What purely military purposes did Hiroshima and Nagasaki a-bombs serve?

Discussion in 'Weapons, Technology & Equipment' started by Agrippa, Aug 1, 2012.

  1. Agrippa

    Agrippa New Member

    By August 1945, Japan has, for all intents and purpose, lost the war. Its armies were surrendering (or committing 'sepuku') in all the fields of battle in the Pacific and China. American bombers were dropping s__-loads of bombs of all types on the Japanese mainland, leveling cities and killing thousands. In one fire bomb attack on Tokyo in March '45, almost 100K non-combatants died. Russia has started moving troops into Manchuria/Korea. There was simply no way Japan could mount a counter-attack.

    Why drop the a-bombs ?
  2. Peter T Davis

    Peter T Davis Administrator Moderator

    The atomic bombs were strategic, not tactical weapons. The US dropped them because they wanted to avoid having to invade the main Japanese islands. The losses that both the US and the Japanese suffered in the invasions of Iwo Jima and Okinawa were terrible, and proved to the leaders in the US that in the long run there would be less suffering on both sides to use the bombs. Thankfully, the Japanese did decide to surrender after the first two were dropped. Too bad it took that for them to give up.
  3. Jeff

    Jeff Member

    They were used to intimidate the Japanese and to make them think that we had hundreds of these bombs, and that we wouldn't hesitate to use them again.
  4. Carlo G

    Carlo G New Member

    ^^ Also both cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki are major military headquarters of the Imperial Japan.
  5. Agrippa

    Agrippa New Member

    Civilian deaths in the two bombings far far exceeded military casualties; even if the two cities were military headquarters. So, civilian lives were sacrificed to reduce military deaths.
  6. vashstampede

    vashstampede Active Member

    Ok, Japan was losing the war, but all battlefields are outside Japan. There was no foreign troops on Japanese homeland. So even if Japan withdrew or lost all troops abroad, they would not surrender. For such an aggressive nation who refuse to surrender will only lead to one result - They will rebuild and start the war again some years later. The only way to stop that from happening is to invade their homeland and occupy it with troops to keep eyes on them.

    In order to do so, Japan must first surrender unconditionally. That couldn't be achieved without a direct invasion. Japan was desperate. They had started recruiting high school kids into the army. They had 7~8 million underage troops 'ready' for invasion. They also prepared thousands of Kamikaze planes.

    To invade their homeland and to take over one city after another, there would be at least another million casualty on the allies' side.

    So the atom bombs were dropped just to show them that they would be annihilated if they don't surrender right there. It worked, and thus a costy invasion was avoided.

    I have also to point out that, USSR moved down south after the A-bombs were dropped. They just want more bargaining chip as they accept the Japan's surrender.
  7. Susan Kelly

    Susan Kelly New Member

    We might never know the real reason what the commanders where thinking when agreeing to it and even they might have different reasons.

    We all know the general historic reason of the US wanting to end the war fast. Japan wasn't planning to surrender any time soon and even the idea of a long dragged out war was bad. Economy was in ruins anyway.

    I also have a feeling US didn't want USSR to capitalize on the opportunity to grab even more land and they used what they got. Why would you want to develop a super weapon and not use it, kind of a bad commander purely going by a pragmatic opinion.
  8. xStylezx

    xStylezx New Member

    I believe Peter T Davis is correct. The bombs were actually dropped as a way to avoid even more massive casualties in the long run. If a ground invasion took place,the loss of life on both sides would've been extensive.
  9. vashstampede

    vashstampede Active Member

    Aside the reasons I believe the a-bombs were correctly dropped (lesser of the two evils... kill 100,000 to avoid millions more casualty)...

    We all know that nuclear weapon is genocidal. The question is, if Japan was a Caucasian country, would the U.S. still drop the a-bombs?

    I know many people might not want to admit it, but the race issue plays a huge role in even politics.
  10. MannyGr

    MannyGr New Member

    The bombs were dropped to force the Japanese to surrender, simple as that. The losses of U.S. and Allied forces were not going to be tolerated at that point of the war anymore, and the U.S. decided to use the bombs since the threat of a nuclear retaliation did not exist. They were dropped as a muscle flexing and they did their job, a very terrible job, quite effectively.
  11. MannyGr

    MannyGr New Member

    An interesting point you bring up. If say, Italy, were the ones held out at the end and well fortified. I would say no, mostly because of the presence of the Vatican in the country.

    I think geology played a large role in the decision, since Japan is fairly small and surrounded all by water, the fallout would be contained by the sea.
  12. Alexander

    Alexander Member

  13. Turo Nieminen

    Turo Nieminen Member

    There has been quite a lot of critics on bombings ocurred during the war. I however debate the hindsight wisdom in this. Do not get me wrong i neither support nor accept needless destruction.

    Has anyone considered just how different people are during wartimes? Those that have lived untouched by tragedy of war cannot even begin to understand the madness and hate residing in peoples everyday thoughts during war. Were Nuking Japan or bombing of Dresden logical and serving somekind of purpose in waging war? Maybe they were or atleast from the point of view of those that made decisions they were.

    Its ugly business and gets outta hand constantly but its an undeniable fact that every war has atrocities aswell as times when you deem necessary to drop 1. bomb too many than 1. too little.

    In this conversation i wish to remind everyone that understanding history can be done trough the psychology of those involved as much as statistics and other cold facts. It is my opinion that "judging" history should never leave out the fact that even horrible decisions were made by people not necessarily any more evil or neglecting than any of us. Simply the times and realities were profoundly different.
  14. Peninha

    Peninha Member

    What military purposes? Basically the US told, surrender or instead of two bombs we make you disappear from the map. Annihilation was the menace.
  15. Rockhem

    Rockhem Member

    The atomic bombs were dropped to avoid having to do a land invasion of Japan, because they refused to surrender. The bombs dropped morale in the population of Japan, and showed what kind if weapon the United States was in possession of, and wasn't afraid to use the weapon on them. It prevented hundreds of thousands of casualties that would have happened had there been a land invasion of japan.
  16. preacherbob50

    preacherbob50 Active Member

    All the above have major truths in them, but 1 avenue hasn't been explored yet.
    There were actually 2 different bombs that were used. The first was designed to "EXplode" while second was designed to "IMplode."
    The first bomb that was dropped was dropped on 6 August and for all intensive purposes, was a failure.
    It was supposed to explode on contact, but it blew some 1000 feet above ground. Note: I have read everything from 500 feet to 1,500 feet so I just met in the middle.
    They knew the bombs would devastate a target but no idea that this error would double or triple their expectations.
    Japan could have surrendered after the first one but obviously didn't.
    The second bomb was dropped 3 days after the 1st bomb on 9 August and went without a hitch.
    One thing they did not take into consideration prior to dropping the bombs was the number of people who died post explosions from the exposure to the radiation.

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