History

The Bombing of Hiroshima, August 6, 1945, was it worth it?

I folded a Paper Crane this morning.

In August 1945, during the final stage of the Second World War, the United States People leave chains of origami cranes around this statue in Hiroshima. The Monument to the A-bombed Teachers and Students of National Elementary Schools looks north toward the hypocenter. The statue stands at the south end of Peace Memorial Park.dropped atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The two bombings, killed at least 129,000 people, remains the only use of nuclear weapons for warfare in history. To put this in perspective the Allied Fire Bombing of Dresden on February 13 – 15, 1945 is thought to have caused 22,000 to 169,000 deaths. The Fire bombing of Tokyo, March 9, 1945 was the deadiest single air attack in History, with 100- 200 thousand deaths in a single air attack.

World War II started not on December 7, 1941 with the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. It did not start on September 1st 1939 When Germany invaded Poland, followed up by their Allies The Soviet Union on September 17th, 1939. World War II Started on September 18th 1931 when the Japanese initiated a staged false flag type of attack on a section of Railway line in Mukden. This was used as a pretext for the Invasion of Manchuria the next day, September  19th 1931. The Chinese Foreign Ministry issued a strong protest to the june 6 1944Japanese government and called for the immediate stop to Japanese military operations in Manchuria, and appealed to the League of Nations, on September 19. On October 24, the League of Nations passed a resolution mandating the withdrawal of Japanese troops, to be completed by November 16. However, Japan rejected the League of Nations resolution and insisted on direct negotiations with the Chinese government. Negotiations went on intermittently without much result.

On the January 28, 1932 a Japanese carrier aircraft bombed Shanghai in the first major aircraft carrier action in East Asia. Barbara W. Tuchman described this as also being “the first terror bombing of a civilian population of an era that was to become familiar with it”, preceding the German Condor Legion’s bombing of Guernica, Spain by five years. This became FR-Normandy-Colleville Cem
known as the Shanghai Incident and lasted from January 28 – March 3, 1932. The Chinese 5th Army and 19th Route Army engaged the Japanese Shanghai Expeditionary Army, and resulted in about 7,000 military deaths plus 10-20 thousand Civilian deaths. The Second Sino-Japanese war continued to escalate and ultimately grew ito the Second World War.. The conflict between Japan and China engaged 5.6 Million Chinese and 4.1 Million Japanese troops until the surrender of the Japanese on VJ day, as a result of the Nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Estimates range from 2-3 Million Military deaths and an additional 17 – 22 Million Chinese Civilian Deaths. Had an invasion of the Japanese Homeland been necessary it has been estimated there would have been up to 4 Million American Casualties, (1 million estimated KIA, in the Truman Memoirs), and 5 – 10 Million Japanese Fatalities. I have found no estimates for the Soviet Casualties anticipated.

The horror and terror of nuclear war has been with us ever since August 6, 1945. Was the bombing of Hiroshima worth the cost?

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2 thoughts on “The Bombing of Hiroshima, August 6, 1945, was it worth it?

  1. Johnnie Sue McGlinchey says:

    The death and destruction wrought by dropping two nuclear bombs is staggering. My mind has a hard time wrapping itself around it. My Dad said he thought at the time it was the only way they could have prevented even more massive loss of life, both civilian and military. He was a WW II Veteran as was his brother. Years later he still believed this. If you look at just the loss of life in the the Sino-Japanese conflict, and Pearl Harbor itself prior to the Nuclear actions, I suppose he could be right. But if you also consider the numbers that were expected/predicted, if the conflict had gone on longer, he was right. But I don’t actually know myself, could diplomacy have been pursued more actively and effectively and harsher pressure exerted? Looking back, we have the luxury of examining information unavailable at the time. So, in my mind they made the the decision that they felt would save the most lives and end the conflict.

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    • Hi John. I tend to agree with you and your Dad’s assessment. My Da was USN during WWII and his opinion was much the same. I do not believe that greater diplomatic pressure could have been exerted. The Emperor was very much under the influence of The war party. On June 22, 1945 Hirohito ordered his diplomat to start talks with the Soviets to broker a peace treaty but it was his thinking that Japan’s bargaining position would be improved by repulsing the American Invasion. On July 26 the Allies issued the Potsdam Declaration demanding unconditional surrender by Japan. The Emperor determined not to surrender at that time. On August 9, 1945 The day after the Soviet Union declared war on Japan, (in compliance with the 1943 Tehran accords), The emperor reconsidered. Some accounts suggest he overrode the Military Junta to save Japanese lives others suggest it was fear of a communist takeover in Japan. Japan did accept the Potsdam Declaration on August 15th and doubtless saved 10 million lives in the process. This indeed ended Japan’s 14.5 year war with China but opened the way for the Age of Nuclear Terror the world still is dealing with 70 years later.

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