Could the bombing of Hiroshima be considered a war crime?

Bart Dale

Ad Honorem
Dec 2009
6,866
The point was that there was rather less consistency in how the Japanese armed forces performed in WWII than often assumed.

Then there is a process of deciding which bits to count, and which bits to dismiss as not significant. Then there might also be a discussion about how that was done.
Seems like.we are really saying the same thing, and are in agreement.

The point I was makinfb that he performance of the Japanese in Manchuria against the Soviet is no basis on which to judge what the US would have faced if it had invaded Japan, and some have used the massive surrendering of the Japanese I. Manchuria to imply the same thing would have happened if the US had invaded Japan
The results of Manchuria are used by some to dispute the necessity of dropping th atomic bomb.
 
Mar 2012
1,168
Magdeburg
Because it wasn't against the rules of war.
While Japan may have been attempting to seek peace, it wasn't willing to accept the terms the Allies were offering them, and it's armed forces we're still attacking Allied soldiers and civilians wherever they could. There was no truce, the war was still going on. Therefore the Allies were fully entitled to attack these cities under the laws of war as they were at this time.
So armenian genocide didn't happen since there was not term "genocide" back then, correct?
 

Larrey

Ad Honorem
Sep 2011
4,702
Seems like.we are really saying the same thing, and are in agreement.

The point I was makinfb that he performance of the Japanese in Manchuria against the Soviet is no basis on which to judge what the US would have faced if it had invaded Japan, and some have used the massive surrendering of the Japanese I. Manchuria to imply the same thing would have happened if the US had invaded Japan
The results of Manchuria are used by some to dispute the necessity of dropping th atomic bomb.
It also means that the scenarios proposed for US casualties if invading the Japanese mainland are precisely that, scenarios. It's literally unknowable if in the end it would have been more like Okinawa or more like Manchuria.

What Manchuria establishes is part of the inconsistency, which had more to do with what was going on with the Japanese themselves than with their adversaries.

The scenarios about the bombs + invasion tend to rely on assumptions about consistency of Japanese behaviour that don't necessarily hold up all that well. It depends on how the Japanese would have reacted, and Japanese reactions varied. Which Manchuria, among other things, shows. (The argument is less that "It would have been like Manchuria", and rather that Manchuria shows that it is perfectly possible the Japanese would have responded in some unexpected way.)

I know I've said it before, but the dropping of the bombs literally made the outcome of those other possibilities unknowable. But that's also why these discussions never go away. The scenarios have been proposed since WWII are intended to close the debate, but are by nature post-fact justifications of the US choice. That choice once done can't be undone. But the justifications tend to treat things as fact that are not possible to actually establish as such. It never happened, they are fundamentally counter-factual. So the debate re-spawns.
 
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MAGolding

Ad Honorem
Aug 2015
2,523
Chalfont, Pennsylvania
According to this list of Wars and Anthropogenic Disasters by Death Toll The bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki are considered war crimes by the compliers of that list.

List of wars and anthropogenic disasters by death toll - Wikipedia

That means they are included in the total of war crimes in WWII along with other bombings of civilian settlements during the war, and form a rather small percentage of the total WWII war crimes death toll listed.
 

Belgarion

Ad Honorem
Jul 2011
6,489
Australia
It also means that the scenarios proposed for US casualties if invading the Japanese mainland are precisely that, scenarios. It's literally unknowable if in the end it would have been more like Okinawa or more like Manchuria.

What Manchuria establishes is part of the inconsistency, which had more to do with what was going on with the Japanese themselves than with their adversaries.

The scenarios about the bombs + invasion tend to rely on assumptions about consistency of Japanese behaviour that don't necessarily hold up all that well. It depends on how the Japanese would have reacted, and Japanese reactions varied. Which Manchuria, among other things, shows. (The argument is less that "It would have been like Manchuria", and rather that Manchuria shows that it is perfectly possible the Japanese would have responded in some unexpected way.)

I know I've said it before, but the dropping of the bombs literally made the outcome of those other possibilities unknowable. But that's also why these discussions never go away. The scenarios have been proposed since WWII are intended to close the debate, but are by nature post-fact justifications of the US choice. That choice once done can't be undone. But the justifications tend to treat things as fact that are not possible to actually establish as such. It never happened, they are fundamentally counter-factual. So the debate re-spawns.
The decision to use nuclear weapons was based on the proven behaviour of the Japanese people, and the inevitable outcome based on that behaviour had an invasion been necessary, not on some 'assumption'. In fact all the assumptions come from the historical revisionists determined to demonise the use of these weapons in spite of the lives they saved on both sides.
 

Larrey

Ad Honorem
Sep 2011
4,702
The decision to use nuclear weapons was based on the proven behaviour of the Japanese people, and the inevitable outcome based on that behaviour had an invasion been necessary, not on some 'assumption'. In fact all the assumptions come from the historical revisionists determined to demonise the use of these weapons in spite of the lives they saved on both sides.
That is precisely the counter-factual argument advanced after the bombs had been dropped, yes. Absolutely no way of testing it or confirming it at all. And it was presented precisely as something not to be disputed.

Yet the debate never goes aways, does it? Can't be proven, can't be disproven.
 

Belgarion

Ad Honorem
Jul 2011
6,489
Australia
That is precisely the counter-factual argument advanced after the bombs had been dropped, yes. Absolutely no way of testing it or confirming it at all. And it was presented precisely as something not to be disputed.

Yet the debate never goes aways, does it? Can't be proven, can't be disproven.
Wishful thinking is no substitute for facts. The behaviour and fanaticism of the Japanese was a well known known fact. There is no reason whatsoever to think that they would change.
 
Dec 2014
357
Wales
It also means that the scenarios proposed for US casualties if invading the Japanese mainland are precisely that, scenarios. It's literally unknowable if in the end it would have been more like Okinawa or more like Manchuria.

What Manchuria establishes is part of the inconsistency, which had more to do with what was going on with the Japanese themselves than with their adversaries.

The scenarios about the bombs + invasion tend to rely on assumptions about consistency of Japanese behaviour that don't necessarily hold up all that well. It depends on how the Japanese would have reacted, and Japanese reactions varied. Which Manchuria, among other things, shows. (The argument is less that "It would have been like Manchuria", and rather that Manchuria shows that it is perfectly possible the Japanese would have responded in some unexpected way.)

I know I've said it before, but the dropping of the bombs literally made the outcome of those other possibilities unknowable. But that's also why these discussions never go away. The scenarios have been proposed since WWII are intended to close the debate, but are by nature post-fact justifications of the US choice. That choice once done can't be undone. But the justifications tend to treat things as fact that are not possible to actually establish as such. It never happened, they are fundamentally counter-factual. So the debate re-spawns.
I do struggle slightly to follow the point you are trying to make here. You seem to be saying that since the bombs were dropped and the war ended we can't know what would happen next if they hadn't been dropped. This is obviously untrue - the war would have continued. Unless that is you have some evidence - even a hint of a suggestion - that the Japanese were planning to surrender on August 15th if the bombs hadn't been dropped? No? So we know for a fact the war would have continued. Not a scenario - fact.

How long would they have fought on? Impossible to say, but without instant capitulation the war was going to go on for at least weeks. Even with instant capitulation the war went on for another 6 days after the Japanese surrender - or did you not know that the Japanese forces in Manchuria you claim collapsed did not actually surrender until August 21st, 6 days after the formal surrender:



The Imperial Japanese Army Headquarters did not immediately communicate the cease-fire order to the Kwantung Army, and many elements of the army either did not understand it, or ignored it. Hence, pockets of fierce resistance from the Kwantung Army continued, and the Soviets continued their advance, largely avoiding the pockets of resistance, reaching Mukden, Changchun, and Qiqihar by 20 August. The cease-fire order was eventually communicated to the Kwantung Army, but not before the Soviets had made most of their territorial gains.




This remember is with instant capitulation, something no historian, no matter how revisionist, has suggested was about to happen if the bombs had not been used. Maybe the Japanese could have decided to surrender in mid - late August (no evidence of any kind anywhere), but it would still have taken weeks to decide under what conditions, and all the while people were dying.

So lets take a look at what you consider the best option - the Manchurian option.

A quick glance shows that the Kwantung army at this time was the worst of the worst:


The Kwantung Army had over 700,000 men in twenty-five divisions (including two tank divisions) and six Independent Mixed Brigades. These contained over 1,215 armoured vehicles (mostly armoured cars and light tanks), 6,700 artillery pieces (mostly light), and 1,800 aircraft (mostly trainers and obsolete types). However, the Kwantung Army was far below its authorised strength; most of its heavy equipment and all of its best military units had transferred to the Pacific Theater over the previous three years to contend with the advance of American forces. Some Kwantung Army units had also re-deployed south against the Nationalist Chinese in Operation Ichigo in 1944. By 1945 the Kwantung Army contained a large number of raw recruits and conscripts, with generally obsolete, light, or otherwise limited equipment. Almost all of the tanks were early 1930s models such as the Type 95 Ha-Go and Type 89 I-Go, the anti-tank units only possessed Type 1 37 mm anti-tank guns that were ineffective against Soviet armour, and the infantry had very few machine-guns and no anti-materiel rifles or sub-machine guns. As a result, the Japanese forces in Manchuria and Korea had essentially been reduced to a light-infantry counter-insurgency force with limited mobility and limited ability to fight a conventional land war against a coordinated enemy. In fact, only six of the Kwantung Army's divisions existed prior to January 1945. Accordingly, the Japanese regarded none of the Kwantung Army's units as combat ready, with some units being declared less than 15% read . (All quotes are wikipedia, not my favourite for referencing, but good enough for this).


Yet elements of this force continued to fight against an enemy that massively out-numbered them, out-equipped them and out-prepared them for another 6 days after they were ordered to surrender. In the 11 days the fighting went on in Manchuria and Korea the soviets had about 12,000 men killed - oddly close to American dead on Okinawa - while the Japanese may have suffered as many as 80,000. So this battle, in 11 days, cost almost 100,000 lives. And this, I want to stress, is what you regard as the EASY option!

You see this is the problem for me. People worry about what might have happened if the Japanese homeland had been invaded - the casualties would have been appalling if it had come to that - although indeed that might never have happened. But while they do this they forget that the war was still going on. Before the first American ever set foot on the soil of the Japanese homeland hundreds of thousands of Russian, British, Chinese and Japanese (not to mention the many native civilians) would have died in the unending fighting that still went on across the whole of South-East Asia every single day the war went on, as well as those Americans killed in fighting either in the Pacific or in air attack over Japan.

The purpose of the bombs was not to help prevent an American invasion, it was to end what was already one of the bloodiest wars in history.

And that is not a scenario, not a possibility - it is a fact!
 
May 2017
587
France
That is true.For the liberation of the french Indochine (Vietnam,Cambodge,Laos) the estimations of the losses were about 30 000 soldiers KIA.The atomic bomb has saved an army corps.The Kempetei,the Japanese Gestapo,exterminated all the peasants who didn t help them at the maximum (réquisitions of food,sexual slavery etc...).
I have made the interview of Mr Robert Hamaide,documentalist at the castle of Vincennes,sergeant in the Tonkin (north Vietnam) in 1946-1948.
I have made the interview of Mr Serge Jacquemard,specialist of the WWII ("The gang Bonny-Laffont,street Lauriston","Joinovici" etc...) secretary of the 1rst BILA in Cochinchine,and who had in his possession the documents about the slaughters in Lang Son.
 
Jun 2011
275
The Old Dominion
According to this list of Wars and Anthropogenic Disasters by Death Toll The bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki are considered war crimes by the compliers of that list.

List of wars and anthropogenic disasters by death toll - Wikipedia

That means they are included in the total of war crimes in WWII along with other bombings of civilian settlements during the war, and form a rather small percentage of the total WWII war crimes death toll listed.
Jeez, somebody's opinion on Wiki . . . sorry, not very impressive. Fails to mention the 186,000 or so Japanese civilians killed in Manchuria after the Soviets invaded. Why is it no one every cries about them?
 

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