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  1. Halcyon
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    Halcyon Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hiroshima 65th Anniversary

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by Halcyon, Aug 6, 2010.

    Hi guys

    I just wanted to point out, for those of you who didn't realise, that today is the 65th anniversary of the dropping of the atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima - an event which precipitated the subsequent surrender of Japan and ended their involvement in World War Two.

    It is estimated that around 80,000 people were killed and a similar number injured by the blast, and that the city lost around 90% of its doctors and nurses, making the medical emergency that followed all the more difficult to control.

    Whilst offering no personal opinion on the rights or wrongs of this action, other than to express my regret that it was felt necessary in the first place, I do wonder whether, 65 years on, my fellow forum members feel that this action was morally justifiable?
     
  2. Maxx
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    Maxx New Member

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    Are there some bombing missions that are morally justifiable? For example the successful mission of Flight Lieutenant Learoyd on August 12, 1940 (70th year since then is coming up soon) to block the Dortmund-Ems canal and keep German invasion barges bottled up and away from the channel.
     
  3. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Decisions in war do not answer to morality. Not in the everyday sense. To attempt to apply the every day concept of morality or ethics to war is to mix epistemologies.

    God will not help you with your trigonometry.
    Math cannot measure God.
    Neither can explain the beauty of a Monet.

    War does not answer to reason.
     
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  4. Xeno
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    Xeno Mad and Bitey Contributor

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    Anything I would put here would effectively be repeating the above.
     
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  5. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    As with every thread dealing with controversial subjects, this one will be closely watched. As long as everyone remains respectful toward everyone else's beliefs, the thread may continue.

    FAIR WARNING! In the past, we have simply closed the thread when it gets too heated. This time, whoever takes it to the point that requires it to be closed will also be subject to an infraction.

    We have had a very poor track record with contraversial threads in the past, and this is why we will follow a zero-tolerance policy on this one.

    So please keep the tone respectful at all times.
     
  6. Halcyon
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    Halcyon Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think that one possible moral consideration that made Hiroshima different was the potential for many thousands of deaths in the aftermath of the bombing due to long-term effects of radiation, although I know that a lot less was known about that at the time.

    Also, however, there is a theory that Japan's situation was virtually hopeless even before the bombing (and the subsequent one at Nagasaki). Indeed, some historians believe that the Japanese leadership was already moving towards surrender and that the USA knew this, so the bombing may not have been strictly necessary. I've even read an argument that the bombs were dropped, in part, because of President Truman's desire to intimidate the USSR with a show of strength, and if these things were true, it would, in my opinion at least, put a different slant on the morality issue.

    I do agree with Wreybies' point though. Normal rules tend to be suspended in times of war. Hiroshima, I'm sure we can all agree, was a tragedy, regardless of the circumstances surrounding the bombing.
     
  7. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    I agree with Wreybies, above.

    I think the Japanese would have surrendered eventually, but it looks like a full invasion of the country would have taken place before that happened, at the cost of who knows how many lives.

    War is full of these kinds of horrible inhumanities. If I'm not mistaken, the allied bombing of Dresden took even more lives than the bombing of Hiroshima.
     
  8. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    Growing up there was a man at church who had been on a ship at sea, he saw it happen, he was one of the first ashore afterwards. It coloured my view of it, plus it is still affecting people, there were the sad generation of women who couldn't get married noone wanted them because they were contaminated.

    I just grew up around men from World War II very few thought any of it was justified, they felt the cost was so high. Growing up in Liverpool with an older than usual family WW2 still feels like yesterday to me.

    But then there are the men who were Japanese POWs and this released them from their hell. There were men during the big VE day celebrations for the 50th Anniversary who really struggled because the war wasn't over for them until VJ day they felt they had been forgotten.

    I don't know the whole thing is awful. This was so awful though because of the length of time it took to clear up, but then they were still cleaning up from WW2 in Liverpool when I was a kid.

    Have a great desire to post a link to the OMD song Enola Gay but don't want my whole post to be pulled:)
     
  9. RedRaven
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    RedRaven Active Member

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    I don't want to sound harsh, but what happened happened. It's a tragedy that it has ever occured and I realise up until now people are still suffering the effects of the radiation.. but to what point?
    It's not like human nature seen as a whole will learn. Individuals such like ourselves will know right from wrong, but put them together in one basket.. and they don't mind a few eggs to get broken.
    Such mistakes have been made continuously throughout our history.. one far worse than the other, the attack on Hiroshima and Nagasaki until this day reaching the extent of destruction we seem to have in us.
    So.. what's next? I just hope it doesn't hurt.

    And for those who can't fathom the destruction one fabricated A-bomb is responsible for.. check out this site http://www.exploratorium.edu/nagasaki/photos.html#journey/23.jpg
     
  10. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    to quote one of my own 'greatest lines':

    That some do evil gives none the right to do evil in return.

    the public reasons given to justify the slaughtering of so many innocent civilians in an instant, condemning many more to lives of horror and suffering are not the true reasons the decision was made to drop the bombs... knowing that, i suspect harry s did not die without fearing where he'd be sent... political decisions are seldom made for noble reasons alone...
     
  11. Unit7
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    Unit7 Contributing Member Contributor

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    It was either that or sending in an invasion which could cost millions of lives. That is if I remembered that correctly. Though not to say I like the idea of America dropping of atomic bombs.

    Though if Japan was moving to surrender and if America knew it. Then it's just horrible. It seems like it was more of a demonstration to show the world what we are capable of. A good way to tell the rest of the world that not only is it possible, but we are willing to.

    Or thats how I view it anyways.
     
  12. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    And that is a war mindset. A war decision. It is not the kind of decision that makes anyone happy sitting in their living rooms over TV dinners, but it is the kind of decision that gets made during a war. And during a war, for the purposes of the war, from the point of view of those who wish to makes those concepts know, it is a decision that makes very good strategic sense. Very little input for a monstrous output.

    I don't defend the choice. Not at all. But I do understand the where and the how of how a choice like that gets made.
     
  13. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think that Hiroshima was a sledgehammer to crack a nut, since Japan was on the verge of surrender. The truly terrible action was the subsequent bomb on Nagasaki. I can't find ONE reason to justify it. Can't say any more because I am so completely appalled by the whole dreadful episode.

    I lived in Singapore as a child in the early 60s, and we had many European friends who had been in Changi gaol for the duration of the war. Even they could not bear to think of the suffering that resulted from the atomic bombings. As Maia said, evil on top of evil can't be justifiable.

    The admirable thing is the strength and hope of people in Japan, and all the other nations shattered by WWII, and the survivors of the Holocaust. They have rebuilt their lives and their society and their spirits are mostly amazingly untainted by the suffering of the past.
     
  14. RedRaven
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    RedRaven Active Member

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    Maybe just maybe they were a bit excited to test the A-bomb on an actual target. knowing Japan was ready to surrender and having WW2 to hide behind.
    Admit.. bombing test dummies in the desert of Nevada or doing it for real is a slight difference.

    Just imagine Irak or Iran to drop such a bomb somewhere.. Wouldn't they get lynched in the process? And I bet they think their cause is justified as well. And yet here we are trying to talk right, what is as wrong as it gets.
     
  15. Halcyon
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    Halcyon Contributing Member Contributor

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    Two things spring to mind when I read that post, Nathalie.

    Firstly, there may be an element of truth in what you say, however unpalatable it seems.

    And secondly - I'm glad you said it rather than me! ;)
     
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  16. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    sad/bad, but most probably true...
     
  17. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    65 years after ... I just wish to post and say I can't help but think about the terrible suffering the people of Hiroshima suffered, and in ways still suffer today. Let us hope it never happens again.
     
  18. Islander
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    Islander Contributing Member Contributor

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    It's a fact that the Japanese civil government was trying to persuade the military to capitulate. I don't think anyone doubts that it was only a question of time before Japan would be forced to surrender. The question is how long it would have taken, and how many lives would have been lost during that time.

    Another question to consider is: Was it really necessary to select a target with over 100 000 civilians for the first bomb?

    Humanity has agreed on a protocol for war (the Geneva Convention). The ban on biological and chemical warfare is respected by all but a few rogue nations. The Red Cross/Red Crescent and Doctors Without Borders can operate without being attacked most of the time.

    Seen over a few centuries, progress has been huge.
     
  19. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    I must admit, when I seen the story about the Anniversary on BBC news I got rather emotional. I might sound a bit odd, but I have a great fear of nuclear weapons - more than anyone else I know. I sometimes even have nightmares about waking up and seeing a mushroom cloud in the distance.

    To me the anniversary, and the way the people of Hiroshima handled it, was utterly amazing.
     
  20. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    I agree these days we mourn the people dying in Afghanistan and Iraq in the military, but next to the 50+ million people killed by WW2, plus the people tortured. And the one's like my Grandad who drank himself to death afterwards, What we have suffered since shows the improvements.
     
  21. RedRaven
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    RedRaven Active Member

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    I don't say that they haven't made progress, but in the end, when times are tough things might not follow protocol.
    I've used this quote from Fallout 3 before, ironically enough, also in a thread made by Halcyon somewhere else, but war never changes.

    And couldn't it be that the progress we made is mostly due to the fact that we have the means to control? We have the world in our backyard, it must be tough not to follow protocols when you have someone looking down on you. So maybe I need to readjust my opinion a little. Masses aren't blind anymore, not so much as they used to be when Hiroshima happened.
     
  22. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    There's an aspect to this I don't think anyone has raised yet.

    This took place at the end of the biggest war ever seen on the planet, the war after The Great War to End All Wars.

    I suspect that what Unit7 said is partially true, that the US wanted to demonstrate what we were capable of. Not just we, the United States, but we, the people of this planet.

    It was the original Shock and Awe event, and I suspect that part of the thought process was to shock the world, to sober a world too quick to wage war into an incentive to choose peace instead.

    And shock the world it did. I'm sure even those who decided on the drastic end to World War II were shocked by the extent of the devastation they produced. It's one thing to see the effects of such a weapon on a deserted island in the Pacific Ocean, but quite another to see them on a densely settled population center.

    Instead of peace, the world entered a new era of fear and suspicion. But out of the devastation also came a firm resolve - this must never happen again.

    The scar has been deep indeed, but the world has changed in the aftermath. I'm not sure the horrors of nuclear war would have been so strongly felt had not these two bombs been deployed. I can envision a world in which the superpowers still played the game of nuclear brinkmanship, but with less restraint.

    Without the horror of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, we might have already fought World War III and left vast regions, currently thriving, uninhabitable.

    You know what? I feel a story coming.
     
  23. Maxx
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    Maxx New Member

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    Richard Frank (in Downfall) has covered the problem of whether the 2 A-bombs dropped on Japan were in some sense necessary. I won't rehash his careful and detailed argument (which includes the need to get the Japanese military to let the Emperor get the surrender message out), but some things worth considering are:
    1) There was still a huge Japanese Army in China
    2) the Russians were about to hit and perhaps occupy much of China and Japan itself
    3) The Japanese home island defenses were concentrated in the south to block the US and they were completely open to an attack from Russia in the North

    And as an aside: far more japanese had already been killed by incendiary raids than would be killed in the a-bomb attacks.

    Anyway, Frank concludes that the a-bombs were the least bad choice since the Russians were going to hit Japan all-out no matter what. So Japan needed to surrender very fast.
     
  24. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    Trouble is most people in Europe and Asia didn't need that to know war was horrible. They had lived through it. The original appeasement came out of a desperation not to repeat WW1 coupled with the problem we had been disarming and couldn't go to war.

    My family is considerably older than most people of my generation. I grew up around the people who had been in the middle of the bombing, I have Japanese and German relatives as well. Growing up Liverpool where I grew up was still clearing up the devstation in the 80s, there were still piles of rubble There are also holes in terraced housing.

    A visit to any tiny village where I live usually shows a massive war memorial from both world wars, all round our country is evidence of these. It didn't need a whopping great bomb that to be honest has been assigned into the annals of history to tell the countries caught up in it, we should never go back there.
     
  25. Capt Bob
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    Capt Bob Senior Member

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    This subject always brings to mind-(mine)-the line of chairs on the deck of the MO. for the surrender signing.

    Before the final curtain, everything is all courtesy and ceremony, as the main protagonists display their immunization records, sign and are saluted one final time for sending thousands they never knew and cannot name to their deaths.

    Might a different mindset prevail, if, just once--it was announced-"sorry you're immunization is out of date"!. And threw them over the rail to the waiting sharks??!.
    Usually it's not the Victor who executes them but their own people.
    That has to say something?.

    As the Indians of the 1700's desperately sought guns, so today do we ban the sale of WMD's to the most dangerous elements, with much the same results.

    Tick--Tick--Tick.
     
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