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26 May 2016


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no one

Babak, I don't think that is generally true. Most died because 1. They were trapped on an Island where two large forces were throwing everything they had at each other. Bullets, bombs and artillery fires covered the island for months. Civilians were simply caught in that crossfire. 2. Like at Saipan, civilians had been convinced by the Japs that Americans would rape, kill (even cannibalize) them. So rather than come over to US troops and be placed into camps in secured areas, many civilians tried to hide out on the island. Many sought refuge in caves. As the Japanese defense fell apart the soldiers took cover in the same caves. US troops blasted the caves and everyone inside dies.



Ah, another expression of angst and hyperbole from the Great Arabian Dream Machine. Yes the abuse of prisoners in Abu Ghraib was a bad thing but at least they were not transgendered Redskins! Seriously, you need to get outside your own skin sometime and learn some history. Ever heard of the Rape of Nanking by the Japanese Army? Ever heard of the 100,000 Filipino civilians killed deliberately by the Japanese Army in Manila as an act of frustration and revenge? Yes, war is hell. I think I knew that. pl



As you well know, us enlisted types prefer low humor, the blacker the better.

I will understand completely should you choose not to publish this link to duffelblog.



Paul Fussell and Eugene Sledge were enough to convince me of the A-Bomb's necessity to end the war. To paraphrase Fussell: "Why continue the slaughter for even one day, when there was a means at hand to end the war quickly?" By the way, I live in Japan, married to a Japanese, and love this country and the people, but I believe the right decision was made at the time.

Neil R

"Amir said in reply to A Pols...

Are telling me that the "Japs" behaves like in Abu Garib?"



And there are warehouses worth of documentation on Japanese atrocities all over Asia.

The younger generation in Japan have become more curious about the period as they no doubt notice the different historical treatment of their history from 1935 to 1945 once they travel outside Japan. However among the older generation (by this I mean people who were born in the postwar reconstruction period) their ability to deny historical facts amaze me even today. People reveal plenty when they assume you don't understand their language.

Richard Sale

Thank you.







The US conquest of the Phillipines after the Spanish American war resulted in the deaths of 10% of the native population. Those people wanted their independence and the US wanted the country as a colony. Nothing would stop us. The Japanese did not have a monopoly on inhuman violence.


Toivo S

10% of the native population? I challenge your number. What is the evidence for that? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philippine%E2%80%93American_War This wiki gives the number of Filipino deaths as something between 10 and 20 thousand. Was that 10% of the population? BTW, I think it was a profound policy error on the part of the US to deny the Filipinos independence after Spain ceded the US the islands. pl


It is odd that no one has mentioned that Japan was ready to surrender in August of 1945. They had signaled that they would accept a conditional surrender (i.e. preservation of the monarchy) not the unconditional one demanded by the West. As it it turns out the US accepted that one condition.

Academic historians are in nearly unanimous agreement on this point. Of course, the millions of American troops under arms then knew nothing of this and hence the widespread belief today that the US had to use the bomb to save US lives.


The acts of the Japanese were some of the most inhuman and evil I have ever read about. The dropping of the atomic bomb was also inhuman and evil though it probably saved many more lives than it took.

There was a man present in Hiroshima on 6-Aug 1945 that is an example of the best of humanity during the worst act of inhumanity. Fr. Pedro Arrupe, S.J. was stationed with 8 other Jesuits in their community in Hiroshima. Fr. Arrupe had trained in medicine and had a doctorate in medical ethics. After the blast he put his medical skills to use and tended to the injured.

On my wedding day my wife and I were given this framed quote of Fr. Arrupe by our priest, a military chaplain:

Nothing is more practical than
finding God, than
falling in Love
in a quite absolute, final way.
What you are in love with,
what seizes your imagination,
will affect everything.
It will decide
what will get you out of bed in the morning,
what you do with your evenings,
how you spend your weekends,
what you read,
whom you know,
what breaks your heart,
and what amazes you with joy and gratitude.
Fall in Love,
stay in love,
and it will decide everything.

Fr. Pedro Arrupe, S.J. (1907–1991)


Toivo S

Your Japan claim is also incorrect. The Japanese were repeatedly summoned to surrender and did not even after Hiroshima. "Academic historians are in nearly unanimous agreement on this point." Citations? Your point is that the US and Japan were morally equivalent in WW2? pl


It doesn't matter that the Japanese at one point were trying to develop nuclear weapons - you literally just admitted that capability was destroyed in the Tokyo fire bombings...

You can't use a capability that the enemy no longer possesses as justification to then use that capability on them. "Well they were trying to build a nuke and we stopped them, so now it's justified for us to nuke them"

The Japanese had already been trying to negotiate a surrender before the nukes were dropped.

Neil R

"Toivo S
It is odd that no one has mentioned that Japan was ready to surrender in August of 1945. They had signaled that they would accept a conditional surrender (i.e. preservation of the monarchy) not the unconditional one demanded by the West. As it it turns out the US accepted that one condition.
Academic historians are in nearly unanimous agreement on this point."

That is far from the case. Revisionists like Gar Alperovitz didn't read Japanese and took Butow's footnotes out of context. At this point I do realize that there are some people who will not change their views on this regardless of evidence presented. We will never know what Truman had in mind when he attended Potsdam with Byrnes. But it's gross oversimplification to posit that the Japanese state was ready to capitulate even if the United States had allowed the retention of the emperor (More specifically the obvious immunity from war crimes proceedings). Besides this had little to do with actual historical research and analysis. Alperovitz isn't a trained historian. This was all about Cold War polemics. The sad truth of this is that had Alperovitz stuck to what happened after 1945, he would've found plenty of documentary evidence to support his worldview.

In Japan the revisionist history is a cottage industry. A brave handful like Ienaga Saburo paid heavy price for their intellectual integrity.



William R. Cumming

I don't plan to do it on SST but IMO an effective argument can be made that all the Boomer President's have conducted military ops and FP as if no enemy of the U.S. sworn or unsworn has nuclear weapons. Suggest the 1999 book FIRE IN THE EAST by Yale Prof Paul Bracken.



I believe that the extent of damage to Japan's nuclear weapons program was only fully known after the war ended, and it is notoriously difficult to plan effective military campaigns using information that will only be available in the distant future.

I have often heard the assertion that Japan was trying to negotiate a surrender before August 1945, so if you could provide some links or other forms of documentary evidence that such negotiations were in place, that all relevant Japanese political and military leaders were in agreement with them, and that they were on terms acceptable to the U.S., that would be most helpful.

It is known that we were routinely decrypting Japanese military communications late in the war, and that the idea of surrender on terms acceptable to the U.S. government was not a consensus within the highest ranks of the Japanese government. If you have validated information available in the open literature that such a consensus for surrender existed in August 1945, and on terms acceptable to the U.S. government, I for one would certainly enjoy reviewing it.



Isn't the elementary point of accurate history to understand what happened in the past in order to avoid the same mistakes and patterns of behavior in the future?

If so, and if Japan was A- bombed, and Germany would have been A-bombed also (except that by the time the Allies finished firebombing Germany there was not that much left to destroy), because they were developing nuclear technology that could have been used to ill effect.

Israel has developed nuclear weapons and has used its possession of those weapons to coerce others to do its bidding, which involves, among other things, dispossessing and abusing Palestinians with impunity, contrary to international sanctions and even US policy.

Yet the USA funnels money and weaponry by the boatload to Israel, which cannot be a US treaty-ally unless and until it gets its nuclear weapons under the NPT umbrella.

Shouldn't we be bombing Israel to enforce our superior moral will, or at least sanctioning Israel, or at very least not enabling them to continue on their wayward path?

The USA has no qualms about attempting to economically cripple Iran on the (false) charge of developing-, or seeking to develop-, or intending to develop- nuclear weapons, even though Iran has never used nuclear weapons even as a form of deterrence or coercion; has foresworn development of nuclear weapons on religious grounds; and is a signatory to the NPT.


damn those Japs.

retaliating for the firebombing of Japanese civilians by killing American soldiers.

simply dreadful.

Bill Herschel

The bomb was a red herring. The Japanese chose to surrender to the United States rather than Russia. A very, very wise decision.



You, too, need to learn some history. Germany was not bombed into surrender. The Strategic Bombing Survey after WW2 made that clear. Germany was defeated when her armies were destroyed and her territory overrun by the allies including the Soviets of course. The US decision to use nukes to force Japanese surrender was not revenge. It was a terrible necessity. If you claim that it was revenge you are probably just another troll. pl

Babak Makkinejad






Babak Makkinejad







what's the wisdom of Japan's own historians on the question?
I am not surprised that "presentism" is all the rage when discussing the Decision.
It isn't just that something might have been known or knowable at the time... but, did it matter at the time - could it / should it have influenced decision-making? how 'bout the nature of momentum in long-duration policy-making & their execution (on both sides)? Then there is the mode of thought (popular these days) that the "real truth" of every important event in history is obscured (often by clever unseen powers, natch) until a tidy alternative narrative is subsequently crafted.

I find it ironic that the US should have believed Japan wanted peace (whatever that meant to them at the time) in mid '45 after its experience in late '41.


my father was a war crimes investIgator in Tokyo after the war. while he succeeded in prosecuting many, some of whom were hanged, the full scale of Japanese misbehaviour was never investigated in detail as we suddenly discovered in 1947 that the Russians were a bigger enemy then the Japanese. there was great pressure to gloss over events and resurrect Japan and Germany as bulwarks against communism.


I read somewhere that in the three days between the bombing of Hiroshima and the bombing of Nagasaki, 900 US soldiers lost their lives in the Pacific theater, including a dozen captured US airmen who were beheaded in a forest outside Fukuoka city. The sooner the war ended, the better.

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