Japan attacked Pearl Harbor

Discussion in 'History' started by mathman, Nov 19, 2013.

  1. ElectricFetus Sanity going, going, gone Valued Senior Member

    Millions? How is that calculated? The Germans killed 12 million people in death camps and 20-30 total civilians overall during the war, the Japanes themselves killed perhaps equal number of people via kill all, loot all, destroy all policy their soldiers operated by. How does the atomic bombing compare to that, heck even the American fire bombings killed more people then the atomics.
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  3. Kittamaru Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. Adieu, Sciforums. Valued Senior Member

    Because the title is FORCING me to do so:

    Spoiler Alert: Snape killed Dumbledore

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    (Sorry, had to)
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  5. leopold Valued Senior Member

    the number of deaths were indeed staggering, but nowhere near a million.
    "the bomb" gets a little over hyped in this area.
    the fire bombing of tokyo resulted in more deaths and property damage than either hiroshima or nagasaki but it took lots of bombs over a prolonged raid.
    what makes "the bomb" unique is that it took only ONE bomb and the lingering radiation deaths long after the fact.
    personally, and i hate to say it, i feel the US should shoulder the burden of lingering radiation deaths.

    70,000 . . . in the blink of an eye.
    war truly sucks.
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  7. mathman Valued Senior Member

    Although the number killed was large, the total was around 100 thousand or so, not millions.
  8. mathman Valued Senior Member

  9. ElectricFetus Sanity going, going, gone Valued Senior Member

    I recommend the book Downfall by Richard B.Frank. ~20% of the book is footnotes and references so its not as thick of a read as it looks, but to bring you too the point the final chapter (pg 349-36) title "Alternatives and Conclusions" basically sums up what this historian thinks most likely would have happened if for some cosmic reason the atom bomb was not dropedp: Millions of people (mostly Japanese) would have died from starvation alone by 1946. A new bombing directive was implemented on august 11 regardless of the atomic bombs to focus on destroying japan rail transport via conventional bombing. The rail was the only means left to bring food from farms to its people. Because the japanese surrender when they did they were able to bring in the falls harvest to feed the people, but even then by spring of 1946 rations were down to 1042 calories per person in tokyo (half of what is needed for survival). It is estimated several hundreds thousand died directly or indirectly from starvation during the "lean years" despite the Americans shipping in over 800,000 tons of food aid to japan in 1946 alone. If the train networks had been destroyed, japan would have run out of food much early (not being able to get the harvest to the people). By Nov 1 1945 Japan had only enough rice in goverment hands for 4 days consumption, they were highly dependent on the fall crop to get them through the winter! Richard projects that had they not surrender by then and had the rail system been bombed out anticipation of the coming food crisis alone would likely have unsettled the Japaneses population, and the all out famine would have occurred in November of 1945.

    Meanwhile reports from breaking the Japanese codes had already raised serious question about the feasibility of A US invasion of Kyushi and the Tokyo plains by the first and second week of August of 1945, it likely invasion plans would have been held off, in trade for further blockading and air strikes. That and the soviets were likely to have invaded Hokkaido by November. All of this adds up to a total death-toll that far outstrips the atomic bombings. So I hope that argument is done with.
  10. Read-Only Valued Senior Member

    Typical 'youreyes' - ALWAYS blowing everything out of proportion! Sad.

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  11. The Marquis Only want the best for Nigel Valued Senior Member

    Nooope. Forlorn hope, I'm afraid.

    Possibly. What you're failing to recognise, though, is that this is something written by a historian presumably some time afterward. The author wasn't even born until 1947.
    The problem with these retrospective histories is that they're often written without any real perspective regarding the mindset of those who were actually there.

    You have to place yourself in the shoes of those who were. Four years of war (for the Americans). Tens of thousands of their young men dead.
    No young seaman, soldier or airman would have relished the prospect of months stationed somewhere out in the pacific, watching, waiting to see if anything happened, always on guard against some die-hard Kamikaze plane... or perhaps a submarine swanning around the ocean using up the last reserves of Japanese fuel. Those coming home from Europe, wondering if at the last minute they'll be diverted to some base off the coast of Japan, just when they thought they'd finally made it out alive.
    Neither would their wives, girlfriends, or families.

    A sizeable contingent of the population of the USA, at that time and were they given the option, would simply have said "Fuck it. Drop the bloody thing, and let's have an end to this".

    Aside from the fact that it is largely conjecture as to how much of this information was available to the USA at the time (and, further to that, how much they trusted any information they had), you're completely ignoring one simple thing: Expenses.
    Ones does not go about bombing the hell out of the infrastructure of a nation without spending copious amounts of cash. One does not set up blockades and embargoes without considering the cost of doing so.

    The USA emerged from the war largely unscathed, and with their industrial base expanded beyond recognition. I very much doubt that when considering alternatives, they'd have chosen to play a very expensive and possible risky waiting game with an enemy who'd already shown he had soldiers willing to fly a plane into a ship despite knowing the war was already lost. It would have taken hundreds of missions to take out the railroad structure, and hundreds more to continue to keep it down during ongoing attempts to rebuild it, and to rebuild the infrastructure when it was all over in order to establish Japan again as a bulwark against Soviet expansion... assuming Russia hadn't invaded first.

    Alliances are often made for the sake of convenience. They are not necessarily any indication of friendship. Preparations for the Cold War were being made while World War Two was still in progress.
    In no way would it have been acceptable for the USA to risk a soviet occupation of Japan.

    Speaking about the comparison in death tolls with regard to the question of whether or not to drop the bomb is largely irrelevant.
    There were only two considerations the government of the USA would have taken into account: How much each option would cost, and the global and domestic political implications.

    It really isn't "overselling" the act of dropping the bomb to state that, at the time, there really wasn't any alternative at all.
  12. The Marquis Only want the best for Nigel Valued Senior Member

    Oh, and as a footnote:

    You might want to do some reading on the Pacific war in more detail.
    The Japanese were quite willing to fight despite starvation and disease, and many of them did just that in the course of the Pacific campaign, from Guadalcanal onward. There were even reported instances of cannibalism at several points during the island-hopping campaign. You're speaking of troops who sometimes resorted to eating their own dead rather than surrendering due to starvation.
    I'll concede that no solider would fight on when staved to death, but it would literally take that in many cases with regard to the Japanese soldier.

    Not only that, but Japanese soldiers were still being found into the 1970's who had either not known of the surrender of Japan, or decided to ignore it. That second reason is rather significant.
  13. ontheleft Registered Member

    There was also a racial superiority mindset in Japan before and during the war.


    With that attitude, the events in Nanjing weren't an issue in Japan.

    I'm sure that revenge had role in dropping the bombs. But in the long run it saved lives. Both American and Japanese.
  14. ElectricFetus Sanity going, going, gone Valued Senior Member

    [Double post]
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2013
  15. ElectricFetus Sanity going, going, gone Valued Senior Member

    I was speaking of nations not individuals. Japan as a nation surrendered and would have no matter what because of logistic and material problems and physical impossibility they could maintain a significant war effort for much longer. A small number of zealots does not change that reality. Now if your arguing had they all, all 70 million, of them had that zealotry well then we would have simply had to starve, burn and nuke them to extinction, thankfully modern technology made that option available and thankfully they were not as tenacious as you describe, at least in leadership, and were not willing to risk extinction for honor.

    Richard provided deep insight via quotes from the dairies and internal communications of the leaders of both sides of that war. So I fail to see your claim that he lacked perspective in reading the mindset of the time. If your speaking of more of the public perspective my I recommend a book like "The Rising Sun" by John Toland? Really the problem here is a strawman on your part: Richard was not arguing that the alternative of continue blockading was feasible or possible, but that continuation of the war for even a month more would have killed more people then the bombs themselves, thus negating arguments that there were other "more humane" alternatives to the atomic bomb. I don't know how you can stand such hypocrisy by arguing from ignorance and providing rather simplistic arguments against an argument you have neither read or understand, and then claim I was doing just that in another thread? Well clearly you don't have a problem for arguing from ignorance.
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2013
  16. The Marquis Only want the best for Nigel Valued Senior Member

    Ok, not a bad comeback. You still need to work on your pith though. You need to figure out how you're going to carry that. Right now, it doesn't come natural - you're following a script.

    Thing is, you made your position clear here:
    Bit of a task to get through the special characters. I'll make concessions for responding on mobiles though, while making a mental note of your propensity to do so.

    So, one can only assume that your position had changed somewhat between that post and your responses to me. Which brings into question that position in its entirety. Impression I'm getting, is you took a stance, had it shot to hell, read a book and made a tangential case based on what some author said about it all. There is a logical fallacy known as "appeal to authority" which applies here... the only thing questionable is that authority itself. Lot of people recommend a lot of books to me. I'll take some of those recommendations and not others. Man's only got so many hours in a day, and at the end of that day it comes down to respect for the one doing the recommending.
    See if you can figure out where you stand on that list. And then tell me you don't care.

    You state that one author made some painstaking research into the subject, which gave him (your assertion) an insight into the mindset of the time, yet you still refuse to provide any direct quotes from said author. So I'm left in the position of wondering exactly which "leaders from both sides" he was quoting, what those quotes were, what context those quotes from said author may or may not have included, and what else this author might have ignored while writing his admittedly rather thin book on the subject.
    There is a well known quote from someone about that, you know. One book. You know how it goes, I'm sure. Nice to see you're on a first name basis with the author though.

    To the meat.
    It might have been more clear had you stated at the outset you were speaking of the nation rather than the individuals.

    But you have to realise that none of this matters. The USA had the Pacific war won. They knew that. It was just a matter of consideration as to how to administer the coup de grace.
    They weren't thinking about how long it would be before Japan surrendered; they were thinking about what the Russian position was, and when Russia might invade, thereby denying American supremacy in the Pacific though the ownership of Japan. I did notice you ignored all of that, and that is a mistake.
    Tactics is the response to an immediate situation. Strategy is the wider response to an overall view.

    If you want to argue about whether or not dropping the bomb resulted in more or less causalities than sitting back and blockading was, or for how long that might have been necessary, go ahead. You and I will be done.

    It's just a bit play.
  17. The Marquis Only want the best for Nigel Valued Senior Member

    Aye. Again, though, it probably wasn't the prime consideration of the American government at the time. It's only ours, here and now and in this place.
    Electricfetus gives us some author making a big thing about it. If you've been here long enough, his entire beloved book is invalidated with a single historical post.

    Bugger providing examples. Bushmills, tonight. Breaking my own rules and thinking about clowns... Weeelah.

    Here's a concession, though. The concept of Total War has become the object of much discussion in recent decades, sparked primarily by Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and evidenced by discussions on this very forum.

    Reckon we'd drop a MOAB on Iraq or Afhghanistan, now? Of course not. It'd cost us an election.
    We're willing to lose a war in pursuit of an ideal.

    But you don't need to worry about that. Your grandchildren will fight it, come the time. If they have the capability.
  18. ElectricFetus Sanity going, going, gone Valued Senior Member

    What the heck are you talking about, pith, script, what?

    My position did not change: Japan would have surrendered with or without nukes. Richard argues that the death toll would have been greater, even if direct military invasion did not occur. These are different arguments and not mutually exclusive: Japan would have surrendered by starvation and collapse of its economy by 1946, this would have certainly brought about a much higher deathtoll. The atomics were not required to surrender, you might argue that they were inevitable, but that besides the point. If the atomics were not necessary for surrender, what good were they? Well for one and this is a surprise for most but back to Richard's arguments: the Atomics actually reduced the total deathtoll, even without a direct invasion! So the idea that the atomics were immoral because they killed so many is illogical: continued fire bombing, destruction of Japan transportation, mass starvation, long before even invasion by the USA would have killed more in the short and long term and thus had been more immoral. And then there is invasion by the Russians and the creation of North and South Japan as a hypothetical that would have caused mass suffering for generations. The idea that the atomics prevented a direct military invasion though is also questionable as Richard cites was starting to become an argumentative question amongst the allied military leaders by the final days of the war even before the first atomic, and likely would not have happened even if the atomics were not used, but again the deathtoll from invasion was not necessary for the humanitarian argument FOR the atomic bomb, as the firebombing and starvation and all the rest is more than enough to justify the atomics.

    Is my position clear to you now?

    I read the book BEFORE I took the stance so your theory makes no chronological sense. A better theory is this is all due to a misinterpretation on your part. Another is that this is an attempt to be spiteful and argumentative to anything I post, but I doubt this as you said you were not going to follow me around or such.

    This is not an appeal to authority as I cited specifics evidence that Richard cites. I'm not saying to trust in Richard, I'm saying Richard is right because for example the brewing argument between Nimiz, King and MacArthur on the viability of invasion, of which Richard cites, quotes and references multiple messages, reports and dairies at the time, show the invasion was starting to become questionable in the final days even without reference to the atomic bomb but from knowledge of the Japanese preparations for invasion alone. Richard is inconsequential, I'm citing evidence that he collected, not mearly citing him. Now if you don't want to read the book that fine, your just going to have to trust me on presenting the evidence, which I seriously doubt you will, hence why I recommend reading it for your self. Now if you still don't want to believe me, the evidence I cite, and not read the books I don't know what to say... remain in your ignorance I guess?

    Let me get his straight, you argue about not having the time yet demand I take the time to quote word for word and page by page this guy? How can you live with such hypocrisy?

    How about this: you pay me to scan pages or transcribe them from the book in front of me word for word... or you read it your self? I'll give you a teaser for free:

    "Noting the alarming fresh intelligence estimates of Japanese preparations on Kyushu, the committee observed that "the possible effect upon OLYMPIC operations of this build-up and concentration is such that it is considered commanders in the the field should review their estimates of the situation, re-examine objectives in Japan as possible alternatives to OLYMPIC, and prepare plans for operations against such alternate objectives" Richard quoting "The possible effect upon OLYMPIC operations": Joint War Plans Committee, JWPC 397 4 august 1945 (with attached copy of "Defensive Preparations in Japan," JIC), RG 218, NARA."

    I would not call a 484 page book "thin", its just 124 pages are Appendices, References, biographical notes oh and a 24 page index, so really its only 360 pages of reading, which is kind of thin for me with a book like "And the band Played on" being what I would call "thick".

    What you want me to provide his full name all the time, I already gave his full name many replies ago, what more do you want? If you have specific contention with something I said - he said or what ever, then bring it up specifically, and I'll go over it... when I have "the time".

    To give you your own argument in reverse: how do you know that? where you there? How do you know what they were thinking? Present citations and sources for this claimed thinking of theirs, in mass, for if you do not then you are implied to be fallacious lier by your own standards.

    Beside that the mind set of the coming cold war is irrelevant, it has no value in the arguments against the atomic bombings, the only thing of value is the argument that the weapons were immoral on a humanitarian bases (the premise in the arguments against the bomb), which they were not as I showed. I don't see anyone arguing the not using the atomic bombs would have improve the cold war... well except for Leo Szilard but no one that mattered took his claim that this would lead to an atomic weapons build up between the Soviet Union and the USA seriously at the time.

    Well thank you for your concession, that all I was arguing about and you have been trying to make it into an argument about something else with your strawmen and red herrings, thank you for admitting that, yes we are done, thank you.
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2013
  19. The Marquis Only want the best for Nigel Valued Senior Member

    Well, no, Fetus, I'm not certain your position is really clear at all. You've spent quite a while just retyping what you did here:
    Which, when boiled down, basically says no, you don't think the nukes were necessary because if we'd waited another month or so we'd have starved them out and caused far more casualties that way.
    You nasty little man, you.

    Conflict between the Americans and Russians was evident and on public record as far back as Tehran in '43. It was coming, everyone knew it, and while one can only surmise as to the watercooler talk among the leadership of the USA in 1945, you can bet they weren't ignoring the things you're trying to.

    The cost of extending the war for even a few more months would have been high, both in terms of actual funding and in terms of the political situation. Churchill was already gone, having been voted out in July despite the perceived heroics of his wartime leadership. That tells you nothing? Even the general populace in the UK knew the war was won. The question on the board in August '45 was the political extension of the same one in Tehran a couple of years earlier: "What Happens Now?"

    One can only assume you're attempting to isolate the question into one of the immediate ethics of the use of the bomb, and all other considerations are "irrelevant". Which would be fine if we were on the ethics board, but unfortunately for you this is history, not ethics. Jump up and down and yell all you like, you're not going to change that to suit yourself.


    Well, it has been like stealing a fat man's wallet and watching him huffing and puffing trying to chase you down the street.
    At some point, though, one tires of that and goes off to buy an ice cream.
  20. billvon Valued Senior Member

    1) A real world test for what the US considered the ultimate weapon.
    2) A demonstration to other countries (specifically Russia) that we had nuclear weapons and were willing to use them.
    3) High propaganda value, keeping morale high in the US (and in our troops) who were at the tail end of a long and brutal war.
  21. rpenner Fully Wired Valued Senior Member

  22. ontheleft Registered Member

    A library full discussion of who and why. Oh, with words so well chosen! It must be so much fun. But with all the big-money trained minds contributing, no solutions.

    Who will keep our grandchildren from having to choose between fight or flight?

    I prefer the limestone filtered taste of Jack.
  23. ElectricFetus Sanity going, going, gone Valued Senior Member

    Oh you don't know the depths of my nastiness! But again you fail to notice my argument to completion: You agree starving them out is "nasty" right?, so in comparison are the nukes so bad? But no you assume I have no problem with starving millions of people to death over nuking a two hundred thousand?

    That not citations, not quotes or references, heck I could quote "watercooler talk" about the soviets from Richards book for crying out-loud, so it not a matter of surmising! How can you demand exact citations and evidence when you your self fail to provide?

    These two arguments do not counter each other!

    Me: Not using the atomic bombs and continue blockading and conventional bombings of Japan would have resulted in Japanese surrender before 1946 and before a formal invasion, at the cost of far more lives then the atomic bombs.
    You: "The cost of extending the war for even a few more months would have been high, both in terms of actual funding and in terms of the political situation."

    If anything they even re-enforce each other in the overall argument that the atomic bombings were valid and even morally justified!

    No, you think???

    Youreyes claimed the atomic bombings was "holocaust of millions of civilian"s I was countering such a statement. If you have a problem with that then have this discussion moved to ethics.

    You do relies how pathetic you appear when you make statements like this? When you have to resort to such (metaphorical) slander, I consider it a personal victory.

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