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Apropos of nothing at all, really...

 For those of you who buy into the revisionist historian's view that Truman didn't order use of The Bomb because of projected casualties, but rather that that reasoning was a postwar fiction developed to hide the truth and cover the guilt, I offer this rather dry read:

D. M. Giangreco, “Casualty Projections for the U.S. Invasions of Japan, 1945-1946: Planning and Policy Implications” in Journal of Military History, 61 (July 1997): 521-82, online at:

[Link fixed. A pesky period snuck into the URL]

By the way, I apologize for the comments disappearing on posts last week.

Knowing that the Rotary event I was attending last week was going to keep me actively engaged from 0600 (wake-up) to 2200 (crash) and that no blogging was going to occur (I can Facebook from my Kindle, but blogging is a real PITA) I pre-loaded all those posts Monday before I left on Tuesday.  The anti-spam 'bot closes comments on posts after three days (by default) and uses the "created on" date, not the "published on" date.  And it just didn't occur to me to change the default.  

I was busy.

Sue me.

8^ )


I'd sue you, but you're too poor to get anything. :-) I don't buy the casualty thing, but not for reasons of guilt or anything weird like that. I think the casualties would have been massive, if we invaded the main islands, but we could simply cut them off from everything they import and starved them out. I doubt it would have taken longer than the end of 1945 to reach that point as they were already near the end of their rope. Personally, I think the bombs were dropped to send Stalin a message. We were already having serious trouble with the SU in Europe and Stalin behaved, although he sat on East Fritzlandia and never held the "free elections" he promised.
Yes, we could have starved them out, but that wasn't really the mindset at the time. They'd killed a lot of our people and we were going to finish it, not suddenly go soft at the last minute. Besides, who would have been the first to starve or be murdered? Our POWs. I doubt any politician or general would want that hanging over them.

I do agree that it was a perfectly sensible use of intimidation on the Soviets, though.
I don't know why your link is not working, but it isn't. This one works for me:

I did a paper on this when I was in grad school. I had good sources, but not as good as what supports this analysis. My conclusion was that the national leadership had casualty estimates for CORONET and OLYMPIC that were the "best guess" based on recent experiences at Iwo Jima and on Okinawa. Everyone believed that we would have a similar experience in the home islands.

As a combat veteran and a statistic myself (in the WIA column, of course), I took this stuff very seriously outside of the academic construct. Since my father would have been an infantry battalion commander in the invasion of Japan, the events leading to the surrender of Japan have a very personal meaning to me, given that I was born in 1947.

No politician with two functional atomic bombs in the inventory could have made any other decision than the one Truman made and it was the right decision for both American and Japanese lives, though I could care less about Japanese lives saved.

For a well researched look at what was and what might have been in the Far East in 1945, I'd recommend Richard Frank's "Downfall". Has a lot of reciently discovered information including declassified Ultra  and Magic message traffic that indicates the Japanese weren't as beaten as we thought. For Dennis, there's one deode that directs commanders with Allied POW's to "annihilate them all, and not leave any traces." 

I won't argue why they dropped the bombs, but I'm Ok with the fact they did. At that time, in that context, it made sense. You and I can't possibly see things in the context of that time.
"At that time, in that context, it made sense. You and I can't possibly see things in the context of that time."

Best short summary of the subject I've ever seen, TwoFiveZulu. 

"Narns, humans, Centauri, we all do what we do for the same reason: because it seemed like a good idea at the time." -- Ambassador G'Kar, Babylon 5

Truman made his decision based on what he knew at the time, and I'm sure it seemed like the best decision available at the time.  I wonder what the reaction would have been if ten or twenty thousand more Americans -- and ten times that many Japanese -- died in an invasion, and it came out afterwards that he could have saved all those American lives, and half the Japanese ones, but chose not to.