Our discussion over when, in wartime, is it moral to kill enemy combatants, got me to thinking about the atom bombs dropped on civilian populations of Japan.
Prior to dropping these, hundreds of thousands of Japanese civilians had already been killed by allied bombing. Japan still would not surrender. We must remember, this was NOT in an era of laser-guided bombs of pinpoint accuracy. Many of the targets were military or industrial, but adjacent civilian areas. Against this backdrop, a mere month before, Truman got word the bombs were ready.
He had at least 4 options, detailed here:
Of Truman's options, Option #3 should have been tried first - maybe even twice (they only initially had two bombs to use). And if that did not work, they could have warned of an imminent drop in a given city with ample time for it to be be evacuated. Of course, that doesn't mitigate the issues surrounding radiation or mass displacement of people. But one wonders, after hundreds of thousands of civilian deaths, and still no surrender, short of invasion, it's unclear what would have forced a surrender, given the leaderships ethic of death before dishonor. An invasion would have killed more people. In fact, to understand Japan's fanaticism, in 1944 Emperor Hirohito sent out the first imperial order encouraging all Japanese civilians to commit suicide rather than be taken prisoner. So, the empire's leadership was ready for it's armed services to fight to the last man dropped.
All of the backdrop above said, I think that first trying to demonstrate the bomb on a remote, uninhabited place was the moral choice. But make no mistake, whether killed by conventional weaponry (guns, artillery, aerial bombardment) or atomic weapons, (and particularly a land invasion) just as many would likely have been killed, and more counting both sides. Before unleashing such a horror on a civilian population, one would think that every other possible strategy would have been tried, short of invasion.
Basically, the atomic cat was getting ready to jump out of the proverbial bag so to speak.
Germany, Japan, and Russia were pursing the bomb but the USA was able to make it first.
No one knew what it would do until it was tested in New Mexico.
If Germany or Japan or Russia got the bomb first would we even be having this conversation? Probably not, as we would never have been born.
War is inhuman and WW 2 Japan and Germany were indeed very genocidal and racist and both sought world domination. The USSR was seeking world domination as well. These countries hated the west. Japanese soldiers were the most inhumane - just google search the - Rape of Nan King - fall of Hong Kong and nurses - Bataan death March and prison camps. How they treated the Burmese civilians. They were ready to massacre many POW's and did before the end of WW2.
The people were brainwashed to think in a group think fashion and for many - death was lighter than a feather... look that one up too.
The issue was the USSR and them getting the bomb before the USA or letting them know we had it first and ready for use. Germany surrendered and thus freeing up USSR forces to invade and take over parts of China which they did as they pused the Japanese back. Question: How do you stop the Russians form taking territory and them never leaving it after the war ended?
Answer drop the bomb ...
Moral or immoral is a mute point - not even part of the equation. The US could have not dropped it and fire bombed the rest of Japanese cities and the USSR invade the northern part of Japan and the west the southern part. How do you get the Russian to leave once millions of more Japanese civilians, soldiers, and allied soldiers and would be lost and the economic cost to each country weighed in too.
Dropping the atomic bomb was cheaper, it stopped the USSR for a bit to be less aggressive, in the longer run, would cost less lives than another year of fighting. Peace overtures to Japan were all turned down. Japanese fought to the last man and were suicidal foes fearing no death to kill as many allied personal as they could.
Yes we bombed with conventional bombs the oil reserves Japan had but they would still fight. Japanese Women and children were being groomed and taught how to kill with bamboo poles as spears or blow themselves up terrorist style.
Actually there was no choice - the bomb had to be dropped to save lives and deter the Soviets till they got the bomb.
War is Hell - without mercy. Vile and cruel. Germany began WW2 and Japan joined Germany and bomb Pearl Harbor first. War was thrust upon the USA which was largely pacifist and anti war at that time. This angered the US of A population and 'unleash a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve,' as quoted form the movie Tora Tora Tora... points out
Now, thanks to the leftist cultural Marxist ie militant progressives: North Korea and Iran have Nukes and the world is a very unsafe place once again by their PC hate of America and selling out to appease the tyrants of the world today....