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Remember Hiroshima? What about Nanking and Hong Kong?

GO!!! said:
The bombings of Japan were good for Canada and Canadians, and should be celebrated for what they were - VICTORY!!

Victory, and thats excatly waht it was. I am not pro-nuke, and infact I wish there was none.

I agree, but sadly the politically correctiveness has even creeped into this. As a seasoned soldier with almost 30yrs service in two armies, I think we can all agree that all war is insane, but at times a necessary evil. WW2 was total war, and differs from the conflicts we are invloved in today when the PC people wine if one bomb goes astray.

The bombing of the Japs did indeed save thousands of allied lives (our fathers and grandfathers), and as wierd as it sounds thousands of Japanese lives too (potenetail mil and civvy casualties from the ground invasion, which would have been nasty.

They started the war, and none of this would have happened if they would have stayed within their own borders, so at the end of the day the nuking of Jpan was brought upon by themselves.

It also taught us the ferocity of the atomic bombs, and we realized what they can do, and that alone may have been a deturant from the end of WW2 to the end of the cold war, keeping us and the Reds honest.

Am I sorry about these bombings. No. For the lives of my father, his brothers and family on my Mom's side were deemed to fight in Japan, and their lives and the lives of their friends were indeed saved.

Here in Australia, many of the the Veterans still today have a very bad taste in their mouths agains the Japanese, who are considerred ignorant/arrogant about the war, and onlt saw it as expansion of their empire. The attrocities committed against Allied PoWs was and is unthinkable.


A lot of people weren't mortal enemies though, they were civilians. I'm not pro-nuke either but it did end the war, thank God for that.
The debate about the use of nuclear bombs on Japan has been ongoing for some years. A review
of the Canadian national media, Letters to the Editor, and "Comment" points up the fact that the
many contributors have a very limited knowledge of World War II, in particular the Pacific War and
are virtually all anti-American in tone and substance. I suspect this is because of the appalling lack
of adequate instruction and teaching in Canadian high schools and universities, and the lack of a
curriculum focused on history in general, and Canadian history in particular, and a mind set in the
teaching and instructional staff, plus the choice of text books by Provincial education authorities
which often contain anti-war messages, and a biased view of the realities of war. A significant
aspect of the "Hiroshima Debate" is the often totally closed minds of the critical, who often make
unsupportable statements to justify their positions. I would think that very few public schools in
Canada are aware of the Canadian contribution to the Pacfic War, or the career of LT(P) Robert
Hampton Grey VC, DSC, RCNVR, or HMCS Ontario, (the list can go on) - but the fact remains, that
the decision to use nuclear weapons was dictated by unassaible circumstances, and was the right
choice in the era of total war. MacLeod
jmacleod said:
A review of the Canadian national media, Letters to the Editor, and "Comment" points up the fact that the many contributors have a very limited knowledge of World War II, in particular the Pacific War
case in point would be the post directly above yours.  ::)
Nothing happened to Hiroshima and Nagasaki that didn't happen to many other Axis cities.  If you think it matters whether it takes one bomb or a thousand, you have some seriously odd moral principles.
Right you are Brad, and from what I understand what happened to some of the other Axis cities was worse.

There was an intersting program on PBS the night before last about the end of the Pacific War. According to this program there was a pretty even split in the Japanese war cabinet right up until the very end, and was such a strong split that there was even a coup attempt. According to ths program the fact that Russia didn't sign the Potsdam agreement said to the Japanese hardliners that there was split in the will of Allies which they wanted to exploit. 

As far as the invasion goes, there were apparently 13 Japanese divisions digging in on the beaches, with more streaming in.
Here it is from the Soldiers point of view:

"On January 9, 1945, the 43d Infantry Division participated in the amphibious landing at Lingayen Gulf, Luzon. After several months of almost continuous combat, the Division welcomed the explosion of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki A-bombs. In September 1945 the 43d became one of the first Divisions to occupy Japan."

My Dad was the Pl Sgt., Weapons Pl, M Coy, 172nd Inf Regt, 43rd Div.  His comments on this issue, as I remember, were something like this, " I'd been over there for almost three years (twice wounded, Bronze Star).  I didn't start the war.  I didn't care if they nuked the whole Island; I just wanted to go home"!

strongchristian said:
A lot of people weren't mortal enemies though, they were civilians. I'm not pro-nuke either but it did end the war, thank God for that.

While your lack of understanding of WW2 in the Pacific is astounding, I'll try to help you.

At the time of the nuking of Hiroshima, the incendiary bombing campaign had destroyed most of the significant sources of materiel and supplies for the Imperial forces. This meant that the production of everything from boots to bombs for the military was contracted out to unemployed civilians to complete in their homes. In some cases, civilians were assembling bombs in their living rooms for delivery to the air force the next day!

For further clarification, the cities that were destroyed were indeed strategic in nature.

In addition to this, the military, and the emperor operated with the full support of the Japanese public, who were indoctrinated from youth to regard themselves as a superior race to the rest of the world - especially us. This means that each of these cities would have fought to the death any conventional invasion forces had they not been properly neutralised prior to the invasion.

As such, Japan could not be permitted to simply "lose" the war. They had to be completely crushed, and brought to heel, in order that they would not harbour such imperialistic ambitions in the future, and realise the folly of the war in the first place. Like the Nazis, they would be forced to see the destruction of their country, as proof of this.

Nuking was necessary, and a very good thing for Canada and Canadians. (see the rest of the thread)

I don't want to hijack this thread but i have a couple of ques.Why did the CANADIAN gov abanden its pows and not force the JAPANISE to compensate the men who were tortured and made slaves of.DID any of the allies force JAPAN to compensate there soldiers who were forced into slave labour.I know some of you guys are up on your history so PM me if you can answer my ques.
bubba said:
I don't want to hijack this thread but i have a couple of ques.Why did the CANADIAN gov abanden its pows and not force the JAPANISE to compensate the men who were tortured and made slaves of.DID any of the allies force JAPAN to compensate there soldiers who were forced into slave labour.I know some of you guys are up on your history so PM me if you can answer my ques.

While Canadian PoWs were indeed blocked from seeking reparations directly from the Japanese themselves, the Canadian government did recieve a large indemnity from Japan, which was supposed to cover the costs of the veterans care and benefits. In the end, this was probably a good thing, as the Japanese refuse to this day to apologise (much less pay for) many of the atrocities committed. I'm not sure if they were actually paid though.
GO!!! said:
I'm not sure if they were actually paid though.

They haven't, a treaty signed in 1954 said the Japanese government was not subject to being sued.
I personally don't think using atomic weapons to end WW II was really an "out of arc" decision based on the the operational realities of warmaking in that era, or the sort of moral calculus that each side employed either. Sending fleets of hundreds B-29s to dump ten tons of napalm (each) on Japanese cities certainly doesn't seem any more or less horrible than atom bombing them, the only thing that changes are the tools used; not the intended result.

Here is an interesting reflection on the topic:

Hiroshima Now
Questions linger.

    A few left academics have tried to figure out how many civilians actually died in Afghanistan, aiming at as high a figure as possible, on the assumption, apparently, that if the number is greater than the number of people killed in the Towers, the war is unjust. At the moment, most of the numbers are propaganda; there is no reliable accounting. But the claim that the numbers matter in just this way, that the 3120th death determines the injustice of the war, is in any case wrong. It denies one of the most basic and best understood moral distinctions. . . â ” Michael Walzer, "Can There Be A Decent Left?" Dissent, Spring 2002

Walzer went on to describe that distinction as one "between premeditated murder and unintended killing." Premeditated murder is surely a correct way to describe the terrorist attacks of September 11. But Walzer's point may be generalized to apply to cases where we would not use the word "murder." There is a distinction between military actions that have the goal of killing civilians or kill civilians as a means to a goal, on the one hand, and military actions that have the foreseeable but unintended effect of killing civilians, on the other. It is the difference between willing the death of innocents and causing it.

Math is relevant to the moral equation here. At some point the number of deaths foreseen could rise so high that the action would not be morally permissible, even if those deaths were unintended. But it seems to me that portions of the Right, in recent discussions of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, have fallen into an error similar to the one Walzer mentioned. The conservative error is to assume that the intentional killing of civilians is justified in order to avert a greater number of deaths.

It has commonly been argued that the alternative to the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was to launch an invasion involving "at least 1.5 million Allied soldiers" (to quote Harry Truman). The bombings saved lives and thus, runs the argument, were justified. Victor Davis Hanson cites "Truman's supporters" for the view that "a million American casualties and countless Japanese dead were averted by not storming the Japanese mainland."

It is a trickier case than the fire bombing of Dresden and similar actions. In those cases there is some controversy about what the Allies accomplished. In the case of Japan, at first glance it appears that the bombing accomplished a lot: a swift end to the war, the rescue of a country from a totalitarian death cult, a chance for freedom to grow in the whole region. Few of us would want to have been in the position of Harry Truman, having to make this decision.

Yet it is not necessary to make a definitive judgment that Truman made the wrong choice in order to be troubled by the justifications that have been made for that choice â ” and to wonder about their implications for the war on terrorism. (Most of those justifications stipulate that neither Hiroshima nor Nagasaki were conventional military targets: that the point was to break Japan's will by showing how much we could destroy. And they do not treat our warning leaflets as strong evidence that the civilian deaths were unintended. I will make these assumptions my own, both because the balance of evidence suggests that they are true and because I am trying to analyze the arguments proffered for intentionally killing civilians.)

Max Boot argues that there was nothing "uniquely reprehensible" or even "unusual" about the atom bombing of Japan:

    It's true that the atomic bombs were, by many orders of magnitude, the most powerful explosives ever employed. But the havoc they caused, with a combined death toll of over 100,000, was far from unprecedented. By the time the Enola Gay took off, at least 600,000 Germans and 200,000 Japanese had already been killed in Allied air raids. Conventional explosives had reduced all of the major cities of both countries to rubble. In the end, no more than one-third of the total Japanese deaths from air raids â ” and just 3.5% of the total land area destroyed â ” could be attributed to Fat Man and Little Boy.

Boot's statistics don't distinguish between civilian deaths that resulted from strikes against conventional military targets and civilian deaths that were intended to break the enemy's will. But even if every one of the deaths fell into the latter category, the question would remain whether this type of military practice is (and was) justified. To the extent that the intentional killing of civilians had become a routine military technique â ” and Churchill's qualms about it are among the reasons for refusing to endorse that view completely â ” that might mitigate Truman's culpability for making the wrong choice (if it was the wrong choice). But it would not yield the conclusion that his choice was right. We might well conclude that Hiroshima and Nagasaki were part of a class of immoral, though understandable, acts committed by the good guys during World War II.

Some commentators â ” not Boot â ” have cited atrocities committed by the Japanese by way of justifying the bombings. But that can't be right, at least as the point is generally made. The war crimes of Japanese soldiers are not a good reason to kill a child in Nagasaki. The barbarism of an enemy is an added reason to stop him, but whether any means of stopping him are acceptable is precisely what is at issue.

Almost all commentators argue that Japan would not have made an unconditional surrender without the bombings â ” and while this point is disputed, I think that it is not disputed very credibly. But this claim is made as though it places all of the moral weight of the decision to bomb on the Japanese themselves. It is too simply asserted that we had a choice between losing hundreds of thousands of troops and dropping the bombs. We could have accepted a conditional surrender. (It hardly follows from the fact that the war was a "total war" that this option did not exist.)

There would have been real costs to such a decision. The last 60 years of world history probably would have been worse, perhaps a lot worse. Mark Steyn writes:

    Japanese militarism would not have been so thoroughly vanquished, nor so obviously responsible for the nation's humiliation and devastation, and therefore not so irredeemably consigned to history. A greater affection and respect for the old regime could well have persisted, and lingered to hobble the new modern, democratic Japan devised by the Americans.

The choice among accepting a conditional surrender, losing massive numbers of men in a battle for Japan, and dropping the bomb was America's. It is certainly possible to argue, as Steyn does, that an unconditional surrender was so much better than either of the other two alternatives that it was worth dropping the bomb. But because Steyn is comparing the consequences of dropping the bombs to the consequences of all the alternatives, and not just to an artificially truncated set of alternatives, the argument looks rather weaker.

Boot and Steyn both turn to the present, which sheds some light on the question about the past. To proponents of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the opposition looks absurdly unrealistic. For them, it has a whiff of pacifism about it. But even though most Americans would, if asked, say that they think it was right to drop the atomic bombs, it is not obvious that the proponents' arguments really do track well with our ordinary moral intuitions about war. (I am not implying here, by the way, that our moral intuitions are always justified.) At least, they do not track with our normal military practices.

Boot writes:

    Today we can put "smart" bombs through the window of an office building. Along with greater accuracy has come a growing impatience with "collateral damage." A bomb that goes astray and hits a foreign embassy or a wedding party now causes international outrage, whereas 60 years ago the destruction of an entire city was a frequent occurrence.

    Does this make us more enlightened than the "greatest generation"? Perhaps. We certainly have the luxury of being more discriminating in the application of violence. But even today, there is cause to doubt whether more precision is always better. During the initial invasion of Iraq in 2003, the U.S. was so sparing in its use of force that many Baathists never understood they were beaten. The butcher's bill we dodged early on is now being paid with compound interest.

To increase tolerance for "collateral damage" â ” a move that Boot implicitly raises, though he does not endorse it (as Steyn does) â ” would be a substantial change in American, British, and Israeli military practice. But it would be an even bigger change, and a change in principle, if we were to intentionally target civilians whenever we thought that doing so would hold our military casualties down (or even hold the total number of civilian and military casualties down).

We would have far fewer principled limits on the means of war. The only reasons we would have to refrain from killing civilians would be practical ones: Killing them might not achieve our objectives, might generate a backlash that would set our objectives back, etc. Nobody is advocating that we adopt this type of stance. Maybe, based on their arguments, they should.

National Review has had shifting views on the morality of Hiroshima and Nagasaki: sympathetic to the moral objections in the late 1950s, glibly dismissive of them in the late 1980s. My colleagues' latest statement appears in the new issue: "It is no fair to use the bomb, or any other such weapon, in the normal course of war. Against an enemy who launched an unprovoked attack, perpetrated mass slaughters, and was determined to unleash more, the calculus of appropriate response changed. America did what it should have done." So what are we to think about the fact that all of those factors are present in the terror war?
Japanese PM's statement on VJ Day
This is the full text of Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's statement on the 60th anniversary of Japan's surrender in World War II, as reported by Kyodo news agency.

In marking the 60th anniversary of the end of the war, I once again recall that the peace and prosperity we now enjoy was achieved on the noble sacrifices of many who lost their lives against their will in the war, hereby renewing my pledge that our country shall never again follow the path towards war.

In the last major war, more than three million compatriots laid down their lives on the battlefield and fell victim to the ravages of war with their thoughts for their homeland and concern for their families, or died in distant foreign lands after the war.

I would like to forge a future-oriented relationship of co-operation based on mutual understanding and confidence with Asian countries by squarely facing up to the past and correctly understanding history

Furthermore, our country has caused tremendous damage and pain to the peoples of many countries, especially Asian countries, through colonial rule and invasion.

Humbly acknowledging such facts of history, I once again reflect most deeply and offer apologies from my heart as well as express my condolences to all the victims of the last major war both in and out of the country.

I am determined to contribute to the peace and prosperity of the world by not allowing the lessons from the tragic war to fade away and by never engaging in war.

After the war, thanks to the incessant efforts of our citizens and support of many countries, our country rose from the ruins and made the first step for returning to the international community by accepting the San Francisco Peace Treaty.

We have upheld the position of resolving any problems through peaceful means without relying on force and have actively contributed to peace and prosperity of the world both materially and in terms of human resources through such means as official development assistance and the United Nations' peacekeeping operations.

The post-war history of our nation is indeed 60 years of peace where we have expressed our reflections on the war through action.

In our country, those generations born after the war have come to account for 70% of the population.

In order to contribute to world peace, our country, while upholding our pledge not to wage war, intends to play active roles as a responsible member of the international community

The people of Japan equally long for international peace from their heart, through their own experiences and through education oriented towards peace.

Currently, in various parts of the world, members of the Japan Overseas Co-operation Volunteers and other Japanese nationals are playing their roles for peace and humanitarian assistance, and are generating confidence and high evaluations from local peoples.

Moreover, exchanges are deepening on an unprecedented scale in broad areas including economy and culture with Asian countries.

I believe it necessary to join hands, especially with those Asian countries just across the water such as China and South Korea, in maintaining peace and aiming at development in the region.

I would like to forge a future-oriented relationship of co-operation based on mutual understanding and confidence with Asian countries by squarely facing up to the past and correctly understanding history.

The international community is currently faced with complex, difficult challenges that previously could not even be imagined, such as the development and [the need to] overcome poverty in developing countries, the conservation of the global environment, the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and the prevention and eradication of terrorism.

In order to contribute to world peace, our country, while upholding our pledge not to wage war, intends to play active roles as a responsible member of the international community, bearing in mind the experiences as the only country that was the victim of atomic bombings and the path taken in the 60 years after the war.

At this juncture on the 60th year after the war, our peace-loving country once again expresses to make all-out efforts at achieving peace and prosperity for all of humanity along with all other like-minded countries.

Story from BBC NEWS:
<a href=http://www.tsukurukai.com/>Here's</a> a link to the publisher's site of the much despised textbook, with a partial English translation. Note that WW2 veterans and Asian people in general will probably find this content highly offensive.

Also, <a href=http://www.yasukuni.or.jp/english/>here</a> is the official site of the "yasukuni Jinja".  A direct quote:

Moreover, there were those who gave up their lives after the end of the Great East Asian War, taking upon themselves the responsibility for the war. There were also 1,068 "Martyrs of Showa" who were cruelly and unjustly tried as war criminals by a sham-like tribunal of the Allied forces (United States, England, the Netherlands, China and others). These martyrs are also the Kami of Yasukuni Jinja.

Can you imagine such a site in Germany referring to Goering and  Himmler in such a fashion? The fact that the Japanese goverment allows such a site(the shrine, not the website) to even exist is absolutely sickening.
The responsibility of any government, and any armed forces of a government, is to its citizens.  If the citizens are compelled to military service (conscription), the government has a responsibility to its armed forces.  The responsibility of which I write is the responsibility to safeguard their lives.  I can't conceive of any such duty toward the citizens of a foreign nation which has made war upon your own.  To save American servicemen's lives, in any number, was sufficient reason.
I think the Japanese, in many respects, made the Germans look like amateurs.  Fuck their revisionism.  :threat:
I actuall went to Nagasaki and stood on the spot where the bomb exploded. Any way I also went to the Atomic Bomb Museum and I was quite impressed with the amount of info about the bombing and the history that led to the war. They (Japanese) were quite candid and honest about commiting war crimes and they understood why Nagasaki was bombed. (Did you know Nagasaki was a secondary target not the primary target.)

Infanteer: Germans were way worse then Japanese. Russians were worse then the Japanese.
Expat said:
Infanteer: Germans were way worse then Japanese. Russians were worse then the Japanese.

They all were bad (one only has to look at Soviet behaviour as it decended upon Eastern Europe) but the racial nature of Japanese brutality (like the Germans) made it particualary brutal.  Sure, the Japanese never set up the death camps and the Holocaust, but their behaviour towards the Chinese, other ethnic groups, and prisoners of war was pretty bad, definately outdoing the Soviets.  As I said, in many respects, they made the Germans (who attempted to maintain the notion of Western civility) look like amateurs.  Hitler was forced to shoot Kaminski, the Japanese would have promoted him.

Hey Expat, RTFT. The complaint isn't about who was worse that the other, the complaint is that while Germany has outlawed overt symbols and support for Nazism, the Japanese have shrines to their war criminals and war time leaders, that current Japanese leaders regualrly pay visits to honour those war criminals, and that the mayor of Tokyo, Shintaro Ishihara, is a bona fide holocaust denier.