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Your host, PM 'Papa' Carpenter


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August 06, 2020


This is a POV with which I must agree. In point of fact no one knew what the consequences would be if you dropped such a weapon on a population center. For the obvious reason that it had never been done. Everything you might have seen on video of the consequences of such a blast dates from after the events.

The Navy Commander story was smouched, I believe, from the much earlier The Making of the Atomic Bomb. I'll have to name check but that book cites a Navy Commander who doubted the efficacy of nuclear weapons as war ending weapons. That fellow cited his experience standing the same distance measure away from the explosion of about a million pounds of ordinance at arsenal without getting his hair mussed. He was wrong about that.

Interestingly the argument about whether or not these weapons should ever have been used never seems to cite certain facts. The Japanese had their own nuclear weapons program (unsuccessful). But they also had large scale programs using poison gas and biological weapons. These they tested on captured enemy soldiers and civilians. And they used them in China on civilian populations. The Japanese sure don't like to talk about that much or even admit it happened.

As it happened they did end the war. Not instantly mind you because communications in Japan had by then been so degraded it took days for the full measure of the effects to be reported to Japan's leadership. I am persuaded by one key fact, when Hirohito informed his cabinet that he intended to endure the unendurable and surrender the immediate result was an attempted coup by officers who wanted to depose him and continue the war. Fortunately they did not succeed.

I'm waiting to hear a reasoned answer to the question "what would you have done" before I can understand why there's a debate.

Because modern American historians are among the most virtuous. They would have done … whatever … with the wisdom and compassion of Christ himself. And there's your answer. Real world political realties are beneath them.

Sorry to spoil your 'party' but I agree with your argument supporting Truman's shrewd decision.

By the way, we can't go on agreeing like this, people will talk!

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