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Old 01-09-2008, 02:52 PM
 
Location: Red Sox Nation
675 posts, read 2,526,730 times
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Should we have dropped the bomb on Japan? I once asked my Grandpa the same thing. He and his three brothers were all WWII vets. Grandpa and two brothers served in the Pacific theatre, and two of them were injured pretty badly. Uncle Bob helped liberate Italy. Anyway, it is like Dd74 said, we are looking back over 60 years ago. My grandfather told me that after so many hardships, deaths, and so much ugliness, they just wanted the war over, by any means necessary. Was it right what we did? He wasn't completly sure, but the shear relief could not be put into words. He told me he wept on VJ day, for the lives lost in the bombings of course, but more for the realization that the war was over, he and his brothers (hundreds of thousands of them) were comming home, and he would live to see his baby boy (my dad) grow up. It broke my heart.
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Old 01-09-2008, 03:26 PM
 
Location: SE Arizona - FINALLY! :D
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2KidsforMe View Post
Should we have dropped the bomb on Japan? I once asked my Grandpa the same thing. He and his three brothers were all WWII vets. Grandpa and two brothers served in the Pacific theatre, and two of them were injured pretty badly. Uncle Bob helped liberate Italy. Anyway, it is like Dd74 said, we are looking back over 60 years ago. My grandfather told me that after so many hardships, deaths, and so much ugliness, they just wanted the war over, by any means necessary. Was it right what we did? He wasn't completly sure, but the shear relief could not be put into words. He told me he wept on VJ day, for the lives lost in the bombings of course, but more for the realization that the war was over, he and his brothers (hundreds of thousands of them) were comming home, and he would live to see his baby boy (my dad) grow up. It broke my heart.
Yeah, in the final analysis the fact is, Truman (who made the decision), had no responsibility to anyone but our own troops. If it saved American lives it was more or less automatically the right choice. He really had no responsibility to the Japanese - it was war after all. It certainly did save Japanese lives in the long run, but even had it not - if it saved American lives, that's justification enough.

Ken
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Old 01-09-2008, 04:04 PM
 
Location: Red Sox Nation
675 posts, read 2,526,730 times
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How would we look back on Truman now had he not made that decision? To my Grandpa and those of that generation, he did what he had to do. He had the means to end the war, to not use that would not have sat well, to say the least.
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Old 01-10-2008, 03:38 AM
 
Location: The Netherlands
8,567 posts, read 15,253,987 times
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Originally Posted by LordBalfor
Quote:
Yeah, in the final analysis the fact is, Truman (who made the decision), had no responsibility to anyone but our own troops.
The question is does the end justify the means?
I mean I regard nuclear arms a greater thread than fascism, since it becomes disastrous once a fanatic gets his hands on one.
And you can't prevent people from eventually gaining the knowledge to build one or getting the materials.

I mean in the end even Einstein regretted his letter to Roosevelt, simply because he hadn't foreseen what the initial outcome of the nuclear arms race would be.
We (humans) are not always as rational or sane (or even civilised) as we believe ourselves to be.
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Old 01-10-2008, 05:41 AM
 
Location: The Netherlands
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Another difference between fascism and nuclear weapons is that fascism always starts as a local thread, while nuclear weaponry or the possession of having the knowledge and means to build one immediately becomes a global thread ( especially if everyone has one).

Even if an independent Iraqi terrorist cell nukes an American city with a stolen nuclear missile from France out of France, who can guarantee me that America will not retaliate by nuking France (since the missile is French and was fired from France) and Iraq since the terrorists are from Iraq?
Are all the French and Iraqi civilians simply guilty of what one terrorist cell has done?
Even if in this scenario no one retaliates with nuclear weapons, why do we risk the danger of having them?
It is true that sane people will not use them, but as we all know war (or suffering casualties) does change people.
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Old 01-10-2008, 08:28 AM
 
Location: SE Arizona - FINALLY! :D
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tricky D View Post
Originally Posted by LordBalforThe question is does the end justify the means?
I mean I regard nuclear arms a greater thread than fascism, since it becomes disastrous once a fanatic gets his hands on one.
And you can't prevent people from eventually gaining the knowledge to build one or getting the materials.

I mean in the end even Einstein regretted his letter to Roosevelt, simply because he hadn't foreseen what the initial outcome of the nuclear arms race would be.
We (humans) are not always as rational or sane (or even civilised) as we believe ourselves to be.
It doesn't matter. By the time the bomb was ready to be used, the genie was already out of the bottle - the Soviets knew about it because of their spies in the Manhattan Project and were already at work on their own version, so the bomb was coming one way or another - so there was no stopping the coming Nuclear Arms Race.

You can argue that the project should never have been started to begin with, but even that argument is flawed. When the decision was made to go farward with it, it was already known that Germany was working on such a weapon. As it turned out, Hitler was defeated before they were able to produce it, but at the time no one could know that - and had Hitler developed the bomb first.... that's a REAL nightmare scenario.

The decision to develop the bomb was the right one at the time.
The decision to drop the bomb once we had it was the right one period.

Ken
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Old 01-10-2008, 12:13 PM
 
Location: SE Arizona - FINALLY! :D
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One sort of footnote to all this.
In a previous post I mentioned that the REAL event that caused the Japanese to surrender was not so much the Atomic bombs themselves but the fact that the dropping of those bombs caused Stalin to move up the timetable for his attack on the Japanese - and it was this attack by the Soviets that actually was the thing that that finally broke down the Japanese resistance to surrender (since they had been counting on the Soviets to broker somewhat better surrender terms - specifically that the Emperor could remain on the throne). Some of you (probably most actually) viewed this with some skepticism.

If so, consider this when judging just how important a role the attack of the Soviet Union played in Japan's surrender: Prior to the actual surrender, the Allies had stated repeatedly that the Japanese surrender was to be "Unconditional" - and yet when the time came, we actually agreed to a condition - in fact, not just "a condition", but the MAIN condition that was keeping the Japanese fighting - that is, that the Emperor could remain on the throne.

The reason for this was simple - the Soviets were RAPIDLY taking over the vast areas the Japanese had conquered in Manchuria and much of Korea - and would then have been able to move south into occupied China proper - and there was nothing the Japanese would have been able to do to stop them. Soviet forces simply flattened the Japanese everywhere they met them. Is was therefor in the best interests of the US to end the war quickly - before the Soviets had time to gobble up even more territory.

The US, concerned over the rapidly expanding zone of Soviet occupation, then did an about-face and accepted a Japanese surrender whereby the Emperor would be allowed to remain in a ceremonial position. Now in truth this had been discussed among the allies previously but until the Soviets invaded Manchuria, the official line was "the Emperor must go". Then once the Soviets were involved, that position was suddenly changed and the "unconditional" surrender became simply "nearly unconditional".

So, although the Atomic Bombing was the catalyst that started the ball rolling for the surrender of Japan, it was in truth only the indirect cause of that surrender. The REAL reason was the attack of the Soviet Union against Japan -both because it dashed Japan's last hopes of a negoiated surrender and because that attack spurred the US into (at least partially) backing down on their "Unconditional Surrender"" pledge.

Ken
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Old 01-10-2008, 12:35 PM
 
Location: The Netherlands
8,567 posts, read 15,253,987 times
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Originally Posted by LordBalfor
Quote:
You can argue that the project should never have been started to begin with, but even that argument is flawed. When the decision was made to go farward with it, it was already known that Germany was working on such a weapon. As it turned out, Hitler was defeated before they were able to produce it, but at the time no one could know that - and had Hitler developed the bomb first.... that's a REAL nightmare scenario.
True, but I find the if I don't do it someone else will-excuse very lame.
If you take that position you could argue that the Nazis were in the right when they started experimenting on people in their concentration camps; ‘It was all necessary to stay ahead of the competition.’
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Old 01-10-2008, 12:57 PM
 
Location: SE Arizona - FINALLY! :D
20,460 posts, read 24,060,275 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tricky D View Post
Originally Posted by LordBalfor True, but I find the if I don't do it someone else will-excuse very lame.
If you take that position you could argue that the Nazis were in the right when they started experimenting on people in their concentration camps; ‘It was all necessary to stay ahead of the competition.’
WHAT????????

How does experiementation on people in any way, shape, or form compare to the threat of an atomic weapon?

In regards to "If we don't do it, someone else will" - that "someone" was HITLER - someone who almost certainly WOULD have used the bomb if he'd had it.

Ken
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Old 01-10-2008, 01:21 PM
 
Location: The Netherlands
8,567 posts, read 15,253,987 times
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Originally Posted by LordBalfor
Quote:
In regards to "If we don't do it, someone else will" - that "someone" was HITLER - someone who almost certainly WOULD have used the bomb if he'd had it.
My point is that we could then do any immoral experiment we want, because we can always come up with someone scarier or conjure up a greater thread to rationalise and justify our immoral behaviour.
I mean the Nazis could justify their evil behaviour with: if we don't do this the Allies will gain the upper hand and the Allies can make the exact same excuse.
Just like the situation we have now with our nuclear weaponry and chemical weapons.
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