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Sixty-seven years ago today the USAAF dropped an atomic weapon on Hiroshima, Japan. It was an effort to negate what had been feared would have been a fanatic and relentless nationalistic will to resist the invasion of Japan, which would have begun in October 1945, two months later.

US war planners feared the invasion (a two-phase operation) would cost more than a half-million US battlefield fatalities, and expected Japanese casualties, both civilian and military to reach as high as ten million. My father's division, the 28th I.D. was designated as follow-on-forces in the Order of battle for the first stage of the invasion - Operation Olympic, the invasion of the southern shore of Kyushu, the southernmost of the Home Islands.

By all accounts after the war, not only had the war-planners underestimated the amount of troops and materiel the Japanese Army had available to resist the invasion, the Japanese high command had quite accurately estimated the approximate time and location of the invasion. It is quite reasonable to assume, as I have, that the quick collapse of Japan's will to continue with the war made my life possible, because it would have been quite likely than my father (having survived the butchering artillery pounding in the Huertgen Forest and the bitter chaos of the battle of the Bulge) would not have survived Operation Olympic.

More than 70,000 Hiroshimans were killed that day. Many more died in the days, months, or years following. On August 9th, another 40,000 - 70,000 Japanese were killed at Nagasaki. That same day, the Soviet Union declared war and began offensive operations against the japanese Army in Manchiria. Five days later, Japan indicated that it would accept the demand for unconditional surrender which the Allies had reiterated at Potsdam, in July.

Some will argue that the bombing was unnecessary, especially in light of the Declaration of War by the Soviet Union against Japan. Some argue that it was a criminal excess to use such a horrific weapon against civilians.

By August 1945, we had long abandoned the niceties of 19th Century warfare like the distinction between civilians and military objectives. War had become an industrial activity and destruction of industrial capacity had become the norm. Both Germany and Japan had bombed civilian centers, both to destroy industrial assets and to weaken the civilian will to carry on war. But the US and the UK became masters of strategic bombing. Hamburg, Cologne, Essen, Dusseldorf, Berlin and most other German cities had been levelled. In March 1945 Tokyo had been firebombed, killing over 100,000 people. Most other Japanese cities had suffered similar fates, yet the Imperial Government fought on.

War is irrational and amoral. Ending war is both rational and moral. Killing that last 100,000+ Japanese with those two atomic weapons ended, or helped end the war. It was right to use them.

My thoughts today are with the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. But they're also with the people of Dresden, Nanjing, Coventry, and with the survivors of Sarajevo and everywhere else that the amoral insanity of war has destroyed lives, bodies and hope.
 

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insensitive? yes, however it's a great tune!!!



 

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I've participated in an unusual number of debates on the subject of the use of atomic weapons in WWII.

At first, I was explicitly against it. Especially in the context that we dropped massive ordnance bombs on "civilians."


Over time I was exposed to a lot of arguments about how German citizens were complicit in the German war effort during WWII. Similarly, we always hear about how Americans are responsible for how our government interacts with the world. I agree with these sentiments.

The Japanese citizens built and supported the Japanese war effort. This included some of the most horrific war crimes in human history on the Asian mainland. They built the bombers and equipped the soldiers.

On top of this, we were facing a land invasion that had the potential to cost a million soldier's lives. The Japanese were attempting to expand their empire on the terms of being nationalist mass murderers.
 

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For once, AoW speaks from a point of wisdom instead of as a foolish, wet-behind-the-ears college kid who has no clue about the realities of the world.

Sometimes you must kill a few to save many. "Few" and "many" are relative and scalable, of course.
 

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For once, AoW speaks from a point of wisdom instead of as a foolish, wet-behind-the-ears college kid who has no clue about the realities of the world.

Sometimes you must kill a few to save many. "Few" and "many" are relative and scalable, of course.
Agreed.

One of the best reads on the subject comes from someone who was intimately familiar with the details of not only the military mission, but the history that led up to it:

[ame]http://www.amazon.com/Wars-End-Eyewitness-Account-Americas/dp/0380788748/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1344612199&sr=1-1&keywords=war%27s+end+an+eyewitness+account+of+america%27s+last+atomic+mission[/ame]

Sweeny did his job, shut up about it as was the expectation of the time, and slid into obscurity for decades after the war. It was only when he was contacted by the Smithsonian to provide some comments on their upcoming display related to the 50th anniversary of the bombings that he decided to tell his story-- mostly because of the revisionist rhetoric provided by academics who weren't even alive during the events, and who slanted their interpretation of the events through a distinctly biased lens.

This very readable book chronicles his history as a pilot, while concurrently detailing the atrocities promulgated by the Japanese throughout Asia. He makes a very strong case that the bombings saved millions of lives, both American and Japanese, by bringing the war to a swift end. And the story of the actual mission is a nail biter from before takeoff to the skidding-to-a-halt out-of-gas landing short of the intended airfield-- a chain of disasters that you haven't ever heard about in this supposedly familiar story.

Highly recommended.
 

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Sent from my other shoe using the Motorcycle app
 

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My dad was on a ship on his way to attack Japan. He was to be in the first wave to go ashore. He always said Harry Truman was his favorite President.
 

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Are you on a thread revival spree today?
 
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