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Old August 30th, 2006, 01:57 PM   #1

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Invading Japan 1945- would the US have tolerated the losses?

The 'small' islands of Iwo Jima and Okinawa- ever closer to the Japanese homeland- proved to be such ferocious bloodbaths that US commanders feared that an actual invasion of Nippon itself could sap up to a staggering 1m US casualties(let alone British, Anzac, Indian, Canadian, etc), and with a world/formely isolationist nation weary of the daily horrors of war, could/would the American people have tolerated the critical losses of young men in doing so?

Would they have patriotically stood by their govt, or have rebelled as in during the Vietnam war in the '60's?
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Old August 30th, 2006, 02:12 PM   #2

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No way, every Japanese person on the islands would be out with a rifle, a sword, a stick, whatever they had trying to fight the US, the casualties would have been horrific on both sides. The US and the West in general, not Soviet Russia, don't take mass casualties very well, which is why it was best for Zhukov to invade Berlin instead of one of the Western states, we'd have been much slower than the Soviets when they were on a roll and could easily take casualties.
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Old August 31st, 2006, 12:51 AM   #3

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^^ Agree with that, Japanese would die to the last than surrender.
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Old August 31st, 2006, 10:03 AM   #4

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I think the American public would have rebeled and protested against our government if America/allied soldiers were forced to kill Japanese civilians.

In the likeyhood that they did invade, there would have been a lot of bloody civilian casualties.
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Old December 8th, 2006, 03:23 AM   #5
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Didn't we keep all the casualty reports a secret back then? Along with everything else that should be kept secret in times of war. It's a good thing that the New York Times didn't announce anything, such as that we had broken the Japanese Code.

"If we had invaded there would be a lot of civilian casualties."

There were a ton of civilian casualties without the invasion. Also, if they're holding a weapon, they are not a civilian, irregardless of wether or not they are wearing a uniform.

"Weary of the daily horrors of war."

I don't think anybody in the US was told about the daily horrors of war. I can't imagine that any government was actually telling their citizens about their losses or blunders.(Except for France. It's kind of hard to deny the fact that you've been conquered,) I'm sure that the Japanese were telling their citizens that they were winning, even as Japan's cities were being wiped out.
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Old March 1st, 2008, 02:43 PM   #6

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Re: Invading Japan 1945- would the US have tolerated the losses?

Even if the US had invaded Japan the staggering amount of casualties on both sides would have surely convinced Truman to drop the bomb sooner or later. Had this happened the public would have probably had a bigger appreciation for Truman and his actions during the war.
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Old March 8th, 2008, 12:58 PM   #7

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Re: Invading Japan 1945- would the US have tolerated the losses?

Originally Posted by kingtaker View Post
Would they have patriotically stood by their govt
Not likely, when the government itself was of two minds before the bomb even dropped. Elements of the Japanese government were already attempting to get a deal for a negotiated settlement on the table before the bombs dropped.

However ...

Japan's government had proved that nothing short of complete and total surrender could be trusted, and the offer was for a negotiated settlement. Moreover there were elements of the Japanese gov't that weren't behind it. Even if an agreement were reached, those elements might have found a way to dismiss it in their minds as not binding. They may not have enjoyed enough support to resume the war immediately, but they may have been able to do so after a time had passed.

WW1 had taught the Allies a lesson. They had negotiated a settlement with Germany prematurely, when segments of German society hadn't yet experienced total defeat and believed they had been sold out by politicians. The negotiated peace that ended the war saved lives in the short term, but in the long term, it made WW2 possible.

The US was looking at Japan's offer and thinking about 1918, and realizing that the Japanese offer had even less support among its people and leaders than the German offer did in 1918. Actually they realized this long before, when they decided on a total war policy against the Axis for this very reason.

Also, dropping the bomb was a demonstration not just for Japan to witness, but for the world - in particular the Soviet Union. It ensured that the USSR didn't get any funny ideas about liberating the working class from their capitalist overlords in France, Italy, Spain, and the rest of Western Europe. Note that it was an explicit policy of Stalinist Russia at this point to use the Soviet military for this very purpose.

One final thing on this whole episode. People often forget that in 1945, the atomic bomb wasn't understood as well as it is now. The radioactive effects were practically unknown. The planners more or less understood this weapon as a really big bomb in a tiny package, not as what we understand it to be today. They dropped it not to say, "Look at our incredible destructive powers! We can NUKE you!" but to say, "Hey! We've got this new bomb. It packs as much as an entire raid in one little bomber. Let's see you stop THAT from getting through!!"

Basically, the message was that the Japanese were defenseless against this new weapon. As yet, the full effects of this weapon were not known very well and it wasn't thought of as an almost godlike level of destruction, but just a very compressed version of conventional bombing.

Last edited by Edgewaters; March 8th, 2008 at 01:09 PM.
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Old March 11th, 2008, 06:27 AM   #8

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Re: Invading Japan 1945- would the US have tolerated the losses?

The fighting on Kyushu would have been ferocious. But after that island had been secured, cooler heads would have prevailed. Kyushu is large enough to have provided space for every bomber then in the US inventory and more. Factories which had been devoted to the production of other types of war material (belt buckles and stuff) would have been switched to the production of ordnance of the air-dropped high-explosive and incendiary/napalm type. Yes, it would have taken years to convert Japan into an earth-bound version of the moon, but it's not like those islands were going anywhere. Rendering Japan uninhabitable for any sort of mammalian life was merely a question of time (I think some funguses would have survived - I'm not sure).

Fortunately, the Emperor was a scientist (a marine biologist). That is, he was rational. Perhaps only Shikoku would have had to have been so converted - as an object lesson for what was in store.

If this seems too horrific, consider how racist Americans were back in the '40s. Well, you can't. But, we were. There would have been no significant objection to an extermination campaign.
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Old March 15th, 2008, 05:08 PM   #9

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Re: Invading Japan 1945- would the US have tolerated the losses?

I don't think the American public would have been so easily shaken as they were during the Vietnam Conflict. This was defenitely a much different America. It would have been very trying on an allready war-weary nation. I'm of the opinion that neither an invasion nor the dropping of the a bomb was necessary. Japan was spent.
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Old March 16th, 2008, 10:57 AM   #10

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Re: Invading Japan 1945- would the US have tolerated the losses?

Invasion in Japan was possible... I am absolutly sure. Understandably it would bring major casulties. The nuclear attack was perfect way to stop bloody struggle with only needed victims.
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