The Atomic bomb and Hiroshima

Discussion in 'World War 2' started by pilot2fly, Sep 30, 2012.

  1. pilot2fly

    pilot2fly Member

    This leads me to ask the question. Do you think the atomic bombs should have been used? I personally think that while it killed thousands of people at once, it ended the war and saved many more thousands of lives.
  2. Steed

    Steed Member

    I'd definitely agree with that, Pilot2fly.

    The Japanese military machine was determined to fight to the bitter end to protect their emperor, and everything indicated that Operation Downfall, the Allied invasion of Japan, would be an exceptionally bloody campaign that would drag on for months, possibly years. The US had taken Okinawa at tremendous cost in June 1945 after 82 days of heavy fighting. US casualties amounted to 85,000 dead and wounded, Japanese military losses were 105,000. Anywhere between 42,000 and 150,000 civilians were killed or committed suicide.

    Japanese deaths in both atomic bombs are estimated to be between 150,000 to 246,000.

    It's a brutal thing to reduce people's lives to a statistic in a body count, but in this case you can see that a full scale invasion of Japan would have resulted in more death and suffering than those who died in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
  3. Vladimir

    Vladimir Siberian Tiger

    There was no need to use the atomic bomb. Japan was already losing the war. Still, that doesn't mean that the use of the atomic bomb was justified at the earlier stages of the war. My opinion is that weapons of mass destruction, such as atomic bombs should be never used against civilians.
  4. vashstampede

    vashstampede Active Member

    Japan wasn't going to surrender. They prepared over 4,000 Kamikaze planes, and they also just recruited 8 million high school aged boys into the army. They were preparing for a final stand on their four main home islands.

    Without atom bombs, the allies would have to force landing on Japan home islands, and take one city at a time. Estimated casualty of allies would be at least another million before secure entire Japan. That wasn't it. If that was the only outcome, then it could say it's bias from allies who value their own lives more. In fact, if the allies were forced to conquer Japan one city at a time, the Japanese causality would be much much higher than just the figure you see from the two atom bombs.

    Yes, the two A bombs might seem to be mass murder... genocide. But in fact they reduced the causality by a ton on both sides if the war had continued.
  5. skyblue

    skyblue Active Member

    Yes, it was the right thing to do. Japan did not even surrender after the first A-bomb - it took two for them to see reason. We were totally justified in using the bombs to end the war. There should be no regrets on this account.
  6. aghart

    aghart Former Tank Commander Moderator

    The Japanese air force & Navy might have been on it's knee's but the Japanese army was more or less intact. An invasion would have meant huge losses on both sides, There was a plan to murder every allied POW in Japanese hands, which was stopped with the sudden Japanese surrender. I also have a personal reason for supporting the use of atomic weapons, my father was in a British infantry battalion in India in 1945, had the Japanese not surrenderd, he would likely have been involved in the British operation to recapture Malaya & Singapore, putting my birth (still 10 years away) at risk.
  7. blindwarrior

    blindwarrior Member

    Japan sill fought on for roughly around a week after they dropped the two bombs, they probably would have dragged the war out for quite some time if the the bombs weren't used. The U.S. was also tried of loosing good men, couple that with the how the Japanese treated P.O.V.'s and Pearl Harbor and you got a mighty potent cocktail brewing.
  8. tripletaker

    tripletaker New Member

    I think it was good because it stopped Japan's oppression in Asia. Also, it ended the war much earlier than if the US didn't use it in which combat war would probably cause even more damage in terms of property and finance.
  9. Steed

    Steed Member

    There was a serious problem for the Allies after the second bomb was dropped on Nagasaki.

    Project Manhattan, the top secret atom bomb programme, had only produced two bombs to be used against the Japanese in July 1945. So what would have happened if Japan had not surrendered after bomb number two? Producing more bombs would take several months. This was one reason why Hiroshima was chosen as the first target instead of a more isolated place which would have been a less bloody demonstration of power to Japan.

    The US had to be very careful to bluff here, the message passed through diplomatic channels to the Emperor was, " We have a lot more and we're going to use them every few days." Luckily the Japanese accepted the inevitable and accepted surrrender at that point, but the war could have dragged on for quite a time longer with more bloodshed to all concerned if they hadn't.

    Curiously in the speech made by the Emperor to the Japanese population explaining the situation, he never mentioned the word "surrender". He just said that he saw it was a good idea to end hostilities. This was the first time the Japanese had ever heard him.
    Diptangshu likes this.
  10. teamrose

    teamrose Member

    I am torn on this topic. On the one hand I think it was wrong to drop the bomb, killing so many innocent people. Then on the other hand, I think if we hadn't dropped the bomb, even more people would have been killed and more of them would have been Americans. War is hell. I'm waiting for the day when all wars will be fought with well-trained robots.
  11. RcNu

    RcNu Member

    I really don't think these were "atomic bombs". More like high volume explosives. And I'm really glad that you gave the correct number of "thousands" and not "millions".
  12. blindwarrior

    blindwarrior Member

    The only weapon that leaves a mushroom cloud is an Atomic bomb, also more importantly other weapons don't cause radiation poisoning, which is suspected to have killed as many people as the first strike itself.
  13. R Leonard

    R Leonard Active Member

    A mushroomed shape cloud is not necessarily an atomic phenomenon, a big enough bang will produce same. Plenty of examples if you look hard enough. Radiation, on the other hand, is certainly indicative of the type.
  14. Steve Ray Sr.

    Steve Ray Sr. New Member

    If I may join the conversation here I would like to say that the USA was completely justified in using the 2 atomic bombs against Japan. My reasons for this statement being:
    The USA knew that casualties for invading and conquering Japan would be at least 500,000 and could very well be over 1,000,000. That fact in and of itself was justification.
    The Japanese themselves were already known as brutal, murdering occupiers of conquered countries. The murder of more than 300,000 Chinese during December 1937 and Janurary 1938 at Nanking. The murder of over 250,000 Chinese civilians after the April 1942 Doolittle raid on Tokyo for the Chinese helping the American flyers escape the Japanese. (I knew Col. Travis Hoover who was a 1st Lt. and the pilot of the second B25 that took off of the USS Hornet behind Jimmy Doolittle and have the A2 pilots jacket that he wore on the mission and gave to me.)
    The Japanese certainly weren't innocent by any stretch of anybodies imagination except that of the Japanese themselves.
    The loss of civilian life while regretable, in no way would have been any deterant in the winning the war with the known brutality of the Japanese.
    I believe that all countries of the period had their own sense of racial or political superiority then but that had little to do with Trumans decision to use the bombs. We had already bombed German cities into rubble. The fire bombing of Tokyo had killed more people than both atomic bombs would. It was all out war on all sides.
    The plutonium used to build the second bomb was captured on a German submarine that was being transfered to Japan by Hitler at the end of the war for Germany because he knew Germany was lost and knew the Japanese would fight on and were working on their own bomb as the Germans had been.
    It is ironic that the Japanese were defeated by the very material they would have been used to make a bomb to be used on the Americans or more probably the Soviets after their entry into the Pacific war in China after the defeat of Germany to grab off vast territorities, which Stalin did.
    By 1945 my Father had been wounded fighting the Japanese and was out of the war but I still had 3 uncles in Europe and 2 younger uncles that would have enlisted to fight the Japanese. So this was a Godsend for my family.
    I am very glad that Truman ordered the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Both cities were producing war material to fight the USA and were legitimate targets. That and the fact that we didn't start the war but we damned sure ended it.
    skyblue likes this.
  15. R Leonard

    R Leonard Active Member

    You were doing okay until you got the the plutonium & submarine part. That's an urban legend based in part on the capture of U-234 at the end of the war in Europe.

    U-234's cargo included industrial grade materials such as mercury, lead, zinc, steel, brass, thallium, and uranium oxide; optical glass; Me 262-related technical documents (note, documents, not airplane parts - another urban myth) and mail for the German embassy in Tokyo. There were also aboard two Japanese naval officers, LCDRs Hideo Tomonaga and Shoji Genzo, who committed suicide with sleeping pills when informed by the Uboat's captain of his intent to surrender to the nearest USN ship when he heard of Germany's surrender. U-234 surrendered to USS Sutton at sea on 14 May 1945.

    There was no plutonium aboard. Uranium oxide was not weapons grade uranium, nor particularly practical as a source for same, as any quick interned type inquiry could tell you. The non "golly gee-whiz" and non conspiracy type researchers point out that uranium oxide's primary use was as catalyst in the process for production of synthetic aviation fuel.

    Processing uranium oxide ore to weapons grade quality uranium is an exercise in diminishing results. There were 540 kg of uranium oxide aboard U-234, slightly less than 1200 pounds. Processed, this amount would probably yield about 7.7 pounds (3.5 kg) of weapons grade Uranium 235. Contemporary 1945 era atomic weapons used about 5 times that amount. Note, 1200 pounds yields down to around 7.7 pounds.

    Was this uranium oxide ever so processed? Probably, but there is no published evidence that any such processed material was used in the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, just a lot of speculation that gets increasing rampant with the next conspiracy, gee-whiz, publication, especially since the advent of the internet. Most of the speculation revolves around the lack of relevant evidence, kind of a “can’t prove it didn’t happen, therefore it could have happened, therefore it must have happened” proposition. Sorry, no evidence means no evidence, proof that an event occurred requires evidence, not wishful thinking. Further, what most tend to forget was that the US had its own stocks of uranium and what could have been produced from this, really, small amount of uranium oxide would have been a very small contribution, indeed, had it been processed sometime between mid-May and mid-July 1945. The problem was not one of availability, but rather one of production, to a large extent involving safely machining the stuff into a usable configuration.
  16. Steve Ray Sr.

    Steve Ray Sr. New Member

    Your hypothisis that the submarine u 234 carried uranium oxide is not valid.
    Information from the same wickepedia article that you quote from does not specifically state that it carried identified uranium oxide. That assumption was made as a guess by Scalia, Boyd and Yoshida. Not by actual information on their part. Boyd and Yoshida made the incorrect guess that uranium oxide would have been used to make synthetic aviation gas. Av gas absolutely was not made by using uranium oxide then or today. There is no evidence that the submarine u 234 carried uranium oxide other than a cable that stated that the lead boxes contained u powder. I seriously doubt that the small lead containers were opened and tested at the shipyard.
    The approximate 50 or less 9 inch square lead cubes would in no way have contained 1200 lbs of uraniam oxide by volume but could very easily have carried the 140 lbs of u-235 by volume used to make the bomb known as "little boy".
    I think on reevaluation that it contained u-235 as clearly marked on the lead containers. Not plutonium and definitly not uranium oxide. Uranium oxide, or yellow cake as it is called in the mining industry, is now and was then shipped in 55 gallon steel drums, approximately 800 lbs to a drum, no lead necessary. u-235 on the other hand requires lead containers to be moved in or handeled safely or everything and every one handling u-235 would recieve massive radiation exposure. Dead within a week. The USA's first bomb tested in New Mexico was plutonium which America had plenty of. What America did not have an abundance of was u-235 after research I now believe that "little boy", the first atomic bomb used was made from the captured u-235 . It was a much simpler bomb than "fat man"
    As a side note there would have been no reason to carry as cargo lead, zinc, steel or brass. The Japanese had lead and zinc in abundance from their own mines including copper. 90% copper + 10% zinc makes brass. Steel would have been totally out of the question. They had ample supplies of iron ore from Japan itself, Korea and its conqured territories of Mongolia and parts of China.
    I believe the lead mentioned in the article was the 9 inch square cubes that was marked and contained u-235 . which could have easily carried by volume the 140 lbs. that was necessary to build "little boy".
    So you are right there was no plutonium on board but u-235 was. So I think you are right the plutonium used in the much more complicated "fat boy" wasn't captured on the subnarine u 234. The u-235 used in "little boy" the first bomb was captured on the u 234.
  17. R Leonard

    R Leonard Active Member

    And your specific evidence that said uranium, regardless of form, was refined and used in to build any bomb dropped on Japan is exactly, what?
  18. Steve Ray Sr.

    Steve Ray Sr. New Member

    The fact that u-235 was clearly marked on the lead containers and further research on the subject of WWII atomic weapons programs.
    The same fact as stated in the wikipedia article that you quote from.
    Uranium oxide, yellow cake, is shipped in steel drums. Radiation levels are so low there is no chance of radiation poisoning. I am aware of this fact personally. u-235 is exteremely radioactive and would require lead shipping containers. Without them everybody handling it or coming near it would be dead within a week and the submarine itself would be so hot it would that it would be a death trap.
    You make statements about uranium from one article from wickipedia
    as if you have knowledge of heavy metals. I really don't think you do. Scalia, Boyd and Yoshida certainly do not. The statements, from the one wickipedia article that you quote from, of Boyd and Yoshida that uranium oxide was used in the production of synthetic aviation gas is totally ridiculous. The Germans produced a poor quality synthetic aviation fuel from a distilation of coal. Absolutely NO uranium oxide has ever been used in this process. I am pointing this out just to prove that the author Scalia plus Boyd and Yoshida that are quoted have absolutely no knowledge of heavy metals, specifically uranium. They all ignore the fact that the lead containers are marked u-235. If you know anything about the volumn of u-235 compared to the volumn of uranium oxide, yellow cake, which is just the simple form of uranium milled from the ore bearing rock. If you can understand the difference of volumns and the extereme differences in the radioactivity you will realize that at least 100+ lbs of u-235 requires lead containers and could be easily shipped in 50 nine inch square cube lead containers, 1200 lbs of uranium oxide could not. As a side note the container walls would have to be at least 1/2 inch thick as a suitable container for radioactive material reducing the storage amount to an 8 1/2 inch square interior. It is just conjecture that the containers contained uranium oxide. My conjecture that the cargo was u-235 is at least backed up by the fact that it was shipped in lead containers and was marked u-235.
    The Japanese Army had an atomic bomb project at the Riken Institute in Hungnam Korea headed by their leading scientist Yoshio Nshina. Nishina had published papers prior to WWII about fast neutron reaction using
    u-235 with a fissonable material trigger. The same system as the American bomb "little boy". It is highly concievable that the Japanese could build an atomic weapon if it had had the material to do so. What they didn't have was the ability to produce u-235 or plutonium in any descernable amount, the Germans did. The first German successful test firing device in miniture was completed on march 4, 1945. Far to late to build a successful atomic weapon. But I believe that they produced a significant amount of u-235. They certainly had produced enough heavy water to create it. Germanys atomic weapons project was divided into many seperate groups which did not evolve into the contiguious effort that America had and did not have the unrestricted funding either. Their project advanced at a far slower rate. The invasion of France by the allies and Hitlers initial resistance to the program had caught the German program flat footed without the time to create a weapon from their refined u-235. America had not refined enough of u-235 by May of 1945 to build a bomb. Certainly not the 140 lbs necessary to build "little boy" The first bomb detonated at los Alamos in New Mexico was a plutonium bomb, a highly complicated bomb that used precise shape charges surrounding the plutonium to compress the plutonium to a baseball size with the resulting explosion. The reason the "fat man" bomb was much bigger was the amount of explosives used as precise shape charges as a triggering device.
    "little boy" was exteremely simple ( but much more dangerous ) in that it used a plutonium "bullet" fired into a small plutonium core as a triggering device to explode the u-235. The main problem with this system was the fact that any sharp impact of the bomb would trigger the plutonium bullet and the the u-235. The main reason "little boy" was shipped in pieces and was not armed with the triggering device until it was on the Enola Gay at Tinian waiting for take off.
    I find it surprizing that the US did not have enough u-235 to build "little boy " in march of 1945 but by august they did.
    So to me it seems reasonable that the lead cases marked u-235 contained u-235. Understanding the German mind set for effiency they would not have marked it u-235 if it was anything else.
    My thoughts.
  19. R Leonard

    R Leonard Active Member

    Okay, so you are a self styled expert on uranium. Now, again, where is your documented evidence . . . something beyond "would have" "could have" and "should have." All you have is you THINK or you BELIEVE the uranium oxide (BTW, so identified in the USN manifest of what was removed from the submarine according the the US Navy History Command) was used in the Hiroshima bomb. You have yet to prove your, ummm, theory. Evidence, proof, this is what we call history. What you have is a lot of internet idle speculation.

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