Could the Allies have used contained Japan, instead of dropping Fat Man/Little Boy?

Jun 2015
5,713
UK
#1
If the Allies stationed troops in Korea, USSR, and China, and the US Navy, Royal Navy, Royal Australian Navy, etc. blockaded Japan, would this have been preferable?

If Japan really was willing to fight to the last man, then the bombs should not dissuade that. Surely dying in a nuclear blast for them was a more glorious death than getting shot by a rifle, tank, or artillery piece. Either way, it's still dying. This showed they were reasonable, and could realise when the game was up.

So if Japan was on the verge of a mass starvation event, wouldn't they have surrendered still, if they could acknowledge defeat was inevitable?
 
Aug 2017
73
Portugal
#2
Most military officers and chief advisors sustained the idea at the time that there was no need for the use of the atomic bomb. There were even intelligence information of the intention of Japan to surrender, before the US used the atomic bomb in Hiroshima and Nagazaki.

So, based on that, i think there's room to say that the US didn't need to get to that level of belligerance to win the war in the asian front.
 

Chlodio

Ad Honorem
Aug 2016
3,932
Dispargum
#3
For the Allies to occupy coastal China and all of Korea would require invasions, possibly as bloody as any invasion of Japan. So there's no gain with this strategy. Alternatively, the western Allies could have done nothing and let the Soviet Union occupy these regions.

One reason for the atomic bombings was the knowledge that the USSR was about to enter the war. The western Allies did not want to share the spoils of victory with the USSR, so there was great pressure to end the war quickly, before the Soviets could sieze too much territory. Waiting for the Japanese to starve would have allowed the Soviets to occupy all of the Korean penninsula and probably most of China, too. It may have also resulted in a divided Japan with both Soviet and US zones of occupation similar to Germany.
 
Jan 2015
2,902
MD, USA
#4
It was WAR. We were trying to WIN. This seems to be a concept that no one understands today. What's wrong with winning as quickly as possible? Americans and their allies were dying every day, to regular attacks and kamikazes, as well as being starved and tortured to death in Japanese prison camps, and just in everyday accidents on ships or military posiitons on land.

How many more Americans do you want to kill? Heck, not to mention the millions of Japanese who get to watch their children starve to death--does that sound like fun?

Drop the Bomb. Win the war.

What's hard about this?

Matthew
 

Tulius

Ad Honorem
May 2016
5,453
Portugal
#5
It was WAR. We were trying to WIN. This seems to be a concept that no one understands today.
I also have a hard time to understand the anachronism of the supposed scruples that we see in this kind of ideas. The main question is why the USA wouldn’t drop a new weapon recently developed to help to end the war as soon as possible? I can’t envision a single rational reason.
 
May 2013
395
Hays Kansas (ex Australian)
#6
How many more Americans do you want to kill? Heck, not to mention the millions of Japanese who get to watch their children starve to death--does that sound like fun?

At Los Alamos there was a big sign showing the daily casualty rate of American servicemen each day the project was running.

The people developing this weapon fully aware what problems any delay in deploying the bomb would create.
 
May 2013
395
Hays Kansas (ex Australian)
#7
I also have a hard time to understand the anachronism of the supposed scruples that we see in this kind of ideas. The main question is why the USA wouldn’t drop a new weapon recently developed to help to end the war as soon as possible? I can’t envision a single rational reason.
One of the traps of history is to overlay our current moral compass on events of the past. A better question might be, how many lives did the bombing save in the future.

How many potential nuclear exchanges have been avoided because Japan was bombed
 

Vaeltaja

Ad Honorem
Sep 2012
3,689
#9
Actually it would have been quite possible (and not too difficult either) to contain Japanese home islands. Submarines and aircraft delivered naval mines could have accomplished that almost just by themselves. Add to that carrier groups patrolling the waters nearby and that is about it. Problem really is that it might not have forced Japanese to surrender all that quickly (though on hindsight some of the comments indicate it might have) and could have cost even more lives than dropping the bombs.