On the atom bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, I do not believe anyone thins this was OK. The people who died there deserve to be remembered and are remembered by some. The dropping of the bomb is not just a black and white case of good versus evil. A valid case can be made for dropping the bomb and can also be made for not dropping it.
The thing which President Truman and the U.S. government had to deal with was how to bring the war to a rapid close with the minimum loss of lives. Of course, in war, TrumaN was primarily concerned with American lives than with Japanese lives but I am sure he wanted to minimize Japanese deaths as well.
Germany and Italy had been defeated and Japan stood alone against the might of the U.S.A. and England and their allies and the Soviet Union, who had been neutral as regards Japan was now about to enter the war against Japan. Just imagine, a war weary and drained Japanese nation fighting the USA, USSR and England all combined. The Japanese doctrine of Bushido, I believe it is called, forbid surrender. I don't know about you, but I would not want to see the whole Japanese nation and culture totally wiped off the map. That are a great people and quite spiritual and have contributed very heavily to Earth's culture and heritage.
An invasion of the the Japanese homeland by US Forces would have been a total bloodbath for both sides and the Japanese would not have surrendered.
Estimates were the the US Troops would suffer 500,000 dead in the invasion and the Japanese would have suffered 1,500,000 deaths, must of whom would have been civilians. After our troops had permanently landed, more deaths would have occurred in a bloodbath of gorilla fighting which may have lasted for years.
The dropping of the bombs killed about 85,000 each plus more radiation related deaths and ilnesses. This is a horrible event on planet Earth, something to really be passionately sorry about. Yet, it is not pure evil and hypocrisy as some think. Millions of Japanese lives plus a half million American lives were saved and perhaps the entire Japanese culture and nation was saved by these bombings.
One thing I think Truman could have and should have done is to notify the Japanese government of the new A bomb weapon which we had and to arrange a demonstration bombing on an uninhabited island where Japanese leaders could see the massive destructive power of the A bomb. If they still refused to surrender, then Truman had done all he could to alert them and he would have been absolved of mass murder but he chose not to do this. Truman was the guy who said, "The buck stops here'" He made his decision and never looked back. It is not so much the actual dropping of the bomb which he must be held to account for but a case can be made for holding him to account for not demonstrating the power of the bomb to the Japanese before using it.
I actually have to respectfully disagree with you. The idea of the casualties is not what was discussed at the highest levels. That was the PR after the fact.
If we thought the Japanese would never surrender, then why did we claim that the Japanese would surrender as a result of the bomb? Keep in mind that the Japanese had offered to surrender before the battle of Okinawa but Truman refused.
Truman knew that the Soviets agreed at Yalta to enter the war on August
9th (three months to the day after the surrender of Germany).
The American military assessment was that when the Soviets entered the war Japan would surrender.
Truman wanted an unconditional surrender before the Soviets entered the war. He rushed the bomb tests. The Soviet role in the defeat of Germany was already being downplayed by the Truman Administration. To attribute the surrender of Japan to the Soviets declaration of war was unthinkable.
Some military and the Navy leaders said the bomb was unnecessary. But Truman, listenening to the advice of James Byrne, wanted to drop the bomb in order to intimdate Stalin.
When Stalin's people warned him about the bomb, he replied, "Atomic bombs are meant to frighten people. We are not frightened."
Japan had offered to surrender long before the bombs were ready (and they didn't know about the bombs). Truman refused to accept the surrender.
This was before Okinawa, and one can argue that the Kamikazees came into existence after the U.S. refused to accept the Japanese surrender. I don't know what is in the Japanese archives about this, but I would like to know.
The later claim about the casualties being the reason for the bomb was justified by the high number of U.S. casualties by Kamikazees at Okinawa.
It could have all been avoided if Truman had accepted the surrender. Okinawa was the battle in World War II with the highest number of American casualties.
It could have been avoided. But Truman said he wanted an unconditional surrender. The Japanese only wanted one condition--to keep their emperor. Truman said no.
He later said, after dropping two atomic bombs, that the Japanese could keep their Emperor.
One still can argue that Truman had to make a tough decision, and can argue the extenuating circumstances. But that is for the first bomb.
There is absolutely no excuse for the second bomb. No justification whatsoever. In fact, the second bomb killed more American soldiers than Japanese soldiers. (There was an American POW camp near Nagasaki as I understand it.)
What scares me about Truman is he later said that once he decided to drop the bombs he never again given it a second thought. All those people he killed and he never gave it a second thought. He was a bad man.
I have talked to Russians who with the same view of their country defend Stalin's attrocities.
In my opinion Truman was wrong and as cold blooded a killer as Stalin. Truman was simply more efficent at killing than Stalin.
The Anabaptist Jacques