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 (1939-1945) WWII Battles    
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anemone
DONCASTER S. YORKS, UK
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Okinawa and the A Bomb
Posted on: 3/17/2017 5:21:18 AM
Is it true that President Harry Truman and other U.S. military commanders were horrified by the casualty rate in Okinawa; and used the Battle as a decision to use the atomic bombs on Japanese cities to avoid a mainland invasion of Japan and further slaughter in it's wake .

Casualties on Okinawa totalled more than 12,000 Americans killed or nissing and 38,000 wounded, more than 107,000 Japanese and Okinawan conscripts killed, and perhaps 100,000 Okinawan civilians who perished in the battle. Okinawa had more civilian population than any Pacific island- with a total of 500,000 civilians living in the island.

Regards

Jim

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wombat1417
New York City, NY, USA
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Posts: 235

Re: Okinawa and the A Bomb
Posted on: 3/17/2017 5:47:40 AM
There was a documentary on once about Operation Olympic, the proposed invasion of Kyushu.
In it, they said that once Truman heard that there would be a projected one million (!) casualties, he gave his approval. Sadly, I don't remember how much the Okinawa experience played in that projection.
Part of Truman's reasoning was to avoid the political fallout from the American people learning after the invasion that there was a option that could have spared so many American lives, but was not used.
---------------
Cry "Havoc"...and let slip the dogs of war.

anemone
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Re: Okinawa and the A Bomb
Posted on: 3/17/2017 6:23:38 AM
Thank you wombat-your post does not substantiate the original claim of Okinawa being the reason for dropping the bomb.The projected casualty figures for Olympic would IMO opinion be the more likely. However it has to be said -Did Okinawa plant the seed in the first place??? .


Regards

Jim
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James W.
Ballina, Australia
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Re: Okinawa and the A Bomb
Posted on: 3/17/2017 6:47:09 AM
I doubt it.. compare casualty figures for the USAAF air crews versus the Luftwaffe, let alone the US Army in the dirt, just check the 'Bulge' casualty numbers..

anemone
DONCASTER S. YORKS, UK
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Re: Okinawa and the A Bomb
Posted on: 3/17/2017 7:30:08 AM
So you are saying that the war in Europe also had a bearing on the decision to drop the A bomb-I confess that is something that I had not thought of.



Quote:
63,209 members of the USAAF were battle casualties of ehich 18,364 were wounded in action and required medical evacuation, and 41,057 became prisoners-of-war. Its casualties were 5.1% of its strength, compared to 10% for the rest of the Army.



Quote:
The Americans suffered some 75,000 casualties in the Battle of the Bulge, but the Germans lost 80,000 to l00,000. German strength had been irredeemably impaired



Regards

Jim
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James W.
Ballina, Australia
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Re: Okinawa and the A Bomb
Posted on: 3/17/2017 7:38:40 AM
Using the bomb was a carefully considered & well researched political-based military-industrial decision,
& not one of an actual 'war-winning' weapon, - well, not for WW II at least, it was virtually 'done & dusted' - sans ionized radiation fall-out, - already..

anemone
DONCASTER S. YORKS, UK
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Re: Okinawa and the A Bomb
Posted on: 3/17/2017 7:49:55 AM
But surely James-dropping the A bomb was to bring the war to an end- as a primary objective- despite other political/industrial motives ???


regards

Jim
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James W.
Ballina, Australia
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Re: Okinawa and the A Bomb
Posted on: 3/17/2017 8:05:04 AM
It wasn't dropped on Hirohito's palace - was it, Jim?

It was dropped on two carefully conserved/undamaged cities - to ensure best research outcomes...

anemone
DONCASTER S. YORKS, UK
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Re: Okinawa and the A Bomb
Posted on: 3/17/2017 8:37:30 AM
Cynical- but probably true-completely obliterate two big cities while the world watched-that epitomises US aspirations.

Regards

Jim
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OpanaPointer
St. Louis, MO, USA
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Posts: 436

Re: Okinawa and the A Bomb
Posted on: 3/17/2017 8:59:51 AM

Quote:
It wasn't dropped on Hirohito's palace - was it, Jim?

It was dropped on two carefully conserved/undamaged cities - to ensure best research outcomes...
--James W.

True, they did want to be able to gauge the effects of the bombs without prior damage to the sites. However, both cities were the military headquarters for their prefects and produced military equipment for the war effort, including the special torpedoes that cause so much damage at Pearl Harbor. It's good to remember that one of the bombs went off almost directly over 5,000 soldiers lined up for morning inspection. Implying that research was the only reason for dropping the bombs there is rather a red herring.

OpanaPointer
St. Louis, MO, USA
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Posts: 436

Re: Okinawa and the A Bomb
Posted on: 3/17/2017 9:03:22 AM

Quote:
There was a documentary on once about Operation Olympic, the proposed invasion of Kyushu.
In it, they said that once Truman heard that there would be a projected one million (!) casualties, he gave his approval. Sadly, I don't remember how much the Okinawa experience played in that projection.
Part of Truman's reasoning was to avoid the political fallout from the American people learning after the invasion that there was a option that could have spared so many American lives, but was not used.
--wombat1417

TV documentary have no need to be factual or accurate. When George Catlett Marshall told MacArthur that his casualty estimate for Operation Olympic were shockingly high Doug immediately came up with new, lower numbers. Those were given to Harry S. Truman.

OpanaPointer
St. Louis, MO, USA
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Posts: 436

Re: Okinawa and the A Bomb
Posted on: 3/17/2017 9:06:52 AM

Quote:
Thank you wombat-your post does not substantiate the original claim of Okinawa being the reason for dropping the bomb.The projected casualty figures for Olympic would IMO opinion be the more likely. However it has to be said -Did Okinawa plant the seed in the first place??? .


Regards

Jim
--anemone

The fear was that Operation Downfall would cause "an Okinawa from one end of Japan to the other."

It's always good to remember that the bombs were not intended as an alternative to the bombing and invasion, they were to be part of it. Marshall was to be given tactical control over ten atomic bombs, four for Kyushu and six for Honshu (Kanto Plain/Tokyo.) The Japanese had built a remote hideout for Hirohito and a very deep bomb shelter under the Imperial palace in case they got caught short.

George
Centre Hastings, ON, Canada
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Re: Okinawa and the A Bomb
Posted on: 3/17/2017 9:23:44 AM
The big question is whether the use of those bombs was necessary.

Proponents argue that the Japanese would never give up without a fight and for them that meant to the finish.

I believe that the argument that the atom bomb actually "saved lives" was an after the fact rationalization.

But there were some, including some high ranking Americans who felt that the naval blockade and the conventional bombing campaign would have brought the Japanese to their knees, in time.


anemone
DONCASTER S. YORKS, UK
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Re: Okinawa and the A Bomb
Posted on: 3/17/2017 9:26:26 AM

Quote:
It's always good to remember that the bombs were not intended as an alternative to the bombing and invasion, they were to be part of it. Marshall was to be given tactical control over ten atomic bombs, four for Kyushu and six for Honshu (Kanto Plain/Tokyo.) The Japanese had built a remote hideout for Hirohito and a very deep bomb shelter under the Imperial palace in case they got caught short.


BH!! Opana-did they intend to obliterate Japan altogether-should the Japanese not sue for peace following Hiroshima and Nagasaki????

Regards

Jim
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OpanaPointer
St. Louis, MO, USA
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Posts: 436

Re: Okinawa and the A Bomb
Posted on: 3/17/2017 10:28:16 AM

Quote:

Quote:
It's always good to remember that the bombs were not intended as an alternative to the bombing and invasion, they were to be part of it. Marshall was to be given tactical control over ten atomic bombs, four for Kyushu and six for Honshu (Kanto Plain/Tokyo.) The Japanese had built a remote hideout for Hirohito and a very deep bomb shelter under the Imperial palace in case they got caught short.


BH!! Opana-did they intend to obliterate Japan altogether-should the Japanese not sue for peace following Hiroshima and Nagasaki????

Regards

Jim
--anemone

There was no guarantee. Gen. Anami, the War Minister and de facto head of the hard-liners was saying "One hundred million dead in the defense of the Empire!" and "we will chew grass and eat dirt to save our country!" He DID change sides after getting reports of the second bomb, but was still in the "die trying" camp after the first. This alone makes the idea of a "demonstration bomb" useless.

The Truman Library has the documents concerning the development and use of the bomb online. Going through them I found no serious mention of radiation or "fall out" as a force multiplier for the bombs. To the people that had to make the use/no use decision they were just big fire/explosive bombs. The pictures of Oppenheimer and Groves standing at ground zero of the Trinity test further points out that we didn't think that way. Cold War retrofitting of attitudes would have us believe otherwise, of course.



Japan had about 70 million at the time, so the slack would have to be taken up by the Allies.

OpanaPointer
St. Louis, MO, USA
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Posts: 436

Re: Okinawa and the A Bomb
Posted on: 3/17/2017 10:30:07 AM

Quote:

Quote:
It's always good to remember that the bombs were not intended as an alternative to the bombing and invasion, they were to be part of it. Marshall was to be given tactical control over ten atomic bombs, four for Kyushu and six for Honshu (Kanto Plain/Tokyo.) The Japanese had built a remote hideout for Hirohito and a very deep bomb shelter under the Imperial palace in case they got caught short.


BH!! Opana-did they intend to obliterate Japan altogether-should the Japanese not sue for peace following Hiroshima and Nagasaki????

Regards

Jim
--anemone

The most horrible option for the Allies was a blockade. We were planning to destroy the fall rice crop with herbicides and do the same with following crops until they surrendered. The first to die would be the sick, the elderly and nursing babies. I can't imagine who would consider that an optimal solution.

anemone
DONCASTER S. YORKS, UK
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Re: Okinawa and the A Bomb
Posted on: 3/17/2017 10:42:41 AM
Obviously somebody with a Machiavellian "bent"or perhaps a Psycopathic mind set-there is always one when needed-somebody quite devoid of human feelings
ready to say what the boss wants to hear.I think I watch too many CIA movies .

Regards

Jim
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OpanaPointer
St. Louis, MO, USA
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Re: Okinawa and the A Bomb
Posted on: 3/17/2017 11:35:01 AM

Quote:

Quote:
It's always good to remember that the bombs were not intended as an alternative to the bombing and invasion, they were to be part of it. Marshall was to be given tactical control over ten atomic bombs, four for Kyushu and six for Honshu (Kanto Plain/Tokyo.) The Japanese had built a remote hideout for Hirohito and a very deep bomb shelter under the Imperial palace in case they got caught short.


BH!! Opana-did they intend to obliterate Japan altogether-should the Japanese not sue for peace following Hiroshima and Nagasaki????

Regards

Jim
--anemone

I quoted the wrong post earlier, sorry. The last thing we needed was a prostrate Japan, unable to feed millions of citizens. Just getting them through the winter would have required about the same lifting capacity that we used to keep England going in 1941. But we wanted to stop the war, and were ready to do anything and everything we could to do that. Thousands of people, Japanese and Allied, were dying while the hard-liners dithered. All 160,000 Allied POWs, men, women and children, were, by Gen. Anami's orders, to be killed when "the first Allied boot touches the Home Islands."

anemone
DONCASTER S. YORKS, UK
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Re: Okinawa and the A Bomb
Posted on: 3/17/2017 12:08:32 PM
Well now Opana- that certainly paints an entirely different picture.Primary objective is to end the war; and presumably end collateral damage-so that there is a country left to provide a base for America to have a foot
hold on the Orient- for the foreseeable future. Yes/No????

regards

Jim
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OpanaPointer
St. Louis, MO, USA
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Posts: 436

Re: Okinawa and the A Bomb
Posted on: 3/17/2017 12:17:59 PM

Quote:
Well now Opana- that certainly paints an entirely different picture.Primary objective is to end the war; and presumably end collateral damage-so that there is a country left to provide a base for America to have a foot
hold on the Orient- for the foreseeable future. Yes/No????

regards

Jim
--anemone

Not the thinking so far as I know. We were settled in the Philippines, giving them their independence made for good karma there. And Chiang owed us a lot, a great lot. A hostile country without a land bridge to Asia proper, not as desirable. When China fell to the Communists that changed, but HST didn't have a crystal ball.

BTW, sometimes people make much of the fact that Truman wasn't told about the bomb before gaining the Oval Office. Well, neither was his predecessor. (People forget/ignore that he was new to the V.P. job in January of 1944.

anemone
DONCASTER S. YORKS, UK
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Re: Okinawa and the A Bomb
Posted on: 3/17/2017 12:32:49 PM
Yes -I have to admit in indulging in a little cryetal ball gazing;but my original premise of 1) ending the war and 2) without further damaging Japan
is close surely.No -I was not aware that neither the President nor his Vice President were kept in the dark vis a vis the Manhattan Project.

Regards

Jim
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OpanaPointer
St. Louis, MO, USA
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Re: Okinawa and the A Bomb
Posted on: 3/17/2017 12:38:51 PM

Quote:
Yes -I have to admit in indulging in a little cryetal ball gazing;but my original premise of 1) ending the war and 2) without further damaging Japan
is close surely.No -I was not aware that neither the President nor his Vice President were kept in the dark vis a vis the Manhattan Project.

Regards

Jim
--anemone

Truman promised the Japanese a "rain of ruin" before the bombs were dropped. Until they surrendered that was the plan.

The VP was kept in the dark because, as demonstrated, he might not be the VP during the next term. Henry A. Wallace wasn't entirely happy about be replaced on the ballot by Truman. FDR was briefed regularly.

anemone
DONCASTER S. YORKS, UK
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Re: Okinawa and the A Bomb
Posted on: 3/17/2017 1:02:05 PM
So I misunderstood -FDR was in the loop- as one might expect; and I can now see the rationale of not telling Truman- as he may NOT have the successor-tough little bugger-fired Big Mac when Generalissimo in Korea-wanted to nuke the Chinese-I thought he was quite unhinged.


Regards

Jim
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OpanaPointer
St. Louis, MO, USA
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Re: Okinawa and the A Bomb
Posted on: 3/17/2017 1:17:11 PM
Truman was a military man. He served in WWI and made colonel in the peacetime Missouri National Guard, no mean feat in those penurious times.

anemone
DONCASTER S. YORKS, UK
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Re: Okinawa and the A Bomb
Posted on: 3/17/2017 1:36:35 PM
The one President that I admired the most in my lifietime and he served from 1945 -53-tough times.It's been good talking to you Opana

Regards

Jim
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OpanaPointer
St. Louis, MO, USA
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Re: Okinawa and the A Bomb
Posted on: 3/17/2017 1:56:23 PM

Quote:
The one President that I admired the most in my lifietime and he served from 1945 -53-tough times.It's been good talking to you Opana

Regards

Jim
--anemone

He guided the US to a global political position.

anemone
DONCASTER S. YORKS, UK
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Re: Okinawa and the A Bomb
Posted on: 3/17/2017 1:58:50 PM
Copy that-it's good to talk

Regards

Jim
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George
Centre Hastings, ON, Canada
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Re: Okinawa and the A Bomb
Posted on: 3/17/2017 2:52:50 PM
And so are we then to imagine another scenario by which the use of much more powerful nuclear weapons will be used in the future while someone rationalizes that act with speculation that it was the kinder thing to do. I find that frightening.

OpanaPointer
St. Louis, MO, USA
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Re: Okinawa and the A Bomb
Posted on: 3/17/2017 3:01:23 PM
How about sterilizing an area to stop a zombie outbreak?

George
Centre Hastings, ON, Canada
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Re: Okinawa and the A Bomb
Posted on: 3/17/2017 4:20:44 PM

Quote:
How about sterilizing an area to stop a zombie outbreak?
--OpanaPointer


A little too cavalier for my liking OP.

I understand your explanation of the rationale for dropping the A-bomb. But I have read enough arguments that the blockade and the conventional bombing which was destroying all the wood housing and military targets would have been sufficient.

BTW I couldn't help but note your reference to the foodstuffs provided to Great Britain in 1941. You are aware that the Commonwealth countries including mine were sending tons of food to Great Britain.

By the end of the war, Canada had been responsible for 57% of the wheat and flour that GB had received. In 1941, that was 77% of the total received.


Quote:
as well as 39 per cent of bacon, 15 per cent of eggs, 24 per cent of cheese, and 11 per cent of evaporated milk consumed in Britain by the end of the war


Australia and NZ shipped a lot of food to GB as well.

For the record, and all the while acknowledging the massive contribution made by the US in food and war material.


Cheers,

George

OpanaPointer
St. Louis, MO, USA
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Re: Okinawa and the A Bomb
Posted on: 3/17/2017 4:55:41 PM
Any measures that didn't end the war right now would have been reprehensible. The dying had to stop.

And yeah, I figured Oz and NZ would be in on sending food to Japan if we had nullified food production, something we could have done for all practical purposes. The Japanese were already having their own Turnip Winter.

James W.
Ballina, Australia
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Posts: 674

Re: Okinawa and the A Bomb
Posted on: 3/18/2017 1:22:22 AM

Quote:

Quote:
It wasn't dropped on Hirohito's palace - was it, Jim?

It was dropped on two carefully conserved/undamaged cities - to ensure best research outcomes...
--James W.

True, they did want to be able to gauge the effects of the bombs without prior damage to the sites. However, both cities were the military headquarters for their prefects and produced military equipment for the war effort, including the special torpedoes that cause so much damage at Pearl Harbor. It's good to remember that one of the bombs went off almost directly over 5,000 soldiers lined up for morning inspection. Implying that research was the only reason for dropping the bombs there is rather a red herring.
--OpanaPointer


No red herring, no doubt that the bombs were 'legal' in terms of 'Rules of War' either, nor is there any question that this was the dawn of a new era..
& therefore impact/outcome data collection was variable controlled as much as was feasible - not that there was anything wrong with that, IMO...

James W.
Ballina, Australia
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Posts: 674

Re: Okinawa and the A Bomb
Posted on: 3/18/2017 1:38:15 AM

Quote:



The Truman Library has the documents concerning the development and use of the bomb online. Going through them I found no serious mention of radiation or "fall out" as a force multiplier for the bombs. To the people that had to make the use/no use decision they were just big fire/explosive bombs. The pictures of Oppenheimer and Groves standing at ground zero of the Trinity test further points out that we didn't think that way. Cold War retrofitting of attitudes would have us believe otherwise, of course.

--OpanaPointer


O-P, of course those nuclear physicists had calculated the output of the bombs, in blast, heat & radiology quantum values..

They'd set up comprehensive data measurement suites at White Sands-Trinity, but obviously, actual human responses to the 'spooky' effects - were yet to be determined..
You can have your photo op at Trinity site nowadays too, if you are keen..

British nuke tests in Australia included military items such as tanks & planes..
Yet the Centurion tank under test later fought in the 'Nam, & a Mustang fighter turned out to be a valuable 'warbird' which was duly recovered/restored too..

anemone
DONCASTER S. YORKS, UK
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Re: Okinawa and the A Bomb
Posted on: 3/18/2017 5:29:16 AM
Many historians now say the atomic attacks did not lead to Japan's surrender, but it was the Soviet declaration of war on Japan two days later which was a huch bigger problem. It put an end to any hope of the Soviets negotiating a "favourable" surrender for the Japanese.Here I must say the Japanese were delusional

Regards

Jim
---------------
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James W.
Ballina, Australia
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Posts: 674

Re: Okinawa and the A Bomb
Posted on: 3/18/2017 6:22:18 AM

Quote:
Many historians now say the atomic attacks did not lead to Japan's surrender, but it was the Soviet declaration of war on Japan two days later which was a huch bigger problem. It put an end to any hope of the Soviets negotiating a "favourable" surrender for the Japanese.Here I must say the Japanese were delusional

Regards

Jim

--anemone


Frankly Jim, Pearl Harbor December 7th `41 was evidence enough of that..

BWilson

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Posts: 3084

Re: Okinawa and the A Bomb
Posted on: 3/18/2017 6:48:39 AM

Quote:
Many historians now say the atomic attacks did not lead to Japan's surrender, but it was the Soviet declaration of war on Japan two days later which was a huch bigger problem. It put an end to any hope of the Soviets negotiating a "favourable" surrender for the Japanese.Here I must say the Japanese were delusional

Regards

Jim

--anemone


 As well as any revisionists claiming such was the case.

Cheers

BW
---------------
With occasional, fatigued glances at life's rear-view mirror from the other side of time.

Society's righteous paranoia lows profoundly. -- random wisdom of a computer

James W.
Ballina, Australia
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Posts: 674

Re: Okinawa and the A Bomb
Posted on: 3/18/2017 6:51:37 AM
Certainly Stalin already knew all about the bomb, & contrary to his usual Commie 'party line' cynicism, &/or 'poker face', he virtually smirked about it at Potsdam...

anemone
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Re: Okinawa and the A Bomb
Posted on: 3/18/2017 6:52:42 AM
Indeed so James-it was an inexplicable mindset that made them attack the US of A and caused a holocaust.

Regards

Jim
---------------
Pro Patria Saepe Pro Rege Semper

Emanon
Gibsonia, PA, USA
New User
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Posts: 14

Re: Okinawa and the A Bomb
Posted on: 3/19/2017 4:50:50 AM

Quote:

Quote:
Yes -I have to admit in indulging in a little cryetal ball gazing;but my original premise of 1) ending the war and 2) without further damaging Japan
is close surely.No -I was not aware that neither the President nor his Vice President were kept in the dark vis a vis the Manhattan Project.

Regards

Jim
--anemone

Truman promised the Japanese a "rain of ruin" before the bombs were dropped. Until they surrendered that was the plan.

The VP was kept in the dark because, as demonstrated, he might not be the VP during the next term. Henry A. Wallace wasn't entirely happy about be replaced on the ballot by Truman. FDR was briefed regularly.
--OpanaPointer

The USA had a third atomic bomb almost ready to go and was capable of dropping it as early as August 19, 1945, if the order had been given by Truman. Truman decided to pause after the first two bombs and see what happened.

The USA was gearing up to produce an atomic bomb every ten days for the rest of the war, starting in early September.

The source document for this is here:

http://nsarchive.gwu.edu/nukevault/ebb525-The-Atomic-Bomb-and-the-End-of-World-War-II/documents/087.pdf

It is a transcription of a phone conversation between two aides to General Groves and General Marshall, respectively. Groves was in charge on the atomic bomb project and Marshall was the Chief of Staff. The conversation took place on August 13, 1945, after the two A-bombs were dropped but before Japan surrendered on August 15.

The phrase "every ten days" is a direct quote from page 2.

They were also thinking about using them tactically during an invasion, as noted in other posts.

A "rain of ruin" is a considerable understatement for what would have happened if the war had continued for several more months.

BWilson

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Posts: 3084

Re: Okinawa and the A Bomb
Posted on: 3/19/2017 5:07:36 AM
 Great comment Emanon, very informative.

Cheers

BW
---------------
With occasional, fatigued glances at life's rear-view mirror from the other side of time.

Society's righteous paranoia lows profoundly. -- random wisdom of a computer

 (1939-1945) WWII Battles    
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