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Old 01-25-2014, 04:51 PM   #1
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Question about American view and justification of 1945 Bombings of Japan

I'm genuinely curious about how the Government justified bombing Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and how they came up with bombing them as a measure to end the war.

It's been brought up in History many times in school and college, but they have never actually mentioned why they did it other than "they were desperate to end the war quickly as resources were running out". That's it. Even in College nothing more has been said about it. That conclusion just sounds too generalised and rushed to me, so I wanted to know about how it was taught in other places, particularly America.

What do you guys know about it? Why did the government 'press the button'?
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Old 01-25-2014, 05:21 PM   #2
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Killua and I were discussing this a few days ago. That's pretty much that's what we learned to, it was to end the war quickly. Grated it's been about 7 years since I took history, so I may have forgotten things.
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Old 01-25-2014, 07:54 PM   #3
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World War II was such a confusing time for all the nations and it became ever confusing during the peace talks. Textbooks normally gloss over what happened or give vague descriptions.

Truman gave the ok for the bomb to be dropped. Germany had already surrendered, but there was still the Japanese part of the Axis to "end the war". The Japanese have always been notorious fighters. They literally just keep fighting. They had committed horrible atrocities in Asia and the Pacific. (Unit 731 and the Rape of Nanking, to name a few) Prior to the ultimate surrender of the Japanese because of the bomb, Japan had initiated peace talks with Russia. The Yalta Conference called for the unconditional surrender of the Japanese forces and some sources do say that Japan was willing to surrender, but I haven't encountered whether they were going to adhere to the unconditional part.

A lot of historians and even prominent military leaders at the time agree it was unnecessary to drop the bombs. The majority of the scientists disagreed with the decision to drop the bomb. Einstein HIMSELF even said not to do it. However, you have to remember that the Cold War was beginning to simmer. The United States had a technology Russia did not have (supposedly) at the time. That made the US the supreme power. Did the US drop the bomb to sort of "scare" the Soviet Union? It makes a lot of sense to argue this.

John Pilger over at the guardian mentions, "The US secretary of war, Henry Stimson, told President Truman he was “fearful” that the US air force would have Japan so “bombed out” that the new weapon would not be able “to show its strength”. He later admitted that “no effort was made, and none was seriously considered, to achieve surrender merely in order not to have to use the bomb”. His foreign policy colleagues were eager “to browbeat the Russians with the bomb held rather ostentatiously on our hip”. General Leslie Groves, director of the Manhattan Project that made the bomb, testified: “There was never any illusion on my part that Russia was our enemy, and that the project was conducted on that basis.” The day after Hiroshima was obliterated, President Truman voiced his satisfaction with the “overwhelming success” of “the experiment."

I'm leaning more towards the fact it was a display of force to scare the rest of the world rather than end the war. A sort of political move more than anything. It certainly did end the war, but started the Cold War. You can argue it was for revenge from Pearl Harbor and to ultimately to stop the Japanese from their atrocities. (We did take their information gathered from Unit 731 just like we did from the Nazis at Auschwitz Medical Block)
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Old 01-25-2014, 08:27 PM   #4
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Thanks both of you.
Oh, I see. I hadn't heard of the political move theory before, thanks. I wouldn't be surprised if that was the main factor either to be honest. The Japanese had too much honour to surrender, but it still shocks me a little that they didn't surrender until after Nagasaki had been bombed.
I wish I was writing my history essay on this, I can't seem to get into the British Empire. My essay is over a month late and I haven't started.
I've noticed that no matter how many different sources I try to look at, I can't seem to find much on the Auschwitz medical experiments at all, there's information on Josef Mengele and info about how inhumane they were, but that's it. I guess that the research taken was probably kept classified.
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Old 01-25-2014, 09:13 PM   #5
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As someone who was not present at that time, I can't really say much other than I don't trust our government now, so probably wouldn't have trusted them then. My problems with our government stem from all the blatantly illegal things they do, and how they think they are the police of the world. I realize that is pretty much irrelevant to WWII. As others have said, they wanted to end the war quickly, as well as send a message. I'm not trying to make America sound like the bad guys of WWII - obviously that fell on Germany for the most part. Japan only attacked us because we tried to be the super global police force and tell them what they could and couldn't export.
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Old 01-26-2014, 08:47 AM   #6
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I think the policing thing is relevant to this in a way. I honestly don't know whether to trust most sources of history, naming textbooks here, since it just feels like different countries either exaggerate or censor certain things. I know that after the war America emerged as a superpower - thus giving them the confidence that since they are very powerful, it's their job to "police the world". That's what I learnt last year anyway, from text books. Thanks.
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Old 01-26-2014, 11:12 PM   #7
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As someone who was not present at that time, I can't really say much other than I don't trust our government now, so probably wouldn't have trusted them then. My problems with our government stem from all the blatantly illegal things they do, and how they think they are the police of the world. I realize that is pretty much irrelevant to WWII. As others have said, they wanted to end the war quickly, as well as send a message. I'm not trying to make America sound like the bad guys of WWII - obviously that fell on Germany for the most part. Japan only attacked us because we tried to be the super global police force and tell them what they could and couldn't export.
Japan was an aggressor in Asia. It wasn't that the United States was being a complete jerk and just decided to "Hey let's embargo Japan". The United States was aware of the brutality the Japanese did all throughout Asia, and was beginning to commit in Southeast Asia. All those areas were our allies at the time. America wanted to stop the expansion so they enacted the embargo on raw materials. Out of retaliation and the fact Japan might of had to withdraw from the war, the attacked Pearl Harbor. I'm not entirely sure about the whole policing thing. Japan acted first with military, not the United States.

@ Jemstar: I have a lot of information on Nazi medical experimentation if you'd like to know some. Josef Mengele is nearly the "figurehead" for the experiments, but in ranking, he was pretty low. He's popular due to the "twin" experiments as you may know, but also because he was never caught. There's a lot of rumor and mysticism about Mengele.

I have a book all about the Nazi doctors because I have a sick fascination with them. Have you researched Carl Clauberg? This "doctor" (I refuse to consider these men and women actual medical professionals) was responsible for thousands of forced sterilization on women. He would inject formaldehyde into the uterus. Much good that did, because it led to infection and permanent disabilities.
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Old 01-27-2014, 06:22 AM   #8
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i dont know. lets see ....

what would say, that you woke up and started to get ready to go to school...

walking out the door and met up with your friends walking toward the school, and in the distance you seen a flash and glow like a nite light in the dark afterwards. and also effecting further generations w/ radiation ....

alot of people i know ( and trust me i know some people and i travel very often ) look down on this ... at what the US of A has done ...

but the germans wanted to do this long before the US had the means ( US managed to capture some of the scientist that developed this technology ) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norweg...water_sabotage

but w/o the germans tech. i would say WE would have behind 30 or 40 years ... but who is counting

and this is just an opinion and not to pick an argument
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Old 01-27-2014, 06:43 AM   #9
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also the US did not want to loose any more lives ( as they did in the European theater ) and they estimated the the toll would be more than 500,000 soldiers ..

as mentioned earlier, the Japanese had honor and would fight to the end ( kamakize comes to mind ) and surrender would be dis honorable and shame ( read up a little on japanese history and and you will understand this ) ...

but after the war, the countries from around the world, got together and formed the UN ( united nations ) with the US was in the fore front ....

i ll have to look into it a bit more, but before roosevelt or turman died ( if i remember right ), signed some kind of commission at where this does not happen again and the US would intervene, which became big brother is a sort to the world
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Old 01-27-2014, 09:16 AM   #10
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History books, how much of what is in them is the truth?????
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