Could the bombing of Hiroshima be considered a war crime?

Jul 2013
9,514
San Antonio, Tx
Well, I guess military forces can't "take responsibility for the governance of territory" for they are military and not qualified to govern anyone or anything. But they can guarantee the government will lead a certain line of "governing" and not the other. A good example is the GDR or Czechoslovakia. The Soviet troops governed no one but they guaranteed the governing were to be a prosoviet one.
You’re suggesting that the military occupation of Eastern Europe by Soviet forces is the same thing as US military bases in Japan? Are you delusional? If the Japanese government asked the US to pack up its bags and leave we would do so. Any questions?
 
Jul 2013
9,514
San Antonio, Tx
I'm still not sure why killing civilians with conventional bombs or atomic bombs is fundamentally different.
You’re right. It isn’t fundamentally different. I believe that some of the responders here who insist it was some sort of war crime are not big fans of the United States and want to somehow punish this country for - what, exactly? - winning the war against the Japanese. How terrible! Maybe we should have invaded with the British, Australians, New Zealanders, etc. and lost hundreds of thousands of troops in order to avoid the kind of lunatic criticism in here about the horror of dropping two atomic bombs which made those losses unnecessary.
 
Jul 2013
9,514
San Antonio, Tx
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@ paranoid marvin " Personally I think the US nuked Japan for several reasons"

all your reasons are good , a couple of others ,
avoiding the bloodshed of tens of thousands of GI
and the severe financial pressure on the US treasure
with a debt level at stratospheric level , government war bonds were getting hard to sell
this war had to finish , quickly !
This is a good point. Basically, after the US entered WW2, the US put into place Lend-Lease which did away with the need to force our allies to pay for the supplies and weapons needed to fight the Germans (and the Japanese). This funded millions of arms, thousands of bombers and tens of thousands of fighter aircraft flown by many, if not most, of our allies. Only the British and the Russians still had sizable armies with which to fight the Germans, but lots of other countries were clothed and armed by the US. The Free French who rolled into Paris did so using US tanks, American Jeeps and US rifles and uniforms, not to mention US-supplied rations. It would have been the biggest accounting nightmare in history to try to keep up with who was getting what. The US basically funded the western world’s fighting forces out of the US Treasury through war bonds bought and paid for by the American people.

Then, after WW2, the US revived the Western European economies with the Marshal Plan which also cost the recipients nothing.
 
Jul 2013
9,514
San Antonio, Tx
I'm an old guy. I had a friend that was a much older guy.

He was in a Japanese prison at the time they dropped the bombs.

His opinion: "Thank God they dropped the bombs. They saved so many lives."

He was a priest.

Just sayin' ...
I read somewhere a long time ago, that the Japanese had plans in place to kill all the allied prisoners they had in Japan if the Allies invaded. The atomic bombs, according to this viewpoint, upset these plans and the mass killings did not take place. Does anyone know more about this?
 
Aug 2015
2,201
uk
No, that would have been impossible since there weren’t any operational nukes during the island battles.

But all you would do is wait. The Japanese weren't going anywhere, and by this stage of the war there was little chance of victory. So rather than send thousands of marines in to clear the islands, you wait 6 months and drop an atom bomb on them.
 
Jul 2013
9,514
San Antonio, Tx
But all you would do is wait. The Japanese weren't going anywhere, and by this stage of the war there was little chance of victory. So rather than send thousands of marines in to clear the islands, you wait 6 months and drop an atom bomb on them.
Well, there were only 2 bombs: “Fat Man” and “Little Boy”. Thee were no others. Using them on a Pacific Island would not have the same effect as using them on a mainland city. Using them on an island makes it pretty easy for the Japanese High Command to cover up its use and pretend that nothing happened. No, that was never going to work, but it’s pretty clear that because of the Japanese continuing (and hardening) resistance, the bombs were a much more attractive option to at least try first than invading the country.
 
Jul 2013
9,514
San Antonio, Tx
Poor Japan! “Forced” to fight China; forced to fight Burma, Korea, Indonesia, the Philippines and the Dutch West Indies. The evil westerners forced them to do all this. Death marches were part of the evil western program to make the Japanese look bad. Those Korean “comfort women” were all, you know, “volunteers” who were desperate to serve the Japanese army’s needs.

Why not? It's reduction of enemy's partisan manpower. If killing civilian people from other nations using bombs is perfectly valid then its also perfectly valid to kill people using guns or gas.

It is only a difference of degree not a difference in nature. Of course, it was more brutal to kill Jews in concentration camps than it was to kill civilians in the Hamburg or Dresden raids.

Although the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings are also very much like concentration camp killings: Japan was a small poor country without the industrial and technological capabilities to defend itself properly (unlike Germany), hence why Japan surrendered without being physically invaded and 140,000 metric tons of bombs dropped over Japan killed a similar number of people as 1,260,000 tons of bombs dropped over Germany. By August 1945 Japan lacked any substantial means of defense, hence why a single B-29 could easily invade Japanese airspace without having a significant risk of being shoot down.
Maybe the Japanese shouldn’t have embarked on this stupid war in the first place. - I’m sure a lot of Japanese asked themselves that when it was already too late.

The civilian population or Hiroshima and Nagasaki was being used as human test experiments of an experimental new weapon by the US government. Essentially, the atomic bombings were more of a weapons demonstration to scare Stalin and his 500 divisions that could easily destroy all US and British forces in continental Europe rather than an attack specifically aimed at Japan. Morally I see it as being in a similar level as the holocaust.
There is zero proof of this.

The justification of "ending the war" was nonsense: Japan had already been thinking about surrendering in 1943 after Midway and Stalingrad it was clear that the war was lost, they fought on because of the unreasonable demands of the Allies of unconditional surrender.
What unreasonable demands did the Allies make of Japan? The Potsdam Declaration never mentioned the status of the Emperor at all. You have not demonstrated any “case” here whatsoever. Oh, and “thinking about surrender” isn’t exactly the same thing as actually surrendering, is it?

Finally, Japan's proposed peace terms in January 1945 were already identical to what happened when they surrendered in August 1945. The war dragged on because the US was being completely unreasonable and Japan had actually no means to hit back by 1945: their airforce and navy had no fuel and so they were locked inside their tiny islands and were slowly starving, they were obviously not a credible military threat to the Allies by that point.
If that’s true, why didn’t the Japanese just surrender under the provisions of the Potsdam Declaration instead of crawfishing around contacting other powers that had no business in the peace process at all. It was just a bunch of Japanese mis-direction. They knew the war was lost, you are correct about that, but they couldn’t face their enemy and tell them that. A couple of nukes did the trick because it allowed the Japanese to tell themselves that it was deux ex-machina and it was useless to resist further. Nonsensical references to Soviet troops in China are hilarious and completely wrong.

Also, there has been reasonable argument that Japan's decision to surrender in August 1945 was more due to the entry of the Soviet Union in the war rather than the terror bombings (which have been performed in Japan in a large scale since march 1945).
This is palpable nonsense. You’re going to have to some up with more proof of this than you’ve offered here, which is none.

Also, the degree of physical destruction of conventional incendiary bombing in the wooden Japanese cities was similar to nuclear bombs' destructiveness as well as the loss in civilian life: before the atomic bombs Japan had lost 68 cities to conventional bombing, losing 2 more wouldn't make a difference.
All the Japanese wanted was to be left alone to murder and destroy its enemies. How could the dastardly west interfere with their magnanimous policies? I tremble with regret that we stopped the Japanese from civilizing the Pacific region. And if those atom bombs hadn’t been dropped, hundreds of thousands of allied prisoners held in Japan would have been killed because, you know, they were “dangerous”. Unfortunately, the Japanese were caught with their pants down when those awful atom bombs were dropped, saving all those lives.

The real mystery here is why Japan started the war in the Pacific in the first place. It was a war which, on paper, they could never win. There is anecdotal evidence that the Japanese military may have felt the Americans were too soft to fight, certainly compared to the Yamato-inspired Japanese soldiers whose fighting spirit was second to none. Well, they were certainly fanatic enough, but they came up short - way short - in most other areas, and, when the chips were down, they were buried in an avalanche of American/Australian/British firepower.
 
Last edited:
Dec 2018
31
Chicago
As far as I know, a war crime is essentially any act during wars/military conflicts that opposes the law of war; which includes (but not limited to) destroying civilian property, intentional killing of civilians and strategic bombing.

Now the bombing of Hiroshima was essentially destroying civilian property; intentional killing of civilians and strategic bombing. And worse; a nuclear bombing.

So why isn't intentionally using nuclear bombs on a country (that has been discussing terms of peace and was willing to surrender) considered a war crime? Why is the killing of more than 200,000 and the intentional destruction of the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki not considered a war crime?
You do realize we are discussing Imperial Japan right?

The country which even after it was nuked twice needed the direct intercession of the emperor to convince the fanatics to surrender?

And which was planning to unleash the bubonic plague on San Francisco courtesy of Unit 731?

There is zero reason to believe that Japan was going to surrender without being forced to.

Now, let’s lay out the other options available, shall we?

1) Direct invasion of Japan:

“Bloodbath” is the only word which comes to mind. As far as I remember we are still going through the Purple Hearts created in anticipation of Operation Downfall. Japanese civilian casualties would have been damn near apocalyptic given they were being trained to charge Sherman tanks with spears.

2) Starve them out

Again, immense casualties among Japanese civilians, and no guarantee of the Japanese government surrendering or doing anything other than having the military—-i.e. the guys with the guns—-commandeer whatever resources they needed to survive.

3) Negotiated Peace

Politically and morally unacceptable, especially given Japan’s likely attempts at preserving its empire on Taiwan and or Korea in that eventuality. This is not like negotiating with Heer officers after a successful Operation Valkyrie. This is the same regime responsible for numerous atrocities across Asia. Total nonstarter.

So in other words not only is nuking Hiroshima and Nagasaki(both of which were actually military targets) not a war crime, it actually saved millions of lives.
 

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