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Author: Subject: December 7th, 1941

Zen Peach





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  posted on 12/8/2002 at 12:29 AM
Jay Leno has what he calls the "JayWalk Allstars", where he goes out into the public and asks the simplest of questions about American history to folks walking by.Most of them don't know squat. It is pathetic how little people know in this country about our history.

The Japanese at that time were fascists, pure and simple. But at least they targeted a military situation. What I mean is they did not target two skyscapers full of civilians. But, as far as the end of that war, sorry, but they started it and we finished it.

I will never forget December 7th. I still take the time to talk to the old timers and to say thanks for putting it on the line. A lot of younger folks have a problem talking to the old timers, but I say this to them, when those guys went to war they were your age or younger.If you picture them that way then you be able to relate.

And remember that the song, "I'll Be Home For Christmas", is from World War II and is about the soldiers hoping that they were going to be home for Christmas, but knew they weren't , or hadn't been for a couple of years.When you hear that song this season, listen to the words and remember when and why it was written. Back then you went to war until it was finished. Unlike 'Nam where you did your year and came back,and bless those guys as well, in WWII they were there for years at a time, and yes, got the damn job done.

RIP, those still in the harbor of Pearl.

Hey Marley, any thoughts on Dec. 7th, 1941?

Derek H

 
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  posted on 12/8/2002 at 01:10 AM
Yes, it was a tragedy. You didn't mention any of the reasons it happened, which I think are worth noting, but it's still a tragic day. If you're looking for a stronger opinion, I'll say that December 7, 1941 definitely didn't justify the internment of Japanese civilians, or even worse, August 6 and 9, 1945.

 

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  posted on 12/8/2002 at 01:52 AM
Cool, I appreciate your thoughts. And it is a shame about how it ended. But they would not quit, they started it, we finished it. While your at it look into the slaughter of folks by the Japanese all over the pacific. As hard as this thought will be to appreciate, more lives would have been lost if we would have had to invade the mainland of Japan.

As for the French, "Why did the French line their streets with trees? So the Nazis could march in the shade".

Hats off, however, to the French resistance who made up for their countrymen's liberal appeasement by making a difference in stomping the Axis into the ground. And to the Australians who rebounded from having a bunch of already captured soldiers slaughtered in Manila by the Japanese, those injured that lived through the bullets were set on fire even though they were already prisoners, who stepped up to the plate and helped to end the war, unconditionally! No slack, no appeasement.

If you have relatives who are still alive from WWII< have a talk with them, they might just open up to you, and to give them one last thanks for doing what they did would be great. I have, everyone else should too.

DH

 

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  posted on 12/8/2002 at 06:08 AM
The Japanese army committed a number of atrocities around that time, mostly I know about the ones in China -- torturous experiments, vivisection, sex slavery -- a great number of horrifying things. "They" may've started the war, but as always, there was a reason it was started and that needs to be considered as well. The American oil embargo against Japan pushed them to the brink economically and made the government feel it had no other recourse.

Anyway- You mentioned in your first post that "at least [the Japanese] targeted a military situation." This is true, but the United States did not do that at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Those were cities, not military installations, full of civilians. Some 250,000 people were killed in the bombings, plus many more who died later, especially from radiation-induced cancers. I can't accept that this was proper or necessary; I shudder even to be included in the "we" that finished it. If killing almost 2,800 people with airliners is terrorism, how can the atomic bombings (or the fire-bombing of Tokyo) not be terrorism [I could just as easily say mass murder]? A war was on, of course, but the war wasn't being fought on the Japanese mainland; even if it was, a civilian population was deliberately targeted without question. This makes a lot of the actions of the Bush administration -- like its abandonment of treaties and its plans to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear nations -- terrifying to me. I think it's very possible we'll see Baghdad nuked if the war goes off, and again, many innocent people will die. No matter who "started it," this outcome is unacceptable to me.

 

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  posted on 12/8/2002 at 06:49 AM
My father's father saw fought in Europe in World War II, he was one of the first Americans to see the concentration camps first-hand, I think. He died in '94, though. My other grandfather was in the army as well, but never left the country.

 

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  posted on 12/8/2002 at 07:59 AM
Derek; Right on. My Father served briefly in Europe in WW2 but lucky for him didn't see any combat action. His unit arrived 8 days before Germany surrendered;they were then being transferred to the Pacific and he was on a troop transport in the Panama Canal when we dropped the bomb, so he lucked out again. His brother flew over 50 missions as a tail gunner on a B25, mostly on missions that bombed Nazi oil fields in Corsica. My other Uncle served in the famous Keystone Division and fought his way across Europe following the Allied landing at Normandy; he was a battalion runner and seriously wounded in the Hurtgen Forest. To this day he won't say a whole lot about his experiences over there. I cannot eloquently enough express the esteem and respect I have for those guys or our veterans of any wars, they are the real salt of the earth, the people who have made possible all of the freedoms we enjoy today, and the reason that many of us now can sit back in our cushy lives and with perfect 20-20 hindsight nitpick and criticize every foreign policy decision our country has made in the last 200 years. The guys who served over there were cut from better cloth than I, and none of us should ever forget their sacrifice.
 

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  posted on 12/8/2002 at 08:33 AM
This is one time I will forcefully and respectfullly disagree with Marley

To totally paraphrase Santayana:
"Those who forgot history are bound to revise it" and I would suggest that those who tend to think without knowing the historical chronology seek further wisdom available in all public and university libraries. There are still revisionists today who wail and moan about the poor Japanese leading up to Pearl Harbor.

In 1931 the Japanese invaded Manchuria (or as those who supported it call it even today, advanced into China). For those who love the concept of peaceful negotiation, the Japanese further advanced into China proper in 1937. In the interim period the United States, among others, sought to get Japan to withdraw from Manchuria via the peace-loving world's favorite tactic, talking about it. The Chinese people would not totally give up the notion of restoring the three provinces of Manchuria to Chinese sovereignty. In 1937, the Japanese government, and there are those who are apologists today (under many flags and ideologies) who have no problem with the failure of peaceful dialogue to end either an initial invasion, or, a subsequent expansion of that invasion.

Between 1939 and 1940, the peaceful world again tried repeated to get the Japanese to end their adventure in China, both in Manchuria and China proper. In 1940 and in 1941, the Japanese again sought to settle their "China Problem" by negotiation at the end of a barrel---you know those against military action can alway claim the higher moral ground as an invading army carries out its occupation--First the Japanese moved into the upper part of French Indo-China, which was later called North Vietnam, at the time of the successful advance of German forces into France in the Spring and Summer of 1940, then subsequently moved into the lower portion of French Indo-China, later known as South Vietnam. In the period the Japanese sought to get the US to stop supporting Chinese efforts to restore Chinese sovereignty---first by using the specious argument that only Japan could lead the Chinese to enlightenment, then by arguing that only Japanese control of China would profit all major parties by creating a state of stability (which may have actually being true). The US under FDR rejected those suggestions and furthermore suggested that Japanese should withdraw not only from China proper (invaded by Japan in 1937), but also from Manchuria which Japan had occupied in 1931.

One notes, Marley, that no armed force was used against Japan between 1931 and 1941. The Japanese foreswore any suggestion about giving up any of their "well-deserved gains" in China. By the way, the Japanese term for what we call World War II translates into "The Fifteen Year War" dating it to their initial "peaceful advance" into China in 1931.

Once the Japanese indicated to Roosevelt that they would not withdraw from any portion of the "well deserved" gains, the US did ratchet things up, but in the venacular of those who always oppose direct military responses to military actions. The US did impose sanctions, again, that should satisfy those who are against any military action. The US did recognize that the Japanese (and they themselves recognized it as well) were quite literally bleeding themselves white (no pun) in an effort to bring the China Problem (or China Incident in some Japanese sources) to a successful conclusion on their own terms, that is, the total and complete control of China without any external interference.

To suggest that the oil embargo ( I might note here, an oil embargo is a peaceful non violent method of negotiation, with no military force imparted against the peaceful military and civilians of Japan---thus any counter argument against the oil embargo would seemingly, I say seemingly, violate the conditional precept of "Let's not use violence to end violence, but rather find peaceful ways".

The Japanese military and government did consider the fact that without oil---funny now, I don't see any one contesting the Japanese view with the famous "no war for oil rhetoric"---decided that without continued and substantial oil supplies (primarily in the West and the US) their efforts to sustain the campaign in China would eventually fail. The only recourse was to give up China completely or expand their military efforts to sieze oil supplies, build a protective barrier and "persuade" the West that "resistance was futile".

Of note, the Japanese struck these following locations on or about 7 Dec 1941 (which was actually 8 December Tokyo time)--Pearl Harbor, the Philippines, Guam, Singapore, and the Dutch East Indies (now referred to as Indonesia), to wit, their campaign was not only against the United States, but against all Western targets in East Asia.

I wonder if all of the wailing and moaning about the need to use non-violence satisfied those same persons between 1931 and 1937.

As to the Bomb, I shall have more later on that, but I would ask that those who have the opportunity to interview (as I have had) those of the older generation in East Asia, and those of the present generation, and see what a substantial difference time and revisionism can make.

One of the constants of the interviews I sought to do in the Philippines, Korea, Guam, Hong Kong, Macau, and Singapore, was the fact that the elders did remember the "peaceful" efforts of the Japanese to advance their superior civilization. The younger generation has no corporate memory of such struggles----those the mantra of "let's negotiate our differences without conflict" rings hollow to those who enjoyed the "benefits" of such peaceful negotitations between 1931 and Pearl Harbor.

Cheers to all

CRR

 

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  posted on 12/8/2002 at 09:11 AM
You know what, Carlos, fair enough as far as that goes. I knew about the invasion of Manchuria but didn't think to get all my dates in order. I'm not attempting to stick up for Japan in this case, even if things had gone down differently, atrocities are atrocities. But I'm sticking to what I said about the bombings.

 

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  posted on 12/8/2002 at 11:50 AM
Well written Carlos, thanks,


On last thing., I 'm always impressed when ever I meet WW11 reunion groups something I have done over the years. (the death march group is still my most memorable)Their appreciation for life amaze me. Our economy today is striving partly because of their willingness to get back to work and enjoy the American dream after WW11.

I had four uncles and My father all who saw action in different theaters of the War. Tarawa, Battle of Bismarck Straits, Invasion of Sicily, to name a few places.


 

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  posted on 12/8/2002 at 11:51 AM
Excellent post, Carlos. As far as the bombings, Marley, consider this. We had to invade Japan to win the war. The Japanese were dug in even deeper there than in the other islands many Americans had died on trying to capture. Carlos can probably give us the numbers, but I know it was estimated that it would take several years and hundreds of thousands of Americans would have died. Several years ago I worked with an old man who was sitting on a troop transport ship off the coast of Japan when we dropped the first bomb. He told me that he and everyone on the ship knew they were going to die, as they would have been in the first wave. They knew they were going to die, Marley. He told me they were all trying to come to terms with it in whatever way they could, but they basically knew they would never see their homes or families again. When WE (I have no problem with it at all) dropped the bombs and ended the war, there were some very happy men on those ships. I'm glad that old fellow lived to tell me about that. I like what Carlos said about "the peace-loving world's favorite tactic, talking about it." Now that I live in Santa Cruz, I see an awful lot of that. There is huge anti-war, anti-Bush sentiment here. I don't like violence any more than the next person, but there are times in life when you have to fight. I hope if I ever need anyone to watch my back, I can find someone besides the "let's just all get along" crowd.

Marley, in a way it is funny to read your so very informed diatribes against pretty much anything anyone remotely associated with the Bush administration has ever done, said, or been accused of. Reminds me of how my right-wing friends jumped on everything Clinton said or did. I swear, I think some of them thought bad weather was all Bill & Hillary's fault.

But I have to tell you, when you start defending what the Japanese did in WW2, or attacking the way our government handled the war, you and I will have to part company. To suggest that the government of Japan had no alternative but to bomb Pearl Harbor because of an oil embargo is not only asinine, but a hell of an insult to a lot of brave men who died that day.

.[Edited on 12/8/2002 by SantaCruzBluz][Edited on 12/8/2002 by SantaCruzBluz][Edited on 12/9/2002 by SantaCruzBluz]

 

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  posted on 12/8/2002 at 01:17 PM
I think at the time, the estimates were at least 1 million american casualites if we were to invade Japan ... Would that have been better for you Marley ? 1 million American soldiers killed or injured to save 250,000 innocent Japanese ? The same soldiers that fought and died for your right to blast this countries policies and leaders every chance you get ? You're wearin' me out "Bro" ...

 

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  posted on 12/8/2002 at 01:30 PM
Hello everyone, hope all are warm and dry

As to the issue of the bomb itself, yes, Marley, I don't dispute your principled stand.

But, I have another perspective, one that is not in itself without controversy in the historical body today.

First, I intro the point with something right out of the Vietnam War protests. There is a famous picture of a black protestor waving a poster with these words: [warning: it might offend] "No Viet Cong ever called me Nigger."

I use that picture in class to show perspectives, but something was not put up on posters between 1931 and 1945.

For those who contributed to the development of the bomb, many of them were Jewish scientists, none waved a sign that read "No Japanese Facists or Militarists ever sent me to a concentration camp", nor did any East Asian person subject to the "benefits" of Japanese advancement ever wave a sign that read "No Nazi ever sought to exterminate my race"

Disparate but related

Of note, one must return to history. The famous letter by Einstein (later regretted) to FDR warning about the potential threat that Hitler might achieve the bomb is full of ironies. First, one irony is that the very professionals needed by Hitler to fully develop and build a bomb were the very people he chose to persecute or exterminate. Another irony is that Einstein later presumed that only he had the "power" to influence the world powers to build a bomb. Finally, the biggest irony might be inherent in some of the arguments that Marley may have proferred, and in which many will surprisingly find that I agree with him, but on a limited basis.

The very scientists who helped the US develop and build a nuclear bomb were for the most part Jewish persons. They had a very personal reason for seeing the development and use of the bomb against Nazi Germany. Unfortunately (for them) Germany surrendered in May 1945. Their arguments for using the bomb against Nazi Germany never ever dealt with its inhumanity, rather that the bomb would help defeat Nazi Germany and end the war in Europe.

But, after it became apparent that German was going to be on the losing side, and that the bomb was not ever going to be ready to be used against Hitler, the same scientists then began to express doubt about its use in Asia. So, in that regard, I am at loss at to what idelogical state of mind those who wanted to use it against Germans, objected to its use against Japanese.

There will always be a considerable body of persons, principled and otherwise, who will dispute the use of the bombs in 1945.

But, for the historical record, I wanted to provide some facts:

First, the earliest device was first exploded in July 1945 or several months after the German surrendered. The Japanese had not yet done so. In addition, after Trinity, Truman did announce publicly to the world and Japan, that if Japan did not surrender, a "rain of fire" would fall upon Japan--a veiled reference to the bomb.

As to the issue of surrender and numbers, I will deal with them disparately .

The first bomb was dropped 6 August 1945, the Soviets entered the war 7 August, the second bomb was dropped on 9 August. The Japanese did not surrender on either of those dates, and in fact, tottered between continuing the war on their terms, or finding a way out of the war that allowed them to retain as many advantages as they could from their 15 year war. One prospect the US wanted Japan to consider was that the US had an exhaustable supply of bombs when in fact, after 9 August we had only one more and incomplete device.

When did the Japanese actually proffer their surrender?---15 August 1945, and that took even the intervention of the Emperor making the decision to surrender.
Yes, people of goodwill and principle can disagree on policy, but that does not of necessity mean one is evil or one is superior.

Finally, a philosophical query of sorts. If Einstein had never written his famous letter to FDR, I wonder how he would have dealt with the possibility, if only slight, of a Nazi bomb? Food for thought, perhaps.

Cheers to all.

Carlos

 

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  posted on 12/8/2002 at 01:51 PM
Something else happened really important Dec. 8th. Hint go to Gregg's topic for those of you with old timers diseases who can't remember.

 

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  posted on 12/8/2002 at 05:26 PM
Early on in WW2, the Axis(Germany, Japan, etc.) set their precedents for what type of a war they would wage, namely one in which they would feel free to execute prisoners of war, practice all types of atrocities on civillians, engage in mass genocide, and attack all types of non- military objectives....case in point the Luftwaffe's bombing of London in 1940 in which thousands of unarmed British civillians perished. Both Hirohito and Hitler espoused the ''death befoe surrender'' platform and both leader's minions fought with fanatical perseverance. In light of this, I think Japan reaped what it had sown. If our enemies had the ability to utilize this weapon befoe we did,I doubt seriously they would have hesitated to do so. It was a tragedy yes, but what in war isn't?
 

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  posted on 12/8/2002 at 05:48 PM
And one final note - I really can spell ''before'' - I was the smartest kid in 4th grade, all 3 years I was in it.
 

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  posted on 12/8/2002 at 09:13 PM
Interesting thread, especially as I read these posts with a Japanese ear.

*For those who contributed to the development of the bomb, many of them were Jewish scientists, none waved a sign that read "No Japanese Facists or Militarists ever sent me to a concentration camp", nor did any East Asian person subject to the "benefits" of Japanese advancement ever wave a sign that read "No Nazi ever sought to exterminate my race" *

Carlos, do you know of Chiune Sugihara, & his story?

Not only is what you said above ironic (and in your irony about Einstein), but it is also ironic that Japan was, for the majority, very tolerant of the Jewish population. Many Jews immigrated into Japan during active years of the Holocaust. So a safe haven was available by an "ally" of Germany. Tolerant of Jews, while totally intolerant of the other Asian population.... go figure.

Unfortunately, the Pacific War isn't a widely covered curriculum in American....& even Japanese school systems. Going from experience, much of the American population fail to grasp the concept of the emperor, & the ever-elusive figure of Hirohito. There is also a whole Russo-Japanese connection there that will never be covered in the majority of history classes.

It's interesting that I never looked at the dropping of the atom bombs as being "justifiable" or "un-justifiable". Most Japanese folks I know don't think that way over the matter. Marley, you may be looking at things too "humanely".[Edited on 12/9/2002 by finsky]

 

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  posted on 12/8/2002 at 10:21 PM
I'm not going to take 'too humane' as an insult. Sorry if I'm wearing you out, Dino -- well, not really. I'm sure a lot of Americans were made very happy by the bombings for just the reason you mentioned. But I'm not sure why that matters. More than a quarter of a million people were killed, none of them involved in the war. Is the best rationale available "better them than us?" I don't think that's very good at all. You can justify anything with that reasoning.

I remember seeing a play last summer that included excerpts from Robert Oppenheimer's diary. Among the interesting things I remember were that the Manhattan Project scientists worked to beat Germany to developing the a-bomb. When the army learned this was no longer a threat, they kept this information from the scientists because they knew atomic weaponry would be useful in the coming conflict with the Soviet Union. The scientists, perhaps like Einstein himself, wanted to counter the horrors of the Nazis specifically, otherwise they might not have helped the US develop the Bomb. The fact that the scientists weren't told when the threat was removed indicated that perhaps the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki weren't just about winning the World War II, they were about sending a message in the impending Cold War. Neither is really acceptable; using nuclear weapons opened avenues of terror that are still with us today.

 

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  posted on 12/8/2002 at 10:37 PM
Once again like 9/11 a very very sad day

 

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  posted on 12/8/2002 at 10:57 PM
quote:
Marley, in a way it is funny to read your so very informed diatribes against pretty much anything anyone remotely associated with the Bush administration has ever done, said, or been accused of.

What's the problem? Is it that the information is wrong? Am I blaming them for things they're not responsible for? If anything, I think I'm more reasonable than those Republicans -- I admit that plenty of things are the fault of others, such as the Clintons. I don't think you'll find a lot of the kind of Republicans you're talking about blaming Ronald Reagan for anything. I understand that some of them are currently crediting the '90s economic boom to Reagan and Bush and blaming the current problems on Clinton...

 

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  posted on 12/8/2002 at 11:38 PM
*I'm not going to take 'too humane' as an insult. *

Well, insulting was never the intention. However, to say that an oil embargo "pushed" the Japanese is a load of good ol' dung.

My parents & family have had their share of experiences back then, but I rarely, if ever, hear them, or most Japanese folks for that matter, ever criticize the events of Hiroshima & Nagasaki (& most of the war effort for that matter). Don't buy into the "apology of dropping the bomb" thing that pops up every now & then. That is for the politicians. Just like the apology for Pearl Harbor.

I just find it funny that you criticize the events, while many of the Japanese have moved on. But then again, I guess Derek did call you out on this one. But also, like many, one must really UNDERSTAND the Japanese mind back then.

As for me, did it have to happen? Was it right or wrong?

My answer would be "it ENDED World War II". Everybody's mileage varies after that. It wasn't right... or wrong.

The fact it happened outweighs the shoulda, coulda, & the woulda's.[Edited on 12/10/2002 by finsky]

 

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  posted on 12/9/2002 at 01:13 AM
I'd say finsky pretty much nailed it.

I'd also tend to agree with Carlos at the risk of misunderstanding; how was the US to defeat an enemy which would not otherwise surrender?

In my amateur understanding of the Pacific War, it was not the civilian population which was targeted, but the military industry, located in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Yes, the US gets the unfortunate title as the only nation to use the Bomb against another nation; but I think it's probably better that it happened and we learned of its horrific capabilities in its infancy, rather than show 'er off during the Cold War, which wouldn't have otherwise carried such benign nomenclature.
Nonetheless, there's no harm to my conscience in showing gratitude to those who fought and those who died at Pearl Harbor.

 

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  posted on 12/9/2002 at 03:47 AM
"there was a reason it was started and that needs to be considered as well. The American oil embargo against Japan pushed them to the brink economically and made the government feel it had no other recourse."

Marley, that is stunning. And you highlighted my use of the word "They". You are right, I should have used other words, like FASCIST CONQUERORS! Oh my goodness, we pushed the FASCIST CONQUERORS by not giving the FASCIST CONQUERORS some oil. Should we have continued to give the FASCIST CONQUERORS the oil so they would play nice?? I am not understanding this argument, other than it being another example of "Yes, they are FASCIST CONQUERORS, but, but, but, but, " "So and so is a murderous dictator but, but, but, but." And so on. Dictators are people too, Kum-bay-ya my Lord, Kum-bay-ya!

As far as Japan was concerned, it was a group effort. Most of the country bought into the empire mindset. All countires have their bad moments and that was theirs. But to say that, gee, look what happens when you deny FASCIST CONQUERORS oil, we brought it on ourselves by denying them oil, is hard to understand.

War sucks, A-bombs suck, but as these other wonderful posts have pointed out, it ended the war and ultimately saved lives. You said, "A war was on, of course, but the war wasn't being fought on the Japanese mainland". What the hell does that mean? The Japanese regime of the day was not going to give up and surrender unconditionally. You, the new Neville Chamberlain of the 21st century, might have accepted a conditional surrender, but I sure as heck would have not. Tens of thousands of soldiers died on the little island of Iwo Jima alone. And, even the first bomb did not end it. Which means a millon soldiers would have died to finish this war. Not ok by me.

You also said, "The fact that the scientists weren't told when the threat was removed indicated that perhaps the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki weren't just about winning the World War II, they were about sending a message in the impending Cold War. Neither is really acceptable."
So lets get this right. If the nazis or the Japanese had made the A-bomb before we did, what the hell language would we be speaking today? The Germans were about 6 months away from getting it done. As for the 'cold war', the Russians were communists with a manifesto of world revolution and domination, led by a leader that murdered more people in the long run than Hitler did, as in Joe Stalin.
What the heck would have happened if the Soviets had the Bomb and we did not? It would have been ugly.
That is reality.

As for the rest of you that posted on this thread, you said it much better than I could have, very well done.

Derek H


 

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  posted on 12/10/2002 at 02:42 AM
*As far as Japan was concerned, it was a group effort. Most of the country bought into the empire mindset. All countires have their bad moments and that was theirs. *

The average population "believed" in the imperial family. It wasn't "bought" into. You will always have your hard cores, but it's more of a traditional way of thinking. And when one wins & expands, people will approve. Again, it was a different world back then.

Do you really think 15-18 year old kids wanted to fly their planes into the US Navy? For the emperor & honour? Many kids were FORCED into battle. Especially in the desperate hours. Drafted. Just like all Germans weren't Adolph Eichmann (any of you see Band of Brothers?)There is a famous Japanese temple(I'll never forget seeing pictures of the few soldiers that were "halfs", who happened to have American blood in them. Can't imagine the ridicule these kids must've gotten for looking like a "gai-jin". ) in Tokyo where there is a memorial to the Japanese soldiers that were lost during WW II. Letters to family & loved ones. Blood stained clothes that were their last posessions, donated there by the families.

Although the use of atomic weapons opened up a big can of worms for the future, costing thousands of lives in the process, it also brought the WWII generation some much needed closure. The feeling that it's FINALLY over.

Next up, the scramble to contain communism.

Have any of you seen the pictures of the emperor addressing the people by radio on the unconditional surrender? I think MANY of you overlook the significance of that event in Japanese history.

 

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  posted on 12/10/2002 at 03:49 AM
quote:
My parents & family have had their share of experiences back then, but I rarely, if ever, hear them, or most Japanese folks for that matter, ever criticize the events of Hiroshima & Nagasaki (& most of the war effort for that matter). Don't buy into the "apology of dropping the bomb" thing that pops up every now & then. That is for the politicians. Just like the apology for Pearl Harbor.
I just find it funny that you criticize the events, while many of the Japanese have moved on. But then again, I guess Derek did call you out on this one. But also, like many, one must really UNDERSTAND the Japanese mind back then. As for me, did it have to happen? Was it right or wrong?

My answer would be "it ENDED World War II". Everybody's mileage varies after that. It wasn't right... or wrong. The fact it happened outweighs the shoulda, coulda, & the woulda's.

There's a good deal of truth there, especially in the last statement. But I don't think you can just judge the means by the end, and I think it's a bit unreasonable to say that we shouldn't judge something just because it's already happened. Yes, what's done is done, but why study history then? I reserve the ability to judge whether something is right or wrong.

I'm not calling for an apology for Hiroshima, I agree it would just be politically-motivated **** . I wouldn't complain if it happened, but I won't call for it because the words wouldn't mean much. It'll mean a lot more if we start getting rid of nukes, or hell, even if we don't use any more in Iraq. Apologizing for Hiroshima would mean jack **** if we then nuke Baghdad. Anyway-

In my last post I tried to correct my mistakes about the embargo thing, I was tired, missed a few things, and was generally wrong about that.

I'm going to check, but I'm pretty sure there was little or no military anything in Hiroshima or Nagasaki.

 

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  posted on 12/10/2002 at 04:28 AM
Here we are. Hiroshima produced some military equipment, but there were six civilians in the city for every soldier. The military factories were located on the outskirts of town; the bombers were instrucuted specifically to target the center of town. Hiroshima was not central to the Japanese war effort; it was chosen as the target for the A-bomb because it had not been bombed much during the war prior to that point; it was thought this would better demonstrate the bomb's power.
Nagasaki was a port city. One of the pieces I read online while poking around points out that based on these criteria, San Francisco is a military target. Heh, heck, New York might be too.

quote:
You, the new Neville Chamberlain of the 21st century, might have accepted a conditional surrender, but I sure as heck would have not.

Well, I'm glad hundreds of thousands of dead Japanese people don't trouble your conscience. Why bother with conditions when it's easier to kill a few hundred thousand people; mostly the elderly, women and children? Why could a conditional surrender not have been arranged? Especially with Russia entering the war (I'm aware the way things shook out, they did very little).

Leo Szilard, one of the physicists who helped in the bombs development, comments "I don't think Japan would have surrendered unconditionally without the use of force. But there was no need to demand the unconditional surrender of Japan. If we had offered Japan the kind of peace treaty which we actually gave her, we could have had a negotiated peace....I can say much more clearly today what I was thinking at that time than I was able to say it at that time. Today I would put the whole emphasis on the mistake of insisting on unconditional surrender. Today I would say that the confusion arose from considering the fake alternatives of either having to invade Japan or of having to use the bomb against her cities."

The bombings not only killed hundreds of thousands of civilians, it helped to legitimize the bombing of cities instead of military targets, started the arms race against Russia that had American kids ducking and covering under their desks for decades, and is now still with us as we wonder if and when nuclear weapons will be used by terrorists.

 

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