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Zero Hedge: The Real Reason America Used Nuclear Weapons Against Japan

2012/10/14

Impressing Russia was more important than ending the war in Japan,” says Selden.

NO.  “Impress” is entirely the wrong word.

Intimidate is correct.  It was about the projection of strength and attitude – to the Russians, the Japanese, remnants of Nazi sympathy – and to future generations of America’s (and the West’s) enemies. This would have been obvious to anyone who had paid attention to Churchill’s warnings.

Shortly before his death General George C. Marshall quietly defended the decision, but for the most part he is on record as repeatedly saying that it was not a military decision, but rather a political one. – Gar Alperovitz

Again, NO. To distinguish “politics” from “war” in this context is to create an empty distinction; Politics, economics and war are, all of them, merely aspects of power. A-bombing Japan may not have been a necessary tactical military decision with respect to that campaign, though in long-term strategy the action proved incalculably valuable, and not just for American interests. It was ultimately the correct, moral decision.

Power and the use of nuclear weapons is an important issue today in the face of emergent nuclear ambitions by tyrants of irrational intent.  Pacifism becomes evil when it enables those who would destroy Liberty.

Ask Sun Tzu.

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. 2012/10/15 21:32

    That seems a pretty strange analysis. All of this Monday morning crap about Japan in the 40s seems to ignore the fact that they were fighting their asses off right up to the end. It’s worthy of note that it took TWO nuclear explosions to get a surrender out of them. One wasn’t enough. That should scream volumes about the Japanese commitment to victory.

    • 2012/10/15 21:57

      Point taken. I agree.

      The view here is that the champions of the “impress” the Soviets idea believe this function to be trivial and immoral. Wrong, I say.

      Intimidating the Ruskies was damned important and it saved a lot of human life on both fronts – the Japanese and the emerging Russian.

      Oh, and one more thing: In War, there is no such frigging thing as a “civilian” target – as if “civilian” and “military” are distinct, unrelated entities. On a moral level they are identical and fungible.

      This is precisely why I qualify the Masjid al-Haram (Masjid al-Lahmu l’Khinzir) as a military target.

      • 2012/10/16 15:50

        Interesting thoughts but the ongoing communications intercepts (Magic) of the Japanese high command paints a more practical picture of the decision. The decision makers from Truman on down realized that the Japanese were never going to surrender and, in fact, had begun a training program for all Japanese to prepare themselves to repel the upcoming invasion. It had been a long war and the decision makers were tired and wanted it to end with as little loss of life as possible.

        I am sure that other more “political” reasons may have been part of the decision but the results of dropping the bomb was only theory and nothing more. I am fairly confident that the decision was one based almost entirely upon the intelligence we had at the time and centered on the Magic communications intelligence we had of the direction the Japanese had chosen.

        In addition, some of the top advisers that Truman had inherited from Roosevelt were proven later to be either pro-Soviet or out right communists working for the Soviets which punches holes in the “we will show those pesky Russians” a thing or two. I doubt that Russian really was even in the conversation that much when the final decision was made. Just my two cents worth.

      • 2012/10/16 16:17

        Thanks Cecil for your time and thoughts.

  2. 2012/10/16 02:34

    In war people are going to die. That’s why I was for getting our current wars over pronto. Kill people. Civilians as well, because that’s what we have to do to survive. Fewer die under that scenario. It was true with Japan and it would have been true with al-Qaeda and the Taliban – and the Sunni’s and the Shia’a. I agree with your assessment and tend to get testy around those who decry the Japanese action. Justice for those all those still abiding on the bottom of Pearl Harbor

  3. 2012/10/16 02:36

    Linked in my left sidebar.

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