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Thursday, March 22, 2018

The atomic bombing of Japan was not a military necessity

Exactly 70 years ago Hiroshima was dropped an atomic bomb, which became one of the final chords of the most terrible war in human history. But was it really necessary to make this nightmare whether the atomic bombings led to Japan’s surrender? In the United States to talk about it is not accepted that gives the world the right to ask America about this several unpleasant questions.

Throughout the tragic history of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the only two questions are still a matter of dispute, but they – the key to understanding what happened to his ethical, political and any other assessment. These questions are: why and for what?

“The Japanese are born with the belief that they are not just God’s chosen nation, but are themselves the descendants of the gods. They do not even need to teach it, they don’t even believe it, they know it”

The main justificatory argument, the United States is summarized by the fact that the General staff, calculating approximate losses during the landing and fighting on Okinawa, decided that the losses will be unacceptably large (roughly – up to a million people). Therefore, a decision was made about the atomic bombing “intractable” of Japan as the exclusive way of psychological pressure.

Seems logical, and it is this version of events is still considered the main, it supports a large part even of Russian experts. In Soviet times, she reluctantly perceived as official in the USSR, however, with reservations, they say, the action, of course, monstrous, only the United States had no other choice.

However, there are some significant “but”.


The us military command has canceled the preparation of “operation Downfall” (direct invasion of the Japanese Islands). The U.S. had only two atomic bombs, and the third could be ready for use only in the area on 17-18 August (at least as reported to Leslie groves – “American Beria,” the Director of the Manhattan project), and the fourth in September. The General staff then initiated the discussion, offering to postpone or cancel altogether the atomic bombing because of the accelerated preparation of the invasion.

In other words, the invasion, no one did not intend to cancel.


Terrorizing bombing of Japanese cities by conventional means has continued for several months, as in Dresden, but with even more devastating consequences. Japanese cities consisted mostly of one-story “paper” (wood) houses, except, of course, industrial areas. These cities blazed with the fires. From Tokyo little left even before Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Some more pace – and no “psychological” effect of the use of nuclear weapons would be necessary. It is noteworthy that from the Memorandum of the same Leslie groves suggests that at least he (and most likely, it was an expression of the General opinion) do not understand what are the goals of the atomic bombing.

Here are the words of groves: “the Problem facing us now is whether, assuming the Japanese do not capitulate, continue to drop bombs as their production, or to accumulate them, in order then to lose everything in a short time interval. Not all in one day, but for quite a short time. It is also connected with the question of what goals we pursue. In other words, should we not concentrate on targets, shock, which will mostly be helping the invasion, and not on the industry, the morale of troops, psychology and the like? To a greater extent tactical goals, and not any other”.

But “tactical objectives” could be destroyed by conventional means. Hiroshima was one of the largest supply centers of the army and Navy. As secondary goals were selected Niigata (military base and industrial center), Yokohama (industrial center), Kokura (the largest Arsenal and warehouse) and Kyoto (also an industrial centre). Kyoto was excluded from “death list” because of its historical value, but largely for personal reasons. Some American generals and admirals have been to the ancient capital of Japan before the war from a purely tourism purposes and personally lobbied for the salvation of this city. By the way, the plane that dropped bomb on Nagasaki, initially flew to Kokura, but because of the overcast to drop a bomb could not and turned to Nagasaki the secondary target.


Japan and its top military and political leaders (the Emperor and the war Cabinet”) for quite a long time could not reliably determine the scale of the incident. And therefore are unable to take any political decisions on the results of the first bombing (Hiroshima). The fact of the use of a previously unknown weapon of tremendous destructive power became known in Tokyo from us radio. U.S. planes with atomic bombs were able to fly to the heart of Japan only because they were few. This is no joke: the Japanese air defense, are equipped with very modern radars, used to raiding huge masses of bombers and in both cases felt a few “flying fortresses” scouts. In Hiroshima even canceled announced there was an air alarm when it was revealed that the aircraft only two. Nothing like the atomic bombing there just isn’t expected.

The Japanese mentality in crisis situations, in principle, is not conducive to quick decision-making. The Emperor and the military Committee has also engaged in a long, grueling meetings as from Hiroshima began to receive documentary evidence. While Japan simply could not understand the nature of the arms used. Expect in such circumstances, a quick surrender would be simply naive.


Potentially Japan was ready to surrender, but out of habit (and, again, due to the peculiarities of mentality, state system and national character) were traded. And it was quite possible to continue to trade, putting pressure conventional arms and not reaching extreme elements – the use of the atomic bombs. The Emperor had the casting vote and veto in the “war room”, his voice was critically important. He was ready to surrender, but not “unconditional”, in the German sample, and exhibited four conditions, among which was the safeguard of the Imperial authority (which, by the way, was eventually executed).

How to actually perceive the United States the issue of human rights for robiology of the arguments of Tokyo was the presence still capable of the Kwantung army. It was she, and not the mythical hundreds of thousands of kamikazes that will cause irreparable damage to American troops, was the main threat to the allies. Without the defeat of the Kwantung army, Japan could really resist even a few months, and the allies would be drawn into large-scale operations in mainland China, that the United States were not ready.

The position and behavior of the Soviet Union were critical to the whole situation in General. Some researchers believe that the Emperor Hirohito specifically waited because I don’t believe that the USSR would enter the war, and especially in the fact that the Kwantung army would be so quickly and ignominiously defeated. From his face, the Emperor led the cunning and typical of Japanese diplomatic game, trying to clarify Moscow’s position and to improve it. That Stalin in Yalta made a promise to enter the war against Japan, in Tokyo did not even know. In addition, the “Potsdam Declaration” (and in fact, in the ultimatum of Japan by the allies) anything about joining the war, the USSR and on the application of a new type of weapon not mentioned. The Emperor and the war Cabinet” simply had no information – “objective picture of the world”, but they could not agree on the surrender, which fundamentally distinguishes them from Hitler. This difference and allows to judge about the possibility of a development of events.

On the evening of 8 August the Soviet Union entered the war against Japan. In Tokyo, only found out the morning of 9 August. At 11 o’clock in the afternoon of 9 August a second atomic bomb Nagasaki burned. The “big six” who led Japan, met only on the night of the 10th and decide not could that also fit into the Japanese mentality. In the result, the Emperor intervened personally. In the morning of the 10th Japan gave the allies their offer of surrender, which still was not “unconditional”, as it was a one (and not four as previously) condition: the preservation of Imperial power at least formally. This is an accurate chronology of events from which not implies that the atomic bombing the second target – Nagasaki led to the surrender. The Soviet offensive in Manchuria influenced the decision of the Emperor exactly the same, if not more.

Hirohito was a humanist and a supporter of peace, as it came to represent later. He sincerely believed himself to be a direct descendant of the goddess Amaterasu was identified with the Japanese government and the Japanese nation. He could continue to sacrifice entire cities if still had in the rear of the Kwantung army. The Japanese are born with the belief that they are not just God’s chosen nation, but are themselves the descendants of the gods. They do not even need to teach it, they don’t even believe it, they KNOW it. Hirohito and for the preservation of the Imperial house was a religious fetish – the divine component of the Japanese mindset would have died without the power of the Mikado. Even if formal authority: there was a long period of the Shogunate when the shoguns ruled from the faces of emperors who were held under house arrest. And that’s okay.


Overall, President Truman and American military and political leadership just as the rest of the world, did not understand the consequences of the atomic bombing. It is not even in the technical circumstances, important though they are. So, on Nagasaki was dropped a more powerful bomb than Hiroshima, but the destruction and the losses were significantly less than in Hiroshima – impact and weather conditions, and terrain. Of course, the scientists who created the bomb, it is theoretically imagined her the effect of it. But the practice framework for the treatment of nuclear weapons was formed only on the results of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Only then began to understand the propagation mechanism of the shock, light, heat and electronic waves, it was possible to calculate the damage, paying attention in particular to the terrain and weather. And the effects of radiation began to emerge only a few years, based on observations of the “hibakusha” – more than 200 thousand people affected by radiation.

Japan, we can say lucky, because the “Fat man” bomb dropped on Hiroshima – was, in modern terminology, “pop”. Of 24 kilograms of uranium fission process began only 700 grams, and because the pollution was insignificant (in Chernobyl there were several tons of uranium, but the stories about three-headed cats and remained with tales).

Myths and truth about the great Otechestvennaia way, having no real idea about the possible results of the bombing and relying on the pilots (to Nagasaki due to cloud cover at the intended targets and not missed), Washington still accepted the decision about bombing. Yes, Japan was warring country, an aggressor state, who used barbaric methods and forms of warfare. They killed hundreds of thousands of people, experimented on prisoners, was trying to produce biological weapons. But still the use of atomic weapons, which the Americans themselves was little known, raises questions from the point of view of morality, even if we forget about the questionable feasibility.


No substantial grounds for believing that continuing the war by conventional means would have led to such catastrophic losses, which predicted the American General staff. The most fierce and fanatical resistance the Japanese had only on two Islands, Okinawa and Saipan. Yes, their perception of the world, religious and political views were completely opposite to us, and this is what caused such dire predictions generals and admirals. Kamikaze at the time, came as a surprise to the American fleet, they at first had no protection, because the heads did not fit that such a thing is possible. Therefore, we began to form the opinion that it is necessary to do something that would break the spirit of the Japanese people”. That is, to inflict irreparable damage.

However, the rapid destruction of the Kwantung army, as the Soviet landing operation in Korea and in the Kuril Islands (these landings, by the way, a little than differed from similar American offensive operations were only better organized), showed that the notorious “Japanese spirit” is already gone. Indeed, there had been fanatical “war party”, but much of it safely would have accepted any decision of the Emperor, which is what happened in the end. If most of the officer corps was set to continue the carnage until the last Japanese”, then no atomic bombs wouldn’t have worked. Opponents of surrender were clearly taken sluggish and muddled attempt of a military coup, which was quickly suppressed. This alone shows that there is no slender plan for the continuation of resistance was not, nor was systematic and organized opponents of surrender. Even the conspirators were protesting against the surrender of the abstract, not against the Emperor, and it basically could not end well for them.


The use of still not clear, but in theory awesome weapons in a situation when it is possible to get along without it – fundamentally immoral. To get away from disputes over morality in US remind us that Japan waged total war, in which she had erased the distinction between military and civilians, and therefore responses like nuclear weapons were adequate in such an inadequate situation. In addition, in 1945, there were no international rules governing the use of atomic weapons. But they could not be in 1945, but there were fundamental view of humanity, which the United States was proud of since its founding.

It is worth Recalling that in America the military action was not conducted, it was not a terrible loss or abuse of the civilian population. Even the British Empire in this regard has suffered significantly stronger. And because the anger of Britons (admittedly, mostly towards Germany) can understand, but the US population during the Second world war spent relatively quietly in the rhythm of normal life. Therefore it is difficult to explain the use of atomic weapons by revenge or a manifestation of the overall bitterness. There is something in the fundamental moral basis must be correct.

In this context, the theory that nuclear weapons were used including demonstration of the power of the Soviet Union, not without reason. Tactical military circumstances extremely dubious and not always clear, but the political component is obvious. Yes, President Truman was not inclined to strategic thinking, but the American system of government includes including informal influence at the White house. Yes, and on the role of Winston Churchill, just shapes strategic, human right, impossible to forget.

But even this effect had been reached. The nuclear threat only spurred the USSR to create its own nuclear weapons. And along the way, the atomic bombings led to the split in the scientific community on the fundamental problem of feasibility of military applications of scientific results. This discussion is not so abstract as it might seem at first glance. It led to the formulation of a new ontological principles for the development of civilization, despite the fact that from the nuclear threat to mankind is not disposed of so far.

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