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Sunday, May 29, 2016

Quotes on Hiroshima and Nagasaki

The Japanese had, in fact, already sued for peace. The atomic bomb played no decisive part, from a purely military point of view, in the defeat of Japan.
— Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, Commander in Chief of the U.S. Pacific Fleet

The use of [the atomic bombs] at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of no material assistance in our war against Japan. The Japanese were already defeated and ready to surrender because of the effective sea blockade and the successful bombing with conventional weapons ... The lethal possibilities of atomic warfare in the future are frightening. My own feeling was that in being the first to use it, we had adopted an ethical standard common to the barbarians of the Dark Ages. I was not taught to make war in that fashion, and wars cannot be won by destroying women and children.
— Fleet Admiral William D. Leahy, Chief of Staff to President Truman, 1950

LeMay: The war would have been over in two weeks without the Russians entering and without the atomic bomb.
The Press: You mean that, sir? Without the Russians and the atomic bomb?  . . .
LeMay: The atomic bomb had nothing to do with the end of the war at all.
— Major General Curtis LeMay, XXI Bomber Command, September 1945

The first atomic bomb was an unnecessary experiment ... It was a mistake to ever drop it ... [the scientists] had this toy and they wanted to try it out, so they dropped it
— Fleet Admiral William Halsey, Jr. 1946

"...when we didn't need to do it, and we knew we didn't need to do it, and they knew that we knew we didn't need to do it, we used them as an experiment for two atomic bombs."
- Brigadier General Carter Clarke, the military intelligence officer in charge of preparing intercepted Japanese cables - the MAGIC summaries - for Truman and his advisors, quoted in Gar Alperovitz, The Decision To Use the Atomic Bomb, pg. 359.

"...it definitely seemed to me that the Japanese were becoming weaker and weaker. They were surrounded by the Navy. They couldn't get any imports and they couldn't export anything. Naturally, as time went on and the war developed in our favor it was quite logical to hope and expect that with the proper kind of a warning the Japanese would then be in a position to make peace, which would have made it unnecessary for us to drop the bomb and have had to bring Russia in...". (quoted in Len Giovannitti and Fred Freed, The Decision To Drop the Bomb, pg. 144-145, 324.)
- Ralph Bard, Undersecretary of the Navy

Bard also asserted, "I think that the Japanese were ready for peace, and they already had approached the Russians and, I think, the Swiss. And that suggestion of [giving] a warning [of the atomic bomb] was a face-saving proposition for them, and one that they could have readily accepted." He continued, "In my opinion, the Japanese war was really won before we ever used the atom bomb. Thus, it wouldn't have been necessary for us to disclose our nuclear position and stimulate the Russians to develop the same thing much more rapidly than they would have if we had not dropped the bomb."
War Was Really Won Before We Used A-Bomb, U.S. News and World Report, 8/15/60, pg. 73-75.
- Ralph Bard, Undersecretary of the Navy

Lewis Strauss, Special Assistant to the Sec. of the Navy, recalled a recommendation he gave to Sec. of the Navy James Forrestal before the atomic bombing of Hiroshima:
"I proposed to Secretary Forrestal that the weapon should be demonstrated before it was used. Primarily it was because it was clear to a number of people, myself among them, that the war was very nearly over. The Japanese were nearly ready to capitulate... My proposal to the Secretary was that the weapon should be demonstrated over some area accessible to Japanese observers and where its effects would be dramatic. I remember suggesting that a satisfactory place for such a demonstration would be a large forest of cryptomeria trees not far from Tokyo. The cryptomeria tree is the Japanese version of our redwood... I anticipated that a bomb detonated at a suitable height above such a forest... would lay the trees out in windrows from the center of the explosion in all directions as though they were matchsticks, and, of course, set them afire in the center. It seemed to me that a demonstration of this sort would prove to the Japanese that we could destroy any of their cities at will... Secretary Forrestal agreed wholeheartedly with the recommendation..."
Strauss added, "It seemed to me that such a weapon was not necessary to bring the war to a successful conclusion, that once used it would find its way into the armaments of the world...".
- Lewis Strauss, Undersecretary of the Navy, quoted in Len Giovannitti and Fred Freed, The Decision To Drop the Bomb, pg. 145, 325.

"While I was working on the new plan of air attack... [I] concluded that even without the atomic bomb, Japan was likely to surrender in a matter of months. My own view was that Japan would capitulate by November 1945...."Even without the attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, it seemed highly unlikely, given what we found to have been the mood of the Japanese government, that a U.S. invasion of the islands [scheduled for November 1, 1945] would have been necessary."
-Paul Nitze, Vice Chairman, U.S. Strategic Bombing SurveyFrom Hiroshima to Glasnost, pg. 36-37

In 1945 Secretary of War Stimson, visiting my headquarters in Germany, informed me that our government was preparing to drop an atomic bomb on Japan. I was one of those who felt that there were a number of cogent reasons to question the wisdom of such an act. During his recitation of the relevant facts, I had been conscious of a feeling of depression and so I voiced to him my grave misgivings, first on the basis of my belief that Japan was already defeated and that dropping the bomb was completely unnecessary, and secondly because I thought that our country should avoid shocking world opinion by the use of a weapon whose employment was, I thought, no longer mandatory as a measure to save American lives
- Dwight D Eisenhower

In a Newsweek interview, Eisenhower again recalled the meeting with Stimson:  "...the Japanese were ready to surrender and it wasn't necessary to hit them with that awful thing."
- Ike on Ike, Newsweek, 11/11/63

Based on a detailed investigation of all the facts, and supported by the testimony of the surviving Japanese leaders involved, it is the Survey's opinion that certainly prior to 31 December 1945, and in all probability prior to 1 November 1945, Japan would have surrendered even if the atomic bombs had not been dropped, even if Russia had not entered the war, and even if no invasion had been planned or contemplated.
- 1946 United States Strategic Bombing Survey

The President in giving his approval for these [atomic] attacks appeared to believe that many thousands of American troops would be killed in invading Japan, and in this he was entirely correct; but King felt, as he had pointed out many times, that the dilemma was an unnecessary one, for had we been willing to wait, the effective naval blockade would, in the course of time, have starved the Japanese into submission through lack of oil, rice, medicines, and other essential materials. (See p. 327, Chapter 26 of King's "third person" autobiography)
 - General Ernest J. King, commander in chief of the U.S. Fleet and chief of Naval Operations

Early critics of the bombings included Albert EinsteinEugene Wigner and Leó Szilárd, who had together spurred the first bomb research in 1939 with a jointly written letter to President Roosevelt. Szilárd, who had gone on to play a major role in the Manhattan Project, argued:
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, and then having run out of bombs she would have lost the war. Can anyone doubt that we would then have defined the dropping of atomic bombs on cities as a war crime, and that we would have sentenced the Germans who were guilty of this crime to death at Nuremberg and hanged them?
On August 8, 1945, after the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, Herbert Hoover wrote to Army and Navy Journal publisher Colonel John Callan O'Laughlin, "The use of the atomic bomb, with its indiscriminate killing of women and children, revolts my soul."

Norman Cousins was a consultant to General MacArthur during the American occupation of Japan. Cousins writes of his conversations with MacArthur, "MacArthur's views about the decision to drop the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki were starkly different from what the general public supposed." He continues, "When I asked General MacArthur about the decision to drop the bomb, I was surprised to learn he had not even been consulted. What, I asked, would his advice have been? He replied that he saw no military justification for the dropping of the bomb. The war might have ended weeks earlier, he said, if the United States had agreed, as it later did anyway, to the retention of the institution of the emperor."

John McCloy, Assistant Sec. of War: "I have always felt that if, in our ultimatum to the Japanese government issued from Potsdam [in July 1945], we had referred to the retention of the emperor as a constitutional monarch and had made some reference to the reasonable accessibility of raw materials to the future Japanese government, it would have been accepted. Indeed, I believe that even in the form it was delivered, there was some disposition on the part of the Japanese to give it favorable consideration. When the war was over I arrived at this conclusion after talking with a number of Japanese officials who had been closely associated with the decision of the then Japanese government, to reject the ultimatum, as it was presented. I believe we missed the opportunity of effecting a Japanese surrender, completely satisfactory to us, without the necessity of dropping the bombs."

The Japanese position was hopeless even before the first atomic bomb fell, because the Japanese had lost control of their own air....When the question comes up of whether we use the atomic bomb or not, my view is that the Air Force will not oppose the use of the bomb, and they will deliver it effectively if the Commander in Chief decides to use it. But it is not necessary to use it in order to conquer the Japanese without the necessity of a land invasion.
-Henry H. "Hap" Arnold. commanding general of the U.S. Army Air Forces

Arnold's view was that it [the dropping of the atomic bomb] was unnecessary. He said that he knew the Japanese wanted peace. There were political implications in the decision and Arnold did not feel it was the military's job to question it.
-Lieutenant General Ira C. Eaker, General Arnold's secretary

Air Force General Claire Chennault, the founder of the American Volunteer Group (the famed "Flying Tigers")--and Army Air Forces commander in China--was even more blunt: A few days after Hiroshima was bombed The New York Times reported Chennault's view that: "Russia's entry into the Japanese war was the decisive factor in speeding its end and would have been so even if no atomic bombs had been dropped. . . ." (See pp. 335-336, Chapter 27)

[General Douglas] MacArthur once spoke to me very eloquently about it, pacing the floor of his apartment in the Waldorf. He thought it a tragedy that the Bomb was ever exploded. MacArthur believed that the same restrictions ought to apply to atomic weapons as to conventional weapons, that the military objective should always be limited damage to noncombatants. . . . MacArthur, you see, was a soldier. He believed in using force only against military targets, and that is why the nuclear thing turned him off. . . .
- President Richard M. Nixon, recounting a meeting with General Douglas MacArthur

General MacArthur definitely is appalled and depressed by this Frankenstein monster [the bomb]. I had a long talk with him today, necessitated by the impending trip to Okinawa. . . .
- Weldon E. Rhoades. MacArthur's pilot

Obviously . . . the atomic bomb neither induced the Emperor's decision to surrender nor had any effect on the ultimate outcome of the war.
- Brigadier General Bonner Fellers, in charge of psychological warfare on MacArthur's wartime staff and subsequently MacArthur's military secretary in Tokyo

"General Marshall was right when he said you must not ask me to declare that a surprise nuclear attack on Japan is a military necessity. It is not a military problem."
- Assistant Secretary of War John J. McCloy

“Every act of war directed to the indiscriminate destruction of whole cities or vast areas with their inhabitants is a crime against God and man, which merits firm and unequivocal condemnation.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, #2314)

CONCLUSION: FDR and Truman, both Democrats, committed crimes against humanity by deliberately targeting civilians. FDR was compounding his crime of interning Japanese-Americans without benefit of trial, taking their land and years of their lives without just compensation.

"The dropping of the atomic bomb was done by a military man under military orders. We're supposed to carry out orders and not question them....If we were to go ahead with the plans for a conventional invasion with ground and naval forces, I believe the Japanese thought that they could inflict very heavy casualties on us and possibly as a result get better surrender terms. On the other hand if they knew or were told that no invasion would take place [and] that bombing would continue until the surrender, why I think the surrender would have taken place just about the same time." (Herbert Feis Papers, Box 103, N.B.C. Interviews, Carl Spaatz interview by Len Giovannitti, Library of Congress)."
- General Carter "Tooey" Spaatz

It is worth noting that General Spaatz' defense of his own actions is precisely identical to the Nazi defense at Nuremburg, "We were just following orders."

In a 1965 Air Force oral history interview Spaatz stressed: "That was purely a political decision, it wasn't a military decision. The military man carries out the order of his political bosses."

1 comment:

c said...

We will have to explain to our grandchildren why there was a taboo on killing women and children. How quaint! After all, motherhood is so "yesterday"! (it's a wonder we even HAVE grandchildren) Women are now part of the war machine and will soon register for the draft.