World War 2
Japan in WW2
Hiroshima and Nagasaki Atomic Bombings
Atomic Bombs

What are arguments for and against the atomic bombings of Japan being justified?

Answer

Wiki User
09/20/2006

Here are summaries of opinions from FAQ Farmers on the moral or immoral nature of the decision to bomb Japan with nuclear weapons. Fewer Americans died * The war in the Pacific had been raging for almost four years. The two battles immediately preceeding the bomb decision were Iwo Jima and Okinawa, two battles where the Japanese fought to the death and the cost in American casualties was horrific. It was predicted that the invasion of the Japanese mainland at the Island of Kyushu -- scheduled for November of 1945 -- would be even worse. The entire Japanese military and civilian population would fight to the death. American casualties -- just for that initial invasion to get a foothold on the island of Japan would have taken up to an estimated two months and would have resulted in up to 75,000 to 100,000 casualties -- up to 20,000 dead! And that was just the beginning. Once the island of Kyushu was captured by U.S. troops, the remainder of Japan would follow. You can just imagine the cost in injuries and lives this would take. * Estimated US casualties for Operation OLYMPIC & CORONET were 250,000 along with 1,000,000 Japanese civilian casualties. In the parlance of the young, "this is a no-brainer." * It is not beyond the possibility that a million or more Americans could have been killed had we landed. The Japanese had correctly guessed where we intended to land, and were ready and waiting for us. The casualties would have been high. One American tanker walked around the area he was to have assaulted had we landed. According to him most of the "roads" marked on his map were not roads, but simply foot paths. He felt that tanks would have played a very small part in the fighting. It would have been more fighting against caves, and suicide attacks. * The bomb was dropped with a desire to SAVE LIVES. It is a matter of math. How many Americans lost their lives fighting how many Japanese at Tarawa, Iwo Jima, Okinawa. The mathematical formula showed the closer we got to Japan the more we lost. Next, one must calculate how many Japanese military people were still in Japan. Add to that figure the fact that women were being trained to fight. Before you say the women would not fight please remember that many women on Okinawa committed suicide fearing all the stories they were told about what the Americans would do to them if they surrendered. * Perhaps your grandfathers were among the 18-26 year old American GI's who had managed to survive the war in Europe. If so, on August 6, 1945, they were with approximately a million other boys on the way to the Pacific. At least 50-80% of them were expected to die in the invasion of the Japanese home islands. Since most of these young men were not yet married, your grandfathers had not yet married your grandmothers, so if they did not come back, then your parents would never be born and therefore you would not be here to second-guess historical decisions. * People can argue all they want about what the true U.S. government estimates of U.S. casualties in an invasion of Japan were. Doesn't matter. I can guarantee you that 99.9% of the soldiers, sailors and airmen involved in the actual combat, or training for the upcoming invasion were convinced that the invasion of Japan would be a bloodbath. I have never heard or read of any American military person who was involved in the late stages of fighting in the war with Japan who was not glad that the atomic bombs were dropped to end the war. Japanese civilians died * Yes, war is war, and death in war is redundant, you must realize, that death in war is only legal if it is military death and not civilian death, unless the civilians pick up arms and fight back (then in that case they would be considered combatants). * To say that the U.S. was justified in dropping the bombs, one would have to believe the maxim "the end justifies the means." * Bombs in general should seldom be used especially those of this magnitude. Fewer Japanese civilians died * The largest number of people killed in a single B-29 raid was not at Hiroshima, but at Tokyo, with conventional firebombs. Some 80,000-100,00 people killed. The problem was that even with the savage firebombing, the pathetic idiot military elite that was in charge of Japan DIDN'T CARE! They didn't care how much suffering their people had to endure. Surrender was NOT going to happen! Real men, real samurai NEVER SURRENDER! The voices of reason calling for surrender, for beginning negotiations with America were shouted down. Thus, more than anything else, the atomic bomb gave Emperor Hirohito the "face-saving" boost that he needed to tell these idiots that the time had come for Japan to surrender. It was one thing to surrender in the face of battle against an enemy with conventional bombs and weapons. It was another thing to face the seemingly supernatural force of atomic weapons. No matter that the atomic bombs actually killed fewer Japanese per city and were thus LESS EFFECTIVE than conventional firebombs. No, atomic weapons were a supernatural force that the Americans now controlled and so this was a good reason to stop fighting finally. * When you compare with simple math, the dropping of the bombs took less lives than if we had tried to invade Japan. That's true for Japanese lives as well as American lives. Japanese lives were saved as a direct result of those bombs. * The Japanese casualties (not including mass suicides as seen on Okinawa) were expected to be 5 to 10 times that of the Allies in an invasion. As many as 20 million Japanese men, women and children might have died in a bloody invasion. Saving lives in a worthy goal. Sadly some had to die that others might live. * While the atomic bombs, just as ANY bombs, were an unpleasant way to die, in the long run it saved lives and brought WW 2 to an end. Six long and costly years of world-wide death and destruction came to an end, thanks to the courageous decision made by President Truman. * How many Japanese would have died as we invaded the islands of Japan? Every city could have been leveled, every rice paddy, all utilities, sewers, etc. What bullets and bombs didn't kill the diseases that followed would finish. Certainly that figure would have exceeded those that died BY FAR all those that died from the two bombs dropped. * After having fought through Iwo Jima, Saipan, Guam, and Okinawa, there was no doubt that the Japanese people and their leaders would fight until the last man, woman, and child. If the Emperor had not instructed his subjects to stop fighting after Nagasaki they were prepared to resist tanks and artillery with sticks and stones until the last man, woman, and child perished. * An invasion of the Japanese mainland would have been a blood-bath for both sides. One could ask if cutting off the arm of a man is just. If that arm has gangrene and will kill the man slowly if not amputated, then it is indeed just. It does not matter that the arm is "innocent." Radiation is more horrible than conventional bombs * The radiation released from the bombs is still causing problems in Japan today. Many people died because of exposure to radiation. I understand that the people back then did not know the effects of an atomic explosion, they just thought that they were super bombs. And I also acknowledge the fact that invading Japan itself will cause high casualties on both sides. But, civilians are not suppose to protect the soldiers with their lives, it is the other way around! In a war, the deaths of 1 million soldiers are better than the death of 1 civilian, because civilians are innocent and soldiers are not. Surrendered soldiers are also innocent. I know that many soldiers were conscripted and do not want to fight, well too bad, blame the war. * The atomic bomb leaves behind radiation. And not just where the bomb exploded, the wind carried the particles around. The radiation is what makes the bomb so controversial. Yes, the US achieved its goals, but, after the bombings and up to 4 months afterwards, tens of thousands of people died of illness directly related to radiation poisoning. Is this justifiable by saying that more people would have died if the US invaded Japan? Maybe it is, I'm not saying it isnt, but the thing is, even if more people died, dying of radiation sickness or watching as the skin melt off of you is much worse than being shot to death, or dying while fighting to protect the land you love. * Can you really compare any type of bombing to atomic bombing which does have the factor of radiation poisioning which lead to cancers such as Leukemia. Does anybody deserve this destroyer of lives to be dropped on them? Several women had the intricate designs from their Kimonos burned into their flesh! The US wanted to kill as many civilians as possible * The bombs were nothing more than senseless civilian casualties in an already bloody war. * Supposedly the U.S. used the bomb on a military target. The reality is that Hiroshima was chosen not because there was a weapons plant nearby, but because it was a highly populated urbanized city. The site was chosen to showcase the full destructive power that the U.S. had available. Hiroshima and Nagasaki were military targets * One may think that the US chose to bomb the most populated areas only to kill many innocent civilians, but this is ridiculous to anyone who has studied history. The two cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were chosen because they were industrialized and military ports. All nations in WWII killed civilians * Like it or not there was little distinction between civilians and soldiers in WWII owing to the industrial nature of the war. The military could not operate without a functioning civilian economic base. All the major players targeted industry, communication and transportation of their opponents. This is in addition to directly attacking civilians in the hope of fostering terror. Of all the nations the U.S. had the luck of geography that Germany and Japan really could not hit the mainland US. They tried. * This was World War II. Bombs were dropped. People died. It happened in most participant nations and most of them dropped bombs of their own. If they didn't, it was only because they didn't have any to drop. I cannot for the life of me understand what difference it makes what type of bomb was dropped by whom. Japan wanted to bomb the US * The Japanese had a secret atomic bomb project. Is there any doubt they would have use it if they had succeeded in perfecting the bomb? The Japanese were not innocent * Just four years earlier the Japanese invaded us at Pearl Harbor without warning, bringing the US into World War II. We at least gave Japan a warning and they still wouldn't surrender. It had to be done. * Read "Rape of Nanking", a book about Japanese atrocities in China during WWII. Talk to some of the older people of China, Korea, Singapore, etc. who experienced WWII at the hands of the Japanese military. I would challenge you to find a single Asian person of that generation with personal experience of the Japanese invasions of their country who is not PROFOUNDLY GLAD that Japan got atomic bombed. My personal references in this case are my own parents and my two in-laws. Uniformly, their response to this would be: "Yes! Japan deserved getting atomic bombed!" To this day, the people of Asia have still not forgotten or forgiven Japan for its many atrocities of WWII and earlier. * The dropping of the atomic bombs on Japan has allowed the Japanese to maintain this myth that THEY were just as much victims of WWII as all the people of Asia and the Allied soldiers who died at their hands. Has anybody ever wondered why Germany does not have similar fantasies of victimhood? We have the Holocaust to "thank" for this. The death camps in Germany were kept as monuments to Nazi atrocities and the Nuremberg trials exposed the war criminals. Only the most egregious Japanese war criminals were put on trial. The bombings had nothing to do with Japan, it was about the Cold War * The real reason America used these weapons was to show Russia that the US possessed them. There would have been a Soviet occupation * The invasion was set for November 1, 1945. By that time, the USSR would have fought long enough to have a say in the partition of the Japanese island group and perhaps even Tokyo itself. The impact of Soviet occupation upon Japan and the part it could have played in Korea and the Cold War cannot be calculated. All war is unjust * I'm not sure anyone person is capable of answering this question. If you ask a Japanese or German who lost family members during the bombing of Hiroshima or firebombing of Dresden, you might get a different answer. Then ask a London resident during the bombing and rocket attacks of WW2 and see what he or she says. * Was dropped the atomic bombs a nice, humane thing to do? No, it has been a long time if ever that warfare has been a noble art. Did it save lives in the long run? Yes. * It is very hard to walk in the shoes of the people who made the decisions in 1945 especially when some of the greatest "concerns" people have today are what Paris Hilton is wearing or who just got booted off of Survivor. * I believe the notions of Just and Unjust are incompatible with war. Moral standards are created to facilitate civilian societies. Any attempt at reasoning within the same conceptual framework during a war collapses immediately. Formally, the USA had a right to drop the bomb, by international law of the time. Her territories had been violated and there was a state of war. The USA committed no crime of any national or international kind when dropping the A bombs. In fact, the USA was not even subject to international conventions in her relation to Japan, as Japan had not signed any. Even if the USA had been subject to Geneva and Hague in her relation with Japan, as she unilaterally declared herself to feel, the only applicable rule would have been proportionality. * In war, the objective is to defeat your enemy and keep your own men alive. The point of war is to win, not to make friends. I'm sorry if you see this as a cold response, but when it comes to war, the moral thoughts that govern society are not the same morals that govern the military. Japan was already losing * Japan was losing in 1945. It was only a matter of time before Japan lost the war. The bombings ended the war * Japan was not about to fold. The military attempts to prevent the emperor from capitulating are an indication of this. * As is not always realized, the U.S. asked Japan to surrender before the dropping of the first bomb, and yet we got no response after the first bomb, thus as a result, we dropped our last atomic bomb on Nagasaki, resulting in Japan's full surrender. * Justification is so often seen by various sides of the argument from their own perspective. What seems just to one side is dismissed by another. Truman's decision to drop the bombs was undoubtedly right. Even after the second bomb was detonated, the Japanese still did not surrender for another week! The US kept up round the clock bombing by B-29s until the moment of surrender. * Even after Hirohito made the tape of his speech of surrender, to be broadcast the following day, a group of diehard military officers attempted a coup and tried to snatch the tape. General Mori of the Imperial Guards was murdered in the coup (he refused to divulge the location of the tape), the plotters were unable to find the tape, and the coup failed. Japan was in the grip of fanatics. The United States in the latter days of WW2 was faced with a terrible dilemma. The Japanese are a proud, courageous and determined people. Japanese men, women and children were willing to die for the emperor. The invasion of Japan was necessary to end the war, because the Japanese would "lose face" if they considered surrender. In August of 1944 the war in Europe was over and the face off between the United States and Japan had finally arrived. The United States had to choose between sending hundreds of thousands of US soldiers, many freshly off the battlefields of Europe, to invade Japan killing and being killed by the hundreds of thousands, or dropping a newly developed weapon called the atomic bomb on two cities in Japan which would result in tens of thousands of civilian lives with little cost to US servicemen. The only hope of ending the war quickly and honorably was to drop the bombs. Calls for surrender were ignored and repugnent to the Japanese hierarchy; Okinawa and Iwo Jima had shown clearly what an invasion of Japan would be like. The decision was made, the bombs were dropped, the war was ended and both military and civilian lives were saved by both countries. !03,000 people died at the time and a further 1000 over the next 30 years, although many are living (and dying) with the effects.