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Was Allied bombing of Germany Jan - April 1945 a war crime?

 
 
CountZero
 
  1  
Reply Thu 21 Nov, 2002 10:02 am
Indeed. I'd love to see a Napoleonic Wars thread. My focus has tended towards to 20th c. history - a thread on the conflicts of 19th c. Europe would be informative.

Oh hell, throw in the 18th and 17th c. too. The War of Jenkins' Ear? sounds like a python skit. ;-)
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Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Thu 21 Nov, 2002 10:10 am
Jenkins' Ear was foreshadowing of the War of the Austrian Succession. Jenkins was a merchant captain who lost his ear (or alleged that he did) in a brouhaha in Spain, and the English, in a lackadaisical fashion protested. As Parliament thought more about it, they decided it was the perfect opportunity to put more pressure on Spain, and get more trade concessions in the new world. They toyed with the idea of declaring war in 1739, which heightened tensions in Spain, France and Austria. When the HRE, Charles VI died later in 1740, as did the King of Prussia, everyone was already rarin' to go . . .
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Asherman
 
  1  
Reply Thu 21 Nov, 2002 10:24 am
Surviving a nuclear exchange
Setanta,

Generally, it seems our remarks compliment one another. It's almost been a case of two for the price of one. Now, however, I have to disagree with you. I suppose that this posting will also convince some that my avatar should be Dr. Strangelove.

A massive spasm exchange that expended a large percentage of Soviet and Allied nuclear munitions stock during the height of the Cold War may have seriously risked human extinction. Anything less, the risk falls to virtually zero. I am not alone in that opinion. Herman Kahn, founder of the Hudson Institute, in Thinking the Unthinkable thoroughly explores the probable effects of massive nuclear exchanges. Dr. Kahn wrote a number of other books under contract to the U.S. government, some highly classified. I'm sorry but other titles don't want to spring to mind this morning. Kahn was only the most visible of those within our scientific and military establishments who, after long detailed study, concluded that nuclear war does not necessarily spell human extinction.

Soviet doctrine was even less pessimistic regarding the outcome of a major nuclear war. I cannot prove this from unclassified sources, but they had contingency plans for a pre-emptive nuclear strike large enough to significantly reduce our response. Soviet civil defense was expected to be effective enough that Soviet production could be resumed within five years of the exchange. Now of course, we know that the Soviet infrastructure was not nearly as robust as it was once thought to be. Probably the Soviet planners were overly optimistic in their expectations of how much would have survived, but that is a difference of scale only.

For decades after the initial use of atomic bombs on Japan, the United States, Britain, France, and the Soviet Union conducted literally thousands of atomic tests. The data from those experiments and tests form the basis for a much more realistic assessment of the probable effects of nuclear war. Probably the best non-classified work available is The Effects of Nuclear Weapons originally published by the Atomic Energy Commission in 1950. The book was revised to include data gathered after that, expanded and refined in the 1964 edition. The 700-page book is a highly technical report on each of the effects produced by nuclear weapons, on their targeting principles, and suggesting best means of withstanding the effects by military and civilian populations. The book is weak in that it does not deal with neutron devices, which were so heavily classified in the early sixties that most people never even heard of them. Data from this work also supports the idea that surviving an atomic attack, even in rather close proximity of major targets, is probable given proper preparation. Survival away from targeted areas is almost a given, though no one is suggesting that life after a major spasm nuclear exchange by nations with arsenals the size of the United States and the Soviet Union would be the same as before.

Beyond appeal to several qualified authorities to support my opinion, let us apply a bit of common sense here. I alluded to the massive atomic testing that many nations took part in between 1945 and the end of the 20th century. Has the survival of humanity been directly threatened by those tests? Many of the test targets have largely recovered from the effects of sometimes very dirty blasts. Fish have returned to lagoons, and no monster mutants have threatened Las Vegas with giant pincers. Tourists visit test sites and go away with less exposure to radiation than they get sitting in their own living rooms watching the Super Bowl. Thousands of devices have been detonated around the world with no appreciable effect on human existence, so why would the exchange of the limited arsenals of India, Pakistan, Korea, and Israel suddenly threaten human extinction. The total number of devices, mostly low yield, held by these smaller States is measured in hundreds, not thousands. None of these States have credible delivery systems capable of reaching very far outside of their immediate theater.

Mao Tse-Tung once remarked that atomic weapons are a paper tiger. He wasn't being entirely facetious. Those possessing atomic arsenals are severely constrained from using them. First, targets against which nuclear devices can be effectively used are relatively limited. Atomics are best used against densely populated (people or machines) target areas. Southwest Asia doesn't have a lot of good targets for atomic weapons, but the local factions hold their weapons more as a deterrent (just as the Soviets and the United States maintained the balance of terror for decades), than as a serious offensive option. Retaliation for first uses of an Atomic device is a bitch. The whole world community can be expected to unite to absolutely destroy forever the nation that unleashes nuclear fires on its enemies. If you are, say Saddam, and you have managed to buy, beg, or steal a couple of bombs and have an effective delivery system, would you use it knowing that the United States would then be morally justified in unleashing it's huge arsenal against you? If you were head of the North Korean government would you be willing to face personal and national extinction in exchange for destroying Tokyo, or Seattle? Dead is dead, but our emotions and false ideas about how terrible atomic weapons are makes these weapons a very scary boogy-man.

The cost v. limitations of nuclear weapons makes them an unlikely choice for aggression. Far more likely are the less emotionally charged weapons that are lower tech, cheaper and promise more effective results when used against a target. Chemical weapons have limited lethality, and are so dependant upon ideal conditions that they are of only limited usefulness. The worst and most dangerous weapons are biologicals. Once unleashed these sorts of weapons can take on a life of their own. Disease with a few days incubation period, transmitted throughout a population by coughing, followed by a high mortality rate is truly scary. We can only hope that these weapons are so scary that those who have them will never use them. Anyway, that's a bit off point here.

In re. the use of nuclear devices, they aren't nearly as great a danger as most of the world believes. There is some utility in having misconceptions about the effects of nuclear weapons continue. If most of the world believes that atom bombs seriously threaten human extinction, perhaps mad men will be dissuaded from their use. However, knowledgeable people, those who must think clearly about these things should put nuclear devices into their proper prospective.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Thu 21 Nov, 2002 10:30 am
Well, Boss, i was mostly thinking in terms of "nuclear winter." The oceans might eventually "re-stabalize" the climate, but i do wonder how well the human race would survive if such an event took place. When Krakatoa exploded, the dust in the atmosphere was visible all over the globe. Would not a large-scale nuclear exchange, such as could theoretically occur between India and Pakistan, produce a much more devasting cloud? I have no expertise to back this up, but i do think that those who have been involved in assessments in the past have thought it their business to put the best light on such scenarios. Most nuclear testing in the US was done underground, and i know of no period during the "cold war" in which above ground tests were done in large numbers in a very short space of time.

I acquiesce to your better source materials in this matter, Boss--although i do continue to doubt the results of any significant exchange . . .
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Asherman
 
  1  
Reply Thu 21 Nov, 2002 11:17 am
Setanta,

The combined nuclear arsenals of India and Pakistan are very, very small, certainly no more than 100 devices in total. Pakistan has perhaps two targets where a short range nuclear tipped missile might be effective. India has a few more areas that might be targeted, but Pakistan has a much smaller arsenal. A massive nuclear exchange between these two countries would probably consist of less than one dozen blasts. Far more probable would be a single use, and I expect that would be fired by a battlefield Pakistani commander about to be overrun by an Indian combined forces offensive. In that scenario, India might retaliate, or it might pause to give the world community a chance to unite in condemnation of Pakistan.

Even if the entire arsenals of these two belligerents were expended, they would be confined to the that theater of operations. The winds there would probably carry radioactive products toward the east over southeast Asia and into the Pacific watershed. The further downwind the products are carried the thinner and less lethal the fallout will become. The heavier and more lethal products, with a shorter half-life, will be confined relatively near the blast site.

The size of the weapons likely to be used in the southwestern Asian theater are relatively small, much closer in size and effect to those used in Japan than to the refined weapons in the Soviet and United States arsenals. Yes, there would be a lot of dust thrown into the upper atmosphere and the world would probably have beautiful sunsets as a result. The likelihood that there would be enough dust to cause significant climate effects is very low. We are talking about a total exchange equal to perhaps several megatons from devices mostly in the kiloton range. The Soviet's, who hold the record for above ground testing of super large weapons, once detonated a 100 megaton hydrogen device. The effects went unnotice by the average person anywhere in the world. The effect erruptions at Krakatoa, or even St. Helens, were larger than if significant numbers of hydrogen devices were set off altogether at one place and time. No, I don't believe that any nuclear exchange likely to occur in the foreseeable future would threaten human extinction by changing climate.

Climate change MAY threaten our existence, but the factors driving those changes are not entirely understood and other human activities almost certainly are more massive and likely to affect climate than the explosion of a small number of little atomic bombs. You can sleep easier, if that has worried you in the past.

It is also true that nuclear testing was spread over decades, and therefore may have not had the same effect as if they had all taken place within a few days, or even a month. Testing by the United States moved underground for several reasons, only one of which was to reduce gross environmental effects. As the Cold War progressed, testing outside the continental United States became problematical for a number of reasons. Above ground testing within the continental borders did present a threat to populations in the Southwest, and indeed there have been a number of cases of radioactive poisoning in our region. Most radioactive poisoning cases have been among uranium miners, though some cancers are believed to have been caused by Nevada testing. By the mid-sixties most of the information about ground and airburst atomic detonations had already been gathered. Further testing was required for new designs, and to test other nuclear variables, but that data mostly did not require above ground testing. Testing within the United States also had to be conducted in such a manner that public opposition be kept to the absolute minimum.

Dr. Kahn didn't need to color his studies to make his point. He began with no fixed idea of what he would find, and probably would have been just as satisfied if his results proved conclusively that one more single atom bomb would mean total extinction of the species. The results I've cited are all from respected scientists working carefully collected experimental data. No one was published without peer review, and no one has challenged their work or conclusions in the forty years or so that it has been available to experts within the field.
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Steve 41oo
 
  1  
Reply Thu 21 Nov, 2002 12:17 pm
Huge thermonuclear devices are almost useless, except for instant civil engineering! The danger comes from miniturised nuclear devices falling into the hands of terrorists. I believe al Qaida would have no hesitation about using such a weapon, and delivered by a suicide bomber, it would be unstoppable. The world is a much more dangerous place for the average Westerner today than it was when two nuclear armed superpowers glared at each other.
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Asherman
 
  1  
Reply Thu 21 Nov, 2002 12:53 pm
Who would have believed that a time would come when some in our generation would look back on the Cold War with nostalgia. There was a measure of stability in the Balance of Terror that is gone from the world today. On the other hand, the potential for massive destruction has declined considerably. There is a danger of nuclear devices, not just bombs, falling into the hands of those who would have little compunction against using them. However,

Construction of nuclear reaction devices is not all that easy, nor is the technology for making sophisticated, small nuclear weapons available to most non-national terrorist groups. It is possible that a device, or weapons grade materials, might be purchased. Radical Islamic groups conceivably could smuggle some sort of a device into a western seaport. They might feel that they have little to lose by such an attack. After all, the western nations would have no target for nuclear retaliation, and we are already operating against those terrorist networks with enthusiasm. If terrorists were to launch an nuclear attack, most probably against a seaport city, what form would it likely take, and how much damage should we anticipate?

I think that a high yield device is less likely than something whose primary product was radioactivity rather than blast/EMP effects. In short, a dirty low-yield device. This sort of weapon would cause realtively small amounts of physical damage, perhaps little more than that caused by conventional high explosives. The EMP effects probably would also be minimal. Radioactive particles distributed by the initial blast, might range from extremely lethal for a relatively short period of time, to low lethality over a longer period. Casualties might be as low as a few hundred, to an upper limit of perhaps a hundred thousand, depending upon a lot of variables.

The emotional trauma and propaganda value of this sort of attack is more to the point than the actual casualties. I believe that use of this sort of weapon would ultimately be counterproductive to the group opting to use it. After the 9/11 attacks there were a lot of folks who should know better that advocated bombing the perpatrators back into the stone age. Cooler heads prevailed, would they after a nuclear attack on Stockholm, or London, or Los Angeles? The nation sustaining such an attack is likely to seek an aweful level of revenge against anyone associated with the attackers. Of course, that may be the outcome desired by such an attack -- instigation of an all out war of annhilation between western materialism and Islamic radicalism.
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Steve 41oo
 
  1  
Reply Thu 21 Nov, 2002 01:24 pm
WW3 started some time back. 911 was only the most spectacular incident so far. I think we have to talk seriously with the Muslim world about how we are going to share this planet. The problem is there are too many radical Islamists who think the solution is easy - destroy the West as they destroyed the great atheistic communist empire. Its not easy discussing rationally with someone whose only objective is to kill you, it doesn't make for a very comfortable negotiating position.
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Tommy
 
  1  
Reply Thu 21 Nov, 2002 03:01 pm
Asherman. I like your statement about how the past is judged in the context of the present.

CountZero. I believe there was a monument raised to 'Bomber' Harris in Central London in l992. If I remember rightly it was unveiled by the Dowager Queen Elizabeth, and vandalised not long afterwards.

Steve. Your posit on Hitler if he had survived and been captured. What would have happened to him? Assuming he was captured by the Americans or the British. God knows what would have happened to him if the Russians had caught him. And as for the French - they'd have probably raised a German type Arc de Triomphe in his honour.
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Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Thu 21 Nov, 2002 04:48 pm
CZ, not exactly a Napoleonic War thread, but you might go Here[/b] and have a look . . .
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Steve 41oo
 
  1  
Reply Fri 22 Nov, 2002 06:54 am
Tommy

The peverse way these things work out, Hitler would probably have survived to live to a grand old age, surrounded by loving grand children and die peacefully on his cattle ranch in Namibia.
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Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Tue 26 Nov, 2002 03:40 am
See the comment of today's The Guardian:

Germany's unmourned victims
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Steve 41oo
 
  1  
Reply Tue 26 Nov, 2002 04:45 am
I heard the interview with Winston Churchill and Jorg Friedrich, which is what prompted me to ask the question in the first place.

A war crime is a war crime, no matter who commits it. No matter how great a name or in what cause, even The Greatest Briton. The ultimate responsibility must be with those in political control, not the aircrew dropping bombs or the ground crews preparing aircraft.
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Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Tue 26 Nov, 2002 07:36 am
This is an à propos place and time to mention something which may well greatly anger Americans, but needs said. Our bombing policies in the second world war had a definitely racist basis. Against Germany, we practiced day-light "precision" bombing (not as precise as planners hoped, but a good deal more precise than is currently widely believed, thanks to the grandaddy's of historical revisionism--the leftist college professors of the Vietnam era who opposed US bombing). That a great many German civilians suffered much from US bombing i wouldn't think to deny--but such casualties occur in war, and the "you started it" argument has some legitimacy in this case. Americans suffered horrible casualties in the air--at one point the entire plan was almost abandoned--but the US persisted in the belief, shared by Albert Speer, that they were destroying the German capacity to make war.

What is insidious, and goes unmentioned, is the racist policy we pursued. While practicing daylight raids and attempting precision in Germany, we slaughtered Japanese as fast as we could drop the bombs. America fought it's way into the Mariannas Islands at great cost--thanks largely to the bull-headed, idiotic policy of the Navy of attacking the strongest Japanese bases head-on, no matter what it cost the Marine Corps. The racism against the Japanese is evident from cultural artifacts from the period, and the anecdotal evidence of it in the world war II generation surrounded me as i grew up. By the time the US got air bases close enough for a sustained air war against the Japanese, the hatred ran very deep indeed. Incendiaries were used liberally, as planners and many knowledgeable Americans sneered at the Japanese living in "paper houses." (In a land of frequent earthquakes, the Japanese long ago realized the sense of not building structures such as one finds in the west, with heavy roof beams and supporting members to come crashing down on your head.) When i went off to southeast asia in 1970, my mother, who had always loudly decried racism in my presense, said to me: "Now don't bring back any little slant-eyed brides, ok?" and then laughed. The anti-asian racism of the world war II generation ran very deep.
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Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Tue 26 Nov, 2002 07:46 am
In case anyone didn't get my drift--we wouldn't practice area bombing against Germany, and pursued it with a vengeance (emphasis on vengeance) in Japan.
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Steve 41oo
 
  1  
Reply Tue 26 Nov, 2002 11:19 am
Setanta I got your drift all right. Towards the end of the Japanese war, there were hardly any cities left to use as targets for the atomic bombing. (That is virgin targets, where the full affect of the atomic bomb could be measured). This leads to two related questions - Would atomic weapons have been used against Germany if they had been produced a bit earlier? Was the atomic bombing of Japan (in particular Nagasaki) a war crime?

To answer my own questions...

I don't think atomic weapons would have been used against Germany.

I don't know if bombing Nagasaki was a crime, but it was most certainly an experiment. It was a test of the new implosion plutonium device on a real live city under wartime conditions. It provided an opportunity to compare and contrast its affects with the uranium bomb of Hiroshima. And it also demonstrated to the USSR that they need not bother picking a fight with the US. (Until of course they were able to make use of all the information supplied from Los Alamos to Moscow by Klaus Fuchs and others).

Supplimentary question - Were the "Atom Spies" in fact helping to keep the post-war peace by establishing the "balance of terror"?
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Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Tue 26 Nov, 2002 11:36 am
Well, Boss--i would say that the "balance of terror" may have been the effect of the the efforts of Fuchs, as well as of Filby, Burgess, McClean and all the others . . . but i doubt that this was their goal. Could the dedicated bolshevik have acheived a superiority which would have allowed the Soviet Union to dictate terms to the west, i'm sure they would have done . . .
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Asherman
 
  1  
Reply Tue 26 Nov, 2002 12:30 pm
A few remarks on Racism
I'm sure there are Americans would like to deny that racism exists, or ever existed in this great nation of ours. Fools, of course. Setanta, I admire your historical scholarship and so understand my remarks are not pointed at you personally.

Chauvinism is almost as deeply ingrained in the human behavior as is war itself. It is our chauvinistic impulses that underlie social classes. Our ancestors created caste systems, and we perpetuate them. Anyone who isn't "one of us", has less value, and can be hated or despised. As cruel and stupid as chauvinism is within a group, it can be positively murderous when the Other is a true outsider.

We are always The People, they may not even be quite human. The Other can be mistreated or killed with no more regard than one would show any dangerous animal. The Other is almost always dehumanized, and is always regarded as having less value than real People. The more different the Other, the more and the greater the tendency to demonize them. Hunter-Gatherers need to protect their territory to survive. Farmers must resist raids on their fields by warrior nomads. Our protective gods demand the extinction of their gods. For countless thousands of years victorious armies routinely slew survivors, enslaved and raped the females. Great cities were ground into dust, and were lost to history. Chauvinism grows out of a localized need to affirm membership in a valued group, and in valuing one all others tend to be de-valued.

Racism is just another chauvinistic venue. How many races are there? Only one, Homo Sapiens. That simple fact is lost in our chauvinistic need to differentiate between US, and THEM. We treat skin tone, hair and eye color, or superficial facial features as if they are meaningful ways in which categorize humanity. If visual characteristics are used, one might just as well define race by height, weight and sex. Ah, that Amazon race! Imagine a fairytale war between dwarves and giants. Then there is racism based upon religious background, of which Anti-Semitism is perhaps best known. Racism is ignorance, and ignorance history has shown can result in great injustice.

Until the 19th century racism was virtually universal and accepted without question everywhere in the world. With the Age of Exploration, Europeans began to come into more frequent contact with other cultures, and people whose appearance differed from their own. Europeans expansion and colonization was built on technology advances that grew out of the Renaissance. In Europe, slavery, another hoary old human trait, had been in steady decline until refined sugar began being imported by the Portuguese. To meet the European demand for sweetness and sugar, the Portuguese began using Africans to grow sugar cane and slavery became increasingly associated with the dark people of sub-Saharan Africa. Sugar plantations were truly brutal, with slaves seldom surviving even one year of slavery. Master's rightly feared slave revolts, and salved their consciences by dehumanizing their black slaves. Enlightenment Ideals began to question the morality of racism and slavery, and by the end of the first decade a movement to abolish slavery in the Western World was well underway.

Though slavery as a Western institution was dead long before the end of the 19th century, racism, it's nasty little offspring continued. A widespread belief in the inherent inferiority of Africans, Asians, and Indians is evident in the European Colonization from the 15th through the mid-20th century. Actually, in America anyone whose ancestry was outside northern-western Europe was assumed to be inferior. These convenient chauvinistic attitudes were widespread and accepted without question by most people.

Hitler was undoubtedly a monster, but his legacy did have one redeeming feature. Hitler demonstrated the ultimate expression of racism, and revealed it for the ugly cancer that it is. The Final Solution was the logical conclusion inherent to all racial superiority beliefs. Hitler's henchmen applied the power of modern technology to implement ideas on a scale that had previously been impossible. Hitler's ideas were not so very different than those widely held before him, and in all parts of the world. The Japanese, as the superior race, believed themselves justified in enslaving and murdering Korean and Chinese during WWII. Stalin slaughtered millions because they were inferior and an impediment to his building his Perfect World. African tribes still exterminate one another whenever possible. One group, however defined, is superior to all others, and that superiority justifies whatever they choose to do to their inferiors.

Is there still chauvinism and racism in America? Surely there is. Ignorance is still more common than wisdom. People still believe in their own superiority by virtue of the group they belong to. When racism is brought into discussion, most often the focus is on White racism. Actually racism exists everywhere, and among all populations. Chauvinism and racism are common in Japan, Korea, China, India, Israel, Mexico, Argentina, Zimbabwe, Congo, South Africa, and the list goes on, and on, and on.

If the bombing campaigns of WWII were conducted in a similar world conflict today, would American bombing practices be different dependent upon the physical appearance, or the religious heritage of the enemy? Soldiers do dehumanize their enemy, that's one of the things that makes it possible for a person to overcome social conditioning against taking another life. Reduce the person you have to kill to a mere two-dimensional idea, and then you won't hesitate to gouge out his eyes. At higher levels of command it is dangerous to "hate" the enemy. In designing strategy one has to be more clinical and detached so as to bring the greatest forces to bear on the enemies weakest point. One has to appreciate the enemy commander's strengths and capabilities. Hating, demonizing, and depreciating the enemy can lead a commander into deep trouble. I doubt that any senior American commanders today are racially prejudiced. The system screens out weakness, and prejudice is very definitely regarded as a weakness in senior commanders.

As individuals we need to continually be alert to the stinking weeds of chauvinism and racism in our own thoughts. Legislation, especially during the Johnson administrations Great Society effort, has greatly reduced the laws favoring one group over others. Political Correctness in this country has made if shameful for anyone to express racist sentiments. Has racism been erased in American? Nope, one can't legislate out of existence the secret prejudices within the human heart. People begin to learn prejudice and chauvinism about the same time they learn to walk and talk. Teenagers are especially prone to identify themselves with those they regard as "superior". We tend to externalize our failings, and push off blame onto the shoulders of the Other. Only by constant attention to our values can we hope to mitigate prejudice and chauvinism.

Though Americans remain biased and prejudiced, we have at least made heroic efforts as a society to throw off those traits and habits of our past. In much of the world today no effort is being made at all to eradicate prejudice and racism. Let's keep things in perspective.

BTW, I believe that we would have used the Atomic Bomb on Germany if the following conditions still existed when the devices became available:

1. The invasion of the German homeland had not yet begun. By the time our Atomic bomb was ready for use, the war against Germany was virtually complete. Allied forces were deep within the German homeland, and would have been at risk if the bomb were used. Mass bombing of German cities had already imposed a level of destruction that came close to that an Atomic bomb would have caused. The actual effects of the Atomic bomb were not fully appreciated. Most regarded the Atomic bomb as just being a superduper blockbuster. Radiation and EMP effects only came to be appreciated after actual use on Japanese targets.

2. That the German warmachine remained capable of inflicting serious casualties on Allied forces during the final phases of conflict. Though Hitler commanded his forces to die in place before surrender, most German forces surrendered in droves along the Western Front during the closing days of the war. On the Eastern Front German resistence remained stiff in face of the merciless Soviet advance bent upon revenge for ealier German attrocities. Relatively low American casualties could be expected as Germany collapsed. Just the opposit was true when assessing the likely casualties of an invasion of the main Japanese islands.

3. That the German effort to manufacture their own Atomic weapons had been more successful. Though the Allies were uncertain as to how far the German effort had progressed, we were rather certain that they did not have a bomb. The Japanese weren't seriously in the race for atomic weapons, and so this factor didn't enter into the decision to use the bomb on Japan.

Though the hostility to Japan and the Japanese was deep and bitter among Americans during the war, there were what many regarded as good reason for hate. Japanese conduct in dealing with Koreans and Chinese under their military control was as evil as anything the Nazi's did in the European Theater. Massacres were common. People were enslaved and used as unwilling subjects in scientific experiements. The attack on Pearl Harbor was regarded as a violation of International rules of proper conduct, and was the first attack on American soil since Pancho Villas brief raid into New Mexico. American prisoners were denied rights under the Geneva Convention, were routinely mistreated, tortured and murdred. The Japanese are still regarded with suspicion and hatred by many Koreans, Chinese and others who experienced first hand their ways of treating non-Japanese.

Neither President Truman nor General Marshal were racists, and their decision to utilize the bomb was not motivated by revenge. They weren't motivated by any need to further their understanding of the effects of atomic weapons. They were motivated by a a very easy to understand concept. Bring a long and costly war to a rapid conclusion. They wanted to minimumize number of casualties among both Allied forces and enemy civilians. The world was tired of war and longed for peace at almost any price. A longer war would have meant more time for the Soviet Union to gobble up territory, and impose Stalinist dictatorship over liberated peoples. Use of an atomic weapon would send a strong clear message to the Kremlin that aggression against Western Europe and American Interests might have dire consequences. Use of the bomb did bring hostilities to a close, and the Soviet Union was constrained for awhile until they were able to fill their own arsenal with atomic munitions. The Cold War began at Hiroshima.
0 Replies
 
Steve 41oo
 
  1  
Reply Tue 26 Nov, 2002 04:48 pm
ash

good (long) post

will comment further when read again
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Craven de Kere
 
  1  
Reply Tue 26 Nov, 2002 04:56 pm
Asherman,

You have inspired me to ask this question.
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