Debate and Discussion

I have a question here... about World War 2.
TheFlyingGreenMonkey at 5:21PM, April 26, 2009
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The Japanese were not willing to surrender. We had two options at the time. Five years of island hopping and a heavy death toll on both sides or the dropping of the two bombs. I don't remember the predicted death toll of the island hopping but it drasticly out numbered that of the two bombs. So we choose the bombs. We dropped the first and told them we had more and they should surrendor. They didn't listen so we dropped the secound and they finally surrendored

last edited on July 14, 2011 4:17PM
bravo1102 at 5:23PM, April 26, 2009
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You see the USA is the ultimate in evil in the world so they wanted to use these two ultra destructive bombs on the innocent Japanese people to demonstrate their awesome power to the world.

How about the fire-bombing of Tokyo or Dresden. More Japanese died in Tokyo than Hiroshima. Did they surrender after that? No. How many died on Iwo Jima? How many died on Okinawa? What, the Japanese civilians commited suicide rather than surrender?

Try 1,000,000 estimated causulties if Japan is invaded. Every hill becomes Mount Surabachi all over again.

After Nagasaki it still took personal appeals to Hirohito to end the war and even then there was an attempted coup to continue the war! (read The Rising Sun by John Toland)

Start here:

http://www.mtholyoke.edu/acad/intrel/giangrec.htm

Operation Downfall or two bombs? Which would you have chosen?

last edited on July 14, 2011 11:33AM
darkwaterfrey at 9:22AM, April 27, 2009
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Hahah! Well, after those last two COMPLETELY differing posts, I feel that the answer is somewhere between wanting to end the war NOW, and punishing the Japanese for daring to attack us. Notice we didn't drop any Nuclear bombs on germany, or anywhere in Europe…but TWO on Japan. We were sending a signal to the rest of the world, and using Japan as the example. The real question to ask is why do we try the same action with the middle east by using Iraq as a similar example.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:08PM
imshard at 11:30AM, April 27, 2009
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darkwaterfrey
Hahah! Well, after those last two COMPLETELY differing posts, I feel that the answer is somewhere between wanting to end the war NOW, and punishing the Japanese for daring to attack us. Notice we didn't drop any Nuclear bombs on germany, or anywhere in Europe…but TWO on Japan. We were sending a signal to the rest of the world, and using Japan as the example. The real question to ask is why do we try the same action with the middle east by using Iraq as a similar example.

By the time the nukes became available the war in Europe was over already.
Bravo and GreenMonkey are correct on this one, it was either years of grueling invasion and guerrilla warfare, OR demonstrate overwhelming force to a receptive audience. We'll never know if we chose right but we did end the war without further ado.

And no, we learned that the weapons are far too dangerous to use, anywhere, ever again.
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last edited on July 14, 2011 12:58PM
Hakoshen at 2:03PM, April 27, 2009
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As far as my knowledge of WW2 goes, the Japanese philosophy was this; Every square inch of land will be taken in blood. I mean come on; they were willing to send single men on suicide missions to try to take down battleships. They had almost no fuel, no munitions, not even planes enough to train pilots, and they still didn't give up. They were willing to commit the entirety of the surviving navy to a last stand suicide battle. The infantry were no different; if they were out of ammo they had no qualms resorting to melee attacks. I've heard stories of the Japanese literally charging with nothing but bayonetts and swords. Is that an enemy you'd want to wage a war of attrition against?

The Japanese pioneered suicide bombing. If you were an American general, would you want to commit the hundreds of thousands of soldiers it would have taken to seize a capital city, over a campaign that could have stretched the war on for years?

Now don't get me wrong, the Japanese wanted peace, however what they wanted wasn't in agreement with the terms presented. So they were either going to try to secretly make peace through Stalin, or they were going to try to inflict so many casualties in the impending land campaign that the invaders would give up. So yes, Japan was ready to surrender in a sense. They had even more or less known they were going to lose to America from the beginning (they wanted to expand, capture territory and keep some of their new territory after the war ended). They planned to keep fighting and hold out until they could surrender on their terms, but the atomic bombs combined with the Russian invasion convinced them it would cost them too much in the long run.

And lastly there's one other thing you ought to consider; if America hadn't been the ones to drop the bomb, it would have been Russia instead.
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last edited on July 14, 2011 12:41PM
Product Placement at 5:45PM, April 27, 2009
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darkwaterfrey
Notice we didn't drop any Nuclear bombs on germany, or anywhere in Europe…but TWO on Japan. We were sending a signal to the rest of the world, and using Japan as the example. The real question to ask is why do we try the same action with the middle east by using Iraq as a similar example.
They were developing the bombs during the war. The war in Europe was over when they were making the finishing touches on the bombs. I somehow feel like you should have known that.

And you're serious with your comments on making an example out of Iraq? When I read something like that I'm saddened to hear that the lessons that those nukes taught us during the war have not stuck around. People all over the world, even in America were appalled by the might of these weapons. The idea that a military could control such a destructive force was unheard of at the time. It was used to end the war NOT to punish the wicket or make an example out of someone. The Japanese were the only nation left fighting the allies at the time and their tenacity to carry on forced the war tired States to use this weapon against them. This is a common knowledge among anyone who has spent a sufficient amount of time going through a history book.
Those were my two cents.
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last edited on July 14, 2011 2:50PM
bravo1102 at 8:35AM, April 28, 2009
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Hakoshen brought up an important point: the Soviet invasion of Manchuria. Veteran Troops fresh from the war against Germany in large armored columns just like they had defeated the German army. Japan didn't have a chance. Crap through a goose. The Soviets also used it as a chance to deploy some new weapons systems. Another reason the war had to be ended fast; the USSR could have taken all of China and Southest Asia. Japan had nothing to offer Stalin to end the war, nothing that couldn't be taken easily by the Red Army. But the Japanese leaders still wanted to continue the war. It took a personal appeal to Hirohito.

Why hadn't Japan fought the Soviet Union at any time in WWII? They had been destroyed in 1937. They knew the Soviets would defeat them with ease. Manchuria is tank country.

The Soviets had interned a B-29 bomber and were in the midst of copying it so they would have an effective intercontintal bomber.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:33AM
harkovast at 7:04PM, May 2, 2009
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Puff of smoke, I just put wrote a long, thoughtful article on history of ww2, mans inhumanity to man, all sorts of interesting stuff, but then I noticed you made a post stating the following-

puff of smoke
No. It's just all the United Staters I've met so far in real life have all been asses. So, I act accordingly. It has no health care system. It has a person I also happen to dislike as it's president.

I just don't have a very high opinion of it is all.

Obviously, you don't want to talk about history, you just want to take shots at the country you see as history's villain.
So I retract my historical discussion statement as I feel under these circumstances it is wasted.
(And no I am not American, I don't have to be from somewhere to be irritated by unfair and unprovoked verbal attacks against it.)

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last edited on July 14, 2011 12:43PM
Puff_Of_Smoke at 7:29PM, May 2, 2009
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Y'know what? I'm just going to delete all my posts because I can't ask one fucking question without people going crazy on me. No I do not see America as the greatest evil. I'm just not too fond of it. I did want to talk history, but then everybody went and told me that I hated america and that I thought they were the greatist evil. Then I just left the topic to do it's own thing out of annoyance that people seem to think that they can tell me what my reasons for doing something are as if I had no control over myself. I then see harkovast there say that I made this thread solely to take shots at a country. I had an honest fucking question and then everyone shoots me down. Way to go, people. Way to fucking go.

Just let this thread die now.
I
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last edited on July 14, 2011 2:56PM
Product Placement at 1:42AM, May 3, 2009
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…I didn't get the impression that people were shooting you down. At least I wasn't shooting you down. OK, Harkovast was shooting you down but certainly not I. I love talking about history.
Those were my two cents.
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ozoneocean at 3:25AM, May 3, 2009
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Sorry guys, the millions of deaths or the bombs idea is old propaganda from 70 years ago. -_-

It's nice to see old myths go on and on, but things were far more complicated. And yeah, the war would have ended soon regardless, Japan was finished and they knew it.

Feel free to go on about civilians all committing suicide and fighting to the death based on isolated incidents when some of the islands were taken. Enjoy your warrior fantasies and justifications.
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:34PM
Product Placement at 3:42AM, May 3, 2009
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Oh wow Oz… I know a man who'd be quite ticked to read that comment of yours. My wife's grandfather served with the navy on the pacific during WWII. He wasn't there when Pearl Harbor happened nor was he part of the taking of Iwo Jima war but he certainly saw his fair share of action. So tell me. Why did the US drop those nukes on Japan if it wasn't to demonstrate that they controlled an awesome might that they couldn't counter in order to comply them to surrender? Were they just being sadistic dicks who'd think it be fun?
Those were my two cents.
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ozoneocean at 4:00AM, May 3, 2009
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I know many, many Aussies who fought the Japanese with a lot more at stake than any American (fear of invasion), one of my grandfathers included. He fought on quite a few Islands in the south Pacific. The other grandfather drove an ambulance in the European theatre. Both are dead now. But most older Australians from that time were happy about the bombs because of the horrific treatment of Australian POWs by the Japanese.
Revenge is justification enough for them.
Everyone has their own reasons why something horrible was “right”.

The use of the bombs had an incidental connection to the Japanese war. One of the primary purposes was to display this power to the whole world, especially the Soviet Union. That meant far more.

When it comes to or came to actions in war people didn't really weigh up the idea of civilian casualties with any sort of compassion, not even their own troop casualties. That's not how command decisions at a high level were made. The primary considerations are strategic: You care about troop casualties in terms of your fighting strength and the effect on moral and public support. You care about civilian casualties in terms of the effect their deaths have on the moral of their own populace.
-Nothing to do with sadism, the thinking process is a lot drier and more clinical than that.
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:34PM
harkovast at 5:29AM, May 3, 2009
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Sorry to lay into Puff of Smoke, but if he wants to talk history, why bring up whether or not he didn't like the Americans he met? I thought the Patriot was the worst movie ever, doesn't give me the right to throw that into every discussion (like I did just then.)

back to history-

I do think its weird that the allies in WW2 get a sort of moral blank cheque.
Imperial Japan and Nazi Germany were undoubtedly two of the most evil regimes the world has ever seen, but we were still dropping bombs on civilians, which included children and babies.

I think its a little creepy that we so casually accept this as okay.
Now I know it was a different time and extreme situation, with our way of life threatened etc, so I cant know how I would feel under those circumstance, but it is still disturbing that people could become so callous about killing of civilians.

While I dont think the atomic bomb was dropped mainly to punish Japan, the originally allied bombing of german cities mainly served to boost moral by giving us a way to hit back at the Nazis, rather then having much strategic impact on the war.
There was certainly a strong element of “punishing” the enemy to a lot of the bombing that went on.

But in the end, we cant know what woudl have happened if it had not been dropped. The soviets attacking them might have made the Japanese give in without the need for those bombs.
But then again, they might have really fought to the very bitter end.

I suppose another way to look at it might be like this….

Would it have been morally okay if the Japanese had invented the atomic bomb first and dropped it on an American city to end the war, thus saving huge numbers of American and Japanese lives that would have died in continued fighting?
Or would that have not been okay because it would have been American men, women and children being incinerated for the greater good?

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last edited on July 14, 2011 12:43PM
Puff_Of_Smoke at 9:02AM, May 3, 2009
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harkovast
Sorry to lay into Puff of Smoke, but if he wants to talk history, why bring up whether or not he didn't like the Americans he met? I thought the Patriot was the worst movie ever, doesn't give me the right to throw that into every discussion (like I did just then.)
Because I misread a post and answered with what would've been the answer for the way I read it when I misread it.
I
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last edited on July 14, 2011 2:56PM
bravo1102 at 11:37AM, May 3, 2009
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ozoneocean
Sorry guys, the millions of deaths or the bombs idea is old propaganda from 70 years ago. -_-

It's nice to see old myths go on and on, but things were far more complicated. And yeah, the war would have ended soon regardless, Japan was finished and they knew it.

Feel free to go on about civilians all committing suicide and fighting to the death based on isolated incidents when some of the islands were taken. Enjoy your warrior fantasies and justifications.

Did you read the article I linked to? How about the recent works on Operation Downfall? Not a myth, an actual tactical/strategic assessment. It's that post-modernist reinterpretation with a tinge of anti-militarism. ;) Doggone Aussies don't appreciate how the US Marine Corps won the war for them. lol!

Looking at what the Japanese were planning in August of 1945 only the Navy and the career ministers knew they were defeated. It took the Soviet attack to push the army over the hill and a personal appeal to the emperor. And still the Army tried to kill all the peace advocates.

Allies get a blank check? lol! Not anymore. The Smithsonian removing all mention of the Enola Gay when the Japanese delegation visited? Re-writing the exhibits to make the USA look bad and the Japanese getting the blank check? I was in the middle of that firestorm.

Speaking of which: Dresden? Every time Hiroshima is mentioned up pops Dresden and the Tokyo fire-bombing. There's always “Bomber Harris” and Curtis LeMay. Terror bombing? The Axis nations were amatuers. The USAAF by day and RAF at night for Germany and low level fire bombing by the Superforts against Japan. Blank check? Who ever mentions the rape of Nanking or the Japanese medical experiments or the Bataan Death March these days. No. The Allies are the baddies.

The A-bomb was an extension of the Allied bombing offensive. If bombing can save lives so be it. Read the Allied Bombing Assessment reports. It's a myth that it didn't break civilian morale. The Axis didn't go far enough in Britain and the RAF was far more successful at defending British cities.

Visit Pearl Harbor and the Arizona memorial sometime and figure out what those Japanese tourists are saying. A glance at their history texts shows it isn't what we Westerners would assume. It's more akin to the “Lost Cause” mythology of the American South. (Letters from Iwo Jima versus Flags of our Fathers Japanese war movies going back to the 1960s and the very recent movie biography of the IJN Yamato?)

A noble cause and defeated by overwhelming force which was faced with the greatest courage ever shown by simple men in the face of adversity. The Confederacy and the Imperial Japanese.

How many men in a USMC squad? Twelve, eleven riflemen and a press agent.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:33AM
lefarce at 3:47PM, May 3, 2009
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If it werent for these attacks we would have never gotten Godzilla. Eh? Think about that.

 
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:33PM
Product Placement at 4:21PM, May 3, 2009
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harkovast
I do think its weird that the allies in WW2 get a sort of moral blank cheque.
Imperial Japan and Nazi Germany were undoubtedly two of the most evil regimes the world has ever seen, but we were still dropping bombs on civilians, which included children and babies.
Well there's a simple answer to that. History is written by the conquerors. The side that wins tend to be remembered as the good guys. Naturally there are exceptions to the rule but we tend to demonize our enemies and uplift our allies.
Those were my two cents.
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Aurora Moon at 4:45PM, May 3, 2009
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harkovast
I do think its weird that the allies in WW2 get a sort of moral blank cheque.
Imperial Japan and Nazi Germany were undoubtedly two of the most evil regimes the world has ever seen, but we were still dropping bombs on civilians, which included children and babies.
Well there's a simple answer to that. History is written by the conquerors. The side that wins tend to be remembered as the good guys. Naturally there are exceptions to the rule but we tend to demonize our enemies and uplift our allies.

yep. this happens often on all sides… this isn't confined to only Americans.

in fact, if you found some history reports from both sides of an historical incident… you'd find that the victor of the battle had been raping women and children while they burned whole villages, etc…..And that would be from the “enemy” side's of the story.

but on the victor's side, they'd make it out to be this whole purity thing… you know, liberating the savages and converting them to Christianity, and how the “savages” had been living in poverty and how they brought riches to them… thus justifying the war while nicely glossing over the fact that they murdered and raped the women/children alongside the men/soldiers. That would be just a example of the reasons/excuses that they do it.

The nangking massacre would be a very perfect example of this.

in the end it's really just human nature at work. In any war, both sides wants to be the good guy. both sides uses savage and cruel methods, using every dirty trick in the book to win as much as they can.

Since both sides just can't be the “good guy”, only the victor can become the “Good guy”. =p
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last edited on July 14, 2011 11:10AM
bravo1102 at 5:51PM, May 4, 2009
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The victors write the history, then the defeated go back and rewrite it how they want it so that they can win the peace. The “lost cause” mythology? How the North won the war and the South re-wrote the history? It's a lot more than just the American War between the States (or American Civil War, or the War of Northern Aggression) That myth of the winner writing the history is just that, a myth. Powers Allied on the same side write conflicting history. The defeated writes their version romanticizing their Lost Cause whether it's the US South, Post-Napoleonic France, modern Japan etc.

A sad thing about atrocity stories is that it's so easy for those who haven't been there to gloss it over as man's inhumanity and saying both sides do it. Go back and read the on the spot reports; the judge advocates and especially the commander's reports. They report the barbarity of their own troops and try to excuse it, but usually revile it because that's the nature of soldiers of both sides. Wellington was quite aware of this as was Sherman, Marlborough, and so many other commanders. It's the civilian chroniclers after the fact who talk about the barbarity of the enemy and ignore their won side.

And sometimes those “enemy” atrocity stories once palmed off as propaganda are discovered to have actually happened.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:33AM
ozoneocean at 5:29AM, May 6, 2009
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bravo1102
Did you read the article I linked to? How about the recent works on Operation Downfall? Not a myth, an actual tactical/strategic assessment. It's that post-modernist reinterpretation with a tinge of anti-militarism. ;) Doggone Aussies don't appreciate how the US Marine Corps won the war for them. lol!
Nope. But I've read others that were very clever tactical assessments and interesting investigations into actual instances of things people claim in broad generalisations (all the civilians would fight to the death and kill themselves etc). ;)

From all of the interviews of elderly Japanese people during that time they had no more intention of doing such a thing than any Western civilians -who's children were also taught to make suicidal attacks on tanks Europeans who had that training as kids), it doesn't mean they'd ever do it.
The poor fools on the islands who threw themselves of the cliffs had been told that the American troops were vicious monsters who would rape and torture them… It wasn't honour or shame at being conquered that drove them, it was sheer terror.
After what the Japanese had done in China, it's not surprising those people could believe that of others. But the mainlanders were very different.

As an industrial war machine Japan was utterly spent. The existence of the Kamakzis and the sad pathetic end of the Yamato, greatest fighting ship ever to sail on the seas was quite symbolic of this.
And Russia was poised to end her utterly. The use of atomic devices stood as a stark warning to Stalin. But to Japan they were just a kick in the balls to a feeble failing foe.

Yanks don't credit how the Soviets helped win the war for them either. :P
bravo1102
And sometimes those “enemy” atrocity stories once palmed off as propaganda are discovered to have actually happened.
But often they're made up. There's the one about how soldiers played catch with babies on their bayonets.

It's very possible it might have happened, and more than a few times. The trouble is that someone claims that one on every side in every single confrontation that has ever happened. I'm pretty sure that it's not quite that popular a military past time… They'd have to hold classes. I'm sure it'd be a national sport by now if it was half as popular as claimed. There'd be magazine series devoted to it… “Baby-stabber's monthly”.

BTW Bravo, I'm missing issue 43. Do you have a spare copy? :)
—————–

As to the idea that the victors write the history being a myth, don't forget mythical accounts like battle of Thermoplye. Yes it is the story of a ridiculously brave defeat, but it was only a battle, the Greeks won the war and were forever afterwards thought of as brave fighters and mighty heroes while the Persians were thought of in Greek terms as foul cowards, tyrants and brutes… When in reality the Spartans in particular made the Nazis look like good people, while in contrast the Persians had quite a free and enlightened society. We only know that from centuries of careful study.

Maybe the victors don't always write the history but in the past that has been true often enough to make it a cliche today.
-Witness Regan taking credit for the break-up of the Soviet Union. That fuckwit.
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:34PM
Jonko at 10:44AM, May 9, 2009
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As mentioned before, both sides in WWII did terrible things, so every time someone is blamed you can go and blame the other side for something else, it never ends. However, I must say that the only reason the bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki were disturbing to me is because a large number of innocent civilians were killed in a matter of minutes. I'm not saying that soldiers deserve to die, or anything like that, but there's something about killing an entire city of people who are just trying to make it through the war that disturbs me.

As a half American half Japanese person, I have made an effort to understand both sides in the war. I went to both Pearl Harbor and to Hiroshima so that I could learn about the terrible things that both countries I am from had done. After seeing both places, Hiroshima is the memorial that made more of an impression to me. We had the opportunity to talk to a survivor of the nuclear bomb, and her story was one that I would never forget. She told about how the only reason she had survived was because her friend was in front of her and the blast didn't hit her as hard as her friend, about how she walked through the dead bodies searching for someone she knew, and about how someone called her name and she looked up to find another friend of hers who was missing half of her face because of the blast. She experienced all of this when she was only 15 years old…

I guess you could say I have a biased opinion because I had the chance to hear something like this in person, but it still makes me think that there are no excuses for dropping the bombs. At the same time, there are no excuses for the rape in Nanking, or for the Japanese medical experiments. In the end I guess that war is the main problem. The sad truth is that in any war civilians will become victims, when war is theoretically to “protect” the people of that country…
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El Cid at 4:29PM, May 17, 2009
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Part of what makes WWII so fascinating to me is that it's probably the most glaring example of how warfare has come about full-circle in the modern era. Back in the good old days of mass social killing, civilians were the main targets of armies, raiding neighboring villages for slaves or food or just for practice. When an army actually fought another army, it was usually just because they were standing between the marauders and the village they were out to plunder. We seemed to have gotten away from that, at least in the West. In the American Civil War, even World War I, it was mostly soldiers who did the dying, not civilians. But WWII was back to Genghis Khan Rules; you were better off being in a uniform than not during that conflict. Personally, I never understood why civilians are supposed to be off-limits in warfare; the ultimate aim of war is coercion, and what better way to intimidate the enemy than by putting a few babies' heads on spikes? If it's just soldiers making the sacrifice, war becomes little more than a pageant, some sort of twisted sporting event that can go on forever because the suffering isn't “real” enough to the folks back home. And the civvies do provide support for the soldiers, both tangible and intangible, so they are a valid military target if you ask me (but of course nobody's asking me, which is probably for the best!).

The bombing of Hiroshima was not a deviation from commonly accepted military practices employed by either side during WWII. The only difference between that and other attacks is that it had the “drama factor” of having a novel class of weapon being used for the first time. Other than that, as mentioned before, it didn't even kill as many people as conventional bombings had previously. I see no point in trying to go back and analyze that decision by today's postmodern morality, from a peacetime perspective.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:20PM

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