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  1. #41
    Couple of points:
    -Japan's land army was in decent shape, most of their loses was in naviation and navy
    -there are 4 or 5 spots where invasion similar to Normandy would be possible, and they're all much more defensible.
    -firebombing of Tokyo had more dead than both atomic bombs combined, conventional invasion would have inflicted staggering casualties on japanese people
    -fanaticism of japanese troops, banzai charges are very well documented, even their wounded used hand grenades to take as much enemies as possible
    -America wanted unconditional surrender of Imperial Japan, Supreme Council would continue to wage war as long as it hoped to force something else
    -War was ended without additional allied casualties, huge impact on Truman's decision

    There are lot more similar points for both sides of argument, just one thing; both Nagasaki and Hiroshima were targeted because they were average cities, not too small, not too big, with military presence to justify using the bomb, there were quite a few other candidates. In the end, there is no right decision, war had to be won, and price would be big in any case.

  2. #42
    Merely a Setback Rukentuts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Baiyn View Post
    Speaking of Japan, I totally forgot to bring up the moral dilemma of using data gathered from the Nazi human experiments and Imperial Japan's Unit 731.

    Do we look at using the data as making it so all those people who died so horribly did not die in vain? Or do we say that it is wrong to benefit from such inhumanely cruel and unnecessarily inflicted suffering?
    Well it's a lose-lose situation. On one hand, the data is already collected and the subjects already dead. If their deaths can in some way help or save those still living I would say that the data should be used. However, there's a catch; using the data would seem like we are condoning said actions, and that they may be taken up again in the future. Basically we lose no matter what decision we make.
    Quote Originally Posted by GreatOak View Post
    Hey, as a transabled, transethnic, non-binary, genderqueer, neo-communist, indoor-capable republican otherkin I am offended by your callous display of ignorance.
    Quote Originally Posted by Cybran View Post
    Both of those links don't provide any evidence. They make unsubstantiated statements

  3. #43
    Quote Originally Posted by Mnevis View Post
    Which is why you corrected my simple analogy with an even simpler, two-party, black-and-white, life-or-death analogy? I mean, why not just say "Japan shot first, so we shot to kill"? If you realize that war in real life often is more complicated than portrayed in the victor nation's History I schoolbooks, why propound the simplified version?

    Of course I realize that "Because we could" doesn't really capture the entirety of the issue at hand, but I really get that sense when reading what Truman read and wrote. He was out of the loop until FDR died only a few months prior, he was really excited upon finding out about the Manhattan Project, and he gave the order to drop the nukes literally at the first opportunity upon them being ready, which in my opinion, is the most damning.
    My apologies Semephore I was referencing the conversation not your direct quote. My fault for any misunderstanding completely.

    As to Mnevis you are not quite getting it. Japan didn't just "shoot first", Japan tried to preemptively "kill" the US . The Japanese military and government believed that the democratic system was very fragile and once attacked America would quickly fold and essentially not fight back in the Pacific. The irony being the group that thought otherwise was the one who actually carried out the attack, the Japanese Navy. Once the war in the Pacific progressed past the 6 month mark it was pretty much over.

    The actual morality question has nothing to do about dropping the atomic bombs, it has to do with how the Japanese government could continue a war it was destined to lose (and they knew it), and how that conflicted with America's stance that no victory was to be accepted other than complete victory over all forces we were engaged with.

    Lastly, restricting ourselves to just the idea of bombing, the attacks made against Japan at Hiroshima and Nagasaki were not the most damaging or egregious. What about the incendiary strikes against Tokyo and other Japanese Cities? Dresden? You want to have a real discussion, how about the entire British bombing campaign against Germany? With regards to air bombings that is the best discussion to have, that is the one with the most actual controversy and historical "mythology".

  4. #44
    Stood in the Fire Centerra's Avatar
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    It's easy to reflect morally and pick a side now with events like the Nukes in WW2, when really any bombing of non-military targets (eg cities) is pretty wrong but was performed by all sides - america just dropping the biggest one - and these days forward thinking governments should be (if at all of course) waging wars between military targets and personnel. And while imo dropping nukes on 2 cities was a bit much (and that it was also to scare russia) it's also worth remembering that Japan in WW2 was guilty of crime's that ranked just as low in terms of human depravity as the nazi's in their war against china. The Nanking Massacre is one those things that I wish I had stayed ignorant about and while it caused a fraction of the death that took place in holocaust, it's still a shining example of the worst that humans are capable of.

    Also the troops were just normal conscripted men, not career soldiers, essentially just civilians with guns. Human life was very cheap during both world wars.

    All in all it was a long grim war and we're all pretty lucky that we're 50 or so years older than our grandfathers. As a Briton, its touted as our finest hour, and yeah we did turn out to be on the right side and trashed them (although no one mentions the politicians who while supporting the war agreed with the nazi's about the jews), but as a whole the entire war is a big morally ambiguous mess and picking out who was worst behaved doesn't really help. Just be glad that it hopefully won't happen again.
    Last edited by Centerra; 2012-10-03 at 04:13 PM.

  5. #45
    Pandaren Monk Mnevis's Avatar
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    @semaphore: So you just don't think he connected his superlatives about the power of the bomb to the effects on a city, i.e. that 'obliteration of Hiroshima' wasn't intended?

    I suppose I can see that, and allow some moral ambiguity back in. Blowing one up in the desert might not have given him a good enough idea what dropping them on cities would do, such that it wasn't as monumental a decision as it might seem in retrospect, but just an escalation of the bombardment, of course with a "check out what we can do, Stalin" element and questionable military purpose.

    Quote Originally Posted by kensim View Post
    Mnevis you are not quite getting it. Japan didn't just "shoot first", Japan tried to preemptively "kill" the US . The Japanese military and government believed that the democratic system was very fragile and once attacked America would quickly fold and essentially not fight back in the Pacific
    Well, we're mixing metaphors here, and analogies break down. No one died in my analogy, because the body of the enemy was the body of Japan, and Japan continues to exist. Your rhetoric of finality implies you're actually talking about memes. The evidence is that the meme in question was on its deathbed in Japan already, the US command knew that, and killing a quarter million more civilians with our shiny new nukes wasn't really a factor in its demise.

    I didn't bring up the nukes, it was the first reply to a thread on moral ambiguity, and I don't personally feel there's much ambiguity. Criticizing our decision is not endorsing Japan's actions. Of course Dresden and Tokyo and London all are serious questions, relevant to the larger question bombing of civilians in WWII and modern warfare in general.

    The "actual morality question has nothing to do with dropping the atomic bombs"? It's impossible to discuss an act of war, but only the war taken as a whole? That leads to some scary conclusions, on which the civilized world disagrees with you.
    Last edited by Mnevis; 2012-10-03 at 04:33 PM.

  6. #46
    Quote Originally Posted by cudomix View Post
    Couple of points:
    No, you're basically engaging in a falacy of a false dilemma: Either use the atomic bombs, or Japan must be invaded. That is not necessarily true. In fact, a number of American commanders of the time explictly argued that Japan would surrender anyway.


    America wanted unconditional surrender of Imperial Japan
    That's why wars should not be waged on the basis of reality, not political slogans. If America had offered Japan the peace it eventually did give Japan, the war might have ended much earlier. It is ironic that people would justify the killing of hundreds of thousands of civilians as ending the war earlier - and yet would refuse to contemplate conditional surrenders. And in the end, Japan only surrendered after finally receiving vague assurances that the emperor would be retained.

    Even Chruchill didn't think a rigid insistence on unconditional surrender was a good idea.
    Quote Originally Posted by Winston Churchill
    However, I dwelt upon the tremendous cost in American and to a lesser extent in British life if we enforced ‘unconditional surrender’ upon the Japanese. It was for him to consider whether this might not be expressed in some other way, so that we got all the essentials for future peace and security and yet left them with some show of saving their military honor and some assurance of their national existence.


    ---------- Post added 2012-10-03 at 04:25 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by Mnevis View Post
    @semaphore: So you just don't think he connected his superlatives about the power of the bomb to the effects on a city, i.e. that 'obliteration of Hiroshima' wasn't intended?
    I think he didn't realise how complete the "obliteration" actually was. Keep in mind he had been ordering the systematic slaughter of Japanese civilians in the firebombing of Japanese cities for months. It's not hard to imagine that he simply saw the bomb as a one-use item version of what he had already been doing to other cities - which was devastating enough to be called "obliteration", but doesn't quite come close to the power of an atomic bomb. Which is why, I think, he reacted the way he did when the reports, complete with photographs, finally arrived.


    Blowing one up in the desert might not have given him a good enough idea what dropping them on cities would do
    Exactly. Having a bomb go off in the desert, is not quite the same as seeing the bomb turn an actual city into a desert.

  7. #47
    Quote Originally Posted by semaphore View Post
    No, you're basically engaging in a falacy of a false dilemma: Either use the atomic bombs, or Japan must be invaded.
    Sadly, that's probably the only choice that Truman (only relevant person in this case, because decision was ultimately his) thought he had. I agree on most of your points, i was just trying to bring up arguments for another side. Japan goverment offered surrender in spring (or inquired through diplomatic channels, Roosevelt got it just before Jalta), with conditions that japanese territories won't be occupied (not sure if that was for all territories with Manchuria or just Japan islands), Japan would be responsible for punishing it's own war criminals (quite ironic when you consider today's USA stance of extradition, and amnesty for Unit 731) and the keeping of emperor in power (which happened in the end). Even these terms, while extremely favorable for Japan, were argued against by highest officers of Japanese military.

    In the end, 300 000+ people died for nothing, while Japan got the treaty it wanted (minus occupation, but occupation by US was much more preferable to Soviet Union). And final thought for the day: in the war, nobody wins.

  8. #48
    Quote Originally Posted by Dreadheart View Post
    where two opposing factions or countries were competing for some kind of resource and really both sides weren't right or wrong
    There is no such thing as right or wrong. There never has been.

    What's right and what is wrong is determined based on which side wins or which side has the most followers.
    Today many consider the US a force of good, but if for example Japan would've won WWII we would be thinking they're the good ones.

    History is written by the victor and all that.
    Also, one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter.

    Another good example is the way people look down on Nazi Germany for the holocaust, meanwhile the US has done something worse to the Native Americans. But the general opinion of the US today is much better than that of Nazi Germany. Why? The US has continued to rewrite history.

    In popular media, they've even gone so far that people believe that the Native Americans would scalp the American Colonists. But in truth it was the other way around. Or remember those toy soldiers? I remember a toy existing where a Native American's image was captured exactly while he was shot. These toys were even popular and they were sold everywhere.

    I don't think the Germans would have the balls to create toy soldiers of Jews being gassed. Just saying.

    Our opinions and views of certain countries aren't entirely our own. We're being influenced. Propaganda is everywhere nowadays.

    ---------- Post added 2012-10-03 at 08:31 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by Baiyn View Post
    I totally forgot to bring up the moral dilemma of using data gathered from the Nazi human experiments and Imperial Japan's Unit 731
    Without the Nazi experiments on prisoners, modern healthcare wouldn't be where it is right now.
    Actually, we thank a lot of modern inventions to Nazi scientists. Even the whole space race, jet fighters, stealth technology, it all started with Nazi scientists.

    To give you an example, the Nazi's were already busy with prototype stealth airplanes during WWII.
    When did the US finish their stealth technology? In the 1980s. It took them long enough, no?

  9. #49
    Imo, the US could easily have dropped the bomb off shore, not needing to target major cities on the Japanese mainland. They had two, drop in the sea to show your muscle and if the nemy doesn't relent then drop it on land. Give them the option to surrender without seeing a city become a wasteland. It doesn't take any kind of extensive empirical thought to see that the US didn't have to kill tens of thousands of Japanese to drive the point home, that is imo the lowest point in US history, as it sunk to the same level as their enemies aiming primarily at civilians for the sake of doing so.

  10. #50
    Dreadlord JSStryker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cudomix View Post
    Couple of points:
    There are lot more similar points for both sides of argument, just one thing; both Nagasaki and Hiroshima were targeted because they were average cities, not too small, not too big, with military presence to justify using the bomb, there were quite a few other candidates. In the end, there is no right decision, war had to be won, and price would be big in any case.
    Don't forget that Hiroshima and Nagasaki were both major industrial targets.

  11. #51
    "History is written by the victor". Just something to chew on.


    Quote Originally Posted by beNN View Post
    I do not promote pedophilia, however I find the Pedobear character to be amusing and funny.

  12. #52
    London is not in the same discussion as any of the German and Japanese target cities. While I would never disparage the bravery shown by the British in World War 2 the Blitz produced 40,000 casualties in London, or a ~57 night campaign. On the other hand the British attack on Hamburg (bombing) produced 42000 deaths, and the attacks in Dresden in excess of 100,00 deaths. Neither is right or morale but the "Blitz" was actually a horribly ineffectual strategy and a defeat for the German military (a resounding defeat). While the British bombing campaign accomplished little other than mindless death. The carpet bombing of Japan essentially the same by the US. The only bombing campaigns that "made some sense" where the European Strategic Bombing campaign and the tactical campaigns waged throughout the war.

    With regards to Japan, as I stated after the first six months Japan was done. However they would not surrender, and "the civilized" world (and both societies in general) were not going to simply let the war "stop". That left three options...

    1.) Invade...which would incur more loss of life the both of the Atomic strikes; both American and Japanese soldiers, not to mention Japanese civilians.

    2.) Blockade...One of the items lost in the study of WWII (for many) is the fact that the merchant battle of the Pacific had a far larger impact in the war than the more famous "War of the Atlantic". While Germany never really got close to strangling Britain's supply chain, America decimated the Japanese merchant fleet into almost nothing. If we had really wanted to, using incindinary strikes and blockade methods (having COMPLETE autonomy in the air and on the sea) we literally could have forced Japan back to stone age and left millions to starve.

    3.) Drop the nukes, scare the Japanese government into surrender...and as an aside remind the Russians who the boss is. Less casualties for all parties and a "yank on the leash" for the communists.

    If reality only give you those three choices, which do you choose?

  13. #53
    In war and world conflict, one mans hero is another mans terrorist.

    As 95% of american posters on here would say that the US was justified in doing every atrocity that their governments has committed in the last 60+ years, from plotting to overthrow dozens of countries governments, to successful and failed assassination attempts on other world leaders, to nuking and killing hundreds of thousands of civilians in 1945 plus those who died later from after effects of all that radiation. You would then probably have 95% of japanese people believe that pearl harbor was one of the greatest covert operations in history.

  14. #54
    Quote Originally Posted by Lumocolor View Post
    In war and world conflict, one mans hero is another mans terrorist.

    As 95% of american posters on here would say that the US was justified in doing every atrocity that their governments has committed in the last 60+ years, from plotting to overthrow dozens of countries governments, to successful and failed assassination attempts on other world leaders, to nuking and killing hundreds of thousands of civilians in 1945 plus those who died later from after effects of all that radiation. You would then probably have 95% of japanese people believe that pearl harbor was one of the greatest covert operations in history.
    I am very PRO-US and I believe that the Pearl Harbor operation was very well executed by the Japanese, against a military target with a military goal in mind. The US being in operational shambles didn't help matters any, however the ability to traverse the Pacific and then launch an air strike against a major military target was nothing short of extraordinary considering the day and age.

    I am proud of many of the things we have accomplished as a nation militarily, and ashamed of many of the decisions the government has made in the utilization of our military.

  15. #55
    Quote Originally Posted by Jamber View Post
    "History is written by the victor". Just something to chew on.
    so ... win no matter what, and you will go down in history as a hero?

  16. #56
    Quote Originally Posted by Lumocolor View Post
    In war and world conflict, one mans hero is another mans terrorist.

    As 95% of american posters on here would say that the US was justified in doing every atrocity that their governments has committed in the last 60+ years, from plotting to overthrow dozens of countries governments, to successful and failed assassination attempts on other world leaders, to nuking and killing hundreds of thousands of civilians in 1945 plus those who died later from after effects of all that radiation. You would then probably have 95% of japanese people believe that pearl harbor was one of the greatest covert operations in history.
    That was kind of a poor attempt at a subtle anti-american post. So many presumptions about the united states and it's citizens.
    Get a grip man! It's CHEESE!

  17. #57
    You know what? Japan's a whole lot better off now (well, maybe not economically), so it all worked out. And once they surrendered, we stopped blowing them up. Now if you want really bad, look what the Romans did to Carthage.

  18. #58
    Quote Originally Posted by someotherguy View Post
    so ... win no matter what, and you will go down in history as a hero?
    If America had lost to the British they would have gone down in history as traitors. If they were killed by Native Americans they would have gone down in history as invaders. If you study history books from different countries you will find a vastly different retelling of the same events, and the truth of what happened probably lies somewhere in between. History is something we should learn from not dwell on.

  19. #59
    Quote Originally Posted by poser765 View Post
    That was kind of a poor attempt at a subtle anti-american post. So many presumptions about the united states and it's citizens.
    What other examples would you have me use that would end up being understood by most people? I guess i could have talked about the USSR invading afghanistan or something else, but how does that reach most people on these forums that is mostly american oriented.

    I'm not stupid enough to blame the citizens of the US for what their elected officials have done in secret for decades, that makes no sense. Most americans citizens are great people. I just tried to use US examples so more people would be able to understand what i was attempting to say, nothing more. Again i will say, american citizens are great, US government foreign policies, not so great.

    All i was saying is that most people will find a way to justify what their side did or is doing. Say next monday a Texans linebacker takes out Tim Tebows knees, Texas fans will cheer their asses off, while people in NY will scream bloody murder.

  20. #60
    Regarding the atomic bombs, the firebombing of Dresden, tokyo, the athrocities by the Germans against the jews or the japanese in Nanking.

    I guess it was more accepted then to attack civilian targets (yes, there probably were military targets as well but come on), with our current mindset however, it is simply not morally defendable at all of course.

    Imagine what would happen if the US didn't go to war in Iraq and would just have bombed the shit out of Baghdad so they would have to surrender. That's 7 million people getting bombed to shit. I am sure the whole world would declare war on the US the very next day.

    Look at Afghanistan. "Only" 2000 US troops have been killed so far and there is already an outcry to just get all the soldiers home. Maybe we aren't as sophisticated as our grandparents were but we sure hold the moral ground in that regards. Maybe that is a good topic for your school project. Looking at how much the value of a single life has increased in the past 60 years and how morally wrong, then right decisions, would be now

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