Saturday, August 07, 2010

Timely argument again.

Last night, I wrote a piece about Hiroshima and Nagasaki where I concluded that dropping the bomb on Japan was the right thing to do. Today, Greg Mitchell writes in the Huffington Post that the use of the bomb was indefensible.

His argument is that without the use of the bomb, Japan would have surrendered in a few weeks anyway. That position is problematic to say the least, when you look at the history.

The Japanese realized that an atomic bomb had been used on them at Hiroshima. Yet, they did not react to the Potsdam declaration, instead asking the Russians to represent them to the other allies, and maintain the four points of Japanese Surrender, which included the preservation of the Emperor as the absolute ruler of Japan. That was unacceptable. That there be no occupation force in Japan, again unacceptable, and no occupation of Japanese occupied land including Formosa, and Korea, again unacceptable that the Japanese would be able to keep these conquered lands. Finally, the Japanese demanded the right to address "war crimes" with internal trials and determinations. In other words, the Japanese Government still demanded to be allowed to remain unpunished for the war, and left alone to prepare for World War III as the Germans did between one and two.

Greg Mitchell further states that the only really contentious part of the Negotiations was the position of Emperor, which we let them keep. There is a big difference between a figurehead, with no authority legally, and a person with dictatorial powers. One that Mitchell apparently misses.

Additionally, the reports of children being issued bamboo spears are all too well know, would our troops merely taken the spears away and spanked the kids? No, they would have shot, and killed those children, the future of Japan, robbing the nation of any hope of rebuilding after the war. The Japanese would not accept the idea of barbarians ruling them, and even at the very end, after two Bombs had shown the destructive power now facing them, General Tojo refused to accept Surrender as a necessity. Moreover, the military attempted a coup to prevent the Surrender from taking place. This hardly sounds like the assertion of Greg Mitchell that the Japanese would have surrendered in a few weeks.

Yet, through this all, there is one thing that you must understand when approaching the end to the conflict in 1945. The Japanese Military was essentially in control of the country, and the Japanese Military believed it was far more honorable to die, than to surrender, which is why they felt justified abusing Prisoners of War, because those men had surrendered rather than die honorably.

The Military planned a defend the main island of Japan with a defend to the last order. So no civilian would have been spared. The Japanese Leaders were as determined as Hitler to see their own nation destroyed before they would admit defeat.

Do I still support the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki as horrible, but necessary? Yes. The Emperor finally decided that the shame of defeat was something that could be endured by a nation, but stubborn defense in the face of these new weapons would be the end of the Japanese Culture, and people, forever. His forced decision saved many millions of lives of both the Japanese and Allied people. His decision allowed Japan to rebuild, and arise from the ashes as a technological giant, and a leader in world business and invention.

If we had not dropped the bomb, Japan would be a much weaker, and much less advanced nation than it is today. So let me repeat the germane questions. Was it horrible? Yes. Was it the only answer that saved Japan for the future? Yes.

By the way Greg, you might want to notice that the second bomb was dropped on Nagasaki on the 9th of August, even with that, the Emperor did not announce his intention to surrender for another week on the 17th of August. The final document was signed on the 2nd of September, almost a month after the first bomb was dropped.


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