"There is nothing more frightening than active ignorance." -- Goethe
"The search for truth is never wrong. The only sin is to lack the courage to follow where truth leads." -- Duke
BOMBING OF HIROSHIMA and NAGASAKI
Some will argue with us that this was not an allied atrocity but a necessity to end the war with Japan and prevent further American deaths. They'll tell you that dropping the bombs "forced" Japan to surrender.
What most people don't know is that Japan had been attempting to make peace with us for months! We already had her beat. Her navy was practically gone, we had killed over 100,000 civilians in the bombing of Tokyo and the city was half destroyed. Conventional bombs had destroyed over 40% of the urban areas in Japan's six greatest industrial cities. A million Japanese civilians were dead. Japan was already beat, and our military knew it.
According to historian Edwin J. Hoyt, "The fact is that as far as the Japanese militarists were concerned, the atomic bomb was just another weapon. The two atomic bombs at Hiroshima and Nagasaki were icing on the cake, and did not do as much damage as the firebombings of Japanese cities. The B-29 firebombing campaign had brought the destruction of 3,100,000 homes, leaving 15 million people homeless, and killing about a million of them. It was the ruthless firebombing, and Hirohito's realization that if necessary the Allies would completely destroy Japan and kill every Japanese to achieve "unconditional surrender" that persuaded him to the decision to end the war. The atomic bomb is indeed a fearsome weapon, but it was not the cause of Japan's surrender, even though the myth persists even to this day."
Historian Dennis D. Wainstock concludes that the bombings were not only unnecessary, but were based on a vengeful policy that actually harmed American interests. He states that "By April 1945, Japan's leaders realized that the war was lost. Their main stumbling block to surrender was the United States' insistence on unconditional surrender. They specifically needed to know whether the United States would allow Hirohito to remain on the throne. They feared that the United States would depose him, try him as a war criminal, or even execute him."
Wainstock further states that "unconditional surrender was a policy of revenge, and it hurt America's national self-interest. It prolonged the war in both Europe and East Asia, and it helped to expand Soviet power in those areas."
General Douglas MacArthur, Commander of US Army forces in the Pacific, stated on numerous occasions before his death that the atomic bomb was completely unnecessary from a military point of view: "My staff was unanimous in believing that Japan was on the point of collapse and surrender."
General Curtis LeMay, who had pioneered precision bombing of Germany and Japan (and who later headed the Strategic Air Command and served as Air Force chief of staff), put it most succinctly: "The atomic bomb had nothing to do with the end of the war."
Not exactly what you've been taught, is it
Just like in Germany
The bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki killed mostly civilians
Urban areas were selected that were then left untouched by conventional bombing so that the damage could be assessed after the atomic bombs were dropped
That's why we didn't drop the atom bomb on Tokyo -- conventional bombs had almost destroyed the city
The Target Committee stated that "It was agreed that psychological factors in the target selection were of great importance. Two aspects of this are (1) obtaining the greatest psychological effect against Japan and (2) making the initial use sufficiently spectacular for the importance of the weapon to be internationally recognized when publicity on it is released."
Admiral William D. Leahy(Chief of Staff to Presidents Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman)
"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."
- William Leahy, I Was There, pg. 441.
On May 28, 1945, Hoover visited President Truman and suggested a way to end the Pacific war quickly: "I am convinced that if you, as President, will make a shortwave broadcast to the people of Japan - tell them they can have their Emperor if they surrender, that it will not mean unconditional surrender except for the militarists - you'll get a peace in Japan - you'll have both wars over."
Richard Norton Smith, An Uncommon Man: The Triumph of Herbert Hoover, pg. 347.
On August 8, 1945, after the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, Hoover wrote to Army and Navy Journal publisher Colonel John Callan O'Laughlin, "The use of the atomic bomb, with its indiscriminate killing of women and children, revolts my soul."
quoted from Gar Alperovitz, The Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb, pg. 635.
"...the Japanese were prepared to negotiate all the way from February 1945...up to and before the time the atomic bombs were dropped; ...if such leads had been followed up, there would have been no occasion to drop the [atomic] bombs."
- quoted by Barton Bernstein in Philip Nobile, ed., Judgment at the Smithsonian, pg. 142
Hoover biographer Richard Norton Smith has written: "Use of the bomb had besmirched America's reputation, he [Hoover] told friends. It ought to have been described in graphic terms before being flung out into the sky over Japan."
Richard Norton Smith, An Uncommon Man: The Triumph of Herbert Hoover, pg. 349-350.
In early May of 1946 Hoover met with General Douglas MacArthur. Hoover recorded in his diary, "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."
Gar Alperovitz, The Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb, pg. 350-351.
General Douglas MacArthur
MacArthur biographer William Manchester has described MacArthur's reaction to the issuance by the Allies of the Potsdam Proclamation to Japan: "...the Potsdam declaration in July, demand[ed] that Japan surrender unconditionally or face 'prompt and utter destruction.' MacArthur was appalled. He knew that the Japanese would never renounce their emperor, and that without him an orderly transition to peace would be impossible anyhow, because his people would never submit to Allied occupation unless he ordered it. Ironically, when the surrender did come, it was conditional, and the condition was a continuation of the imperial reign. Had the General's advice been followed, the resort to atomic weapons at Hiroshima and Nagasaki might have been unnecessary."
William Manchester, American Caesar: Douglas MacArthur 1880-1964, pg. 512.
Norman Cousins was a consultant to General MacArthur during the American occupation of Japan. Cousins writes of his conversations with MacArthur, "MacArthur's views about the decision to drop the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki were starkly different from what the general public supposed." He continues, "When I asked General MacArthur about the decision to drop the bomb, I was surprised to learn he had not even been consulted. What, I asked, would his advice have been? He replied that he saw no military justification for the dropping of the bomb. The war might have ended weeks earlier, he said, if the United States had agreed, as it later did anyway, to the retention of the institution of the emperor."
Norman Cousins, The Pathology of Power, pg. 65, 70-71.
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