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Post Options Post Options   Quote Zaitsev Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Nukes
    Posted: 10-May-2009 at 14:14
Originally posted by pikeshot1600

The substance of the last two posts are not only horrendously misinformed, they are "complete intellectual bankruptcy."


I'm glad you can maintain a mature demeanour in discussing the issue...
 
In 1945 the US had no rivals across the globe.


That statement is false in its entirety and demonstrates a fundamental misunderstanding of the world political climate of the time. Prior to World War 2 the new government of Russia and the United States of America had already engaged in hostilities on a smaller scale. Political tensions between the two nations were already building prior to the commencement of World War 2 and the mood never thawed.

Stalin had mistrusted the Western powers since he argued against appeasement and was ignored. The United States was also mistrustful of the new industrialised Russia and socialism as a phenomenon. The race to 'appropriate' the technological advances of Hitler's Germany at the end of conflict in Europe demonstrates the atmosphere quite admirably.

The understanding at Yalta was that the USSR would have hegemony in north Asia - just like in east Europe, because no one could do anything about it.  The Russians were not going to walk across the sea to Japan, through the US navy.  The best information is that the Russians knew about the bomb beforehand anyway.


Firstly, this is mostly irrelevant. The agreement of Yalta was one of convenience rather than a long-term plan. It was basically an agreement to put their issues aside until the war had been resolved. You can argue the positions and the objectives all you like, but the fact is that it was a meeting of two opposing positions, making arrangements so that one war won't lead to the next.

The Russians' ability to invade Japan or their knowledge of the weapon is hardly relevant to the discussion. The Russians were also likely to be curious as to how the weapon would work.
 
The Japanese Imperial authority did not direct surrender until AFTER the second device had been detonated.  The tactic worked; the war ended.


The war was, for all intents and purposes, already over. The Japanese military machine had been crushed, their factories were destroyed and the will of their people beaten down. They no longer possessed the ability to engage in military action of any significance. An invasion was also unnecessary, as invading would achieve little. With even a loose blockade the Japanese empire would be forced to capitulate rapidly, and there is strong historical evidence that it was already likely to happen in the near future.
 
Get off your soap boxes and analyze the history - don't try to moralize it.


While I appreciate the 'von Ranke' approach to history, when issues of history still retain a strong and direct effect on modern times, they must be analysed both empirically and through a lens of morality in order to gain an understanding of its impact on modern times and so that we may draw conclusions on what can be learned from such occurances.

While the morality of the issue does not change the past, the unnecessary nature of the attack, the maliciousness with which it was repeated and the complete disregard for human life that was demonstrated carries through to a current national government and system of governance. In addition, people remain alive at this time who have both witnessed the event or have in other ways been involved. The perceptions of the morality of the issue, through from pre-detonation to modern day is itself a legitimate historical issue of some social signifiance.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote pikeshot1600 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10-May-2009 at 14:59
Zaitsev,
 
Thanks for your interpretation.  Mine is different from yours, and we are going to disagree.
 
As for Yalta, yes I agree that it was an expedient.  The acknowledgement was that the Red Army was in eastern Europe, and would be in north Asia and there was nothing to be done about that.  Economically, the USSR was more exhausted; more in debt than we were; had lost 10% of it's population and was in no position until years later to contest the US away from areas of Russian direct control.  That was in 1945.
 
The whole morality issue is a guilt trip and has no real place in historical analysis.  It belongs in a religious seminary.
 
  
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Zaitsev Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10-May-2009 at 15:16
Originally posted by pikeshot1600

Economically, the USSR was more exhausted; more in debt than we were; had lost 10% of it's population and was in no position until years later to contest the US away from areas of Russian direct control.  That was in 1945.


While it was true that Russia was economically exhausted, it has to be recognised that their military might in 1945 was actually on the rise. The Stalinist economic reforms also meant that, despite being strained, production across industries was rapidly restored post-war and remained reasonable despite heavy damage to many agricultural and industrial centres.

Neither the US nor the USSR was in a position to fight a war of aggression, but this itself demonstrates that there was a rivalry there. A rivalry that neither could immediately act upon, but a rivalry nonetheless.
 
The whole morality issue is a guilt trip and has no real place in historical analysis.  It belongs in a religious seminary.


I respectfully disagree on this issue. The debate on whether morality should be analysed has been ongoing for centuries, if not millennia. I doubt we can settle that issue here and now. I agree that morality should not always be considered, but I believe in this case the moral assessment of this incident can provide lessons for the future that may be invaluable. This would be a case of "those that do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it". I think we can all agree, from our individual perspectives, we would wish to avoid experiencing such an event.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10-May-2009 at 15:55
Originally posted by warwolf1969

I have analyzed the history at the end of WW2, and I was not on a soapbox.  But it is time that the allies except that it was not only the Germans who carried out war crimes.  The bombings of Dresden etc were a war crime.  As was the nuclear bombs dropped on Japan.  The US goverment knew that Japan would surrender when Russia entered the war.  The dropping of the nukes was more about showing the USSR the power of the weapon than stopping the war.  During WW2 the US always viewed Russia as a neccesary evil.  As long as they were fighting the Germans they were allies.  But they knew that after WW2 it would be Russia who was their main competator in world power.   As for the Russians knowing of the bomb there is a big difference in being told and seeing the power of a weapon.

Absolutely.
 
The former allies should stop to claim for themselves WW II as a sort of religious cause for the good values of mankind, when it is well know allies commited lot of crimes against humanity during that terrible war: Dresde and Hiroshima are just two of those crimes.
 
Mass killing civilians is genocide, and that was what WW II was all about: massive genocide on civilians. Both sides were guilty of that, and the discussion can only go to determine which side was more brutal or which side started the first. Both sides should be ashamed of the largest massacre the world ever witnessed
 
 
 
 


Edited by pinguin - 10-May-2009 at 15:59
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Post Options Post Options   Quote DukeC Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14-May-2009 at 21:14
Once again it's easy in hindsight to sit in judgement of terrible choices made under pressures we have a hard time understanding now. Not only did Truman have the wellfare of the potential victims of nuclear weapons to consider, he had the lives of hundreds of thousands of U.S. personel and millions of Chinese.
 
It's important to remember that the U.S. was not the only power to use WMDs in WW II. The Japanese weaponized Anthrax, botulism and other pathogens and used them in China. At the time the bombs were dropped the Japanese still held large areas of China and were still engaged in the largest Holocaust of WW II that saw probably over 30 million Chinese killed. From a humanitarian side there are strong arguments for the use of ANY weapons to stop the Japanese in 1945.
 
And it's still open for debate how long the Japanese would have held out if the weapons hadn't been used. Even after the Emperor surrendered there were still factions in the Japanese armed forces willing to fight. How much more substancial would that movement have been without the two atomic attacks.
 
What we do know is that the bombs ended the war, all else is conjucture. I think given the level of technology and the drive by ALL sides to aquire weapons of mass destruction during the war it's inevitable they would be developed and if neccessary used.
 
Truman had a terrible choice to make, one that took many lives. But one that also saved many.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Klaus Fleming Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17-May-2009 at 19:22

I don't see morality as being the issue here. Rather this is a question of proportionality. We shouldn't ask whether Hiroshima was right or wrong, instead we should ask whether the use of nuclear weapons in August 1945 was proportionate to the danger presented by the Japanese Empire. And instead of pointing the finger towards the US, we should include Japan in this debate as well: what was the Japanese responsibility for the mass destruction that not only devastated Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but every other major Japanese city as well? The fire-bombing of Tokyo on March the 10th had already killed some 100,000 people - this was in fact the most devastating attack of the entire war, more so than either Hiroshima or Nagasaki. Yet the Japanese military government had insisted on continuing the war in the face of total annihilation. They seemed quite prepared to pull the temple on themselves, and that in my mind is the real controversy over the atomic bombs: the Japanese intransigency that effectively forced the Americans' hand. How moral was that decision to continue the war when Japan's cities were being wiped off, one by one? How proportionate was that cost for the ultimate aim of 'saving face' and protecting the integrity of the Japanese 'military honour'?

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Post Options Post Options   Quote Temujin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17-May-2009 at 19:48
Originally posted by Klaus Fleming

Yet the Japanese military government had insisted on continuing the war in the face of total annihilation.



you brought up an interesting point, because you're implying that the Americans were conducting a war of total annihilation themselves in the first place. the question is not why Japan refused to surrender because every living being or group of beings has a natural mode of survival, it will do everything to ensure it's own survival in face of danger and in 1945 this was definately the case.

the real question here is this: how far would the US go to bring down Japan in case they would not negotiate surrender...
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Post Options Post Options   Quote DukeC Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19-May-2009 at 19:15
Originally posted by Temujin


you brought up an interesting point, because you're implying that the Americans were conducting a war of total annihilation themselves in the first place. the question is not why Japan refused to surrender because every living being or group of beings has a natural mode of survival, it will do everything to ensure it's own survival in face of danger and in 1945 this was definately the case.

the real question here is this: how far would the US go to bring down Japan in case they would not negotiate surrender...
 
Japan wasn't fighting for its' survival in 1945, the Emperor and the military elite were fighting for their lives and position of power. Japan could have surrendered at any time and faced international justice. It would have been much less destructive to Japan as a whole than trying to carry the war to the bitter end.
 
The Japanese were waging unlimited warfare in the western Pacific long before the U.S. entered the war. Making an unprovoked, undeclared attack on Pearl Harbor gave the U.S. all the justification it needed to carry the war against Japan out on any terms it felt neccessary. Atrocities like the Bataan Deathmarch just hardened U.S. determination to end the war as quickly as possible.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Zaitsev Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-May-2009 at 15:04
Originally posted by DukeC

Once again it's easy in hindsight to sit in judgement of terrible choices made under pressures we have a hard time understanding now. Not only did Truman have the wellfare of the potential victims of nuclear weapons to consider, he had the lives of hundreds of thousands of U.S. personel and millions of Chinese.


Actually I believe that such a moral decision would be easy to judge at the time. Killing hundreds of thousands of people by using a weapon that many scientists believed risked igniting the atmosphere in a huge reaction is simply wrong. What you are giving examples of there basically amount to "Am I going to get fewer votes engaging in mass-slaughter of civilians or prolonging the war?".

In addition, an invasion was unnecessary and the war in China was looking to resolve itself rapidly, especially with Japanese supplies cut-off and reinforcements from the US and Australia sure to arrive if the war did not end.
 
At the time the bombs were dropped the Japanese still held large areas of China and were still engaged in the largest Holocaust of WW II that saw probably over 30 million Chinese killed. From a humanitarian side there are strong arguments for the use of ANY weapons to stop the Japanese in 1945.


While I hate to point out the obvious... the holocaust in Europe, affectionately dubbed "the Holocaust", was actually larger than the one in China when you consider the number of Slavic persons killed, also victims of Hitler's hatred.
 
And it's still open for debate how long the Japanese would have held out if the weapons hadn't been used. Even after the Emperor surrendered there were still factions in the Japanese armed forces willing to fight. How much more substancial would that movement have been without the two atomic attacks.


The remnants of the Japanese military fighting on would have been small and demoralised. The Emperor was revered in Japan and his word, and the cultural connotations of said word, were the main causes for the fanaticism of the Japanese soldiers.
 
What we do know is that the bombs ended the war, all else is conjucture. I think given the level of technology and the drive by ALL sides to aquire weapons of mass destruction during the war it's inevitable they would be developed and if neccessary used.


I have to say that this is terrible logic. It is akin to promoting the execution of shoplifters as they may well have ended up doing something worse. To argue otherwise would simply be conjecture.

While my example is slightly different and far more radical, I do so for the point of criticising the moral ground on which you base that statement. You could just have easily argued that we should have just let Hitler conquer the world and continue the holocaust. In the end, it may not have resulted in as many deaths as the fighting.
 
Truman had a terrible choice to make, one that took many lives. But one that also saved many.


So I propose the question to you, from the opposite perspective. Would you feel that the right thing was done if a foreign power deployed a nuclear weapon and slaughtered your family and loved ones in order to preserve the life of its own soldiers?

Would it be acceptable for, say, Afghanistan to have nuked major American cities to save itself from launching an infeasible invasion?
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Peteratwar Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-May-2009 at 15:58
Originally posted by Zaitsev

[QUOTE=DukeC]
Actually I believe that such a moral decision would be easy to judge at the time. Killing hundreds of thousands of people by using a weapon that many scientists believed risked igniting the atmosphere in a huge reaction is simply wrong. What you are giving examples of there basically amount to "Am I going to get fewer votes engaging in mass-slaughter of civilians or prolonging the war?".

In addition, an invasion was unnecessary and the war in China was looking to resolve itself rapidly, especially with Japanese supplies cut-off and reinforcements from the US and Australia sure to arrive if the war did not end.
 
The remnants of the Japanese military fighting on would have been small and demoralised. The Emperor was revered in Japan and his word, and the cultural connotations of said word, were the main causes for the fanaticism of the Japanese soldiers.
 
So I propose the question to you, from the opposite perspective. Would you feel that the right thing was done if a foreign power deployed a nuclear weapon and slaughtered your family and loved ones in order to preserve the life of its own soldiers?

Would it be acceptable for, say, Afghanistan to have nuked major American cities to save itself from launching an infeasible invasion?
 
If killing thousands by other means is justified, merely using one bomb to do the same is not different. (Only SOME scientists so believed)
 
There was no evidence that an invasion would not be necessary. The Japanese weren't in any way surrendering anywhere else eben in the most hopeless situations
 
I would not be happy if my loved ones were shot or bombed either. As the enemy I wouldn't much worry
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Zaitsev Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-May-2009 at 16:04
Originally posted by Peteratwar

If killing thousands by other means is justified, merely using one bomb to do the same is not different. (Only SOME scientists so believed)


Firstly, the issue is not the same. Killing thousands of innocent civilians is never justified. Engaging with armed and willing combatants is another matter entirely. How many scientists believed it is irrelevant, the point is that there were not unimportant figures. It shows great irresponsibility to take that gamble.
 
There was no evidence that an invasion would not be necessary. The Japanese weren't in any way surrendering anywhere else eben in the most hopeless situations


Actually there is evidence. The Japanese leadership had been discussing the issue for some time. If the Americans had not insisted on an unconditional surrender, it may have already come to be.
 
I would not be happy if my loved ones were shot or bombed either. As the enemy I wouldn't much worry


You didn't answer the question. The question was whether you would, in your position, think the right thing had been done.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote GökTürk Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-May-2009 at 16:22

Crime!

Cuz in that two cities,innocent civilian people has been bombed.They were people outside of the war.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Peteratwar Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-May-2009 at 16:27
No unfortunately they weren't.
 
Who do you think makes the armaments, arranges for the transportation of them, creates and distibutes the supplies to the armed forces ?
 
This was total war
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Zaitsev Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-May-2009 at 16:33
There's no such thing as 'total war'. Civilians have always, without exception, been a part of every war effort. At least for so long as distinctions have been drawn between combatants and non-combatants.

What you have are varying degrees of targeting civilians. 'Total War' is a term coined to justify military action against non-combatants on the basis of "everyone else was doing it". Time proved it was an ineffective military strategy.

Regarding the specifics of Japan, the production infrastructure had mostly been destroyed. Taking out the entire city for the few that remained is the moral and realistic equivalent of approaching a hostage situation with C4, just to make sure the hostage-takers don't get away. I suspect people would be a little more concerned if the police acted in such a manner.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Peteratwar Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-May-2009 at 16:36
Originally posted by Zaitsev

Originally posted by Peteratwar

If killing thousands by other means is justified, merely using one bomb to do the same is not different. (Only SOME scientists so believed)


Firstly, the issue is not the same. Killing thousands of innocent civilians is never justified. Engaging with armed and willing combatants is another matter entirely. How many scientists believed it is irrelevant, the point is that there were not unimportant figures. It shows great irresponsibility to take that gamble.
 
There was no evidence that an invasion would not be necessary. The Japanese weren't in any way surrendering anywhere else eben in the most hopeless situations


Actually there is evidence. The Japanese leadership had been discussing the issue for some time. If the Americans had not insisted on an unconditional surrender, it may have already come to be.
 
I would not be happy if my loved ones were shot or bombed either. As the enemy I wouldn't much worry


You didn't answer the question. The question was whether you would, in your position, think the right thing had been done.
 
In total war there are few innocents, who supplies/creates the sinews of war ? In any event more had died in the Tokyo fire-bombing.  BTW the scientists who expressed their concerns weren't those involved.
 
Surrender had been discussed within Japan but nothing firm or concrete had appeared to make the Allies even think of suspending operations. Why should they subject their troops and others to further death and agony if it could be avoided.
 
Intellectually I would say the right thing had been done, emotionally no. As I said it would be the same if they had been shot or stabbed etc
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Peteratwar Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-May-2009 at 16:39
Originally posted by Zaitsev

Regarding the specifics of Japan, the production infrastructure had mostly been destroyed. Taking out the entire city for the few that remained is the moral and realistic equivalent of approaching a hostage situation with C4, just to make sure the hostage-takers don't get away. I suspect people would be a little more concerned if the police acted in such a manner.
 
Hardly, the citizens of Nagasaki and Hiroshima weren't hostages, they were actively assisting the armed forces of their country.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Zaitsev Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-May-2009 at 16:41
Originally posted by Peteratwar

In total war there are few innocents, who supplies/creates the sinews of war ? In any event more had died in the Tokyo fire-bombing.  BTW the scientists who expressed their concerns weren't those involved.


Well of course the ones who expressed concerns weren't the ones involved. Would you really work on a device you thought would end the world? Better yet, would you hire someone to work on something after they said it was the worst thing you could possibly do?

See above for my view on total war.
 
Surrender had been discussed within Japan but nothing firm or concrete had appeared to make the Allies even think of suspending operations. Why should they subject their troops and others to further death and agony if it could be avoided.


Again, had the US not insisted on an unconditional surrender it was likely something more 'concrete' could have appeared. Why does it matter how many are subjected to death and agony if the result is the same?
 
Intellectually I would say the right thing had been done, emotionally no. As I said it would be the same if they had been shot or stabbed etc


Why are people getting shot or stabbed? That really doesn't factor into it. We're talking about people who are not soldiers nor are likely to be caught in fighting. They are not going to be shot or stabbed, nor are they likely to engage in shooting and stabbing.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Zaitsev Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-May-2009 at 16:42
Originally posted by Peteratwar

Hardly, the citizens of Nagasaki and Hiroshima weren't hostages, they were actively assisting the armed forces of their country.


They were assisting the armed forces because they happened to be located in Japan. Just as hostages assist hostage-takers because they happen to be in the wrong place.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Peteratwar Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21-May-2009 at 08:19
Originally posted by Zaitsev

Originally posted by Peteratwar

Hardly, the citizens of Nagasaki and Hiroshima weren't hostages, they were actively assisting the armed forces of their country.


They were assisting the armed forces because they happened to be located in Japan. Just as hostages assist hostage-takers because they happen to be in the wrong place.
 
If you think the citizens of a country who are at war with another and who are 'doing their bit for their country' are the same as hostages taken by criminals then there must be something wrong with your thinking. They don't even rersemble hostages nor are they even used as such
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Peteratwar Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21-May-2009 at 08:20
Originally posted by Zaitsev


Why are people getting shot or stabbed? That really doesn't factor into it. We're talking about people who are not soldiers nor are likely to be caught in fighting. They are not going to be shot or stabbed, nor are they likely to engage in shooting and stabbing.
 
You mean if an enemy invades your country the civilians don't get caught up in it ?  Better tell that to the millions who so suffered
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