Talk:Atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki

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Editorial notes

An intersection of science and authoritarianism

Renaming ?[edit]

Should this page be renamed to "Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki" ? I mean, just for clarity. Kungo Gumi (talk) 11:27, 23 March 2013 (UTC)

Or "Atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki", since that's how Wikipedia phrases it. Balaam (talk) 11:32, 23 March 2013 (UTC)
Just for the record, RW doesn't share Wikipedia's naming conventions. As for the title, do whatever you want, just leave a redirect behind. The phrase is a convenient one to link to.--ZooGuard (talk) 11:55, 23 March 2013 (UTC)
"Atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki" establishes context unequivocally. Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 15:21, 23 March 2013 (UTC)
Yes, because the title is the only part of the article that carries any information and there is another major context in which those two cities can be lumped together, especially on a wiki like this one...--ZooGuard (talk) 15:26, 23 March 2013 (UTC)
The article is about the atomic bombings. Why not say so in the title? WP naming style aside, it is simple clarity. Putting essential info in multiple places, where appropriate, is a part of clear technical writing style. Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 17:59, 23 March 2013 (UTC)

Why these cities?[edit]

What's even more disturbing about the selection of these cities as targets was that most other cities in Japan had already been thoroughly pummeled. In order to get a good idea of the bomb's power, the US needed to destroy a city that was still mostly standing. --TheLateGatsby (talk) 15:03, 28 March 2013 (UTC)

To "get a good idea of the bomb's power" add "and demonstrate this power to the Japanese." SophieWilder 15:08, 28 March 2013 (UTC)
And not forgetting the Soviets... Scherben (talk) 18:32, 4 February 2014 (UTC)

Fun Fact (also relevant)[edit]

It is written in Wikipedia that the US Military ordered half a million Purple Hearts (an American military decoration) to be manufactured in preparation for Operation Downfall, evidently they were delivered before the end of the war. As of 2003 there were still 120,000 of those medals to be awarded, seeing as the statistics given on the Purple Heart Wikipedia page show the Iraq war as having produced 35,000 Purple Heart recipients it can be safely assumed that said medals are still being given out to this day <>. If the US Army thought that the Japanese were ready to surrender nobody told the clerk who ordered those medals. Alsto003 (talk) 01:16, 23 July 2014 (UTC) Alex

Downfall would have had seven atomic bombs. They were going to drop them on the landing beaches and land while the smoke was clearing. They'd probably have need *way* more purple hearts than that... King Skeleton (talk) 09:55, 18 October 2014 (UTC)

Smoking gun against the idea that the Japanese were about to surrender[edit]

I'm sorry, but this entire article is in need of a rewrite. I don't want to just take matters into my own hands and rewrite everything without an okay from the rest of the Rationalwiki, but the thesis of this article (that the atomic bombings were a hasty and unnecessary decision) is ultimately bullshit in light of a couple of key smoking guns. I'll post the key elements of the debate right here, but you can read the rest from here.

The Japanese request to keep their empire is real. Their request to keep their emperor is bullshit. They requested only the retention of their emperor on August 10th, and the United States immediately agreed. Asking to keep the Empire is a hoax offer. That's just asking the US to stop fighting in exchange for nothing.
--Frank Trollman
Yeah, here's the actual smoking gun. Some context: This is the summary of Japanese diplomatic traffic in their (broken) codes, in this case between Foreign Minister Tōgō and Ambassador (to the USSR) Satō. Tōgō was by far the most dovish member of the Supreme War Council (aka the Big Six, the other five being the PM, the Army and Navy Ministers, and the chiefs of staff for the Army and Navy) that was running the place.
Now, Tōgō wanted the Soviets to broker a peace deal, and tried first the Soviet Ambassador to Japan and then his Japanese counterpart. Tōgō didn't have much success, partly because the Soviets were looking at Japanese territory with hungry eyes, and partly because he wouldn't commit to any actual conditions. And there was no way he could, since he hadn't bothered to inform the military that he was doing this. Satō regularly asked if he had, like, actual negotiating authority (i.e. whether the military was on board), and regularly got noncommittal replies.
On the 13th of July, Satō finally told his boss that the best Japan could get was "virtually the equivalent of unconditional surrender". On the 17th Tōgō replied that they were not interested in getting the USSR to broker a deal that was "anything like unconditional surrender". On the 18th, Satō tried to clarify that when he said "unconditional surrender" he of course meant that the emperor would remain so. On the 21st, Tōgō's reply was not "Sure!" or even "That doesn't go far enough, but it's a step in the right direction", it was "we are unable to consent to it under any circumstances whatever," and Japan is totally going to fight to the death.
And the American decision makers were reading this in effectively real time. They knew that these half-assed peace feelers didn't have the military's OK. They knew that offering to preserve the Emperor as a figurehead couldn't even get one vote of the Big Six. They were also reading the military traffic that showed how energetically Japan was preparing for the final battle and that the invasion had to be called off.
-- Morat

I would like to add that the American experiences in battles such as Iwo Jima and Okinawa seemed reinforce the notion that the Japanese won't surrender. (talk) 05:53, 16 January 2015 (UTC)

Hiroshima, Nagasaki and Japanese nationalism[edit]

Isn't it worth mentioning that (1) the conventional firebombing of Tokyo was more destructive than either atomic bombing but is rarely given the same focus, because (2) the whole thing was hijacked by the Japanese far-right and focused on as a unique crime against them as part of the exceptionalism they use to ignore their involvement in staggering acts of genocide in China and the rest of the far east? I still recall that one Japanese textbook that described the Rape of Nanking as "a few deaths." King Skeleton (talk) 09:50, 18 October 2014 (UTC)

The bombings need more context[edit]

The atomic bombings can be viewed as an extension of the strategic firebombing that had been occurring against Japan. In other words, the Allies (and Axis) are practicing total war, and are attempting to utterly destroy Japan's capability of even waging war. The Pacific campaign was one of mutual hatred and racism, and you only need to look at the propaganda of both Japan and the US to recognize that. And while the racist attitudes made the use of strategic bombing easier, simply killing Japanese for the sake of it was never in the cards. You also have to remember the horrific combat that the Marines and soldiers faced during their island hopping on Saipan, Iwo Jima, Okinawa, etc. In particular, on Saipan, almost the entire civilian population committed suicide, at least partly at the encouragement of the Emperor, due to his fear that the relatively decent treatment of civilians and prisoners would be demotivating for the rest of the Japanese populace. You only need to read the memoirs of some of the combat veterans to get an idea of the sheer fanaticism that Japanese forces exercised as a whole.

It really feels that this article really fails to address this, and it almost seems to brush it off with the sentence "The facade of the fanatical Japanese warrior-state that would fight to the very bitter-end (images of school children and housewives using bamboo spears to defend the God-Emperor are often invoked) was not an accurate reflection of reality." Because that goes directly against what happened in Saipan and other areas with Japanese military garrison. (talk) 13:52, 21 November 2016 (UTC)

Doesn't the fact that the Japanese on these island had to be forced to fight to the bitter end go against the idea that they would willingly fight to the death in Japan even after the collapse of imperial control? Obviously nobody knew exactly what would happen, but it's clear many Japanese wanted to surrender, and it was a big problem for the Japanese authorities to stop them from doing so. Annquin (talk) 14:31, 21 November 2016 (UTC)
Perhaps I phrased it wrong. You're correct, a lot of the resistance and suicide from civilian population stems from Japanese propaganda and military coercion. But at the end of the day, the military culture of the Japanese meant that the rate of surrendering is far lower than, say, Europe. Read about the accounts of the Pacific island battles. My problem is that the article appears to be trying really hard to argue now unnecessary and wrong the bombings were, without fully taking all perspectives and experiences into account (talk) 04:08, 22 November 2016 (UTC)

surviving jesuit priests[edit]

could merit its own article: Fuzzy "Cat" Potato, Jr. (talk/stalk) 01:20, 12 February 2019 (UTC)

Pape's Interpretation[edit]

Letting the Emperor continue as a living god and other concessions instead of nuking Hiroshima and Nagasaki might have been worse in the long run. Consider, for instance, that the Chinese are still miffed that MacArthur let the entire Imperial family off the hook for war crimes (Prince Asaka, Hirohito's uncle, was the commander of the Japanese forces at Nanking). Furthermore, we let many of the Japanese war criminals off (see Unit 731) off in order to provide a counterbalance to Communist China and North Korea, and Japan is now experiencing a rise in ultra-nationalism. Ultimately, the Japan we see now is what would happen if the US had acted like Pape suggested, possibly better. From a purely ethical standpoint, letting the Imperial family (hell, maybe even letting Hirohito) go free from trial was a mistake.

A good view on Japan's wartime conduct and postwar victimhood comes from Knowing Better, see below:

Just needed to get this off my chest. RoninMacbeth (talk) 22:29, 28 February 2019 (UTC)