Lest we forget: August 6th 1945

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Cueball Cueball's picture
Lest we forget: August 6th 1945

Obama revives debate about Hiroshima with envoy decision

Quote:
But US ambassador to Japan John Roos and UK deputy ambassador David Fitton, who is also attending, will shrug off demands for an apology and questions about the controversial bombing, which killed more than 140,000 people, mostly civilians.

NDPP

Why WWII Ended With Mushroom Clouds

http://globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=20478

 

N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture

Discussion from last year, and previous years, on babble can be found over here.

NDPP

The Lies of Hiroshima Are the Lies of Today - by John Pilger

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article20444.htm

"Since 1945 the US is believed to have been on the brink of using nuclear weapons at least 3 times. In waging their bogus 'war on terror', the present governments in Washington and London have declared they are prepared to make 'pre-emptive' nuclear strikes against non-nuclear states.

With each stroke toward the midnight of a nuclear Armageddon, the lies of justification grow more outrageous. Iran is the current 'threat'. But Iran has no nuclear weapons and the disinformation that it is planning a nuclear arsenal comes largely from a discredited CIA - sponsored Iranian opposition group, the MEK...

There is only one rampant nuclear power in the Middle East and that is Israel.."

Malibog

Ended the war and saved millions of lives.

Unionist

Malibog wrote:

Ended the war and saved millions of lives.

Before anyone gets disgusted at that comment, I should clarify that Malibog is actually referring to the conquest of Saigon by the patriotic Vietnamese forces and the cowardly capitulation of the U.S. and its puppet murderous regime in 1975:

Malibog

The facts are that a conventional invasion of Japan would have resulted in millions of deaths.

BTW, since you want to get into thread drift. The fall of Saigon did not save lives but caused the

death of around 200,000 boat people and 50,000 deaths in Communist reeducation camps.

Socialist economic policies in Vietnam resulted in famines and turned Vietnam into one of the

poorest nations in South East Asia. But, that has changed since Vietnam has transitioned to a

free market economy resulting in one thousand percent increase in per capita income. The US

occupation of Japan resulted in a free and economic prosperous Japan. So, I am not sure why

you would bring up Vietnam.

 

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Hi Mailbog, I don't think you belong here on babble. We don't make a habit of excusing the state-sanctioned murder of 160 000 civilians. And also, this is a leftist website, so lazy, generalizing (and historically ignorant) slags against "socialist economic policies" and "communist" reeducation camps doesn't make you any friends around here. I'm afraid your time here is at an end.

Doug

Malibog wrote:

Ended the war and saved millions of lives.

 

I don't think there was much of a choice of whether to use the bomb for that reason but there was a choice of where to use it and that choice is questionable.

Sineed

Malibog wrote:

Ended the war and saved millions of lives.

Debatable.

However, as we judge events of the past, we should take into account the context.  One of my interests is the culpability of health care professionals in crimes against humanity; as such I came across this story.  During WWII, the Japanese perpetrated horrifically monstrous acts on other human beings, mainly the Chinese:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/correspondent/1796044.stm

Unlike Nazi doctors, the Japanese doctors (who killed more people than the Nazi doctors in their experiments) who conducted these experiments were never prosecuted - a deal was cut such that they received immunity from prosecution in exchange for American access to their experimental data.  We know the best treatments for frostbite as a result of these experiments, for instance.

Other atrocities: the massacre at Nanjing, when 20,000-80,000 women were raped, and about 300,000 men killed, often after torture.

Then there's what happened in the Philippines, when the Japanese invaded; the Bataan death march that killed 10,000 Philippinos, etc.  When my father was stationed in the Philippines in the late 1950s, he said every now and then a Japanese citizen would venture into the country only to be found in a alley somewhere, their throat slit, such was the hatred of Japan.

A professor of political science at the University of Hawaii has an interesting webpage:

http://www.hawaii.edu/powerkills/SOD.CHAP3.HTM

Professor Rummel wrote:
From the invasion of China in 1937 to the end of World War II, the Japanese military regime murdered near 3,000,000 to over 10,000,000 people, most probably almost 6,000,000 Chinese, Indonesians, Koreans, Filipinos, and Indochinese, among others, including Western prisoners of war. This democide was due to a morally bankrupt political and military strategy, military expediency and custom, and national culture (such as the view that those enemy soldiers who surrender while still able to resist were criminals).

This is not to justify the nuking of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  But surely the murderous Japanese government of the day bore some culpability for this atrocity.

E.Tamaran

To be fair catchfire we should also remember Dec 7, 1941.

and September 19, 1931.

clandestiny

 

taken from Gore Vidal's 'Dreaming War, Blood For Oil and the Bush-Cheney Junta' .....pg 77/78:

 

"...But let me quote from a letter by the historian Kai Bird, which, to my amazement, the New York Times published (usually they suppress anything too critical of themselves or their Opinion makers):

'Twice the reviewer dismisses as "silly' Vidal's assertion that Harry Truman's use of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima was unnecessary because Japan had been trying for some months to surrender.

Such assertions are neither silly nor....a product of Vidal's 'cranky politics' Rather Vidal has cleverly drawn on a rich and scholarly literature published in the last decade to remind his readers that much of what orthodox court historians have written about the Cold War was simply wrong. With regard to Hiroshima, perhaps Vidal had in mind Truman's July 1945 handwritten diary reference to a 'telegram from Jap emperor asking for peace'"

 ------------------------------------

"The  best lack all conviction, while the worst

Are full of passionate intensity"  - WB Yeats, 'the Second Coming'

N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture

Darn. I missed Catchfire tearing so-and-so a new one. I miss all the fun.

Ken Burch

These lyrics by Tommy Sands seem appropriate to post here:

SADAKO AND THE CRANES

Sadako was a baby when the cruel bombs were burning
And the homes of Hiroshima turned to hell
But somehow she kept living and she seemed to laugh and play
Just like any little girl of ten
But lately she's complaining of dizzy spells and headaches
And she's praying for an end to all these pains
And she hears the old folks whisper
Your wishes will be granted if you make a thousand paper cranes

Sadako, let me make a paper crane for you.
Sadako, let me help to make your dreams come true.

She doesn't wish for chocolate cakes or dolls with coloured dresses
As lovingly she folds each paper crane
The only prayer she whispers, May this sickness go away
And poison bombs don't ever come again
Her hands are growing slower but her hopeful heart is racing
She has made six hundred cranes and forty-four
But the headaches keep returning, her fingers they are burning
She whispers, I just can't make any more.

Sadako, let me make a paper crane for you.
Sadako, let me help to make your dreams come true.

The children leave the classroom, they are crowding round her bedside
They are making paper cranes with loving speed
Soon there'll be a thousand and your wishes will come true
Sudako, are you smiling in your sleep
The pains of life are leaving and the only dream she's dreaming
Is a dream that bombs will never fall again
And that's the dream they carry as they gather at her graveside
And gently place a thousand paper cranes.

Sadako, let me make a paper crane for you.
Sadako, let me help to make your dreams come true.

Frmrsldr

E.Tamaran wrote:

To be fair catchfire we should also remember Dec 7, 1941.

Pearl Harbor was an inside job.

http://www.lewrockwell.com/vance/vance181.html

See the section "A Date which Will Live in Infamy".

Hiroshima and Nagasaki represented a change in technology, not a change in our moral reasoning.

Hiroshima and Nagasaki did not occur in a vacuum but were part of our ongoing military, political and moral reasoning and actions.

Laurence M. Vance wrote:

This [August 14, 1945 [Frmrsldr footnote: Note the date]] was the largest bombing raid in history. Yet, many timelines of World War II do not even list this event as having occurred.

But although this was the largest bombing raid, it was not the deadliest. In fact, the atomic bombs dropped on Japan were not even the deadliest. Because high-altitude precision bombing was viewed as not effective enough, the Army Air Force began using incendiary bombing test runs, Tokyo was firebombed on the night of March 9, 1945, by low-flying B-29's with increased bomb loads. Seventeen hundred tons of bombs were dropped in a densely populated area (an average of 103,000 people per square mile) of twelve square miles. The result was just what one would expect: as many as 100,000 dead, over 40,000 wounded, over 1,000,000 made homeless, over 267,000 buildings destroyed. The water boiled in some small canals because of the intense heat. This was the most destructive air attack in history. It killed more people than the dropping of an atomic bomb.

http://www.lewrockwell.com/vance/vance180.html

 

Ken Burch

E.Tamaran wrote:

To be fair catchfire we should also remember Dec 7, 1941.

and September 19, 1931.

I hope you aren't implying that the invasion of Manchuria and Pearl Harbor somehow justified Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

(on edit)

The other thing to remember is that, unlike Germany in the early 1930's (when there were still real elections and there was an established democratic political tradition within which dissenters had at least some chance of mobilizing against the pro-militarist, pro-dictatorial factions[I.E., the Nazis and the capitalist enablers) the ordinary people of Japan had no say at all in the decisions that led their country to take a militarist and expansionist path in the same period.

The people of Japan(including those of Hiroshima and Nagasaki)had no chance whatsoever of ever preventing either the invasion of Manchuria OR Pearl Harbor.  That country had a feudalist political culture in which dissent was impossible and pointless.

 

 

 

Fidel

General Curtis Lemay was another psychopath. He ordered US bombers be fitted with napalm(gasoline based gel) cannisters and dropped them at night time on what was the most densely populated part of the world then in the northern suburbs of Tokyo. It was probably the largest city ever constructed of wood and other flamables. War criminals knew what they were doing then. MacNamara said that Lemay and other military generals discussed the probability that they would be executed for their war crimes if the war had been lost.

They didn't need to drop those atomic bombs. The US air force was flying over Japanese cities mostly unchallenged by that time. The atomic bombs were meant as a show of force and threat to Stalin and the Sovs. And they've been using nuclear blackmail and medieval siege to threaten other countries daring to exist outside their political sphere of influence ever since.

N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture

1. It's my understanding that the Hiroshima bombing was the most studied bombing in history. Hiroshima was left out of much aerial bombardment  in the period leading up to the use of nuclear weapons on the civilian population of that city.That way, the effect of a nuclear blast could be "better understood".

2. The anti-Japanese zealotry in the US and Canada were well known.There's no point in pretending otherwise.

3. And, as Fidel points out, cold war benefits figured in the calculations as well.

4. Once the 2 bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the US was temporarily out of immediately deliverable bombs. I don't know the exact reason - a delay in producing enough Uranium or Plutonium perhaps - but there would have been a substantial delay in delivering the 3rd bomb to a target in Japan. Perhaps this explains the horrific use of incendiaries (see upthread) as well.

Frmrsldr

Ken Burch wrote:

E.Tamaran wrote:

To be fair catchfire we should also remember Dec 7, 1941.

and September 19, 1931.

I hope you aren't implying that the invasion of Manchuria and Pearl Harbor somehow justified Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

(on edit)

The other thing to remember is that, unlike Germany in the early 1930's (when there were still real elections and there was an established democratic political tradition within which dissenters had at least some chance of mobilizing against the pro-militarist, pro-dictatorial factions[I.E., the Nazis and the capitalist enablers) the ordinary people of Japan had no say at all in the decisions that led their country to take a militarist and expansionist path in the same period.

The people of Japan(including those of Hiroshima and Nagasaki)had no chance whatsoever of ever preventing either the invasion of Manchuria OR Pearl Harbor.  That country had a feudalist political culture in which dissent was impossible and pointless.

Your logic suffers fallacies on two counts:

1. Japan by the 1920s had an established democratic political tradition, a process that had been started since the early 1850s. Japan, like Germany, became an authoritarian military fascist state by stealth in the 1930s. After the election of 1932, certain members of the German government made Hitler, Goering and other leading nazis ministers in the government in the hopes that they could use the rising nazi popularity to their advantage. In 1933, when President Hindenburg (a sign of the growing right in Germany) died, Hitler amalgamated the power of Chancellor with that of the President. Hitler changed the Constitution whereby the German military swore an oath, not to defend the Constitution, Germany or its people, but made it a personal oath of loyalty to himself, Adolf Hitler (he was mentioned by name), Fuerer of Germany. After the 1934 Reichstag fire, Hitler again changed the Constitution enabling him (as Der Fuerer) and his government to rule by decree, thereby ending democracy in Germany. After that, the ordinary people of Germany had no say at all in the decisions that led their country to take a militarist and expansionist path, short of assassinating Adolf Hitler. Prior to that (in the 1920s), the paths later taken by the Japanese and German governments in the 1930s and 1940s could have been prevented but might not have, because those people who had the ability to affect such change were either murdered or intimidated by the murders perpetrated by German nazis or other right wing groups and the Japanese fascists, militarists and imperialists/monarchists/royalists.

The people of Germany (including those of the firebombed cities (where firestorms were created) of Cologne, Hamburg and Dresden) had no chance whatsoever of ever preventing the invasion of Poland, the bombing of England, the invasion of the Soviet Union and Hitler's declaration of war against the U.S.A.

I hope you aren't implying that the invasion of Poland, the bombing of England, the invasion of the Soviet Union and Hitler's declaration of war against the U.S.A. somehow justified the firebombing of Cologne, Hamburg, Dresden and other German cities, whereas Hiroshima, Nagasaki and the firebombing of Tokyo, Osaka, Nagumo and other Japanese cities wasn't justified.

2. There is no, nor can there ever be, moral justification for intentionally turning cities and civilians into military targets.

Frmrsldr

Malibog wrote:

The facts are that a conventional invasion of Japan would have resulted in millions of deaths.

 

There was no need for an invasion of Japan, the firebombing of Japanese cities or the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

The Imperial Japanese Army and Navy Air force was destroyed. The U.S. Air Force roamed the Pacific and Japanese homeland skies almost entirely at will, free from Japanese interceptors, looking for 'targets of opportunity' as they had rather run out of significant military targets to attack.

The Imperial Japanese Navy was at the bottom of the ocean. All Japan had left were cargo ships in its merchant marine. As the U.S. Navy dominated the Pacific and Japanese homeland waters, the U.S. Navy could destroy whatever vessels Japan had remaining at will.

The Imperial Japanese Army was either dead (with an extremely small number captured) or cut off or hiding out on Pacific islands or on the Chinese mainland. As the U.S. Air Force and Navy commanded the sky and the sea, there was no way the Japanese government could get these troops (especially from China) back home to defend Japan.

With command of the air and sea, the U.S.A. could have blockaded Japan and starved them into surrender - an action equally morally repugnant/reprehensible.

N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture

FYI, former soldier, Malibog has been sent to digital hell by our own intrepid Catchfire. Malibog won't be replying to the fresh can of whup ass you just opened.

6079_Smith_W

Frmrsldr wrote:

With command of the air and sea, the U.S.A. could have blockaded Japan and starved them into surrender - an action equally morally repugnant/reprehensible.

I agree, though morally repugnant and reprehensible describes the entire business of war.

Even though Japan was finished militarily the allies still needed to protect the lives of as many of their soldiers as possible - including Canadian soldiers who had been imprisoned in camps since the beginning of the war.

I think there is a difference between doing what needs to be done to end war, and trying out new technology as an experiment. In that sense, dropping a bomb on an undamaged city just to see how it works is far worse even than horrible methods like siege.

I think the atomic arms race is regrettable of course, but once the Germans had started the Americans had no choice but to try to beat them, especially since they also developed rocket power, which the allies did not have.

Had it been the only weapon that could have done the job I would have accepted its use. Unfortunately I don't think that's what happened.

 

Frmrsldr

N.Beltov wrote:

FYI, former soldier, Malibog has been sent to digital hell by our own intrepid Catchfire.

Thus it has happened to Malibog. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of his/her arguments.

Frmrsldr

Frmrsldr wrote:

With command of the air and sea, the U.S.A. could have blockaded Japan and starved them into surrender - an action equally morally repugnant/reprehensible.

6079_Smith_W wrote:

I agree, though morally repugnant and reprehensible describes the entire business of war.

Even though Japan was finished militarily the allies still needed to protect the lives of as many of their soldiers as possible - including Canadian soldiers who had been imprisoned in camps since the beginning of the war.

Interesting note: some American and Allied PoWs imprisoned nearby lost their lives from the effects of the atomic bombings.

6079_Smith_W wrote:

I think there is a difference between doing what needs to be done to end war, and trying out new technology as an experiment. In that sense, dropping a bomb on an undamaged city just to see how it works is far worse even than horrible methods like siege.

The uranium "Little Boy" type atomic bomb was tested in the codenamed "Trinity" explosion in the Alamogordo desert NM.

There is no moral difference between vaporizing, incinerating, slowly poisoning and causing genetic mutations for generations by atomic weapons or slowly killing, ruining the health and causing birth defects by starvation.

6079_Smith_W wrote:

I think the atomic arms race is regrettable of course, but once the Germans had started the Americans had no choice but to try to beat them, especially since they also developed rocket power, which the allies did not have.

Had it been the only weapon that could have done the job I would have accepted its use. Unfortunately I don't think that's what happened.

Had the Germans developed atomic bombs and missiles and used them and had we (the Allies) chose not to develop and use such weapons and had chosen not to massively bomb cities, either conventionally or with incendiaries, then ours could truly be said to be a just cause.

The atomic bombs were not necessary to bring an early end to the war. In terms of their ability to cause high casualties and massive destruction, hundreds of bombers loaded with incediaries were almost or (in at least one occassion) more effective than an atomic bomb.

It is, and can never be, morally acceptable to intentionally turn cities and civilians into military targets.

6079_Smith_W

@ frmrsldr

Again, I agree with you that it is all horrible, though I think the question of bombing peoples' homes is moot. Destruction of non-military targets for various reasons has been a part of war for millennia. I don't know if I would bother trying to find a "just" one.

I don't think the way the U.S. used the bombs was necessary to end the war. I did say that HAD their use been necessary I would have accepted it. (edit) I don't oppose it simply because it is an atomic weapon. I oppose the way in which it was used.

But there is a difference in degrees between any tactic that is used to honestly try to end the war, and one that the military uses just to terrorize, or to see how it works and what it does to people.

(edit)

and if that Mailbog comment was directed at me, please go back and read what I wrote again.

Ken Burch

For whatever it's worth...I just checked...and "malibog" is apparently Filipino slang for "sexual deviant".  I suppose he chose that as a deliberate insult to this board, and came on hoping to get kicked off.  Like the others, he's probably bragging about the whole thing now over at Free Dominion(if that thing still exists).

Frmrsldr

6079_Smith_W wrote:

@ frmrsldr

Again, I agree with you that it is all horrible, though I think the question of bombing peoples' homes is moot. Destruction of non-military targets for various reasons has been a part of war for millennia.

From a moral perspective, the "bombing of peoples' homes" is never moot and the mere fact that destruction of non-military targets has been a part of war for millennia, neither makes it morally praiseworthy nor acceptable.

6079_Smith_W wrote:

I don't think the way the U.S. used the bombs was necessary to end the war. I did say that HAD their use been necessary I would have accepted it.

Making the use of the atomic bombs conditional upon their being necessary, which (as events proved) they weren't, makes their use hypothetical, thus rendering your point moot.

6079_Smith_W wrote:

But there is a difference in degrees between any tactic that is used to honestly try to end the war, and one that the military uses just to terrorize, or to see how it works and what it does to people.

As I said, the uranium "Little Boy" type bomb was tested in an ethical way at Alamogordo. Use of hundreds of bombers dropping thousands of incendiaries was "live field tested" on Tokyo and other Japanese cities before it became accepted U.S. Air Force strategic military doctrine/practice due to the "awesomness" of its destructive power.

Given their very nature, what do you think atomic/nuclear weapons are?

They are the ultimate WMDs/terror weapons.

Given their massive firepower and destructive force, it is not possible to single out armies in the field or other major military targets. Civilians will always be harmed and killed when nuclear weapons are used.

Remember Bush talking about using bunkerbusting atomic/nuclear bombs/missiles against Osama Bin Laden's/Al-Qaeda/Taliban cave hideouts in the AfPak mountains?

~3,000 people died in the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Although not one Afghani was involved in the 9/11 terrorist attack, I have read between 12,000 and 36,000 Afghanis have thus far died in the war.

How many more innocent Afghanis and Pakistanis have to die before our thirst for vengeance has finally been sated?

Cueball Cueball's picture

Lets get real here. The Japanese attack on China, and Manchuria were really just an attempt at playing imperial power politics as they were played by the western powers. The Western powers were not defending Chinese sovereignty when they backed Nationalist China against the Japanese, they were defending thier imperial possession, and their concessions throughout Asia, against local competition.

We will read in our history books about the unprovoked attack by the Japanese at Singapore, Hong Kong, the Dutch East Indies, the Phillipines, Hawaii, and elsewhere, yet most of the history books never question what precisely the British were doing in Singapore and in Hong Kong, or what the Dutch were doing in Indonesia, or why it was American troops defending in the Phillipines or Hawaii. How indeed did the Japanese achieve a dominant position in Korea? Why it was by kicking the Russians out in 1904/05.

The Japanese are no more guilty of imperial ambition in Asia, than any of the aformentioned western powers.

No serious discussion of the Pacific War can take place without first examining the history of western empire in Asia, prior to WWII. There is no clear cut moral position to take between any of these competitors in this region, unlike there is in war in Europe.

The idea that the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour was "unprovoked" is not even factual. I do not actually subscribe to the thesis that the USA "set up" the Pearl Harbour attack, however, they did everything in their power to egg them on, and Roosovelt approved a 10 point plan of provocations, up to an including sailing cruiser fleets right into the Inland Sea.

6079_Smith_W

@ Cueball

Agreed, though I don't think the war in Europe was that cut and dried, either.

In many ways the second war was just a continuation of the first once the various nations had had time to raise new soldiers. It is easy to look at Hitler as a madman responsible for eveyrthing, but there were many other factors, from the terms of surrender forced on Germany, to the actions of the allies at the Paris Peace Conference, to the Soviet peace treaty helping the Nazis to take over Europe. And while it may seem like a just war for the Allies, as it was in many ways, much of it also came down to jockeying for power in the post-war world everyone knew was coming.

 

Cueball Cueball's picture

Frmrsldr wrote:

6079_Smith_W wrote:

@ frmrsldr

Again, I agree with you that it is all horrible, though I think the question of bombing peoples' homes is moot. Destruction of non-military targets for various reasons has been a part of war for millennia.

From a moral perspective, the "bombing of peoples' homes" is never moot and the mere fact that destruction of non-military targets has been a part of war for millennia, neither makes it morally praiseworthy nor acceptable.

It's not even true. Yes, civilians have always been victims in war, but modern war has changed the equation drastically. When the Mongols were depopulating cities in Asia they did so selectively and with purpose. Now, this killing is entirely casual, or so it seems.

Cueball Cueball's picture

heh.

Cueball Cueball's picture

6079_Smith_W wrote:

@ Cueball

Agreed, though I don't think the war in Europe was that cut and dried, either.

In many ways the second war was just a continuation of the first once the various nations had had time to raise new soldiers. It is easy to look at Hitler as a madman responsible for eveyrthing, but there were many other factors, from the terms of surrender forced on Germany, to the actions of the allies at the Paris Peace Conference, to the Soviet peace treaty helping the Nazis to take over Europe. And while it may seem like a just war for the Allies, as it was in many ways, much of it also came down to jockeying for power in the post-war world everyone knew was coming.

 

Sure. But you have to draw the line somewhere. And Germany cleary aimed at a war of extermination, not merely imperial conquest. The Japanese may have been brutal, but they kept their aims relatively defined in terms of setting up allied local puppet governments, and within the form of traditional empire, which seeks to exploit not exterminate. Hitler's plan in Eastern Europe was to completely destroy slavic civilization, and then colonize it while turning the remaining Slavs into slave labour for resource extraction.

Indeed, the first step that the 1000 year Reich was premised on was not turning Poland, Russia and the Ukraine into pliant puppet states, but to relegate those peoples to the stone age. Indeed, they sought to turn Russia into a resource base feeding the industrial center, along similar lines to what the British did in North America.

6079_Smith_W

@ Frmrsldr #27

Please read what I wrote again, because I don't think you got it.

The notion that not using ultimate weapons, or not destroying cities would somehow turn a bad war into a good one is absurd.

There is no good war, and no war ends before it has torn through people's homes and cities, and if there is an ultimate weapon, it almost always gets used.

And I don't see any point in repeating what I feel is a distinction in how tactics are used.

 

6079_Smith_W

@ Cueball

My point is that the other nations surrounding germany were not innocent, any more than the British, Americans and Soviets were innocent in the Pacific theatre. For one thing, if things had been done differently at the end of the first war, or in the putting down of the German Revolution, and if its people had not been reduced to defeat, economic turmoil and starvation the conditions for German Imperialism may not have come about at all.

Beyond that, I don't see any point in turning it into a question of who was worse, because there are plenty of examples of the Japanese being far worse than the Germans in some respects. What they did in Manchuria went a bit beyond exploitation.

Cueball Cueball's picture

I think its a mistake to assert that modern technology has not transformed the relationship of soldiers, civilians and weapons, and tactics. Indeed, "industrial war", and especially air war was concieved of by pre-war theoreticians, expressly as a form of war aimed at civilian populations.

 

Cueball Cueball's picture

No there are not examples of the Japense being worse than the Germans. There were no methodical attempts of racial exterminations of entire peoples, nor any plans for such things. Indeed, the plan for Moscow, was not to capture it, but to surround it and then bombard it until most everyone was dead, whoever remained were to be driven out into the wasteland. There are copies of the notes by OKH staff to this affect, and it is matter of public record.

Jews, Gypsies and Slavs.

The mass starvation, and destruction of the Ukraine was not an accident of war, or reprisals against the people there for rebellion, but part of a plan for wholesale extermination of Slavic peoples.

Cueball Cueball's picture

Its not about glasses. It is about what is in the historical record. No Stalin had nothing to do with the situation in the Ukraine from 1941 to 1944. It was in the hands of the Wehrmacht. The Japanese plan was based on subjugation and installing local puppet governments, the German one based in extermination and colonization. Japanese attrocity was largely conducted as reprisal. German attrocity in the east conducted as part of a larger campaign of racial extermination.

These are two different things.

6079_Smith_W

@ Cueball

Actually I think Stalin had something to do with the Ukrainian famine.

And sorry, but I don't see Japan's actions through quite the same glasses as you do.

(edit) I don't want to get into what I see as an offensive comparison of apples and oranges, but I will offer Japan's refusal to recognize any conventions on treatment of prisoners (and western prisoner death rates that were seven times higher than under the Nazis) as one example that they could be at least as brutal.

6079_Smith_W

@Cueball

Okay, so it was two different things that killed all those people. Well that makes all the difference in the world. I think I understand now.

I cross posted an edit above, BTW.

Cueball Cueball's picture

I think intentions are important. I mean seriously, if you are going to go through all that effort to make the case that the Allies are not entirely blameless in the causes of WWII on the basis of the Treaty of Versaille (much of that I agree with by the way). and argue that "intentions" are relevant, whatever the outcome, then I think comparing the intentions of the Japanese and Germans is perfectly valid as well. Its not very useful just to throw up ones hands and say everyone is the same, because they were not, in intent or in effect.

But, if you must debate this, then at least be aware that during WWI the Germans began their first ethnic cleansing campaign in Eastern Poland under the "Land Without a People Program" ordered by Kaiser Whillhelm. The ethnic prejudice against Slavs, as policy of the German state, actually predates Hitler, and while not as severe, there is a nugget of Hitler's WWII design, even at the outset of WWI.

Its not as if WWI just "happened" and the Germans were innocent of that, and so therefore simple victims of Allied plotting against them during WWI, and therefore they are excused for starting WWII. They played a brutal game, and they lost: Twice. And the hurt feelings they about losing the first time, doesn't really excuse attempting to wipe out civilizations comprising 200 million people.

I agree that Versailles was bad policy. So was Lebensraum.

I'll let you decide which was worse for yourself.

Frmrsldr

6079_Smith_W wrote:

@ Frmrsldr #27

Please read what I wrote again, because I don't think you got it.

The notion that not using ultimate weapons, or not destroying cities would somehow turn a bad war into a good one is absurd.

There is no good war, and no war ends before it has torn through people's homes and cities, and if there is an ultimate weapon, it almost always gets used.

And I don't see any point in repeating what I feel is a distinction in how tactics are used.

Bullshit.

The point I was making is that if Germany was as bad (they were) as we believe and had and used atomic weapons and if we (the Allies) were as good (we weren't) as we believe and chose to not make and use them, then we would have let Germany 'wear' the moral aprobrium of such a war crime/crime against humanity instead of us morally 'soiling' ourselves and bringing ourselves down to their level for being the ones to use atomic weapons in war.

A distinction in tactics makes no moral difference.

If it is wrong to intentionally make cities and civilians military targets,

then it is equally wrong to to do so:

by using atomic weapons

by using mass incendiary bombing raids

by using biological warfare (like the Japanese did in China)

by using chemical warfare (like the Japanese did in China)

by starving the population

or by any other means.

Frmrsldr

6079_Smith_W wrote:

 

 

It's not even true. Yes, civilians have always been victims in war, but modern war has changed the equation drastically. When the Mongols were depopulating cities in Asia they did so selectively and with purpose. Now, this killing is entirely casual, or so it seems.

That argument is nonsense because it is a contradiction.

How can cities be "depopulated" "selectively"?

Sure the Mongols had a purpose. It was to destroy resistance to their occupation.

We (the Allies) did not "saturation" and firebomb German and Japanese cities and atomic bomb Japanese cities to "test such tactics and technology".

There was a purpose. Just like our Mongol bretheren, it was to destroy the morale of Germany and Japan. In the case of Dresden, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, these bombings and the atomic technology had the political objective to be used by the U.S.A. as a 'lever' when dealing with the U.S.S.R.

Frmrsldr

Cueball wrote:

I think its a mistake to assert that modern technology has not transformed the relationship of soldiers, civilians and weapons, and tactics. Indeed, "industrial war", and especially air war was concieved of by pre-war theoreticians, expressly as a form of war aimed at civilian populations.

It all started in World War I with the "Zeppelin" and "Gotha" raids on London and other British cities.

6079_Smith_W

@ Frmrsldr

You are quoting Cueball at #41. I did not say that.

Frmrsldr

Cueball wrote:

No there are not examples of the Japense being worse than the Germans. There were no methodical attempts of racial exterminations of entire peoples, nor any plans for such things. Indeed, the plan for Moscow, was not to capture it, but to surround it and then bombard it until most everyone was dead, whoever remained were to be driven out into the wasteland. There are copies of the notes by OKH staff to this affect, and it is matter of public record.

Jews, Gypsies and Slavs.

The mass starvation, and destruction of the Ukraine was not an accident of war, or reprisals against the people there for rebellion, but part of a plan for wholesale extermination of Slavic peoples.

There was the 1937 "Rape of Nanking" which Japan's Axis partner Germany was so shocked over that they (Germany) put pressure on Japan to stop it.

There was the use of Chinese as "live guinea pigs" with the Imperial Japanese Army and Air Force using biological and chemical warfare against the Chinese in cities and in the countryside.

It's debatable that, in order to defeat and occupy Chinese territory, the Japanese military didn't engage in an intentional strategy of exterminating the Chinese people.

Frmrsldr

Double post.

Frmrsldr

6079_Smith_W wrote:

@ Cueball

Actually I think Stalin had something to do with the Ukrainian famine.

And sorry, but I don't see Japan's actions through quite the same glasses as you do.

(edit) I don't want to get into what I see as an offensive comparison of apples and oranges, but I will offer Japan's refusal to recognize any conventions on treatment of prisoners (and western prisoner death rates that were seven times higher than under the Nazis) as one example that they could be at least as brutal.

Many American GIs took gold teeth and fillings, samurai swords, pistols and other trophies and cut off ears of dead and not so dead Japanese soldiers. Many Japanese soldiers who laid down their weapons and raised their arms in surrender were shot in cold blood by GIs.

6079_Smith_W

@ Frmrsldr #40, #46

If you are trying to say that all war is brutal and terrible I agree with you.

My point way back at #21 is that although virtually all war involves death and destruction there are some actions which are more legitimate than others. I would suggest that the Hague and Geneva Conventions, and treaties agains landmines and nuclear arms are evidence of that.

I said pretty clearly that if use of the atomic bomb had been the only way to end the war I would have accepted it. I also said that the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were not necessary acts, in my opinion.

By contrast look at the revelation that Winston Churchill possibly allowed the destruction of Coventry to go ahead without warning his people, because it would have let the Germans know that the Allies had broken their codes, and jeopardized plans for the invasion of Europe.

Was it a good decision? Of course not. Nothing in war is; but I can see that it was a choice that probably resulted in less death and destruction, and less sacrifice, even though it meant letting his own people be bombed.

That is the distinction I am making between an action that serves to end the war and one which is simply an act of terror, revenge, or like the atomic bombing - experimentation.

In that sense, although I don't entirely agree with Cueball's examples in the post you quoted at #41, (or the notion that it is a just modern phenomenon) I do agree in part with the distinction he makes.

 

 

Unionist

I'm surprised to see a long thread on this topic which hasn't yet touched on the whole so-called "revisionist" school of history, led by Gar Alperovitz and others, which highlights the role of the (prospective, then actual) Soviet entry into Japanese-occupied Manchuria as one decisive factor both in the decision to use the bomb - to impress/intimidate the Soviets, as well as to ensure that the surrender would be to the U.S. and not to the Soviet Union. In the latter, there was a community of interest between the U.S. and the Japanese militarist ruling circles.

[url=http://www.ncesa.org/html/hiroshima5.html]The whole article is worth reading[/url], but here's an example of the thesis:

Quote:

There is no longer much dispute that ending the war with Japan before the Soviet Union entered it played a role in the thinking of those responsible for using the atomic bomb. There is also evidence that impressing the Russians was a consideration. Scholarly discussion of this controversial point has been heated, and even carefully qualified judgments that such a motive is "strongly suggested" by the available documents have been twisted and distorted into extreme claims. It is, nevertheless, impossible to ignore the considerable range of evidence that now points in this direction.

First, there are the diaries and other sources indicating that the president and his top advisers appear from late April on to have based their diplomatic strategy on the assumption that the new weapon, once demonstrated, would strengthen the U.S. position against the Soviet Union.

A number of historians now agree that Truman, Stimson, and Byrnes were influenced, consciously or unconsciously, by this fact when they chose to reject other available options for ending the war. Like the language of others, Stimson's specific words to describe the new "master card" of diplomacy are also difficult to ignore:

"Let our actions speak for words. The Russians will understand them better than anything else. . . . we have got to regain the lead and perhaps do it in a pretty rough and realistic way. . . . we have coming into action a weapon which will be unique. Now the thing is not . . . to indicate any weakness by talking too much; let our actions speak for themselves."

Particularly important has been research illuminating the role played by Byrnes. Although it was once believed that Stimson was the most important presidential adviser on atomic matters, historians increasingly understand that Byrnes had the president's ear. Indeed, in the judgment of many experts, he fairly dominated Truman during the first five or six months of Truman's presidency.

Byrnes, in fact, had been one of Truman's mentors when the young unknown from Missouri first came to the Senate. In selecting the then highly influential former Supreme Court Justice as secretary of state, Truman put him in direct line of succession to the presidency. By also choosing Byrnes as his personal representative on the high-level Interim Committee--which made recommendations concerning the new weapon--Truman arranged to secure primary counsel on both foreign policy and the atomic bomb from a single trusted adviser.

There is not much doubt about Byrnes' general view. In one of their very first meetings, Byrnes told Truman that "in his belief the atomic bomb might well put us in a position to dictate our own terms at the end of the war." Again, at the end of May Byrnes met, at White House request, with atomic scientist Leo Szilard. In his 1949 A Personal History of the Atomic Bomb, Szilard recalled that

"Mr. Byrnes did not argue that it was necessary to use the bomb against the cities of Japan in order to win the war. . . Mr. Byrnes's . . . view [was] that our possessing and demonstrating the bomb would make Russia more manageable in Europe."

There's also [url=http://www.h-net.org/~hst203/readings/alperovitz.html]this article from 1991[/url] and [url=http://www.commondreams.org/views05/0803-26.htm]this one from 2005[/url], but the library is still the best resource on this complex and wide-ranging debate.

6079_Smith_W

@ Unionist #48

I think a few people have alluded to strategies for the post war world, without giving that specific example. In any case, thanks.

6079_Smith_W

@ Cueball #39

I don't understand the point of mentioning genocide perpetrated by Germany in WWI. Perhaps they got at it before the Turks in Armenia, but not before The Russian progroms, the Maori in the Chatham Islands, the English in Scotland,  the Americans in the west or the Canadians in our residential school system (which killed 30 to 60 percent of all children who entered it in the early part of the 20th Century).

Genocide, and other motivations for massacre which are no less vile, have been with us since the beginning of history. The only innovation the Nazis made to that dirty business was an invention they took from their supporter Henry Ford - the assembly line - and they only perfected that at Auschwitz.

And I'm not sure if you are implying that Japanese Imperialism was somehow more legitimate than that of the European powers, but if so, I don't buy it.

The question of who was first and who was worst is irrelevant, in my opinion. As I said, it is a bloody game of apples and oranges, and one which has nothing to do with my point - that none of the parties involved in those wars are free from guilt and driving the war for their own advantage, even though some sides were clearly more aggressive than others at different times.

(edit) Just one example. The Allies and Russians bombed plenty of illegitimate targets in the war, but none of the Allies bothered to destroy the rail lines leading to Auschwitz, even though they knew it was there and what its purpose was. It is probably the only factory that was left in full operation right until the end.

That said, I think there is a lot of ground here that we do agree on, including the notion that intention is important.

 

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