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Old 12-06-2010, 09:33 AM
 
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So i just started reading into the end of WWII and the bombings of Hiroshima & Nagasaki. I got wondering to what the consequences would've been if the Japanese failed to surrender after the bombings?
I listened to an audio snippet of the American President announcing the bombings and his proclamation of continued attack until the Japanese were unable to "make war".
How far would the Americans have gone? You can't destroy an entire country, can you?
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Old 12-06-2010, 09:39 AM
 
Location: Parts Unknown, Northern California
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The further atomic bombing of Japan was an implied threat, but it was not an immediate reality because after Nagasaki, there were no more prepared bombs ready to go. Had Japan not surrendered when it did, it still would have been weeks or months before atomic attacks could resume, there was no reserve arsenal of them, the first two were used pretty much as they came off the assembly line. There had only been enough fissionable material to make three bombs by August of 1945, one was used in the Trinity test, the other two put to martial use.
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Old 12-06-2010, 09:42 AM
 
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So is it realistic to say the Japanese could have retaliated, or were they too devastated by Little Boy & Fat Man?
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Old 12-06-2010, 10:02 AM
 
Location: Parts Unknown, Northern California
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Originally Posted by stu05 View Post
So is it realistic to say the Japanese could have retaliated, or were they too devastated by Little Boy & Fat Man?
The Imperial Navy and the Japanese merchant marine had ceased to exist, all remaining aircraft were being used for suicide attacks, the bulk of their land forces were trapped in China with no means for getting back to the homeland, so "retaliated" doesn't seem like the appropriate description, but had the Japanese been aware that there was no immediate threat of more atomic bombs, they could have sustained the strategy which they had adopted and were implementing. That was a full population, 100% committment to resisting conventional bombing and invasion with the idea being to make the Allied conquest so bloody and costly that the Americans would back down from their unconditional surrender demands and agree to a negotiated peace. (At this point there was no hope of a Japanese victory, not even from the toughest die hards.)

Of course the Allies could have countered this by suspending active operations, maintaining a naval blockade, and then resuming the atomic bombings once a sufficient number of the weapons had been made ready.
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Old 12-06-2010, 10:41 AM
 
Location: Tijuana Exurbs
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Of course the Allies could have countered this by suspending active operations, maintaining a naval blockade, and then resuming the atomic bombings once a sufficient number of the weapons had been made ready.
I agree. At this point if there had been no surrender, the US simply could have, and probably should have, waited until the spring when the next bomb rolled off the assembly line.

However, that could have cost the lives of tens of thousands of Allied prisoners, both military and civilian, who were starving, and/or being worked to death, in Japanese prison camps. Because of the behavior of the Germans, we sometimes lose sight of just how badly the Japanese treated prisoners.
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Old 12-06-2010, 11:01 AM
 
Location: Parts Unknown, Northern California
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Originally Posted by kettlepot View Post
I agree. At this point if there had been no surrender, the US simply could have, and probably should have, waited until the spring when the next bomb rolled off the assembly line.

However, that could have cost the lives of tens of thousands of Allied prisoners, both military and civilian, who were starving, and/or being worked to death, in Japanese prison camps. Because of the behavior of the Germans, we sometimes lose sight of just how badly the Japanese treated prisoners.
It would have been before Spring, but in addition to the concerns about Allied prisoners perishing, there also would have been a holocaust among the Japanese population in general, leading to many times the deaths associated with the atomic attacks. Japan was incapable of feeding itself without imports, it was incapable of sustaining their electrical grid without oil imports, its medical supplies had been pretty well exhausted by war needs. Several months of an Allied naval blockade would have reduced the nation to a hellhole of starvation and the diseases which always accompany starvation. There can be little doubt that the death toll in that situation would have stretched into hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of Japanese civillians.

In that context, the atomic bombing was a cruel kindness. As horrible as the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings were, an intractable Japan hemmed in by a blockade, would have suffered far more than they did as a consequence of the nuclear weapons. It would have been Leningrad, except on a national rather than municipal scale.
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Old 12-06-2010, 11:45 AM
 
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I read somewhere a while back that the real reason for the capitulation was that if Japan had continued to wage war, there would have been a more than 50% chance that they would have been taken over by the soviets rather than the U.S.. They chose the lesser of the evils. The author of the piece made some fairly convincing arguments, so don't dismiss it out of hand.
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Old 12-06-2010, 01:08 PM
 
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I think the consequence would have been Armageddon. The U.S. would have moved forward with Operation Downfall with the Olympic invasion of Kyushu. It would have been a bloody, nasty battle including at the very least tactical use of nuclear weapons (reportedly between 7 and 15 bombs would have been ready by then) as well as the possible use of gas weapons. Casualties would have been in the millions for the Allies and tens of millions for the Japanese.

The Japanese, knew they were beat before the atomic bombs fell, they were merely trying to hold out for a negotiated surrender versus an unconditional one. Thankfully, the bombings changed their minds, but if it hadn't invasion would have been the result.

While blockade and continued air bombardment would seem to be the preferred method of dealing with Japan (probably resulting in horrendous conditions for the Japanese people), the Allies were dealing with war weariness issues at home. From 1943 on the Allies knew that they would need to conclude the war with Japan within a year of Germany's surrender, or risk their own populations pushing for a negotiated peace just to end the war. If the atomic bombs had failed to cause the surrender and the U.S. tried to starve the Japanese out, we could have just as easily ended up in a negotiated settlement do to pressures from our own populace and our allies who were growing tired of war, giving Japan what they wanted.

Chances are a negotiated settlement would have left the Imperial Family and Japans government in place as well as left them with control of Korea and possibly Machuria. Suffice to say Japan itself is probably better off today despite the atomic bombings than it would be if invasion or a negotiated peace treaty had been the result.
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Old 12-06-2010, 01:42 PM
 
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Yeah, the invasion plans would have proceeded and would have occured in 1946, at a terrible cost in Japanese and Allied lives.

Now - if we had the A bombs available I have no doubt we would have continued to drop A bombs and turned Japan into glass. But we were months away from making additional A bombs (does anyone know how long and how many we could have produced at that time? I'm too lazy to look it up). The bombs itself were sort of a bluff, the Japanese did not know that we didn't have more available.

To answer second question - Japan did not have the offensive means to retaliate, althought they certaintly had defensive capabilities. I can't see them taking more brutal action against POW's and civilians in occupied areas then that which they already carried out in the war.
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Old 12-06-2010, 02:51 PM
 
Location: Sinking in the Great Salt Lake
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I've heard before that there was a 3rd atom bomb which was never dropped... Anybody know about it?
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