My God, What have we done?

Today is the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. The question title are allegedly the words of the pilot of the bomber that dropped the bombs on Hiroshima. The atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki effectively ended the war thus averting a land invasion of Japan that US generals felt would have cost a million US lives but came at a cost of approx 250,000 japanese lives.
I honestly feel that the US generals were not aware of how devastating the bombs would be and how atomic weapons would change the political landscape for future generations. So say you were a US general in August 1945 but with full knowledge of what would happen - What would you order?

  • The bombings go ahead
    44% (8)59% (17)53% (25)Vote
  • No bombings and a land invasion of Japan
    0% (0)10% (3)6% (3)Vote
  • Suggest another option (Please Comment)
    6% (1)21% (6)15% (7)Vote
  • Just Nosey - See Results
    50% (9)10% (3)26% (12)Vote
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Most Helpful Girl

  • Oh god. No idea. The loss of life was incredible, not to mention the nuclear fallout that followed. But it did expedite the end of the war and prevented more deaths. I don't know. It wasn't right. I'm not sure you can do the right thing in warfare.

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    • I think that was the thoughts of most posters a horrible decision to make

    • I agree. There are no heroes in war.

Most Helpful Guy

  • In my opinion, The nuclear attacks on japan are completely justified.

    You see, After loosing all of their pacific colony, Japan realised an allied invasion of the Japanese mainland was inevitable, So ''Ketsugo'' was implemented, Which essentially means the militarization of EVERY Man, Woman and Child to defend japan to the death.
    www.kingsacademy.com/.../...ense-training_1945.jpg
    (These are school kids btw)
    http://histclo.com/imagef/date/2008/11/ket01s.jpg

    Simply put, An invasion of the mainland would quite literally involve the Genocide of a large percentage of the Japanese people, and cost the Anglo American Allies absolutely stupendous amounts of manpower to achieve (Men which just did not exist).

    Its a way of rationing it out, A few thousand Japanese dead, OR MILLIONS of japanese dead and Hundeds of thousands, If not millions of Allied troops dead too.

    Honestly the nukes were justified in my opinion. At this point in the war, Europe lay is absolute ruin with almost all cities destroyed, and the allies could ill afford to mount a naval invasion of ANOTHER axis power.

    Then there was the other factor. Not many people know that at the end of WW2, The Russians actually invaded Japanese Manchuria (North China today)
    upload.wikimedia.org/.../Manchuria.png

    And, Had of the Russians seized all of Manchuria, And then invaded the japanese mainland themselves, They could turn Japan into a communist pupped (Like they did with North Korea and China), And America VERY much wanted to westernize Japan as it was planning to do in West Germany.

    And with the Russians in control of Japan, It would put the US in a VERY Bad situation for the upcoming Cold War (People also think the cold war was far after WW2, But, There was actually a plan called ''Operation Unthinkable'' devised by the British for an Anglo-UK/US invasion of the USSR within 1 year after the end of WW2 In europe).

    So yeah, If they never nuked it and forced a surrender, Then the Russians may have taken it, And essentially turned Japan into what North Korea was made to be (And still is today).

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    • Churchill must've been mad to suggest Operation Unthinkable.

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    • Thank you for MHO ;)

    • You certainly worked hard enough for it

What Girls Said 1

  • I clicked nosey. :p

    I don't know what I would have done but it would not have been bombing.

    My teacher said that the bombing also caused cancer to be more common than it was before.

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What Guys Said 19

  • Well they said they gave fair warning to the bombing so it was essentially chosen by the japanese government that it was an exceptable risk in order to proceed with there imperialistic expansion. After the first bomb was dropped they where asked to surrender and that many of the japanese military be tried for war crimes and the emperor be deposed for allowing those war crimes (the murder and rape of women and children and the elderly in china and asia as well as the torture and death camps they created for the conquerd and enemy soldiers) They refused which is why the second bomb was dropped. Only then did they surrender but only under the terms that they presented, basicly they would not be charged with war crimes despite the fact that they where commiting similar attrocities as the nazies. This has allowed us to continue on as if japan was an innocent victim of the war rather then an active combatant. It was a tragedy because there government was so willing to sacrifice them as it was a tragedy for us dropping the bombs. This also allowed us to realize the devastating effects of the bomb, which we where not fully aware of thus informing us early with limited use rather then finding out the hard way later on with mass use. The actual death toll was no diffrent then the English fire bombing of dresden the part that was terrifing was that it was a single bomb instead of hundreds so casualty wise it was not more sever as what was happening in european cities. So if all other options failed I really cannot say that the act of dropping the atomic bombs was not justified.

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    • I agree I think atomic weaponry proliferation over future generations was possibly the worst result of the atomic bombings in August 1945.

    • The irony is this is what some people had hoped for, like alexander noble. They believed if they could create a weapon so devastating that every one would be to afraid to go to war for fear of their use. Obviousley it didn't quite work that way.

  • Japan was ready to sign a peace agreement after the napalm bombing of 60+ Japanese cities : http://www.ditext.com/japan/napalm.html
    map of destruction percentages of Japanese cities.
    mansell.com/.../Targets.jpg

    But Truman and the army wanted to test America's new 'toy' and frighten Moscow.
    I read Truman gave the order for the first bomb on Hiroshima but was surprised when the USAF threw a second one on Nagasaki.

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    • This is pretty much a more detailed version of what my answer would be.

    • Very worthwhile post - Learnt a lot thanks

  • The horrible thing about the whole thing is it's a numbers game.
    You would have to chose between a land invasion which would cost the lives of million on both sides and a nuclear strike which would kill less people (but still an aweful lot) and end the war immediately.

    Out of pragmatism I would chose the nuclear option.

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  • It's a really sad thing to see. I've been to both Hiroshima and Nagasaki and I've been to Naoetsu, Nanking, the Philippines. The dropping of those bombs led to a definitive and horrific close to a a world wide travesty. And from under these clouds grew an amazing collaboration among now inseparable allies of Japan and America. What these two countries have done for the world since the end of world war 2 is simply amazing and not to be set aside, however it came about.

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  • As @jacquesvol implied, if the Japanese were ready to give up after smelling napalm then the use of bombs may have been averted. But then again, perhaps it was for the best because if the toys would not have been tested on an expansionist state at the end of the greatest conflict ever, then they would have undoubtedly been dropped somewhere else later during the Cold War. And that might have happened after they were developed even further.

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  • Paul Tibbets was the pilot. He thought it was the right thing to do up to his death

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    • Yeah I recall reading an article about him that said same thing.

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    • Very informative video - It seemd to echo the consensus in the answers

  • Atomic bombs prevented more destruction and hardship in one fell swoop. Though brutal they were needed

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  • The bomb had to be used because if they didn't then america would of had to bomb the rest of japan and kill even more people. Japanese were ready to sacrifice men, women and children. They were suicidal, barbaric and violently killed all civilians and POWs.
    With out the atomic bomb more Japanese people would of died and more American soldiers, simply put after fighting the germans and now the japs the americans didn't want to lose anymore men. War is wrong, but there decision was correct.
    And we used fire bombs before the atomic bombs, and we dropped them on civilian cities and killed more people doing that.
    2) if we would of invaded then our men would of died, better them then us. why would we sacrifice thousands of American men (you would of been in war too because of the draft) if it all could be ended by one bomb and not a single American man dead.
    do not let emotions over run you. that's for women.

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    • Unfortunately a horrible numbers game

    • If they had it, you know they would of used it on us and not stop even if we surrender.
      The Japanese during those times were barbaric people, and were not afraid of death.
      It's not america's fault that Japan supported nazi germany and attacked america and you cannot blame sanctions and economics barriers when they supported and helped nazi germany in manufacturing and other aspects, they were allies and it was world war.
      war is never good.

  • The US is basically a psychopathic bully in WWII. They bullied Japan by interfering with their trade, and then when Japan retaliated, the US imprisoned their own law-abiding Japanese citizens and destroyed civilian populations.
    It's like a child finally standing up for himself and the bully pulls out a gun and shoots the poor bastard.

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    • Yes I often how legitimate going to war is in most cases.

  • Japan was being WAY too difficult, my friend. Or, at least their emperor was. We had no choice. These guys were fighting for their beliefs, us for our turf and revenge. I admire Truman and don't care about the hate I'll get back. He made the right decision in his situation and saved lives. It's the emperor's fault and a land invasion could have even failed.

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    • Yes it seemed to have come down to a horrible numbers game.

    • Yup. It was a messed up situation, and it all would've been good without Pearl Harbor.

  • They should have gone after a military target first and then sent the ultimatum. Surrender or else. There was no need for 2 and no need to hit mostly civilian targets.

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    • I honestly don't know if they would have surrendered after that, who knows?

    • If you drop it and wipe out a military base and say surrender or Tokyo is next it would have worked.

    • Ah I understand use an atomic weapon

  • another option, drop one of the bombs on a tiny japanese island they would back off from that but better still invite a japanese offical to one of the nuke testing sites in the desert and they would stop the war no casualties

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    • Not being sarcastic - I feel this is really thinking outside the box and a great idea

    • thanks. Diplomatic solutions are best

  • sadly drop the bomb. Japan would never have surrended, simple as so I totally understand why Truman did it. Ethically totally wrong of course but the situation could'nt appease both sides on this one.

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    • Correct a horrible numbers game

    • totally, a good way of putting it... the bomb was mass murder, continuing the war also was, either way

  • If I was in their position I would refrain from using the bombs and invading Japan and instead I'd use a few air strikes, since the bombings were apparently in retaliation to Pearl Harbour. Those bombings were really unnecessary.

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    • We were bombing the shit out of them and getting nowhere. Tokyo was firebombed with like 25% of the city destroyed and still no surrender. Air raids weren't working

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    • I am not so sure the japanese would have surrendered unless something really drastic done like the napalm or atomic bombings.

    • Anything but an atomic bomb. I mean, it was definitely effective in showing strength but there must of been another way. They just went a little over board in my opinion

  • Couldn't they have just dropped one and threaten with the other? Hang it over their heads, literally.

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  • That was horrible catastrophe :/

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  • It was estimated that millions of people would die if island to island fighting continued, particularly on mainland Japan. Sad as it is to say, given the information available at the time, it was the best decision available.

    Let's simply use it as an example to never let things get that out of hand again.

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  • It would have been 1million dead on both sides without the bomb apparently. I think it was really fucking bad but it ended the war and the continuation of the war could have been worse than the dropping of the bomb.

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