My first Post!

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I will post one last thing to this thread. As a child of the 1950s educational system we not not told the whole story about Hiroshima and Nagasaki. A few facts about the losses were left out or perhaps even covered up. We were lead to believe that the only people killed were Japanese. No mention was made about Prisoners of War in each city or "forced laborers" from Japanese occupied territories plus Japanese Americans who happened to also be there. On August 6th and 9th we should all take a moment to reflect upon and honor the memories of those who perished there.
I have a neighbor, in his 60s, who immigrated from Russia. What little we have discussed on the subject of ww2, lets just say that what he was taught In school doesn't quite align with what he now inderstands. For me, a US citizen, I am concerned that we are, educationally, going down the same path as some of these countries. History, regardless of how ugly and disturbing, should be taught to all as it happened. My 2 cents....
I think the main reason for the atomic bomb at that time was the fact that the USSR finally declared war on Japan.
I don't know who first made that claim, but I have some reservations: We were developing the bomb for some time, and I figure, the instant we had it online, we were going to use it somewhere. Early on, I think we were either going to bomb Germany with it (or as Tibbets claimed, hit both Germany & Japan simultaneously).

The nuclear bomb was basically just a continuation of strategic bombing whereby the objective often involved targeting population centers as a deliberate intent of coercing a surrender through causing massive amounts of civilian deaths.

Over Europe, the Germans & British took this to a greater extreme than we did through the early half of the war though. By 1943, we began to build up a little bit when we'd bombed a pair of cities (Schweinfurt had the city center selected if weather prevented the location of the ball-bearing plants, whereas Münster had the city-center selected as a target from the outset) and incendiaries started to be increasingly seen in the load-out. By 1944, it had become sufficiently prevalent that all city-raids eventually were classified as being railway marshaling yards regardless of intent. By early 1945, Operation Clarion lit off (While it was officially a mission aimed at attacking the transportation systems, it was really just an pretext to bomb and strafe civilians at low altitudes).

Over Japan there were different rules in place before the war (While wildly politically-incorrect by modern-standards, and a view I don't hold: General Hansell was alleged to have stated after the war, that there was an unwritten rule whereby Japanese were viewed as subhuman or, at the very least, he was under the impression that was the case): Prior to the invasion of Pearl Harbor, there were numerous proposals that involved attacks on Japanese cities with incendiaries, since it was known the Japanese tended to be particularly frightened of fire (This probably owes to the construction of many Japanese cities: Even natural events like earthquakes could cause fires because candles, lamps, and torches could fall over and set fires that would rapidly get out of control). Some actually called for first-strikes, others called for doing it in response to Japanese aggression, making no bones about bombing civilians
(This particular plan was shelved because the range from the Philippines was too far from Japan to allow for a return trip, and would require a landing in Vladivostok, which the Soviets would not allow). Once the war was on, these ideas were effectively derailed because we lost control over major areas of the Pacific, though the Tokyo Raids didn't seem to include specific targets focusing on Tokyo itself if I recall (25% of the armament load was incendiary as well), though (then) Lt. Col. Doolittle was alleged to have preferred selecting targets of value that he could find.

Once B-29's were operating out of the Marianas, the raids were aimed at a mix of industrial and area targets (In some cases, the urban areas were selected as secondaries, other times as primary targets). By early 1945: The raids had switched to area-targets and then oscillated from airfields and aircraft engine factories and back to area-raids (the goal probably being to knock out aircraft production and aircraft on the ground to reduce resistance for firebombing raids), while mining operations built-up and starved the Japanese. We actually inflicted heavier death-tolls upon the civilian population of Japan than the RAF did upon the German population (the Luftwaffe wasn't really able to cause the devastation either the USAAF or RAF could because they lacked heavy bombers).

Unfortunately some nations have an education system which either glosses over all their misdeeds, or takes their nations' misdeeds out of context with others. The former tends to produce distrust in their government's rendition of the truth, and opens up the door to propagandists who seek to vilify their nation. The latter has the unfortunate effect of making people feel as if their country is country is uniquely brutal or bad. When it comes to the use of nuclear bombs, it should be emphasized that.

  1. The Germans had attempted to produce an atomic bomb and, while their efforts were heavily sabotaged & disrupted: We know they had no aversion to bombing cities and, when asked after the war, if they would use a weapon that produced the level of destruction seen at Hiroshima & Nagasaki -- they said yes.
  2. The United States, though it might affront some people's pride, were not alone in the development of the Atomic Bomb: The British were working extensively with us as well (Though we would eventually cut them out of the loop, even going so far as to criminalize the sharing of information), and were equally willing to employ them in the manner we had.
  3. The Japanese were working on two nuclear-weapons programs: They had a pathological interservice rivalry, and the Army & Navy had their own nuclear weapons programs running in parallel. The Army's program was based in Tokyo, and was wiped out in March of 1945. The Navy's program was based in Korea, and was operational right up to the end of the war. Some say they detonated a bomb at Konan on August 10th, others say that's crap, but we knew the Japanese had such a program by August of 1945 (and well before that), and that they had no aversion to bombing and strafing civilians. They also used chemical and biological warfare on their enemies as well.
We were basically no worse than our enemies or allies for the most part, and were basically simply the first to have the weapon: Whoever had it first, was likely to use the weapon. Sure, you could argue that it would be nice if we were more principled, but we weren't unique in using it. I'd like to point out, every nation in the world, from the nicest to the meanest are all capable of doing terrible things under the right (or wrong) set of circumstances. The question is how often, and how awful.

People seem to forget that far more lives were lost in the fire-bombings of Tokyo than Hiroshima and Nagasaki combined.
How many people died in the March 9/10 1945 raid?

So did the many people suffering from radiation sickness and cancer. I don't believe the Nuke is anything more humane than the fire bombing.
Technically, a firestorm erupted after Hiroshima which killed people that weren't taken out by the detonation of the bomb itself. The fact that you had deaths from acute radiation poisoning and cancers, which technically does add to the tally, as well as all the birth-defects (entirely new lives that were deformed as a result of the bombings), many of which were fatal themselves, might very well have produced so many victims that it might have eclipsed the firebombing raids on Tokyo as time progressed forward.
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How many people died in the March 9/10 1945 raid?
I don't recall estimated numbers from Operation Meetinghouse, though I am aware that it was one of the most destructive missions.

The overall number of casualties were roughly 120,000 dead (there were high and low estimates, this number tends to be in the middle of that range and most accepted) as well as roughly 1.2 million displaced.
I don't have any of my books/computers available, but I recall reading that the number of injured survivors (injuries ranging from severe burns to smoke inhalation afflictions) were close to a quarter million plus.
The indiscriminate bombing by Curtis LeMay was as tragic as Hiroshima/Nagasaki.
If interested, you can find tons of records and testimonies by the word "東京大空襲 (Tokyo Air Raid)" like this video.
Nothing new for the Japanese people.

Survivors tell
So did the many people suffering from radiation sickness and cancer. I don't believe the Nuke is anything more humane than the fire bombing.

There was an interesting multi page article in the Weekend Australian newspaper on the 50th anniversary of the Hiroshima bombing. The authors went to research Australian POWs who were at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The aim was to interview descendants and see how much those victims suffered from radiation sickness and how fast they died. They did not expect to find any survivors still living. In fact they found many living and living active lives. Their subsequent research showed that those who survived the bombing by more than a year actually had a far higher survival rate than veterans who had never been under a nuke. That is no reason to throw nukes, or to be at the receiving end, but shows how little published research has been done on the aftermath of nuclear war.

Shinpachi may know of equivalent basic, or even more detailed, research done in Japan

I also remember finding in Canada a newspaper dated before Hiroshima with the headline Japan sues for peace. They wanted the Emperor spared prosecution so the US rejected the offer and said nothing less than total surrender would be accepted. Whether that was 100% correct or just the press talking I do not know.
Frequently Asked Questions about the Atomic-bomb Survivor Research Program

I was born with a deformed finger bone. As a kid, I seriously doubted if my mother lived in Hiroshima or Nagasaki until my doctor diagnosed it was a result from running and jumping when she was pregnant. People lived in such an anxiety.
That was a great link Shinpachi. It is nice to see there has been serious research on the aftermath of the bombs though I have one minor caveat.
That report separates people into groups closer or further than 2.5km from the bomb blasts. I would have liked to see a third breakdown listing those who suffered significant radiation burns. I only say that because a photo of one of the living POW survivors back was shown in the paper and he had severe deep scaring on his back from radiation burns. This means he was exposed to extreme radiation and I would have thought that the researchers would have gone to some lengths to have a number of such burn victims in their study. Then again, like the Australian's reporters, maybe they thought all those people would have died before the study commenced.

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