Hiroshima and Olimpic

Non-naval discussions about the Second World War. Military leaders, campaigns, weapons, etc.
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Karl Heidenreich
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Hiroshima and Olimpic

Post by Karl Heidenreich »

August 6th, 1945. 8:15 am. Little Boy was dropped over the city of Hiroshima, founded in the XVI century. A city that saw Kido Butai anchored before some quite important operations as Midway. Days before the Imperial goverment dismissed the Postdam ultimatum in order to estipulate four conditions for surrendering.

The US forces, with those of her western allies (read Great Britain and her commonwealth) was preparing Operation Olimpic and Operation Coronet for October 1945 the former and March 1946 the latter. The overall estimate of casualties: 1,000,000 allied ones (250,000 fatal) and 5-10 million Japanese (1/3 fatal). Maybe for that McArthur would have been the first and only Field Marshal in the US history.

Hiroshima: 140,000 dead at the end of 1945.
Nagasaki: 90,000+ dead at the end of 1945

Both beautiful cities, the 230,000 victims were mostly civilians... many children that knew and cared nothing for the emperor or the war...

But we knew better:

War is Hell.
An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.
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RF
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Re: Hiroshima and Olimpic

Post by RF »

As far as I am aware the Japanese emporeror was a figure of great reverence for the Japanese, including children as well as adults.
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Re: Hiroshima and Olimpic

Post by lwd »

Olympic would almost assuredly have been canceled by late September in any case. Too much info on the Japanese perperations were coming to light. The invasion would have had to wait until next spring at that point. Starvation, disease, and additional bombing would have caused far more casualties in the mean time even if the Japanese surrendered some time during the winter. I don't see a MacArthur being promoted above the other 5 stars. In any case I believe 5 stars is the equivalant of Field Marshal.
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Karl Heidenreich
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Re: Hiroshima and Olimpic

Post by Karl Heidenreich »

lwd:
I don't see a MacArthur being promoted above the other 5 stars. In any case I believe 5 stars is the equivalant of Field Marshal.
Don´t remember where but I read that the US considered the rank of Field Marshall. The problem was George C. Marshall who was going to be called "Marshall" Marshall, so Roosevelt sent the idea to the waste basket. It sounds too european to US taste in any case.

About the Japanese surrendering sometime in the winter 1945-1946 it sounds unlikely to their culture. They would have fight in any case.

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Re: Hiroshima and Olimpic

Post by lwd »

Karl Heidenreich wrote:...About the Japanese surrendering sometime in the winter 1945-1946 it sounds unlikely to their culture. They would have fight in any case...
I have seen some argue that they would have surrendered by the end of October (possible but unlikely in my estimation) and others argue that they would never have surrendered until the allies had taken most of the power centers (also unlikely in my estimation). I think the most likely answer lies somewhere in between. The food situation in Japan was becoming critical. So was the fuel situation. I'm not sure that once winter set in that they would have kept going much longer. The ability of the A-bombs to destroy Japan with out any effective reply was a key point in their decision to surrender. The effects of famine, cold, and disease could be viewed in a similar line. However I'm far from an expert in this area.
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Re: Hiroshima and Olimpic

Post by RF »

The other point in a continuing delay to the end of the war is the issue over who finally invades and occuppies - the US or the USSR (after the latter overran Korea)......
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Re: Hiroshima and Olimpic

Post by lwd »

The Soviets lacked the lift capacity to invade the Japanese main islands. Had the war gone on they probably would have picked off a few more small islands.
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Re: Hiroshima and Olimpic

Post by RF »

Given the state of the home islands the Soviets would not actually have needed much to invade piecemeal - the logistics for them I think would be rather different to those of the US given the use of Korea as a base.
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Re: Hiroshima and Olimpic

Post by lwd »

???? Their was a reasonable chance that Olympic would have failed. You expect the Soviets to do more with less and a lot less experience with major invasions? The US had the Philipines and Okinawa to launch from. Still takes a lot of lift to land multiple divisions.
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Re: Hiroshima and Olimpic

Post by Vic Dale »

Japan most certainly was trying to end the war before the A-bomb dropped. She had lost control of her seas which were being policed by allied warships so she could not get supplies through and she had been driven out of the Islands and other occupied territory. Riots and strikes had broken out and Hirohito was looking about as secure as the czar and the kaiser in 1917 and 1918 respectively.

Why then drop the A-bomb? Why drop 2 bombs? I believe the answer breaks down into two parts;

Firstly, the USA had two types of bomb, Fat Man and Little Boy. Their construction and method of triggering was different, that is to say, the method of acheiving supercritical mass was derived from two differnt concepts, Little Boy employed a gun which fired a Uranium 235 ball into a subcrtical U-235 cup with the result that the total made a supercritical mass which reacted towards the nuclear explosion.

Fat Man was the more complicated since it consisted of a sub-critical spere of plutonium, which was subjected to the effects of pressure from explosive charges packed around it. The implosion was expected to condense the plutonium thus creating super-critical mass with the same reaction as above.

The designs of the two bombs, one simple and the other complicated caused concern among the scientists of the development teams, so having dropped the Little Boy A-bomb on Hiroshima, it was decided to try out the other device three days later on Nagasaki, to see if it too would work. Why drop the second bomb on a Japanese city?

The importance for the US weapons developers of testing the devices out on cities, was to gauge the effects on population, numbers killed versus destruction of buildings etc. This information was important, but sadly reflects on the value placed on the Japanese citizen, by the US administrators. There was no love lost on the Japanese, by the US population, who perhaps justifiably felt the Japanese deserved everything they got. It is however a poor and shameful reflection on the US administration that they lacked foresight and permitted themselves this additional slaughter, by playing on public sentiment.

The war could not continue. There would have been no need to invade Japan - as the generals insisted in a belated attempt to justify what had been done, when American people saw the full horror of the effects of the bombs. The sea blockade could have been made absolute and the Japanese administration would soon have crumbled, as starvation began to set in. Perhaps the US genrals could have justified dropping the A-bombs to save Japanese lives - better dead than starving.

The second reason for dropping two bombs was to convince the Soviet Union that the USA could do it more than once and that they had better sit up and listen when the USA spoke. Possibly also the second city was bombed to convince the japanese population to leave the cities. 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
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Re: Hiroshima and Olimpic

Post by lwd »

Vic Dale wrote:Japan most certainly was trying to end the war before the A-bomb dropped. ...
But they were still trying to end it on thier terms rather than unconditional surrender which was what the allies demanded.
..
The designs of the two bombs, one simple and the other complicated caused concern among the scientists of the development teams, so having dropped the Little Boy A-bomb on Hiroshima, it was decided to try out the other device three days later on Nagasaki, to see if it too would work. Why drop the second bomb on a Japanese city?
If there was any great deal of concern about it working they would have tested one before dropping. They dropped it to speed the end of the war.
The importance for the US weapons developers of testing the devices out on cities, was to gauge the effects on population, numbers killed versus destruction of buildings etc. This information was important, but sadly reflects on the value placed on the Japanese citizen, by the US administrators.
The object was to end the war. Dropping it on militarily significant targets helped achieve that end. To have not gathered data in the process would have been a waste. You get things backwards and then draw conclusions from them.
... It is however a poor and shameful reflection on the US administration that they lacked foresight and permitted themselves this additional slaughter, by playing on public sentiment.
What "additional slaughter"? It's pretty clear that had the bombs not been dropped Japanese as well as allied casualties would have been even higher.
The war could not continue.
Indefinitely no. For additional weeks or months yes it could.
There would have been no need to invade Japan - as the generals insisted in a belated attempt to justify what had been done, when American people saw the full horror of the effects of the bombs.
The allied (including American) people and administrations wanted the war over. Lacking a Japanese surrender an invasion would have forced an end to the war. Now it is possible that the Japanese would have surrendered first but this is not clear and was certainly not clear at the time. The invasion was planned and the casualty estimates were one of the things that drove the decision to drop the bombs.
The sea blockade could have been made absolute and the Japanese administration would soon have crumbled, as starvation began to set in. Perhaps the US genrals could have justified dropping the A-bombs to save Japanese lives - better dead than starving.
The sea blockade was pretty tight already. However Japan did have some internal food production capability. It was also far from clear that that would have cuased the Japanese administration to crumble, especially in light of the event on Okinawa.
The second reason for dropping two bombs was to convince the Soviet Union that the USA could do it more than once and that they had better sit up and listen when the USA spoke. Possibly also the second city was bombed to convince the japanese population to leave the cities. 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...
While demostrating the capability to the USSR had some merit it is unlikely it affected the decision much at all. Nothing I've read indicates that the Japanese were at all close to a popular revolt and if they were it would more likely have been against the government and not Hirohito. Post war administration is not mentioned in anything I've read discussing the bombs or Downfall.
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Re: Hiroshima and Olimpic

Post by Bgile »

The bombs were dropped because we had just gone through a number of brutal battles in the process of the Island hopping campaign. We had undergone many Kamikaze attacks in the process, and we knew the Japanese were mobilizing their population to defend every square foot of their homeland to the death. The prospect of invading and capturing the Japanese homeland under these conditions was horrifying to everyone involved.

After much soul searching, we dropped the only two bombs we had in the hope that it would bring it all to an end.

To state that it was done in some sick test is ridiculous and belongs with the theories of the people who still thing there was never any moon landing and it was all faked. Some people see conspiracy everywhere when the truth is simple.
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Re: Hiroshima and Olimpic

Post by Karl Heidenreich »

The bombs were dropped because:

1. Japan did not want to surrender under the allied terms but in her terms:
a. The Imperial and divine rule must be respected
b. No occupation whatsoever
c. The war criminals must be given trial by the Japanese military, not allied
d. The de movilization was to be inspected by the Imperial HQ

2. Even after Hiroshima Hirohito was asked that if Japan would fight if the terms were not respected and he answer: "of course".
3. The damm commie vermin were ready to invade Manchuria
4. The Japanese HQ proclaimed Martial Law in order that no one could negociate peace with the allies
5. The invasions would have been the bloodier operations of the war since the German-Soviet front.
6. So the bomb didn´t sound such a bad idea.

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Re: Hiroshima and Olimpic

Post by RF »

There has over the years been a lot of moralising over the rights and wrongs of dropping nuclear weapons on Japan, particulary by those with some political agenda hidden behind the moralising.
To me it is clear these two bombs were necessary and did the required job - it finally ended the war and saved many lives, including many prisoners of war.
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Re: Hiroshima and Olimpic

Post by RF »

Vic Dale wrote: 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
Where is the direct evidence for this?
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