The Japanese had, in fact, already sued for peace...
^^ Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz
Nimitz was speaking in ignorance of the content of the Japanese "peace feeler", which would not be disseminated until much later. The Japanese set four conditions:
1) Japan to retain all pre-war territories; that is, Manchuria, Korea, Taiwan, and parts of China as well as Micronesia, the Ryukyus, and the Kuriles (we eventually did let them have the Ryukyus back)
2) Japan to retain its political system; that is, the unquestionably divine Emperor and the dominance of the military over the civilian
3) No disarmament, Japanese troops to surrender their arms to their own officers, not to any foreigners
4) No reparation payments-- this one we were agreeable to, the Versailles experiment having shown how silly it was to expected the defeated to pay. But the rest amounted to a request not for a permanent peace, but for a respite so that Japan could rebuild its strength and start anew; this was an insanely absurd position to be taking under the circumstances.
Other people who disagreed with the view that strategic nuclear bombing was needed
Of course it was a debatable decision. Aside from the military figures you cited, many of the physicists involved in the project were torn. One proposal was blowing off the top of Mt. Fuji, as a symbolic demonstration of the power of the weapon without the human cost. I would certainly not take the position that it was unquestionably right; I just find your position that it was unquestionably wrong to be ignoring the ugliness of the war and how horrible it would have been to let it continue.
Also, the reason why they didn't surrender sooner was because the US was demanding an unconditional surrender with the threat of putting the Japenese emperor on trial for war crimes.
We never made such a threat; the Japanese perceived such a threat because, of course, the emperor WAS a criminal. None of that massive killing would have taken place without his acquiescence. The point is, that the decision as to how best to handle him was ours, just like the decision about everything; they had no right to be demanding any kind of conditions at all.
in the end MacArthur himself got the emperor off the hook by reminding his superiors that since he was a religious figure, his presence was neccessary for a stable Japanese society.
His religious role was precisely what had to be abolished. MacArthur made sure to publish pictures of his first meeting with Hirohito showing poses that made quite plain who was master and who was subordinate. MacArthur certainly thought Hirohito's trial and execution would have been disastrously counter-productive-- the point is, it was entirely up to him.
Yes, the Japanese were out of everything needed to continue the war, including daily food rations and, by the way, ammunition, which doesn't grow on trees. Yet, you believe they still (somehow magically) had the "capacity to kill millions？？
I'd like you to tell the soldiers who had to fight for every square inch of Okinawa how the Japanese had no ammo to shoot, there at the end. You could ask my dad's cousin Tom, except that he didn't come back.
And of course, we were hoping to get the remaining prisoners out alive: the Japanese were killing them quite rapidly without any need to expend ammo.
I am not even interested in whether or not the nuke was neccessary. I believe it was wrong ON PRINCIPLE.
Then you believe that, ON PRINCIPLE, the war should have been allowed to go on and on.
Here are the words of Einstein on the issue:
"Let me say only this much to the moral issue involved: Suppose Germany had developed two bombs before we had any bombs. And suppose Germany had dropped one bomb, say, on Rochester and the other on Buffalo..."
The Germans and the Japanese started the whole thing. Of course they were responsible for all the deaths.
Did you know that Lemay (USAF's top commander) outrightly said to MacNamara that had the Americans lost the war, the American high command would have been successfully convicted of war crimes??
That's very odd, since Lemay (the model for Jack T. Ripper in Kubrick's Dr. Strangelove
) famously called for pre-emptive
nuclear strikes during the 1968 campaign. In any case, the position is downright silly: if the Americans had lost the war, the Germans and Japanese would have killed anybody they felt like killing, without bothering to accuse anybody of "crimes".
Let me remind you that the US killed more than half a million Japanese civillians.
It is hard to get numbers on how many millions of civilians the Japanese killed, but it is certainly in double-digits.
It's a little hard to maintain a state of war when your entire country is levelled to the ground, which is basically the state Japan and Germany were in.
Yes, but they did so anyway. Again, I do not disagree with you that it was totally irrational
for them to continue fighting: in Japan's case, the outcome had never been in doubt since the battle of Midway. But rationality seemed to have nothing to do with it; that is why the atomic bomb question is difficult: how much was enough to persuade them to stop it? Not all of the Japanese military was ready to give up even after
the atomic bombs, attempting the unthinkable (an attack on the Imperial Palace) to prevent the surrender broadcast.
Actually yea, it does contradict that "fact" when the "large" areas where peace came were limited to Europe and Japan,
And you don't think continents are "large" apparently... But the Pax Americana
has been rather wider. South American countries, for example, used to fight border wars with each other routinely; but after those nasty Yanqui
imperialists shut down the Bolivia vs. Paraguay and Peru vs. Ecuador wars, there hasn't been another (a two-day set-to between Honduras and Salvador over a futbol
riot in 1969, in Central not South America but close enough, is the exception that proves the rule). And this despite the fact that the region is quite impoverished and had a lot of internal civil strife (undeniably the Yanquis
often made it worse), although civil strife, also, is disappearing there: Columbia and Venezuela are exceptions, but Bolivia and Peru were notorious for coups
and civil wars but nowadays just have raucous politics with nobody killed, and the politics of Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, and Uruguay are now fairly normal, in contrast with their ugly pasts.
The general tendency toward peace and prosperity in the world is not restricted to places where America has been a dominant influence, nor did the trend cease (far from it!) in 1945, rather the sphere of peace and prosperity has continued to expand. I was simply pointing to those cases where peace has been continuous since 1945 because such a lengthy peace, in any
substantial part of the world, has so few precedents in human history: you really do have to go back to the Pax Romana
or a few of the stabler dynasties in China.
Overview of the world: in 2000 the population crossed six billion, so I divide the world into six pieces; China had a billion; so did Islam; India did not (especially taking out the overlap with Islam) but put some of the east Asian countries with Hindu/Buddhist culture in with it to make a Greater India; the US plus the EU as it was in 2000 don't make a billion, but add in Japan and other quite westernized countries to The West; Africa below the Islamic north is well short of a billion, but add in the more impoverished parts of Latin America to make the Third World; the "Second World" is what's left, the old Soviet bloc, and developing countries around the Pacific including the less poor sections of Latin America.
There is destitution, that is, the kind of real poverty in which food, clothing, and shelter are often lacking, in much of the Third World and pockets of Islam and Greater India; but, although most people elsewhere (the majority even in the West) are in "money anxiety" where they don't feel secure of staying out of destitution and fret about small sums all the time, real destitution is a very small percentage of the population even in China and the Second World nowadays, let alone the West. About 20% of the world is destitute, and we can be dismayed that it isn't 0% given how much surplus wealth is wasted, but historically, 90% of the population was destitute; the way the Third World is now is how the whole planet used to be, until recent centuries. And historically, about 10% of the population was at any given time involved in warfare which historically was conducted in frankly genocidal fashion: this is not how things are anymore.
There is serious violence in the Third World: genocidal in its brutality in the Rwanda/Burundi/Congo region, and recently in Liberia/Sierra Leone and parts of Uganda (those are in remission, but could flare back up); the Colombia/Venezuela area I mentioned; Kenya, Zimbabwe, and Ivory Coast in Africa, and Central America as well, are not currently in civil strife but could easily go back to it (but note, even in Africa there are lots of countries like Gabon, say, or Togo or Cameroon, which have never had a war with a neighbor, nor any civil strife with large loss of life, since they were created-- even though they are quite poor). Outside of this, there are two pockets of civil strife currently in Greater India (Nepal and Thailand) and one which recently stopped but was so genocidal in its brutality that we have to fear a revival (Sri Lanka). And then (SIGH), there are the conflicts involving Islam, whose violence outnumbers and outweighs all the rest of the world combined (why is that?) You have a jaundiced point of view, because you live in Islam: but try to realize that civil war, or war against neighbors, has become unthinkable in fully half the planet (the West, China, the Second World), and contemplate how remarkable that is.