The White House indicated President Barack Obama may visit Hiroshima during his final visit to Japan next month. His spokesman said “Obama would like to see the world rid of nuclear weapons,” and ” ‘symbolically’ there’s probably ‘no more powerful illustration of that commitment than the city that contained the victims of the first use of that weapon.’ ”
Put simply, Barack Obama wants to apologize to Japan for America’s use of nuclear weapons to end World War II.
The truth is, America should NEVER apologize to Japan. We ended the war in the most humane manner possible, saving SIXTY TIMES the number of Japanese casualties that would have resulted from conventional warfare. Furthermore, casualties of war peaked in World War II. The deterrent value of nuclear weapons is incalculable, but it’s safe to say that during the second half of the 20th century, global wartime casualties would have been between 4 and 10 times greater without nuclear deterrence.
During the summer of 1945, Operation Downfall was the conventional alternative to using nuclear weapons. It involved the direct invasion of Japan, and comprised of two parts, Operations Olympic and Coronet, that would have resulted in Japanese casualties upwards of 20 million, as predicted by the Vice Chief of the Imperial Japanese Navy General Staff, Vice Admiral Takijir? ?nishi. This was based on the fact that there were 2.3 million Japanese Army troops prepared to defend the home islands, backed by a civilian militia of 28 million men and women, and the mindset at the time is that all would have fought to the death for their Emperor.
American predictions were somewhat less, estimating the invading Allies would suffer between 1.7 and 4 million casualties in such a scenario, of whom between 400,000 and 800,000 would be dead, while Japanese fatalities would have been around 5 to 10 million.
Let’s average the American estimate, 7.5 million, with the Japanese estimate, 20 million. Result: 13.75 million Japanese deaths.
Reports of casualties for Nagasaki and Hiroshima vary, but even at the highest ends of the scale, they amount to approximately 160,000 immediate deaths with another 66,000 dying by December, 1945, for a total of about 226,000.
Compare these two figures, and please note that one figure is 61 times greater than the other:
1. Casualties of NOT using nuclear weapons: 13.75 MILLION
2. Casualties of USING nuclear weapons: 226 thousand.
If we had NOT used nuclear weapons, more than SIXTY TIMES as many Japanese people, mostly civilians, would have lost their lives. As it is, both targets were specifically chosen for their military nature in an attempt to minimize civilian casualties.
If the numbers are difficult for you to imagine, consider the following representation:
Casualties as recorded, using nuclear weapons:
Casualties that would have occurred had we not used nuclear weapons:
So, should America “apologize” for using nuclear weapons, thus ending the war FAR sooner and with VASTLY FEWER casualties?
We didn’t start the war, but we certainly ended it, and in the most humane manner possible: “This weapon is to be used against Japan between now and August 10th. I have told the Sec. of War, Mr. Stimson, to use it so that military objectives and soldiers and sailors are the target and not women and children. Even if the Japs are savages, ruthless, merciless and fanatic, we as the leader of the world for the common welfare cannot drop that terrible bomb on the old capital [Kyoto] or the new [Tokyo]. He and I are in accord. The target will be a purely military one.” – Diary of President Harry S. Truman, from various pages on July 17, 18, and 25, 1945.