Bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki

Nov 2013
20
Vienna, Austria
There is a big debate over the question " Was the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki justified"
I wonder what you think about it.
 

AlpinLuke

Forum Staff
Oct 2011
27,386
Italy, Lago Maggiore
Conceding the benefit of the doubt, I can repeat here what I have already expressed in other contexts.

"justified" ...

That's not the right approach, since we should apply our own judgment to an event which happened in a different context.

Historians shouldn't "justify", historians should explain, understand ...

It was the final period of a war which saw the death of dozens of millions of persons, generals and politicials had a well different idea of "mass sacrifice" than ours.

Today we react in a negative way when a single missile hits a civilian target. Imagine which is our instinctive "judgment" about the usage of nukes against two towns!

But in that context, the death of 100,000 or even 200,000 or even more civilians was acceptable to avoid a further continuation of the global massacre of WW II.

Simply that.

Today, such a military strategy would be considered near to a war crime [when not a proper war crime]. But in that moment, it was a "minor damage".
 
Nov 2013
14
Prague, Czech Republic
This debate will be with us till the end of times but my opinion is clear - it was not only justified, it was the only thing which made sense. If I imagine that I'm Truman, my country is in the worst war ever for almost four years, mighty thousands of US soldiers lost their lives... Yes, we are close to victory - Hitler is defeated and Japanese Home islands are near - but to reach final triumph we must fight last battle, battle which will be worse than anything we've so far experienced in this war - invasion to Japan. Compared to this, invasion of Europe was children's game. I can be sure that losses will be extreme, I can remember very well what recently happened on Okinawa or Iwo Jima - bloody massacre. And it was about tiny islands, now we are talking about Japanese homeland. How can I ask my soldiers and their families to go through this if I have something with which I can probably end this in one final blow - without any risk for Americans, no more American life will be lost...compare it to numbers which were anticipated to be lost in an invasion. No, I must use A-bomb because I have a responsibility to my people. And as a byproduct, I will save huge number of civilians as invasion would be massacre for them as well...
 
Last edited:

Naomasa298

Forum Staff
Apr 2010
35,487
T'Republic of Yorkshire
While I can understand why it was done, on a moral basis, I don't think it can be justified.

The standard that I would set is - what would we say about it if the other side had done it? Ultimately, it was a case of "this is what will happen if you do not surrender", and it cost thousands and thousands of lives.

From a military perspective, I can understand why one bomb might have been justified. But the rationale behind the bombs basically values Japanese lives less than Allied ones. Yes, you can argue that Japanese lives were saved as well, but I think that even if that wasn't the case, the bombs would still have been dropped.

You could also say that, if the Japanese had not surrendered when they did, Japan could have ended up divided like Korea when the Soviets swept south. However, the question of whether the Japanese would have surrendered anyway when it was clear that the Soviets weren't going to broker a peace agreement is one that is debated ad infinitum.
 

AlpinLuke

Forum Staff
Oct 2011
27,386
Italy, Lago Maggiore
While I can understand why it was done, on a moral basis, I don't think it can be justified.

The standard that I would set is - what would we say about it if the other side had done it? Ultimately, it was a case of "this is what will happen if you do not surrender", and it cost thousands and thousands of lives.

From a military perspective, I can understand why one bomb might have been justified. But the rationale behind the bombs basically values Japanese lives less than Allied ones. Yes, you can argue that Japanese lives were saved as well, but I think that even if that wasn't the case, the bombs would still have been dropped.

You could also say that, if the Japanese had not surrendered when they did, Japan could have ended up divided like Korea when the Soviets swept south. However, the question of whether the Japanese would have surrendered anyway when it was clear that the Soviets weren't going to broker a peace agreement is one that is debated ad infinitum.
It's just wondering about "justification" the base mistake.

Anyway, let's take it from an "exotic" perspective: Russians sacrified millions of soldiers and civilians to stop the advance of Nazis. If we asked a Russian General if he saw a disproportion in the civilian sacrifice in Japan in occasion of the nuclear bombing ... well, I guess that general would have commented something like ...

"how many persons? 100,000? 200,000? Millions and millions of Russians have already died in this damned war!".

I repeat that we should carry the matter in its proper historical context.
 

redcoat

Ad Honorem
Nov 2010
7,900
Stockport Cheshire UK
There is a big debate over the question " Was the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki justified"
I wonder what you think about it.
Well there was a state of war existing between the USA and Japan, and seeing Japan had shown very few scruples in how it had fought the war until then, the answer is yes.
 
Sep 2013
7,435
Ireland
Why didn't the Americans drop it on an island with less people and show them the power of the thing before they used it. Ok that may be fantasy land but I believe there could have been another way. Although the Pacific theater was very nasty and I'd say revenge was on their minds too.