Re: virus: The Bomb

Ken Kittlitz (
Wed, 17 Mar 1999 13:05:20 -0700

At 01:54 PM 3/15/99 -0800, KMO wrote:
>Ken Kittlitz wrote:
>> > The
>> >US had already served up a whole mess of tits for their received tats
>> >prior to those two acts of mass murder.
>> What do you see as the U.S. military's other options having been at that
>> point (i.e., immediately prior to dropping the bomb on Hiroshima)?
>They could have accepted Japan's conditional surrender. Japan's
>infrastructure and military were in tatters by that point. Apologists
>for the bombing like to frame it as the lesser of two evils claiming
>that more people would have died in an invasion, but there was no need
>for an invasion. Japan was in no position to pose a threat to the United
>States by that time.

I was unaware that Japan had made an offer of conditional surrender; do you know what the conditions were?

I found a couple of interesting links on this subject:

>From these I learned that:

  1. Japan was extremely reluctant to accept the Potsdam Declaration (the Allies' demand of unconditional surrender), largely because it feared that the Emperor would be deposed and perhaps tried for war crimes; much of the U.S. populace was in favour of such a trial.
  2. The U.S. felt it had to push for an unconditional surrender, perhaps because this was the Allies' stated objective. There was also considerable support for this among U.S. citizens.
  3. The U.S. did realize that Japan was defeated militarily, but there was considerable debate over which course of action to pursue to achieve Japan's unconditional surrender. Apparently invasion was the front-running candidate.
  4. Even after the bomb was dropped on Nagasaki, the Japanese cabinet failed to achieve the unanimous vote required to accept unconditional surrender. The dissenters felt that Japan would be better off holding out, in the hopes that the U.S. would prefer to accept a conditional surrender rather than waste more lives and resources on the war. It took the Emperor's intervention for unconditional acceptance to actually occur.

So, were the U.S. military, and populace, simply vengeful in their desire for unconditional surrender? Were they evil? Were the Japanese fools for holding out for so long? From our perspective, it might appear so.

And I believe that is the key. *Our perspective* is safely removed in time and space from the events we're discussing; it's easy to take the moral high ground, to think that we have some measure of objectivity. Perhaps we do, but if we were living in U.S. or Japan at the time, I suspect our attitudes would have been different. Sure, we can say that they were "wrong", or prisoners of bad memes (unconditional surrender vs. preservation of the Emperor), but it's much easier to analyse and pass judgement on beliefs when they're someone else's. That's something we should bear in mind when looking at the actions of others.

Ken Kittlitz			Administrator, Foresight Exchange
AudeSi Technologies Inc.		personal: