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The 7 - Random - Happy V-J Day
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tarnish
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#21 Posted on 11.8.04 1445.26
Reposted on: 11.8.11 1447.07
    Originally posted by Grimis
    Let's not get carried away. The Potsdam Declaration said that Japan must unconditionally surrender or, and I quote, "face prompt and utter destruction." That doesn't exactly sound like a day at the beach, especially in light of the fact that the US had been routing the Japanese for a while now.

    Let's not forget who started this war, incidentally...


The Potsdam Declaration was made before any use of nuclear force, ergo it was made in the language of pre-nuclear conflict. While "complete and utter destruction" certainly does not sound pleasant, it also does not presuppose the use of nuclear force just because the United States possessed that capability, especially considering that such capability was not advertised in the threat. It could have meant continued firebombings, blockades, or a full-scale invasion. The Japanese may have interpreted it as simply meaning that the Japanese way of life would be destroyed, vis a vis that the Emporer, his line, and his position with respect to the Japanese people would be eliminated. It has been well-documented that the Japanese would not surrender as long as surrendering meant giving up the Emperor, the political and, more importantly, the spiritual leader of their nation; when the Potsdam Declaration did more to encourage the fears of the Japanese than assuage them on this point, the Japanese dug in and the U.S. forged ahead.

That the eventual surrender did not involve those terms even after the two A-Bombs were dropped fits firmly under the definition of "irony."

Did the Japanese know that the U.S. was nuclear-capable? Very probably. Did they have any reason to believe, or were they given specific reason in the Potsdam Declaration or otherwise to believe that "complete and utter destruction" was necessarily or even possibly nuclear? Because nuclear warfare did not exist until the bomb was detonated above Hiroshima, the answer has to be "no."

As for "Let's not forget who started this war, incidentally," I never got very far with "But Mommy, he hit me first," myself. And if the U.S. "had already been routing the Japanese for a while," it makes even less sense to use that as an excuse. I know it's more complicated than 2000 lives at Pearl Harbour != 200,000 lives at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but the original reason given for the strikes, i.e. to ensure unconditional surrender, does not match with the outcome, namely that the term "unconditional" was not used, nor was the most controversial point of the surrender, i.e. the elimination of the Emperor, capitulated to by the Japanese.

Hence I continue to contend that the Japanese were never actually threatened with nuclear force and that by applying nuclear force, the U.S. unilaterally brought the world into the age of nuclear warfare.
Grimis
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#22 Posted on 11.8.04 1510.44
Reposted on: 11.8.11 1512.15
    Originally posted by tarnish
    I know it's more complicated than 2000 lives at Pearl Harbour != 200,000 lives at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but the original reason given for the strikes, i.e. to ensure unconditional surrender, does not match with the outcome, namely that the term "unconditional" was not used, nor was the most controversial point of the surrender, i.e. the elimination of the Emperor, capitulated to by the Japanese.
Well, sorta. The US actually let the Japanese people decided if they wanted to keep the throne, and they did. Even so, Japan did not regain its sovereignty until 1952, so there really weren't a heck of a lot of conditions. I'll call it a wash.

    Originally posted by Tarnish
    Hence I continue to contend that the Japanese were never actually threatened with nuclear force and that by applying nuclear force, the U.S. unilaterally brought the world into the age of nuclear warfare.
Well, I suppose so and obviously. Probably a good thing too, because if two nuclear powers used them first, we wouldb'e been in deep because we could have never had the policy of MAD without actually using the things.
DrDirt
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#23 Posted on 11.8.04 1511.35
Reposted on: 11.8.11 1513.01
Tarnish, Stalin and Churchill knew of the bomb when they met at Potsdam. And lets be honest, more civilians died in the fire bombings than the A-bomb. War sucks and you cannot minimize the fact of who started the war. And they were dug in before Potsdam. They were so fully indoctrinated that they were the superior race, I doubt surender was high on the list.

As Truman, if I was facd wih a protracted bloody invasion or using the bomb, I would go bomb no question.

And although you may not agree, seeing the devestation that the bombs wrought likely prevented their use down the line.
Dahak
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#24 Posted on 11.8.04 1858.22
Reposted on: 11.8.11 1858.30
    Originally posted by Grimis
      Originally posted by tarnish
      The contention that nuclear escalation deterred subsequent conflicts and loss of life is sadly not entirely without merit, but to suggest that the escalation was necessarily predicated upon the actual application of nuclear force in Japan is fallacy; neither Hiroshima nor Nagasaki was fulfillment of a threat, implied or otherwise. There was no, "We've got the A-Bomb: surrender or be nuked," instead the United States unilaterally decided to usher in the nuclear age.
    Let's not get carried away. The Potsdam Declaration said that Japan must unconditionally surrender or, and I quote, "face prompt and utter destruction." That doesn't exactly sound like a day at the beach, especially in light of the fact that the US had been routing the Japanese for a while now.

    Let's not forget who started this war, incidentally...


Sorry Grimis I have to disagree with you on the last point. Pearl Harbor was a legitimate military target. The stupidity and inneptitude of the Japanesse Embassy is what messed that up.
If you want to bash Japan use Korea, China, Phillipines, and pretty much every country they were in for a reason. Rape camps, slave labor, and about 10 million murdered is a lot worse than declaring war 2 hours too late.
Grimis
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#25 Posted on 12.8.04 0725.13
Reposted on: 12.8.11 0729.05
    Originally posted by Dahak
    Sorry Grimis I have to disagree with you on the last point. Pearl Harbor was a legitimate military target. The stupidity and inneptitude of the Japanesse Embassy is what messed that up.
    If you want to bash Japan use Korea, China, Phillipines, and pretty much every country they were in for a reason. Rape camps, slave labor, and about 10 million murdered is a lot worse than declaring war 2 hours too late.
I won't dispute that Pearl Harbor was a military target, and certainly think that the camps were up there with what the Germans were doing. But they still attacked the sleeping giant to provoke us into this thing...
The Thrill
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#26 Posted on 12.8.04 0826.28
Reposted on: 12.8.11 0827.19
The old war-simulation game Command H.Q.'s manual had some good historical sections on WWI and WWII. Their explanation of Japanese thought-processes that led to Pearl Harbor went something like this:

Japan wanted an Asian empire.

The USSR stood in Japan's way.

The USSR had way more raw materials than Japan.

Japan thusly attacked China, despite US warnings not to, to gain its resources and get on a better footing vs. the USSR.

The US stopped exporting raw materials to Japan...raw materials they desperately needed like steel and oil.

Now that the US was in direct opposition to Japan, despite never firing a shot at Japanese forces, Japan decided to bomb Pearl Harbor and cripple US naval striking power in the Pacific Ocean (thank God our aircraft carriers weren't there.)


See the logical problem in Tokyo here? They wanted to avoid war with an economically superior foe (the USSR), but ended up going to war with the USA...a country with approximately 16 times (if I remember that manual right) the economic might of Imperial Japan.

And then of course, thanks to Hitler's treaty with Hirohito (no, not the sucky rassler), Germany declares war on the USA and seals its own fate, having already dug it pretty well with Operation Barbarossa (the 1940 invasion of the USSR, damning Germany to another two-front war).

Hooray for Axis stupidity!
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