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Do you think that ceremonies for victims of the A-bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki should include references to the victims of Japan’s acts of aggression before and during World War II?

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If the US admitted that they were wrong in Hiroshima and Nagasaki and Japan admitted its acts of aggression prior to WWII, truly and honestly, people wouldn't feel a need to hold these ceremonies.

-14 ( +1 / -15 )

Living in Japan since the late 1980s, I have noticed a paradigm shift in how the A-bombing narrative is portrayed and viewed by the general population.

Decades ago, I got the feeling that people in Japan viewed themselves more of victims of the Imperial Japanese Government, in that they seemed to see themselves as having been put in the position to become targets of the bomb by their own war hungry military leaders.

Fast forward to the present day, particularly in the last ten year, and I get the feeling that people in Japan view themselves more of victims of the U.S. government when it comes to the A-bombings, and victims of China and South Korea with respect to Japan's wartime and post-war involvement with those nations.

The prevailing narrative now holds that Japan was begrudgingly tricked into bombing Pearl Harbor, and that the IJA had benevolent intentions in occupying the countries of Asia in terms of ridding them of U.S. and European colonizers, and modernizing their economies with schools and beneficial infrastructure.

So, Yes. The A-bombing ceremonies should include references to Japanese aggression, particularly considering how they have come to be manipulated by Japan's nationalists as a means of popularizing their "Japan as well-intentioned victim, not aggressor" narrative.

14 ( +20 / -6 )

ABSOLUTELY as I have been saying for ages here!! Context, there is virtually NEVER any context about what Japan did during & prior to WWII!!

Kudos to Sensato for pointing put how the govt is manipulating history even MORE of late.

Bottom line is after 71years Japan still CANT come to grips with what it did, who its allies were etc with regards to WWII & this has & continues to cause great harm to Japan, this sadly should have all been put to bed many decades ago, still nowhere close today, in fact getting to a closer truth is getting farther away of late, what a waste!

6 ( +13 / -7 )

**Why should these ungrateful neighbors be included when Japan was the only victim?

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

I voted no because you can mourn the victims of a tragedy without downplaying what led up to it. I've been to Hiroshima 4 times and not once did I think about why the city was bombed. That is irrelevant to my offering a prayer for victims. And I think that the thousands of foreigners who visit each year feel the same way. They don't expect to see a giant signboard explaining the reasons why the U.S. bombed the city.

I haven't been to Pearl Harbor but is there a plaque or some sign there, explaining to visitors why the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor? Does it explain the geopolitical situation that led up to Pearl Harbor?

Whenever I go to battlegrounds, I try to learn the history but it is not necessary that it be a part of the exhibit or ceremony. I've even been to the Alamo and the monument to Custer's Last Stand, but there is nothing there saying it was a payback for the U.S. government's policy towards Native Americans.

When you think about all the places where mass blood-letting took place, it is not important to make a big issue about why they happened. That is not what people go there for. They go to honor the victims. If I went to Nanjing, I would pray for the victims there, too. When I went to Auschwitz, I honored those victims. When I was in Dresden, I honored the victims of that horrific firebombing during the war.

And to you Sensato and GW, you think that Japan is playing the victim card. Well, so they should. Hiroshima and Nagasaki were victims on those two days, and it is fitting to remember the victims one day a year. Just as the victims of Nanjing, Pearl Harbor and so on were victims, and tnhey, too, should be remembered and honored.

There is no manipulating of history. A victim is a victim, regardless of why. In fact there are no "whys," when you mourn a terrible event. I know the history and I know what led up to the bombings and it makes no difference to the sorrow I feel.

Those who can't mourn the victims of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, without trying to link those bombings to what led up to the disasters, lack humanity. Or they are just Japan bashers (in GW's case).

4 ( +15 / -11 )

BrainiacAUG. 08, 2016 - 11:26AM JST I voted no because you can mourn the victims of a tragedy without downplaying what led up to it. I've been to Hiroshima 4 times and not once did I think about why the city was bombed. That is irrelevant to my offering a prayer for victims. And I think that the thousands of foreigners who visit each year feel the same way. They don't expect to see a giant signboard explaining the reasons why the U.S. bombed the city.

Seems quite reasonable and rational. Expect to get downvoted like no one's business.

I think it's perfectly fine for discussions about Hiroshima and Nagasaki to bring up Japan's aggression when it's relevant to what the people discussing it want to say. But to declare as the question asks that it must always be mentioned, that stinks of trying to create a causal link that isn't exactly there. Like when Japanese historical revisionists try to pretend that Japan was forced into bombing Pearl Harbor because of the US's embargo on Japan for steel, rubber, and oil - both attempt to pretend that one earlier action made the later one inescapable. Even worse, it may make people think the innocent victims of Hiroshima and Nagasaki deserved to be bombed simply because they were Japanese.

No, in this case I think freedom of speech must also include the right not to speak about a topic if people don't wish to.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Great, great post brainiac, nailed it.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

I second. One of the most thoughtful posts I have seen on JapanToday. Pleasantly surprised it hasn't been voted down.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

the very fact that this poll is not an emphatic YES, is representative of the signs of trouble at present and to come

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Those who can't mourn the victims of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, without trying to link those bombings to what led up to the disasters, lack humanity.

That is true but is only half of the story. The bombings did not happen in a vacuum. The two memorials are often shunned precisely because of their insular message: War is bad, and atomic bombs are the worst of war. Tell me something I don't know.

Aside from those above two platitudes, what should have been learned? - That allowing militarists to gain control over a country and use its resources and people as cannon fodder for self-aggrandizement results in destruction on all sides, no matter what weapons used. If all nuclear weapons were magically eliminated, the above would hold true.

The two monuments hold a very narrow focus. Broadening it to include the ways that the cities met their unfortunate fates would by far deepen their messages - one that would appeal far more deeply to many non-Japanese, including Americans such as I - and especially at this time.

4 ( +9 / -5 )

LagunaAUG. 08, 2016 - 06:42PM JST The two monuments hold a very narrow focus. Broadening it to include the ways that the cities met their unfortunate fates would by far deepen their messages -

The Peace Museum in Hiroshima already covers this.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

@BertieWooster

If the US admitted that they were wrong in Hiroshima and Nagasaki and Japan admitted its acts of aggression prior to WWII, truly and honestly, people wouldn't feel a need to hold these ceremonies.

Ah once again, you just come out against America. It is sad that you have so much unsupported disdain for America, but I will play your little game.

If the USA admitted it was wrong in bombing Hiroshima and Nagasaki..... Once again you are the one who is using the ruler of today to apply to the days of yesterday when there was a vastly different ruler. In hindsight, in hindsight, in hindsight. In hindsight. This is YOUR ruler. But it does not save lives because it is in the past.. It is only a tool to be used so that further wrongs will not be committed. It is just as simple as that. I am going to make this clear. Everyone was searching for the bomb, and everyone had intentions on using it. This was how wars were fought at the time. There is no need for the USA to apologise for anything because it was simply doing what others were trying to do and to win wars. (Although I do admit that an apology would make me very happy, I can not stand for one while Japan white washes its history in textbooks.) It was only doing what it thought best for its own people and that is what the responsibility of leaders have to their people. This was the ultimate objective for all involved. It would not be that way now and we would look at the thought process of the past with shock and disdain if someone tried to apply those now. So, kindly get off your Anti-American bashing agenda cause everyone knows what you are always about when the USA is involved. SMH

If Japan admitted its acts of aggression then this would solve something too. Well, that is very true. I will give you that one. Japan has a hard time with the truth though just like everyone else, but then again the Koreas and China will never allow Japan to get from underneath that rock. Never. But Japan has not tried anymore than we in America have. A truly sad thing. So frankly it is just a matter of who you are willing to let off the hook.

Now, don't misunderstand. I am actually very supportive of American children coming here and going to Vietnam to learn about what our forefathers did. But Japanese kids should not visit Hiroshima at all, it only teaches them that their forefathers were the victims just like Americans visiting the Vietnam Memorial or Pearl Harbor. Japanese kids should visit Pearl Harbor, the Koreas, China and all of the other Asian countries that Japan brutalised. But, and this is something that Japan needs to understand, it is not an admission of being bad because you were not anymore responsible then I was for the bombing of Hiroshima. This is a new generation innocent of guilt. Much like my own generation as it pertains to Hiroshima and Vietnam. We have to educate our children without fear or favor. Screw nationalism on all sides. History is evolution and evolution is not peaceful, it is violent and reckless. It does not matter what our forefathers did because....... we are not them .... and it does not involve guilt. But we should teach that what our own did was wrong without excuses. If we learn from history, our children can live in peace.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

@BertieWooster

If the US admitted that they were wrong in Hiroshima and Nagasaki and Japan admitted its acts of aggression prior to WWII, truly and honestly, people wouldn't feel a need to hold these ceremonies.

As a species, we still feel the need to mourn even if the culprits admit their follies. There's also that little matter of those who forget their past being doomed to repeat it.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I am curious how many more lives would have been lost if those bombs had not been used.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

It seems that Japanese do blame atomic bombs but not who did it. They are just appealing atomic bombs, nuclear war heads, etc can't be used no matter what reasons they have. Such weapons are very barbaric tool kills millions of civilians in one second.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

There's also that little matter of those who forget their past being doomed to repeat it.

And to counter that, those who REMEMBER their past are doomed to repeat it, especially those who obsessively remember bits that confirm their prejudices.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Yes. The Hiro-Naka narrative is biggest "victim card" ever played. What about the Korean, Chinese and Filipino civilians who suffered from imperial Japan? Japan started the war in the 1st place. This is why the international community should not give them special dispensation just because they were the only ones nuked.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

No. The bombings should be recognised for themselves.

But Japan needs to recognise what it did in the war and currently WW2 gets mentioned about once a year - early August. Without this, the Japan-as-victim narrative will be played out in perpetuity.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

While I believe, very strongly, Japan, for her own sake, look at the empire and atrocities of WW with truths and historical value to teach their children properly, it is an entirely different issue than Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

The responsibility for truth and historical accuracy is important for Japan's moral well being, while the nuclear destruction of the A-bomb is completely a world wide issue. For Japan, it is a lie not to expose her people to the events of WW2, and is a problem of non transparency leading to insecurity and distrust problems for the people of Japan toward their own government. There is an apathy created from knowing something is not being brought out as the truth, and that, in the long run, is never a good thing, especially one where evidence is so widespread.

The devastation of nuclear bombs should be mutually exclusively recognized over Japan's massacre in Nanking, killings in Asia, experimental medical institutions in China, etc. I don't think it is any less an issue for Japan, in context of what was done in Asia, but it is different and should be separate from the Hiroshima/Nagasaki bombings.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Braniac, but thats where your argument is flawed, Japans want desperately for the international community to mourn the A-bomb victims with them, and the acknowledgement that Japanese were victims, and rightly so. But Japan would get so much more respect and praise from its neighbours if Japanese officials and even the Japanese people visited sites throughout Asia that suffered brutally under Japanese rule. The whole of the pacific war was linked and which culminated with A-bombs, they are inseparable. A victim is a victim no matter which country they came from and of equal importance in value of lives lost. When Asians look to Japan and the huge imbalance of attention that is given to the A-bomb victims it makes their own look of less worth, especially if the aggressors show little respect or acknowledgement towards them. How hard is it for Japan to put an apology, even a small apology into the A-bomb speeches each year, that would go a long way in gaining its neighbours respect and trust.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

I’m always inclined to an opinion something similar to Brainiac. It is only nationalism which allows a totalitarian logic like “We did that but you did this.” It’s absurd to regard every single Japanese individual, including babies and children, responsible for the atrocities the nation committed.

On the other hand, I do understand the opinion like Sensato feeling that Japan as a nation needs to pass the knowledge about these atrocities committed under the name of the emperor and the nation. Actually, indeed it had. There have been quite many school teachers used to openly teach these atrocities and the neglect of human rights done in the past totalitarian government. Some of them rejected to sing the national anthem till recently. Now the cabinet is even shamelessly letting students inform against teachers who teach negative history of the nation.

As for colonialism, in my understanding, it is still going on under different appearances. While some people call it no-colonialism some others call it financial colonialism. Whatsoever it is called, otherwise, how words such as proxy war could even exist and these weapons are mainly made by permanent members of the UNSC. However, as you see, the topic can go forever if we don’t limit the topic.

So, I’d rather stick to the standpoint similar to Brainiac: let us humbly mourn the victims and just remember what human beings are capable of.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

SensatoAUG. 08, 2016 - 08:55AM JST The prevailing narrative now holds that Japan was begrudgingly tricked into bombing Pearl Harbor, and that the IJA had benevolent intentions in occupying the countries of Asia in terms of ridding them of U.S. and European colonizers, and modernizing their economies with schools and beneficial infrastructure.

Perhaps you meant to phrase that differently, but Japan was not "tricked" into a massive, transoceanic aerial attack as it took months to plan. A certain portion of Japanese over the age of 50 might believe they were "forced" into attacking the U.S. fleet at Pearl Harbor, along with massive raids throughout the rest of East Asia and SE Asia, but there wasn't any bait and switch or even diplomatic slight of hand that somehow fooled the Japanese military and government into making that fateful decision.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I don’t deny the possibility of trick or bait. At very least, it is pretty unnatural that all of the targeted battleships were relocated just before the attack and, for American military standard, Japanese codes were pretty primitive. Japan had lost information war much earlier than the VJ day. Also, the USA made a hostile move of cutting oil supply to Imperial Japan. That said, bait or not, it is a fact that Japan attacked, at least, some of Americans off-guard, and that Japan had already decided to join the colonialist war long time ago at the time of Pearl Harbor. So-called Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere is a propaganda of Japan as another colonialist. In any case, Japan had already been far from innocent. However, this is pretty much off topic.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

No.

That should be a separate memorial/ceremony. No need to bring up something controversial at a ceremony remembering the dead. It would do no good.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

No need to bring up something controversial at a ceremony remembering the dead. It would do no good. Are Asians that died at the hands of the IJA considered controversial!? Are their lives of less worth than the Japanese who died? Why should only Japan mourn Japanese and Asia mourn Asians. The whole Hiroshima/Nagasaki memorials have become a symbol of world peace, anti-war , free of nuclear weapons. Why should only Japanese lives be the only ones remembered, and their lives be the only symbol of world peace!?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Why should only Japanese lives be the only ones remembered, and their lives be the only symbol of world peace!?

Because they expect special dispensation from the global community. But IJA were the "bad guys" remember? Why do easily forget that?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Yes, absolutely. Japan's aggression in starting the war (amongst a long list of other things) led to the deaths of innocents in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Oh Yeah. Imperial Japan was such bad. Entire Asia used to be so peaceful under complete westen colonialism except Thai. Oh Yeah.

-9 ( +0 / -9 )

Things like the Nanking Massacre, Unit 731, or the sex slaves ring a bell? These were crimes against humanity, which continue to be denied. Japanese people today are not responsible for them, but they have a responsibility to acknowledge them. And the fact their ancestors committed these crimes. Denial is a crime against the inexorability of history. I have been to both atom bomb museums and seen what the Japanese people suffered. I now call on them to see what others suffered at their hands.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

It's August.

For those interested, here is the concise and thorough one-hour summary on dropping of the bombs by the eminent historian of Japan, Ken Pyle.

Starts at time-stamp 10:00.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

No. Ceremonies remembering the victims of a particular attack should concentrate on the victims of that particular attack.

When we (the U.S.A.) hold a memorial ceremony at the U.S.S. Arizona every December 7th, we don't talk about how the native Americans were victimized by government-sanctioned genocide 60 to 100 years before the attack on Pearl Harbor. NOR during those ceremonies do we discus the mass murders of civilians in places like My Lai, Vietnam.

Places like Nanking have their own memorial ceremonies for their victims. If you want to memorialize them, go to Nanking and do so.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

woops

Here is the link:

ttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N3mfigIUbao

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Japan's ultra-nationalists and members of Nippon Kaigi would, without exception, all vote 'no' to this poll because they deny Japan's wartime wrongdoings and blemishes pretty much across the board, while accusing Asian victims of Japan's aggression of being less than honest. They also support (an implement) a "beautiful Japan" education curriculum that focuses on Japan's wartime suffering, but ignores the suffering Japan caused. Having said that, voting 'no' to this poll doesn't mean you are an uyoku sympathizer, but it does put you in bad company.

the victims...should be remembered and honored

@Brainiac

I fully agree — and with the benefit of hindsight, I also think the U.S. should not have used the A-bombs, no matter what the justification.

Still, I would argue that "peace museum" ceremony officials would be honoring the A-bomb victims by expressing sorrow and empathy particularly toward the victims throughout Asia resulting from Japan's acts of aggression. Not doing so is a disservice to the A-bomb victims, and the manner in which Japan's right wing interests have hijacked the peace museum narrative to portray Japan largely as a victim of the war rather than perpetrator is a slap in the face to the A-bomb victims and Japan's victims throughout Asia.

They don't expect to see a giant signboard explaining the reasons why the U.S. bombed the city.

This is clearly a red herring argument given that this poll is about making reference to victims of Japan's acts of aggression, not making reference to "reasons why the U.S. bombed the city" — which by almost all accounts had little or nothing to do with victims of Japan's acts of aggression, most of whom were citizens of the Asian countries Japan invaded and occupied.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Sensato, GW, Chris Glenn, you guys are spot on as usual. Of course I voted yes. We should honor all the victims. To not do so will add more fuel to Japan's right wing deniers. We must not allow Hiroshima and Nagasaki to become justifications for a return to right wing politics.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

“The use of the atomic bomb, with its indiscriminate killing of women and children, revolts my soul. The only difference between this and the use of gas is the fear of retaliation.”

President Herbert Hoover

“During his recitation of the relevant facts, I had been conscious of a feeling of depression and so I voiced to him my grave misgivings, first on the basis of my belief that Japan was already defeated and that dropping the bomb was completely unnecessary, and secondly because I thought that our country should avoid shocking world opinion by the use of a weapon whose employment was, I thought, no longer mandatory as a measure to save American lives.

It was my belief that Japan was, at that very moment, seeking some way to surrender with a minimum loss of ‘face’. The Secretary was deeply perturbed by my attitude…”

Dwight D. Eisenhower

“It is my opinion that the use of this barbarous weapon at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of no material assistance in our war against Japan. The Japanese were already defeated and ready to surrender because of the effective sea blockade and the successful bombing with conventional weapons.

The lethal possibilities of atomic warfare in the future are frightening. My own feeling was that in being the first to use it, we had adopted an ethical standard common to the barbarians of the Dark Ages. I was not taught to make war in that fashion, and wars cannot be won by destroying women and children.”

Adm. William Leahy

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

"The Japanese were already defeated and ready to surrender..."

Then why did they ignore the Potsdam Declaration, issued in late July 1945?

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Gen. Douglas MacArthur “I told MacArthur of my memorandum of mid-May 1945 to Truman, that peace could be had with Japan by which our major objectives would be accomplished. MacArthur said that was correct and that we would have avoided all of the losses, the Atomic bomb, and the entry of Russia into Manchuria.” — A Diary Entry of Herbert Hoover’s

Henry Luce, Time-Life-Fortune publisher In 1948, the rightward-leaning Time-Life-Fortune publisher Henry Luce told an international Protestant meeting that “unconditional surrender” had violated St. Thomas’ just-war doctrine, and that softer surrender terms in 1945 could have ended the war without the atomic bombing, which “so jarred the Christian conscience.” — From Barton J. Bernstein’s article, “American conservatives are the forgotten critics of the atomic bombing of Japan”

Felix Morley, columnist An excerpt from Antiwar.com: [Morley] saw attempts to justify the atomic bombing of Japan – in our day ritually defended by “conservatives” every August like clockwork – as “the miserable farce put on by those who try to reconcile mass murder of ‘enemy children’ with lip service to the doctrine that God created all men in his image.” The atomic bomb was appropriate to a totalitarian order with no fixed moral standards. In Thomistic terms it was “the return to nothingness.” Morley founded the conservative publication Human Events.

Under Secretary of State Joseph Grew “[I]n the light of available evidence I myself and others felt that if such a categorical statement about the [retention of the] dynasty had been issued in May, 1945, the surrender-minded elements in the [Japanese] Government might well have been afforded by such a statement a valid reason and the necessary strength to come to an early clear-cut decision. If surrender could have been brought about in May, 1945, or even in June or July, before the entrance of Soviet Russia into the [Pacific] war and the use of the atomic bomb, the world would have been the gainer.” — An excerpt from Barton Bernstein’s book The Atomic Bomb Washington Examiner columnist Tim Carney wrote in 2013, “I don’t think Truman’s decision was motivated by evil. I’ll even add that it was an understandable decision. But I think it was the wrong one.” Carney would write in a separate article, “I’m no historian, and if anyone can refute the facts in this piece, please do — because the article seems to make the clear argument that the atomic bomb was inexcusable.” The piece he was referring to made a the compelling case that “Japanese leaders, both military and civilian, including the Emperor, were willing to surrender in May of 1945 if the Emperor could remain in place and not be subjected to a war crimes trial after the war … [a] fact [that] became known to President Truman as early as May of 1945.” If accurate, Truman knew three months in advance that the bombing wasn’t necessary, but gave the go-ahead on the last resort of all resorts anyway. A decision that obviously haunted some of the right-leaning politicians, journalists and military leaders of that era.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

It did. The atom bombs were a political gesture for the Soviets. They were considered so terrible they've never been used again to date. But Japan is not innocent of any wrong-doing. Dirty laundry should not be hidden. It should be aired. Japan could have made peace with its neighbours long ago, if it had done this. Germany and Austria, under Hitler, unleashed a war of aggression in 1939. It caused the deaths of millions. Post 1945 these countries went above and beyond to make amends. What has Japan's government done but live in denial? What is worse is they've forced many of their people to believe a lie.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

“The use of the atomic bomb, with its indiscriminate killing of women and children, revolts my soul. The only difference between this and the use of gas is the fear of retaliation.”

President Herbert Hoover

FORMER President Hoover. He wrote that three days after the bomb dropped on Hiroshima.

Then why did they ignore the Potsdam Declaration, issued in late July 1945?

Because the Emperor was a God and the last word the people had from the Emperor was that they would emerge victorious. You have to remember that the majority of Japanese had no information about how bad the war was going for Japan in 1944 and 1945. As far as they knew, Japan's troops were still kicking Allied butt. Japanese leadership was reluctant to forge a surrender even though they DID know the real situation for two reasons: 1.) They didn't want to appear to be countermanding the Emperor, and 2.) The Allied demand for an "Unconditional Surrender" would expose the Emperor to trial and possible execution. When queries were floated to the Allies about surrender without putting the Emperor at risk, those queries were rejected. If they had been accepted, the surrender would probably have happened and the bombs would never have been tested (and that's what they were... live tests of two different trigger methods) on civilians.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Living in Japan since the late 1980s, I have noticed a paradigm shift in how the A-bombing narrative is portrayed and viewed by the general population.

Decades ago, I got the feeling that people in Japan viewed themselves more of victims of the Imperial Japanese Government, in that they seemed to see themselves as having been put in the position to become targets of the bomb by their own war hungry military leaders.

Shhhh...You are spoiling the narrative.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@bruinfan: that therein is the problem. People who disagree with the rosy image presented by the LDP et al are vilified and branded anti-Japanese. People then remain silent and start believing the lies.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Senator Hicknlooper

Isn't your proposal for sea and air blockade of Red China the same strategy by which Americans achieved victory over the Japanese in the Pacific?

General MacArthur

Yes, sir. In the Pacific we by-passed them. We closed in.・・・ There is practically nothing indigenous to Japan except the silkworm. They lack cotton, they lack wool, they lack petroleum products, they lack tin, they lack rubber, they lack great many other things, all of which was in the Asiatic basin.They feared that if those supplies were cut off, there would be 10 to 12 million people unoccupied in Japan. Their purpose, therefore in going to war was largely dictated by security.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x125ml3_the-world-at-war-ep24-the-bomb_shortfilms

Go to 18.40 to hear John McCloy, someone present at the highest level of US government discussions before the bomb was dropped. He also mentions the near farcical "hush hush" secrecy that stopped even the president talking about the Manhattan Project with senior advisors.

A lot of (poor) historians speculate about what the US government did and didn't know regarding the Japanese attitude to surrender, so McCloy's testimony is a valuable record. From what he says, it is not "hindsight" to suggest that more diplomacy could have been tried because the US government discussed it and Truman was open to it. Compared to the goons we have as politicians today (Rumsfeld etc), it's refreshing to hear such a wise and insightful official. McCloy's proposed surrender is very close to what Japan accepted after the bombs were dropped.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

John McCloy

McCloy startled people at the important June 18, 1945 meeting that President Truman held with the U.S. military heads. It was at this meeting that Truman approved an invasion of mainland Japan, scheduled for Nov. 1, 1945. When Truman asked McCloy if he had any alternative to an invasion, McCloy didn't hold back:

"...we ought to have our heads examined if we don't explore some other method by which we can terminate this war than just by another conventional attack and landing." (Herbert Feis Papers, container 79, Len Giovannitti and Fred Freed interviews, Library of Congress). Truman asked what McCloy had in mind; McCloy offered his ideas for obtaining surrender by diplomatic methods:

"Some communication to the Japanese government which would spell out the terms that we would settle for -- there would be a surrender: I wouldn't use again the term 'unconditional surrender', but it would be a surrender that would mean that we would get all the important things that we were fighting for... if we could accomplish our objectives without further bloodshed, there was no reason why we shouldn't attempt to do it...". (Herbert Feis Papers, container 79, Len Giovannitti and Fred Freed interviews, Library of Congress). McCloy proposed that the U.S. remind Japan of our great military superiority, and that we would "permit Japan to continue to exist as a nation..., that we would permit them to choose their own form of government, including the retention of the Mikado, but only on the basis of a constitutional monarchy...". (Herbert Feis Papers, container 79, Len Giovannitti and Fred Freed interviews, Library of Congress).

Then McCloy dropped an even bigger bombshell:

"I had raised the question whether we oughtn't to tell them that we had the bomb and that we would drop the bomb. Well, as soon as I mentioned the word 'bomb' -- the atomic bomb -- even in that select circle... it was sort of a shock. You didn't mention the bomb out loud... Well, there was a sort of a [gasp] back at that." (Herbert Feis Papers, container 79, Len Giovannitti and Fred Freed interviews, Library of Congress). McCloy later wrote that "everyone was so intent on winning the war by military means that the introduction of political considerations was almost accidental." (John McCloy, The Challenge to American Foreign Policy, pg. 42).

Truman told McCloy to take his ideas to the State Department for consideration. James Byrnes, who would soon become Sec. of State, rejected McCloy's ideas. So the Committee of 3 took up the issue of how to convince Japan that it was in her own best interests to surrender. They appointed McCloy to a committee that would write the proposed surrender demand. The document came to be known as the Potsdam Proclamation because it was issued during the Potsdam Conference in Germany.

The Potsdam Proclamation was given to Truman by Stimson on July 2, 1945. Included in the Proclamation was a line that Stimson told Truman "would substantially add to the chances of acceptance" of surrender by Japan. The line said:

"This may include a constitutional monarchy under the present dynasty if it be shown to the complete satisfaction of the world that such a government will never again aspire to aggression." (U.S. Dept. of State, Foreign Relations of the U.S., The Conference of Berlin (Potsdam) 1945, vol. 1, pg. 892-894.) However, that line was removed from the Proclamation by President Truman before it was issued on July 26, 1945. It cannot be known whether the inclusion of that line would have led to surrender by Japan. But Stimson and McCloy were certainly correct in their realization that the emperor was a critical issue for the Japanese.

To the end of his life, McCloy felt "we missed the opportunity of effecting a Japanese surrender, completely satisfactory to us, without the necessity of dropping the bombs." The use of nuclear weapons on Japan "was not given the thoroughness of consideration and the depth of thought that the president of the United States was entitled to have before a decision of this importance was taken." (McCloy quoted in James Reston, Deadline, pg. 500).

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I think that the ceremonies should just memorialize and honor the people, from little crawling babies to elderly people, who lost their lives. Don't politicize it.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Secretary of State James F. Byrnes

He cited what he called Russian proof that the Japanese knew that they were beaten before the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. Foreign Commissar Vyacheslaff M. Molotov informed the American and British at the Postsdam conference, Mr. Byrnes said, that the Japanese had asked to send a delegation to Moscow to seek Russian mediation of the end of the war — an act that Mr. Byrnes interpreted as proof of the enemies defeat.’

Major General Curtis Lemay

‘The atomic bomb had nothing to do with the end of the war … The war would have been over in two weeks without the Russians coming in and without the atomic bomb.’ There was present at this interview two American Generals who were engaged in action against Japan — General Barney Giles, and Brigadier General Emmett O’Donnell — both of who agreed with Lemay.

Admiral Chester Nimitz

In an AP interview in Washington on October 5, 1945, Admiral Chester Nimitz said he was convinced that the end of the war would have been the same without the atomic bomb or the entry of Russia into the war. He re-emphasized this in an address to Congress the same day saying: ‘The atomic bomb did not win the war against Japan. The Japanese had, in fact, already sued for peace before the atomic age was announced to the world with the destruction of Hiroshima and before the Russian entry into the war….’

Admiral William D. Leahy

‘…. It was my reaction that the scientists and others wanted to make this test because of the vast sums that had been spent on the project…’

Lord Hankey, a member of the British War Cabinet states

‘… The leaders of the Western Allies decided at Potsdam in July, 1945, to resort to the ultimate expedient of the Atom bomb. It was a strange and risky decision. They knew that the bomb was the most cruel and deadly weapon that had ever been produced, and that it effects would fall indiscriminately on civilian and military targets. They knew that Japan had already approached Russia with a view to peace discussions. They knew that Russia was on the point of declaring war on Japan. Yet in this fatuous fight for a phrase, they would not pause to seek some more normal means of obtaining the terms they needed, nor would they wait to learn the effect of the Russian declaration of war. There is no published evidence to show that they even inquired whether the use of the bomb was consistent with international law…. … If the enemy had solved the atomic problem and used the bomb first, its employment would have been included in the allied list of war crimes, and those who took the decision or who prepared and used the bomb, would have been condemned and hanged.'”

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Several people post quotes by people actually involved in the execution of the war saying that the atom bombs made no difference in the outcome because we were defeated and ready to surrender anyway. Maybe if all the credit is given to atom bombs, that will diminish the sacrifices of the US troops who fought against us, so they downplay the significance of the atom bombs.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I voted yes, because the context is a critical factor in this situation. The Atomic bombings didn't occur in a vacuum and it is simply irresponsible of Japan to treat them as such.

I believe the majority of the world is probably sad and regretful that they occurred and probably sympathizes with Japan, but by the same token, the world absolutely remembers and understands the context of the bombings, which, sadly, is more that I can say for the average Japanese person I know.

To my mind, that is unacceptable.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

The populace will always be the greatest victim of any war. = It makes little sense for the populace to vote for these "Wars"

If you are pro-War (Globalist) then is makes sense for any justification for that War. If you are anti-War then you do not want or need the justification/rationale for that "War." I am against Abe's "War" armament buildup and am also against the "Occupation" in Okinawa. Japan is a huge oasis for polluted China however = they are a target of Chinese aggression and propaganda.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

"Maybe if all the credit is given to atom bombs, that will diminish the sacrifices of the US troops who fought against us,"

This was indeed the common thinking. Many of the top US military commanders didn't like the atomic bomb, because it was the work of scientists and civil servants, and Nimitz and others wanted their sacrifices and efforts, not of this new and different group, to effect a surrender.

So the comments quoted above are mostly by people who were out of the loop: not part of the small circle in Washington who worked out the strategy and had a deep understanding of Japanese attitudes provided by the top-secret code-breaking.

For example, when Nimiiz said, "the Japanese sued for peace," he was either lying or didnt have a clue what was going on in Washington.

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It does not matter whethear US military commanders were jealous or not.

Victims were female, children, almost all of them were civilians... mass indiscriminate murders executed unnecesssarily

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

“The use of the atomic bomb, with its indiscriminate killing of women and children, revolts my soul. there's nothing more personal than a soldier that shoots an unarmed civilian point blank or skewers them with their bayonet, or smashes childrens heads on the ground to save ammunition. Many more Asian Civilinas died at the hands of the IJA this exact way than were killed in the Abombs, yet some ignorant people are more revolted becuase their countrymen were killed as an indirect retaliation of their own making compared to the millions of Asians that were slaughtered like cattle.

Seriously the selective memory of many Japanese is an insult against humanity.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

@Jeff Lee. Nimitz actually spent time in Japan in his younger days. I'm sure that made him better aware than Truman at least, of Japan's thinking. As for the rest, you have given no credit to the Soviet entry to the war, leaving Hokkaido undefended and open to invasion. America would have us believe of course that the atom bombs caused Japan's surrender.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Abombs were dropped as retaliation on behalf of Other Asians. Never heard of it. I will take note. Thanks

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

"I'm sure that made him better aware than Truman at least, of Japan's thinking."

No way. After the US broke the Japanese code, Truman and his circle were reading cables directly out of Tokyo telling them that after Hiroshima, the Japanese cabinet was still overwhelmingly in favor of continuing the war.

When Nimitiz said the Japanese "had already sued for peace" what is he referring to? Tell me who, where and when because it's not in any reliable historical record.

"....unnecessarily."

Well, apart from bringing a swift end to the most destructive war in human history. Read Hirohito's surrender speech, where he cites the bomb for his decision to surrender.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

A-bombs were dropped as retaliation on behalf of Other Asians. Never heard of it. I will take note. Thanks well considering that China and Korean were allies of the US during WW2, US had airstrips in China to conduct attacks against the Japanese In China. So yes the A-bombs were dropped on behalf of all the allies in the pacific region to force Japans surrender , end Japans colonial rule of Asia and save the lives of many allied forces fighting Japan. There you go you just learnt something, your welcome.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

wtfjapan

Above all,

and Korean were allies of the US during WW2

Never heard of it, Thanks. I will take another note.

JeffLee

If you want to quote Hirohito's speech, I apprecitae you donot cherry pick. Thanks

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

"If you want to quote Hirohito's speech, I apprecitae you donot cherry pick. Thanks"

I don't cherry pick, and Hirohito's speech is easy to find on the internet. But here's the section you need to read:

Moreover, the enemy has begun to employ a new and most cruel bomb, the power of which to do damage is, indeed, incalculable, taking the toll of many innocent lives. Should We continue to fight, not only would it result in an ultimate collapse and obliteration of the Japanese nation, but also it would lead to the total extinction of human civilization. Such being the case, how are We to save the millions of Our subjects, or to atone Ourselves before the hallowed spirits of Our Imperial Ancestors? This is the reason why We have ordered the acceptance of the provisions of the Joint Declaration of the Powers."

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

@Jeff Lee: That was because they were hoping the Soviets would broker a peace deal. Of course when they attacked Manchuria that put paid to that idea.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"If you think Hirohito was realistically responsible for starting and ending the war....,"

Ending the war, of course, yes! Japan's Supreme War Council was still deadlocked after Nagasaki whether to continue to the war, until the Emperor stepped in and said he was going to offer surrender.

"That was because they were hoping the Soviets would broker a peace deal."

The Japanese wanted to negotiate on their terms. That's different from an unconditional surrender. Anyway, the Soviets rejected the Japanese approach. If Japan really wanted peace they would have responded to the Potsdam Declaration.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Thanks for your advice. I would rather stay ignorant of some fabricated stories than being brain-washed. I advise you the same. Im sorry but I think your the one that's brainwashed. You seem to be one of those ignorants that thinks the A-bombs were somehow the worst genocide conceived against humanity. when history shows Imperial Japan atrocities far exceed anything they suffered. It sad that the A-bombs have become a political tool to direct criticism away from Japan dark past. If your somehow waiting for confirmation of your fabricated ideas, Im afraid you may be waiting a long long time. But hey if your false ideals bring you some satisfaction, then go right ahead, dream away.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Which promised "utter destruction", but didn't say further. You are of course forgetting that unconditional surrender, or surrender at all, was an alien concept to Japan. Once the Soviets were in, negotiated peace was out, and boom, we had their surrender 71 years ago today. Hitohito conveniently forgot to mention the Soviets in his speech.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

"Which promised "utter destruction", but didn't say further."

The declaration said a lot of things "further." Like promises that Japanese soldiers could go home to "peaceful and prosperous lives," that Japan would become a democracy that respected human rights, that Japanese industries would be allowed to flourish.

The emperor and his role was not mentioned.

"You're forgetting that unconditional surrender, or surrender at all, was an alien concept to Japan."

They understood it. The term appears several times in the decoded Japanese diplomatic cables, after it was discussed by Japanese officials. Anyway, the "unconditional surrender" referred to the military, not the government. After a surrender, the allies did not to continue fighting Japanese troops spread out and dug in across Asia who still had the right to use their weapons.

Potsdam offered Japan a wonderful chance to rebuild their nation. Sadly, Japanese leaders and media called it a "laughable matter" and outright rejected it.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Potsdam offered Japan a wonderful chance to rebuild their nation. Sadly, Japanese leaders and media called it a "laughable matter" and outright rejected it.

Oh no. Japanese govt was just silent with no-comment "Mokusatsu". It is media(both Japan and US) which translated to outright-"Ignore" or outright-"Reject" "laugable matter"

Regardless, How come offcial A-bombing order was made already on July25, a day before Potsudam ? Bombing detail plan and schedule already fixed and signed off. It was predetermined after spending $2.2bio national project budget.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

The declaration did not guarantee the status of the emperor. That was what the Japanese were holding out for. In any case, MacArthur let Hirohito off the hook, but many were unhappy about it.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

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