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Old January 5th, 2011, 01:54 PM   #1

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Why were the atomic bombs dropped?


What do you think was the primary motive for dropping the bombs? Was there more than one reason?

I'm giving a talk on this next month and I'm interested in what you have to say about it.
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Old January 5th, 2011, 02:02 PM   #2

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I have read John Keegan's "The Second World War", and for my part, I agree with him when he says the primary motive for dropping the bombs was to end the war as quickly as possible, and to save the lives of American Soldiers, many of which would have died as a result of a direct assault on the Islands of Japan.
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Old January 5th, 2011, 02:08 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by General Michael Collins View Post
I have read John Keegan's "The Second World War", and for my part, I agree with him when he says the primary motive for dropping the bombs was to end the war as quickly as possible, and to save the lives of American Soldiers, many of which would have died as a result of a direct assault on the Islands of Japan.
Concur. Altho the idea that it was a guarentee of ending the war 'early' remains a bit contenious....reference that hypothsis. As even after testing, there were no absolutes, nor of the reaction of the Japaenese.

PS. Good luck with the talk OP.
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Old January 5th, 2011, 02:15 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by General Michael Collins View Post
I have read John Keegan's "The Second World War", and for my part, I agree with him when he says the primary motive for dropping the bombs was to end the war as quickly as possible, and to save the lives of American Soldiers, many of which would have died as a result of a direct assault on the Islands of Japan.
I agree. Also what is with people complaining about the use of atomic bombs to end World War II? If we had invaded, hundreds of thousands of American marines, sailors and soldiers would have perished along with millions more Japanese civilians and soldiers. I'm reminded of a quote by Admiral "Bull" Halsey (I believe) that sort of went like this:

"When we're through with them, the Japanese language will only be spoken in Hell."

This very well could have happened.
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Old January 5th, 2011, 02:28 PM   #5

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Okay, one benefit of the use was to end the war.
Another was to save lives be the avoidance of an invasion.

Any others? How about Russia?
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Old January 5th, 2011, 02:29 PM   #6

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Centrix Vigilis View Post
Concur. Altho the idea that it was a guarentee of ending the war 'early' remains a bit contenious....reference that hypothsis.
John Keegan's "The Second World War" page 482 (1997 Edition)

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On the 26th July the Potsdam Proclamation was broadcast to Japan threatening the 'utter destruction of the Japanese homeland' unless the imperial government offered it's unconditional surrender. Since July 16th President Truman had known that 'utter destruction' lay within the United States' power, for on that day the first atomic weapon had been successfully detonated in the New Mexico desert.
And Later on the Same Page

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The Attempt to bring the Second World War to an end by the use of a revolutionary super weapon had been decided.
From this I took the Americans believed the weapon would speed the War's end.
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Old January 5th, 2011, 02:35 PM   #7

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Also, to echo Centrix, Good Luck with the talk
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Old January 5th, 2011, 02:37 PM   #8

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I believe from everything that I've read that the US used the atomic bombs to end the war as quickly as possible and to avoid a costly invasion of the Japanese home islands. I think that is fair all things considered.

Other more contentious reasons include; Using them as a demonstration to warn the Russians away from expanding any further into asia including Japan; using the weapons to guage/assess the effects of their use in warfare and on large cities; using them sheerly because so much time, effort, industrial capacity, resources went into the making of them.

eta: Oh and good luck with the talk.
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Old January 5th, 2011, 02:38 PM   #9

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Thanks, the talk will be fun I hope.

There are other reasons put forward for dropping the bombs, "intimidating the Russians" and "just to test them out" among them. (The latter is usually accompanied by charges of racism.)
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Old January 5th, 2011, 03:03 PM   #10

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Qymaen View Post
I agree. Also what is with people complaining about the use of atomic bombs to end World War II? If we had invaded, hundreds of thousands of American marines, sailors and soldiers would have perished along with millions more Japanese civilians and soldiers. I'm reminded of a quote by Admiral "Bull" Halsey (I believe) that sort of went like this:

"When we're through with them, the Japanese language will only be spoken in Hell."

This very well could have happened.
The argument from those people that "complain" about the use of the bombs is that a direct invasion was not the only alternative.

BTW, good luck with the discussion, OP. I hope it stays civil.
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