I’m always confused by people who take the position that we should not have dropped the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945.
I don’t think it’s something that should exactly be celebrated, but I think it was absolutely the right and proper decision.
Like the recent Wall Street bailout, the dropping of the bombs was a necessary evil. Not something to be cheered, but something that had to be done because the alternative of not doing it would have been just disastrously bad.
I’d bet this blog’s readership is a major exception, but very few people know that, in August 1945, the United States was ramping up for the planned invasion of the Japanese home islands. Major elements of the forces that had defeated Hitler, including the entire 8th Air Force, were being rerouted to the Pacific theater for the effort.
I first learned about Operations Olympic and Coronet as a kid, playing the 1946 expansion pack for the flight sim Aces of the Pacific.
I’ve known since then that estimates called for as many as a million U.S. casualties. A horrific toll that by itself justified the use of atomic weapons.
In the years since, I’ve come to firmly believe that the atomic bomb probably saved tens of millions of more lives by deterring what would have otherwise been an almost inevitable war with the Soviet Union in Europe.
Today, my grandfather sent along a remarkable PDF detailing exactly what the U.S. would have faced in an invasion of Japan. It contains details of which I was unfamiliar, especially regarding the potency of Japan’s defensive planning. If you have any interest in the history of the war and what might have been, it’s a must read.