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Old 02-19-2014, 01:45 PM   #26
Jaahan
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Re: Japanese Nuclear Bombs Overrated?

Can't watch the link myself since I'm not in the US, but from what I remember having seen it about a year ago, this covers a lot of interesting sides to the bombing and the reasoning behind it.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vVLYyvpIex4

Last edited by Jaahan; 02-19-2014 at 02:14 PM.
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Old 03-07-2014, 01:54 PM   #27
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Re: Japanese Nuclear Bombs Overrated?

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Originally Posted by Mason Malmuth View Post
I think it might be the opposite because an argument can be made that the Japanese feared surrendering to Russia more than to the US. So it may have been the Russian invasion more than the nuclear bombs that brought about the surrender.
Despite Russia's entry into war with Japan, I don't think there was any serious threat of Russia invading. Did Russia have any navy in the Pacific? or anywhere for that matter?

I think that the bombs on Japan was meant as the first act in the Cold war rather than the last of the second. If the bomb was meant as a punishment for the Japanese then why bother keeping the Emperor. Getting rid of the Emperor would have been a bigger blow to the majority of Japanese and much easier to achieve than dropping 2 nukes.

I think the bomb served to keep Russia quiet at the negotiating table until the allies (read U.S.) could get set up in Europe.
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Old 03-15-2014, 01:53 AM   #28
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Re: Japanese Nuclear Bombs Overrated?

Why not a middle ground between a pure demonstration and Hiroshima? ie a city with a smaller population. Ditto for Nagasaki.
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Old 03-15-2014, 07:54 PM   #29
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Re: Japanese Nuclear Bombs Overrated?

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Why not a middle ground between a pure demonstration and Hiroshima? ie a city with a smaller population. Ditto for Nagasaki.
If the goal was to show pure destructive potential, choosing larger and relatively undamaged cities (which Hiroshima and Nagasaki were, relative to other Japanese urban centers that had been decimated by conventional and incendiary bombing) would make the most sense from a "shock and awe" standpoint.

Ironically, many planners in the War Department might have seen bombing a smaller, less populous city as less humane, since that target would be seen as having less military relevance. The planners were careful to take into consideration targets they could plausible label as "legitimate" from a martial standpoint.
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Old 03-16-2014, 01:17 AM   #30
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Re: Japanese Nuclear Bombs Overrated?

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Why not a middle ground between a pure demonstration and Hiroshima? ie a city with a smaller population. Ditto for Nagasaki.
No cities were left. All had already been fire-bombed. Those two were specifically being "saved" for the a-bombs.
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Old 03-16-2014, 05:50 PM   #31
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Re: Japanese Nuclear Bombs Overrated?

I feel like we are missing some context of Japanese resolve at the time, in the year before at the battle of Saipan, defenders in a hopeless situation were determined to fight to the last man and even civilians committed suicide by jumping off cliffs rather than be captured. Allied forces suffered losses here too. I don't see waiting for eventual surrender instead of using the bombs as a real possibility for a sitting president.
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Old 03-16-2014, 10:32 PM   #32
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Re: Japanese Nuclear Bombs Overrated?

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I feel like we are missing some context of Japanese resolve at the time, in the year before at the battle of Saipan, defenders in a hopeless situation were determined to fight to the last man and even civilians committed suicide by jumping off cliffs rather than be captured. Allied forces suffered losses here too. I don't see waiting for eventual surrender instead of using the bombs as a real possibility for a sitting president.
This is widely believed in the popular press, but documentary evidence from both the Japanese government and the postwar Strategic Bombing Survey suggest otherwise. Japan had been appealing to several neutral parties for months for peace arbitration, and had sent out feelers to Washington as early as September of 1944. Allen Dulles admitted after the war that most of the higher-ups in the State and War Departments were aware that Japan was at least potentially willing to surrender so long as they could retain the imperial house as a means of maintaining social order (which was the condition the US eventually agreed to anyway). Whether these officials simply doubted the sincerity of the Tokyo government or felt bound to the policy of unconditional surrender or had some other motive is unknown, but few policymakers believed the proposition, now popular among the American public, that Japan would have fought to the last man if the bombs hadn't been dropped.
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Old 03-18-2014, 01:47 AM   #33
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Re: Japanese Nuclear Bombs Overrated?

I will assume Wiki has the basic facts correct (sometimes not a good assumption)

Soviet-Japan Neutrality Pact:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soviet%...eutrality_Pact

On April 5, 1945 the Soviet Union denounced the pact, informing the Japanese government that "in accordance with Article Three of the above mentioned pact, which envisaged the right of denunciation one year before the lapse of the five-year period of operation of the pact, the Soviet Government hereby makes known to the Government of Japan its wish to denounce the pact of April 13, 1941."[4] The wording of the denunciation suggested that the Soviet Union wished to see the treaty go out of effect immediately, and Time Magazine reported that the Soviet Foreign Commissar's tone indicated that the Soviet Union might go to war with Japan soon.[5] However, the text of the treaty clearly stated that the pact remained in force until April 1946. When pressed by the Japanese Ambassador Naotake Sato, Molotov confirmed that the treaty did remain in force until April 1946.[6]

On August 9, 1945, just after midnight, Soviet Union invaded Manchuria. The declaration of war followed nearly six hours later. Since the time zone difference of 7 hours, the declaration of war could be still dated August 8, 1945, being handed in Moscow at 11 p.m.[7]

The Soviet Union kept its promise to the Allies at the Yalta Conference to enter the war with Japan two to three months after the end of World War II in Europe, but it also acted in violation of the still valid neutrality pact signed on April 13, 1941.
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Old 03-18-2014, 07:15 AM   #34
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Re: Japanese Nuclear Bombs Overrated?

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Originally Posted by Mason Malmuth View Post
Hi Everyone:

I've always felt the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were overrated relative to ending the War with Japan. The reason for this is that The United States, under the leadership of General Curtis LeMay, was already fire bombing Japanese cities with similar results.

That is with no nuclear bombs, Hiroshima and Nagasaki could have been destroyed almost as thoroughly??? and continuous firebombing of many Japanese cities would have probably ended the war except that it would have taken a few more months.

Any comments?

Best wishes,
mason

Too bad that I didn't notice this posting before.

Destroying Hishorima and Nagasaki didn't serve any military goal at all. The only purpose was to show the bomb in action, so the rest of the world ****s their pants in fear of the allmighty USA.

Destroying cities to demoralize people is pointless and that has been proven. The germans tried it in WW I and WW II and it didn't work. The british and the americans tried it in WW II and it didn't work either. Overall it is a degenerate form of warfare. You could torture little hamsters just as well.

The argument of "ending the war" quicker isn't vaild either. The US could have archieved the same goal by inviting japanese represantives to the test-site of the Manhatten Project. It would have convinced me at least.
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Old 03-19-2014, 01:48 AM   #35
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Re: Japanese Nuclear Bombs Overrated?

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Too bad that I didn't notice this posting before.

Destroying Hishorima and Nagasaki didn't serve any military goal at all. The only purpose was to show the bomb in action, so the rest of the world ****s their pants in fear of the allmighty USA.

Destroying cities to demoralize people is pointless and that has been proven. The germans tried it in WW I and WW II and it didn't work. The british and the americans tried it in WW II and it didn't work either. Overall it is a degenerate form of warfare. You could torture little hamsters just as well.

The argument of "ending the war" quicker isn't vaild either. The US could have archieved the same goal by inviting japanese represantives to the test-site of the Manhatten Project. It would have convinced me at least.
To show the bomb in action was certainly one purpose, but it wasn't the only purpose of using the bomb. It was a military weapon, we had spent the money, time and energy to build it, an invasion was planned for November 1, the Soviets had entered the war, as they had promised, the Japanese had bombed Pearl Harbor, and we were racially motivated to think of the Japanese as less worthy than other human beings.

The British in particular had learned the wrong lessons from WWI, namely that hurting the enemy's morale had indeed worked, when in fact, as you point out, it hadn't. (Tami Biddle's Rhetoric and Reality in Air Warfare addresses this issue in depth.) They used bomber control to intimidate the natives in their colonies, who deserved it in the English mind, by virtue of not being European, after the war (WWI).

A test of the bomb wouldn't have been chanced in case it didn't work. Plus we only had the two bombs. They were built to be used and it would have taken a mind much more mature than Truman's to have made a decision not to use them.

In 1939, Roosevelt appealed to all the combatants to not bomb civilians. All parties agreed they wouldn't. All did. Including Roosevelt. SOP.
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Old 03-19-2014, 07:59 PM   #36
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Re: Japanese Nuclear Bombs Overrated?

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The British in particular had learned the wrong lessons from WWI, namely that hurting the enemy's morale had indeed worked, when in fact, as you point out, it hadn't. (Tami Biddle's Rhetoric and Reality in Air Warfare addresses this issue in depth.) They used bomber control to intimidate the natives in their colonies, who deserved it in the English mind, by virtue of not being European, after the war (WWI).
I disagree with almost everything you said but I must admit that this was the most confusing of the lot. Which of their colonies did the English bomb exactly? I don't recall reading about the English getting their Lancasters out to firebomb Toronto, Sydney, or Kingston Jamaica.

I agree that racism was used as propaganda against Japan but disagree that the U.S. command believed in this. If they were so racist against the Japanese, why did the occupation run so smoothly and why were they so accommodating to the Japanese Emperor?
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Old 03-20-2014, 02:27 AM   #37
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Re: Japanese Nuclear Bombs Overrated?

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I disagree with almost everything you said but I must admit that this was the most confusing of the lot. Which of their colonies did the English bomb exactly? I don't recall reading about the English getting their Lancasters out to firebomb Toronto, Sydney, or Kingston Jamaica.

I agree that racism was used as propaganda against Japan but disagree that the U.S. command believed in this. If they were so racist against the Japanese, why did the occupation run so smoothly and why were they so accommodating to the Japanese Emperor?
"During the interwar period (1919–1939), the use of aerial bombing was developed as part of British colonial policy, with Hugh Trenchard as its leading proponent, Sir Charles Portal, Sir Arthur Harris, and Sidney Bufton. The Trenchard School theories were successfully put into action in Mesopotamia (modern-day Iraq) where RAF bombers used high-explosive bombs, gas bombs, and strafing against guerrilla forces. The techniques of so-called 'Air Control' included also target marking and locating, as well as formation flying. Arthur Harris, a young RAF squadron commander (later nicknamed 'Bomber'), reported after a mission in 1924, 'The Arab and Kurd now know what real bombing means, in casualties and damage. They know that within 45 minutes a full-sized village can be practically wiped out and a third of its inhabitants killed or injured'."

"Following the end of World War I and the accompanying British defence cuts, the new RAF took up the task of policing the Empire from the air. In May 1920 an insurgency broke out around the Euphrates and this uprising rapidly extended to a more general area. The Air Officer Commanding the Middle East dispatched an additional squadron from Egypt to Iraq. In London the Government were seeking a solution and the Army's proposal, which involved reinforcing Iraq with large numbers of personnel, was considered to be too expensive by the Cabinet. Churchill, remembering the RAF's success in Somaliland asked Trenchard for a cheaper alternative and a plan for air control using air power as a more cost-effective way of controlling large areas than by using conventional land forces was proposed. In Mesopotamia there was a need to counter Turkish aspirations and by 1920 a Mesopotamian Wing had been established. In January 1921 Mesopotamian Group was formed by raising Mesopotamian Wing to group status and on 1 October 1922 Mesopotamian Group was absorbed into the newly formed Iraq Command which was given control of all British forces in Iraq."

"Iraq Command was responsible for the following military actions:

1920 to 1922 - The Great Iraqi Revolution of 1920 started in Baghdad in the summer of 1920 and dragged on until 1922.

February to May 1923 - Following the anti-British activities of Sheikh Mahmud, delayed-action bombs are dropped outside Sulaymaniyah in an effort to get the Sheikh to adopt more pro-British policies. British land forces occupy Sulaymaniyah on 17 May and Sheikh Mahmud flees to Persia.

March to April 1923 - In response to the uncovering of Turkish plans for an attack on Kurdistan, supported by local tribes associated with Sheikh Mahmud, Imperial troops and levies occupy Rowanduz and drive Turkish troops into nearby Persia.

April 1923 - The RAF flies 280 Sikh troops from Kingarban to Kirkuk in the first British air trooping operation.

25 December 1923 - Sheikh Mahmud proclaims himself King of Kurdistan; subsequently, the RAF bombs his house in Sulaymaniyah.
December 1923 to January 1924 - The RAF bombs Akhwan raiders from Najd in an attempt to stop their attacks on the tribes living in southern Iraq.

4 May 1924 - Following a dispute between Assyrian levies and the Muslims living in Kirkuk, the levies run amok. Air Vice-Marshal J F A Higgins has two platoons of the 1st Battalion the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers airlifted from Hinaidi to Kirkuk to restore order.

5 May 1924 - The fusiliers are reinforced by air with two additional infantry platoons. No. 30 Squadron RAF carries out thorough air reconnaissance of the Kirkuk district."

Above all from Wiki.

As for the occupation and accommodation of the Emperor, I don't see either of those as being at odds with racism. The British became pro-Zionist in large part because of anti-Semitism. Truman said, "The only language they seem to understand is the one we have been using to bombard them. When you have to deal with a beast you have to treat him like a beast. It is most regrettable but nevertheless true". This was after the Nagasaki bomb.
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Old 03-23-2014, 01:02 PM   #38
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Re: Japanese Nuclear Bombs Overrated?

Let's put it this way. As an american, if you could take back a move, like people are asking for in chess every once in a while, wouldn't you take back the bomb?

I am pretty sure that the germans would like to take back the Holocaust if they could.

Personally I think the US would appear a bit cleaner in world history if the thing with the bomb wouldn't have happend. Actually the US just got lucky that Germany screwed up 100 billion times more with the Holocaust, otherwise dropping the bomb would go down as the biggest crime against humanity in history of mankind. The women and children of Nagasaki and Hiroshima certainly didn't threaten anyone. There was no reason to kill them and don't even think about that phoney bull**** about ending the war sooner.

There was a clearcut way to archieve that goal. Invite the emperor to the test-site, give him safe conduct, show him what the bomb was capable of and the war would have ended the very same minute. If that is too diffcult, just show the test on a newsreel in theaters all over the world. That should convince even the most stubborn emperor on earth.

http://www.y*utube.com/watch?v=-g2FNa0xzHk
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Old 03-24-2014, 04:51 PM   #39
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Re: Japanese Nuclear Bombs Overrated?

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Let's put it this way. As an american, if you could take back a move, like people are asking for in chess every once in a while, wouldn't you take back the bomb?
I'd certainly take back the second. I'd also take back a good number of the incendiary bomb sorties over urban areas as well, which I have a hard time imagining as "lighter" than nuclear bombing--yes, there's the irradiation factor, but it's not like many fire-bombing victims didn't live with debilitating conditions and horrific pain as well.

As to taking back the first? About the only way I can see something good coming out of that is if the spectacle of vaporizing a city with a single bomb spared other cities from the same fate once other powers armed themselves with these weapons. Whether that is the case is not for me to say.
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Old 03-26-2014, 02:41 PM   #40
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Re: Japanese Nuclear Bombs Overrated?

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The primary target of the nukes dropped on Japan was the Russian position in the postwar landscape. The Japanese citizens who were burned, exploded, or killed in the aftermath were just hostages of convenience for us. We intended to show Russia not only that we had the bomb but also that our willingness to use it would not be constrained by any moral implications. So the poster who said we could have demonstrated the bomb without killing anyone missed the point completely.
Essentially this. My understanding was that Washington wanted to intimidate Moscow by showing it had these bombs and was not averse to using them. Many of the other issues raised have validity, but I think showing Moscow we had the cojones to use the bombs was the overriding factor.

But if post-war concerns was Washington's motive, the real game theory move might have been to find some pretext to drop them on Moscow and another Russian city, and intimidate both Russia and Japan into surrendering. Tough to justify that with the voters, though. I wonder if it was even discussed.

The result was that Moscow was indeed intimidated and increased efforts to get a bomb of its own. And the cold war was on.
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Old 03-30-2014, 02:00 PM   #41
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Re: Japanese Nuclear Bombs Overrated?

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Originally Posted by Shandrax View Post
Let's put it this way. As an american, if you could take back a move, like people are asking for in chess every once in a while, wouldn't you take back the bomb?

I am pretty sure that the germans would like to take back the Holocaust if they could.

Personally I think the US would appear a bit cleaner in world history if the thing with the bomb wouldn't have happend. Actually the US just got lucky that Germany screwed up 100 billion times more with the Holocaust, otherwise dropping the bomb would go down as the biggest crime against humanity in history of mankind. The women and children of Nagasaki and Hiroshima certainly didn't threaten anyone. There was no reason to kill them and don't even think about that phoney bull**** about ending the war sooner.

There was a clearcut way to archieve that goal. Invite the emperor to the test-site, give him safe conduct, show him what the bomb was capable of and the war would have ended the very same minute. If that is too diffcult, just show the test on a newsreel in theaters all over the world. That should convince even the most stubborn emperor on earth.

http://www.y*utube.com/watch?v=-g2FNa0xzHk
All of you who are talking about a test or a demonstration are missing the point: the Manhattan Project wasn't instituted to build something to test or to demonstrate. It was to develop a weapon to be used. We weren't going to waste one of our two bombs on a demonstration. Spend all that time, money and energy and then just threaten to use the thing? When you're dealing with animals who only understand the language of violence? And when you're going to have to deal with Stalin after the war?
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Old 04-04-2014, 05:10 PM   #42
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Re: Japanese Nuclear Bombs Overrated?

The military in Japan were aginst surrender even after the second bomb. It was Hirohito who made the decision to surrender to stop further loss of Japanese life.
The Allies thought that surrender was likely after the first bomb. They also felt that they had a duty to prevent further loss of Allied lives, so went ahead with the second when no surrender was forthcoming.
I doubt that a deeper level of thinking took place - war makes quick decisions inevitable. And I think most people would say that any government or military's first duty is towards their own people, not the enemy. That does not preclude acts of compassion towards the enemy of course, many of which took place.
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Old 07-07-2014, 03:37 PM   #43
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Re: Japanese Nuclear Bombs Overrated?

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This is widely believed in the popular press, but documentary evidence from both the Japanese government and the postwar Strategic Bombing Survey suggest otherwise. Japan had been appealing to several neutral parties for months for peace arbitration, and had sent out feelers to Washington as early as September of 1944. Allen Dulles admitted after the war that most of the higher-ups in the State and War Departments were aware that Japan was at least potentially willing to surrender so long as they could retain the imperial house as a means of maintaining social order (which was the condition the US eventually agreed to anyway). Whether these officials simply doubted the sincerity of the Tokyo government or felt bound to the policy of unconditional surrender or had some other motive is unknown, but few policymakers believed the proposition, now popular among the American public, that Japan would have fought to the last man if the bombs hadn't been dropped.
As you say, this is what was believed at the time. Truman was told that beating Japan would not be achieved before 1946, and that in the meantime half a million Americans would have died, and six million Japanese.

Also, as you say, indications were that Japanese would fight to the last man rather than surrender - fighting on the Phillipines showed this. Truman did not have the luxury of unlimited time in which to make his decision.

Actually the Allies considered themselves lucky, as they had no third bomb ready - but the Japanese did not know that. The threatened invasion by Russia may not have been a big factor in the Japanese surrender - after all they realised that the American Army was much better kitted out than the Russian. And they had not, so far as the Allies knew, made any moves towards surrendering...or did Truman know that they had made moves? Will we ever know?

PS My memory tells me that Horoshima was not the original target, so it had not been 'saved' for the bomb.

I also note the number of posters who, if in a war situation, would tell their enemy what they were about to do before dropping nasty bombs on them.
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Old 07-16-2014, 02:12 PM   #44
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Re: Japanese Nuclear Bombs Overrated?

Personally I have always felt humanity as a whole was fortunate to have those two a-bombs explode in Japan before much deadlier (hundreds of times deadlier in fact) bombs were developed.

Without the iconic mushrooms and countless photos of the utter devastation and horror of only two bombs, I am not sure the deterrent effect of nuclear threat would be nearly as strong as it has been.
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Old 07-16-2014, 02:43 PM   #45
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Re: Japanese Nuclear Bombs Overrated?

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PS My memory tells me that Horoshima was not the original target, so it had not been 'saved' for the bomb.
Hiroshima was always a target. Nagasaki was added as an alternative shortly before the bombs were deployed, and was an alternate target on 9 August '45 after Kokura.

Hiroshima was the primary on 6 August.
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Old 02-05-2015, 03:21 AM   #46
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Re: Japanese Nuclear Bombs Overrated?

Found a great drama on TV called Manhattan. I wonder if anyone interested in this thread has seen it? Hope season 2 will be as good
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Old 02-05-2015, 10:03 AM   #47
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Re: Japanese Nuclear Bombs Overrated?

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Found a great drama on TV called Manhattan. I wonder if anyone interested in this thread has seen it? Hope season 2 will be as good
Good show, but pretty much 95% fiction.
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