Skip to main content

Adapted from an excerpt from Presidents' Body Counts: The Twelve Worst and Four Best American Presidents Based on How Many Lived or Died Because of Their Actions at http://www.amazon.com/...

      This month is the anniversary of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings, reason enough to recall both the reasons many convince themselves the bombings were done, and the actual reasons.

      What: The targeting of the civilian populations of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by the atomic bomb. Many scholars argue that Truman's true target was Stalin, hoping the display of the A bomb would intimidate the Soviets. It did not, in part because Soviets already had atomic bomb secrets obtained from spies.

    The Body Count: 200,000 to 220,000 immediate deaths, 370,000 severe long term injuries or early deaths from radiation and other effects, including cancer, emphysema, leukemia, sterility, birth defects, blindness, deafness, and severe burns.

    Who Also Gets the Blame:
    Contrary to apologists' claim for the atomic bombings, most military leaders opposed using the A-bomb. Generals Eisenhower, MacArthur, Bradley, and Admiral Nimitz all opposed the use of A-bombs against Japan. Even “Blood and Guts” Patton opposed it. Only General Leslie Groves, the director of the Manhattan Project, supported the A-bomb's use.

    One of the most important Asian history scholars, James Dower, argue that World War II in Asia became a de facto race war. Dower's War Without Mercy documents how the Allies, largely white nations with centuries of white supremacist practices and pseudo scientific racist teachings, felt humiliated by being defeated by an Asian or nonwhite power.

    Atrocities in the Pacific Theater were widespread. In such an atmosphere, where many Americans even called for genocide, the murder of every last Japanese as revenge for Pearl Harbor, it is appalling but not surprising there were few objections to targeting Japanese civilians by the A-bomb's use. There were military targets in both cities, but they were small and could have easily been dealt with by conventional bombing.

    Most who argue in favor of the bomb's use or make excuses for the mass deaths of Japanese civilians have a very racist image of the Japanese. One of the ugliest lies is the notion that all Japanese were fanatics who would rather die than surrender. Thus many racists blame either the warrior code of Bushido, or all Japanese collectively.

    But in fact, Bushido was a code for the upper class, especially Japanese officers. Bushido is distinct from the samurai code, and the former developed relatively late, in the 1890s. Generals in the Japanese military did not start arguing for suicide as a military tactic until late 1943, and its most widespread use was extremely late, from the Fall of 1944 on. Many Japanese leaders originally objected to suicide attacks as against the spirit of Bushido, which calls for an awareness of death, not glorification of suicide.

    Thus claims that all Japanese were fanatics who would have fought to the end is an argument ignorant of the basic facts, often argued by those whose view of Japanese is formed or influenced by wartime propaganda that demonized all Japanese people as subhuman monsters. There are easily half a dozen huge pieces of evidence to the contrary:

    1. Japan actually had an outstanding human rights record for its earlier democratic period. Much like Germany, one can point to long periods of humane civilization as well as far briefer periods of atrocities. Japan had thriving democratic, liberal, socialist, and labor movements until fascism overtook the nation relatively late, in the mid 1930s.

    2. Japan's government always had strong peace factions, both military and civilian. The navy tended to favor peace, while the army had more warmongers. The army often had to resort to threats and at times assassinations of opponents to get its way.  In the end, the peace faction did win out and Japan surrendered.

    3. Bushido, “fight to the last man,” and “suicide rather than dishonor” was an attitude of the elite. Though some of the government tried to indoctrinate these ideas into all Japanese, they largely did not succeed. The simplest proof of that is obvious. Japan did surrender. Extremely few Japanese committed suicide because of surrender. Only a small number of officers and cabinet members did so. More than a few American observers were astonished at how placidly most Japanese accepted defeat, even bearing little grudge against Americans. Part of the proof of the lack of resentment is how many US servicemen came home with Japanese wives.

    Even within the military, the most famous examples of suicide, kamikaze pilots, numbered less than 5,000 out of a Japanese military that numbered over six million. In the other famous instances, “suicides” by soldiers and civilians during battles such as Iwo Jima and Okinawa were often murders or driven by threats of murder by Japanese commanding officers. In other words, enlisted soldiers and civilians were given no option: commit suicide in battle or your commanding officer will execute you.

    As Dower points out repeatedly in War Without Mercy, the even greater reason most Japanese soldiers often did not surrender was because they knew that many American soldiers killed Japanese POWs, even torturing and mutilating them. Admiral Halsey, US Navy commander in the South Pacific, openly adopted the slogan, “Kill Japs, kill Japs, and kill more more Japs.” Had so many American soldiers not executed POWs indiscriminately, many more Japanese soldiers would have surrendered.

    4. Further proof is just by looking at the death rate of Japanese males as soldiers. Three million were killed in wartime, one of every four Japanese adult males. While that is high, it is far from being the highest in history, or supposed proof of alleged innate fanaticism as anti Japanese racists like to portray.

    What nation had the highest proportion of its males killed in a war of aggression?
The dubious record goes to Paraguay, with over three quarters of its adult males dying in the War of the Triple Alliance. Also high up on the list is France during World War I, with over half of its young men dying. Finally, another “nation” high on the list is the Confederacy, which lost one quarter of all its soldiers in battle or from disease. So perhaps to the surprise of anti Japanese racists, both the white supremacists of the Confederacy and French nationalists were willing to die at a similar or a higher rate, and thus were equally or more fanatic, than Japanese soldiers. The same was true also for Paraguayans during their failed attempt to be an empire.

    6. The final proof of most Japanese not being fanatics is looking at their history postwar. Not only has the Japanese government and military not committed anything close to its prior atrocities, the nation's constitution strictly prohibits wars of aggression. Even sending military hospital ships abroad for aid is controversial. Japan has large, thriving, and influential peace and environmentalist movements. There is a faction of the public that refuses to admit past atrocities.

    Other justifications for dropping the A-bombs do not stand up to critical scrutiny either:

    “It saved a million lives.” When Truman first defended dropping the A-bomb, he claimed it saved half a million lives. Only the next day, he upped the claim to one million American lives saved. Where he got the second number is unknown. Seemingly he pulled it out of thin air. Actual US estimates of American lives that would be lost in an invasion were as low as 30,000 to 40,000, along with less credible higher ones.

    “It was the only choice except an invasion.” This is very easy to refute. Japan is an island nation with no oil, and its navy and air force were wiped out by this point. Use blockade instead. No invasion was ever needed at all, except for one obvious factor: the Soviet Union would shortly enter the war against Japan.

    In the past several decades, since the end of the Cold War, more US scholars have admitted what American egoism could not before: in World War II, in both Europe and Asia, the fascist powers were defeated largely by the Soviet Union. In Europe, over three quarters of all German troops fought the Soviets. (Prior to D-Day, that number was over nine tenths.) In the Pacific Theater, the Soviets ended the war quicker, not the A-bomb.

    For in accounts by the principal Japanese government leadership, the entry of the Soviet Union is mentioned more often as a reason for surrender than the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The Soviets invaded with over a million and a half troops on a wide front. Manchuria and much of Korea were taken by the USSR in a very short time, less than five weeks, where the US had fought slowly across Pacific islands for four years.

    Thus in the assessment of many scholars, the atomic bombings were really revenge for Pearl Harbor or to intimidate the Soviets into behaving postwar. If one argues revenge for Pearl Harbor was needed, it is hard not to see that as openly racist. And indeed Truman was a racist, with a documented hatred of Blacks, Jews, and especially Asians. Truman was even briefly a Ku Klux Klan member.

    Truman later in life did try to overcome his own bigotry, courting Black voters, desegregating the US military and federal workforce, and supporting the new nation of Israel. But there is no evidence his change of heart came in time to affect his decision to use A-bombs against Japan. Just the opposite, Truman said publicly he “lost no sleep” and “decided it like that” (said while snapping his fingers) to drop nuclear bombs that killed hundreds of thousands of civilians. Such callous racism on his part deserves to be recognized for what it was and condemned.

    Finally, Truman failed in his assessment of how the bombings would affect Stalin. Since the USSR had already lost tens of millions to the war, why would anyone think the loss of a few cities would be threatening? Not only that, Stalin himself caused the death of tens of millions of his own people to wipe out opponents. Clearly Stalin cared little for Russian lives. Any American alive at that time should have seen that, as could anyone knowing that time period. Americans not wanting to admit Truman's failure may share his ideological blindness and in some cases his anti Asian racist views.

----------
 Al Carroll is Assistant Professor of History at Northern Virginia Community College, a former Fulbright Scholar, and the author of Presidents' Body Counts. He is a longtime activist for www.newagefraud.org. More information on him is at http://alcarroll.com.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gooserock, kurt, Agathena, Fabienne

    Homepage- http://alcarroll.com Presidents' Body Counts- http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/419159 An eye opening look at evil done by presidents, mass murder, incompetence, terrorism. An insightful damning expose of presidents by a history professor.

    by Al Carroll on Thu Aug 14, 2014 at 08:51:12 PM PDT

  •  First, you can't undo history... (10+ / 0-)

    ...second, the brass may have been against dropping Little Boy and Fat Man, but the troops believed it saved many lives, particularly their own. My late father-in-law, a retired Navy commander, served in the Pacific in World War 2, and he always felt that the atomic bombs meant he would live to retire from the Navy and be able to raise a family.

    The real test has been that, since those two bombs were dropped in anger in 1945, no nuclear weapons have since been used in any conflict. I'd say that's something.

    Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

    by JeffW on Thu Aug 14, 2014 at 08:59:24 PM PDT

    •  The brass was politicking.... (0+ / 0-)

      The rivalry between Air Force, Army, Marines, and Navy was intense. These rivalries determined what people like Eisenhower said. If he was so down on nuclear weapons, why did he go ahead with the development of the hydrogen bomb when he was President? As with so many other things Eisenhower, he talked the talk, but he didn't walk the walk.

      This is the landscape that we understand, -
      And till the principle of things takes root,
      How shall examples move us from our calm?

      (Mary Oliver, "Beyond the Snow Belt.")

      by sagesource on Thu Aug 14, 2014 at 09:41:14 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not the same as targeting civilians (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Agathena

        Developing is one thing. Deliberate civilian targeting another.

        Homepage- http://alcarroll.com Presidents' Body Counts- http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/419159 An eye opening look at evil done by presidents, mass murder, incompetence, terrorism. An insightful damning expose of presidents by a history professor.

        by Al Carroll on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 11:57:40 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Can't undo history, but one can discover it (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Alhambra

      as more facts come to light.

      What ended World War II?

      For nearly seven decades, the American public has accepted one version of the events that led to Japan’s surrender.

      ...

      On Aug. 6, the United States marks the anniversary of the Hiroshima bombing’s mixed legacy. The leader of our democracy purposefully executed civilians on a mass scale. Yet the bombing also ended the deadliest conflict in human history.

      In recent years, however, a new interpretation of events has emerged. Tsuyoshi Hasegawa - a highly respected historian at the University of California, Santa Barbara - has marshaled compelling evidence that it was the Soviet entry into the Pacific conflict, not Hiroshima and Nagasaki, that forced Japan’s surrender. His interpretation could force a new accounting of the moral meaning of the atomic attack. It also raises provocative questions about nuclear deterrence, a foundation stone of military strategy in the postwar period. And it suggests that we could be headed towards an utterly different understanding of how, and why, the Second World War came to its conclusion.

      “Hasegawa has changed my mind,” says Richard Rhodes, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of “The Making of the Atomic Bomb.” “The Japanese decision to surrender was not driven by the two bombings.”

      I'm not liberal. I'm actually just anti-evil, OK? - Elon James White

      by Satya1 on Thu Aug 14, 2014 at 09:43:02 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  That's a meaningless question. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Otteray Scribe

        The USSR only invaded Manchikuo after Hiroshima. The more interesting question is whether they invaded after Stalin was told, by Trumas at Potsdam, of the US weapon...not that he needed to be told, because of the successful Soviet espionage program.

        It's not the side effects of the cocaine/I'm thinking that it must be love

        by Rich in PA on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 04:15:51 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  There wasn't any need for a land invasion (0+ / 0-)

      since the Japanese were already defeated and had made overtures to surrender.

      The Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb
      Gar Alperovitz

    •  Your in law was wrong (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Agathena

      And anecdotes and wishful thinking are not evidence. No invasion was necessary in the first place. In the second place, he likely would have survived any invasion in the unlikely event it happened.

      It's difficult to say if dropping the bombs prevented a larger nuclear war. Peace movements did use the tragedies as powerful arguments.

      Homepage- http://alcarroll.com Presidents' Body Counts- http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/419159 An eye opening look at evil done by presidents, mass murder, incompetence, terrorism. An insightful damning expose of presidents by a history professor.

      by Al Carroll on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 11:55:44 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'm Pretty Sure I caught One of the History Channe (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Agathena

    programs claiming that Nimitz was against an invasion of the islands, reinforcing your point and the obvious suggestion of a blockade instead.

    I've long thought that the reason for going ahead with the bombing was for a demonstration to the Soviets, also to prompt Japanese surrender before the Soviets got into occupying position in Japan. I thought they technically entered the war just before the Hiroshima drop. Whether or not this wrongly anticipates Stalin's reaction isn't necessarily important, if we thought the display of a superpower weapon would be useful to intimidate the USSR with.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Thu Aug 14, 2014 at 09:01:10 PM PDT

    •  The USSR had a longstanding agreement with the US (0+ / 0-)

      to enter the war after the defeat of Germany, and the settled date would have been August 5, 1945.
         When the Japanese leadership found out about the agreement, they were stunned, as they were counting on the Russians being a go between for peace talks.
         The agreement with the Russians may have affected the timing of the attacks, but probably not the decision to use the bomb. Apparently, the US dropped the bomb as soon as it was physically possible.
         It doesn't matter whether the Japanese made the decision to surrender because of the bomb or because of the Russians.
         Once the nuclear bombardment of Japan was underway, surrender was just a matter of time.
       

  •  How Would A Blockade Have Been More Humane? (18+ / 1-)

    So instead of killing thousands, Truman should have starved millions?

    In the three days between the destruction of Hiroshima with "Little Boy" and the bombing of Nagasaki with "Fat Man," the Japanese still would not agree to the terms of the Potsdam Declaration. It took the destruction of two cities and the threat of total annihilation to surrender, and even then the Emperor did it over the objections of the military.

    And this part of your diary is complete and total bullshit:

    In World War II, in both Europe and Asia, the fascist powers were defeated largely by the Soviet Union.
    Unless there were some secret Soviet ships and soldiers that destroyed the Japanese navy at places like Midway, Coral Sea, Guadalcanal, the Philippines, Leyte Gulf, Okinawa and Iwo Jima, it was American forces that led the charge in the Pacific and brought Imperial Japan to its knees.
    •  Agreed (4+ / 1-)
      Recommended by:
      Otteray Scribe, Rich in PA, exlrrp, Doctor RJ
      Hidden by:
      Al Carroll

      Lots of assertions and allegations and not a single reference, citation or link. Looks more like a thinly veiled attempt to hawk a book.
      And you are correct. Russia could have entered the war after VE day in May, 1945, but did not declare war on Japan until August 8, 1945, just one week before VJ day. Against an already defeated Japanese military, they swept through Manchuria, taking Sakhalin and the Kuril islands

      E pluribus unum - Because, frankly, I don't Trust in God all that much

      by amadon on Thu Aug 14, 2014 at 10:03:48 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  There WAS a blockade (6+ / 0-)

      people who say all we needed to do was blockade are hopelessly ignorant of the topic. there WAS an effective blockade the  last year of the war, so effective they were so target poor they were shooting up fishing boats. They completely stopped virtally all shipping.
      And THIS DID NOT STOP THE WAR!!   it had no effect on the million Japanese soldiers in China, who had never been defeated and had their own sources of supply. Same for their million man army in Manchuria.
      The Japanese controlled more territory and people when the papers were signed on the Missouri. they weren't the victims of WWII, they were the instigators.
      You can always tell someone hopelessly ignorant on this topic because they say all the USA had to do was blockade Japan. Gee, why didn't we think of that?

      and why no mention of the Holocaust the Japanese unleashed on Asia, killing  millions Filipinos,  Vietnamese, Malaysians, Pacific Islanders and multi millions of Chinese?
      Using their pals and allies the NAzis as role models--starvation of millions, death and work camps, mass murder, institutionalized  rape and torture---why doesn't that even get a mention here?

      Hey Al Carrol!! Want to deny the Japanese unleashed a Holocaust on Asia?  I love to HR Holocaust Deniers

      Happy just to be alive

      by exlrrp on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 05:50:27 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  OOps the correct sentence is (5+ / 0-)

        The Japanese controlled more territory and people when the papers were signed on the Missouri than Hitler ever controlled at his peak.  Look it up!
        they were brutally oppressing these people using the same techniques Hitler did in Russia.
        Don't ask white intellectuals in American universities, ask the people in China, the Phillipines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Burma and the rest of Asia if dropping the bomb was the right thing to do

        Happy just to be alive

        by exlrrp on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 05:54:18 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  This entire post is idle rubbish. (20+ / 0-)

    The author might have tried, for instance, asking some of the people who were in Japan in 1945 whether the Japanese would have fought. My Japanese literature professor was twelve years old and in Japan at that time. His principal told the whole school that if the Americans won, all the girls would be raped and all the boys would be castrated. That's incentive for you!

    And as Doctor RJ points out above, if the United States had really, truly wanted to wipe out the Japanese race, blockade would have been the ideal method. Japan was already short tens of millions of tons of basic foodstuffs in mid-1945. With the Allied air forces enjoying absolute air superiority and shooting up everything down to oxcarts on the road, what crops there were would never have made it to market. And millions would have starved or died of disease. Would the military have surrendered then? Not likely. They would have had the lion's share of what food there was, in the first place.

    The writer also forgets that war in general is a death machine, and the Pacific War was not only fought in Japan. With blockade, the war in East and Southeast Asia would have gone on just as before, consuming hundreds of lives a day. I'm not sure how those countries would have reacted if they had learned afterward that the United States had held back on using the atomic bomb out of solicitude for Japanese civilians. Certainly, a number of Chinese and Koreans I have talked with over the years have been convinced, sometimes quite passionately, that the United States used too few bombs, not too many.

    The assertion that there was a strong peace faction in the Japanese military is ludicrous. There were a number of high officials that knew that Japan could not possibly win a full-scale war with the United States, but that does not make them a "peace faction." Indeed, after the Imperial announcement of the surrender had been recorded, but not yet broadcast, members of the military tried to seize and destroy it. As for the diplomats, who cares what they thought? They were completely impotent. All power lay with the armed forces at that point in time.

    And so on. And so on. The entire piece is incompetent rubbish, the sort of idle bullshit the right wing is so good at churning out. It's nice that the left has less of it, but what we have here shows that the urge to fantasize one's own history is not entirely confined to Rush Limpballs.

    This is the landscape that we understand, -
    And till the principle of things takes root,
    How shall examples move us from our calm?

    (Mary Oliver, "Beyond the Snow Belt.")

    by sagesource on Thu Aug 14, 2014 at 09:38:01 PM PDT

  •  Out of curiosity, is this a post or a book promo? (5+ / 0-)

    If it is the former, do you have any links that you might like to include in the post to buttress what are looking essentially like opinions masked as statements of fact?  I ask because the following statement...

    Truman later in life did try to overcome his own bigotry, courting Black voters, desegregating the US military and federal workforce, and supporting the new nation of Israel.
    ...looks a lot like what poker players call a "tell" that, in the absence of linked references like folks do here in the intertubes, makes the post (absent the Amazon "buy my book" link) look like little more than a rant...

    ...I wish my professors had been so forgiving about providing references for written assertions back in the 70's when I was in college...

    "In a nation ruled by swine, all pigs are upward mobile..." - Dr. Hunter S. Thompson

    by Jack K on Thu Aug 14, 2014 at 09:55:25 PM PDT

    •  The book is the reference (0+ / 0-)

      and the book will have all the footnotes and references.

      This is a post on a blog, not a college essay or exam paper.

      •  But it makes claims of being truthful... (0+ / 0-)

        ...and we don't have enough basis for determining whether or not it is.

        It's not the side effects of the cocaine/I'm thinking that it must be love

        by Rich in PA on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 06:41:45 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  It lines up with the other history (0+ / 0-)

          THE DECISION TO USE THE ATOMIC BOMB
          by Gar Alperovitz

          Interview
          http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/...

        •  My notes for my book are online (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Agathena

          And anyone wishing to have the notes sent to them, send me an email.

          Keep in mind, you missed the bio of me. I'm a history professor. Should I make arguments contrary to evidence, that would be the end of my career.

          After all, I'm the historian posting under my own name. Those disagreeing with me are posting anonymously hiding behind nicknames. Which would you find more reliable?

          Homepage- http://alcarroll.com Presidents' Body Counts- http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/419159 An eye opening look at evil done by presidents, mass murder, incompetence, terrorism. An insightful damning expose of presidents by a history professor.

          by Al Carroll on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 12:06:30 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  That's how it works on this blog, people want (0+ / 0-)

            to believe the propaganda that was fed to us about the Atomic Bombs. They are then dismissive and insulting to anyone who challenges their narrative. (easily done when posting as anonymous)

            Thank you for posting this.

          •  I did not miss the bio of you... (0+ / 0-)

            I know you are professor of history and that your career rests on the rigor and quality of your research.  Forgive me for not being impressed by that fact.  What I'm not sure you understand is that this venue is not a place of academic discourse relying on otherwise unavailable reference lists but is instead a blog.  In this venue, the usual convention is to provide links to references to buttress your case and not to say "buy my book" or "email me and I'll send you the references"...

            Although you clearly have one acolyte in this comment thread, the fact remains that for those of us who don't want to buy your book or don't care to be supplicants asking you via email to provide links, your DKos post is merely personal opinion dressed up as scholarly discourse based on your biography.  THAT is actually how it works on this blog and any other blog I've been a party to over the last decade or more...

            "In a nation ruled by swine, all pigs are upward mobile..." - Dr. Hunter S. Thompson

            by Jack K on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 08:43:00 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  "Overcome his bigotry" indeed!" Truman made the (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Otteray Scribe

      unilateral decision to integrate the US military after becoming incensed about the mistreatment of black GIs. And remember, he's the guy whose support of civil rights led the Dixiecrats to split from the Dem party and run Strom Thurmond for President against Truman.
         As for Israel: Truman explained to an angry Saudi king that he had broken Roosevelt's promise re Palestine because there were more Jewish voters than Arabs in the US electorate.
         But the US and the USSR collaborated to found a Jewish state in Palestine, contrary to the wishes of the British who had initially hoped for a US-UK mandate there.

      •  Certainly true (0+ / 0-)

        Truman, just like Lincoln and LBJ, proves the most successful presidents on civil rights have been former bigots working mightily to overcome the prejudices they used to believe in.

        Homepage- http://alcarroll.com Presidents' Body Counts- http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/419159 An eye opening look at evil done by presidents, mass murder, incompetence, terrorism. An insightful damning expose of presidents by a history professor.

        by Al Carroll on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 12:08:02 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  If Truman had not used the weapon (9+ / 0-)

    and the public found out about it AFTER an invasion of the Japanese home islands, impeachment would have been the least of his worries.

    An invasion was coming, and Okinawa had given us an idea what it was going to be like. Okinawa stats:  

    American losses: 12,000 killed; 38,000 wounded.

    Japanese losses: >110,000 killed; somewhere between 40,000 - 150,000 civilians killed.

    My wife's uncle was a Marine on Iwo Jima. He was wounded when he was shot twice.  Iwo Jima statistics:
    Americans: Force of 70,000. 6,821 killed, 19,217 wounded.

    Japanese: Force of 22,060. 18,844 killed, only 216 taken prisoner.  About 3,000 remained in hiding but refusing to surrender. Many/most of them died in the caves rather than surrender.

    Rudeness is a weak imitation of strength. - Eric Hoffer

    by Otteray Scribe on Thu Aug 14, 2014 at 10:11:12 PM PDT

    •  This is fucking insulting. (3+ / 0-)

      "1. Japan actually had an outstanding human rights record for its earlier democratic period. Much like Germany, one can point to long periods of humane civilization as well as far briefer periods of atrocities. Japan had thriving democratic, liberal, socialist, and labor movements until fascism overtook the nation relatively late, in the mid 1930s."

      Yes, I guess in light of that it is quite impressive that despite a briefer period of atrocities, Japan managed to still murder 6 million civilian (excluding "collateral damages"). Let's not mention human experimentation (Unit 731), forced prostitution (Comfort Women), and rape (Nanking+others).

      Also main difference between Japan and German.

      German officials consistently offered sincere apology for the Holocaust (and other war-crime). Maintained monuments and memorials dedicated to the victims of the Holocaust. Passed law outlawing denial of holocaust.

      Japan, on the other hand, maintained the a memorial for war dead in Yasukuni Shrine that still include the name of their war criminal and their high ranking politicians still frequent it to honor it. It's like German have a memorial honoring their war deads that includes the likes of Herman Goering and Amon Goeth. And even to this day, there are factions still trying to rewrite history to down-play or eliminate their history of war crimes.

      Well, I guess Japan would be very happy to have another history revisionist on their side. So congratulation on that.

    •  My father was a US Marine in the Pacific war. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Otteray Scribe

      Not only was he wounded, but he suffered an infection that led to the loss of all his teeth, he eventually had his stomach removed due to an  intractable ulcer, and he developed the lifelong addiction to smoking that killed him many years later, but crippled him with emphysema from age 45 on.
         And I've known many WWII Marines who had similar conditions.
         Those guys didn't talk about their experiences much, but when they did it was chilling. I recall one man recounting his platoon CO telling his troops on Guadalcanal after the US fleet had been forced to withdraw: "There ain't gonna be no death march. We'll fight to the death right here."
          Had there been an invasion of Japan, those guys would have been the first to land. Most of them would not have survived.

    •  You didn't bother to read (0+ / 0-)

      Okinawa and Iwo's losses were high mostly because of Japanese soldier and civilians fearing, correctly, they would be executed by either racist US troops or fanatic Japanese officers.

      And no invasion was necessary. Okinawa was the last time Japan had any substantial air force or navy as well.

      Homepage- http://alcarroll.com Presidents' Body Counts- http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/419159 An eye opening look at evil done by presidents, mass murder, incompetence, terrorism. An insightful damning expose of presidents by a history professor.

      by Al Carroll on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 12:12:12 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  That's some strained logic there. (0+ / 0-)

        Not only is there nothing wrong with my reading skill, but I lived those awful times.

        Your history is an abstraction because you weren't even born then, plus you clearly have an axe to grind and a book to peddle.  Mine is as real as all the gold stars in windows up and down our street.  Revisionist history is disgraceful.

        If that is the way you do history, be glad I was not on your dissertation committee.  

        Rudeness is a weak imitation of strength. - Eric Hoffer

        by Otteray Scribe on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 03:50:57 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I'm not going to second-guess Truman. (8+ / 0-)

    Those of us who lived through the Cold War, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and the Reagan-era arms race often wish that the nuclear genie had never been let out of the bottle.

    But the world was a very different place in 1945, and we weren't there. Hindsight can often be instructive, but in this case there are simply too many what-if's.

    I believe that just as many Japanese (or more) would have died had Truman refrained from using the A-Bomb.

    The Japanese rice crop in 1945 was a total bust. Who's to say whether millions would have starved while the Tojo an his junta pursued their delusions that some kind of "peace with honor" could be salvaged from the fiasco they created?

    And if not for the horrific examples of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, who's to say that the Cuban Missile Crisis wouldn't have turned into a shooting war?

    “It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing
    he was never reasoned into” - Jonathan Swift

    by jjohnjj on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 12:07:10 AM PDT

    •  Japan would have surrendered anyway (0+ / 0-)

      Tojo was out of power for over a year by that time, BTW. He was not the equal of Hitler, just one of a military junta.

      When Japan surrendered because of the Soviet invasion (not the bombs) the junta was split. The split was broken by the Emperor speaking in favor of peace.

      Homepage- http://alcarroll.com Presidents' Body Counts- http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/419159 An eye opening look at evil done by presidents, mass murder, incompetence, terrorism. An insightful damning expose of presidents by a history professor.

      by Al Carroll on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 12:16:51 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thank you for the diary, setting the record (0+ / 0-)

    straight and dispelling the prevalent myths.

  •  Prof. Carroll's post raises interesting points ... (6+ / 0-)

    Prof. Carroll's post raises interesting points for discussion, but his arguments rely on an invalid 'revisionist' view of the historical record.

    Theater/Army commanders such as Eisenhower, MacArthur, Nimitz, Bradley & Patton had no knowledge of the A-bomb project, & were not consulted prior to its use. General Groves was the military officer in charge of the Manhattan Project, he reported solely to General George Marshall wrt the bomb's development & initial test (Trinity). Prof. Carroll's statement that those named theater/army commanders "all opposed the use of A-bombs against Japan" is disingenuous.

    The A-bomb project began as an arms-race between Britain and Germany. If Germany had still been fighting in August 1945, the 1st A-bomb would have hit Berlin.

    Every Allied move against a defended Japanese base was met w/ fanatic resistance, which continued well past the point of military defeat. The USMC invaded Betio atoll (Tarawa), paying a v high price, & took only 13 prisoners from over 5,000 defenders. Not because they wouldn't accept surrender, but because IJ soldiers & sailors were indoctrinated & trained to fight until death.

    In August 1945, 10+ divisions of US soldiers were poised to invade Kyushu, backed by a huge armada of naval & air support. The IJ Army had more than doubled their forces in Kyushu, built fortifications, stockpiled munitions, enlisted civilian defense groups & assembled thousands of kamikaze airplanes. The US was featuring napalm, white phosphorous & a large stockpile poison gas, in addition to a fleet of bombers that could burn an entire city in one raid.

    The Hiroshima A-bomb killed tens of thousands of civilians, but it also ruined the IJ army headquarters that controlled the Kyushu defenses.

    Much more importantly, it STOPPED THE WAR. Millions lived, because Hiroshima's incineration ended WWIi.

    •  Ending the war quickly was best for everyone (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Otteray Scribe, schumann, JeffW

      Including the Japanese

      Happy just to be alive

      by exlrrp on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 05:59:26 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  What you say is mostly untrue (0+ / 0-)

      First, the bombs killed nearly a quarter million civilians, eventually over half a million.

      That some of the commanders had no prior knowledge of the A Bomb does not change the fact: Even George Patton was horrified by the targeting of civilians by the A Bombs.

      And like some others who disagreed with me, you seem to have trouble reading. The war ended anyway, halted because Japan's military saw most of their troops surrendering to Soviets in barely a month.

      Homepage- http://alcarroll.com Presidents' Body Counts- http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/419159 An eye opening look at evil done by presidents, mass murder, incompetence, terrorism. An insightful damning expose of presidents by a history professor.

      by Al Carroll on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 12:23:44 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Any humanitarian in WWII (5+ / 0-)

    Was on the allied side. All the way through the signing on the Mighty Mo.
    Your vilification of the USA and your apologia for the Japanese holocaust that they unleashed on the rest of Asia says all indicate a lot of ignorance on this topic.

    Happy just to be alive

    by exlrrp on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 05:30:40 AM PDT

    •  Actually there are humanitarians on the Nazi side. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      schumann

      John Rabe, a Nazi party member in China, managed to shelter 200,000 Chinese civilians from being murdered/raped by the Japanese military.

      Also let's not discount the likes of Oskar Schindler, Karl Plagge, and other "Nazi" party member (Nazi in name only, not in action) who saved a lot of people from being murdered by the Nazis.

    •  Truman equals all of the USA? (0+ / 0-)

      Bizarre argument.

      And nowhere did I apologize for Japanese military atrocities. Only racists insist on bashing every last Japanese. Like Germans and the actual Holocaust, the atrocities were done by a minority.

      Homepage- http://alcarroll.com Presidents' Body Counts- http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/419159 An eye opening look at evil done by presidents, mass murder, incompetence, terrorism. An insightful damning expose of presidents by a history professor.

      by Al Carroll on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 12:27:17 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  At the risk of piling on... (6+ / 0-)

    ...we know a great deal about what the Japanese government was thinking at the time due to preserved memos and intelligence interceptions, as well as post-war interviews.  Those bits of history provide perhaps the strongest evidence in support of the use of the Atomic Bomb.

  •  What this diary overlooks is the state of play at (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Otteray Scribe, JeffW

    the time. The destruction of cities from the air was ongoing. An incendiary raid on Tokyo, for example, killed more than 100,000.
       A blockade of Japan might have worked - but would have taken years.
       The Marines who'd fought the Pacific war were burned out and cynical. There was some slogan going around about the Gateway to Victory. The Marines were calling it the 48 Gate.
       As far as I can tell, nobody in the US administration doubted that we would have to invade Japan if Japan did not surrender. The ambiguous reaction to the Potsdam ultimatum was interpreted as rejection by US officials, signalling a need to ramp up the pressure.
       The Japanese practice of fighting to the last man in the Pacific battles and the horrifying casualty toll sustained by US forces at Okinawa led everyone to believe that the Japanese would fight even more viciously to defend their home islands.
        Moreover, the Japanese were known to be reinforcing the most logical invasion point.
        It was believed that much of the force deployed against Germany would have to be transferred to the Pacific. Casualty projections for an invasion of Japan ran as high as 1.5 million and victory was projected to take months or even years.
        But Truman had the means to avoid all that by using the atomic bomb. Why decimate a whole generation of young Americans when you could end the war by killing a couple of hundred thousand Japanese?
       After all, the US was going to end up firebombing those cities sooner or later anyway.
       It's easy, given what we know now, to second guess Truman. All those generals and admirals quoted expressed their misgivings afterward. You don't see their objections in any official records, though. The bomb was a closely held secret and there was almost nobody in the inner circle who opposed using it.

       As for accusations that the decision was racist? A hearty FU is appropriate to that charge. Does the diarist know about the Bataan death march? The rape of Nanking? The fact that the Japanese killed more people in China than Hitler killed in the Holocaust?
      Look at how the US bombed Germany. How was our treatment of Japan any different?
       Given what he knew at the time, Truman made the only decision he could have made. And there are a lot of people (including, probably, myself) who are alive today because of it.

    •  Actually your argument ironically agrees with me (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Agathena

      The fact that Japan had lost far more people from a single conventional firebombing of Tokyo shows the A Bomb did not cause them to surrender.

      Homepage- http://alcarroll.com Presidents' Body Counts- http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/419159 An eye opening look at evil done by presidents, mass murder, incompetence, terrorism. An insightful damning expose of presidents by a history professor.

      by Al Carroll on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 12:29:33 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I should add (0+ / 0-)

      The high estimates of deaths from an invasion were ludicrous, pulled from thin air.

      Credible estimates were in the tens of thousands.

      And cursing just makes you look like a child who thinks it makes them look adult.

      Homepage- http://alcarroll.com Presidents' Body Counts- http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/419159 An eye opening look at evil done by presidents, mass murder, incompetence, terrorism. An insightful damning expose of presidents by a history professor.

      by Al Carroll on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 12:31:52 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well it looks to me from the counter arguments (0+ / 0-)

        some people think that the people of Nagasaki and Hiroshima deserved their fate because of the atrocities perpetrated by the Japanese military. That's not defense, it's revenge.

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site