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A political advantage: the reason why USA bombed Japanese cities

.it wasn’t necessary to use the bomb against the cities of Japan in order to win the war but our possession and demonstration of the bomb would make the Russians more manageable in Europe.

The real purpose in incinerating two high-density civilian population centers, says Stimson, was “to persuade Russia to play ball.”

 that’s the very definition of terrorism: using violence or the threat of violence as the means to achieve political ends. It’s terrorism with a vengeance. Americans just don’t do that kind of thing. Americans would never behave in such a horribly depraved and cruel manner. But, in fact, we did. And, as Part II of this article will make devastatingly clear, we still do. And it won’t stop until America awakens to the truth about itself, and, openly acknowledging that truth with a show of genuine heartfelt remorse, proceeds to make amends where amends are due.

America’s Nuclear Madness: Terrorism With A Vengeance (Part I) By ”  OpEdNews   8/11/2013 “………The inhumanity of it all couldn’t be more telling. The dropping of the second bomb on Nagasaki was especially brutal and cruel. Knowing of the horrendous horrors that had already been unleashed in Hiroshima, three days later the U.S. did the same thing to the civilian population of Nagasaki. Why? Japan’s surrender was already assured without the bombs. Surely surrender would soon be following on the heels of Hiroshima’s decimation. So, again, why the second bomb?

Nagasaki-bombed

The answer is as simple as it is grotesque. The second bomb was dropped on Nagasaki because Japan’s surrender was never the issue. Getting Japan to surrender was the pretext. The bombs were dropped to make a point. There were political reasons for nuking those two high-density civilian populations, and the United States was not going to let Japan interfere with its political agenda by way of an untimely surrender. The dropping of the second bomb on Nagasaki was part of a political maneuver that had already been decided upon — a one-two punch stratagem designed to strike fear into post-war Russia (our ally in the war against Germany) and convince them to accept their subordinate position on the postwar world stage.

Atomic Bombs Were Dropped On High-Density Civilian Populations In Japan To Make A Political Statement

It had been agreed at a conference in Yalta in February 1945 that the Soviet Union would join the U.S. in its war against Japan three months after the Germans were defeated in Europe. At the Potsdam conference between Britain, the U.S., and the Soviet Union in July this was reaffirmed. Germany had surrendered on May 8, and so the Russian army would be marching into Manchuria on August 9, 1945, and soon thereafter on into the Japanese mainland. Truman welcomed Russia as an ally in the war against Japan, but felt that the agreements hammered out at the Potsdam conference had given far too much ground to the Soviets, with several Soviet-occupied countries annexed as Soviet Socialist Republics, and a number of East European countries becoming Soviet Satellite states. Truman was firm in his conviction that there would be no repeat performance of this with the defeat of Japan, and with the success of the first atomic bomb test in mid-July Truman felt that he was now in a position to make this very clear to Stalin: there would be no Soviet influence in postwar Japan as the Potsdam conference had agreed there would be for postwar Europe. As Truman noted in his diary in July 1945:

Anxious as we were to have Russia in the war against Japan, the experience at Potsdam now made me determined that I would not allow the Russians any part in the control of Japan… force is the only thing that the Russians understand.

The important question for Truman was how to impress upon the Russians that Japan was not to go the way of a divided Germany as per the Potsdam agreement. The decision to bomb the civilian populations of Hiroshima and Nagasaki into oblivion was Truman’s answer to this question.

As the U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey made very clear, it was of the utmost importance to Truman that “Japan”capitulate to US occupying forces rather than Soviet,” and that they do so prior to Russia getting its foot in the door. As per the Yalta agreement in February, Russian boots were due on the ground in Manchuria on August 9, and would be in Japan soon thereafter. Unless a Japanese surrender to U.S. forces could be effected prior to Russia”s invasion of the Japanese mainland, Russia would be justified in laying claim to a share in the spoils of a U.S/Soviet victory over Japan. The bombing of Hiroshima on August 6, Nagasaki on August 9, and the U.S. acceptance of Japan’s terms of surrender on August 10, was to insure that this would not be the case; that, unlike postwar Germany, in postwar Japan the U.S. alone would be calling the shots. The complete annihilation of two entire Japanese cities would be a show of just the kind of “force” Truman felt the Russians were sure to understand.

Wouldn’t A Simple Demonstration of America’s New Weapon Be Sufficient To Contain the Russians?

Was there no other way for Truman to get his point across to the Russians short of incinerating nearly a quarter of a million people? Why not simply provide the Japanese leadership with a demonstration of the enormous destructive power of America’s new weapon? Wouldn’t this be sufficient to effect a Japanese surrender? And if the demonstration was conducted prior to the Russian army”s advance into Japan, wouldn’t this be sufficient to dash any hopes the Russians had of sharing in the control of postwar Japan?

This is precisely what Strauss had in mind when he suggested to his boss, Secretary of the Navy, James Forrestal, that an atom bomb be dropped “over some area accessible to Japanese observers and where its effects would be dramatic,” but would involve no loss of life:

…a satisfactory place for such a demonstration would be a large forest of cryptomeria trees not far from Tokyo. The cryptomeria tree is the Japanese version of our redwood… I anticipated that a bomb detonated at a suitable height above such a forest… would lay the trees out in windrows from the center of the explosion in all directions as though they were matchsticks, and, of course, set them afire in the center. It seemed to me that a demonstration of this sort would prove to the Japanese that we could destroy any of their cities at will… Secretary Forrestal agreed wholeheartedly with the recommendation…

Why wasn’t a demonstration of this sort ever performed? Why did Truman choose instead to drop the bombs on two Japanese high-density population centers? According to Thomas K. Finletter, Chairman of US Air Policy Committee, there simply “was not enough time” to organize a demonstration prior to Russia’s August 9 entry into the war against Japan:

There was not enough time between 16 July when we knew at New Mexico that the bomb would work, and 8 August, the Russian deadline date, for us to have set up the very complicated machinery of a test atomic bombing involving time-consuming problems of area preparations, etc… No, any test would have been impossible if the purpose was to knock Japan out before Russia came in – or at least before Russia could make anything other than a token of participation prior to a Japanese collapse.

Even if we assume the best and grant that there was no time to prepare a demonstration before Russia’s entrance into the war against Japan, this hardly justifies dropping nuclear bombs on defenseless civilian populations. Yet Finletter’s statement reads as though dropping atomic bombs on the civilian populations of two Japanese cities was a perfectly acceptable alternative to setting up a demonstration given that the U.S. was having time-sensitive logistic problems in doing so. It’s as though he said, “Well, we really did want to provide a demonstration for the Japanese leadership, but we just couldn’t get it all together in a time frame that suited our political ambitions, so we decided instead to drop the bombs on two heavily populated Japanese cities and kill a couple of hundred thousand innocent civilians. What other choice did we have? It was the only rational thing left to do.”

Diabolical? The Inhumanity Of It All Runs Deeper Still

We have still not gotten to the real reason behind the decision to drop atomic bombs on two Japanese cities. Until now I have been far too charitable in accepting the idea that the bombs were dropped to impress upon Stalin that the Soviets would have no part in the management of postwar Japan. As morally depraved as that is, the truth is far more damning.

If the purpose in dropping the bombs, whether on human populations or on a forest of cryptomeria trees, was to effect a Japanese surrender prior to Russia’s entry into the war, the bombs were completely unnecessary. There was no need for the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, nor was there even need of a demonstration of any kind. If the purpose of the bombs, was to effect a Japanese surrender prior to Russia’s entry into the war, this surrender was obtainable three weeks earlier without recourse to the bomb simply by accepting Japan’s July 22 nd peace offering. This bears repeating: If the purpose of the bombs, was to effect a Japanese surrender prior to Russia’s entry into the war, this surrender was obtainable three weeks earlier without recourse to the bomb simply by accepting Japan’s July 22 nd peace offering.

As noted, that offer was rejected, ostensibly because it came with the proviso that the Japanese be permitted to retain the institution of the emperor and thus fell short of the unconditional surrender the U.S. demanded. But, as MacArthur noted earlier, when Japan surrendered three weeks later, after the bombs had fallen and Hiroshima and Nagasaki had been utterly destroyed, it was agreed that the institution of the emperor would remain intact anyway.

So asking us to believe that Hiroshima and Nagasaki would have been spared if only there were enough time to set up a demonstration is just so much nonsense. Clearly, Truman felt it necessary to use the bombs, and he felt it necessary to use them on civilian populations. Otherwise, why wait until after Hiroshima and Nagasaki had been decimated and their inhabitants incinerated before accepting Japan’s July 22 nd peace offering, emperor and all.

What kind of twisted rationale lay behind this madness? The bombs were not used to bring a conclusive end to the war — that was incidental, and already a given. Nor, as noted earlier, were the bombs dropped to avert the horrors of a ground invasion, and thus to save American lives. Nor, as we now understand, were the bombs dropped to insure that the Russians would have no part in determining the fate of a postwar Japan. Insuring that there would be no interference from Russia in the management of postwar Japan via Japan’s timely capitulation to U.S. forces was important to Truman, but the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was in no way necessary to achieving this. Again, Japan’s surrender could have been effected weeks before the agreed upon August 9 date of Russia’s entry into Manchuria and subsequent ground invasion of the Japanese mainland.

So why? Why the bombs?

Though the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki played no necessary role in keeping Russian influence out of postwar Japan, the evidence is overwhelming that it did play, and wasintended to play, an important role in U.S. efforts to contain, and even reverse, Russia’s growing influence in Europe.

Several weeks before the bombs were dropped, Leo Szilard, the first scientist to conceive of how an atomic bomb might be built, had a meeting with Truman’s Secretary of State, James Byrnes, in which Szilard expressed his concern that by revealing that we had “the bomb and using it in the war against Japan, we might start an atomic arms race between America and Russia which might end with the destruction of both countries.” Byrnes’ mind was elsewhere.According to Szilard:

Byrnes… was concerned about Russia’s postwar behavior. Russian troops had moved into Hungary and Rumania, and Byrnes thought it would be very difficult to persuade Russia to withdraw her troops from these countries, that Russia might be more manageable if impressed by American military might, and that a demonstration of the bomb might impress Russia.

When Byrnes spoke to Szilard of providing the Russians with a “demonstration” of the bomb he was not speaking of the kind of non-lethal demonstration that Strauss suggested in which an atomic bomb would be dropped over a forest of Japanese cryptomeria trees. No. The demonstration Byrnes had in mind had as its target fully populated Japanese cities. Why leave anything to the imagination? Important as it was to Truman that the Russians know that the U.S. had this enormously destructive new weapon, apparently it was also important to him that the Russians understand that the U.S. was quite capable of using this new weapon, and had no qualms about using it against civilian populations. As Truman’s Secretary of State made very clear:

…it wasn’t necessary to use the bomb against the cities of Japan in order to win the war but our possession and demonstration of the bomb would make the Russians more manageable in Europe.

Two days following his meeting with Byrnes, Szilard had another meeting with J. Robert Oppenheimer, head scientist for the Manhattan Project. Here, once again, the idea is further reinforced that the real purpose in the nuclear massacre of more than 200,000 civilians was to send Russia a clear, unequivocal message of America’s postwar hegemonic intent. At this meeting Szilard told Oppenheimer that he “thought it would be a very serious mistake to use the bomb against the cities of Japan.” Oppenheimer disagreed:

Well, don’t you think that if we tell the Russians what we intend to do and then use the bomb in Japan, the Russians will understand it?

In effect, the U.S. was saying to the Soviet Union: “Observe our great power, and how we don’t hesitate to use it. You know what we expect of you, and if you know what’s good for you you’ll behave yourselves.” And the fact that Stalin knew the U.S. used the bomb when there was absolutely no military necessity for it to do so, and that the bomb was used against a civilian population, no doubt made this message all the more terrifyingly persuasive, as Truman no doubt intended. In short, the purpose in dropping the bombs was to scare the bejesus out of Russia, and there is no question that the U.S. succeeded in doing precisely that. The U.S. couldn’t have been more explicit in its invitation to the Soviets to begin the nuclear arms race just as Szilard had feared.

So Begins the Cold War, the Nuclear Arms Race, and the Era of Nuclear Terror “Diplomacy”

With Truman’s decision to use nuclear weapons on the civilian populations of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the cold war era of nuclear diplomacy had begun. The bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki were not used as weapons of war, but rather as uniquely persuasive negotiating tools to effect a political settlement with our Russian allies, a settlement that would serve as a constant reminder to Russia of its subordinate status on the postwar world stage. Truman’s Secretary of War Henry Stimson wrote in his diary that following the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki there developed in the State Department “a tendency to think of the bomb as a diplomatic weapon,” and that “American statesmen were eager for their country to browbeat the Russians with the bomb held rather ostentatiously on our hip.”

The real purpose in incinerating two high-density civilian population centers, says Stimson, was “to persuade Russia to play ball.” We also read in notes jotted down after his talks with President Roosevelt of “the necessity of bringing Russian orgn. into the fold of Christian civilization,” and of the bomb as the means to accomplish this. So even before Truman took over the presidency upon Roosevelt’s death in April 1945 — long before the bomb had been built and tested — the idea that the real purpose of the bomb was to keep the Russians in check was already in circulation. America’s use of the atom bomb for this purpose was no mere afterthought.

General Leslie Groves, director of the Manhattan project from 1942 to 1946, says he never bought into the idea that Russia was our “gallant ally:”

There was never, from about two weeks from the time I took charge, any illusions on my part, but that Russia was our enemy, and that the project was carried out on that basis. (emphasis mine)

Joseph Rotblatt, physicist and early contributor to the Manhattan project, recounts how in March 1944, nearly 18 months before the first successful atomic bomb test, he was shocked to hear General Groves say in casual conversation:

“You realize, of course, that the real purpose of making the bomb is to subdue our chief enemy, the Russians!”

This would have come as news to the atomic scientists at Los Alamos, New Mexico working on the Manhattan Project. They believed they were in a race against time to develop the bomb before the Nazis. If such a bomb could be built it was imperative that the “good guys” get there first. The only problem with this narrative, as General Groves makes quite clear, is that it just isn’t true.

As early as mid-1943 the U.S. had learned through their British allies that the race with the Nazis to produce the bomb was pure fiction. By mid-1943 the British Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) had gathered enough evidence to convince them that the German atomic bomb program had already petered out. The scientists recruited for the Manhattan project had been duped.

Hard to believe that America would use nuclear weapons against an already defeated nation’s defenseless civilian population to serve as an advertisement for its global postwar political ambitions — an inducement to friend and foe alike to capitulate to U.S. peacetime demands and interests? Of course it”s hard to believe, it’s completely contrary to the propagandistic narrative we’ve been fed all our lives. Killing nearly a quarter of a million people just to make a political statement and advance one”s political ambitions? That’s not America! Indeed, that’s the very definition of terrorism: using violence or the threat of violence as the means to achieve political ends. It’s terrorism with a vengeance. Americans just don’t do that kind of thing. Americans would never behave in such a horribly depraved and cruel manner. But, in fact, we did. And, as Part II of this article will make devastatingly clear, we still do. And it won’t stop until America awakens to the truth about itself, and, openly acknowledging that truth with a show of genuine heartfelt remorse, proceeds to make amends where amends are due.

**********************************************

America’s Nuclear Madness Makes A Comeback: Terrorism With A Vengeance (Part II) (To follow next week) http://www.opednews.com/articles/America-s-Nuclear-Madness-by-Robert-Quinn-130811-741.html

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August 14, 2013 - Posted by | history, Japan, Religion and ethics, USA, weapons and war

5 Comments »

  1. Certainly I do not agree with the author’s proposal that the use of nuclear weapons on Japan was tatamount to terrorism. One thing is there is no universal international law definition of terrorism. Second, excluded from terrorism spefically are acts of the military engages in a state of war with another state. The US being in a state of war with Japan precludes this being a terrorist act. The only other arguement could be whether the use constitutes a war crime. This is different than terrorism.
    That being said. It was Carl Von Clauswitz that stated that war is the continuation of politics by other means. Certainly the bombs were dropped to end the war quickly. It is also very possible that Japan may have surrendered without the planned invasion of the home islands. It is also unlikely that should an invasion have been needed that casualties would be anywhere near 1M allies. However, there was a very real need to end the war quickly. Part of this was the concern of lives already lost. But also was the concern of the post war environment with Soviet Union which was already beginning to show its colors after the surrender in Europe. So a political decision was made–end the war now–not two months from now–not four months from now–now. Did the bombs save more lives than they cost–no one will ever know–all we can do is speculate on what may have happened. It was a political decision–war is politics by other means. But it did certainly have its desired effect. The war ended abruptly.

    Comment by Walter Graves | January 7, 2014 | Reply

    • Yes you don’t even touch on the fact that a simple demonstration would have sufficed.

      Comment by Dale Cooper | March 5, 2014 | Reply

      • I couldn’t agree more. Robert Jungt made that very clear back in 1958 – showing how some of the atomic scientists were duped about this – while others supported the bombing

        Comment by Christina MacPherson | March 6, 2014

  2. *Yet you don’t
    Wish you could edit comments!

    “Certainly I do not agree with the author’s proposal that the use of nuclear weapons on Japan was tatamount to terrorism.”

    Semantics. This is a discussion of the morality of the decision to drop two bombs on civilian targets, and when the moral factors at play resemble the terrorism which Bush told us america is at war with, it’s worth noting and a good point regardless of who is responsible for the threat of violence and at what diplomatic stage.

    “The war ended abruptly”
    And caused a cold war and a nuclear arsenal race. The short term manageability of post-war europe was hardly worth the price of 200.000 lives and decades or exponentially growing nuclear threats, but I guess it was to the political forces of the time. Funny how people can radically change the course of history, enjoy a short ride, and then sit back and watch history books being written in their honor, because people are too lazy to question what they’re taught in school.

    Comment by Dale Cooper | March 5, 2014 | Reply

  3. The Japanese Empire had no qualms about subjugating “civilian targets” in THEIR quest for expansion. I would also “question” (not refute) the claim the war was already ended. Even if from the lips of Japanese officials…what else would you have them say?

    This event certainly does and should weigh on our conscience. However…let’s look at “modern warfare” (our modern warfare- from Viet Nam to Afghanistan) . Let’s cast aside rationale for it (even though I personally believe there should be a true global war against global terrorism), it seems even more cruel and much less effective than WWII “solutions”. We bombed the holy living h$ll out of Nuremberg, and of course we know what we did to Japan. But it did stop the BS right quick. And you know what? Germany, Japan, and USA our allies in every way, military, industry, and social culture. How can that be? How does it compare to what is going on today with endless conflict, no solution and no end in sight?

    Comment by Steve Krall | June 14, 2014 | Reply


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