Perhaps you're right, but I still fail to see how the United States maintained the moral high ground by bombing civilians. I think a "demonstration" about 5 miles offshore might have accomplished the same purpose.

Steven Montgomery

At 01:01 AM 11/9/2002, you wrote:
-Steven quotes _The New American Magazine_-
> This current display, therefore, repeats the notion that the
> dropping of the bombs by the U.S. brought Japan to the peace
> table and saved countless lives on both sides. But this
> historical view, like the original commentary intended for the
> exhibit, is not supported by the facts.

Just to be clear: If the net effect of dropping two atomic bombs was to
kill 100,000 of the enemy and thereby save _one_ American life, it would
have been the moral duty of the commander-in-chief to do so. I doubt you
can convince me that Americans would not have died had the bombs not
been dropped; therefore, in my moral calculus, at least, dropping the
bombs was the only moral decision Truman could have made.

> But in fact the Japanese had sent peace feelers to the West as
> early as 1942, only six months after the December 1941 attack
> on Pearl Harbor. More would come in a flood long before the
> fateful use of the atomic bombs.

I see. So, the enemy starts asking about "peace" twenty or so weeks
after taking out your strategic harbor, and therefore you're supposed to
believe they're sincere. Do I have that right?

> Here was an enemy who had been trying to surrender for almost
> a year before the conflict ended."

Um, that would have been 1944. What happened to six months after Pearl

> In her book, Brown supplied abundant evidence about the
> immense perfidy that kept the Japanese from surrendering until
> such time as the Soviets were ready to enter the war against
> Japan and the American forces had dropped the atomic bombs on
> civilian populations.

Yes, Mark presented a web site detailing this same evidence a few years
back. Interesting reading, perhaps with some truth to it. But in the
end, it's bogus. All Japan had to do was to broadcast their
unconditional surrender and they would have been spared. Blockade or no,
Japan struck first and picked the fight, committing unspeakable
atrocities in the warfare. If they didn't want to "lose face" by open
surrender, that is their own fault, no the US's.

> Toshikasu Kase, an official of the Japanese Foreign Office,
> delivered a highly confidential message to the interned
> British ambassador, Sir Robert Craigi. It contained a
> "discreet hint regarding the eventual restoration of peace."
> Emanating from Japanese Foreign Minister Togo, this message
> stated, "Should it happen that the British Government became
> desirous of discussing or negotiating peace they would find
> the Japanese Government ready to be helpful."

Yet we mannerless Americans, with no grasp whatsoever of the subtle
nuances of civilized etiquette, just went on ahead and bombed them, all
because of a little misunderstanding over a Hawaiian naval base. Yes, I
see your point.

> In his 1952 book Fleet Admiral King, Admiral Ernest J. King
> reported President Roosevelt's 1942 understanding that "by
> the application of sea power, Japan could be forced to
> surrender without an invasion of her home islands." This
> attitude, shared by most of our military leaders, would
> quickly be abandoned by the President. Instead, the costly
> island-by-island advance of U.S. forces northward through
> the Pacific continued.

Hmmm. Might that be because Admiral King perhaps didn't witness the
attempted taking of Italian peninsula, an Axis ally that actually had a
lot of population who secretly sided with the Allies, and who in any
case didn't plan to fight -- and that still resulted in a bloody
campaign starting from the south and spanning the length of the country,
a country roughly the size of Japan? If a comparatively "friendly foe"
like Italy would be untakeable by naval forces alone and require
extensive, bloody infantry warfare, why should the commander-in-chief
have supposed that Japan, the original aggressor, a country whose pilots
willingly sacrificed themselves to mess up carrier decks, would lay down
and become docile under a similar situation?

> The only unwavering stipulation sought by anyone in the
> Japanese "peace party" was the retention of the Emperor and
> the continuance of the monarchy.

Perhaps the Japanese leaders ought to have realized that "unconditional"
meant just that, and that they had long ago (say, 7 Dec 1941) forfeited
any right to name the conditions of their surrender.

This sort of post facto second-guessing lies somewhere between silly and
offensive. If my son were fighting in the Pacific theater, I would
demand his (and my) commander-in-chief to protect his life, even at the
cost of the enemy's lives. That's the CIC's job, second in priority only
to winning the war. As far as I can tell, nuking Hiroshima and Nagasaki
achieved both ends. To repeat: Japan could have broadcast their
surrender at any time, even six months after Pearl Harbor. They could
have broadcast an unconditional surrender in July 1945. They could have
broadcast it after Hiroshima. They chose to wait. Whose fault is that?


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Steven Montgomery

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