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USA war crimes - atomic bombs


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You're absolutely correct.  A sensible voice.  Lots of younger people growing up today have no idea about war.  They have never studied it and live in a kind of dream world where they think about things in terms of peace, love, and selfies.  As you pointed out, there were all kinds of horrors continuing every day.  Not to mention the prisoners of war that were treated very cruelly in many cases.  Just because some military leaders thought the war "was over" doesn't mean Japan had surrendered.  They had not in fact.  They were preparing their citizens on the mainland to fight to the death of every person.  The Japanese military had no intention of surrendering if they could keep the fight going.  That is ingrained in their thinking from history.  That's why after the war, all Samurai swords had to be surrendered to the occupying American forces in Japan.  They were considered a symbol of Japan's historic militarism and never surrender attitude.  People had to take their personal collector's Samurai swords to depots set up all over the country and turn them in.  Many some how made it back to the states and were given to some military veterans as a gift for serving. 

I recall photos of great piles of samurai swords heading for the blast furnace.

I still have a few items marked 'Made in Occupied Japan'...a rocking skull ashtray being the prize of the collection.

Edited by DogOnPorch
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10 hours ago, dre said:

There was no reason to risk any lives of the troops. Didnt you read what any of the military leaders said at the time? The Islands were completely blockaded

First of all, I'm not sure if you know what a blockade is, but its not like some sort of spell in Harry Potter where you just wave a magic wand an an invisible barrier appears. Blockades require resources... ships, planes, and soldiers. (Soldiers whom would be 'at risk' during a continued blockade; even if Japan's military strength was diminished it still had planes, subs, etc. which would still be a threat to American forces.)

And as others have pointed out, despite Japan being 'blockaded', they still had a significant number of forces in places like China, where innocent people were being killed. (Then there is the issue of the Japanese themselves, many of whom would starve or die should the blockade progress.)

So perhaps the U.S. could have just maintained a blockade indefinitely until the Japanese eventually did give up/starve to death (I don't think anyone doubts that), but the problem is that option would have caused more lives than it saved.

As for the opinions of "military leaders' opposing the use of atomic weapons... They are certainly entitled to their opinions, but they are just that: opinions. There are also military leaders and historians who think it was the correct thing to do.

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...even before the bombs were dropped the Japanese were signalling that they were willing to surrender...

Ah yes, the myth of the imminent Japanese surrender.

The fact is, while there may have been a few Japanese politicians willing to surrender, they did not hold significant power within Japan (at least not enough to actually get Japan to surrender). Japan lost at Midway. They could have surrendered then, but didn't. Japan lost Okinawa, but still didn't surrender. Japanese cities were regularly subjected to bombing, but still they did not surrender.

It took 2 atomic bombs, and even then those in charge were deadlocked about continuing the war. It wasn't until the emperor stepped in and said "Dude, are you nuts? They wiped out entire cities with a single bomb. I think its time to give up." And even then there were some in the military who wanted to continue the war (even attempting ta coup.) 

This was not the sign of a country that was planning on surrendering quickly.

...if they were allowed to keep the office of emperor

Ah yes, another myth... that if the U.S. just promised to keep the emperor around then the Japanese would have surrendered.

Ok, as has been mentioned before, Japan wasn't a monolithic society, and not everyone was willing to surrender regardless of what would happen to the emperor.

And even many of those who wanted to surrender wanted more than just the emperor left alone... they wanted all of the Japanese military and political system left in tact. So, the nitwits who started the war would have still been around and in charge. The U.S. wisely looked at that option, decided they didn't want to have a replay of the war a few decades later, and decided that no, you can't just leave the same political system in place.

 

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They could not export or import anything what-so-ever.

Prior to Japan's surrender, they had troops stationed in China, Thailand, Laos, and a host of other countries. So Japan certainly wasn't as 'isolated' as you seem to think.

It may have not had enough, but that's different than not being able to 'import/export anything'.

Edited by segnosaur
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9 hours ago, Ash74 said:

Or is this thread only for U.S bashing?

No, this thread is about US war crimes. The Japanese paid for their war crimes in the farcical but "legal" Tokyo War Crimes Tribunal. The US has been committing massive, vicious war crimes from way before WWII right up to this very day. 

But unlike other threads I won't demand that people's justified opinions be censored. 

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1 hour ago, segnosaur said:

First of all, I'm not sure if you know what a blockade is, but its not like some sort of spell in Harry Potter where you just wave a magic wand an an invisible barrier appears. Blockades require resources... ships, planes, and soldiers. (Soldiers whom would be 'at risk' during a continued blockade; even if Japan's military strength was diminished it still had planes, subs, etc. which would still be a threat to American forces.)

 

All myths and no sources for your myths.

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12 hours ago, blackbird said:

Americans made a calculation that it would have cost them tens of thousands of American lives to take Japan by landing armed forces on the Japanese island.  Japan's military was not ready to surrender.  They were preparing every citizen to fight to the death in Japan itself.  Remember the objective is to win the war with the minimum casualties on your side.  They calculated that the atom bomb would save a lot of American lives.

A myth is not a legal justification for committing war crimes. And even if it wasn't a myth, it is still not a legal justification for committing war crimes.

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4 minutes ago, hot enough said:

First of all, I'm not sure if you know what a blockade is, but its not like some sort of spell in Harry Potter where you just wave a magic wand an an invisible barrier appears. Blockades require resources... ships, planes, and soldiers. (Soldiers whom would be 'at risk' during a continued blockade; even if Japan's military strength was diminished it still had planes, subs, etc. which would still be a threat to American forces.)

All myths and no sources for your myths.

USS Callaghan, sunk July 1945 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Callaghan_(DD-792))

USS Bullhead, Sunk August 1945 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Bullhead_(SS-332))

So, despite Japan being "blockaded" American soldiers were dying. Sounds like a pretty big risk to me.

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Typical Japanese 'war crimes'...this from a Japanese submarine.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_submarine_I-8

 

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SS Tjisalak

On the 26 March 1944, during a cruise into the Indian Ocean, I-8 torpedoed the 5,787-ton Dutch freighter SS Tjisalak. The submarine surfaced amid the debris field and after a brief exchange of gunfire with the ship's defensive armament, collected the survivors on the submarine's deck. Shortly after the freighter had sunk, the merchantman's crew and passengers, totalling 97, were tied in pairs of two and then attacked by Japanese sailors, during which they were slashed with swords and beaten with monkey wrenches and sledgehammers before being shot, then kicked into the water. Six men managed to survive and found a life raft. They were later rescued by the Liberty ship SS James O. Wilder.

SS Jean Nicolet

Two months later, I-8 was involved in another atrocity when she struck the 7,176-ton American liberty ship SS Jean Nicolet with two torpedoes. The 100 crewmen abandoned their burning ship and took to the life-rafts. Again, the survivors were gathered on the submarine's deck. The massacre took several hours, as they were made to walk one at a time past the conning tower, where they were murdered.[3] When an aircraft approached, the submarine dived, plunging the remaining bound prisoners into the ocean, where most drowned. Sources differ, but it is believed 23 men made it to a life raft, from which they were picked up by HMS Hoxa 30 hours later. Five prisoners were taken to Japan by the submarine; one of them, Francis J. O'Gara, was found alive in a prison camp after the war. A new Liberty ship, SS Francis J. O'Gara, had been named after him, making O'Gara the only living person to have a Liberty ship named after him.

 

 

But all is fair...I believe that. Once war has been declared...your old ways of judging what's good are out zee window. Don't believe me? What if a one megaton device airburst close* to you. Food will be rare...and you're hungry...your kid is starving. Yeah...you're taking your shotgun to the supermarket.

*Say within 300 miles...let's be sporting.

Edited by DogOnPorch
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7 minutes ago, segnosaur said:

USS Callaghan, sunk July 1945 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Callaghan_(DD-792))

USS Bullhead, Sunk August 1945 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Bullhead_(SS-332))

So, despite Japan being "blockaded" American soldiers were dying. Sounds like a pretty big risk to me.

Myths are not a legal justifications for committing war crimes.

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2 minutes ago, hot enough said:

Myths are not a legal justifications for committing war crimes.

Not really sure what you're claiming is a "myth".

Are you honestly suggesting that no U.S. servicemen died or were at risk once Japan was effectively blockaded? That the 2 ships I mentioned weren't actually sunk?

Or that people in China and other occupied countries were not dying due to Japanese actions in the summer of 1945?

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9 minutes ago, DogOnPorch said:

Typical Japanese 'war crimes'...this from a Japanese submarine.

 

 

But all is fair...I believe that. Once war has been declared...your old ways of judging what's good are out zee window. Don't believe me? What if a one megaton device airburst close* to you. Food will be rare...and you're hungry...your kid is starving. Yeah...you're taking your shotgun to the supermarket.

*Say within 300 miles...let's be sporting.

Right after maligning the Japanese, you state the above, which makes your argument completely nonsensical - on two grounds. You state that the Japanese were completely justified in those two actions you have referenced. 

You are wrong, flat out wrong. 

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U.S. Justice Robert Jackson, the chief of counsel for the prosecution at the Nuremberg Tribunal, addressed the Tribunal on the principle of universality, which is the foundation of any moral code that can be taken seriously. It’s the principle that we apply to ourselves the same standards that we apply to others, if not more stringent ones.

Justice Jackson admonished the Tribunal that this elementary principle must be its guide, or else its proceedings would be nothing but legal farce, an act of vengeance, victor’s justice. 

http://fair.org/extra/the-poisoned-chalice/

 

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7 minutes ago, segnosaur said:

Not really sure what you're claiming is a "myth".

Are you honestly suggesting that no U.S. servicemen died or were at risk once Japan was effectively blockaded? That the 2 ships I mentioned weren't actually sunk?

Or that people in China and other occupied countries were not dying due to Japanese actions in the summer of 1945?

The myths that you are repeating about the reasons the USA used atomic bombs. The myths that were developed after the war because the realities just would not have fit in with the American propaganda. 

Servicemen are always at risk. You cannot under international law resort to war crimes to reduce that risk. 

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2 minutes ago, hot enough said:

Right after maligning the Japanese, you state the above, which makes your argument completely nonsensical - on two grounds. You state that the Japanese were completely justified in those two actions you have referenced. 

You are wrong, flat out wrong. 

 

How many people had I already killed? There were those six that I knew about for sure. Close enough to blow their last breath in my face. But this time, it was an American and an officer. That wasn't supposed to make any difference to me, but it did. Shit... charging a man with murder in this place was like handing out speeding tickets in the Indy 500. I took the mission. What the hell else was I gonna do?

---Captain Willard

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1 hour ago, hot enough said:

A myth is not a legal justification for committing war crimes. And even if it wasn't a myth, it is still not a legal justification for committing war crimes.

 

 "Legal justification" for "war crimes" is an absurd notion to begin with.   "Justification" is not even required for garden variety wars.

Frankly, the U.S. and other nations are quite prepared to obliterate entire cities on a much larger scale without regard to nattering about "war crimes".

"War crimes" are a political exercise....enjoy the workout.

 

 

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4 hours ago, hot enough said:

The myths that you are repeating about the reasons the USA used atomic bombs.

Once again, what exactly are you claiming is a "myth"?

That American soldiers were dying while the supposed blockade was going on? Well, I've pointed out 2 cases of ships that were sunk (leading to American deaths) when supposedly Japan was blockaded and "about to surrender".

That Japan still had troops in other Asian countries and were causing deaths in those countries at the time of the bombings? That's pretty well documented.

That Japan was not likely to surrender any time soon? Well, I think the fact that they were continuing to fight even after loosing in Okinawa was a pretty good sign of that.

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Servicemen are always at risk.

Uhhh... so? The fact that servicemen are at risk doesn't mean that the government doesn't have an obligation to reduce that risk when possible. We don't send the military into combat with slingshots if we don't have enough guns for them.

Soldiers are still humans and citizens. (And it should be pointed out that many were drafted, rather than volunteers.)

And the sooner the war was over, the sooner those servicemen would become civilians.

ETA: And in case you need to be reminded, not only were servicemen at risk as the war continued but civilians in countries like China, Vietnam and Laos.

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You cannot under international law resort to war crimes to reduce that risk.

You know, you seem to toss around the phrase "war crime" rather willy-nilly. What is the basis of your claim that:

- The use of Nuclear weapons (at the time) was considered a "war crime"

- That nations are not allowed to take actions to protect the lives of its soldiers

Edited by segnosaur
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Interesting footage.

Not a W62, me thinks...something later and perhaps still in use. W76? W88?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IP658HMOarU

The last one (the bomb) is a mystery. The safety shroud covers the actual front of the device.

Topping-up the tritium...hi-ho-hi-ho.

 

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21 minutes ago, segnosaur said:

Once again, what exactly are you claiming is a "myth"?

That American soldiers were dying while the supposed blockade was going on? Well, I've pointed out 2 cases of ships that were sunk (leading to American deaths) when supposedly Japan was blockaded and "about to surrender".

That Japan still had troops in other Asian countries and were causing deaths in those countries at the time of the bombings? That's pretty well documented.

That Japan was not likely to surrender any time soon? Well, I think the fact that they were continuing to fight even after loosing in Okinawa was a pretty good sign of that.

Uhhh... so? The fact that servicemen are at risk doesn't mean that the government doesn't have an obligation to reduce that risk when possible. We don't send the military into combat with slingshots if we don't have enough guns for them.

Soldiers are still humans and citizens. (And it should be pointed out that many were drafted, rather than volunteers.)

And the sooner the war was over, the sooner those servicemen would become civilians.

ETA: And in case you need to be reminded, not only were servicemen at risk as the war continued but civilians in countries like China, Vietnam and Laos.

You know, you seem to tosI s around the phrase "war crime" rather willy-nilly. What is the basis of your claim that:

- The use of Nuclear weapons (at the time) was considered a "war crime"

- That nations are not allowed to take actions to protect the lives of its soldiers

I would add that the Japanese had a history of militarism, a kind of religious belief that one never surrenders.  That' s why they had the Kamakazi pilots (or suicide pilots) who flew their planes into American ships.  The Japanese military tradition was to fight to the death and the whole country was being readied to fight to the death should the American land on the mainland.  Surrender was not in the vocabulary of the militarists that were in charge.  It would take a spectacular event to cause them to change their minds.  The atomic bombs saved a lot of American lives and brought the war to a quick end.

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14 minutes ago, blackbird said:

I would add that the Japanese had a history of militarism, a kind of religious belief that one never surrenders.  That' s why they had the Kamakazi pilots (or suicide pilots) who flew their planes into American ships.  The Japanese military tradition was to fight to the death and the whole country was being readied to fight to the death should the American land on the mainland.  Surrender was not in the vocabulary of the militarists that were in charge.  It would take a spectacular event to cause them to change their minds.  The atomic bombs saved a lot of American lives and brought the war to a quick end.

Here's an article by someone with the U.S. government that was actually in japan shortly after the war.

https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/1946/12/if-the-atomic-bomb-had-not-been-used/376238/

About a week after V-J Day I was one of a small group of scientists and engineers interrogating an intelligent, well-informed Japanese Army officer in Yokohama. ... He replied: "We would have kept on fighting until all Japanese were killed, but we would not have been defeated," by which he meant that they would not have been disgraced by surrender.

...

General MacArthur's staff anticipated about 50,000 American casualties and several times that number of Japanese casualties in the November 1 operation to establish the initial beachheads on Kyushu. ...A month after our occupation I heard General MacArthur say that even then, if the Japanese government lost control over its people and the millions of former Japanese soldiers took to guerrilla warfare in the mountains, it could take a million American troops ten years to master the situation....That this was not an impossibility is shown by the following fact, which I have not seen reported. ... It is not generally realized that there was threat of a revolt against the government, led by an Army group supported by the peasants, to seize control and continue the war. For several days it was touch and go as to whether the people would follow their government in surrender.

Yet some people are claiming that "Japan was ready to surrender".

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34 minutes ago, blackbird said:

I would add that the Japanese had a history of militarism, a kind of religious belief that one never surrenders.  That' s why they had the Kamakazi pilots (or suicide pilots) who flew their planes into American ships.  The Japanese military tradition was to fight to the death and the whole country was being readied to fight to the death should the American land on the mainland.  Surrender was not in the vocabulary of the militarists that were in charge.  It would take a spectacular event to cause them to change their minds.  The atomic bombs saved a lot of American lives and brought the war to a quick end.

Agreed. Those that decry the use of the A-Bomb are generally unfamiliar with the REST of the War in the Pacific....and how more than just Americans and Japanese were involved. Japan needed Borneo and Java in particular to make this thing tick...still mostly in Japanese possession at the war's end. Still producing rubber and oil like mad.

Trouble was, the US submarine campaign against Japanese shipping had such spectacular results that there were few tankers and freighters left to haul the vital cargo. Which...strangely enough...links back to the whole Bushido Code thing as Japanese Navy officers viewed anti-submarine and convoy escort duty as dishonorable...doing generally a p*ss poor job at sinking US submarines.

It greatly assisted in bringing Japan to heel.

Edited by DogOnPorch
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