Midnight Oil

[Powderworks] August 6, 1945

Jeff and Jane Scott jscott@iinet.net.au
Fri, 09 Aug 2002 09:39:16 +0800

Since I started this whole debate, I guess I should give my $0.02.

The dropping of the bomb at Hiroshima is a terrible part of the world's 
history.  However, I do appreciate the logic that it helped avoid a full 
scale land invasion and the many casualties that would have created, and 
that it was chosen as the lesser of two evils.  Given the choice between a 
one off event that ends the conflict or a drawn out campaign with great 
losses on both sides, I'd probably favour the bomb.

The argument that Japan was all but defeated already, and that a US victory 
was inevitable anyway has some merit, but I doubt that it would have been 
an easy obtained victory, and it certainly would have resulted in more 
casualties overall.

It's important to recognise that the psychology of the Japanese was one of 
never surrendering.  If Japan had been invaded in a conventional manner, I 
believe the war would have gone on a long time, as the Japanese would not 
have given in even when the situation was clearly hopeless.  Even with an 
atomic bomb destroying an entire city, it still took a week and a second 
bomb before they surrendered.  Their belief in their own superiority and 
invincibility was so strong that it took an awesome display of power to 
break it and force the surrender.  A conventional invasion would never have 
had that psychological effect, and they would have continued to believe 
they were not beaten until virtually the last man.

In drawing attention to the anniversary of Hiroshima, it's not my intention 
to kick the USA for doing such a terrible thing.  I believe it's a day that 
should never be forgotten, because it demonstrates just what humanity as a 
whole is capable of doing to itself.  It's irrelevant which country it 
happened to be at the time - we need to remember what happened so that we 
remember that we are capable of inflicting mass destruction on each other 
in certain circumstances.

"It's the price of peace to remember that day"