When the Allies nuked Japan to end WW2, could they not have shown their force by nuking Japan just offshore or maybe a military vessel? If the aim was to show their superior firepower, could they not have done that without nuking two major cities and taking so many innocent lives?

When the Allies nuked Japan to end WW2, could they not have shown their force by nuking Japan just offshore or maybe a military vessel? If the aim was to show their superior firepower, could they not have done that without nuking two major cities and taking so many innocent lives?

What do you think?

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  1. They already killed way more civilians in conventional firebombing of Japanese cities than Hiroshima & Nagasaki combined. Minimizing civilian casualties wasn’t high on the priority list.

  2. Given the nature of the Japanese fighting, that would not have triggered a surrender. Only after there was incalculable losses beyond anything anyone had seen, did surrender happen and even then, some were still determined to not surrender.

    The common argument is: Would the war eventually have been won without the bombs? Given where America and Russia were and the supply lines that had long been cut, and the amount of losses already suffered by Japan, yes, the war *would* have been won eventually for the Allies, but not without 10 fold the amount of losses and and least a year’s worth of battles.

  3. Nukes ain’t cheap, the Allies were fed up with Japan, Japan would see such an act as a display of weakness and they had an unprecedented level of determination (didn’t even give in to the demands after the first nuke).

  4. For what it’s worth. They did attempt to warn the civilians of the area by airdropping leaflets stating that the city would be bombed, however it didn’t mention the exact type of bomb. And I wouldn’t be surprised that citizens of a country at war would so easily believe the words of the opposing country.

    But I think it was a necessary evil, one to prevent a full scale invasion of Japan that would’ve cost way more civilian lives.

    And 2. To hopefully prevent any future usage of nuclear weapons as we now know full hand what kind of damage it does to an area and people.

    Also as someone stated previously Tokyo was recently fire bombed and the death toll was larger than that of Hiroshima or Nagasaki.

    Also, I wouldn’t have put it past Japan to see a bomb that didn’t destroy anything and propagandized it to “haha! We have thwarted the American attack!” Unfortunately war isn’t pretty nor is it fair. And hindsight is 20/20

  5. Kind of hard to say. It was already clear the US had the stronger force, but the bushido culture being ingrained in Japanese society at the time meant there was concern they would fight to the last man and drag out the war for years resulting in millions of deaths. Whether that concern was legitimate is kind of hard to answer so long after the fact.

  6. I don’t think that would have worked. I’m also of the belief that if it not been for the Emperor, the Japanese people would have continued to fight into extinction.

  7. They nuked Japan once and they didn’t surrender. Why the fuck are we still trying to claim that zero nuclear attacks would work when one wasn’t enough? A “demonstration” would have been even less effective… and the number of nukes available was *very small*.

  8. In addition to the other comments here that discuss the expected cost in lives of a ground invasion, the US only had two bombs.

    So picture the analogy of bringing a gun to a knife fight, if you only have two bullets, using them to fire warning shots is a good way to get stabbed.

  9. senior commanders convinced the President this would not work. I think it’s detailed in this book

    Hiroshima Nagasaki: The Real Story of the Atomic Bombings and Their Aftermath by Paul Ham

  10. The aim wasn’t simply to display Superior firepower. The aim was to crush the morale of the Japanese leadership and people. That is how wars are won.

    A knock down drag out war for the future of civilization isn’t the place where you pull punches. Keep in mind Japan pulled the us into the war with a surprise attack on Pearl harbor. No one in the US was feeling generous toward the Japanese.

    Telling your enemy you’re going to erase a city every day until they surrender, and communicating that by actually starting to wipe out cities, is an extremely effective strategy.

  11. History…..learn it to understand. Talk to anyone who served in WWII….. Before they are all gone

    My old neighbor was a fighter pilot in Europe and he told me why he was happy they dropped the bomb.

  12. Let me get this straight. You wanted the US to waste one of only two bombs on a demonstration? How would that work, exactly? Set up an nice viewing area, issue sunglasses and hats, a nice pamphlet, comfortable chairs?

    “Attention, everyone: Death, the Destroyer of Worlds, will commence in one minute!”

    Never mind the fact that Tokyo had been firebombed and the Allies killed more Japanese civilians there than at Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

    No, your issue is with the nukes, not bombing in general. That’s a hell of a line to draw.

  13. After a surprise attack at Pearl Harbor and a long war, an offshore demonstration wouldn’t have driven the point home. It’s war not “Sorry about your feelings.”

  14. There was no reason to think the nukes would make Japan surrender. We had already leveled plenty of cities with more conventional bombs. Tokyo was burned to the ground in a single raid.

    We just wanted to test our new toy on real people and real cities.

    The Japanese surrender had a lot more to do with Russia entering the war than it did with nukes.

  15. Precisely that. You really hit the nail on the head, OP. There was no reason to drop those bombs on civilian centers.

    Consider that when 9/11 rolls around again and you see how America reacts to its own bloody nose.

    American have bought into the idea that it was all justified because its more convenient than accepting that their governments were also homicidal bastards. A very familiar story as we seen in global fuckups like the “War on Terror”.

  16. Saying it was the allies that nuked Japan is a weird way to put it since the nukes were dropped to show their power to the USSR, who were technically in the Allies.

  17. They could have. Actually many military officials wanted to go with such a plan to spare lives. But the presidents aim was to basically test the bombs and figure how destructive they are…an endeavour that would be unacceptable during peaceful times.

  18. The Japanese were warned and no, the locations were picked due to their importance. Not to kill civilians. It was about the best option the allies had. People need to quit acting like the Japanese were taken by surprise.

  19. Japan never had a chance of ever winning the war, it blows my mind that they went through all that planning and still didnt know the US carriers were not at Pearl Harbor on Dec 7th. Im convinced Roosevelt wanted us in the war and Pearl Harbor was bait

  20. Japan was murdering Prisoners Of War. They were losing the war but would hold out to the last man woman & child if we invaded the motherland… so we showed them the Sun.

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