Hiroshima and Olimpic

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Karl Heidenreich
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Re: Hiroshima and Olimpic

Post by Karl Heidenreich » Wed Aug 20, 2008 2:39 pm

Riots and strikes had broken out and Hirohito was looking about as secure as the czar and the kaiser in 1917 and 1918 respectively.

With popular revolt brewing, it may have been felt that a tame population would be easier to handle than one which had just hauled Hirohito out of his throne.

Vic
I haven´t seen a single account of the likes. Japanese society is no russian or westerner society, vulnerable to the "stab in the back" sindrome of leftist vermin. The loyalty to the Emperor was not only political but spiritual and there were infinite accounts of this while the landings and invasions as places such as Iwo Jima and Okinawa, were even female civilians hurled themselves from cliffs with their newborn childs before being taken prisioners from the US Marines.
Don´t make the common mistake to equate the Kaiser stance with that of Hirohito, which is why McArthur´s behaivor during his rule in Japan was so brilliantly done.
Japan would have fight an invasion. Millions would have perished. And, on second thought, the only ones that would have benefit from this would have been Joe the Butcher and the soviets: whilst US spill blood in Japan they could have easily launch their must desired Red Storm over Europe.
An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.
Sir Winston Churchill

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Re: Hiroshima and Olimpic

Post by Vic Dale » Thu Aug 21, 2008 6:21 pm

You don't like the commies eh Karl?

The revolt against the Kaiser was not communist inspired, it was the result of hatred against a class that would send men to certain death to save their public face. The revolt in Germany was in the form of a massive mutiny and popular uprising. The likes of Leibknecht and Luxemburg of the tiny Spartacist movement had very little input before they were murdered by Frei Korps agents. The communist party had very little input in 1919.

When Russia ejected the czar, again it was mutiny accompanied by popular revolt with no communist input, except that bolsheviks like Bukharin and Zinoviev - Stalin too - supported the pro-capitalist Kerensky. They took Marx at face value when he praised capitalism as progressive over feudalism and made support for capitalism their policy. Lenin had a fit and declared that he would form a minority of one if he had to in order to oppose this lunatic policy. The bolsheviks did not get a foot in the door in the first round and only gained power through the incapacity of Kerensky who could not take Russia forward - he couldn't even end the war! Whereas Lenin showed just how easy that was.

In japan there were riots on the streets although there was little evidence of mutiny in the army or navy. I believe the offer to abdicate was made in the face of popular uprisings in April or May 1945. A strong peace movement was building with no communist input and it seemed at the time that the cabal around Hirohito was about to dissolve and be replaced by a moderate group. Japan's national claims were still present, but armistice moves had been afoot since December 44.

Vic

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Re: Hiroshima and Olimpic

Post by lwd » Thu Aug 21, 2008 7:30 pm

Vic Dale wrote:....The revolt against the Kaiser was not communist inspired, it was the result of hatred against a class that would send men to certain death to save their public face...
Again that's one interpretation. Here's Wiki's:
The roots of the revolution can be found in the social tensions of the German Empire, its undemocratic constitution and the unwillingness or inability of its leaders to reform. The revolution was triggered by the policy of the Supreme Command and the decision of the Naval Command in the face of an already definite defeat to deliver one last battle to the British Royal Navy.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_Revolution
...In japan there were riots on the streets although there was little evidence of mutiny in the army or navy. I believe the offer to abdicate was made in the face of popular uprisings in April or May 1945....
Do you have anything to document this?

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Re: Hiroshima and Olimpic

Post by Vic Dale » Fri Aug 22, 2008 3:33 pm

The best I can find at present is Liddell Hart who covers the period quite well and is not at all complimentary about the use of the bombs btw - Hmm - neither also was Churchill, though belatedly as usual.

The specific reference about abdication eludes me. I have just moved house and my library and files are in a mess. I am sure I will eventually locate what I am looking for, but probably it will be too late.

Significantly, Hirohito kept offering to abdicate when Mac Arthur was in the chair after the surrender and since this seems to have been a common theme from the emperor, it can be assumed that such had been on his mind for some time.

The peace movement had dislodged prime minister Koiso who was replaced by Suziki on April 5th and the peace movement was now predominant in the government. You can be sure that such movements do not spring out of the ground and nor do they simply represent the feelings of the tops in society. Such change was forced upon the government by public pressure and it seems they caved in.

When an American general had details of his next targets dropped by leaflet over Tokyo, it drove people out of the cities and into the hills, in such great numbers that war production in certain essentials fell by as much as 60%. It is certain that attempts were made to drive them back to work, but such a movement of people who felt their government and military who had brought them to war could no longer protect them, would likely be very angry. If riots broke out in that situation it would not be surprising.

It would be a mistake to assume that the Japanese people were cowed by the situation and just as the government of Hirohito was weighing up who to approach for a peace settlement which favoured them and Japan, they would equally have been looking over their shoulders at the mood of the masses, just as the Kaiser had and the czar before him.

So although I cannot find the exact reference, the mood of the situation, plus Liddell Hart's appreciation of how things were shaping meant it was not neccessary to drop the bomb to secure outright surrender.

Notably Hirohito, through an intermediary approached Stalin quite early on begging him to find a peaceful solution and it is this which caused Stalin to become involved in the war. Very likely then, the bomb was dropped in order to bring about a more rapid collapse and prevent the Russians gaining territory from the surrender.

It's all there in Liddell Hart.

Vic

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Re: Hiroshima and Olimpic

Post by lwd » Fri Aug 22, 2008 4:45 pm

A bit of searching revealed no mention of riots in Japan during WWII. There was considerable mention of the WWI riots.

According to:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strategic_ ... rld_War_II
as with Japan, there were no riots in Germany demanding national capitulation
In the wiki section on Hirohito they also refer to post war attempts to get him to resign which he refused.

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Re: Hiroshima and Olimpic

Post by Vic Dale » Fri Aug 22, 2008 7:04 pm

Opinion is divided about Hirohito's willingness to abdicate post war. Some a say he kept on making the offer and others deny it. It is likely that US policy towards him changed when it was realsied that he would be a compliant tool.

The main point here is; The USA had no need to drop the bombs and certainly not 2 bombs. The US navy was content that the blockade was absolute - nobody was going to supply Japoan anyway, and shortages were already being felt. Ther would be no need for an invasion to settle the matter. Capitulation was on the cards with or without Hirohito. What was left of the military cabal could insist on Japanese autonomy all they liked - they could go nowhere with it. Japan was no longer a threat to the outside world, so a little time would have solved all the problems. The battles for the Islands had been won and Japan was isolated.

The bombs were dropped to prove a point to the Russians and to foreclose on the chance that Russia could make territorial gains from the eventual surrender. Then of course having spent so much money on the weapon itself it had to be shown to be effective. The second bomb was simply to prove the more intricate mechanism effective and to measure the extent to which either one caused structural damage or human casualties. It is a matter of national shame for a sizeable section of the US population who were aghast at what had been done in the name of their democracy and no amount of belated justification could eradicate that feeling.

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Re: Hiroshima and Olimpic

Post by Bgile » Fri Aug 22, 2008 7:41 pm

I've lived in the US most of my life, and if there is any sense of shame at all over the A-bombs I'm not aware of it and it must be confined to a fringe element. It is true that the aircrews who dropped them were affected. I've never seen anything to suggest the bombs were used other than to end the war, and there was a huge sense of relief when Japan surrendered.

You are suggesting the alternative would have been to maintain an indefinite blockade of Japan? How many years? I believe they were quite capable of growing enough rice to prevent starvation, weren't they? There wouldn't have been any S. Korea today, I think that's clear.

You do know that the allies caused far more civilian deaths through fire bombs than the A-bombs, right? Wasn't the death rate in Dresden significantly greater? How about the burning of Tokyo?

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Re: Hiroshima and Olimpic

Post by Vic Dale » Fri Aug 22, 2008 8:48 pm

Bgile wrote:I've lived in the US most of my life, and if there is any sense of shame at all over the A-bombs I'm not aware of it and it must be confined to a fringe element. It is true that the aircrews who dropped them were affected. I've never seen anything to suggest the bombs were used other than to end the war, and there was a huge sense of relief when Japan surrendered.

You are suggesting the alternative would have been to maintain an indefinite blockade of Japan? How many years? I believe they were quite capable of growing enough rice to prevent starvation, weren't they? There wouldn't have been any S. Korea today, I think that's clear.

You do know that the allies caused far more civilian deaths through fire bombs than the A-bombs, right? Wasn't the death rate in Dresden significantly greater? How about the burning of Tokyo?
My girlfriend in the USA and many others I know and know of are opposed to what was done. Is there no such thing as CND is the USA. I used to ask US sevicemen about it when I was at sea and they were very defensive. Questions about those bombs did not sit very well. The expressions of relief only came from those who were ignorant of the options, or who refused to believe them.

I am not talking years, but just a couple of months. Unlike the German blockade of Britain the Blackade of Japan was absolute. No one would trade with them so all they had was stored within their mainland. Japan like Britain has to rely on trade by sea for survival. Britain had reserves for about 6 weeks in the event of absolute blockade so about the same could be estimated for Japan. Her people would have eaten the emperor and his cabal and then sued for peace rather than starve.

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Re: Hiroshima and Olimpic

Post by Bgile » Fri Aug 22, 2008 10:57 pm

Vic,

I'm sure had you asked me when I was in the service I too would have reacted defensively. That's common when a foreign national asks you whether your country killed hundreds of thousands of people unnecessarily. Many sailors aren't terribly knowledgeable about history and their knowledge that they are ambassadors affects their answers. If you told them it was unnecessary they wouldn't know that was just your opinion, for example.

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Re: Hiroshima and Olimpic

Post by iankw » Sat Aug 23, 2008 12:41 am

Vic, I asherly agree with you that the bombs were dropped to make a point to Stalin. However, I am not at all convinced that the alternative would have been better for the Japanese people. I don't think an invasion by the Allies was necessary either, a blockade could be very strictly enforced I'm sure. How many more thousands would have starved rather than surrender? I have little faith in the chances of success of a popular uprising, if indeed there was one, the evidence of Okinawa and other islands speaks very loudly to me. We are assuming here that the Russians would be incapable of invading Japan - do I recall it being posted on here that this would be beyond their capability?

So, imo, the bombs were dropped for political reasons, but they probably saved a hell of a lot of Japanese, if not American, lives.

regards

Ian

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Re: Hiroshima and Olimpic

Post by Vic Dale » Sat Aug 23, 2008 12:50 am

You are jumping to a conclusion here.

At the time I discussed with US service men I was serving aboard a ship carrying Nukes myself. The question was asked in relation to Vietnam - we were close, but not invloved - would there be any likelihood of nukes being used there. The answer came back a resounding NO! - each time. The effect would apparently have been disproportionate and the fallout would make the place unsafe. I recall someone suggesting that it worked against Japan and the answer was in the region of; "we don't want to go down that road." Of course not all Americans felt that way and some said they wished they could use nukes and get the hell out, but certainly that was not the majority. This question came up quite a lot in the 60s and it seemed to me that most of the guys in the American ships were against the use of nukes as we were ourselves - in the main.

Perhaps the 60s were different times to these, but when asked, all congressmen and military commentators and the bulk of the US population say that the US would never go for first strike with nukes and they would only be used as a last resort. It is clear knowledge of the horror of nuclear weapons and the lesson there, was learned at Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

My personal feeling is that nuclear weapons have acted as a deterrent, but in an unexpected way. Being available to both sides in the cold war, they have terrified the leaders of both sides, not for fear of attack, but fear of actually having to use them, knowing what it would mean and that knowledge is based on what was learned in Japan. Nukes kept both sides straight in the cold war and to that extent you could say they kept us safe, yet I am definitely opposed to them. I feel also that nuclear proliferation if carried to it's ultimate, ends the term nuclear power, if everyone is a nuclear power then no one is because no one will use them - that is except terrorists.

Try that contradiction on for size.

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Re: Hiroshima and Olimpic

Post by Vic Dale » Sat Aug 23, 2008 1:03 am

Hi Ian.

I don't think it would have come to starvation. Although elements of the Japanese government were holding out for Japanese autonomy it seems the allied powers were discussing a modified set of demands themselves. It was thought that Hirohito and the peace movement would capitulate easier if the "unconditional surrender" demand was modified and this was communicated to Truman by Churchill, after a note from Stalin to that effect. (Liddel Hart).

Vic

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Re: Hiroshima and Olimpic

Post by lwd » Sat Aug 23, 2008 3:26 am

Vic Dale wrote:Opinion is divided about Hirohito's willingness to abdicate post war. Some a say he kept on making the offer and others deny it. It is likely that US policy towards him changed when it was realsied that he would be a compliant tool.
I don't find much evidence that US policy changed. They might have made an effort to get rid of him if he had been a pain.
The main point here is; The USA had no need to drop the bombs and certainly not 2 bombs.
That is counter to both the evidence I have seen and the opinion of most I have talked to or read. The US saw a need to end the war as soon as possible. The bombs did that.
The US navy was content that the blockade was absolute - nobody was going to supply Japoan anyway, and shortages were already being felt. Ther would be no need for an invasion to settle the matter. Capitulation was on the cards with or without Hirohito. What was left of the military cabal could insist on Japanese autonomy all they liked - they could go nowhere with it. Japan was no longer a threat to the outside world, so a little time would have solved all the problems. The battles for the Islands had been won and Japan was isolated.
But they were still fighting and showed no sign of surrendering. Indeed there was a coup attempt when it became clear that surrender was in the cards and that's after the bombs were dropped. There was an imperative to end the war. If the bombs hadn't done it then an invasion would have been attempted although there is a good chance it would not been per the original plan for Olympic.
The bombs were dropped to prove a point to the Russians and to foreclose on the chance that Russia could make territorial gains from the eventual surrender.
That was a happy side effect not the primary purpose.
Then of course having spent so much money on the weapon itself it had to be shown to be effective. The second bomb was simply to prove the more intricate mechanism effective and to measure the extent to which either one caused structural damage or human casualties.
There you go again assuming your opinions are facts.
It is a matter of national shame for a sizeable section of the US population who were aghast at what had been done in the name of their democracy and no amount of belated justification could eradicate that feeling.
I guess that depends on your defintion of "sizeable" in my experience it's a very small minority although they do tend to be pretty vocal.

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Re: Hiroshima and Olimpic

Post by lwd » Sat Aug 23, 2008 3:32 am

Vic Dale wrote:...
At the time I discussed with US service men I was serving aboard a ship carrying Nukes myself. The question was asked in relation to Vietnam - we were close, but not invloved - would there be any likelihood of nukes being used there. The answer came back a resounding NO! - each time. The effect would apparently have been disproportionate and the fallout would make the place unsafe. I recall someone suggesting that it worked against Japan and the answer was in the region of; "we don't want to go down that road." Of course not all Americans felt that way and some said they wished they could use nukes and get the hell out, but certainly that was not the majority. This question came up quite a lot in the 60s and it seemed to me that most of the guys in the American ships were against the use of nukes as we were ourselves - in the main.
None of that suggest they felt that dropping the bombs on Japan was not warranted.
Perhaps the 60s were different times to these, but when asked, all congressmen and military commentators and the bulk of the US population say that the US would never go for first strike with nukes and they would only be used as a last resort. It is clear knowledge of the horror of nuclear weapons and the lesson there, was learned at Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
That's strange because the US has always officially retained the option of a first strike. I'm not sure the buld of the US population has ever made a pronouncement on the subject so your assumption seams to be lacking in sustenance.

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Re: Hiroshima and Olimpic

Post by lwd » Sat Aug 23, 2008 3:38 am

Vic Dale wrote:...I don't think it would have come to starvation. Although elements of the Japanese government were holding out for Japanese autonomy it seems the allied powers were discussing a modified set of demands themselves....
The Japanese were already suffering the effects of malnutrition in at least some areas. The allies knew at least some of the Japanese were looking for a way out but none of the options they had proposed were were acceptable. It's far from clear when or if the Japanese would have surrendered and if you look at what the allied leaders knew at the time it was even less clear. Okinawa set a terrible example. It is also worth noteing that the USAAF dropped leaflets warning civilians of upcoming raids to try and cut down the civilian casualties. In any case the conventional bombing raids were causing more casualties than the a bombs did.

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