What amuses me far less is the implication (possibly – hopefully – imagined) that I’m somehow indifferent to the sufferings of innocents. At no point have I arguedd that the Bomb was not a sad, ugly or evil thing. Only that it was a necessary thing.
But, undeniably, most of us talk about the drop with an objective shrug. It was long before our time so how could we help that?
Yet, I do feel conflicted, because I'm not absolutely certain that it WAS the "necessary" thing. At least in terms of dropping it on populated cities, over thousands and thousands of innocent people, including children.
Still, you're right about Ketsugo. And, prior between 1944 and 1945 bombing raids were ongoing, culminating in, as I read here, "'The Operation Meetinghouse' the March Bombing of Tokyo leading to 80,000–100,000 casualties and destroying 16 square miles of the city with 267,000 buildings–the deadliest of the war."
So, massive death tolls in populated cities were nothing new by the time our infamous date came round.
Now, a few years ago, after reading Eisenhower's argument, I briefly took the position that, ultimately, Fat Man and Little Boy weren't necessary. THEN, soon after, I learned more, as I wrote here earlier, about the terrible brainwashing job the Japanese Imperial government had done on their civilians. One word from the emperor, and mass suicide was an acceptable option to the disgrace of surrender.
This alone complicated the question.
At the end of the day, it comes down to who you want to believe. Truman or Eisenhower. We know the drop had the desired effect, and if there WAS another workable solution we’ll never know.
This, on the Potsdam Ultimatum:
“On 26 July, Allied leaders issued the Potsdam Declaration outlining terms of surrender for Japan. It was presented as an ultimatum and stated that without a surrender, the Allies would attack Japan, resulting in "the inevitable and complete destruction of the Japanese armed forces and just as inevitably the utter devastation of the Japanese homeland". The atomic bomb was not mentioned in the communiqué. On 28 July Japanese papers reported that the declaration had been rejected by the Japanese government. That afternoon, Prime Minister Kantarō Suzuki declared at a press conference that the Potsdam Declaration was no more than a rehash (yakinaoshi) of the Cairo Declaration and that the government intended to ignore it (mokusatsu, "kill by silence"). The statement was taken by both Japanese and foreign papers as a clear rejection of the declaration. Emperor Hirohito, who was waiting for a Soviet reply to non-committal Japanese peace feelers, made no move to change the government position.”
It can’t be denied, the Japanese Imperial government was made up of arrogant pricks, who placed less worth on civilian lives than on pride. The racist massacres they’d previously brought on the Chinese – not to mention their disgusting, murderous treatment of pows during the war – supports all that.
It was, indeed, a very complicated situation.
With that, I leave you with Oliver Stone.