LOSING WWII & Unconditional Surrender were the two BEST things to happen to Japan & Japanese, think about it, Japanese were living under an awful regime, ZERO freedoms, kempeitai, utterly insane thinking by govt & military.

All that went away because Japan LOST, & Japan prospered like it had never done before afterwards.

Anyone who wanted to live in Japan after WWII with the Emperor, govt & IJA intact is not thinking clearly!! Japan was & would have continued to be a god awful place to live if Japan was able to surrender with conditions in the govt & IJA's favour, no way in hell I would have wanted to be there, would you, honestly!?!?!

4 ( +5 / -1 )

All that went away because Japan LOST, & Japan prospered like it had never done before afterwards

Completely agree. I'm just saying Japan needed to surrender before the Soviets got to Hokkaido. That was a more pressing reason than the use of the atom bombs. How long did it take the Emperor to step in? Not until 5/6 days after 2 were used. If Japan's surrender had been because of the atom bombs, it would have happened earlier. Nope, the Russians take the credit there. Something they never got.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

And this is why people need to demand Obama not visit Hiroshima, even though it's been repeatedly reported he isn't apologizing. Because the very idea that he might apologize provokes contemplation of if America has done enough wrong that an American leader should apologize for it.

And in some circles within the US, just going that far along the train of thought is too much to bear. Certain members of our population have spent so long worshiping our WWII history (and demanding we be worshiped for it) that just the thought that our history might not have been perfect is so terrifying it must be immediately silenced.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Easy to be a Monday morning quarterback. He had little choice. Regardless of whether it shortened the war. All sides were trying to develop nukes. Germany had already transferred tech and materials to enable Japan to build one. Can you even begin to imagine a world where nazi Germany and Imperial Japan had developed it first?

0 ( +3 / -3 )

perspective: WW2 killed more than 60million people, 2/3 of those civilians. 6million of those were Jews, almost 20million Soviets 15~20million from Asian countries, a vast majority of these deaths were at the hands of Hitler and the IJA.

I get tired of this continued focus about the A-bombs and how Japan was the victim and how evil the bombs were etc etc, truth of the matter is WW2 was so much bigger than the just pacific side

war has always claimed more civilian lives than military, that's what war does.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Bravo Shinzo Abe!

Now you've successfully portrayed Japan as the victim of WW2 without Pres. Obama even knowing it!

Excellent job!

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

@HonestDictator: Stirring up whether it was right or wrong is moot since nothing will change what happened.

It will change what will happen that's why I and others are saying to the Americans. Please read as many original documents as possible such as memoir of President Hoover's.

-9 ( +0 / -9 )

Also, for racist reasons, Pearl Harbor, treatment of war prisoners; the US hated the Japanese. The American people considered them untrustworthy and cruel. Analyzing this on an intellectual level alone ignores the raw emotion of widespread hate... Wringing of hands came later.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

WOW lots of hate here ,stay cool people

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Should the atomic bombs have been dropped on Japan? That is a question that everyone should contemplate, but no one has the answer to.

Should Japan have started the war? Should Japan have invaded Okinawa, Korea, Manchuria, China, and the rest of Asia? Should China and the Western powers have resisted Japan's efforts to create an Empire in Asia and the Pacific, or should they have just rolled over and let Japan enslave hundreds of millions of people? These are questions that the Japanese Press dare not ask.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

And how many countries have nuclear weapons again? How many countries do you believe are willing to actually use them after knowing what nuclear weapons are capable of. How many countries that do not have nuclear capabilities are actively seeking them out? (North Korea ring a bell?)

The matter of fact here, is the only thing that changed will be the global condemnation of whoever attacks first with nuclear weapon in this era, as well as the MAD scenario.

Knowing full well what it's capable of, and launching a nuke will permantly put the launching country on a big global s**t list. It's why the US regardless, has not launched a single nuclear weapon even in the case of ISIS. But lil' kim's nation keeps lobbing rockets in the ocean. If he actually hits Japan or (even better) China, all hell will break loose on NK.

As I said before, no American thought it was a great thing what happened when the atomic bomb was dropped in Nagasaki and Hiroshima. We're actually taught it in world history, because it was a drastic turning point that made major changes and perceptions world wide, and it's not something the US is proud of doing. They always mention what happened afterwards and how many Japanese lives were lost and ruined decades after the those bombs were dropped. Nobody has forgotten. It's a lesson that is going to be taught to our children and our children's children because we know it's not a good thing.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I get tired of this continued focus about the A-bombs and how Japan was the victim and how evil the bombs were etc etc, truth of the matter is WW2 was so much bigger than the just pacific side

I agree. People have lost sight of the real reason for Japan's surrender. The Soviets have been conveniently erased from Pacific War accounts.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

For those who post that Japan would of surrendered without the A bombs, Im trying to get the logic because Japan would only surrender with full sovereignty, meaning a complete default to its original position of racial superiority in Asia and all the rights of a belligerent military. How could the nations who were victims of Japan aggression accept such nonsense, and what would be the most expedient means to end the war?

1 ( +4 / -3 )

"The Soviets have been conveniently erased from Pacific War accounts."

No they haven't. It sounds like you need to read better books.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

The answer is simple. If the Soviets had gotten to Hokkaido, they would have had a force in occupation - and a say in the postwar constitution. Japan did not have the forces needed to defend the north and south simultaneously. Once Russia was in, they faced a nightmare scenario. The effects of the atom bomb were crystal clear on August 6th. The Japanese had their own nuke program - they knew what had happened. The emperor could have surrendered that day or the next. He didn't. Why? The hope of Russian mediation. Once the Russians were in, things moved pretty fast. The atom bombs were the most abhorrent, and unnecessary (face saver) weapon ever invented. But the mushroom clouds they created were used to hide why Japan really surrendered.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

What an incredible amount of hubris it takes to think that you know more than six, five-star officers at the time.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

“Operation Downfall,” as the mainland invasion was dubbed, could have involved at least one million U.S. troops and as many as 2.5 million Japanese troops. With recent battles in Okinawa and Iwo Jima fresh in mind, U.S. military planners believed the operation would cost a quarter of a million lives and extend the war by a year or more."

If 2.5 million Japanese troops were involved, most of them would have been killed or committed suicide, so the A-bombs were good for them.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Great, now the A-bombs were good for the Japanese. Like a healthy snack.

It's astounding how easy it is for some to justify the targeting of civilians. Even Truman said he was not going to order any more bombs be dropped. He couldn't stomach killing women and children, but some of you are just dandy with it.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

MacArthur, and Eisenhower both opposed the bombs. I fear Truman wanted to demonstrate their power to the Soviets, and that's why he went ahead anyway. That was certainly true with the Nagasaki one

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Lol. Some are plain dumb. Why accept to loose a single American life when you can? Crime against mankind was not existing, neitherthe notion of genocide falling into this category. Moreover, don't fool anyone, Japan was the aggressive part showing no remorse. Civilians/ soldiers: no difference for Japan.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

tinawatanabe: "US way of war. 1. Force the country US wants a war against into first strike,

Hahaha!! Another "We are the victims of Pearl Harbor! Not the aggressors!" denialist! No doubt you also think Japan was the saviour of Asia and was FREEING it from other powers, not colonising.

"2. Destroy the enemy completely"

Instead of what? Japan is far more guilty of 'complete destruction' than the US, with Japanese soldiers forcing innocent civilians off the Itoman cliffs (also deleted from your white-washed books, tina), giving them grenades to kill themselves immediately or be shot, etc., in the war of attrition that in part the US saved Okinawa and the rest of Japan from.

"3. Don't accept enemy's surrender until US get what they want."

Again, as opposed to what, tina? An enemy that attacked you and slaughtered thousands for NO REASON should not be given any room for negotiation in their surrender. Sorry, tina, but the US did not force Japan to attack Pearl Harbor -- your winger friends did that -- same as no one forced them to put the Nazis to shame with their slaughter of more than 10 million across Asia.

"4. Change the history and pretend they are just,"

You have done that on this thread and over the past few days several times alone, tina. You still haven't told me where you got the "well known fact" that Christians were expelled because they destroyed shrines and temples, or how you know the US didn't attack Kyoto because "they had buddies there". You support the biggest white-washers in the world in supporting Abe and co., and in believing that Japan did no wrong before or during WWII, and was forced into attacking the US, and you approve of Abe and Co changing the history books all the time to omit and and all wrong-doing by the IJA, such as the aforementioned slaughter of Japanese by their own people, sex slaves, Nanjing, and other atrocities and war crimes.

"5. Bully the enemy in eternity."

How is the US bullying Japan, tina? We know you don't like the facts brought up for your white-washing, but that's not 'bullying'. You're not a victim, tina, when you deny the way history occurred and played out.

"Please read as many original documents as possible"

You should heed your own advice instead of making up things on a whim. Oh, and Japanese blogs (and broken links) don't count as 'original documents'.

Serrano: "“Operation Downfall,” as the mainland invasion was dubbed, could have involved at least one million U.S. troops and as many as 2.5 million Japanese troops."

And it could have involved ZERO, with the Japanese having surrendered before it occurred, something that was well in the works already. You can cut the 'hypothetically saved lives' nonsense and simply look at the hundreds of thousands of lives it took as proof that NO lives were saved, only taken. You cannot prove a single life would have been lost if the bombs were not dropped. Period.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

"And it could have involved ZERO, with the Japanese having surrendered before it occurred, something that was well in the works already"

But smith, even months after a lot of Tokyo was burned to the ground, they still hadn't surrendered.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Serrano: "But smith, even months after a lot of Tokyo was burned to the ground, they still hadn't surrendered."

They were going to. The excuse that the weapons saved lives if just the BS excuse Americans were told and still choose to chant so that they can sleep at night knowing they killed hundreds of thousands of innocent people, including many, many children and women. The reasons they NEEDED to use the bombs, Serrano, were merely political. They had spent so much money on the Manhattan project -- more than a billion in the 1940s -- that investors were DEMANDING to see it used. The government could not afford not to or they would lose further investment in projects. They also wanted to use it as a means to scare Russia, whom the US knew would be the next real threat. Detonating the devices was a direct threat to Russia to back off. And of course it was for scientific purposes and for future weapons research and development (and money). But none of that would fly for the general public, so they put a face on it that the people could relate to: "It'll bring our boys home!"

All lies, my friend. And as I said you cannot prove that even a single person would have died if the atomic bombs were not dropped; you can only say without a doubt that hundreds of thousands died because they were. That's not "saving lives", nor is it "good for Japan", any more than Japan colonising and raping much of Asia was "beneficial to Asia" as so many here believe.

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

Spot on

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

They [Japan] were going to [surrender]

No, they were not. They intended to fight on to bleed the invader so badly that the US would accept a negotiated peace. The plan was to have a 'decisive battle,' or ketsugō sakusen (決号作戦).

While Japan no longer had a realistic prospect of winning the war, Japan's leaders believed they could make the cost of conquering Japan too high for the Allies to accept, which would lead to some sort of armistice rather than total defeat.

It is fantasy and not history that Japan was ready to surrender. It took the dual shocks of two atomic attacks AND the Stalin's declaration of war to break the deadlock in the Supreme War Council with the intervention of Emperor Hirohito. To what extent each of these factors played are still being debated by historians of the period, both in Japan and elsewhere -- primarily because the Imperial Household Agency will not make the necessary papers available for review.

But make no mistake: these two events (the bomb, the Soviet Entry) caused Japan's surrender. Absent one or both, Japan would not have surrendered.

I'll say it again: the atomic attacks on Japan were stand out terrible events in a global conflict rife with terrible events. It is incumbent upon us, it is our moral duty, to understand how and why the terrible events occurred so that we make take whatever feeble steps we can to avert their repeat or even rhyme.

Promulgating the demonstrable falsehood that Japan was ready to surrender before the atomic attacks is a failure of our moral duty.

Again, to repeat: The United States dropped two atomic bombs on Japan because it demanded 'unconditional surrender' from the Empire of Japan. In early August, 1945, Japan's Supreme War Counsel refused to capitulate to that demand. The Big Six wanted a negotiated peace that would, when boiled down to its most fundamental, maintain the national polity, or kokutai、国体. Japan wanted a do-over.

The US would not give them one.

It is from there we must begin the moral and intellectual struggle of whether the atomic attacks were justified. That is what it means to learn from history.

That is, in one s

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Japan surrendered because of Russia enntering the war, which is exactly what Truman said would happen, which is why the bombs were dropped before the day agreed upn the Russia would enter the war.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

There were a lot of prisoners who also lost their lives. It was far more than just 200,000 Japanese. There were Koreans, and American prisoners being held.

Domtoidi knows his/her history! Respect! Russian wanted half of Japan. We needed an "immediate surrender. As horrible as the bombings were, this kept Japan from being divided up.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Erin Loydi BrummetteMAY. 19, 2016 - 05:54AM JST There were a lot of prisoners who also lost their lives. It was far more than just 200,000 Japanese. There were Koreans, and American prisoners being held.

Where is the evidence that 200,000 people were killed? The 1946 U.S. had figure of 90,000 dead. Deaths after Dec 1945 evidently were not very numerous. The survey found that majority had died by Dec. 1945, and that an additional 5-6% had died between then and 1950. Interestingly, the latter death rate is slightly above 1 percent a year, almost exactly the normal mortality rate for the Japanese population. Counting deaths as of the end of 1945 must have captured essentially all of them.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

As I understand it, even after the bombs had dropped, & the Emperor made his surrender recording, there was an attempt to destroy the record, capture the Emperor, & continue the war. This would have resulted in an invasion & the annihilation of Japan. Odds are, tactical nukes, gas & CBW would been employed, based on the ferocity of the fight Japan made elsewhere. But there were enough sane men left in Japan to protect the surrender process, The bombs were horrible weapons, but they helped avoid far worse, & saved what was left of the country. War is so often about horrible choices. This time it was a choice between horrible & terrible beyond measure means to end a war begun by the fascist powers.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

The reasons for dropping the bomb were very complex. One of which was to show the Soviets what we had. There was at least one general in Patton who wanted to go to war with the Soviets. I'm not sure how many other minds were thinking like this at the time, but the intimidation factor was clearly one of the many reasons for dropping the bomb. I'm not justifying it, just trying to add perspective.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

I find it amazing how some think Japan should have dictated its own surrender after killing 20-30million & rampaging all over the Far East & SE Asia, NUTS!

There is NO WAY the allies were going to let Japan crawl back home, call it a day & leave things as is, that would have had VERY SEVERE consequences for Japanese, you need to realize all the prosperity enjoyed today in Japan is because Japan LOST WWII, the best thing that could have happened to Japan & Japanese was LOSING WWII!!

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Tuguro, you are 100% correct. Russia already had larger plans. Those plans included some o f the core islands that make up Japan. IN the long run, lives were probably saved by dropping the bombs.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

@Serrano: If 2.5 million Japanese troops were involved, most of them would have been killed or committed suicide,

There weren’t 2.5 million troops available at the time on the Japanese side.

so the A-bombs were good for them.

And here we are. The Japanese have to be grateful for the US dropping the bombs on them. Must love the arrogance of some Americans.

@wtfjapan: I get tired of this continued focus about the A-bombs and how Japan was the victim and how evil the bombs were etc etc, truth of the matter is WW2 was so much bigger than the just pacific side

The Japanese government and those in the IJA were not victims. They were perpetrators. The civilians who god bombed were victims, as hundreds of thousands of them never went to battle. The bombs were evil. Yes, WW II was much bigger than that. But here we are commenting on an article about Hiroshima and Nagasaki, so if you get tired of the topic, you can simply leave the discussion.

war has always claimed more civilian lives than military, that's what war does.

Yes. This is why the Japanese say “We must remember so that it never happens again.” And they have done a good job at remembering and keeping away from military interventions into other sovereign states so far. What is so unbearable about this???

Ah yes. The conscience of those who claim they got everything right cannot bear being questioned. It seems that the roles have changed, though. For 70 years now the evil Japanese have not engaged in any international conflicts, have supported the economic development of Asian and African countries (plus countries in Central America and Eastern Europe), while the noble guys who dropped the bombs have been walking through the world destroying countries and regions because of their political and economic interests. The irony. Japan and the US seem to have learned well from each other.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

No, they were not.

Once the Soviets were in, they had no choice but to surrender. if the Russians had gotten to Hokkaido they would have had a say in the postwar admin of Japan. That would have meant no more emperor. The Japanese had to trust that the US might keep the emperor as opposed to the Soviets who would've likely abolished the imperial system. So yes, it is true that the Japanese planned to fight to the bitter end, while aiming for Soviet mediation to negotiate a compromised peace. Once the Soviets were in, compromise was out.........and days later we have Hirohito's surrender speech, citing the atom bombs as the cause. This is a fallacy that has been swallowed for too long.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

In the end, it will be interesting to see and hear what President Obama says and does at his visit to Hiroshima.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

smith: "as I said you cannot prove that even a single person would have died if the atomic bombs were not dropped"

So, smith, you believe that no one else would have died if the atomic bombs weren't dropped? Really? Wow...

3 ( +3 / -0 )

If Japan had the bomb instead of the US, would they have used it? Well of course they would have. Some of you are quite naive.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Yes, Japan likely would have used it. They were developing biological agents to drop on the US via hot air balloons. It's not a great leap of the imagination. Did the bombs end the war? No, the Russians did. Same as they took Berlin and finished off the Nazis. Those are the facts.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Yes, those are the facts, but the comic book version of history is easier for people to cling to.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

That is true. People always prefer a simpler version

0 ( +0 / -0 )

MokuSatsu. Read.quietly and ignore.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The US will apologize when Japan apologizes for trying to do the very same thing. The Japanese bomb would have been delivered by ballon.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

If you read memoirs and accounts of people fighting at that time against the Japanese, there is an overwhelming consistency in their reports and sentiments - that even in the absolute depths and depravity of war that turns men into complete dogs, the Japanese wartime mentality and attitude defied logic and all reason. Left even the most battle hardened and experienced soldiers completely exasperated and bewildered. One of my own Grandfathers was very much of this experience and there is no doubt, by all accounts, that he was simply a different man when he can home. He told me that the men they fought on Bougainville were well and truly beaten - they were cut off from any supplies and reinforcements, had little ammunition and no food, were starving and cannibalistic, but the only way they would stop is that they had to be killed. So that's what happened, and for guys like my Pop who had to do the killing, it never made a scrap of sense and scarred them forever. That would have been consistent for all forces fighting Japan at the time. I mean, I can clearly remember the first time I heard about the Kamikaze pilots from WW2 - I simply couldn't conceive of the reason behind such madness. The futility of it was extraordinary. So, I think that broad understanding and experience projected into a potential invasion of Japan was just going to be too much, too costly, too terrible. So, in that context I can understand the decision. I can see why they did it. It was a crime, for sure, in a long list of WW2 crimes, but the complexity of the situation makes it hard to judge in isolation.

Perhaps when Obama is asked about it he should just offer a 'Mokusatsu'. Just him going there is enough for now.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

@tamarama,

I also had relatives, (long dead) that fought the Japanese in the Pacific. They would never talk about it, perhaps it was too much trauma, as you posted. I just dismissed all of it as the "past" and never gave it much thought. In those days the revisionist movement wasnt so strong, it was more of "lets get past it" atmosphere. but it seems these days, due to the dying off off these veterans, its a good time to hijack the narrative for their own agenda. Tina, and other revisionist, are on a journey, to "rediscover" their past, and disqualify any historical truths, like the experiences of our relatives. I wish them well on their "discovery" but Im also on my own journey. I once new a Japanese man who told me he speared babies in the air during a campaign in Asia. He didnt seem traumatized by it either. Guess what, that same behavior was written in on the books I have. Just as Tina is so eager to share her "discoveries" Id also like to share the things I discover about the horrors our relatives went through.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

@Kevin: If is not fact. Write your if to fiction.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@Tamarama

Thanks for sharing that story. I hope Japanese men (and women) never find themselves in such a state again, fighting to the death for a mere man.

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The Japanese government and those in the IJA were not victims. They were perpetrators. The civilians who god bombed were victims, as hundreds of thousands of them never went to battle. The bombs were evil. Yes, WW II was much bigger than that. But here we are commenting on an article about Hiroshima and Nagasaki, so if you get tired of the topic, you can simply leave the discussion. no i didnt say im tired of the topic, i get tired of this continued mindset that the A-bombs were the worst atrocity in history and how evil it was etc. yes it was bad but so was the other 40million civilians that were killed during WW2. More than 6 million Jews were slaughtered by Hitler, twice as many as all of Japan loses. People need to look at the whole picture of WW2 before reaching conclusions, not just their brainwashed version of it

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@Tamarama & 5petals. Great posts.

@bruinfan

I hope Japanese men (and women) never find themselves in such a state again, fighting to the death for a mere man.

The Americans are here for that. But right now (unfortunately) they're in damage control mode. Its a no win situation.

Bases:Crime.

No Bases:Less Crime+New burden for Japan's regional security.

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A combination of many things brought an end to WWII. Impossible to decide what specifically did and did not. For example, was the Italian Resistance and their overthrow of the fascists in Italy significant? (It delayed the Nazis attack on Russia causing them to fail... etc, etc... ) But some things could have been done in a different way. I've often wondered how many people in Japan knew what had happened in Hiroshima when the second bomb was dropped over Nagasaki. I suspect very few, and more time should have been given for the Emperor and anyone who agreed with him to surrender before a second bomb.

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Gary Raynor - Excellent post. Agreed on all points.

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First, I will say that I disagree with 99.99% of everything Obama says and does. Next I will say that if Obama apologizes to Japan for the Bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, ... even though it will be met with great resistance and disbelief, ... it will be the 0.01% I support. From someone who has lived in Japan for several years, making great effort to understand the culture and history, I often feel that between Japan and the USA, the wrong country won the war.

The scocietal structure is far more civilized than any other on the planet. The Japanese endure more ill treatment from the dreggs of scociety and as many or more natural disasters than anybody, and they do it without complaining.

Look at the aftermath of any of their natural disasters... search with all your effort for stories and reports of looting, riots, folks fighting those trying to help, fighting for food, unsanitary conditions in the shelters, etc. It's not there... Then search for another country or city for which you can say the same ... again, its not there... With such a society like Japan in charge, the world would be a much better place. ...

I have done the research as to why Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, and the USA is not blameless. Japan's mistake was that they took the bait. There is overwhelming evidence that Japan was provoked, and that the president had knowledge up to 6.months in advance. The evidence supports that the pearl harbor attack was more in the interest of Japan's self preservation, and out of desire to take over America. It was our government that had our best new ships out at sea, and the not so good ships and planes lined up in a row for target practice. The Pearl Harbor attack was a military target. No effort was made to attack civilians

The argument about the treatment of POWs... The time period before Japan agreed to the Geneva convention, was pretty rough. but nothing near what Hitler was doing. The evidence shows that after Japan signed on to the Geneva convention, they adhered pretty strictly to the rules. Japan is a country that respects rules and athority, if you can't keep your promise, you are a sub-human with no common sense.

When Japan was in control of Korea, Korea prospered. Korea owes its current success in the world to Japan. Because of Japan, Korea has a writing system and a somewhat civilized society. Japan did a much better job of liberating Korea than the USA has done in most all of its liberation projects.

Had Japan won the war, the problems with China and both Koreas would be a very different story. I believe the effect on the world would be that more people would have manners, polite to each other, respect for law and order, and individual responsibility.

The USA completely owes Japan an apology.

It is a matter of record that Japan was ready to surrender, and even tried to surrender, soon after Germany, up until two weeks before Hiroshima, but Truman refused until he could use his bombs The claims that many lives were saved because we bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki is FALSE. The people who continue to believe that have been brainwashed and are unlikely to ever see the truth. About Japan apologizing for its conduct during the war... Japan has apologized again and again and again. Even cases when no apology was warented, they apologized, and even paid lots and lots of money for frivolous claims.

The benefit of winning the war is that the winner gets to write the historical narrative, even if it is not true. Japan is not our closest ally because we bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but inspite of it.

The bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki are the biggest war crimes ever committed, and continues to be covered under lies and misdirection.

Unfortunately, most of the American people will never know. When faced with the truth, will cling to the lie because it is easier... I guess it can't be helped.

In a twisted way, I can grasp the problem the world is having with the Islamo -nazis. When you are taught a lie for generations, it's hard to accept another belief.

I belive the majority of Americans want to do what is right and live the best life they can. But the attack on Hiroshima and Nagasaki was Unjustified, and an apology is in order.

My hope is that it would be someone other than Obama. Even with the risk of earthquakes and tsunamis. Id rather live in Japan, where manners and respect are the norm, and the bar is set for the rest of the world.

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