The REAL Reason America Used Nuclear Weapons Against Japan

George Washington's picture

Atomic Weapons Were Not Needed to End the War or Save Lives

Like all Americans, I was taught that the U.S. dropped nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in order to end WWII and save both American and Japanese lives.

But most of the top American military officials at the time said otherwise.

The U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey group, assigned by President Truman to study the air attacks on Japan, produced a report in July of 1946 that concluded (52-56):

Based on a detailed investigation of all the facts and supported by the testimony of the surviving Japanese leaders involved, it is the Survey’s opinion that certainly prior to 31 December 1945 and in all probability prior to 1 November 1945, Japan would have surrendered even if the atomic bombs had not been dropped, even if Russia had not entered the war, and even if no invasion had been planned or contemplated.

General (and later president) Dwight Eisenhower – then Supreme Commander of all Allied Forces, and the officer who created most of America’s WWII military plans for Europe and Japan – said:

The Japanese were ready to surrender and it wasn’t necessary to hit them with that awful thing.

Newsweek, 11/11/63, Ike on Ike

Eisenhower also noted (pg. 380):

In [July] 1945… Secretary of War Stimson, visiting my headquarters in Germany, informed me that our government was preparing to drop an atomic bomb on Japan. I was one of those who felt that there were a number of cogent reasons to question the wisdom of such an act. …the Secretary, upon giving me the news of the successful bomb test in New Mexico, and of the plan for using it, asked for my reaction, apparently expecting a vigorous assent.


During his recitation of the relevant facts, I had been conscious of a feeling of depression and so I voiced to him my grave misgivings, first on the basis of my belief that Japan was already defeated and that dropping the bomb was completely unnecessary, and secondly because I thought that our country should avoid shocking world opinion by the use of a weapon whose employment was, I thought, no longer mandatory as a measure to save American lives. It was my belief that Japan was, at that very moment, seeking some way to surrender with a minimum loss of ‘face’. The Secretary was deeply perturbed by my attitude….

Admiral William Leahy – the highest ranking member of the U.S. military from 1942 until retiring in 1949, who was the first de facto Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and who was at the center of all major American military decisions in World War II – wrote (pg. 441):

It is my opinion that the use of this barbarous weapon at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of no material assistance in our war against Japan. The Japanese were already defeated and ready to surrender because of the effective sea blockade and the successful bombing with conventional weapons.


The lethal possibilities of atomic warfare in the future are frightening. My own feeling was that in being the first to use it, we had adopted an ethical standard common to the barbarians of the Dark Ages. I was not taught to make war in that fashion, and wars cannot be won by destroying women and children.

General Douglas MacArthur agreed (pg. 65, 70-71):

MacArthur’s views about the decision to drop the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki were starkly different from what the general public supposed …. When I asked General MacArthur about the decision to drop the bomb, I was surprised to learn he had not even been consulted. What, I asked, would his advice have been? He replied that he saw no military justification for the dropping of the bomb. The war might have ended weeks earlier, he said, if the United States had agreed, as it later did anyway, to the retention of the institution of the emperor.

Moreover (pg. 512):

The Potsdam declaration in July, demand[ed] that Japan surrender unconditionally or face ‘prompt and utter destruction.’ MacArthur was appalled. He knew that the Japanese would never renounce their emperor, and that without him an orderly transition to peace would be impossible anyhow, because his people would never submit to Allied occupation unless he ordered it. Ironically, when the surrender did come, it was conditional, and the condition was a continuation of the imperial reign. Had the General’s advice been followed, the resort to atomic weapons at Hiroshima and Nagasaki might have been unnecessary.

Similarly, Assistant Secretary of War John McLoy noted (pg. 500):

I have always felt that if, in our ultimatum to the Japanese government issued from Potsdam [in July 1945], we had referred to the retention of the emperor as a constitutional monarch and had made some reference to the reasonable accessibility of raw materials to the future Japanese government, it would have been accepted. Indeed, I believe that even in the form it was delivered, there was some disposition on the part of the Japanese to give it favorable consideration. When the war was over I arrived at this conclusion after talking with a number of Japanese officials who had been closely associated with the decision of the then Japanese government, to reject the ultimatum, as it was presented. I believe we missed the opportunity of effecting a Japanese surrender, completely satisfactory to us, without the necessity of dropping the bombs.

Under Secretary of the Navy Ralph Bird said:

I think that the Japanese were ready for peace, and they already had approached the Russians and, I think, the Swiss. And that suggestion of [giving] a warning [of the atomic bomb] was a face-saving proposition for them, and one that they could have readily accepted.




In my opinion, the Japanese war was really won before we ever used the atom bomb. Thus, it wouldn’t have been necessary for us to disclose our nuclear position and stimulate the Russians to develop the same thing much more rapidly than they would have if we had not dropped the bomb.

War Was Really Won Before We Used A-Bomb, U.S. News and World Report, 8/15/60, pg. 73-75.

He also noted (pg. 144-145, 324):

It definitely seemed to me that the Japanese were becoming weaker and weaker. They were surrounded by the Navy. They couldn’t get any imports and they couldn’t export anything. Naturally, as time went on and the war developed in our favor it was quite logical to hope and expect that with the proper kind of a warning the Japanese would then be in a position to make peace, which would have made it unnecessary for us to drop the bomb and have had to bring Russia in.

General Curtis LeMay, the tough cigar-smoking Army Air Force “hawk,” stated publicly shortly before the nuclear bombs were dropped on Japan:

The war would have been over in two weeks. . . . The atomic bomb had nothing to do with the end of the war at all.

The Vice Chairman of the U.S. Bombing Survey Paul Nitze wrote (pg. 36-37, 44-45):

[I] concluded that even without the atomic bomb, Japan was likely to surrender in a matter of months. My own view was that Japan would capitulate by November 1945.




Even without the attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, it seemed highly unlikely, given what we found to have been the mood of the Japanese government, that a U.S. invasion of the islands [scheduled for November 1, 1945] would have been necessary.

Deputy Director of the Office of Naval Intelligence Ellis Zacharias wrote:

Just when the Japanese were ready to capitulate, we went ahead and introduced to the world the most devastating weapon it had ever seen and, in effect, gave the go-ahead to Russia to swarm over Eastern Asia.


Washington decided that Japan had been given its chance and now it was time to use the A-bomb.


I submit that it was the wrong decision. It was wrong on strategic grounds. And it was wrong on humanitarian grounds.

Ellis Zacharias, How We Bungled the Japanese Surrender, Look, 6/6/50, pg. 19-21.

Brigadier General Carter Clarke – the military intelligence officer in charge of preparing summaries of intercepted Japanese cables for President Truman and his advisors – said (pg. 359):

When we didn’t need to do it, and we knew we didn’t need to do it, and they knew that we knew we didn’t need to do it, we used them as an experiment for two atomic bombs.

Many other high-level military officers concurred. For example:

The commander in chief of the U.S. Fleet and Chief of Naval Operations, Ernest J. King, stated that the naval blockade and prior bombing of Japan in March of 1945, had rendered the Japanese helpless and that the use of the atomic bomb was both unnecessary and immoral. Also, the opinion of Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz was reported to have said in a press conference on September 22, 1945, that “The Admiral took the opportunity of adding his voice to those insisting that Japan had been defeated before the atomic bombing and Russia’s entry into the war.” In a subsequent speech at the Washington Monument on October 5, 1945, Admiral Nimitz stated “The Japanese had, in fact, already sued for peace before the atomic age was announced to the world with the destruction of Hiroshima and before the Russian entry into the war.” It was learned also that on or about July 20, 1945, General Eisenhower had urged Truman, in a personal visit, not to use the atomic bomb. Eisenhower’s assessment was “It wasn’t necessary to hit them with that awful thing . . . to use the atomic bomb, to kill and terrorize civilians, without even attempting [negotiations], was a double crime.” Eisenhower also stated that it wasn’t necessary for Truman to “succumb” to [the tiny handful of people putting pressure on the president to drop atom bombs on Japan.]

British officers were of the same mind. For example, General Sir Hastings Ismay, Chief of Staff to the British Minister of Defence, said to Prime Minister Churchill that “when Russia came into the war against Japan, the Japanese would probably wish to get out on almost any terms short of the dethronement of the Emperor.”

On hearing that the atomic test was successful, Ismay’s private reaction was one of “revulsion.”

Why Were Bombs Dropped on Populated Cities Without Military Value?

Even military officers who favored use of nuclear weapons mainly favored using them on unpopulated areas or Japanese military targets ... not cities

For example, Special Assistant to the Secretary of the Navy Lewis Strauss proposed to Secretary of the Navy James Forrestal that a non-lethal demonstration of  atomic weapons would be enough to convince the Japanese to surrender … and the Navy Secretary agreed (pg. 145, 325):

I proposed to Secretary Forrestal that the weapon should be demonstrated before it was used. Primarily it was because it was clear to a number of people, myself among them, that the war was very nearly over. The Japanese were nearly ready to capitulate… My proposal to the Secretary was that the weapon should be demonstrated over some area accessible to Japanese observers and where its effects would be dramatic. I remember suggesting that a satisfactory place for such a demonstration would be a large forest of cryptomeria trees not far from Tokyo. The cryptomeria tree is the Japanese version of our redwood… I anticipated that a bomb detonated at a suitable height above such a forest… would lay the trees out in windrows from the center of the explosion in all directions as though they were matchsticks, and, of course, set them afire in the center. It seemed to me that a demonstration of this sort would prove to the Japanese that we could destroy any of their cities at will… Secretary Forrestal agreed wholeheartedly with the recommendation


It seemed to me that such a weapon was not necessary to bring the war to a successful conclusion, that once used it would find its way into the armaments of the world…

General George Marshall agreed:

Contemporary documents show that Marshall felt “these weapons might first be used against straight military objectives such as a large naval installation and then if no complete result was derived from the effect of that, he thought we ought to designate a number of large manufacturing areas from which the people would be warned to leave–telling the Japanese that we intend to destroy such centers….”


As the document concerning Marshall’s views suggests, the question of whether the use of the atomic bomb was justified turns  … on whether the bombs had to be used against a largely civilian target rather than a strictly military target—which, in fact, was the explicit choice since although there were Japanese troops in the cities, neither Hiroshima nor Nagasaki was deemed militarily vital by U.S. planners. (This is one of the reasons neither had been heavily bombed up to this point in the war.) Moreover, targeting [at Hiroshima and Nagasaki] was aimed explicitly on non-military facilities surrounded by workers’ homes.

Historians Agree that the Bomb Wasn’t Needed

Historians agree that nuclear weapons did not need to be used to stop the war or save lives.

As historian Doug Long notes:

U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission historian J. Samuel Walker has studied the history of research on the decision to use nuclear weapons on Japan. In his conclusion he writes, “The consensus among scholars is that the bomb was not needed to avoid an invasion of Japan and to end the war within a relatively short time. It is clear that alternatives to the bomb existed and that Truman and his advisors knew it.” (J. Samuel Walker, The Decision to Use the Bomb: A Historiographical Update, Diplomatic History, Winter 1990, pg. 110).

Politicians Agreed

Many high-level politicians agreed.  For example, Herbert Hoover said (pg. 142):

The Japanese were prepared to negotiate all the way from February 1945…up to and before the time the atomic bombs were dropped; …if such leads had been followed up, there would have been no occasion to drop the [atomic] bombs.

Under Secretary of State Joseph Grew noted (pg. 29-32):

In the light of available evidence I myself and others felt that if such a categorical statement about the [retention of the] dynasty had been issued in May, 1945, the surrender-minded elements in the [Japanese] Government might well have been afforded by such a statement a valid reason and the necessary strength to come to an early clearcut decision.


If surrender could have been brought about in May, 1945, or even in June or July, before the entrance of Soviet Russia into the [Pacific] war and the use of the atomic bomb, the world would have been the gainer.

Why Then Were Atom Bombs Dropped on Japan?

If dropping nuclear bombs was unnecessary to end the war or to save lives, why was the decision to drop them made? Especially over the objections of so many top military and political figures?

One theory is that scientists like to play with their toys:

On September 9, 1945, Admiral William F. Halsey, commander of the Third Fleet, was publicly quoted extensively as stating that the atomic bomb was used because the scientists had a “toy and they wanted to try it out . . . .” He further stated, “The first atomic bomb was an unnecessary experiment . . . . It was a mistake to ever drop it.”

However, most of the Manhattan Project scientists who developed the atom bomb were opposed to using it on Japan.

Albert Einstein – an important catalyst for the development of the atom bomb (but not directly connected with the Manhattan Project) -  said differently:

“A great majority of scientists were opposed to the sudden employment of the atom bomb.” In Einstein’s judgment, the dropping of the bomb was a political – diplomatic decision rather than a military or scientific decision.

Indeed, some of the Manhattan Project scientists wrote directly to the secretary of defense in 1945 to try to dissuade him from dropping the bomb:

We believe that these considerations make the use of nuclear bombs for an early, unannounced attack against Japan inadvisable. If the United States would be the first to release this new means of indiscriminate destruction upon mankind, she would sacrifice public support throughout the world, precipitate the race of armaments, and prejudice the possibility of reaching an international agreement on the future control of such weapons.

Political and Social Problems, Manhattan Engineer District Records, Harrison-Bundy files, folder # 76, National Archives (also contained in: Martin Sherwin, A World Destroyed, 1987 edition, pg. 323-333).

The scientists questioned the ability of destroying Japanese cities with atomic bombs to bring surrender when destroying Japanese cities with conventional bombs had not done so, and – like some of the military officers quoted above – recommended a demonstration of the atomic bomb for Japan in an unpopulated area.

The Real Explanation? notes:

In the years since the two atomic bombs were dropped on Japan, a number of historians have suggested that the weapons had a two-pronged objective …. It has been suggested that the second objective was to demonstrate the new weapon of mass destruction to the Soviet Union. By August 1945, relations between the Soviet Union and the United States had deteriorated badly. The Potsdam Conference between U.S. President Harry S. Truman, Russian leader Joseph Stalin, and Winston Churchill (before being replaced by Clement Attlee) ended just four days before the bombing of Hiroshima. The meeting was marked by recriminations and suspicion between the Americans and Soviets. Russian armies were occupying most of Eastern Europe. Truman and many of his advisers hoped that the U.S. atomic monopoly might offer diplomatic leverage with the Soviets. In this fashion, the dropping of the atomic bomb on Japan can be seen as the first shot of the Cold War.

New Scientist reported in 2005:

The US decision to drop atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 was meant to kick-start the Cold War rather than end the Second World War, according to two nuclear historians who say they have new evidence backing the controversial theory.


Causing a fission reaction in several kilograms of uranium and plutonium and killing over 200,000 people 60 years ago was done more to impress the Soviet Union than to cow Japan, they say. And the US President who took the decision, Harry Truman, was culpable, they add.


“He knew he was beginning the process of annihilation of the species,” says Peter Kuznick, director of the Nuclear Studies Institute at American University in Washington DC, US. “It was not just a war crime; it was a crime against humanity.”




[The conventional explanation of using the bombs to end the war and save lives] is disputed by Kuznick and Mark Selden, a historian from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, US.




New studies of the US, Japanese and Soviet diplomatic archives suggest that Truman’s main motive was to limit Soviet expansion in Asia, Kuznick claims. Japan surrendered because the Soviet Union began an invasion a few days after the Hiroshima bombing, not because of the atomic bombs themselves, he says.


According to an account by Walter Brown, assistant to then-US secretary of state James Byrnes, Truman agreed at a meeting three days before the bomb was dropped on Hiroshima that Japan was “looking for peace”. Truman was told by his army generals, Douglas Macarthur and Dwight Eisenhower, and his naval chief of staff, William Leahy, that there was no military need to use the bomb.


“Impressing Russia was more important than ending the war in Japan,” says Selden.

John Pilger points out:

The US secretary of war, Henry Stimson, told President Truman he was “fearful” that the US air force would have Japan so “bombed out” that the new weapon would not be able “to show its strength”. He later admitted that “no effort was made, and none was seriously considered, to achieve surrender merely in order not to have to use the bomb”. His foreign policy colleagues were eager “to browbeat the Russians with the bomb held rather ostentatiously on our hip”. General Leslie Groves, director of the Manhattan Project that made the bomb, testified: “There was never any illusion on my part that Russia was our enemy, and that the project was conducted on that basis.” The day after Hiroshima was obliterated, President Truman voiced his satisfaction with the “overwhelming success” of “the experiment”.

We’ll give the last word to University of Maryland professor of political economy – and former Legislative Director in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, and Special Assistant in the Department of State – Gar Alperovitz:

Though most Americans are unaware of the fact, increasing numbers of historians now recognize the United States did not need to use the atomic bomb to end the war against Japan in 1945. Moreover, this essential judgment was expressed by the vast majority of top American military leaders in all three services in the years after the war ended: Army, Navy and Army Air Force. Nor was this the judgment of “liberals,” as is sometimes thought today. In fact, leading conservatives were far more outspoken in challenging the decision as unjustified and immoral than American liberals in the years following World War II.




Instead [of allowing other options to end the war, such as letting the Soviets attack Japan with ground forces], the United States rushed to use two atomic bombs at almost exactly the time that an August 8 Soviet attack had originally been scheduled: Hiroshima on August 6 and Nagasaki on August 9. The timing itself has obviously raised questions among many historians. The available evidence, though not conclusive, strongly suggests that the atomic bombs may well have been used in part because American leaders “preferred”—as Pulitzer Prize–winning historian Martin Sherwin has put it—to end the war with the bombs rather than the Soviet attack. Impressing the Soviets during the early diplomatic sparring that ultimately became the Cold War also appears likely to have been a significant factor.




The most illuminating perspective, however, comes from top World War II American military leaders. The conventional wisdom that the atomic bomb saved a million lives is so widespread that … most Americans haven’t paused to ponder something rather striking to anyone seriously concerned with the issue: Not only did most top U.S. military leaders think the bombings were unnecessary and unjustified, many were morally offended by what they regarded as the unnecessary destruction of Japanese cities and what were essentially noncombat populations. Moreover, they spoke about it quite openly and publicly.




Shortly before his death General George C. Marshall quietly defended the decision, but for the most part he is on record as repeatedly saying that it was not a military decision, but rather a political one.

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Sun, 10/14/2012 - 13:41 | 2887819 Joebloinvestor
Joebloinvestor's picture

Hindsight is always 20-20.

Sun, 10/14/2012 - 13:38 | 2887814 pragmatic hobo
pragmatic hobo's picture

"... You can't look 60 years later and decide the right and wrong of something.... "

not only you can, but you must.

Sun, 10/14/2012 - 13:37 | 2887811 Lloyd_Xmas
Lloyd_Xmas's picture

Don't start a fight you can't finish!

Sun, 10/14/2012 - 13:35 | 2887805 kaiserhoff
kaiserhoff's picture

So Harry Truman, hat salesman from Independence, Missouri, was the focus of evil in the 20th century, and nothing but a pawn for the military industrial complex?  Still yet again, Uncle Joe Stalin, Chairman Mao, and Pol Pot get a pass.  That may pass for entertainment, but it has nothing to do with history.

Sun, 10/14/2012 - 13:32 | 2887791 GMadScientist
GMadScientist's picture

"The REAL Reason America Used Nuclear Weapons Against Japan"

Tokyo was closer than Munich.

Sun, 10/14/2012 - 13:26 | 2887777 notadouche
notadouche's picture

How was Curtis LeMay's judgement when it came to Vietnam?  You ever think by 1945 we were just tired of fucking around with everybody.  America had already given enough in Europe and the Japanese were in fact as brutal to their POW's as the German's though it doesn't make the history books.  You can't look 60 years later and decide the right and wrong of something.   No one is claimiing America is perfect but the notion of faulting their actions during the late 30's and mid 40's war time is somewhat ludicrous, intellectually dishonest, naive, and just plain ignorant.  I usually like your stuff but this time I have to call major bullshit.   You name all these generals which get arm chair Qb'd to death during war and yet when they appear to say what you want them to say you act as though their notions are infallable.  Swing and a miss George.

Sun, 10/14/2012 - 13:24 | 2887773 jkings1
jkings1's picture

The best history is heard and not written. My mother and her family were Korean laborers in Japan and managed to escape Hiroshima the day before the bomb drop by train thanks to leaflets that warned of the coming bombing. The stories my mother told me made me conclude long ago the bombings brought the war to a quick end (and this was before I "learned" about WW2 in school. It was us against them and that's what they got, for better, or worse) for fighting against us. It was a win or lose situation and the PTB here wanted to make sure we won and send a few messages to anyone else who in the future would dare try to take us on.

Although, it looks like were on a path where we are going to have to re-learn past lessons. The nifty thing about that is that a new nuclear engagement would last for what? An hour? Making everyone fairly equal at the stoneage level once again? 

Sun, 10/14/2012 - 13:20 | 2887758 Mr Pink
Mr Pink's picture least Arlen "magic bullet" Specter is finally dead

Sun, 10/14/2012 - 13:20 | 2887757 jonjon831983
jonjon831983's picture

Through all of this - what was the Japanese reaction aside from "surrender".


What did the Royals say?  What if they had allowed this to happen because their interests were aligned in preventing Soviets from taking Japanese soil permanently, vs "temporary" US bases.

Sun, 10/14/2012 - 13:20 | 2887756 williambanzai7
williambanzai7's picture


Sun, 10/14/2012 - 13:37 | 2887809 nmewn
nmewn's picture

I don't see a purple ring so I ain't eatin it ;-)

Sun, 10/14/2012 - 13:21 | 2887762 jonjon831983
jonjon831983's picture

I can't tell ... is this an ad for nice sandy beaches and spectacular view or is it an ad for SPF 1,000,000,000 sun screen?

Sun, 10/14/2012 - 13:15 | 2887742 oldman
oldman's picture

I could only read about 1/3 of this before the great sadness of this act caused me to tremble with tears. No one asked this oldman what he thought the US should do with the unspeakable object that 'science' had birthed----I had no part in this act, and yet, I feel a certain shame simply for having been born in the US of A and among such a people.

What price will we pay? There is no price on such a heinous act----an unspeakable act----
I am without the words to say more             om

Sun, 10/14/2012 - 13:07 | 2887721 Audacity17
Audacity17's picture

The reason the bomb was dropped is because the Japanese considered the emperor divine.  And "thou shalt have no other gods before me".  End of story.

Sun, 10/14/2012 - 13:23 | 2887754 fourchan
fourchan's picture


the japaneese would have never never never surrendered,

if you learn one thing in your life about japanese its face and the will to keep it.

this is revisionist history at its worst.

Sun, 10/14/2012 - 13:26 | 2887778 Audacity17
Audacity17's picture

You are right.  The author is a blame America first propagandist.  He has a narrative, then he cherry picks the quotes to "prove" he is right.  In fact, Japan was given an option to surrender after both bombs were dropped, and refused.  It was only after we threatened to bomb their holy city of Kyoto that they in fact surrendered.  Of course we didn't have a third bomb.  Oh by the way, we also put fliers in the cities warning them a bomb was coming.


The author of this propaganda is a disgrace to Zerohedge, and shouldn't be posting here anymore.

Sun, 10/14/2012 - 13:05 | 2887712 it aint paranoi...
it aint paranoia if they really are out too harm you's picture

Great review of history.  I remember defending the atomic bombing of Japan while in Jr. High School, being the son of a militray officer and being a "true believer" in the status quo.  This information was not freely available at that time We only had  a few articles to look up in Time and other newsweeklies. Today, I thank you internet.  Don't get me wrong, even if I had had this material at that time, my world view would have blinded me to it.  Thank you, George Washington.


About 25 years ago I had an "enlightened" moment and started to objectively evaulate what I had been taught.  I would share the circumstances at another time, though my wife tells me it is more interesting to me than anyone else.  (Thank you God for an honest woman, though I hate it sometimes.)


The result was a conclusion that has since been confirmed many times over.  !/3 of all I had been taught is clearly wrong, another 1/3 uncertain in it's validity.  Some error was due to inadequate knowledge in the field of study, especially common in "Medicine."  Some was deliberate falsehood, much was taught from prejudice of many kinds.

I spent 12 years after High School in a learning enviroment, but tried to be more broadly studied than most.  This 1/3 rule is general, and applies to such areas as the Bible and Christ and Medicine.  The error rate drops lower in Physics and Math, obviously.  But even with those fields, advances have more fully formed doctrine, such as Einstein's work did on Newtonian Physics.  In the "soft" sciences such as Psychology, Sociology, Civics this number goes over 50%.  In economics, I place that number above 80% in my own education, and it would be MUCH higher except I avoided the trendy educational opportunities and my education was broader and less mainstream than many others.  From my peers perspective regarding their economic teaching experiences, this goes over 90% in those over 45 years old and over 99% in those under 30.  I am including micro and macro economics together.

With the unraveling of one's education, sometimes it is what you learn and sometimes others help clarify your discomfort at knowing something is not right.  Cog. Dissonance is an example of someone on these boards that helps with that "putting the pieces together."

Utopia here and now will never occur, but we can at least start with disassembling our erroneous teaching.  Filter everything and don't rush to conclusions. 

Sun, 10/14/2012 - 13:21 | 2887702 Joaquin
Joaquin's picture

Once again I think you are close to the truth.  Dropping the bomb may have saved millions of lives, but not in the way people think. The weapon could have been demonstrated, even to the Soviet Union without dropping it on cities full of people.  The reason it was dropped on cities has to do with Stalin's personality and the arrogance of the Americans.  First the arrogance part, the Americans did not believe that anyone else could duplicate the Manhattan project and certainly not the Soviet Union otherwise why alert them to the existence of the bomb? Second, Stalin had to believe that the Americans would USE the bomb in the most destructive way possible, i.e., take out Moscow itself.  Truman literally had to make Stalin believe that America was crazy and has the bomb.


How many millions of men were facing each other at that time in Europe, the Red Army on oneside of the line and the Americans and British on the other?  There was not enough bomb material yet to make a third bomb, there was not enough bombs for escalating demonstrations.  If you consider that it may have prevented an immediate conflict between the Red Army and the American and British then maybe dropping the bomb did save a million lives.

Sun, 10/14/2012 - 12:52 | 2887581 Bullwinkle Moose
Bullwinkle Moose's picture

I'm somewhat puzzeled. What does this have to do with investments?

Sun, 10/14/2012 - 13:19 | 2887753 Audacity17
Audacity17's picture

It doesn't.  People read Zerohedge despite this clown's propaganda, not because of it.

Sun, 10/14/2012 - 12:57 | 2887693 ebworthen
ebworthen's picture

If the bomb is used again, "investments" won't matter.

Sun, 10/14/2012 - 12:50 | 2887517 Gringo Viejo
Gringo Viejo's picture

You're full of shit George. You post shit day in, day out. NOBODY has this amount of worthwhile information. Fucking Voltaire couldn't keep up with you. And on this especially. FACT: Japan would NOT have surrendured and it would have killed half a million Americans to invade the Japanese homeland. Take a break, give it a rest and stop posting patently false bullshit.

Sun, 10/14/2012 - 13:21 | 2887763 Vlad Tepid
Vlad Tepid's picture

Abnormally, George has actually posted direct sources instead of just saying "here, here, here and here."  What do you bring to the table to counter 70 years of historical research and numerous primary accounts?

Sun, 10/14/2012 - 12:43 | 2887388 disabledvet
disabledvet's picture

Not a political decision but a Presidential one. Fast forward to the Cuban Missile Crisis and it's pretty obvious "who's in charge of the nukes." even Schwarzkopf wanted them in the first Gulf War. NEIN. Puts an awesome amount of power inside that tiny place.

Sun, 10/14/2012 - 12:39 | 2887383 entropy93
entropy93's picture

100% on the mark. I studied this in college for a thesis project of sorts. No one would ever believe me when I told them what I concluded.

Its great to see people across the political spectrum finally questioning US war policy. Virtually every war we've been involved in has made things worse. If not for Iraq I doubt Iran would be hell bent on nukes now.

Should have spent those trillions on domestic energy security instead. Should have said that by 2012 we import 0 mideast oil and stuck to it. We'd be energy independent right now for less than the Iraq war cost.

Natural gas, biodiesel, electric conversion for 100M cars, about $1T.


Sun, 10/14/2012 - 12:28 | 2887362 B_V
B_V's picture

George - Everyone knows this was done to send a message to the Russians.  What's your point?

Sun, 10/14/2012 - 13:18 | 2887750 rwe2late
rwe2late's picture


point is,

everyone doesn't know

the politics, deception, and ulterior motives that can lurk behind US government actions and policies.

Many still believe the A-bomb was dropped to "save lives",

just as torture, drones attacks, and night raids on peasant villages currently are alleged done to "save lives".

Rejecting the myth of US government innocence is a necessary step to developing sane policies toward the rest of the world and ultimately ourselves.

The Manichean good/evil myth and the jingoist myth that attacks on our soldiers and civilians are unprovoked and entirely undeserved both need revision.


Sun, 10/14/2012 - 12:32 | 2887370 Amagnonx
Amagnonx's picture

I think the point is, that it was an act that should invoke a deep national shame - as destroying hundreds of thousands of lives to send a political message is called terrorism.

Sun, 10/14/2012 - 13:17 | 2887747 it aint paranoi...
it aint paranoia if they really are out too harm you's picture

Deep Shame?  No, not because we should look back and feel emotion, but we still are willing to bomb anyone we want any time we want.  How is today different except for the magnitude and the radiation?  Has it occurred to you that we used the same emotional buttons to scare the citizens then as now?


By the way, why do we American citizens think that an immoral government that indiscriminately bombs others for their agenda will always magically only bomb those outside our borders?  Why doesn't occurr to us that the same motives now used by our government to bomb others can be used as motives to bomb citizens?


Change of subject. As I write this I realized that even the most self focused and selfish American should be able to see the best reason to prohibit torture is self preservation.

Sun, 10/14/2012 - 12:56 | 2887692 B_V
B_V's picture

Call it what you'd like.  That still doesn't change the fact that we know why it was done.  And who exactly should be ashamed?  Me?  I was bron 30 years after the fact. 

Let's also discuss how bad we are for stealing the indian's land and having slaves.  We are so bad.  Please tell me how long I should be ashamed, and what I can do about it.  I'd really like to make it up to everyone on the planet who was wronged at some point in the past.

Sun, 10/14/2012 - 13:25 | 2887776 Vlad Tepid
Vlad Tepid's picture

If America would stop doing things like this to this very day, people might believe that no shame is needed.  The Germans stopped goose-stepping the Japanese stopped raping Chinese and Korean girls, the Russians stopped rolling over Hungarian kids with tanks - when does the US get to stop?

Sun, 10/14/2012 - 13:52 | 2887841 Kayman
Kayman's picture

And Muslims will embrace Infidels. And China and Japan will soon make kissy-kissy. And Arabs and Israelis will soon lay down together.

"Germans stopped goose-stepping, the Japanese stopped raping Chinese and Korean girls, the Russians stopped rolling over Hungarian kids with tanks" because someone stopped them !

For me personally, I wish the U.S. would let some of these belligerents have at each other and come in to do the mopping up later. But I know that is wishful thinking.

Sun, 10/14/2012 - 12:30 | 2887356 Amagnonx
Amagnonx's picture

Well - I had higher hopes for ZH readers - but all the comments I see, people cannot stand the truth.  Just because you are American, does not make you complicit in the crime - but it does mean you should take a long hard look at history and wonder what makes the US so great.


People simply don't want to believe that the leader of the US decided on an insane and criminal act - as a demonstration of power.  Killing hudreds of thousands of people, who did not have a chance - women and children.


That is not war - that is terrorism - and that has been the method and path of the US since WWII.


Wrap it in the flag and they would eat babies and call it patriotism - this is the principle tool that is being used to control the US population, nationalism - incidently the same tool used by the Nazi's - realise that you have been suckered - people are the same throughout the world - its the controllers you should be concerned about.

Sun, 10/14/2012 - 13:34 | 2887801 nmewn
nmewn's picture

"Well - I had higher hopes for ZH readers - but all the comments I see, people cannot stand the truth. Just because you are American, does not make you complicit in the crime"

So you're thinkin the Imperial Japanese Military's Unit 731 was a good or a bad thing? How about the Rape of Nanking...good or bad?

Sun, 10/14/2012 - 13:34 | 2887799 Kayman
Kayman's picture


Well, thank you for your pontification to us lesser beings.

You know, it is possible that GW has a plausible but erroneous conclusion by cherry-picking history.

Insane, criminal ? Hardly.

And as far as Nationalism goes, I, too, was appalled when the Media marched lock-step to the beating drum of war with Iraq.  It seems war with Iran has not yet reached that fever pitch.


Sun, 10/14/2012 - 13:08 | 2887725 Diogenes
Diogenes's picture

Actually it was war. Japan declared war on the US in 1941. It is popularly known as World War Two. You ought to look it up.

Sun, 10/14/2012 - 13:29 | 2887784 Vlad Tepid
Vlad Tepid's picture

The US had it's boot on Japan's neck - their oil lifeline and dared them to attack.  The hapless idiots running the West found out that you don't bitch-slap a feudal samurai an expect to walk away without a scratch.  The US had declard economic war long before Pearl Harbor - just because they didn't realize the implications doesn't mean they were not complicit.

Sun, 10/14/2012 - 13:43 | 2887823 Kayman
Kayman's picture


The U.S. gave ample warning to Japan while Japan was committing war against its neighbors.  It is not like the U.S. cut off Japan's supply of American oil simply because they could.

A more complete picture of Japanese belligerance is available if you would care to look.

By the way, I have no doubt that Japan today, like Israel, has the bomb. No point having Nuclear reactors if you don't take advantage of the spent fuel.

Sun, 10/14/2012 - 13:00 | 2887701 B_V
B_V's picture

Have you spoken with my grandfather on this topic?  He (not Mac Arthur, not Nimitz, not Eisenhower) was on the ground, getting his ass shot at.  He was thrilled the war ended and he got to go home.

Sun, 10/14/2012 - 13:22 | 2887764 rwe2late
rwe2late's picture

 And it could have been ended BEFORE the A-bombs were dropped

on the SAME terms (retaining the emperor as figurehead)

that the war ended AFTER the A-bombs were dropped.

Sun, 10/14/2012 - 12:53 | 2887540 thruhiker
thruhiker's picture

The world hasn't since seen the kind of war that was fought in WW2.  It was world war and no mercy was shown.  Both sides targeted civilians with bombers.  Millions of "defectives" were killed by the Nazis.  The Japanese murdered whole cities of Chinese with bayonets.  The Russians killed armies of captured solders.  Sailors died because rescue ships wouldn't risk submarine attack. 

Terrorism is nothing compared to what happened in that war.

Sun, 10/14/2012 - 13:31 | 2887789 Vlad Tepid
Vlad Tepid's picture

The various inhumanities that man subjects man to are all equally grotesque.  If you are the victim, it doesn't matter if you die singly or in the millions.

Sun, 10/14/2012 - 12:41 | 2887385 Mr Pink
Mr Pink's picture

Lots of zombies out this morning....must be getting ready for some football!!!!

Sun, 10/14/2012 - 12:22 | 2887353 Canucklehead
Canucklehead's picture

Japanese nuclear weapon program

F-Go Project
...Historian Rainer Karlsch has alleged that shortly before the end of the war US intelligence acquired information to the effect that Japanese scientists had planned to conduct a test of a nuclear weapon near Hungnam on 12 August 1945. However, this could not be verified as the Red Army occupied Konan a few days later, before US occupation authorities could investigate fully...


A Successful Japanese Atomic Bomb Test?

Sun, 10/14/2012 - 13:34 | 2887800 Vlad Tepid
Vlad Tepid's picture

The Navy and the Army were both working on seperate programs and were competing with one another for fissile material.  They were years away from a test as far as anyone can tell and the program was hopelessly mired in interservice rivalry.

Sun, 10/14/2012 - 12:22 | 2887352 ebworthen
ebworthen's picture

Dropped the bomb when all they had to do was let Patton get to Germany first and keep going to the edge of Russia.

Somewhat amazing that one hasn't been used since WWII, but when the generations that remember the horror pass on someone will probably decide to do it again, sadly.

Sun, 10/14/2012 - 13:23 | 2887768 Kayman
Kayman's picture

"all they had to do was let Patton get to Germany first and keep going to the edge of Russia"

You've been watch a little too much George C. Scott.  With help from the Americans and British, Stalin got his war machine fully rolling by the end of the war.  Stalin would have thought nothing of having a few hundred thousand more Russions die to gain another piece of dirt in Europe. FDR and Truman would never have gotten the necessary support at home to go after Russia.

Sun, 10/14/2012 - 12:19 | 2887344 Bagbalm
Bagbalm's picture

This article ignores the fact that at that time a single bomber could fly over a Japanese city unopposed. It was not worth sending fighters up for what was probably a photo mission. If the Japanese had been aware a single bomber could deliver such devastation it might very well have been shot down resulting in a loss or worse, a capture of the weapon.

The only safe way to use one at the time was in surprise.

Sun, 10/14/2012 - 13:37 | 2887810 Vlad Tepid
Vlad Tepid's picture

Japanese fighter planes were not equipped to reach the altitudes the weather and recon B29s flew at and their proximity fuses weren't properly calibrated for altitude either.  If they had known that the US had developed and tested an atmic weapon they would have gone straight to the Soviets for mediation because they could not intercept a B29 at ceiling.

Sun, 10/14/2012 - 12:10 | 2887330 tony bonn
tony bonn's picture

george, this article is stupendous scholarship and transformative to my only makes sense that the trogladyte military industrial complex wanted to play with its new toys and foment a fake war and arms race with the ussr whom they had established in the first place to create a miasma of perpetual fear and hence control.

it is also true that the rosenbergs were murdered by trumped up charges by the usa and its wall street overlords.....they murder because they can.....

this article is long overdue.....

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