Author Topic: Did the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki prevent additional casualties?  (Read 3570 times)

The Good Reverend Roger

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On one hand, it was a graphic demonstration of why global wars were no longer feasible.

On the other hand, we dropped nukes on civilians.

I don't really know what to think.  It was awful as hell, but so were world wars, and without the bomb, we'd have kept having them.


That's true.. Maybe it's better to just let it be a 'damn thing that happened' rather than take a side.  I guess I'd just really like to know if that was really thought out.  I mean Truman doesn't strike me as intelligent to consider those ramifications  and the way he reacted when he heard the news -- all giddylike -- seems to indicate that he was more power drunk than contemplative.

The 20th century was, in my opinion, the most barbaric era mankind ever indulged in.  So of course they dropped the bombs.
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On one hand, it was a graphic demonstration of why global wars were no longer feasible.

On the other hand, we dropped nukes on civilians.

I don't really know what to think.  It was awful as hell, but so were world wars, and without the bomb, we'd have kept having them.


That's true.. Maybe it's better to just let it be a 'damn thing that happened' rather than take a side.  I guess I'd just really like to know if that was really thought out.  I mean Truman doesn't strike me as intelligent to consider those ramifications  and the way he reacted when he heard the news -- all giddylike -- seems to indicate that he was more power drunk than contemplative.

The 20th century was, in my opinion, the most barbaric era mankind ever indulged in.  So of course they dropped the bombs.

This. So much this.

And there was plenty of barbarism outside of the bombs, or WWII in general. The Modern Era was rife with running with technology and the idea of "what can we do to kill the other side faster/stronger/more horrifically than the other guys" without stopping to think. WWI is an excellent example of this. The way warfare technology moved in a period from 1914 to 1919 was INSANE. It became a game of "can we top this?" instead of, "How can we stop this?"

Politics had changed from the kingdoms and empires of the Middle Ages into democracies, dictatorships, and communist states in what was probably a direct result of the industrial revolution. Barriers were broken so fast, nobody gave a fuck.
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Genocide is very bad.
One nuke destroys many species.
Nukes are very very bad.
There is only one acceptable use of nukes.
To stop worse genocide.
Did they achieve this?
I don't think so, at most they merely prevented the murder of a few million individuals.
Murder is less bad than genocide in the same way that finite numbers are less than infinity.
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I can't see morally justifiable reason to do it but then I come from the comfortable position of a country that wouldn't and couldn't have made that choice.


I suspect it wasn't necessary but it was a very complex political topography that I know little about, what's done is done now we can try and make sure it never ever happens again.

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On one hand, it was a graphic demonstration of why global wars were no longer feasible.

On the other hand, we dropped nukes on civilians.

I don't really know what to think.  It was awful as hell, but so were world wars, and without the bomb, we'd have kept having them.


That's true.. Maybe it's better to just let it be a 'damn thing that happened' rather than take a side.  I guess I'd just really like to know if that was really thought out.  I mean Truman doesn't strike me as intelligent to consider those ramifications  and the way he reacted when he heard the news -- all giddylike -- seems to indicate that he was more power drunk than contemplative.

The 20th century was, in my opinion, the most barbaric era mankind ever indulged in.  So of course they dropped the bombs.

This. So much this.

And there was plenty of barbarism outside of the bombs, or WWII in general. The Modern Era was rife with running with technology and the idea of "what can we do to kill the other side faster/stronger/more horrifically than the other guys" without stopping to think. WWI is an excellent example of this. The way warfare technology moved in a period from 1914 to 1919 was INSANE. It became a game of "can we top this?" instead of, "How can we stop this?"

Politics had changed from the kingdoms and empires of the Middle Ages into democracies, dictatorships, and communist states in what was probably a direct result of the industrial revolution. Barriers were broken so fast, nobody gave a fuck.

I'm happy you replied because I've been thinking about Roger's comment on and off today.

WWI was really that time when technology and warfare wedded. Like a kid with a new toy, every country wanted to show off.  Only they were adults with millions of lives on the line.  The bomb seemed to be the capper. Like that moment in Lord of the flies when they got rescued and everyone realized how fucked up they were being.

Only it was a reality that couldn't be reversed.

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I would have slept better knowing they were dropped on military bases, or dentonated a few miles away from Japan and said LOOK OUTSIDE JACKASS! GIVE UP NOW!
« Last Edit: July 10, 2014, 03:38:58 am by George Edger Dingleburry »
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On one hand, it was a graphic demonstration of why global wars were no longer feasible.

On the other hand, we dropped nukes on civilians.

I don't really know what to think.  It was awful as hell, but so were world wars, and without the bomb, we'd have kept having them.


That's true.. Maybe it's better to just let it be a 'damn thing that happened' rather than take a side.  I guess I'd just really like to know if that was really thought out.  I mean Truman doesn't strike me as intelligent to consider those ramifications  and the way he reacted when he heard the news -- all giddylike -- seems to indicate that he was more power drunk than contemplative.

The 20th century was, in my opinion, the most barbaric era mankind ever indulged in.  So of course they dropped the bombs.

This. So much this.

And there was plenty of barbarism outside of the bombs, or WWII in general. The Modern Era was rife with running with technology and the idea of "what can we do to kill the other side faster/stronger/more horrifically than the other guys" without stopping to think. WWI is an excellent example of this. The way warfare technology moved in a period from 1914 to 1919 was INSANE. It became a game of "can we top this?" instead of, "How can we stop this?"

Politics had changed from the kingdoms and empires of the Middle Ages into democracies, dictatorships, and communist states in what was probably a direct result of the industrial revolution. Barriers were broken so fast, nobody gave a fuck.

I'm happy you replied because I've been thinking about Roger's comment on and off today.

WWI was really that time when technology and warfare wedded. Like a kid with a new toy, every country wanted to show off.  Only they were adults with millions of lives on the line.  The bomb seemed to be the capper. Like that moment in Lord of the flies when they got rescued and everyone realized how fucked up they were being.

Only it was a reality that couldn't be reversed.

They knew what hell they were about to unleash, they just needed an excuse to show it off. You know, just like how they showed off mustard gas and tanks.

When I was in Kansas City for that costuming convention, I went to a seminar JUST on World War I military dress. The advances they made in the FUCKING LOOM TO WEAVE WOOL happened in less than a year on the French end to help thwart German gas attacks, after they were using the same style twill wool for something like 200 years. So it wasn't just warfare, it was down to the threads. It blew my brain.
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On one hand, it was a graphic demonstration of why global wars were no longer feasible.

On the other hand, we dropped nukes on civilians.

I don't really know what to think.  It was awful as hell, but so were world wars, and without the bomb, we'd have kept having them.


That's true.. Maybe it's better to just let it be a 'damn thing that happened' rather than take a side.  I guess I'd just really like to know if that was really thought out.  I mean Truman doesn't strike me as intelligent to consider those ramifications  and the way he reacted when he heard the news -- all giddylike -- seems to indicate that he was more power drunk than contemplative.

The 20th century was, in my opinion, the most barbaric era mankind ever indulged in.  So of course they dropped the bombs.

This. So much this.

And there was plenty of barbarism outside of the bombs, or WWII in general. The Modern Era was rife with running with technology and the idea of "what can we do to kill the other side faster/stronger/more horrifically than the other guys" without stopping to think. WWI is an excellent example of this. The way warfare technology moved in a period from 1914 to 1919 was INSANE. It became a game of "can we top this?" instead of, "How can we stop this?"

Politics had changed from the kingdoms and empires of the Middle Ages into democracies, dictatorships, and communist states in what was probably a direct result of the industrial revolution. Barriers were broken so fast, nobody gave a fuck.

I'm happy you replied because I've been thinking about Roger's comment on and off today.

WWI was really that time when technology and warfare wedded. Like a kid with a new toy, every country wanted to show off.  Only they were adults with millions of lives on the line.  The bomb seemed to be the capper. Like that moment in Lord of the flies when they got rescued and everyone realized how fucked up they were being.

Only it was a reality that couldn't be reversed.

They knew what hell they were about to unleash, they just needed an excuse to show it off. You know, just like how they showed off mustard gas and tanks.

When I was in Kansas City for that costuming convention, I went to a seminar JUST on World War I military dress. The advances they made in the FUCKING LOOM TO WEAVE WOOL happened in less than a year on the French end to help thwart German gas attacks, after they were using the same style twill wool for something like 200 years. So it wasn't just warfare, it was down to the threads. It blew my brain.

That's pretty incredible. It's crazy how it trickles down like that.

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I would have slept better knowing they were dropped on military bases, or dentonated a few miles away from Japan and said LOOK OUTSIDE JACKASS! GIVE UP NOW!

Well Hiroshima, I thought, housed a military base and Nagasaki was targeted a Mitsubishi steel mill.  But I hear what you're saying.  Thing is, you gotta crush your enemy completely. 

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WWI was really that time when technology and warfare wedded. Like a kid with a new toy, every country wanted to show off.  Only they were adults with millions of lives on the line.  The bomb seemed to be the capper. Like that moment in Lord of the flies when they got rescued and everyone realized how fucked up they were being.

Only it was a reality that couldn't be reversed.

That's almost poetically put, and rather thought-provoking. 

I can remember moments like that in my own life, getting carried away so much I forgot that it's reality that i'm playing with until that surreal moment where I woke back up to the real world and realized wtf I just did.

Lord of the Flies seems to suggest that sort of thing happens more than we realize, and I find it unnervingly plausible that something as horrific as atomic bombs could be caused in part by this... I dunno, tendency?
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The Good Reverend Roger

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On one hand, it was a graphic demonstration of why global wars were no longer feasible.

On the other hand, we dropped nukes on civilians.

I don't really know what to think.  It was awful as hell, but so were world wars, and without the bomb, we'd have kept having them.


That's true.. Maybe it's better to just let it be a 'damn thing that happened' rather than take a side.  I guess I'd just really like to know if that was really thought out.  I mean Truman doesn't strike me as intelligent to consider those ramifications  and the way he reacted when he heard the news -- all giddylike -- seems to indicate that he was more power drunk than contemplative.

The 20th century was, in my opinion, the most barbaric era mankind ever indulged in.  So of course they dropped the bombs.

This. So much this.

And there was plenty of barbarism outside of the bombs, or WWII in general. The Modern Era was rife with running with technology and the idea of "what can we do to kill the other side faster/stronger/more horrifically than the other guys" without stopping to think. WWI is an excellent example of this. The way warfare technology moved in a period from 1914 to 1919 was INSANE. It became a game of "can we top this?" instead of, "How can we stop this?"

Politics had changed from the kingdoms and empires of the Middle Ages into democracies, dictatorships, and communist states in what was probably a direct result of the industrial revolution. Barriers were broken so fast, nobody gave a fuck.

I'm happy you replied because I've been thinking about Roger's comment on and off today.

WWI was really that time when technology and warfare wedded. Like a kid with a new toy, every country wanted to show off.  Only they were adults with millions of lives on the line.  The bomb seemed to be the capper. Like that moment in Lord of the flies when they got rescued and everyone realized how fucked up they were being.

Only it was a reality that couldn't be reversed.

No, world war I was when that wedding took place.  It was far more awful in terms of carnage.
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- TGRR, shaming himself forever, 7/8/2017

 "Billy, when I say that ethics is our number one priority and safety is also our number one priority, you should take that to mean exactly what I said. Also quality. That's our number one priority as well. Don't look at me that way, you're in the corporate world now and this is how it works."
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WWI was really that time when technology and warfare wedded. Like a kid with a new toy, every country wanted to show off.  Only they were adults with millions of lives on the line.  The bomb seemed to be the capper. Like that moment in Lord of the flies when they got rescued and everyone realized how fucked up they were being.

Only it was a reality that couldn't be reversed.

That's almost poetically put, and rather thought-provoking. 

I can remember moments like that in my own life, getting carried away so much I forgot that it's reality that i'm playing with until that surreal moment where I woke back up to the real world and realized wtf I just did.

Lord of the Flies seems to suggest that sort of thing happens more than we realize, and I find it unnervingly plausible that something as horrific as atomic bombs could be caused in part by this... I dunno, tendency?

"Adults"

I'm 33 and I still don't feel like one.  AND I do really stupid shit...I'm just glad I don't have my finger on the button...not that I'd press it, more like drop a cup of coffee on it.

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On one hand, it was a graphic demonstration of why global wars were no longer feasible.

On the other hand, we dropped nukes on civilians.

I don't really know what to think.  It was awful as hell, but so were world wars, and without the bomb, we'd have kept having them.


That's true.. Maybe it's better to just let it be a 'damn thing that happened' rather than take a side.  I guess I'd just really like to know if that was really thought out.  I mean Truman doesn't strike me as intelligent to consider those ramifications  and the way he reacted when he heard the news -- all giddylike -- seems to indicate that he was more power drunk than contemplative.

The 20th century was, in my opinion, the most barbaric era mankind ever indulged in.  So of course they dropped the bombs.

This. So much this.

And there was plenty of barbarism outside of the bombs, or WWII in general. The Modern Era was rife with running with technology and the idea of "what can we do to kill the other side faster/stronger/more horrifically than the other guys" without stopping to think. WWI is an excellent example of this. The way warfare technology moved in a period from 1914 to 1919 was INSANE. It became a game of "can we top this?" instead of, "How can we stop this?"

Politics had changed from the kingdoms and empires of the Middle Ages into democracies, dictatorships, and communist states in what was probably a direct result of the industrial revolution. Barriers were broken so fast, nobody gave a fuck.

I'm happy you replied because I've been thinking about Roger's comment on and off today.

WWI was really that time when technology and warfare wedded. Like a kid with a new toy, every country wanted to show off.  Only they were adults with millions of lives on the line.  The bomb seemed to be the capper. Like that moment in Lord of the flies when they got rescued and everyone realized how fucked up they were being.

Only it was a reality that couldn't be reversed.

No, world war I was when that wedding took place.  It was far more awful in terms of carnage.


Yep ;)

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A-bomb was the (then) culmination of the arms race. Two factors at play - Humans like to kill other humans. Humans invent increasingly powerful tech.

These two factors began with picking up rocks, continued through attaching rocks to sticks to form axes, the invention of metal, ballistics, siege engines, gunpowder... every step of the way the desire to slaughter our fellow man and our ability to produce increasingly powerful technology made the creation of a-bombs inevitable.

Equally inevitable was the fact that, once we had one, we were always going to find a justification for playing with it. Sooner rather than later. Death Opera is not the most patient of headspaces.
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So I've been wandering around the internet and I've come across some folks who can't seem to agree on this--and admittedly I'm not sure what to think. So I figure, why not bring it up here?

So pro A-Bomb side says that Japan civilians would have fought and/or committed suicide had the US invaded--possibly to the point where they would have obliterated their whole race. They claim that the 200,000 people who died from the bomb would have been upward toward a million Japanese and allied people who died in an invasion.  The Japanese thought we had only one bomb and wanted to keep fighting after Hiroshima. In addition the targets had factories and military bases that, should they have remained would have made a southern invasion incredibly difficult. This is also the position that Truman put forth (which immediately creates red flags for me, but that's just a gut reaction from this day and age.)

The anti A-Bomb side says that the Japanese were going to surrender anyway because the Soviets entered the war in Manchuria. Both Gen. Eisenhower and Gen. MacArthur have stated that the bomb didn't shorten the war.  These folks claim that the bomb was more as an effort at intimidating the Soviets and the Japanese were the perfect opportunity due to Americans' racist tendencies to think of the Japanese as "cockroaches".  That the pending surrender was based on a promise that the Allies would allow the Japanese imperial reign  to remain intact as their culture was used to.

So I DON'T want to believe that bombing and horrid aftermath of dropping atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki was the best solution but there seems to be a good case for it based on the evidence I've found.  The anecdotes from Eisenhower and MacArthur are...well anecdotes and Eisenhower was mostly in Europe and Africa anyway.  I heard that MacArthur was more disappointed that he couldn't do what he did best and storm in there--even after Hiroshima.

Ultimately, I WANT to believe that there is never a use for the bomb so I'd like to reconcile this--even if it means swallowing hard truths.

I dunno...the normal "pro A-bomb" stance I hear is a synthesis of both your presented "pro" and "anti" arguments.

Basically, it follows as:
The japanese would have surrendered anyway because of the Soviets, however, this would have lead to a divided japan, with a southern conquest being perpetrated by the US, and a northern perpetrated by the USSR.
In "North Japan", you'd end up with communist purges, as is per usual with communists, probably some famine from the wonderful execution of communist planning, and possibly a "japanese war" to go right along with the korean and vietnamese ones. God knows how it would effect geopolitics in the long run too...

So the blunt premise is that the A-bombs caused casualties, yes, but far less than a japanese communist state would have in the form of purges, starvation and attempts at conquering the capitalist south...