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Truman stated in he had been advised U. As Bard opposed using the bomb without warning Japan first, he cannot be accused of exaggerating casualty expectations to justify the bomb's use, and his account is evidence that Truman was aware of, and government officials discussed, the possibility of one million casualties. A review of documents from the Truman Library shows Truman's initial draft response to the query describes Marshall only as saying "one quarter of a million would be the minimum".

The "as much as a million" phrase was added to the final draft by Truman's staff, so as not to appear to contradict an earlier statement given in a published article by Stimson former Secretary of War. This implied the two planned campaigns to conquer Japan would cost 1. Delivered on June 15, , after insight gained from the Battle of Okinawa , the study noted Japan's inadequate defenses resulting from a very effective sea blockade and the Allied firebombing campaign.

Generals George C. In addition, a large number of Japanese combatant and non-combatant casualties were expected as a result of such actions. Contemporary estimates of Japanese deaths from an invasion of the Home Islands range from several hundreds of thousands to as high as ten million. General MacArthur's staff provided an estimated range of American deaths depending on the duration of the invasion, and also estimated a ratio of Japanese to American deaths.

Fight Or Surrender

From this, a low figure of somewhat more than , Japanese deaths can be calculated for a short invasion of two weeks, and almost three million Japanese deaths if the fighting lasted four months. McCloy , who characterized it as conservative. The great loss of life during the battle of Iwo Jima and other Pacific islands gave U. Of the 22, Japanese combatants entrenched on Iwo Jima, 21, died either from fighting or by ritual suicide.

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According to the official Navy Department Library website, "The day Iwo Jima assault resulted in more than 26, American casualties, including 6, dead" with 19, wounded. To date, all American military casualties of the 60 years following the end of World War II, including the Korean and Vietnam Wars , have not exceeded that number. In , there were still , of these Purple Heart medals in stock. Supporters of the bombings argue waiting for the Japanese to surrender would also have cost lives.

For the other Asian states alone, the average probably ranged in the tens of thousands per month, but the actual numbers were almost certainly greater in , notably due to the mass death in a famine in Vietnam. Historian Robert P.


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Newman concluded that each month that the war continued in would have produced the deaths of 'upwards of , people, mostly Asian but some Westerners. The end of the war limited the expansion of the Japanese controlled Vietnamese famine of , stopping it at 1—2 million deaths and also liberated millions of Allied prisoners of war and civilian laborers working in harsh conditions under a forced mobilization. In the Dutch East Indies , there was a "forced mobilization of some 4 million—although some estimates are as high as 10 million— romusha manual labourers About , romusha were sent to the Outer Islands and Japanese-held territories in Southeast Asia, where they joined other Asians in performing wartime construction projects.

At the end of the war, only 52, were repatriated to Java.

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Supporters also point to an order given by the Japanese War Ministry on August 1, , ordering the execution of Allied POWs, "when an uprising of large numbers cannot be suppressed without the use of firearms" or when the POW camp was in the combat zone, in fear that "escapees from the camp may turn into a hostile fighting force".

The Operation Meetinghouse firebombing raid on Tokyo alone killed , civilians on the night of March 9—10, , causing more civilian death and destruction than the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Because the United States Army Air Forces wanted to use its fission bombs on previously undamaged cities in order to have accurate data on nuclear-caused damage, Kokura , Hiroshima , Nagasaki , and Niigata were preserved from conventional bombing raids.

Otherwise, they would all have been firebombed. The Soviet invasion of Manchuria had, in the week before the surrender, caused over 80, deaths. In September , nuclear physicist Karl Taylor Compton , who himself took part in the Manhattan Project, visited MacArthur's headquarters in Tokyo, and following his visit wrote a defensive article, in which he summarized his conclusions as follows:. If the atomic bomb had not been used , evidence like that I have cited points to the practical certainty that there would have been many more months of death and destruction on an enormous scale.

Philippine justice Delfin Jaranilla, member of the Tokyo tribunal , wrote in his judgment:. If a means is justified by an end, the use of the atomic bomb was justified for it brought Japan to her knees and ended the horrible war. If the war had gone longer, without the use of the atomic bomb, how many thousands and thousands of helpless men, women and children would have needlessly died and suffered?

But they also showed a meanness and viciousness towards their enemies equal to the Huns '. Genghis Khan and his hordes could not have been more merciless.

I have no doubts about whether the two atom bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki were necessary. Without them, hundreds of thousands of civilians in Malaya and Singapore, and millions in Japan itself, would have perished. Lee witnessed his home city being invaded by the Japanese and was nearly executed in the Sook Ching Massacre. Supporters of the bombings have argued the Japanese government had promulgated a National Mobilization Law and waged total war , ordering many civilians including women, children, and old people to work in factories and other infrastructure attached to the war effort and to fight against any invading force.

In addition, the dropping of high explosives with precision bombing was unable to penetrate Japan's dispersed industry, making it entirely impossible to destroy them without causing widespread damage to surrounding areas. We were going after military targets. No point in slaughtering civilians for the mere sake of slaughter. Of course there is a pretty thin veneer in Japan, but the veneer was there. It was their system of dispersal of industry. All you had to do was visit one of those targets after we'd roasted it, and see the ruins of a multitude of houses, with a drill press sticking up through the wreckage of every home.

The entire population got into the act and worked to make those airplanes or munitions of war We knew we were going to kill a lot of women and kids when we burned [a] town. Had to be done. For six months prior to the use of nuclear weapons in combat , the United States Army Air Forces under LeMay's command undertook a major strategic bombing campaign against Japanese cities through the use of incendiary bombs , destroying 67 cities and killing an estimated , civilians.

Colonel Harry F. Cunningham, an intelligence officer of the Fifth Air Force , noted that in addition to civilians producing weapons of war in cities, the Japanese government created a large civilian militia organization in order to train millions of civilians to be armed and to resist the American invaders. In his official intelligence review on July 21, , he declared that:. The entire population of Japan is a proper military target There are no civilians in Japan.

We are making war and making it in the all-out fashion which saves American lives, shortens the agony which war is and seeks to bring about an enduring peace. We intend to seek out and destroy the enemy wherever he or she is, in the greatest possible numbers, in the shortest possible time. Supporters of the bombings have emphasized the strategic significance of the targets.

Hiroshima was used as headquarters of the Second General Army and Fifth Division , which commanded the defense of southern Japan with 40, combatants stationed in the city. The city was also a communication center, an assembly area for combatants, a storage point, and had major industrial factories and workshops as well, and its air defenses consisted of five batteries of 7-cm and 8-cm 2. In early July , on his way to Potsdam, Truman had re-examined the decision to use the bomb.

In the end, he made the decision to drop the atomic bombs on strategic cities. His stated intention in ordering the bombings was to save American lives, to bring about a quick resolution of the war by inflicting destruction, and instilling fear of further destruction, sufficient to cause Japan to surrender.

Commenting on the use of the atomic bomb, then- U. Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson stated, "The atomic bomb was more than a weapon of terrible destruction; it was a psychological weapon. In , Mitsuo Fuchida , the pilot who led the first wave in the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor , met with General Paul Tibbets , who piloted the Enola Gay that dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, and told him that:. You did the right thing. You know the Japanese attitude at that time, how fanatic they were, they'd die for the Emperor Every man, woman, and child would have resisted that invasion with sticks and stones if necessary Can you imagine what a slaughter it would be to invade Japan?

It would have been terrible.

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The Japanese people know more about that than the American public will ever know. Some historians see ancient Japanese warrior traditions as a major factor in the resistance in the Japanese military to the idea of surrender.

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According to one Air Force account,. The Japanese code of Bushido —the way of the warrior'—was deeply ingrained. The concept of Yamato-damashii equipped each soldier with a strict code: never be captured, never break down, and never surrender. Surrender was dishonorable. Each soldier was trained to fight to the death and was expected to die before suffering dishonor. Defeated Japanese leaders preferred to take their own lives in the painful samurai ritual of seppuku called hara kiri in the West.

Warriors who surrendered were deemed not worthy of regard or respect. This created an environment in which opposition to war was a much riskier endeavor. According to historian Richard B. Frank ,.

The intercepts of Japanese Imperial Army and Navy messages disclosed without exception that Japan's armed forces were determined to fight a final Armageddon battle in the homeland against an Allied invasion. It was founded on the premise that American morale was brittle and could be shattered by heavy losses in the initial invasion. American politicians would then gladly negotiate an end to the war far more generous than unconditional surrender. The United States Department of Energy 's history of the Manhattan Project lends some credence to these claims, saying that military leaders in Japan.

While some members of the civilian leadership did use covert diplomatic channels to attempt peace negotiation, they could not negotiate surrender or even a cease-fire. Japan could legally enter into a peace agreement only with the unanimous support of the Japanese cabinet, and in the summer of , the Japanese Supreme War Council, consisting of representatives of the Army, the Navy, and the civilian government, could not reach a consensus on how to proceed.

A political stalemate developed between the military and civilian leaders of Japan, the military increasingly determined to fight despite all costs and odds and the civilian leadership seeking a way to negotiate an end to the war.


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  • Further complicating the decision was the fact no cabinet could exist without the representative of the Imperial Japanese Army. This meant the Army or Navy could veto any decision by having its Minister resign, thus making them the most powerful posts on the SWC. In early August , the cabinet was equally split between those who advocated an end to the war on one condition, the preservation of the kokutai , and those who insisted on three other conditions: [63].