Talk:Atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki/Archive 4

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Talk:Atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki

Korean Casualties?

I believe that there were a very large population of Koreans that were also killed by the bomb explosions. I am not sure of the details, but I definently believe this to be worth mentioning.


a surrender August 15

I have removed " On August 15, Japan officially surrendered to the Allied powers" since it is irrelevant. Does anyone tell me why this should be put in the article? -- Taku 06:18, Apr 17, 2005 (UTC)

The surrender was the direct consequence of the bombings--it is hardly irrelevant.
"Moreover, the enemy has begun to employ a new and most cruel bomb, the power of which to do damage is, indeed, incalculable, taking the toll of many innocent lives. Should we continue to fight, it would not only result in an ultimate collapse and obliteration of the Japanese nation, but also it would lead to the total extinction of human civilization." -- Emperor Hirohito, August 14, 1945 [1]
—wwoods 06:58, 17 Apr 2005 (UTC)
Whether or not there was a direct link between the bombings and the surrender is debateable. It is likely Russia's breaking of their treaty with Japan and their invasion of Manchuria was a large part of why the decision to surrender was made. However, be that as it may, the closeness in time between the dropping of the bombs and the surrender is noteworthy. In addition, Russia's decision to break the treaty and launch the invasion on an earlier schedule than they had planned was likely a consequence of their understanding of the immediate import of the atomic bomb insofar as their aims in Manchuria and the various islands including the Habomai group were concerned. For these reasons, it seems to me that the date of the surrender is relevant. I think it would be a great idea to perhaps start a supplemental article about what is known about the surrender so that greater clarifications can be made. I would also like to point out that I don't believe my re-wording of the sentence in question at all implies the surrender was a direct result of the bombing. However, for the reasons I have stated above, it seems to me that is relevant. I hope you understand my position. --Xaliqen 11:26, 17 Apr 2005 (UTC)
The "support of the bomb" section makes it pretty clear as well as presents powerful evidence to support the idea that the primary factor in Japan's surrender was the back to back vaporization of two whole cities. TDC 03:52, Apr 18, 2005 (UTC)
If you really said this in a textbook in Japan, you would be in big trouble. It is not our interest to analyze the effects of the bombings. That's what a bunch of scholars are for you. -- Taku 06:09, Apr 18, 2005 (UTC)
The "support the bomb" section presents arguments in favour of using nuclear weapons on cities, it is very expected to find arguments that it was the cause, usually presented as the only cause, of the surrender of Japan. The section "opposition to the bomb" presents counter-arguments (which is also expectable, but there are objections of high ranking US officials (including "war heroes")).
Also, showing some sort of respect for the victims of this tragedy in the wording of your comments might be appreciated. Rama 08:25, 18 Apr 2005 (UTC)
NOT mentioning the surrender date is just a poor injection of POV. I like the reworded sentence of Xaliqen better which makes it neutral as to the exact causal nature of the surrender, but not mentioning it at all would be silly. Trying to insert POV by omission of a major fact is just incorrigible. Since the after-the-fact stated point of the bombs was to get Japan to surrender, it is worth noting when they did indeed surrender. Whether or not you think it actually was a causal force (I think to assume that it played no role is a bit ridiculous, though the Russian invasion of Manchuria obviously played a role as well), it should be put in there. Let people come to their own conclusions, but don't make it difficult for them to look up facts. --Fastfission 13:26, 17 Apr 2005 (UTC)

I am very unwilling to debate whether there is a direct connection. Personally, I believe saying there is none is a quite naive view, yet some subscribe to it anyway. First of all, I really liked Xaliqen's idea to have an article about issues surrounding Japan's surrender; in it we can examine a lot of these difficult issues. in it. As for the sentence in question, I think it is irrelevant not because there is no connection between the bombings and the the surrender, which is probably not the case, but because it is not necessary to touch this issue at the first paragraph. Fastfission made a good point; it was a stated aim of the bombings to force Japan to surrender. Then why do we say this? Maybe I am missing something, but mentioning the effect without mentioning the rationale behind it is POV too. I will try to reword the intro again, never hesitate to rework on it. -- Taku 16:17, Apr 17, 2005 (UTC)

I think the most neutral statement for the intro paragraph is simply: "On August 15, Japan officially surrendered to the Allied powers.". The intro is not the place to debate whether or not it causally followed or not, or what the "stated reason" was (there were many stated reasons by many different "official" people). --Fastfission 03:40, 18 Apr 2005 (UTC)
I don't know why saying about Japan's surrender is more neutral than the others. Even if the bombings are not to get Japan to surrender, mentioning Japan's surrender at all would make no sense. I think it's better to stick to something less debatable. If even merely saying the rationales behind the bombings are controversial, why do we have to say more besides the bombings themselves? -- Taku 06:06, Apr 18, 2005 (UTC)
You haven't sufficiently convinced me that "mentioning Japan's surrender at all would make no sense." Everybody else here seems to think it does make sense, I think you are alone in your thinking it shouldn't be mentioned at all. --Fastfission 14:13, 18 Apr 2005 (UTC)

I didn't say "mentioning Japan's surrender at all would make no sense.". I said we would come to that conclusion if we suppose that the US has no intention to get Japan to surrender by dropping the bombings. And we know this is absurdity. I meant to use the method of proof by contradiction. -- Taku 19:24, Apr 18, 2005 (UTC)

I don't much care for, "One of the primary reasons given for the useage of the bomb, was that it would force Japan to surrender unconditionally." How many primary reasons were given; how many primary reasons weren't expressed; what other reasons were there? :-) Also, while "unconditional surrender" is useful shorthand, the Allies' demand was that Japan accept the terms of the Potsdam Declaration, one of which was the "unconditional surrender of all Japanese armed forces". —wwoods 01:57, 19 Apr 2005 (UTC)

As a matter of fact, there were a number of primary reasons given. One reason was to strike a devastating psychological blow ahead of the potential invasion of the home islands, another was to demonstrate the weapon to the world (specifically keeping Russia in mind) and another reason given was just to see what the bombs were capable of. As far as many of the people immediately responsible for the decision to drop the bombs, including Truman, it was simply a new and useful tool and there was hardly a doubt about its being used if it were ready. So, these were some of the reasons given. In fact, many, if not most, of those involved in dropping the bombs thought it was only a long-shot chance that atomic weapons would shorten the war (though, those who knew of the secret Japanese peace-feeler communiques with Russia are somewhat suspect). The resistance encountered during the invasion of Okinawa led many to believe that Japanese resistance would persist until all had died in battle. So, I think describing the idea of forcing Japan to surrender unconditionally as being just one of the primary reasons to drop the bomb is correct. As far as the Potsdam Declaration goes, it was relatively well-known among higher circles of the U.S. government (especially those with knowledge of Japanese politics) that the unconditional surrender and what status the emperor would hold after the surrender would be the two primary sticking points in any peace negotiation. Truman decided not to accept anything less than unconditional surrender most likely due to what he felt were the expectations of the American people at the time. Because of these factors, I believe the decision to drop the bomb was not due to any one reason specifically, but was an amalgamation of different reasonings from different advisors coupled with the president's personal feelings on the matter.
I think it would be a great idea to expand on this in the context of what was going on internally in Japanese politics at the time. This could all be included in an article specifically detailing some of the more intricate parts of the negotations within the Japanese government that led to the decision to surrender. I think this might also shed greater light on the general circumstances that surrounded this period. --Xaliqen 05:42, 20 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Quote from Japan's longest day... Quoted same day of Soviet declaration of war but before actual soviet broadcast. "On August 8th, Togo advised the Emperor that Japan must accept the terms of the Potsdam Proclamation as soon as possible, whereupon the Emperor commanded his Foreign Minister to indicate to the Premier that, in view of the "new type" of weapon that had been used, Japan was now powerless to continue the war and must make every effort to terminate the war with the least possible delay. Japan must accept the inevitable. According to Marquis Kido, Lord Keeper of the Privy Seal, His Majesty said that he considered his own personal safety secondary to the immediate termination of the war. The tragedy of Hiroshima, he insisted, must not be repeated." --71.11.155.156 13:14, 10 August 2005 (UTC)

Casualties due to Radiation Sickness

I think the current statistics relating to subsequent tolls on the population due to radiation sickness are relatively low. It is well-documented that many tens of thousands died from complications of radiation sickness between 1945-1950. 1 2 3 There are many more references available, though they can be somewhat difficult to find (as with many WWII-era casualty statistics). --Xaliqen 06:54, 27 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Inaccurate information regarding Trinity

Rnt20's edits of 5 May included this paragraph in which I found numerous pieces of information that were inaccurately portrayed:

  • The destruction power of the atomic bomb was demonstrated to the world's press without taking any lives on July 16 1945, but the Japanese military took no notice. It was only when the US military bluffed the Japanese into thinking that Japanese cities could be destroyed at will that the surrender took place. In reality the US did not have any more atomic bombs at the time of the Japanese surrender (and it was over a year before material was available to build a new atomic bomb).

First of all, the Trinity test was kept highly secret until after the detonation over Hiroshima. Locals in New Mexico who witnessed the test at the time were told that an ammunition dump had exploded. [2] Second, the implication here that the absolute and only reason for the Japanese surrender was a threat of all-out atomic attack is simply inaccurate. See some of the conversations above for more info. Third, the idea that the Trinity test was demonstrated before the world's press is interesting considering the only news correspondent who witnessed it was William L. Laurence for the New York Times, and he was barred from publishing anything about it until after Hiroshima. --Xaliqen 19:30, 6 May 2005 (UTC) I did remove some information that I thought could be defensible, but I thought it warranted some solid references before it should be added to the article. --Xaliqen 20:03, 6 May 2005 (UTC)

There is also the problem that no press knew of the event in July 1945. It also implies no bombs would be available until 1946 when likely several would have been ready by the fall of 1945. I am not editing until I can find reputible sources for this information.

--John 20:53, 6 May 2005 (UTC)

Yeah, that's a pretty silly addition. The Trinity test was certainly kept secret. As for the postwar bomb supply.. Chuck Hansen has figures on this but I don't recall offhand. I believe they had enough plutonium cores to have another weapon by November 1945 and a couple up through 1946ish. "Over a year" is clearly false, though. That would mean they didn't have any weapons until after August 1946 which is clearly false since they tested two of them in July 1946 as part of Operation Crossroads! Anyway, this website says they could have used another weapon against Japan August 20, 1945. I don't know offhand if that is accurate but it wouldn't surprise me at all if it was, it feels about right. They had the reactors at Hanford running full-time at that point. --Fastfission 21:06, 6 May 2005 (UTC)

From Downfall:

  Truman knew that another bomb was not ready anyway. Marshall and Groves had delayed transport of critical bomb components from the United States to Tinian, making it impossible to ready a third bomb until about August 21. Groves and Marshall took this action because they believed two bombs would move the Japanese to capitulation, concurring with Stimson's policy that the bombs should be used only to end the war. Pacific commanders nevertheless transmitted recommendations on targets for the third weapon. General Farrell and Captain Parsons ... "expressly recommended" that the next bomb be dropped in the "region of Tokyo" to achieve maximum psychological effect. ... As for conventional weapons, Truman ordered that military operations continue "at present intensity," because of their "different nature and purpose."
... [Marshall] believed the two atomic bombs "have had a tremendous effect on the Japanese as far as capitulation is concerned," but Marshall doubted that further atomic bombing would influence any Japanese decision to end the war. Therefore, Marshall [wanted to reserve further bombs for tactical support of the invasion]. ... Seeman ... reported that at least seven bombs would be ready for use by October 31.
... At noon August 14, Truman ... remarked sadly that he now had no alternative but to order an atomic bomb dropped on Tokyo." It was only at 4:05 P.M. that Truman learned officially of Japan's decision to surrender.

—wwoods 22:17, 6 May 2005 (UTC)

This is an interesting point. The Japanese may not have known how many bombs the Americans had in their arsenal, but one must not forget that the Japanese had other political pressure on their nation at the time. The Soviet Union had started their invasion of Japanese-held Manchuria just a month earlier. This definitely influenced their decision as well. This is speculation, but, it seems like the Japanese were caught in a vice. If they continued the war (I remember from a book by John Toland, Rising Sun, that stated that the Japanese were actually not daunted by the unlikely threat of more nuclear attacks. After all, they were now expecting it.) the Japanese would be attacked with either nuclear weapons, or, if not, by Soviet and American armies from all sides.

Colors

I have just seen a documentary on the bombs and both a plane observer and a Japanese appear saying that the explosion produced very beautiful changing colors, red, yellow, blue,... In the black & white photos it is not visible obviously. Can you confirm and explain it? --Error 01:31, 19 Jun 2005 (UTC)

I can confirm that the American bombers reported similar things. To my knowledge no color footage of the bombing was shot. There are a few color shots of the Trinity test, but it is hard to tell how the colors changed over time. The changing colors were likely from the ionization of different particles, or something along those lines. Most of the footage of nuclear tests later did not have such colors (in my opinion of them) except for the ones done in the upper atmosphere. However the ones done on the ground were not done over a city so I don't know how much that would have changed things; the other crucial difference may have been the bombs themselves -- by the time they were filming them in color their innards had changed fairly substantially. But this is just speculation on my part. --Fastfission 02:31, 19 Jun 2005 (UTC)
In the weeks following the atomic attacks on Japan almost 60 years ago, and then for decades afterward, the United States engaged in airtight suppression of all film shot in Hiroshima and Nagasaki after the bombings. This included footage shot by U.S. military crews and Japanese newsreel teams. In addition, for many years all but a handful of newspaper photographs were seized or prohibited. The public did not see any of the newsreel footage for 25 years, and the U.S. military film remained hidden for nearly four decades. Six weeks ago, E&P broke the story that articles written by famed Chicago Daily News war correspondent George Weller about the effects of the atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki were finally published, in Japan, almost six decades after they had been spiked by U.S. officials. This drew national attention, but suppressing film footage shot in Hiroshima and Nagasaki was even more significant, as this country rushed into the nuclear age with its citizens having neither a true understanding of the effects of the bomb on human beings, nor why the atomic attacks drew condemnation around the world. The color U.S. military footage would remain hidden until the early 1980s, and has never been fully aired. It rests today at the National Archives in College Park, Md., in the form of 90,000 feet of raw footage labeled #342 USAF. --Richard@lbrc.org 13:52, 6 August 2005 (UTC)

Supports before and after the bombings

I think the article has a serious problem (forgive me if someone already pointed out) in that it does not distinguish motives behind dropping bombs before the bomings from historical interpretation of the effects. We probably want to organize the article into two broard sections: one for what was going before the event and one for the aftermath. (I am sure that that is the way every historian writes) For example, I don't know the truth (perhaps no one does), but one major argument in Japan I know is that in hindsight the bombings were unnecessary. (and some even go saying thus the US has to make apology and compensation in the same manner Germany did about holocaust). But this is afterthought, and we have to clearly distinguish this kind of rhetoric from opposing arguments made before the bomings. Those are completely two different kind of opposition. I will try to fix this problem if I have time and good sources, but I just thought I might pointed this out first. -- Taku 03:30, Jun 21, 2005 (UTC)

Strategic importance of Hiroshima and Nagasaki

The Hiroshima and Nagasaki sections start with dubious statements about the military importance of these cities. There were some homeland defense troops headquartered there, rationing was in effect just like in the rest of the world at that time, there were women, children and Korean conscripts there just like the rest of Japan, and there were factories there just like in any city. This does not add up to "great wartime importance". Anyone should see the obvious question: if they were so important, why were they left untouched during the many bombings of Japan in WWII? It's nice that someone left references in the Hiroshima case, but let's look at what they are:

  1. a photo of 5 Hiroshima students undergoing military training
  2. reports by Sarah Skaer, Grade 8, and Ryan Sattler, Grade 7
  3. a monument caption that says that Koreans died at Hiroshima
  4. a report by the Manhattan Engineer District of the United States Army under the direction of Major General Leslie R. Groves, June 29, 1946. You should fully expect this report to be heavily biased, and still, Chapter 5 says these criteria were used in target selection: (verbatim quote)
    • Since the atomic bomb was expected to produce its greatest amount of damage by primary blast effect, and next greatest by fires, the targets should contain a large percentage of closely-built frame buildings and other construction that would be most susceptible to damage by blast and fire.
    • The maximum blast effect of the bomb was calculated to extend over an area of approximately 1 mile in radius; therefore the selected targets should contain a densely built-up area of at least this size.
    • The selected targets should have a high military strategic value.
    • The first target should be relatively untouched by previous bombing, in order that the effect of a single atomic bomb could be determined.

This isn't even NPOV, it's shoddy research and factual inaccuracy. --Yannick 01:23, 22 Jun 2005 (UTC)

I actually agree on most of that. It should be rephrased at the very least, and most of those references are not worth a damn. It is enough to say that it did have some military significance and that it was (purposely) not subjected to firebombing (I'm fairly sure they chose not to firebomb a number of cities because they knew they would likely be using these weapons, but this can and should be sourced). We should as best as possible include the criteria used in selecting the cities before the bombing (not something Groves reported a year later), with references to better sources. --Fastfission 05:32, 22 Jun 2005 (UTC)
I came across some interesting documents today on microfilm from the National Archives which go over the pros and cons of various targets from July 1945. One that I hadn't remembered seeing before, and isn't on this list, is that Hiroshima was a high priority in part because it had no POW camps, unlike the others (there was one a mile north of Nagasaki). Also, one of the reasons the cities weren't previously bombed is because Groves specifically ordered LeMay to "reserve" a number of cities as future targets, and would occasionally telegram him with things like "Add Kokura to your reserve list" and so forth (I found one of these telegrams as well). Of course, we can't reference these documents unless they are available to others to check with and are well cited (I don't think this would count as original research, as the source I got them from is very easily found for those with access to major libraries). I might upload a few of them to commons and we can link to them from here, perhaps. --Fastfission 02:46, 25 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Thank you for your research, Fastfission. You can indeed reference any document you want as long as you cite enough information so that someone else can find it. It doesn't need to be well cited or easily found. If you check the original research policy, I think you'll agree that Groves's telegram counts as a "primary source," not original research at all. Quoting from the policy, "research that consists of collecting and organizing information from existing primary and secondary sources is strongly encouraged," and "in some cases, ... a Wikipedia article may be based entirely on primary sources." --Yannick 15:09, 25 Jun 2005 (UTC)

I was at Hiroshima earlier today and the peace memorial museum does have documents from the US National Archives about prohibiting certain cities from being bombed, so that the damage from the atomic bomb could be accurately measured. Also, I can confirm the statement that the US believed that there were no POW camps in Hiroshima, which is why it was one of the primary targets. Finally, the decision was made to drop the bomb as soon as weather permitted (visual being the most accurate targeting method at the time) and Hiroshima had clear skies on the morning of August 6th. A number of recon planes went to the targets ahead of the Enola Gay group and relayed the weather information. --Hao 2:48, 7 Aug 2005 (JST)

Propose splitting off controversy to new article

This article is very long. I propose splitting off the controversy section to its own article, say Atomic bombing controversy, and leaving only a summary here. This has been successfully done for Vaccine and Vaccine controversy for example. --Yannick 01:59, 22 Jun 2005 (UTC)

I strongly oppose. As I said in my above post, what we need is to recorganize not to split. -- Taku 03:07, Jun 22, 2005 (UTC)
I tend to agree with Taku that reorganization might be a better solution. --Fastfission 05:34, 22 Jun 2005 (UTC)

American casualties

The article states that when the bombs were dropped America had suffered "about a million casualties", this contradicts the World War Two Casualties by country page of Wikipedia that places American casualties at 413,000. I was under the impression that this was the correct figure and that it is more common to say that American casualties were about half a million rather than a million. Unless anyone has evidence to support that American casualties were closer to a million than half a million then I think this should be changed.

User:Benson85 [ID added]

There's confusion between fatalities (killed) and casualties (killed, wounded, etc.) going on.
So "about a million" is a good number, for casualties
—wwoods 00:07, 15 July 2005 (UTC)
I guess "casualties" in this context will be almost uniformly interpreted as "killed", so using the larger number in the absence of further explanation looks rather pointless to me. Changing it back. --213.54.224.185 15:31, 4 August 2005 (UTC)
Why not just change it to "war dead" then? --Fastfission 16:03, 4 August 2005 (UTC)

American POWs in Hiroshima

I've seen reports that there were some American POWs in Hiroshima when the A-bomb was dropped, and that at least 7 American POWs have been added to the list of victims. Isn't it worthy of mention in this article?tharkun860 19:36, July 17, 2005 (UTC)

Can you cite one of those reports? One of the main reasons they picked Hiroshima as a top target is because they didn't think there were any POW camps nearby; it would be interesting if they were wrong about that in some way. --Fastfission 21:46, 17 July 2005 (UTC)
No POW camps, but a few airmen who'd been shot down recently in the area. Google found http://www.aiipowmia.com/inter24/in181004hiroshima.html :
The names of seven American POWs have been added since the 1970s to an official book of victims updated annually by the city, but the list is encased in a stone cenotaph and is not visible to the public.
[snip]
An important clue came in 1977 when a professor from Hiroshima University found a Japanese list of 20 American POWs listed as killed in the atomic attack.
Some of those names were later found to belong to prisoners who had been killed elsewhere in grisly experiments that the Japanese military apparently wanted to hide.
The others were the crews of three aircraft -- two B-24 bombers, including Long's, and a Helldiver dive bomber -- shot down near Hiroshima on July 28, 1945, after a raid on Japanese warships in nearby Kure.
[snip]
But records obtained by researchers through the Freedom of Information Act in the 1980s confirmed at least 10 U.S. airmen were listed killed in the blast, Bernstein said.
—wwoods 23:46, 17 July 2005 (UTC)
That's interesting, though -- it was one of their great fears when dropping the bomb. Barton Bernstein is a very reliable historian so if he's behind it then I'd say add it in. --Fastfission 10:38, 18 July 2005 (UTC)
There were Australian POWs who were near the area and saw the bomb go off. I think something about the Allied POWs who were killed in or in some way experienced the bombings would be intresting.

There were some (somewhere around 7 or 8) being held in Hiroshima castle. →Raul654 02:25, August 15, 2005 (UTC)

Radioactive contamination

I'm wondering about the fact this article isn't discussing the radioactivity of the regions Hiroshima and Nagasaki - why did people resettle at these places? Isn't it dangerous after such a short time to live on radioactive grounds again? Actually, is a higher degree of radioactivity still measurable? --Abdull 22:45, 25 July 2005 (UTC)

Radioactive fallout loses about 90% of the strength one hour after detonation, about 99% in 48 hours and 99.9% within 2 weeks. After 60 years the difference between background radiation levels in Hiroshima and say Des Moines Iowa is negligible. TDC 18:49, August 3, 2005 (UTC)
Well, yes and no. If the "radiation" in this case are heavy fission products, they can exist in a variety of vectors for some time (i.e. cesium which is absorbed by crops and plants). So they can last for a long time in certain ways (which is why a place like Chernobyl still has very high radiation levels 20 years after the accident). I don't know about Hiroshima's situation, though -- I don't think it is a problem, in part because it is an urban area. In any event, people have been living there for some time now since then. --Fastfission 19:28, 3 August 2005 (UTC)
There are two ways radioactivity is produced from an atomic blast. The first is due to fallout of the fission products or the nuclear material itself, ie, uranium or plutonium that contaminate the ground. (Similar ground contamination occurred as a consequence of the Chernobyl accident but on a much larger scale.) The Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs exploded at 500 to 600 m of altitude, then formed huge fireballs that rose with ascending air currents. Subsequently, the material cooled down and started to fall with rain. Because of the wind, the rain did not fall directly on the hypocenter but rather in the northwest region (Koi, Takasu area) of Hiroshima and the eastern region (Nishiyama area) of Nagasaki.
Another way radioactivity is produced is by neutron irradiation of soil or buildings. (Neutrons comprise 10% or less of A-bomb radiation; nonradioactive materials become radioactive after absorbing neutrons. In contrast, gamma rays--which comprise the majority of A-bomb radiation--do not cause ground materials to become radioactive.) However, most of the radioactivity decayed very quickly so that it now takes months to measure the radioactivity using highly sensitive equipment. Despite miniscule levels, these measurements are currently utilized to estimate neutron doses released from the bombs.
In both cases, the residual radioactivity is far less than the dose received from background radiation; hence, there are no detectable effects on human health.

--Richard@lbrc.org 13:52, 6 August 2005 (UTC)

I think some discussion of the time it took for the cities to become habitable again should be added. There is an image in this article of a bank in Hiroshima only a few hundred metres from ground zero that reopened for business 2 days after the blast. That begs some sort of explanation - not regarding the building's survival as that's covered already, but the fact people were able to visit a bank near Ground Zero and no drop dead from radiation (or maybe they did?). And while radiation after 60 years may be negligable, we know Hiroshima was being rebuilt very soon after the blast - certainly by 1949, and Hiroshima Mon Amour was made only about a decade later it and seemed the city was pretty much fully rebuilt. It's a topic you don't see addressed very often and I think it would be an interesting addition to the article; however I'm not familiar enough with the subject matter to make the addition myself. On a related note, I've never seen any real discussion of fallout. Were other areas of Japan affected by the fallout from H and N? Did any other countries report fallout? 23skidoo 05:59, 7 August 2005 (UTC)

Leaflets /pamphlets

Some questions regarding the "leaflets":

  • wouldn't it be better if it was called pamphlet?
  • where have the leaflets been dropped - in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, where a big part of people already have been killed?
  • in which language were these leaflets written? The article suggests English, but I don't think so.
  • the article says the leaflets where "dropped"... how where they dropped? By an airplane?

Thanks, --Abdull 22:51, 25 July 2005 (UTC)

They were dropped by plane in the weeks leading up to the bombings. They were written in Japanese by US army translators. Arkady Rose 03:11, 5 August 2005 (UTC)

Imbalanced arguments on justification

A Wall Street Journal (WSJ) opinion article put it this way:

The Japanese army was expected to fight to the last man, as it had during the battles of Iwo Jima and Okinawa. Since the ratio of Japanese to American combat fatalities ran about four to one, a mainland invasion could have resulted in millions of Japanese deaths--and that's not counting civilians. The March 1945 Tokyo fire raid killed about 100,000; such raids would have intensified had the war dragged on. The collective toll from the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings is estimated at between 110,000 and 200,000. [3]

I did not see this argument represented in the Wikipedia article. Specifically, the claim that

  1. dropping the two atomic bombs resulted in
  2. substantially fewer Japanese military and civilian deaths

compared to the alternative.

Please do not misunderstand. I am not suggesting that our article agree with the WSJ writer. Merely that the article should mention his POV. It's one I've heard frequently, especially from those who agree that the US was on the "right side" in the war. Uncle Ed 15:56, August 5, 2005 (UTC)

I think this POV, which is very common on the victor's side, is (more or less) mentioned in the sixth and seventh paragraphs of #Support for use of atomic bombs. Perhaps more of a tightness of presentation issue, than an omission? Pcb21| Pete 16:14, 5 August 2005 (UTC)
We have some difficulty with a source that says this outcome "was expected". Expected by whom? I have no problem with reporting a notable opinion to that effect, but use of the passive voice, as in the quotation from the Wall Street Journal, would be dubious. JamesMLane 16:44, 5 August 2005 (UTC)
Expected by pretty much everybody with experience fighting the Japanese, I should think. There hadn't been a case when they hadn't fought to (virtually) the last man, and often ending with a mass suicide. But the invasion of Kyushu was no longer the likely alternative to using the bomb:
"Even with the full ration of caution that any historian should apply anytime he ventures comments on paths history did not take, in this instance it is now clear that the long-held belief that Operation Olympic loomed as a certainty is mistaken. Truman's reluctant endorsement of the Olympic invasion at a meeting in June 1945 was based in key part on the fact that the Joint Chiefs had presented it as their unanimous recommendation. ... But this evidence also shows that the demise of Olympic came not because it was deemed unnecessary, but because it had become unthinkable."Why Truman Dropped the Bomb
—wwoods 19:09, 5 August 2005 (UTC)
James - see Operation Downfall (which is a featured article). It contains a rather extensive and very well documented list of casuality projections. →Raul654 00:35, August 6, 2005 (UTC)
To make the argument Ed's referring to, you need to make two points: That without the bombings, there would have had to be an invasion, and that the invasion, if it had occurred, would have cost many lives. I think "expected by pretty much everybody" is true as to the second point but not the first. There shouldn't be any passage in the article that assumes that the bombings averted an invasion. For example, Ed's phrase about the effect of the bombings "compared to the alternative" assumes that there was only one alternative. JamesMLane 17:35, 6 August 2005 (UTC)
I removed this part from the intro: ", and make the planned invasion of Japan unnecessary." It is, I think, controversial at best. I don't see why saying the primary reason is to force Japan to surrender is insufficient. -- Taku 01:10, August 6, 2005 (UTC)
Erm, because the stated reasons were *explicetely* to avoid the invasion of Japan. Not mentiong it is a glaring ommission. →Raul654 01:17, August 6, 2005 (UTC)
Where can I find this explicitly stated reason? I know many people claim that the bomings saved many American soldiers. But that is different from saying (1) the primary reason is to force Japan to surrender and (2) doing so avoids the invasion. We don't have to make a causal connection between (1) and (2). -- Taku 01:26, August 6, 2005 (UTC)
Would you care to state a single way in which dropping the atomic bomb to force Japan to surrender is differet from dropping it to avoid the (imminent) invasion? →Raul654 01:30, August 6, 2005 (UTC)
Sorry for sounding rude, but I think it is you who have to give us a source. I am just suggesting that at least we wait until you provide one. I do agree with you but it is not necessarily an accepted theory. So we need a source to back that.
For example, one might say, rightly or not, that the invasion was not going to happen anyway so the bombing has nothing to do with the invasion.
Besides this, as I said above, why do we have to venture about the connection between the surrender and the invasion in the intro? Why is making the connection between the surrender and the bombing insufficient? in the way it was done before. --- Taku 01:48, August 6, 2005 (UTC)
"Stimson's crucial role in the use of the Atomic bombs against Japan began with Truman's accession. The policies and actions that brought a Japanse surrender without an apocalypic battle in the homeland are Stimson's legacy - in short, the use of the Atomic bomb, which was urged by Stimson, prevented the invasion of Japan. (John Ray Skates, the Invasion of Japan, 236) The point is so obvious that the author does not even state it directly. →Raul654 01:59, August 6, 2005 (UTC)
Also, to answer your 2nd question - because as I said above, not mentiong the impending invasion of Japan when talking about the use of the atomic bombs is a GLARING omission, almost as bad as the version of Adolf Hitler that didn't mention world war II in the introduction. →Raul654 02:01, August 6, 2005 (UTC)

No, no, this is what people are saying that the bombing prevented the invasion after World War II. I need an explicit statement as you claimed that states the bombing was going to be used to both (1) force the surrender and (2) avoid the invasion. Also for the second one, I don't think your analogy is right; as we had conflict, the links between the bombing, the surrender and the invasion are not necessarily clear. And I am saying that it would be sensitive for us to avoid the venture on this in intro.

I hate confrontation, but please pay attention to subtleties. The old intro says that the bombing was going to be used for the purpose of forcing the Japanese to surrender. In other words, it does not say it did force the surrender. I agree that, in retrospect, the surrender made the invasion unnecessary but there is a subtle but important difference between the stated reasons for the use of the bombing prior to the actual bombing and what happened afterward. And, in general, as it is a delicate issue why and how the Japanese surrendered, we should stay away from venturing in discussing this issue (Japan's surrender) on the intro of this article. -- Taku 02:07, August 6, 2005 (UTC)

Part of the justification was clearly to stem off an invasion. I think my version, which lists the possibility as well as notes that the bombings were and continue to be controversial.
In any event, you are way out of line with five reverts, claiming consensus when it is clearly you against five different editors. Knock it off. --Fastfission 02:31, 6 August 2005 (UTC)
Just for teh record, fastfission's qualified version of the intro is totally fine by me. →Raul654 02:44, August 6, 2005 (UTC)
I don't think the intro is a place to discuss those possibilities and controversies. Also, in wikipedia I don't think we accepts a new change because more people like the change than the others. There had been a debate on intro before, and we had reached some consensus by now; I am saying that you cannot ignore that. -- Taku 02:36, August 6, 2005 (UTC)

The intro is a good place to mention the fact that the bombings were controversial, because the bombings were one of the most controversial acts of the twentieth century. The two most often heard "evils" of the World War II era are:

  1. Hitler's Nazi attempt to take over Europe and kill all its Jewish people
  2. The American atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki

Almost everyone in the English speaking world condemns Hitler, but a very strong minority endorse his anti-Jewish actions: Holocaust deniers, anti-Semites. Most English speakers condemn the mass bombings of Japanese and German cities ('keep civilians out of it') as unjustifiable for any reason; the usual argument is that the end does not justify the means, mass killing is absolutely bad.

The upshot is that people simply refuse to consider, let alone permit mention of, any argument which disagrees with their absolutist condemnation. This hurts the article, because 50% or more of it is the significance of the bombings. Only about half of readers' concern is about the military planning, how the bombs were constructed and deployed, who pulled the launch trigger; or how many people were killed (then and later). The controversy is a major part of history.

Again, I am not saying that Wikipedia should endorse the victor's POV (or even one of the victorious sides POVs). But it should not censor a major POV by reducing it to a vague mention, which is hard to find without reading every word of the article. Views which many people disagree with should be described fairly and accurately. This is the essence of NPOV policy. Doing this enables those who disagree to know why the opposing side thinks the way they do, and to see precisely where they disagree with their opponents.

The point is not for Wikipedia to identify the 'correct' side, but to clarify what all the sides are. Uncle Ed 12:11, August 6, 2005 (UTC)

Censorship?? No, no, the problem is, I think, to treat the bombings like abortion issue. There are of course controversies surrounding the use of the bombings. But we have to make very clear distinction between how the event takes place and how historians interpret the event. As I am saying repeatedly, the intro confuses the historical background of the bombing and historical interpretation. I am going to try to clarify this, though I am afraid my edits are simply not accepted here. -- Taku 00:18, August 7, 2005 (UTC)

Hello all. The following was said in response to TAKU's editing (an admirable attempt to clarify the difference between past events and the historiographical trajectory from the time of the events to the present) : "In any event, you are way out of line with five reverts, claiming consensus when it is clearly you against five different editors. Knock it off. --Fastfission 02:31, 6 August 2005 (UTC)". My reaction: TAKU is the only Japanese editor, apparently, against "five different editors," who are not Japanese (I assume). My question: where are the JAPANESE resources, primary and secondary materials, data, etc. on the atomic bombings as events and as historiographical subject?? This Wiki entry for the atomic bombings seemingly draws one-hundred percent on Western/English-language sources (or English translations of Japanese sources, of which there are few). Does nobody see a problem with this? How can you have any sort of "consensus" on a subject such as the atomic bombings of JAPAN when all of your information comes from English sources and "five different [non-Japanese] editors"?? If none of you are voluble in Japanese, perhaps inviting some Japanese scholars, or even American scholars fluent in Japanese and researching this topic, to contribute would be a giant leap forward and toward this "consensus" you speak of. In short, the neglection of Japanese language resources (primary/secondary texts, people, etc.) by researchers, writers, scholars, etc. in writing the history of the atomic bombings of Japan is a perfidy in dire need of rectification. There are various factual inaccuracies in the present article alone. I'm looking forward to working with you all. Until then, cheers.

Revert by Nightbeast

  1. (cur) (last) 14:17, August 6, 2005 Ed Poor m (Reverted edits by Nightbeast (talk · contribs) to last version by Gsherry)
  2. (cur) (last) 14:00, August 6, 2005 Nightbeast (rvt due to obvious bias to last version by Martey)

What bias? It's not obvious, until you explain it. Please do. Uncle Ed 14:20, August 6, 2005 (UTC)

Among the many problems with it: (1) It fails to mention the article name as is the MoS standard; (2) whether or not they were a turning point is actually a matter of historical debate - hell, the article itself says there are some who argue it was more the Soviet declaration of war had more of an inpact; (3) it's ass backwards, describing the effects of the bombing before it describes the bombing; (4) "the bombings have been highly controversial, with advocates using them as examples of American cruelty and ruthlessness" - are you insane? →Raul654 14:25, August 6, 2005 (UTC)

I was with you, up until you started questioning my sanity. That's why there's a policy here to Wikipedia:avoid personal remarks. But I'll just let it all go. I might be missing something, and I respect your judgment, Raul.

I was unaware that there was a dispute over the effect of the bombings. I had thought it was common knowledged that the Japanese surrendered unconditionally as an almost immediate response to the second a-bomb. I better go look that up. Anyway, I never re-revert, so whatever you choose to do the article will stand at this point. I haven't even looked at the text - just this talk page.

I'm trying to be more less unilateral and more harmonious these days. You know why, I guess. Cheers. Uncle Ed 16:04, August 6, 2005 (UTC)

~ Sorry I didn't reply earlier. I haven't checked the article again and thought that revert too straightforward to give an explanation. Here are my reasons:
  • I do not think it was a significant turning point of World War II, like the entry of the US after Pearl Harbor. The allies were not about to lose the war up to the Hiroshima bombing. But then again this may be just my point of view, if you like, yet that's no reason to add yours.
  • "leading to sth" means "to have sth as a result". Japan's surrender followed the atomic bombings and the entry of the Soviets, but whether it were the bombings that led Japan to surrender or the entry of the Soviets or other reasons or both of them or whatever is definitly not unbiased — for example today Dominick Jenkins, a Greenpeace UK's disarmament campaigner and author of The Final Frontier: America, Science and Terror, wrote The bomb didn't win it.
  • The following sentence about controversy concedes ... a controversty, but implies that it is controversial to use the bombing as "examples of American cruelty and ruthlessness as well as American practicality and humaneness." NightBeAsT 16:14, 6 August 2005 (UTC)

Raul, elsewhere you wrote:

the Japanese surrendered because of the double-whammy of having the USSR declare war on them and the atomic bombs being dropped on them. This is not my personal opinion - this is pretty much the consensus of *everybody*.

So when we take this matter up next week, would you mind allowing the article intro to mention the bombings as one of the main causative factors leading to the Japanese surrender? Uncle Ed 16:44, August 6, 2005 (UTC)

Yes, that's fine. But saying it is *the* main causitive factor would not. →Raul654 05:07, August 7, 2005 (UTC)
Also, Ed, I apologize if you were offended by my 'insane' remark - it wasn't meant as a personal attack, only to show my astonishment that a long time Wikipedian like yourself would write something like that which is (to me) so clearly non-neutral. →Raul654 05:10, August 7, 2005 (UTC)
Even I have a hard time distinguishing 'neutral' from 'favoring my side'. I really thought I was giving both sides there. Which leads me to think our NPOV policy needs an overhaul. Not that we should change it. But it needs to be explained better. I was asked to make a tutorial (by Eloquence), but I never finished it and finally abandoned it. That was a big mistake. If I've learned anything from last week, it's that no man is an island. We have to pull together, with a clearly defined objective. Your leadership (along with UninvitedCompany, I belatedly note) is helping me to realize this. This month should be a turning point for us all. Uncle Ed 11:29, August 7, 2005 (UTC)

Is the current one problematic? -- Taku 13:19, August 7, 2005 (UTC)

Prebombing leaflet

I found here [4] interesting info about leaflet [5] delivered to Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and 33 other Japanese cities on 1 August (that mean before atomic bombing). I found info about this leaflet also in Johnson's book Modern Times: A History of the .... If is is trustworthy information, can i add in onto site to leaflet section ?

Inscription of Cenotaph at Hiroshima Peace Park

There is a common construction for such cases (not mentioning the "natural" subject) in the English language as well:

... for the mistake will not be repeated.

Are there any strong reasons for not using this translation? I am neither a native English speaker, nor do I speak any Japanese, so I did not feel competent enough to do the proposed change myself.

War crimes

Ktoto and Jebur, please don't mark edits as minor where you remove things you think are POV or reverts (except reverts of vandalism). It's disingenuous. -Lethe | Talk 00:33, August 8, 2005 (UTC)

Lethe, you are right, these are not minor edits. Raul654, Jebur, please explain why do you keep removing the article from Category:World_War_II_crimes. Destroying civilian towns is an obvious violation of International Humanitarian Law and therefore is a war crime by its definition. What are your doubts here ? Ktoto 01:12, 8 August 2005 (UTC)
Because you have no idea what you are talking about. (A) Hiroshima was not a civilian town - it was the headquarters of the japanese second army, and a major center of munitions production. (B) The "intentional bombing of civilian populations" was ruled off limits by the League of Nations 1938 Protection of Civilian Populations Against Bombing From the Air in Case of War declaration, to which *neither* the US nor Japan were signatories. →Raul654 01:23, August 8, 2005 (UTC)
That category already has plenty of questionable entries, no need to add more so-called "crimes." Christopher Parham (talk) 01:32, 2005 August 8 (UTC)
If the fire-bombing of Dresden is in the category, then surely this should be as well. If you remove this, remove that as well. -Lethe | Talk 02:03, August 8, 2005 (UTC)
(A) This article is not about bombing Hiroshima alone but Hiroshima and Nagasaki. As for the apologetic claims that Nagasaki was a valid military target: do you know how many civilians versus non-civilians were killed in the bombing ?
(B) Not having signed the League of Nations declaration does not mean that US (or Japan) were free to commit genocide. Neither it make the act more humane or justified.
Check out the definition of war crime if in doubt. Similarly the Holocaust did not violate any specific treaty, but still is considered a war crime because of targeting civilian population. Ktoto 02:06, 8 August 2005 (UTC)
Note that this bombing is listed at War crimes list. It seems that if you want to remove all suggestion that this be considered a war crime, there are many articles that would have to be edited, and therefore a large consensus. Until such a consensus is reached on several articles, this should probably stay listed. -Lethe | Talk 02:09, August 8, 2005 (UTC)
Seems to me this is about to escalate into something no-body wants. Ktoto, regarding your last sentence above, is it fair to say the holocaust was directed at non combatants but that many of the "civilians" who were killed by the nuclear bombs were combatants (because they were working in the munitions factories etc)? The Prisoner of War article says In the Pacific Theater, some of the harshest treatment of POWs were dealt by the Japanese. Prisoners held by Japanese armed forces were subject to brutal treatment, including forced labour, starvation rations, beatings for escape attempts, and were denied medical treatment.. That article does not have a War Crimes category. Should it? I don't defend the nuclear bombing, but think we might be losing sight of the forest because of the trees.Moriori 02:24, August 8, 2005 (UTC)

Ktoto - you cannot make an edit, and then claim that others must have consensus to remove it. You seem to have things backwards. Furthermore, your claim that nagasaki was not a military target is demonstrably false - it had several munitions factories, and one of the largest shipyards in Japan. Furthermore, your claim that the US and Japan were bound by a league of nations resolution they were not parties to does not hold water - in general, nations that are not signatories to a particular resolution or treaty are not bound by it under international law; just because you say they should does not make it so. And lastly, claiming that because it was on the list of war crimes (which, as Christopherparham says above, already contains a lot of questoinable entries) may not be used to justify making a bad editing decision on this article. →Raul654 02:40, August 8, 2005 (UTC)

Raul, you have now made three reverts, and therefore should not make anymore. Here is my position: if this is to be removed from the category, it must also be removed from war crimes list, and the fire-bombing of Dresden should also be removed, and perhaps other articles must be involved as well. Consistency is my goal here. To make this change requires a consensus across many articles. Until such a consensus is reached, this article should stay in the category. Raul, please address these points before making another revert. -Lethe | Talk 02:49, August 8, 2005 (UTC)
I agree that Dresden bombing should be delisted as well if this one goes. I don't appreciate double-standards however. Ktoto 02:58, 8 August 2005 (UTC)
I would strongly support that as well. Any such category that doesn't have a clear boundary for entry seems terribly flawed. As I see it, such categories and lists would ideally focus on acts which have been the subject of scrutiny of constituted legal bodies responsible for the prosecution of war crimes. Christopher Parham (talk) 04:48, 2005 August 8 (UTC)
That's probably a very NPOV demarkation for war crimes. Something should only be called a war crime if some international body is investigating it as a war crime. Still, I think there should be some classification for things which are not technically called war crimes, were not a violation of existing international laws, but are still considered by some to be war crimes. Raul considers such a category bad because it would open a floodgate for people to include too many alleged war crimes. But I imagine that someone who came to the war crimes article should be pointed at a selection of events which, while not techically war crimes, might still be considered such for some people. -Lethe | Talk 05:12, August 8, 2005 (UTC)
I see your point. What remains problematic is that most of the war crimes would have been committed by the party loosing a war then. The victorious side is rarely ever tried for its actions. Ktoto 07:59, 8 August 2005 (UTC)
This mostly applies, I would think, to hegemonic wars like WWII where the winning side will control the post-war order. Small wars, e.g. the crises in Rwanda and Yugoslavia, may not suffer the same problem. I agree that the particular criterion I suggested has problems, though; it was just an example that could create some sort of strict demarcation, which this category is begging for. Christopher Parham (talk) 16:21, 2005 August 8 (UTC)
Oops, Raul, I see now that your last revert was a different revert, so I was wrong about your three reverts. apologies. Just to be clear, I really don't have a position on whether this should be called a war crime, I'm just looking for consistency across other articles. -Lethe | Talk 02:51, August 8, 2005 (UTC)
Actually there were 3 reverts of the category by Raul. While I'm not going to engage in a revert war, I'm disappointed that Raul, being an experienced administrator, is acting in this manner :-( Ktoto 03:01, 8 August 2005 (UTC)

I have no doubt that Japanese committed war crimes during WW2. But why is it important to pretend that the US did not ? Clearly there were hospitals and other objects protected under international law in the both bombed cities. It's hard to believe that people who decided to nuke the towns were unaware that those will get destroyed too. And please, don't ask me to provide evidence that there were hospitals in Nagasaki. As I tried to explain above, the world has not seen such atrocities before the WW2. Obviously there were no specific treaties or laws to prevent the Holocaust or nuclear bombing which does not make them any lesser war crimes. Ktoto 02:53, 8 August 2005 (UTC)

In WWII, strategic bombing of cities was something that everybody did. There's nothing in that which distinguishes these two instances. Well before August 1945, they had accepted that in order to destroy a target they also had to destroy everything around it. Even the air forces that tried precision bombing eventually had to either give up bombing or give up precision; the technology of the day just wasn't up to it.
—wwoods 07:53, 8 August 2005 (UTC)
Well not everybody, but that's another story. What about Bombing of Dresden in World War II. Why is it listed in the Category:World_War_II_crimes ? Ktoto 08:05, 8 August 2005 (UTC)
On Wikipedia, the term 'POV' denotes bias; e.g., that if you can read an article and know what the author's personal beliefs are, then the article is not a good one (wikipedia articles are supposed to be from a neutral point of view) There is no consensus among experts as to whether or not this was a war crime - it is in fact, a hotly debated topic. Some maintain it was a war crime, while others maintain it was not. Tagging the article in the war crimes category inherently takes sides in that dispute, and that's a violation of our neutrality policy. →Raul654 03:03, August 8, 2005 (UTC)
I understand and agree. Should not the fact of the debate itself be somehow noted in the article itself then ? (in a NPOV way) Ktoto 07:59, 8 August 2005 (UTC)
Imagine that someone doing a high school report on war crimes would want to include even contentious cases like this one. Perhaps the best solution would be the creation of a new category like Catgory:alleged war crimes. What would you think of that? -Lethe | Talk 03:15, August 8, 2005 (UTC)
Do you hear that sound? It's the sound of floodgates opening. →Raul654 03:16, August 8, 2005 (UTC)
OK, I can imagine the floodgates, sure. But don't you think the noninclusion of the opinion of this being a war crime is just as (or at least nearly as) POV as the inclusion? Ommission isn't as egregious a sin, but it's still a sin. -Lethe | Talk 03:23, August 8, 2005 (UTC)
Oh no, saying that some people argue the bombing was a war-crime is OK (preferably also citing specific experts or sources making that argument). Claiming that it was a war-crime is not OK. →Raul654 03:45, August 8, 2005 (UTC)
Good, I see it is already mentioned, although not prominently: It has been argued that the use of atomic weapons against civilian populations on a large scale is a crime against humanity and a war crime. The use of poisonous weapons (due to the effects of the radiation) were defined as war crimes by international law of the time.
And this one: "If the Germans had dropped atomic bombs on cities instead of us, we would have defined the dropping of atomic bombs on cities as a war crime, and we would have sentenced the Germans who were guilty of this crime to death at Nuremberg and hanged them." Ktoto 08:05, 8 August 2005 (UTC)
Nazi Germany was defeated by the time the bombs were dropped. And I don't think they would have been sentenced and hanged, they would have been dealt with in exceedingly short order. --213.54.219.249 08:35, 11 August 2005 (UTC)
You're sidestepping Ktoto's question. Let me rephrase, in case you insist on avoiding the point of the argument, or focus on semantic trickery - If the Germans had dropped atomic bombs on cities, and had still lost the war, would we today be calling their bombings a war crime?
One can bring about all the arguments that justify our use of the bombs: saving soldiers' lives, saving Japanese civilians from fire-bombing, and hey, they started it first. This deosn't change the likelihood that justifications for this kind of thing, valid or not, have a lot more strength when you've had the good sense to win the war in question.
If Islamic extremists were to bring about the downfall of the West, you can bet that 50 years later, their justifications for things like the WTC will become enshrined in textbooks. Don't kid yourself, this is a winner-take-all world. --Rroser167 13:50, 11 August 2005 (UTC)
Was the London Blitz or the V2 attack on Dover considered a war crime? TDC 14:46, August 11, 2005 (UTC)
Good point - and had the British not responded during the war with an even deadlier strategic bombing campaign against Germany, I'm sure they would have been brought up at Nuremberg.--Rroser167 15:27, 11 August 2005 (UTC)


  1. Dresden is no longer in the category mentioned above.
  2. There is a long debate on whether it was a war crime or not Talk:Atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki/Archive 3. See specifically the section International Court of Justice
"There is in neither customary nor conventional international law any comprehensive and universal prohibition of the threat or use of nuclear weapons as such;"
  1. Please see also: International Review of the Red Cross no 323, p.347-363 The Law of Air Warfare (1998)
In examining these events [aerial bombardment] in the light of international humanitarian law, it should be borne in mind that during the Second World War there was no agreement, treaty, convention or any other instrument governing the protection of the civilian population or civilian property, as the Conventions then in force dealt only with the protection of the wounded and the sick on the battlefield and in naval warfare, hospital ships, the laws and customs of war and the protection of prisoners of war.
  1. Please see also the UK reservations when agreeing to Protocol I UK Declaration made upon signature - 12/12/1977 SOURCE: Corrected Letter of 28 January 1998 sent to the Swiss Government by Christopher Hulse, HM Ambassador of the United Kingdom. Link is to the web site Queen's University Belfast
"(i) That the new rules introduced by the Protocol are not intended to have any effect on and do not regulate or prohibit the use of nuclear weapons;".

So the chances that using nuclear weapons was a war cime in 1945 were slim to none. Philip Baird Shearer 19:22, 23 August 2005 (UTC)

I am not completely agreed: the Hague conventions contain provisions for impredictable developements in weaponry, which are specified to have to be used in a human manner. The spirit of these treaties is very clearly opposed to nuclear bombings such as Hiroshima, and I am confident that a complain on this basis would have a reasonable chance in court. However, the case was never judged, so it cannot be said to be a war crime for certain. Rama 19:50, 23 August 2005 (UTC)

Misconceptions on term unconditional surrender and a "conditional" surrender

I would like to take the time to point out some of my thoughts on the misconceptions on the use of the term unconditional surrender. The Potsdam Proclmation clearly calls for the "unconditional surrender of all Japanese armed forces" which was changed from the Cairo Declarations for the call of the unconditional surrender of Japan. Here's an exerpt from Kazutoshi Hando, The Pacific War Research Society, Japan's Longest Day (Tokyo: Kodansha International, Ltd., 1968).

The first man in the government to react positively to the San Francisco broadcast was the Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs, Shunichi Matsumoto. He advised Togo that Japan must accept the terms as stated, that to reject them would be the height of folly, and he had, in fact, already begun to compose a draft of the Japanese acceptance, to be sent to Japan's ministers in Switzerland and Sweden and from there to be conveyed to the enemy, when Togo came into the room where he was working.
"Wait," said the Foreign Minister, "it's not going to be as easy as that." His voice sounded immeasurably sad, as though he was speaking from some lonely height where he felt far from certain of being heard. "The Army will never accept the Proclamation as it stands."
But, Togo felt, the fact that the Allies had softened their first demand in the Cairo Declaration for "the unconditional surrender of Japan" to "the unconditional surrender of all Japanese armed forces" suggested that more favorable terms, or at least a more favorable expression of the same terms, might be forthcoming, which the Army could accept and still save face. He conduded, therefore, that before replying, Japan ought to make one final effort to use Soviet "good offices.
[snip, further down the book]
At ten-thirty on the morning of July 27th the Supreme Council for the Direction of the War met to discuss the Potsdam Proclamation and the possibility of Soviet mediation. This Supreme War Council--or "inner Cabinet"--consisted of Japan's Big Six: the Prime Minister, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Minister of War, the Minister of the Navy, and the chiefs of the General Staffs of both the Army and the Navy. At the meeting Togo emphasized the importance of the shift from the unconditional surrender of Japan to the unconditional surrender of the armed forces and declared that he felt it would be "extremely impolitic" to reject the Proclamation. He was able, against considerable opposition, to persuade the Supreme Council to withhold the Japanese reply until after they had heard again from Moscow.

So what I'm trying to say is that the allies didn't call for the unconditional surrender of Japan. The allies weakened their stance and merely asked for the army to lay down their weapons and give up. Eventually, the Japanese would surrender under these terms, I would ask people what would have been better terms(leave the army intact or with a conditional surrender??). I believe that the call for the unconditional surrender of the armed forces is one of the weakest forms of using the term unconditional surrender(well it would be weaker if you left off unconditional, but what would that condition be???)

I would like to also note Japan's response to mokusatsu the new terms which can be interpreted that they had no intention to surrender(atleast from an outsider's position). And I would like to note that Japan surrendered on the terms dictated in the Potsdam Proclamation, no change to the sentence containing the term unconditional surrender was ever merited. Moreover, I would like to talk about the fixation on a conditional surrender, there was no change in the terms of surrender. I just think the talk about the surrender with the fixation on "unconditional surrender" does not completely illustrate the situation right before the bombs were dropped(but does show the earlier stance). I would hope this web page would work to clear up some misconceptions: the "condition" of surrender, and the debate of the term "unconditional surrender"... If there is a statement about the call for unconditional surrender(and there is), I would hope that the webpage would atleast recognize that the terms changed with the Potsdam Proclamation(they weakened). If people want to find faults with the Potsdam Declaration, I would suggest looking at the war criminials clause. The Doves did not want to see the emperor harmed. A snip from America's response to Japan surrendering with a "condition".

...
"With regard to the Japanese Government's message accepting the

terms of the Potsdam proclamation but containing the statement, 'with the understanding that the said declaration does not comprise any demand which prejudices the prerogatives of His Majesty as a sovereign ruler,' our position is as follows:

"From the moment of surrender the authority of the Emperor and

the Japanese Government to rule the state shall be subject to the Supreme Commander of the Allied powers who will take such steps as he deems proper to effectuate the surrender terms.

...

The preceding unsigned comment was added by 71.11.155.156 (talk • contribs) 14:28, 8 August 2005 (UTC)

Hey 71.11.! Please sign your entries in the future, even if you do not have a username (although of course getting one would be even better) with -- ~~~~. Also, new entries to debates should be listed at the bottom of a page, not the top. -- AlexR 14:17, 8 August 2005 (UTC)

I also call for the change to "Others contend that Japan had been trying to surrender for at least two months, but the US refused by insisting on an unconditional surrender"... To a sentence that references that the terms of surrender were dictated by the Allied Powers and not just the US -- 71.11.155.156 23:34, 8 August 2005 (UTC)

Should I note this change in terms on the opposition side near the statement of the insistence on unconditional surrender(which should reference that the allies agreed on the terms at Cairo and then at Potsdam????)? --71.11.155.156 14:43, 10 August 2005 (UTC)

Pacifism

Regarding this "the postwar constitution is the reason for the pacifism, not the bomb". Of course, the postwar constitution adopted pacifism, but no doubt the experience of the bombing contributed to pacifism. For example, take from [6] "Still, on the 60th anniversary of the world's first atomic bomb attack, some members of the aging and dwindling population of survivors expressed worries that Japan was shedding its postwar pacifism. The survivors, whose suffering had long made them Japan's most eloquent advocates for pacifism, said recent policy changes inside Japan had made them deeply pessimistic." You do agree that the intro should, if briefly, mention about pacifism and Japan's postwar nuclear policy. -- Taku 23:42, August 9, 2005 (UTC)

I liked the wording better before you changed it. Your source does not even seem to call the bomb the root of Japan's pacifism. I would say that their defeat and the constitution has lead to Japan's pacifism(even more articles than article 9 or whatever contributes to Japan's pacifism). I don't care much for polls either. I would just lessen the wording of root cause and use a more vague terminology such as contributed significantly. Furthermore, the statement is an opinion and not a fact, so it seems a little too "definitive". --71.11.155.156 08:09, 11 August 2005 (UTC)

Terms of Surrender incorrect

sentence from article "r the realization that the destruction of Hiroshima was from a nuclear weapon, the civilian leadership gained more and more traction in its argument that Japan had to concede defeat and accept the terms of the Yalta Proclamation"

That sentence should read the Potsdam Proclamation, please change it back and then delete this discussion paragraph thnk... I don't know why people think the terms were made at Yalta... The only terms for Japan were the Cairo Declaration/Proclamation and the Potsdam proclamation --71.11.155.156 13:30, 10 August 2005 (UTC)

Another misleading quote

""Based on a detailed investigation of all the facts, and supported by the testimony of the surviving Japanese leaders involved, it is the Survey's opinion that certainly prior to 31 December 1945, and in all probability prior to 1 November 1945, Japan would have surrendered even if the atomic bombs had not been dropped, even if Russia had not entered the war, and even if no invasion had been planned or contemplated"

Should include the statement that this survey assumes that the fire-bombing and conventional bombing of Japanese cities continues until the nov/dec dates. The statement is VERY misleading without this statement. --71.11.155.156 13:58, 10 August 2005 (UTC)

Exact quote one line above mentioned line in the survey: "Nevertheless, it seems clear that, even without the atomic bombing attacks, air supremacy over Japan could have exerted sufficient pressure to bring about unconditional surrender and obviate the need for invasion." --71.11.155.156 14:17, 10 August 2005 (UTC)

Here's my argument in a condensed manner: http://www.anesi.com/bomb.htm --71.11.155.156 14:20, 10 August 2005 (UTC)
I don't know how to cite, so if someone could cite my sentence to that webpage or change my sentence to avoid plagarism, that would be helpful --71.11.155.156 16:26, 10 August 2005 (UTC)

Claims by Gar Alperovitz

First off, the link The Fire Still Burns: An interview with historian Gar Alperovitz requires registration.

An article by him at NCSEA makes some strong claims such as

"Careful scholarly treatment of the records and manuscripts opened over the past few years has greatly enhanced our understanding of why the Truman administration used atomic weapons against Japan. Experts continue to disagree on some issues, but critical questions have been answered. The consensus among scholars is that the bomb was not needed to avoid an invasion of Japan and to end the war within a relatively short time. It is clear that alternatives to the bomb existed and that Truman and his advisers knew it." (attributed to J. Samuel Walker)

If this is the case then surely the Wikipedia article can be severely simplified. The claims are sufficiently bold, the language differing too much from expected style for me not to inquire on the veracity of it.

Moreover, his article claims that

Similarly, a top-secret April 1946 War Department study, Use of Atomic Bomb on Japan, declassified during the 1970's but brought to broad public attention only in 1989, found that "the Japanese leaders had decided to surrender and were merely looking for sufficient pretext to convince the die-hard Army Group that Japan had lost the war and must capitulate to the Allies."

conflicts with the Wikipedia article that states

Japan, as a Constitutional Monarchy, could only enter into a peace agreement with the unanimous support of the Japanese cabinet, and this cabinet was dominated by militarists from the Japanese Imperial Army and the Japanese Imperial Navy, all of whom were initially opposed to any peace deal.

Some questions:

  • How accepted are the views of this historian?
  • How can the conflicting statements be amended?



I'll answer the moreover part...
I don't see the huge conflicting statements. Well the SWC/big-6 were dominated by militarists but the cabinet was not(well according to Butow, I have yet to read everything about the cabinet)[big-6 were split 3-3, always]. Notice the Japanese leaders trying to convince the Army group, that implies that the army group holds the power... The army and navy/other hawks were opposed to the surrender(and even the "condition") right up until the time the emperor spoke his will. The statement "all of whom were initially opposed to any peace deal" may be your problem, I believe that wording is referring to the "militarists" or "die-hard Army Group"... On second reading, the term peace deal is vague... The militarist would have probably agreed with some sort of cease-fire agreement, maybe... I would change that to "opposed to any form of surrendering", or something similiar... unless you interpret initially at an earlier date then I do... --71.11.155.156 18:04, 10 August 2005 (UTC)


The Wikipedia-article states that militarists dominated the cabinet, but it is not clear if domination was from within the cabinet or as pressure from the outside. Particularly the part about unanimous implies domination from within, or at least those having a right to vote on the issue. I am actually more confused now than when I first asked the question. -- 85.164.76.75 10:09, 11 August 2005 (UTC)



Well, I don't know every point of view of the entire cabinet, so I can't say dominated in terms of numbers, but power, yes... The military fanatics were in the cabinet, and 3 of them were of the big-6/SWC. The cabinet did need a unanimous vote on the decision [to surrender] though. But I do believe the fanatical military leaders were the leaders with real power, they could veto any action that they did not like. Only the emperor's will made them change their point of view[well actually only vote for surrender with a "condition", a coup eventually happened]. I don't think they dominated in numbers, but they did always disagree on the terms, so nothing was done. Here's some cliff notes from Japan's Longest Day that might help you understand http://www.warbirdforum.com/end.htm --71.11.155.156 12:45, 11 August 2005 (UTC)
Other than Japan's longest day, I believe Japan's Decision to Surrender by Robert J. C. Butow, might also be a good read if you're interested. I've seen quotes from this book in papers, but I have yet to read it. --71.11.155.156 12:56, 11 August 2005 (UTC)


A survivor of both bombs

I know that there were 165 people who were victims/survivors (not sure which) of both bombs, and 9 who closely experienced and survided both. After the bombing of Hiroshima some people left that city and went to Nagasaki, where they were subsequently hit. Some information on this most interesting situation would be great. -Unsigned 130.102.42.97

I don't find it very interesting. Rather morbid, I'd say. --pippo2001 02:33, 15 August 2005 (UTC)
I would say this qualifies as trivia. If there are other trivia items perhaps such a section could be added. StuRat 01:03, 19 August 2005 (UTC)

MacArthur believed the dropping of the bombs to be "completely unnecessary ...

MacArthur believed the dropping of the bombs to be "completely unnecessary from a military point of view. [18](pg. 775)" # 18 is this link> http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/AAF/USSBS-PTO-Summary.html

Um, were is this pg.775? The link only goes to page 32... and I can't find this quote anywere...

Since I last looked at this article, some of the references have been changed from accurate embedded links to inaccurate footnotes. The first footnote after MacArthur is mentioned is to the Learner.org site, but I don't see anything there about MacArthur's attitude toward the bomb. The current statement in text is: "The highest-ranking officer in the Pacific Theater, General Douglas MacArthur, was not consulted beforehand, but said afterward that there was no military justification for the bombings." That statement is in fact supported by the previous footnote, the link to Doug Long's website. The exact quotation given at the start of this thread ("completely unnecessary") isn't on those pages (that I noticed), but the substantive point that the bombings were unnecessary is what's in the verbatim MacArthur quotations. JamesMLane 00:25, 19 August 2005 (UTC)
"no military justification". As opposed to his own plans for invasion, of course: "In my opinion, there should not be the slightest thought of changing the OLYMPIC operation."
MacArthur's initial reaction was rather more self-centered: 'Theodore White ... interviewing General MacArthur in Manila, ... listened to the general, ... blame the Bomb as likely to end the days of heroic warfare. "Scholars and scientists" had stolen future wars from military professionals and made "men like me" obselete. There would be "no more wars" of the kind he knew, MacArthur mourned.'
—wwoods 00:39, 19 August 2005 (UTC)
Just a few years later, MacArthur was an advocate for dropping the bomb on North Korea/China to win the Korean War. I think he just wanted to take whatever action would get him the most fame and power. Also, "unnecessary" is a relative term. It is true that we could have eventually won the war without the bomb (with a massive land invasion costing hundreds of thousands of Allied lives and millions of Japanese lives), so in this sense it was "unnecessary". StuRat 01:34, 19 August 2005 (UTC)
Yeah, I do agree with your observation on MacArthur. His view though was shared by other people like Eisenhower who didn't have similar interests. The comment below quote a couple of American leaders of the time who objected to the bombing. I wonder whether wikipedians would object to including the quoted books on reference section. I will do so in future if the post doesn't trigger objections. [7] gathima 04:02, 22 August 2005 (UTC)
But the only American leader who objected to the bombing at the time is Eisenhower...maybe. To the best of my knowledge, the only contemporaneous record of Eisenhower's opinion was in 'a letter of July 12, 1945, to an old friend, Eisenhower confessed he had not the "slightest idea of what is going to happen in the Pacific." Eisenhower does not seem to have received Pacific-theater Ultra or Magic during this period.'--Downfall, p. 332.
After the war, I see Navy guys arguing that if the Navy strategy of blockade & bombardment had been followed, and Air Force guys arguing that if the air force strategy of conventional bombardment had been followed, or some people arguing that sitting back and letting the Russians invade, they would have won the war sooner or later. And they're all right. But a war which dragged on for months would have killed far more Chinese, and Japanese, and others, than the war which ended in mid-August--even without MacArthur's invasion.
—wwoods 05:56, 22 August 2005 (UTC)