Dropping the atomic bombs, was it the greatest act to save the nation or the greatest crime by the nation?
A nuclear weapon is an explosive device that derives its destructive force from nuclear reactions, either fission or a combination of fission and fusion. Both reactions release vast quantities of energy from relatively small amounts of matter; a modern thermonuclear weapon weighing little more than a thousand kilograms can produce an explosion comparable to the detonation of more than a billion kilograms of conventional high explosive.
Thus, even single small nuclear devices no larger than traditional bombs can devastate an entire city by blast, fire and radiation. Nuclear weapons are considered weapons of mass destruction, and their use and control has been a major focus of international relations policy since their debut (Brian A. P. Morris).
In the history of warfare, only two nuclear weapons have been detonated offensively, both near the end of World War II. The first was detonated on the morning of 6 August 1945, when the United States dropped uranium gun-type device code-named “Little Boy” on the Japanese city of Hiroshima. The second was detonated three days later when the United States dropped a plutonium implosion-type device code-named “Fat Man” on the city of Nagasaki, Japan. These bombings resulted in the immediate deaths of around 120,000 people (mostly civilians) from injuries sustained from the explosion and acute radiation sickness, and even more deaths from long-term effects of ionizing radiation. The use of these weapons was and remains controversial (Glasstone, Samuel).
Since the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings, nuclear weapons have been detonated on over two thousand occasions for testing purposes and demonstration purposes. A few states have possessed such weapons or are suspected of seeking them. The only countries known to have detonated nuclear weapons””and that acknowledge possessing such weapons””are (chronologically) the United States, the Soviet Union (succeeded as a nuclear power by Russia), the United Kingdom, France, the People’s Republic of China, India, Pakistan, and North Korea. Israel is also widely believed to possess nuclear weapons, though it does not acknowledge having them.
If the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki made decisive importance in US military campaign? This issue is rather disputable and in most cases the answer depends on a political attitude and author’s citizenship. The convincing answer on above mentioned question which be satisfactory and convenient for everybody will hardly be able to find in the foreseeable future. It is obvious that in order to get the best picture it is necessary to study, firstly, the chronology of those events, and besides to took into account the rocesses which had been preceeded and followed the above-mentioned period of time in the world (Clive R. Hollin).
During the Second World War both theÂ allies and the Axis powers (German, Italian, Japanese, Bulgarian also known as the Axis alliance, Axis nations, Axis countries, or just the Axis, comprised the countries that were opposed to the Allies during World War) followed the policy of the strategical bombardment and the destruction of a civil infrastructure. In many cases it caused serious losses among civil population and the necessity of such military operation was disputable. In February 1945 the air-bombing attack of Dresden by Great Britain and the USA ANG forces ruined 18-25 thousand people. In August 1945 U.S. ANG bombardment of Tokyo ruined 80-100 thousand people.
By August 1945 60 Japanese cities and towns had been bombed using the conventional bombs in the large-scale military campaign including the mass firebombing attacks of Tokyo and Koby.
Some Japanese, European, American and Soviet (Russian) researchers, the persons sharing the same ideas are of the opinion that atomic bombing against the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki August,6 and August,9, 1945 hadn’tÂ approached the war ending. According to their point of view Tokyo would haave capitulated anyway after the USSR’sÂ entry into the war in the Far East. The official sources and the chronology of above-mentioned events confirms that. The Japanese cities had been chosen deliberately as the area of the most mass gathering of civilian population, with the purpose of showing of the new weapon opportunities which had been developed in the USA that is the bombardment is regarded as a barbaric brutal experiment and as the act to display the power for allies mainly for the USSR. That fact had to give the Americans a chance to dictate their will after the postwar redivision of the world (Glasstone, Samuel).
Those cities which had been chosen as objectives of atomic bombing practically were not attacked by the conventional air-bombs.
Everything had been done to receive the most accurate information aboutÂ destructions and losses exactly after the atomic bombardment. However, KyotoÂ which headed the list as a potential object to atomic bombing, then it was strikedÂ off the list as the city having a special cultural value for Japan (it was done at U.S. Secretary of Defense, Henry Lewis Stimson insistence). It was left on the list of the cities which were not attacked by conventional air-bombs.
It should be noted that the viewpoint according to which the nuclear bombardments could not possibly approach the war ending hadn’t unanimous support even in Japan.
In accordance with the public opinion polls carried out by information news agencies Associated Press and Kiodo Cusin such a point of view is shared by 75% of Japanese inhabitants. In the USA ”“ according to all available data of the same public inquiries 68% of population were convinced in the necessity of nuclear bombing.
It is a vexed problem if we should take into consideration the US opinion concerning Japanese cities bombing. In fact namely the USA committed that unprecedented bombing attacks and therefore the party holding the largest interest in the extenuation Â of formulation on account of Â the gravity of both political and economic consequences.
Not less controversialÂ is the issue if the anti-AmericanÂ rhetorics of Japan is worth taking seriously. It hid the truth about the crimes against the civil population of occupied countries including the weapon of mass destruction. To the 60-th anniversary of the tragedy in Hiroshima the Japanese Parliament prepared a resolution in which any records of “act of aggression”ť and the “colonial form of government”ť defaulted (as opposed to similar resolution concerning the 50-th anniversary of explosions).
Such information is also omitted in the up-to-date editon of school textbooks which are called nationalistic even by the local press. All those facts subjectively allow Japan to feel itself as a victim but objectively they give quite an opposite effect. The Chinese, Korean, and other Asian peoples who suffered greatly from the Japanese militarism consider such attempts to whitewash the crimes.
The proponents of extreme measures who support the atomic bombardment believe that two atomic bombings against Japan in the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki considerablyÂ reduced the losses both the allies and Japan.
They wereÂ inevitable if the troopsÂ brokeÂ into theÂ islands and began conquering them. Â The Military Operation “ Downfall”ť is meant (Brian A. P. Morris).
Operation “Downfall”ť was the overall Allied plan for the invasion of Japan at the end of World War II. The operation was cancelled when Japan surrendered after the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the Soviet Union’s declaration of war against Japan.
Operation Downfall had two parts: Operation Olympic and Operation Coronet. Set to begin in October 1945, Operation Olympic was intended to capture the southern third of the southernmost main Japanese island, KyĹ«shĹ«, with the recently captured island of Okinawa to be used as a staging area (Glasstone, Samuel).
Later, in spring 1946, Operation Coronet was the planned invasion of the KantĹŤ plain, near Tokyo, on the Japanese island of HonshĹ«. Airbases on KyĹ«shĹ« captured in Operation Olympic would allow land-based air support for Operation Coronet.
Japan’s geography made this invasion plan obvious to the Japanese as well; they were able to predict accurately the Allied invasion plans and accordingly adjust their defensive plan, Operation KetsugĹŤ. The Japanese planned an all-out defense of KyĹ«shĹ«, with little left in reserve for any subsequent defense operations.
Casualty predictions varied widely but were extremely high for both sides: depending on the degree to which Japanese civilians resisted the invasion, estimates ran into the millions for Allied casualties and tens of millions for Japanese casualties.
The Military Operation “Downfall had also shortened the time for ending of combatant operations. However the point concerning the moral aspect during the bombing remains open so mainly the bombs were dropped on the cities where had been lived the civil population even if having regard to the similar Japan’sÂ actions against theirÂ enemies. For example, for the Nanjing Incident hundreds thousands people among civil population were killed with special cruelty (the maximal quantity according to latest dates is about 500 thousand peoples fell victims of that unprecedented act). The Japanese occupation army used the germ (bacteriological) weapon against China as a result of it at least 270 peoples were annihilated just only among the peaceful population. BeforeÂ withdrawal to Manila the Japanese imperial military forces killed 111 thousands ofÂ civilians among them were chiefly women, children and old men) such cruelÂ hostilities were absolutely militarily senseless. All these evidences are considered by the defenders of a necessity of the nuclear blows to justify excuses of atomic bombing (Clive R. Hollin).
Later some Japanese politicians and distinguished scientists affirmed that the nuclear blows against Hiroshima and Nagasaki were not associated with U.S. war against Japan. They were carried out to demonstrate its power and caused the beginning of Cold War. ”ťThe White Book About The Effects of Atomic Bobmbing”ť was an example for such expretions. In that book some outstanding Japanese scientists at the head of Hideki Yukawa, a Japanese theoretical physicist and the first Japanese Nobel laureate make such conclusions.
In June 2007 the Japanese Minister of Defence Fumio Kyuma, native of Nagasaki declared that the atomic bombing was an inevitable act to finish the Second World War and it averted the occupation of Japan by the USSR. However, the community’sÂ indignation was so powerful that he had to abandon his post.
There exists a diffused opinion that anyway Japan would have capitulated not late than January, 1946. By June 1945 Japan had been on the verge of defeat. March, 1945 is the beginning of the operation Iceberg. The Battle of Okinawa, codenamed Operation Iceberg, was fought on the Ryukyu Islands of Okinawa and was the largest amphibious assault in the Pacific Theater of World War II. The 82-day-long battle lasted from early April until mid-June, 1945.
The battle has been referred to as the “Typhoon of Steel” in English, and tetsu no ame (“rain of steel”) or tetsu no bĹŤfĹ« (“violent wind of steel”) in Japanese. The nicknames refer to the ferocity of the fighting, the intensity of gunfire involved, and sheer numbers of Allied ships and armored vehicles that assaulted the island. The battle has one of the highest number of casualties of any World War Two engagement: the Japanese lost over 100,000 troops, and the Allies suffered more than 50,000 casualties, with over 12,000 killed in action, while hundreds of thousands of civilians were killed, wounded or committed suicide. Approximately one-quarter of the civilian population died due to the invasion. Five divisions of the U.S. Tenth Army, the 7th, 27th, 77th, 81st, and 96th; and two Marine Divisions, the 1st and 6th fought on the island while the 2nd remained as an amphibious reserve and was never brought ashore. All these divisions were supported by naval, amphibious, and tactical air forces.
The main objective of the operation was to seize a large island only 340 miles away from mainland Japan. After a long campaign of island hopping, the Allies were approaching Japan, and planned to use Okinawa as a base for air operations during the planned Allied invasion of the islands. Operation Downfall, however, never took place.