Best strategy to avoid nuking Japan

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by wuzak, May 3, 2013.

  1. wuzak

    wuzak Well-Known Member

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    Since we have a thread abot the possible use of nuclear devices against Germany, I thought we might discuss how dropping nuclear bombs on Japan could have best been avoided.

    The problem then is how to force Japan to surrender without losing too many lives.

    One reason given for the use of the bombs was to avoid great losses in a land invasion. Could continual pounding of Japan with conventional weapons have reduced the need for such invasion?

    What about a blockade? Would that be effective?

    Could an invasion be devised to minimise losses?

    How much of an influence on Japanese thinking does the USSR's declaration of war against Japan have?
     
  2. rednev

    rednev New Member

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    Continual pounding by convential weapons dosnt cause loss of life ? Or are you only trying to save allied lives ?
    Horrible as it was the the nuclear option probabley saved a lot of japanese lives as well as allied ones .
     
  3. wuzak

    wuzak Well-Known Member

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    Not sure that Japanese lives were that high on the agenda. Mainly they wanted to avoid big losses to the invading force.
     
  4. Shinpachi

    Shinpachi Well-Known Member

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    Interesting thread:)
     
  5. michaelmaltby

    michaelmaltby Well-Known Member

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    "... How much of an influence on Japanese thinking does the USSR's declaration of war against Japan have?"

    Not much ... I'm thinking. Stalin had committed to that goal at Yalta and he delivered within the agreed timeframe. Very effectively.

    A blockade would have been the traditional tool in such cases ... before the bomb had been realized .... while continuing to destroy Japanese forces in China and off the Home Islands.

    The Royal Navy maintained a costly but very effective blockade on Napoleonic France from 1799 until 1813 almost without interruption.

    MM
     
  6. OldSkeptic

    OldSkeptic Active Member

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    Unnecessary, eitgher the bombing or the nukes. The war had been won by US subs.

    They did to Japan what Germany tried (and nearly succeeded) to do the the UK. Cut it off from anything going in or out.

    The Allies could have simply waited it out until they surrendered (or all eat each other)., As a military power at that point it was all over.

    All those millions of Japanese soldiers all over the place were just going to whither on the vine.

    Yep, all that island hopping, all the fire bombing raids, all the men lost in pointless invasions of all sort of islands,... were well pointless.
    Malaysia too and all the rest.

    Japan ceased to exist as an industrial and military state by (at the latest?) Oct 1944.
    It could not import food and fuel and materials, it could not send men and equipment to its armies. it had no Navy it had no merchant ships left.

    After it was cut off, the allies could have just .. gone to the pub and waited.
    Heck, maybe if they had done some careful Cannibalism (starting say with under 10 years of age, or over 70 at first) they might have struggled into 46.
    In one sense who cares, no allied troops would have died.

    That is cruel of course, but in so many ways better than letting the nuclear genie out of the box.
     
  7. tyrodtom

    tyrodtom Well-Known Member

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    No allied troops would have died ?? What about all the allied troops in captivity ?
    The nukes enabled us to end the war quickly, shock and awe, 1945 style.
     
  8. michaelmaltby

    michaelmaltby Well-Known Member

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    "... but in so many ways better than letting the nuclear genie out of the box."

    Disagree. The genie was long out of the box. Development of the Atomic bomb was an historical and scientific certainty. The question was only "when and where" such weapons would be deployed. The Japanese deployment was an unqualified success -- it has not been used since -- and shortened the war in the Pacific by 18 months. Despite all the sabre rattling ... Iran, N Korea, Pakistan and Israel all know that to initiate a nuclear strike would be national suicide -- moreso in some cases than in others -- but suicide nonetheless.

    MM
     
  9. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    Not really;

    Chronology of Japanese Holdouts

    Unless there was "Divine Intervention" many of these "millions" of Japanese soldiers were NOT going to surrender
     
  10. VBF-13

    VBF-13 Well-Known Member

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    I always wondered why we didn't just drop it over Tokyo Bay and give the Emperor a good glimpse of it. "The next one has your name on it." I do kind of think the Nagasaki bomb was necessary, though, because they didn't immediately capitulate after the Hiroshima bomb. "Hey, guys, we got more."
     
  11. Readie

    Readie Well-Known Member

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    Because you assume a certain level of reason with the Japanese Emporer.
    A quality somewhat lacking until the first A bomb dropped.
    There was no Russian army to take the sting out of the IJA either, America could have bled heavily taking the mainland of Japan.
    100.000 men or 2 bombs?
     
  12. OldSkeptic

    OldSkeptic Active Member

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    Japan had already put the feelers out for peace. They had contacted the Soviets and others.
    The only thing holding them back was the 'unconditional surrender' position of the Allies (now there was a strategic mistake), in that they wanted the Emperor to remain.
    Which was exactly the terms we gave them in the end.....

    If we had accepted that (and I repeat we did in the end) then they probably would have surrendered in mid 45 at the latest.

    There was absolutely zero reason to invade Japan.

    As for "Unless there was "Divine Intervention" many of these "millions" of Japanese soldiers were NOT going to surrender", so where were they that could now threaten anywhere new?
    Just leave them in their islands, China, Philippines, etc and wait until their Govt gives up and orders them to surrender .. which is what happened in many places.
    Without military supplies they had lost all offensive capabilities by then.

    Note also that Eisenhower, MacArthur and a lot of the other serving generals and admirals were against dropping the bombs and recommended not doing it when they were asked.
     
  13. bob44

    bob44 Member

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    I do not think there was much strategy left to use. Japan was beaten, but would not surrender. Dropping the bombs instead of invading not only saved many Allied lifes, but also many Japanese lifes. Plus the Russians were now getting involved, and I think that the Western nations wanted a fast surrender of Japan to keep the Russians from getting their hands on Japan.
     
  14. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    Japan had a homeland army of over 1 million soldiers plus another 8,000 aircraft of various types (from Dave Jablownski's book "Wings of Fire") and was still capable of waging war. How long do you sit and wait for them to capitulate? 1 year? Five years? Twenty five years?

    You say "just leave them in their islands, China, Philippines, etc and wait until their Govt gives up and orders them to surrender." Do you even realize the Japanese garrisons at these places were committing horrendous war crimes against the general civilian populations? My ex-wife's grandfather was captured at Bataan, his wife was also captured and was days away from being executed at Cabanatuan. Would those situations been acceptable to "wait out" the Japanese?

    Many politicians and military leaders gave all soughts of reasons for NOT dropping the atomic bomb, but they were not the ones suffereing at the hands of Japanese occupation.
     
  15. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    The Japanese were ready to wage a full out "all or nothing" defense of home soil...this included IJN/IJA personnel and civilians. Any invaders to thier homeland would be met with extreme determination and sacrifice.

    Make no mistake, the Japanese still had plenty of fight left and it would have been well into 1946, according to Allied estimates, before Japane would have fallen. The estimates for Allied casualties were listed as being close to one million.

    In a conventional attempt to both cripple what was left of Japan's industry and dishearten the civilian population, Tokyo was fire-bombed. The result was casualties well over 120,000 and a displaced population exceeding 1.2 million. This far exceeds what the A-bombs did and yet, the Japanese did not waver...
     
  16. OldSkeptic

    OldSkeptic Active Member

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    Where they did the greatest war crimes .. China .. not much in allied armies there.
    We just didn't have the troops for everywhere, like Korea or China.
    And the British effort in Burma (etc) was a complete waste of troops better spent in Europe (where they had ran out of them).

    It was war with limited resources, the US Navy had the right idea, go for the jugular and cut off this island nation. Then, it might take some time, but they will sue for peace.

    Some people don't get just how successful the US subs were. By mid '44 the USN could have put whole battle groups right in Japanese waters and taken out everything on the coast.
    In many ways that would have been even more successful at forcing them to peace than the atomic bombs.

    There was no need for a single Allied soldier to have to land on it.

    What was necessary was Guadalcanal and Papua New Guinea. The first to pin the Japanese to a spot to enable attrition to fatally weaken them, particularly their navy. The second to make sure Australia was not cut off.

    The rest were optional and often pointless. Fighting for islands to base bombers was a waste. There was no need to bomb it at all.

    Establishing sea supremacy was the key, once that was established then Japan as a fighting nation no longer existed.
    And the key to that were subs and carriers.

    And it is sad that the US (aided with some valuable contribution by British and Dutch subs) never get the recognition they are due.
     
  17. Readie

    Readie Well-Known Member

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    After all is said and done, what real choice was there?
    Japan was not going to surrender easily and enough allied blood had been spilt in WW2 fighting them every inch of the way back to Japan.
    VJ day was the result of a brave and far sighted decision to deploy nuclear weapons by the Americans.
    If nothing else the world learnt and saw the awesome destructive power and aftermath on those fateful days.
    Job done in my book
    Cheers
    John
     
  18. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    "Would Have," is based on hindsight, not on what was actually facing allied forces in mid-1944. Allied subs were very successful and maybe you're right in they didn't get the recognition they deserved, but one aspect of conventional warfare doesn't win wars. All the subs in the world wasn't going to make occupying Japanese troops lay down their arms or prevent them from the carnage they were taking on civilian populations.
     
  19. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    The idea of a demonstration was deemed a non-starter early in the planning. Many of the atom scientists wanted some kind of demonstration, rather than direct military use.

    On 16 June a panel of distinguished scientists (Fermi, Compton, Lawrence and Oppenheimer) reported that it had studied carefully the proposals made by the scientists but could see no practical way of ending the war by a technical demonstration. The four members of the panel concluded that there was "no acceptable alternative to direct military use."

    "Nothing would have been more damaging to our effort," wrote Stimson, "than a warning or demonstration followed by a dud-and this was a real possibility." With this went the fear expressed by Byrnes, that if the Japanese were warned that an atomic bomb would be exploded over a military target in Japan as a demonstration, "they might bring our boys who were prisoners of war to that area." Furthermore, only two bombs would be available by August, the number General Groves estimated would be needed to end the war. These two would have to obtain the desired effect quickly and no one yet knew, nor would the scheduled ground test in New Mexico prove, whether a bomb dropped from an airplane would explode.

    That was the end of that.

    It is often assumed that an invasion of the Japanese home islands was inevitable. This is a bit of a myth too.

    Other means of achieving this objective had been considered and, as late as June 1945, had not yet been entirely discarded. One of these called for the occupation of a string of bases around Japan to increase the intensity of air bombardment. Combined with a tight naval blockade, such a course would, many believed, produce the same results as an invasion and at far less cost in lives.

    "I was unable to see any justification," Admiral Leahy later wrote, "for an invasion of an already thoroughly defeated Japan. I feared the cost would be enormous in both lives and treasure."

    Admiral King and other senior naval officers agreed. To them it had always seemed, in King's words,

    "that the defeat of Japan could be accomplished by sea and air power alone, without the necessity of actual invasion of the Japanese home islands by ground troops."

    The elephant in the room was of course the the USSR. The dropping of the bombs was not entirely to achieve a military objective.

    Cheers

    Steve
     
  20. tyrodtom

    tyrodtom Well-Known Member

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    One thing that recent wars show is that wars fought only to a armistant, or cease fire are not over, they keep coming back. Witness the two Gulf wars, the Korean war that's still going on, WW1 2, the endless middle east wars.
    If you want a war finished then you have to completely defeat the enemy, totally destroy his war making potential until even his children know he was defeated, in other words unconditional surrender is the only thing acceptable, otherwise in a few years you'll be fighting them again.
     
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