- June 26, 2002 at 12:00 am #11050
Americans talk so much these days about how all targeted killing of any civilians for any reason is terrorism. How do you view nuking Hiroshima and Nagasaki in light of that?
User Detail :Name : Karim, Gender : M, Age : 23, City : Los Angeles, State : CA Country : United States, Social class : Middle class, September 9, 2002 at 12:00 am #15924
Gerald Holton (Reflections on Modern Terrorism) defines terrorism as “a method of coercion of a population or its leadership or both through fear or traumatization.” He describes three different types of terrorism: Type I terrorism consists of acts by individuals or small groups that aim to impose terror on other individuals and groups, and through them indirectly on their governments. Type II terrorism is the imposition by a government on groups of local or foreign populations. Type III terrorism is carried out by a substantially larger group of individuals, often combinations of states and individual groups, and is aimed directly at a national population. Gordon places Hiroshima/Nagasaki in the Type II category, while he puts the 9/11 attacks in the new Type III category. He makes no judgment on whether one type of terrorism is better or worse than another, but I think most Americans view the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki as a necessary part of ending World War II. They would argue that we were in a declared war with Japan at the time and that it was a military operation designed to save U.S. lives and bring about the close of the war.
There are many books and articles that go into more detail on this subject, and you will find many people – including many Americans — who say the bombing was unnecessary and immoral. For what it’s worth, I don’t think any American would find such high levels of civilian deaths acceptable these days.
User Detail :Name : Mike20437, Gender : M, City : Greendale, State : WI Country : United States, September 9, 2002 at 12:00 am #18701
This should be a lesson to those who attack the United States, like at Pearl Harbor or the World Trade Center: we didn’t start these wars, but indeed we finished them. The United States is slow to anger, but we can be brutal in waging total war. Do you think Hitler would have hesitated to use the bomb if he had it? Or Tojo? We had it, we used it and saved the lives of millions of Japanese civilians and U.S. soldiers by not having to invade Japan (which we would have done). The losses at Okinawa and Saipan and Iwo Jima fortold fanatical resistance, but we were out for unconditional surrender, and got it.
By the way, more people died in the conventional firebombing of Tokyo than perished in the atomic attacks. Bin Laden and the Arabs, like the Japanese, made a fatal mistake by underestimating the resolve of the United States.
User Detail :Name : Chris H., Gender : M, Sexual Orientation : Straight, Race : White/Caucasian, Age : 44, City : kokomo, State : IN Country : United States, Education level : 4 Years of College, Social class : Middle class, September 9, 2002 at 12:00 am #19360
I see a distinct difference in today’s Middle East terroristic targeting of civilians based on religious fervor, hatred and land disputes vs. World War II. I don’t even bother reading articles on the latest bombings anymore, as it is obvious there is no solution to the misery in that part of the world. It will only end when they kill each other to extinction. If they had wanted peace, they would have had it by now.
Perhaps reading some world history will help explain why ending the Japanese domination (and the Nazi regime) was paramount. I found books on the Rape of Nanching and the Nuremberg Trials to be enlightening in that regard.
Also, pose your question to your grandparents or their peers who were cognizant of that era. I’m interested on their perspective.
User Detail :Name : Bill, Gender : M, City : n/a, State : NA Country : United States, September 9, 2002 at 12:00 am #20300
It was a war crime, similar to the Japanese massacres in China, but it convinced the Japanese to end the war. But what do old crimes have to do with modern ones? Is it justified to take any historic atrocity as an excuse for a modern crime? If yes, then how long are you allowed to go back to find an appropriate human catastrophy to justify the actual?
User Detail :Name : Alexander, Gender : M, City : Berlin, State : NA Country : Germany, September 9, 2002 at 12:00 am #24062
The atomic bombings at Hiroshima and Nagasaki were horrible events in history. However, there was a good reason behind them. By August 1945, Japan had lost the war (the war they started with a treaty-breaking sneak attack). Their resources and manpower were depleted, and their ally Germany had surrendered months before. However, they were unwilling to stop fighting, and U.S. lives were still being lost. It took those atomic bombings, a show of terrible force, to convince Japan to surrender,and bring an end to the war.
Hiroshima and Nagasaki ended a war that had brought suffering to many. Acts of terrorism are the opposite: they perpetuate and increase suffering.
User Detail :Name : DJ, Gender : M, Race : Black/African American, Age : 30, City : Charlotte, State : NC Country : United States, September 9, 2002 at 12:00 am #31939
Many Americans now look upon the atomic bombings as one of the most shameful things the United States ever did. Speaking as a historian, most of my profession now admits (and teaches in their classes) that the bombings were unnecessary, vengeful and done for reasons of racism and an unsuccessful attempt to intimidate the Soviet Union. But there are also still many Americans, particularly those who were brainwashed by World War II propaganda, who think the bombings were justified as revenge for Pearl Harbor. Pearl Harbor was such a direct attack on American and particularly white American notions of invincibility that it infuriated them to a level of hatred never unleashed before on any other ethnic group. (And that is saying quite a lot, given what’s happened to blacks, American Indians, etc, in this country.) They simply felt they HAD to have revenge and get their bloodlust sated by these bombings. Some will bring up the old lie that the bombings were done to ‘save a million American lives,’ but historians debunked that decades ago. Truman simply made the number up, (the real estimate was between 10,000 to 30,000) and all his generals (even Patton) thought both the bombs and an invasion were not needed to finish off Japan.
User Detail :Name : ACC25110, Gender : M, Race : Mexican and American Indian, City : Phoenix, State : AZ Country : United States, Occupation : Historian, Education level : Over 4 Years of College, September 9, 2002 at 12:00 am #33823
In World War II, military strategists calculated there would be more than a million additional deaths (military and civilian) if the war in the Pacific had not ended with the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. With a clear end to the war forseen, the attacks did indeed end the war.
User Detail :Name : Bill, Gender : M, City : n/a, State : NA Country : United States, September 9, 2002 at 12:00 am #33997
I am a history major and have taken particular interest in Japanese military history. The bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were not necessary in order for the Allies to win the war, but they were necessary to minimize casualties on both sides. In Okinawa, when U.S. soldiers hit the ground, massive numbers of Japanese civilians, including women hanging onto little children, heaved themselves over cliffs to avoid surrender. This stems from the Bushido culture, which revolves around the Shinto religion, which advocates ancestor worship – meaning that everything you do in this life affects the afterlife of all of your ancestors. So by committing an act of surrender, you not only doom yourself, you doom all of your ancestors for eternity. The United States dropped the atom bombs in order to prove as swiftly as possible that there was no way at that point that Japan could win. Germany and Italy had long since surrendered, so in effect it was Japan vs. the world. The sooner Japanese civilians recognized this, the more lives could be saved. Because these tragedies occurred to save lives, I don’t consider them terrorism. No one yet has given me sufficient argument to prove that the bombing of the World Trade Center was done to preserve life, so that constitutes terrorism (until someone explains to me otherwise, which I remain open to).
User Detail :Name : Jessica, Gender : F, Sexual Orientation : Bisexual, Race : White/Caucasian, Religion : Agnostic, Age : 23, City : Huntsville, State : TX Country : United States, Occupation : Student, Education level : 4 Years of College, Social class : Middle class, September 9, 2002 at 12:00 am #41512
The United States retaliated against Japan bombing Pearl Harbor. It was already a ‘declared’ war when U.S. personel were attacked. This does not make it right; it makes it different. I always considered history a ‘sucky’ subject, but if you take the time to learn about it and then associate it to the personal level of your day-to-day interactions, especially when you ‘think’ someone has done you wrong, you will begin to assimilate how intolerance breeds hate, creating conflict, unrest, retaliation or aggression. Stand up tall for what you believe in, but do not deny others the right to stand up for their beliefs.
User Detail :Name : Carol S., Gender : F, Sexual Orientation : Straight, Race : White/Caucasian, Age : 57, City : Mountain Home, State : AR Country : United States, Occupation : retired, September 9, 2002 at 12:00 am #42059
I’m no American, but this calls for an answer. When the United States nuked Japan, it was an attack on a country officially at war with the United States, in alliance with other countries at war with the United States. There was no declaration of war by the United States against Saudi Arabia (bin Laden’s home country), nor against all Muslim countries. Or, more generally still, against the Umma. Many Muslims live in the West, where they enjoy freedom to practice their religion. The supposed ‘war’ between the West, especially the United States, and the Umma (i.e. the community of Muslim believers) is a figment of Islamist imagination.
Furthermore, when the United States bombed Japan, there was an assumption of civilian support to the actions of the Japanese government, especially at Pearl Harbor. Carrying war into the populace to undermine support of militarist regimes was considered a legitimate means of warfare (see Dresden). Thus, from a historical perspective the United States’ actions are coherent. From a modern perspective they are ethically wrong. Also, the United States is not a totalitarian society but a democratic one. Much support to the U.S. government has been created by the Sept. 11 attacks.
Finally, what is the strategic goal behind the World Trade Center attack? Converting the infidels to Islam? We all know that isn’t the case. Besides, the Koran prohibits proselytizing. Wasn’t it instead killing as many as possible? In what way would that benefit the Umma? Has it? I don’t think so. The Sept. 11 attack has only reinforced the polarization of ‘Others vs. Umma,’ which is sad. Islam should embrace all aspects of its tradition, a diverse tradition open to life, learning and community. That calls for some self-criticism on behalf of modern Islamic societies, which fall short of their predecessors’ achievements. Instead, there is much pointing of fingers at the West. The easier way is to blame others instead of shouldering responsibility. The history of Hiroshima does not ‘rehabilitate’ the World Trade Center attack.
User Detail :Name : T27567, Gender : F, Religion : Atheist, Age : 33, City : Munich, State : NA Country : Germany, Education level : Over 4 Years of College, September 9, 2002 at 12:00 am #43025
World War II was a declared war, Japan was a known combatant and the Japanese government was given the chance to surrender unconditionally or suffer grave consequences. Remember that the United States was not in the war until Pearl Harbor was attacked.
User Detail :Name : Jared-W, Gender : M, Sexual Orientation : Straight, Race : Black/African American, Religion : Baptist, Age : 38, City : Navarre, State : FL Country : United States, Occupation : aircraft mechanic, Education level : 2 Years of College, Social class : Middle class, September 9, 2002 at 12:00 am #43636
The use of nuclear weapons on Japan was done in the context of a world war (formally declared) in which Japan instigated U.S. involvement through its surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, in which thousands of Americans were killed. Is it terrorism? On one level yes, as it convinced the Japanese to surrender, which they were not willing to do by any other means. However, in the context of declared war, I would not consider it terrorism. The Japan you know today was not the Imperial Japan of pre-World War II. Read up on the colonialist ambitions the Japanese had for the Pacific islands, Philippines, Southeast Asia and China.
What I consider terrorism is the following; Israeli soldiers and civilians indiscriminately killing Palestinians, including children; Islamic fundamentalists blowing themselves up in a crowded Jewish areas indiscriminately killing Jews, including children; U.S. weapons sold to Israel or any country to be used for the purpose of killing innocent civilians; oppressive regimes like the Taliban who rule through terror; militants who steal international aid for themselves, creating epidemic starvation and death; and ethnic, tribal and religious conflicts waged through genocide.
User Detail :Name : Misho20492, Gender : F, Race : White/Caucasian, Age : 36, City : Las Vegas, State : NV Country : United States, Occupation : Analyst, Education level : Over 4 Years of College, Social class : Middle class, September 9, 2002 at 12:00 am #45916
You’re not paying close enough attention. The U.S. policy not only specifies the targeting of civilians in its definition of terrorism, but also that it is committed by non-state organizations, in non-war situations. Unlike Israel and the Palestinians, Japan and the United States were two states actively at war. (The Palestininans have been unwilling to adopt the modern values necessary for them to have their own state and military, clinging instead to ineffective and backward ways like suicide bombings.) As the U.S. military began to defeat the Japanese in battle after battle, they found that the Japanese would not surrender (except when booby-trapping themselves with grenades like today’s suicide bombers), forcing the Americans to kill them. The best estimates that the United States had at the time showed that a full-scale land assault on Japan would cost more lives than using atomic weapons (not nuclear, as you inaccurately state). The decision was not made lightly. Remember, the Japanese could have avoided this fate by 1) not committing an unprovoked, atrocious attack on the United States, and 2) heeding the United States’ warnings about the new super weapon. Unfortunately, they did not choose either path. Instead, they kept fighting. Obviously, the United States would have preferred not to have been forced to kill civilians. The consensus was that it was an ugly, nasty, brutal job, but a job that had to be done, nevertheless. That was the thinking at the time, right or wrong. The result was horrible and should never be repeated. But even if Hiroshima and Nagasaki can be defined as terrorism, that would not excuse terrorism. Here’s an example: if a murderer makes the statement that murder is immoral and should never be committed, is he wrong? No. In that case the murderer would be absolutely correct.
User Detail :Name : Rick29940, Gender : M, Sexual Orientation : Straight, Race : White/Caucasian, Religion : Atheist, City : Springfield, State : OH Country : United States, Education level : Over 4 Years of College, Social class : Middle class, September 9, 2002 at 12:00 am #46426
Dropping the atomic bomb was a horrific and inexcusable action, but taken in the context of World War II, I’d consider it a war crime rather than an act of terrorism. It is worth remembering that at the time, the United States was not the powerful nation it is today – just large with a sizeable manufacturing base. Having said that, I do believe that as a war crime, the United States should be held accountable, just as we (selectively) demand other nations and states be held accountable. Unfortunately, our collective wisdom is not as great as our wealth and power.
User Detail :Name : Robin, Gender : F, Sexual Orientation : Straight, Race : White/Caucasian, Religion : Buddhist, Age : 41, City : Oak Harbor, State : WA Country : United States, Occupation : farmer, Education level : 4 Years of College, Social class : Middle class,
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