Nagasaki Plus 67 Years

The bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki have become an annual rallying point for the Left to beat up America for doing what needed to be done to win World War Two with the minimum amount of blood. In recent years a few people including me have started taking this moment to remind people of the truth of the cost of invading Japan as opposed to the Left’s revisionist history/morality play on the A-bomb. See my past Happy V-J Day! and Hiroshima — The A-bomb plus 65 year! posts. This year most of my work in trying to draft such a reminder was done by FORBES contributor Henry I. Miller, who wrote The Nuking Of Japan Was A Tactical And Moral Imperative!

See this text:

The U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff estimated that an invasion of Japan’s home islands would result in approximately 1.2 million American casualties, with 267,000 deaths. A study performed by physicist William Shockley for the staff of Secretary of War Henry Stimson estimated that the invasion of Japan would cost 1.7-4 million American casualties, including 400,000-800,000 fatalities, and five to ten million Japanese deaths. These fatality estimates were of course, in addition to those who had already perished during four long years of war; American deaths were already about 292,000. In other words, the invasion of Japan could have resulted in the death of twice as many Americans as had already been killed in the European, North African and Pacific theaters!

A critical element of Shockley’s analysis was the assumption of large-scale participation by civilians in repelling invading forces. This assumption is supported by the research described in, “The Most Controversial Decision,” by the Rev. Wilson Miscamble, professor of history at the University of Notre Dame, who blames “the twisted neo-samurai who led the Japanese military geared up with true banzai spirit to engage the whole population in a kind of kamikaze campaign.” He added, “Their stupidity and perfidy in perpetuating and prolonging the struggle should not be ignored.”

Much has been made of the moral line that supposedly was crossed by the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings, but far more significant in that regard were the decisions earlier in the war to adopt widespread bombing of civilians – initially by Hitler in attacking English cities and later by the Allied devastation of, for example, Dresden, Hamburg and Tokyo.

Historian and classicist Victor Davis Hanson has called attention to two factors that for both tactical and ethical reasons argued for the use of America’s nuclear weapons against Japan. First, “thousands of Asians and allied prisoners were dying daily throughout the still-occupied Japanese Empire, and would do so as long as Japan was able to pursue the war. (Gideon Rose, the editor of the journal Foreign Affairs, has estimated that during every month of 1945 in which the war continued, Japanese forces were causing the deaths of between 100,000 and 250,000 noncombatants.)

Thank God for the Atomic Bomb.

It saved millions, including my wife’s grandfather, who was one of the men slated for the Operation Olympic.

Complete article for the quoted text above at this link:

31 thoughts on “Nagasaki Plus 67 Years”

  1. The “Bring the heat, Bring the Stupid” mil-blog has a good 6 Aug 2012 post on the Japanese Ketsu-Go plan versus the Operation Olympic plan.

  2. An online friend’s great grandfather was a surviving member of the Japanese High Command. The entire family (with the exception of my friend’s grandmother) was wiped out at Hiroshima. The GGF was in Tokyo at a meeting. The GGF was ENTIRELY in favor of the bombing. He was intimately familiar with the ‘kamikaze’ plans which included training children as young as five to be suicide bombers. ‘Had it not been for the atomic bomb we COULD not have surrendered. And if we had not, there would be no remaining Japanese race.’

    He had predicted, long before, a blood bath and had ordered the grandmother to court and marry an American attache and then become fully ‘American’ so as to preserve some of the bloodline. By the time of the bombing there was not one male member of the family of military age left alive. All had been killed in combat.

  3. Robert Conroy has an excellent alt-history, 1945. the premise is that the July 45 A-bomb test in New Mexico fizzled, and the amphibious invasion took place, with horrendous losses on both sides. Conroy has a number of alt-history works, highly worth reading.

  4. I have read a few things on the mockup invasion of the Japanese islands subject but am no expert. If the bomb would have failed, wouldn’t we just have gassed/incinerated/bombed the Japanese a few months before landing, all the while starving them with our sub/ship blockade?

  5. I remember reading Bookworm’s account of her mother’s days as a civilian prisoner when it was first posted. One of my books about the American prisoners in the PI has an estimation in it that by the time the bomb was dropped, the various civilian internees were at best two weeks from death by starvation, as the Japanese had cut back the food rations so far back.

    If the Bombs had not been dropped when they were, every POW and internee in Southwest Asia would have been dead. Either by starvation or by deliberate execution.

  6. Bill,

    The war would not have lasted that long.

    The US Army’s Chemical Warfare Service was shipping all of our and all of the captured German poison gas stocks — including GA & GB Nerve gas — to the Pacific. And this does not include the chemical weapons stocks the British, Canadians and Australians would have brought to the party.

    Logistic delays from the States would have had most of it arrive after Operation Olympic, but over 100,000 tons of lethal gas would have been on-hand in 1946 (plus a like amount in the transportation pipeline on the way there) with Japanese ‘Children as Kamikaze’ resistance providing the American high command the will to use it.

    And we would have been building three A-bombs a month starting in Oct 1945 with a total of seven on-hand for Operation Olympic come 1 Nov 1945.

    Allied invasion forces would hae been taking more casualties from our own gas and radioactive contamination than from the Japanese come March 1946 — The invasion date for Operation Coronet — when Honshu was to be invaded.

    John Ringo was not kidding about the end of the Japanese race.

  7. Blockade: Never would have dented them. At that time, Japan was less than a generation off the farm. In a blockade, they would have dispersed to the countryside, and gone back to farming. A city can be starved, not a whole island nation. Also, population dispersal would have made the bombing tactics of the era futile.

    “If the Bombs had not been dropped when they were, every POW and internee in Southwest Asia would have been dead.”

    Were you just referring to POWs who had been imprisoned on the home island? Correct me if I am wrong, but I thought that by that time the Japanese Army had been run out of everywhere but the home island.

    The nuclear weapons saved the lives of millions Japanese civilians, who would have most assuredly died from hunger and disease if we had invaded the home island.

  8. Sgt – there is a great book on American POWs in the PI – Ghost Soldiers – about a Ranger Battalion who made a daring raid before the main invasion of Leyte (I think that was the island) – what stood out for me – of the 80,000 prisoners after Bataan – less than 6,000 remained 4 years later – the rest dead from disease and starvation. And the camp commanders had orders to kill them – as they did with a group – forced into a ditch with gasoline poured in – as soon as the invasion came.

    Trent – historical speculation is always fun – but just that – speculation.

    Would we have used the gas?

    The reason we didn’t in Germany – or more importantly the reason Hitler didn’t use it – was knowing our own stockpiles. But there was an interesting conversation between Hitler and a man from IG Farben over using it – and the IG Farben guy talked him out of it. (I would try to dig up a link but I am at work).

    But there were many combat veterans in Europe expecting to get orders for the Pacific – glad they didn’t have to go.

    I remember reading though that even after Hiroshima – the Japanese war council wouldn’t surrender – and after Nagasaki – it took the intervention of the Emperor to facilitate a surrender. Even with that there was a group who were planning a coup.

  9. >>>> with the minimum amount of blood.

    Not just that. With the European war done, Russia was in the process of shifting forces to the Pacific to enable them to get their fingers into that.

    What would have been the difference in the Cold War if Japan had been partitioned as Germany was, with US and USSR controlled sectors?


    Equally critically —

    The images from Hiroshima and Nagasaki were remarkably graphic in terms of what this new weapon could and would do to not just the humans but the infrastructure around them.

    How significant were those images to causing both sides in the Cold War to back down at critical moments rather than to take it to a “hot” level?

    On the 45th anniversary of Hiroshima (1990), Harlan Ellison was a guest on Nightline, and he pointed out that, in his opinion, “The Bomb” was, instead of an immoral weapon for its lack of discrimination of targets, but, in fact, one of the most moral weapons in history.

    His reasoning was connected to the fact that, after using this weapon once in war, we had not then used it for 45 subsequent years (now over 65!).

    This is unprecedented in human history!

    For us to develop a weapon and then never use it again is simply not something we’ve ever done.

    Ellison argued that the reason for this was that, for the very first time since kings stopped riding into battle at the head of their armies, the choice to GO to war affected the choosers far more than it did the common man.

    Sure, the common man might lose his life and family in a nuclear war, but the chances of that for the Power Elite was at least as great, and, more critically, they might lose ALL the things that made them the Power Elite.

    So that choice was never really an option. They weren’t about to risk chopping off their own heads in a war, of losing all the wealth they owned.

    And again, I note — suppose, instead of Hiroshima and Nagasaki we just had government tests done on Nevada ghost towns filled with mannequins? Would the Power Elite have had as much trouble rationalizing going from Cold to Hot without that imagery of a ruined city staring them in the face? Is there a major alternate universe branch of the time fork with a destroyed or utterly devastated human civilization in it, every one of which hinges on the failure to use The Bomb at the end of WWII?

    Clearly, this can’t be known at our current understanding of time and causation… but I certainly believe that, regardless of the direct moral issues of using The Bomb against Japan, it may well be that the lives of all of us rest on the blood of the sacrificial lambs for all humanity laying in the remnants of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

  10. }}}} “If the Bombs had not been dropped when they were, every POW and internee in Southwest Asia would have been dead. Either by starvation or by deliberate execution.”

    Sgt. Mom, you might find Hanson’s “The Soul of Battle, specifically, the last 3rd regarding Patton, of interest. Hanson argues that, had the European High Command (esp. Bradley) not yanked the reins in on Patton (as much for politics and personal resentment as actual military concerns), Patton might have been in Berlin in 1944by the time the weather shifted and the campaign season was over — not only eliminating any claim the Russians had on Germany and much of Eastern Europe (a vast change in European history, as well as the Cold War), but also saving millions of Jews in the process who were sent to the gas chambers in the last 8-odd months of the war.

    If there’s a God, then there are some WWII commanders who have a lot to answer for… and not all of them are on the German and Japanese side.

  11. Bill, I’ve got ‘Ghost Soldiers” and a couple of others about the civilian internees in the PI, and a couple of books about the English and other Allied internees.
    Robert, there were civilian internees scattered in camps all over – in those parts of China still held by Japan, in Thailand,Indonesia and Sumatra. They were so far back in the weeds that the Allies could only reach them at first with air-drops of food.
    The civilian internees didn’t have great survival rates either – I have a book about one of the women’s camps; only half the interned women and children survived to the end of the war.

  12. >>> The advocates for invasion agreed that while a naval blockade chokes, it does not kill;

    Even more critically, the notion that a naval blockade of Japan would be even vaguely humane is just totally ignorant.

    The civilians tend to be the ones who are starved to death, and the effects of starvation on growing children are quite horrific — and, unlike the effects of The Bomb, would be spread across a population of millions.

  13. Just a couple of things.

    No Patton would not have made it to Berlin in 1044. One should keep in mind the Russians were taking on most of the German army at the time and went on to defeat it outside of Berlin. As the Russians killed over 75% of all German soldiers killed in WW 2 they won the war.

    It was because of this, among other things, that Truman nuked Japan. The Russians could have overrun the entire Allied army and taken Europe to the sea. He wanted to show them what he had because of this very real possibility.

  14. The Patton-in-Berlin scenario is wrong for a bunch of reasons. FDR cut a deal with Stalin that the dividing line would be the Elbe. FDR figured that otherwise the Russians would have gone a lot farther. No one knew the Allies would break out of France the way they did. So, the leadership would never have let him go to Berlin. We wanted to keep our word to Stalin, and try to get him to keep his word to us, which he did in many cases. Second, Eisenhower employed a broad front advance on purpose. He knew that in a war of maneuver the Germans would kick our ass. So we pounded them with a sledgehammer and ground forward. The ONLY way we could lose is if we gave the Germans an opportunity to deploy their skill on us. We never let them. We fought in a way the Germans could never respond to. Lunges toward Berlin were not within our approved and successful strategy. Third, even if the US Army got to Berlin, we would not have had the massive numbers and materiel that the Russians had, and consumed, taking Berlin. They Russians lost about as many people taking Berlin as we lost in the entire war. Why would we do that? Let the Russians do it. FDR and Marshall and Eisenhower were perfectly happy to let the Russians go into the monster’s lair at the end and kill it. Plus, the Russians wanted to do it. It was the last act of the drama, and it belonged to them.

    As to Truman’s motives, the record seems to show that he was mostly concerned about American casualties. Any impact on the Russians was not a main focus at the time.

    I disagree with PenGun that the Russians could have driven the Allies into the sea. They might have, but it is not certain. They relied on our Lend Lease supplies, they were at the end of their logistical rope in central Europe, the Allies could have directed all of their air power against the Red Army and its lines of communications. All in all, it would have been a high risk play for Stalin, and he avoided high risk plays.

  15. Bupkis: I have read lots of theorization in the blogosphere about the US preventing the Cold War in the way you suggested.

    When I was young, and a student at the University of Chicago, William McNeill told me that he had written a diplomatic history of the post-war period, as part of the official history of the war issued by a government agency (I don’t remember whether it was State or Defense), and that it was his opinion that Stalin felt that he was entitled to material reparations from the Germans. Mr. McNeill thought that the question of reparations had driven the split between the allies.

    Given that divide, the US would not have been able to keep the Russians from claiming their piece of Germany and the rest of eastern Europe. If we had tried to stop them, it would have lead to a military confrontation, one that the US was not prepared to have.

    Given that Truman would use nuclear weapons against the Chinese in 1950, we can doubt that he would have used them against Russia in 1945.

    I think that the US played its hand, which was very weak, as well as it could have in the early Cold War Years.

  16. I have been having a discussion, on entirely Catholic grounds, at a couple of Catholic blogs and there is a perspective that is not being addressed so far. It is not acceptable to do evil so that good may come of it. Don’t assume that saving lives will convince all the anti-bomb critics. That reasoning will not always work. Consequentialism is something that is forbidden Catholics, though that’s one idea that a lot of Catholics struggle with. The anti-bomb people struggle with it too because they overwhelmingly prefer to ignore the fallout and to pretend that the question is whether to use the bomb or not and instead of what the question really was, how to end the war in victory.

  17. TMLustas,

    Ask the anti-bomb folks if their definition of “victory” entailed another 50 million dead in WWII, all AFTER the A-bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Because the Japanese army outside Japan would have slaughtered every Allied civilian they could catch in China, the Dutch East Indies, Malaya and those Philippine islands they still held. Along with all Allied POW’s and interned civilians. The slaughter would have continued until all the overseas IJA had been killed or run out of ammunition.

    Catholics have no idea of Consequentialism. It’s either strict pacifism, to save your own soul and nothing in this world, or a little big pregnant.

  18. Sgt Mom – there was a PBS special – I think it was Ken Burns The War where they devoted a segment to the civilians caught by the Japanese. One of them – interviewed in the series – was from my home town – saying – when the storm clouds started coming – she wanted to leave and her grandfather talked her out of it – or the reverse – and the guilt party felt guilt for the rest of his life. The mother was in this camp with her daughter.

    She (the internee) was talking about near starvation.

    Another thing, the Japanese held all the red cross packages – storing them and not giving them to the internees.

  19. TML….consequentialism….you’ve probably heard of the train-dispatcher problem. Scenario:

    You’re in the tower at a railyard, with remote-controlled track switches at your disposal. A boxcar that has just gone over the hump is headed downhill on Track One, and there’s a group of three people standing on the track who don’t see it coming. (Your audio-announcement system and your speed retarder have both failed.)

    You can throw switch to Track Two, where there is only *one* clueless person standing on the track.

    Leave it alone and three people get run over; throw it and only one gets run over.

    I think a strict anti-consequentialist would have to argue that you don’t throw the switch.

  20. >>>> “Second, Eisenhower employed a broad front advance on purpose. He knew that in a war of maneuver the Germans would kick our ass.”

    LOL, yeah, they’d had so much success at it against Patton in Africa, Sicily, and all across France as he chased them out of every hidey-hole they tried to make a stand from.

    Patton, more than any other general, fully learned the lesson of the Blitzkreig: Hold them by the nose with firepower while you kick them in the ass with maneuver.

    The number of people SINCE Patton who still haven’t grasped that is amazing. “Stormin’ Norman” wanted to go head to head against the Iraqis, until Cheney, influenced by Boyd, forced them to develop and adopt O:DS.

    Patton would have beaten the Germans unless his supply lines got cut, in any battle that came about… If you’re going to argue about his supply lines being too long, that might hold weight, but that wasn’t the problem when he got stopped by any means. Monty and Bradley were getting embarrassed by Patton racing across France months ahead of their planned schedule. If he’d been given the fuel to finish the envelopment he was in the process of performing when they yanked his fuel, a full 100k to 200k German soldiers would have been taken out of the battle. Instead they were allowed to fall back, regroup, and generally catch their breath.

    Realize that, by late 1944, Germany had already had lost virtually all of its really experienced military — most of them crushed beating their heads against Moscow and Stalingrad (yes, at horrific cost to the Soviets as they learned to actually make modern war). The German military in France were all second-gen troops built up since 1942/43, and hardly the same level of experience as the ones employed in the advance to Moscow. They were already, by late 44, down to the home guard of boys and men too old or infirm to fight in the fields as far as the defense of Germany itself went.

    And you argue that they were pre-occupied with the Russian advance, yes, this is true… so you really believe they could make a rapid shift from the eastern front to the western front even as Patton was kicking the ass of every army group he encountered? AND keep control of the eastern front? They wouldn’t have been able to figure out where to deploy to hold the lines — If they started the logistics for a line at ‘x’, Patton would have advanced past that point before it could get into serious play. You don’t move a half million troops and equipment around, and set them up for defense overnight.

    And no one, most especially the Germans, had any idea Patton was capable of what he managed from Normandy to Lorraine. So it’s not like they would have had any kind of plans ready for action. Said plans would have to be made and executed on the fly, and that’s not something the Germans have ever been that great at.

    I’m not saying it’s a foregone conclusion that he would have gone all the way across Germany, but if Patton had been at the gates, I’d suspect that the German high command would have surrendered with specific provisions that excluded the Russians from occupying Germany, and Roosevelt/Truman would have been hard-pressed to refuse… More than likely they would have found some other way to satisfy Stalin. As it was they almost revolted in 44 anyway… With the end right in their faces, they probably would have been a lot less resolute than the Japanese.

    This is all speculation, as we all know. I have to say, the power to look at alternate timelines would be one of God’s most enviable powers.

  21. >>>> I think a strict anti-consequentialist would have to argue that you don’t throw the switch.

    This is all tied to the damnfool notion that inaction isn’t an action. As though “zero” isn’t a number.

    To not act is the same as to act. The result is what matters in the grand scheme of things. You have to act/not-act as the best information you have guides you. True Faith comes from the realization that God won’t blame you for an error made based on information He chose not to supply you with for reasons of His own.

    As long as you make the best decision you’re capable of, you haven’t done wrong, you’ve merely screwed up.

    And yeah, there are lots of damnfool liberals who can figure out ways to misapply that statement above to argue in favor of “doing their best” — except that’s NOT “making the best decision you’re capable of”, it’s narcissistic ignorance masquerading as a “best choice”. Making the choice “you feeeeeeel good about” is rarely, if ever, making “the best choice”.

    If you can’t learn from your mistakes, you’re not a human, you’re a clothes-wearing ape who’s learned not to make messes in the house or belch in polite company.

  22. Bill Brandt,

    The American public would not have given the American high command a choice on that one. Once mass murder was unleashed on Allied POW and Civilians, it is pure game over as to any barrier to weapons of mass destruction (WMD) use. The mass murders would have started 9 Sept 1945, when the UK invaded Malaysia, during the run up to the invasion of Japan.

    In the June 18, 1945 meeting between the US military Chiefs of Staff and Pres. Truman approved Operation Olympic and with held final approval for Operation Coronet. See Truman’s diary entry for June 18, 1945 at this link:

    The issue of whether Olympic would have been executed in light of Ultra signals intelligence is the intense debate regards the end of WW2.

    Richard Frank documented in his book “DOWNFALL: The End of The Imperial Japanese Empire” and his more recent essay ‘Ketsu Go – Japanese Political & Military Strategy in 1945’ — found in the book “The End of the Pacific War: Reappraisals” — that
    US Navy Chief of Staff Adm King was pushing Adm Nimitz to come out publicly against Operation Olympic. Only the dropping of the Atomic bombs on 6 and 9 August and the Ultra intercepts of Japanese surrender preparations, that resulted in Adm King’s the 13 Aug 1945 “Prepare for Sudden Peace” message to Nimitz, prevented the massive inter-service fight over the landing.

    The problem for both Admirals King and Nimitz in all this bureaucratic infighting was both the Imperial Japanese Military fanatics and the American people were going to have a vote. That vote was going to be over Japanese Military treatment of Allied prisoners of war and civilian internees.

    On 11 March 1945 Imperial Japanese Vice-Minister of War Shibayama’s issued a “Kill All” order regards Allied prisoners who might fall into the hands of liberating Allied forces.


    International Military Tribunal for the Far East Judgment

    Chapter VIII Conventional War Crimes (Atrocities)

    “A general order was issued by Vice-Minister of War Shibayama
    on 11 March 1945. The order stated: “The handling of
    prisoners of war in these times when the state of things is
    becoming more and more pressing and the evils of war extend
    to the Imperial Domain, Manchuria and other places, is in the
    enclosed summary. We hope you follow it, making no mistakes.”

    The enclosed summary to which reference was made began: “The
    Policy: With the greatest efforts prevent the prisoners of
    war falling into the hands of the enemy. Further for this
    purpose carry out a transfer of the place of confinement for
    those prisoners of war for whom it is necessary.”
    The Ranau
    Death Marches, which began at about this time between
    Sandakan and Ranau in Borneo, to which we will refer
    presently, conformed to the policy indicated by the order
    just quoted”

    At the time the US Government had only just released information on the Bataan Death March in January 27, 1944 to the American
    public and General H. H. “HAP” Arnold’s diary of July 1945 makes clear the murder of 100,000 Filipinos in Manila in March 1945
    was not common knowledge in America.

    The American Office of War Information (OWI) had a huge case file on Japanese wartime atrocities that it sat on during
    most of the war, due to the “Germany First” policy, that was available for release to “improve civilian moral” AKA incite
    intense racial hatred.

    This would have played into Field Marshal Count Hisaichi Terauchi’s interpretation of Shibayama’s “Kill All” order. Terauchi took “Kill All” much farther than anyone involved in the “Revisionist” side of the Academic debates over the Japanese surrender really appreciates today.


    Tennozan: The Battle of Okinawa and the Atomic Bomb by George Feifer, states at page 573:

    “After the fall of Okinawa, Field Marshal Count Hisaichi
    Terauchi issued an order directing his prison camp officers
    to kill all their captives the moment the enemy entered his
    southeast Asia theater. That would have been when those
    200,000 British landed to retake Singapore, less than three
    weeks after the Japanese surrender. There was a real chance
    that Terauchi’s order would have been carried out, in case up
    to 400,000 people would have been massacred.”

    Operation Zipper was “on” for 9 Sept 1945.

    President Truman and the Joint Chiefs were very much aware of these developments via Ultra intercepts. The following is
    from President Truman’s 09 Aug 1945 statement on the Nagasaki atomic bombing:


    “Having found the bomb we have used it. We have used it
    against those who attacked us without warning at Pearl
    Harbor, against those who have starved and beaten and
    executed American prisoners of war, against those who have
    abandoned all pretense of obeying international laws of
    We have used it in order to shorten the agony of
    war, in order to save the lives of thousands and thousands of
    young Americans.

    We shall continue to use it until we completely destroy
    Japan’s power to make war. Only a Japanese surrender will
    stop us.”

    Assuming that the war did not end with an August 1945 surrender, via a fanatic junior officer coup locking up Emperor Hirohito, Pres. Truman, the American Joint Chiefs of Staff and Allied high command would have had a ring side seat via Ultra, plus Mac Arthur’s Central Bureau and Adm Mountbatten’s British military intelligence in place human assets, to the murder of literally millions, given the no escape island killing jars that are Singapore and Java plus the populations
    of Chinese coastal cities.

    At that point, there would have been no keeping that information secret, and the outrage from Allied and particularly American public would have been such that the only restraint on the use of every available weapon of mass destruction would have been military utility and logistical limits.

    Consider the implications of that in light of the following US Army 6th Infantry Division document that is resident over
    on the Command and General Staff War College “Combined Arms Research Library – Digital Library.” This is scalped from the
    first page:

    R E S T R I C T E D



    ANNEX II to

    TM #4

    22 July 1945



    1. SCOPE: The term ‘Chemical Warfare” as used herein
    applies to employment of toxic chemicals as contemplated by
    the Geneva Protocol.
    It does not include employment of
    screening smokes or incendiaries already in general use. It
    embraces employment of present and future available means in
    conduct of Chemical Warfare.

    2. PURPOSE : To prepare units of this Division for
    Chemical Warfare:

    a. By providing essential technical and logistical
    information to those officers who may be charged with
    planning offensive use of chemicals in tactical operations .

    b. By training all personnel concerned with offensive use
    of chemical agents .

    c. By training all personnel in defensive measures against
    chemical attack.

    d. By insuring a high state of readiness at all times.

    The 6th ID was one of three infantry divisions in the Strategic Reserve for Operation Olympic.

    The American military was going to have the capability to use lethal gas weapons for the invasion of Japan and the Imperial Japanese Military was going to supply the American government with the will to use them.

  23. There’s a large misunderstanding of the primary strength of American arms during World War II, especially in the European theater: artillery. The glamor of armor has somewhat obscured its overwhelming role in American tactical success.

    70% of enemy casualties caused by American arms during World War II came from artillery. If you include tactical air support, the number was even higher. American artillery utilized a system of centralized fire command and control that let forward observers call down massive bombardments from multiple gun batteries. The Time on Target technique developed at Fort Sill allowed multiple guns to fire their guns and have their shells land on the target simultaneously. Dunnigan and Nofi have pointed out that the 1944 Battle of the Bulge luckily coincided with a low point in American shell supplies, which, combined with the winter weather that grounded American tactical airpower, helps explain the initial, though ultimately Phyrric, success of that attack.

    The open right flank of Patton’s hook across France in the summer of 1944 was almost entirely secured by the XIX Tactical Air Command. You don’t hear about it a lot because the United States Air Force is a criminal conspiracy against useful applications of airpower. Otto P. Weyland, commander of the XIX, was also responsible for Tactical Air Support in Korea, a preview of what would happen if the Red Army had tried to push the Grand Alliance out of Europe in the late 1940s.

  24. >>>>> You don’t hear about it a lot because the United States Air Force is a criminal conspiracy against useful applications of airpower.

    LOL, there is a reason why Billy Mitchell got drummed out, and Boyd never made General, despite revolutionizing air combat procedures.

  25. L.C. Rees, IGK,

    One of the biggest criminal conspiracies involving American airpower after WW2 involved the United States Strategic Bombing Survey (USSBS) for the Pacific war.

    The Japanese opened a railway tunnel under the Shimoseki Straits in 1942 between Shimoseki and Moji. It was the route by which Kyushu was reinforced with 100,000’s of troops.

    Go look up the USSBS volumes on and tell me what they say about the Kammon Tunnel.

    Hint — it was never struck and was 100% operational at the end of the war.

  26. >Blockade: Never would have dented them. At that time, Japan was
    >less than a generation off the farm. In a blockade, they would
    >have dispersed to the countryside, and gone back to farming.

    MacArthur’s first report as Supreme Commander Allied Powers stated that he seized and redistributed 3 _MILLION_ tons of food stuffs from the Japanese military to Japanese civilians.

    That, more than emergency American aid shipments was what prevented starvation in Japan.

    The Japanese military, without a single sortie from an American 20th Air Force transportation campaign, had collapsed Japanese rail net capability to 30% of pre-war capability by running so many railway engines and so much rolling stock into Kyushu and not returning it to Honshu.

    This is not a set of facts in the United States Strategic Bomber Survey – Pacific Theater.

    Nor has there been any reconsideration of the “Blockade & Starve Japan to Surrender” hypothesis in light of the modern example of North Korea.

  27. Tom Holsinger – The objections to consequentialism generally come down to “do you really mean it”? Yes, a lot of people really mean it. I believe that you are in error in your analysis on the consequences but that’s irrelevant. The terms of the discussion were on a Catholic board among Catholics faithful to the Church. That means that acting outside the Church was a priori out of bounds for the purpose of the discussion. Unless you’re willing to put yourself within the boundaries of the ground rules, your commentary isn’t going to be productive.

    The problem of the anti-bomb side in Catholic terms is that they tend to play cheap theatrics. You’re supposed to rigorously analyze the options and pick the best one that is not intrinsically evil according to a series of criteria that lay out just conduct in warfare. They tend not to and are fairly quick with the name calling. The bomb is intrinsically evil because it is too indiscriminate in its effects and kills innocent victims. That’s fine, as far as it goes. The problem is that collateral damage, the loss of innocent lives does not start and end with the bomb. It’s quite possible that the first innocent life the allies took was on December 8th or 9th 1941 when somebody got fatally killed by AA fire returning to ground over Hawaii. If not then, then certainly long before 1945 when the use of the bomb first came up. You can’t apply double standards to the problem of jus in bello. You have to be consistent all the way through and you have to be honest. The councils for war are not there to decide to drop this or that new bomb. They are on winning battles and ending the war. You have to focus your analysis on that and finding a just way to pursue that end otherwise you’re using a cheat.

    The willingness to even consider any of the alternatives that were before Truman and anoint one as licit was initially minimal to nonexistent. Eventually, grudgingly the blockade option was trotted out but there was never any serious interest in actually following through and verifying whether it actually *was* morally superior to the nuclear bomb. The discussion petered out.

    I’ve since been ban hammered on that forum and a too cute by half post was put up by the proprietor about how to get such bans lifted. I’m almost tempted to write him. Almost.

  28. TMLutas,

    OK, I can understand that it is entirely within the Catholic Church. My greater point is that the people who engage in that sort of discussion _don’t want to_ see the forest, i.e., they focus on the trees, and minutiae, to avoid the reality of evil – they slice the salami real thin to avoid the messy blood. Cheap theatrics is generally the point.

    In theological terms, though, it boils down to achieving goals in this world or the next. Goals in this world necessarily involve human frailty, error and personal responsibility.

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