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Joris

The atomic bombs on Japan, necessary or war crime?

Tell us what you think!  

43 members have voted

  1. 1. The atomic bombs on Japan was

    • a necessary evil
      13
    • a military necessity
      27
    • a war crime
      3


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Posted (edited)
30 minutes ago, Hans Werther said:

It was the US who wanted to enroll Stalin against Japan. At first, he said no. But Roosevelt persisted, and finally Stalin gave in and promised to attack Japan up in the North. 

This does not make any sense. Roosevelt was already dead for more than 3 months by the time Vasilevsky invaded Manchuria. Stalin was never compelled to honor his promises to the living, much less to the dead people. Americans came away from the war with a base on Okinawa, while the USSR gobbled up Sakhalin and Kuril islands. Looks like a more compelling motive than the promise to a dead man.

Edited by George Collins

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Roosevelts agreement with Stalin, was made when Roosevelt was still alive, of course. How could it be otherwise? As for Churchill: I don't know how much he pushed Stalin to act against Japan. But I am sure he, and the US president, were both for it together.

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9 hours ago, Hans Werther said:

Roosevelts agreement with Stalin, was made when Roosevelt was still alive, of course. How could it be otherwise? As for Churchill: I don't know how much he pushed Stalin to act against Japan. But I am sure he, and the US president, were both for it together.

Why so selective? You should be aware that Stalin had the Neutrality Pact with Japan effective April 1941 through April 1946.  

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NONSENS. Like "My country, right or wrong"? The blockade around Japan would have made all big scale invasion plans unnecessary. The US Navy was of this opinium too, among many others.

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The A bomb was as much a message to the Russians as it was a means to end the war. The longer the war went on the more territory the Russians would have taken. Roosevelt was dead and the new president and his generals knew this. Roosevelt trusted Stalin.

The Japanese could have held out for years. They still had 4500 kamikaze planes, suicide speed boats and a few assorted subs and small navy craft. Americans and Brits and all the other members of the allied forces would have continued to die.

 

By holding out many more Japanese would have died from round the clock bombing, strafing and starvation. Not to mention the thousands of Allied  POW's already at death's door held prisoner in Japan.

You must also consider the hatred and lust for revenge among the Brits and the Americans. Pearl Harbor and the atrocities committed, including eating Allied POW's. The Japanese were considered sub-human. There was no way that bomb was to going to be used.

 

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Posted (edited)

"my country right or wrong"  Did I say that?  No, I did not.  It is not polite to put words in someone's mouth.

 

And you do so because you do not agree with my historic perspective?  Because I don't subscribe to bleatings and beating of breasts over the actions those dirty rotten Americans?  Because I do not believe that what one might believe to be a standard today, where the collateral death of a single civilian makes world-wide headlines, in any way, shape, or form, applies to the summer of 1945?

 

Tough toenails.

 

The Japanese were not going to surrender.

 

All the nonsense about their discussions with the Soviets is exactly that, nonsense.  The Japanese foreign ministry never, NEVER, gave their ambassador the full authority, nor any real basis for negotiation.  How do we know?  Because the Americans and the British were reading the mail and had been for the last four years.  The Allies knew it was all smoke and mirrors.  They also knew the Soviets were just stringing them along.  And can anyone guess why the foreign ministry was vague to their own ambassador?  Because had they been definitive, and word got out, they would have been dragged out and shot.

 

The Japanese foreign ministry was not running the show.  The Army and the Navy were running the government, totally and in an iron grip, and we already know what they were saying . . . "100 million lives for the Emperor!!".  Women and teenagers armed with bamboo spears, children trained with satchel charges on their backs to run beneath tanks.  Go read some real history and not the bleats of agenda ridden nonsense.  Anyone who wants to believe the warm and fuzzy, you go right ahead, but you are banging up against the cold reality of people in charge who had no intention of surrendering absent some cataclysmic event.

 

Between the sea mines sowed by the USN and the USAAF, the roving strikes of fighters and bombers from USN carriers or from USAAF forces on Okinawa, and USN submarines, Japanese commerce, the ability to move goods, especially food, had virtually ground to a halt. Coal shipments from the coal fields in Hokkaido (where, if you bothered to read up on it, most of the Japanese coal industry and all of its oil production were centered) had been brought to a halt by the 14 and 15 Jul 45 carrier air strikes on the coal train ferries and other vessels operating in the area of the Tsugaru Strait between Aomori on Honshu and Hakodate on Hokkaido.

 

Warships sunk over the two days of strikes were not many as most of the IJN was in the waters of the Inland Sea:

Tachibana, Destroyer, approx tons 1000;  Coast Defense Vessel No 65, Frigate, approx tons 800; Coast Defense Vessel No 74, Frigate, approx tons 800; Coast Defense Vessel No 219, Frigate, approx tons 800; and Minesweeper No 24, Minesweeper, approx tons 630.   Total 5 warships, 4030 tons approx displacement.

 

On the other hand, merchant vessels sunk in these strikes were:

Hiran Maru, Coal train ferry rated 3459 tons; Matsumae Maru, Coal train ferry rated 3129 tons; Tsugaru Maru, Coal train ferry rated 3484 tons; Seikan Maru No 1, Coal train ferry rated 2326 tons; Seikan Maru No 2, Coal train ferry rated 2493 tons; Seikan Maru No 3, Coal train ferry rated 2787 tons; Seikan Maru No 4, Coal train ferry rated 2903 tons; Seikan Maru No 10, Coal train ferry rated 2900 tons; Shoan Maru, Coal train ferry rated 2900 tons; Awa Maru, Cargo ship rated 1960 tons; Eiho Maru, Cargo ship rated 741 tons; Eireki Maru, Cargo ship rated 6923 tons; Hokoku Maru, Cargo ship rated 1274 tons; Hokuryu Maru No 23, Cargo ship rated 1550 tons; Imizu Maru, Cargo ship rated 986 tons; Nissen Maru No 6, Cargo ship rated 521 tons; Kiodo Maru No 13, Cargo ship rated 1996 tons; Toyu Maru, Cargo ship rated 1256 tons; Unyo Maru No 1, Cargo ship rated 2039 tons; Senzan Maru, Cargo ship rated 1151 tons; Shimosa Maru, Cargo ship rated 887 tons; Shoho Maru, Transport ship rated 3460 tons; Taisei Maru, Cargo ship rated 884 tons; Taka Maru, Cargo ship rated 887 tons; Shoka Maru, Transport ship rated 1931 tons; Hirano Maru, Cargo ship rated 1226 tons; Tokai Maru, Cargo ship rated 3099 tons; Shoho Maru, Cargo ship rated 1327 tons; and Taisho Maru No 1, Cargo ship rated 605 tons.  Total: 29 ships, 61,084 tons.

 

Merely listed as damaged were an additional 3 coal train ferries, 1 destroyer, 3 escort destroyers, 4 coast defense vessels, 1 submarine chaser, 3 auxiliary minesweepers, 3 auxiliary submarine chasers, 1 guard boat, and 19 transport/cargo vessels, 2 tankers and 1 harbor dredge.

 

And you could justifiably ask, “No coal? So what? What makes that so important?” Well, first of all, most of Japan gets cold in the winter and, then, cooking for the average Japanese in those days meant coal, so there would be next to none. Then of course, though the US had no crystal ball to predict it, the rice crop failed in 1945, so one might guess that that small factor plus a lack of coal would ultimately mean a large portion of the population having little, with next to nothing, to cook, but no problem, nothing to cook it with.

 

Of course, the already being felt dearth of food stuffs and an almost complete inability to transport what food there was to where it might be needed (except to insure the army got first takes on rations before civilians) would tend to have an unpleasant impact on the population.  Sure, starve them out, that would work, probably take about a year.  Meanwhile people are dying all over areas still held by the Japanese at a rate of about 30,000 a month.  And the Allies could kiss goodbye as well the remaining two thirds of POWs taken by the Japanese over the course of the war who were still alive. There was in fact a direct order that on command all prisoners were to be eliminated and any trace thereof obliterated . . . yes, we knew about that, too.

 

One might suppose that had Fleet Admirals King and Nimitz had their way, absent either the atomic or an invasion, the Japanese would have eventually been starved into submission . . . of course, that means children, old people, and women would be the first to go, slowly, painfully. Not a very happy alternative and certain to produce more deaths than the bombs or, perhaps, even an invasion. One of the fears of the Japanese government was indeed the vision of impending mass starvation causing a popular uprising.

 

And, I’m really sorry to burst your balloon or anyone else’s for that matter, but the bombs, both of them, were indeed to impress that same Japanese government, to convince them that to continue would be tantamount to national total destruction. Unfortunately, it took two to do the job.

 

Had the Japanese wanted to throw in the towel before the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, all they had to do was say so . . . to the people who counted, the ones pointing guns at them.  They did not.  If they had wanted to end the war after Hiroshima alone, all they had to do was say so.  They did not.

 

I am truly sorry that real history annoys you to the point of trying to putting words in the mouth of the messenger.

 

Want some real words from the times? My father was Lieutenant Commander and assistant operations officer on Vice Admiral McCain's staff of the Fast Carrier Task Force operating off the coast of the Japan at the time. He wrote home in serial letters, each covering about a week or so, I have most of them from the entire war, but from this period, some snippets:

The entry dated 7 August 1945: "Guess you have been reading about 'the bomb' as everyone else has. It has been quite an interesting and depressing topic for me. All I can say, I can't think of any other people who I would prefer to possess it and no better target upon which it should be used. Just the same, it can be quite a problem for the future. Then again, with the right control it may insure the future. All the same, it's dangerous and I just have my doubts whether we are ready to control such power. Such worries did not trouble the man who invented gunpowder."

On the installment for the 8th, he continued: "Lots of news has been coming in about the big bomb, but not much to rely on as to the Jap reaction. They are too unpredictable to depend on even when bopped this hard. Press notice seems to give this bomb quite a bopping factor. Hope it never has to be used again.

On the 10th: “Things have been doing pretty well the last day or so and tonight’s news makes it look as though this war is about in its last hours. The news about the Russians coming into the fight seemed insignificant beside the news about the bomb and then both of them seem insignificant in the light of the news of a possible surrender. It’s too close to see just what effect that is going to have on our immediate movements, but, gosh, it is something and the possibilities leave me excited.

But the war went on. On the 11th: “Busy day as usual. Seems to be much expectation in the air but not much change of plans at this point.

On the 13th: “Looks as though I were dreaming just dreams the other night because we are back in business as usual without a let-up. Today was a pretty active one if you noticed. If these people want to fight, we are just the ones to oblige them. To coin a term I might say they will be obliged by experts.

 

Bottom line . . . Yes, the bombs, both of them, were necessary, absolutely, no question.  The purpose the bombs were to slap the Japanese leadership hard enough that they would pay attention and realize that to continue the contest would mean eventual destruction of their entire country and people. The first one came close to doing the job, but, ultimately, failed. The second bomb got their attention.  Those who would believe that the Japanese could be brought to surrender without the atomic bombs or without starving a generation to death are living a dream world just as the Japanese army and navy commanders lived the dream of ultimate victory.

 

 

Edited by R Leonard

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Interesting stuff, thank you. I will try to read it carefully. One thing strikes my attention already though: 

1 hour ago, R Leonard said:

"had Fleet Admirals King and Nimitz had their way, absent either the atomic or an invasion, the Japanese would have eventually been starved into submission . . . of course, that means children, old people, and women would be the first to go, slowly, painfully."

To this I must say: To try to starv the enemy into submission was exactly what the Allies did during WWI against Kaiser Wilhelm II's Germany. No one on the winning side has (as far as I know) had any regrets at all about such a policy of starvation. And guess what? When World War II started, the Allies at once began a starvation policy against Nazi Germany by sea blockade etc. But against the evil Japs you suddenly have some humanitarian thoughts. Why not against the Germans too? I can't understand this. Can you?

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Apples and oranges.  Two entirely different cultures.  Do not make the big, BIG, mistake of ascribing western mores and values to the Japanese in WW2. I have offered no humanitarian thoughts, I merely point out the results of an alternative to the bombs.  Absent the atomic bombs, there were two choices, invasion or starvation.  You pick and then you convince me that your selection would have a lesser impact in lost lives than the bombs.

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On 12/20/2017 at 2:40 AM, Edward, The Black Prince said:

Can you tell me one single action which has resulted in more deaths and destruction?

Just two bombs killed approximately 130,000 people.

 

 

How about the Tokyo firebombing raids?  That killed more than the nukes.  And they still wanted to keep fighting.

 

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Posted (edited)
On 4/10/2018 at 9:15 AM, Hans Werther said:

NONSENS. Like "My country, right or wrong"? The blockade around Japan would have made all big scale invasion plans unnecessary. The US Navy was of this opinium too, among many others.

Hans, you might want to rethink your comment some.  Sure Japan was still cut off.  But they had plenty of fight left in them.  They had begun training their civilians to fight.  Check into the fighting in Okinawa.  There were many instances where parents would toss their kids off of cliffs then jump after them. They had been told, and they believed that the US's troops would torture the men, rape women, and eat kids.   Then, how long do you think the US could really keep that many men and ships around Japan?  Then you have to remember what Japan did to its neighbors.   Japan had to be broken once and for all.  Dropping nukes it was hoped would bring them to the peace table.  It did.  That made it justified.

Edited by Joe Rich

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You have some good points here.  ☺️  As you said: "Then, how long do you think the US could really keep that many men and ships around Japan?"  That's a really good question. I would guess: Until Christmas 1945, at least. Would Japan have collapsed by then? Most likely.                                                                                                                                                                                              We know what happened with the tough Germans when they were starving, and everything was lost during the last weeks of WWI. They FINALLY REVOLTED!! The Japanese may have done the same despite all pretensions. 

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Posted (edited)

We are taking about different type of people.  Japanese worshipped their leader.  He could do no wrong in their eyes.

    To die for him was an honor.  Being killed for the Kiser just wasn't the same.

    Also, you are overlooking the US's fear of high casualties.  Just getting a beach head was expected to cost one million Allied causalities.there was no way to figure taking out the entire island chain.

Edited by Joe Rich

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2 hours ago, Hans Werther said:

  We know what happened with the tough Germans when they were starving, and everything was lost during the last weeks of WWI. They FINALLY REVOLTED!! The Japanese may have done the same despite all pretensions. 

Oh dear, this makes zero sense. You are now comparing two different cultures 27 years apart. And in the last week of WW1 the German government collapsed, with the Kaiser abdicating. Do you honestly think Tojo and the military would do the same? It was offically forbidden for japanese soldiers to surrender. Remeber Hiroo Onoda? he finally surrendered in 1974!

I quote General Anami: "Would it not be wondrous for this whole nation to be destroyed like a beautiful flower?" 

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Posted (edited)
12 hours ago, Joe Rich said:

We are taking about different type of people.  Japanese worshipped their leader.  He could do no wrong in their eyes.

    To die for him was an honor.  Being killed for the Kiser just wasn't the same.

 

If the Emperor were that important for the Japanese fighting moral, why then didn't the US try to kill him in his palace? A bombing raid? As far as I know, no bombs ever fell on, or near, the Palace. Truth is, the US didn't want to kill him.

Edited by Hans Werther

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Hans, the fact is that to the allied leaders knew that killing the emperor would be a grave mistake.  Even the US's first air raid in Japan put the Palace off limits. Even during the fire bombings of Tokyo, the palace was off limits.  They bunt out most of the city but left the palace alone.  

  I can't say exactly why the allies felt this way.  I know they did.  I can not find any ready references to support this statement.  But we both know that if the allies thought killing the emperor would end the war, it would have been done.  There were several leaders taken out during the war.  So it is clear that the US could and would do it.  Now we just need to figure out why they did not.

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On 6/7/2018 at 7:25 AM, Joe Rich said:

Hans, the fact is that to the allied leaders knew that killing the emperor would be a grave mistake.  Even the US's first air raid in Japan put the Palace off limits. Even during the fire bombings of Tokyo, the palace was off limits.  They bunt out most of the city but left the palace alone.  

  I can't say exactly why the allies felt this way.  I know they did.  I can not find any ready references to support this statement.  But we both know that if the allies thought killing the emperor would end the war, it would have been done.  There were several leaders taken out during the war.  So it is clear that the US could and would do it.  Now we just need to figure out why they did not.

Perhaps the fear was that if Hirohito was removed from the scene there be nobody else with whom to negotiate.

As for the dropping of the nuclear weapons, it's difficult to see that Truman had much choice. If there was an opportunity to end the war without horrific alllied casualties then it had to be seized.

It was only well after the event, when the horrors of radiation poisoning were properly understood,that moral arguments against the use of the weapons were raised.

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On 4/6/2018 at 10:15 PM, George Collins said:

This does not make any sense. Roosevelt was already dead for more than 3 months by the time Vasilevsky invaded Manchuria. Stalin was never compelled to honor his promises to the living, much less to the dead people. Americans came away from the war with a base on Okinawa, while the USSR gobbled up Sakhalin and Kuril islands. Looks like a more compelling motive than the promise to a dead man.

the bomb was dropped as a warning to stalin. also to shorten the war because there was a fear that stalin would take over asia.

and the japanese were beaten much more quickly than the U.S. chiefs of staff thought they would be.  also with the incredible brutality of the japanese during their successful period in 1941-1942 they were so hated that no one gave a damn whether the japanese people were wiped out. The level of hatred in the U.S. and with the troops that had to fight these hordes of rapacious monsters was very intense.

i would have dropped it  without thinking twice. millions more japanese would have died if we had invaded as planned

Also many hundreds of thousands of allied troops. look at the horror show that iwo jima and okinawa became on such a small scale.

imaging the whole of the japanese islands? there really was no political or moral choice. it had to be done.

those who oppose it are absolutely wrong. i know a woman whos 2 high school friends died at hong kong in the Cdn army after brutal mistreatment.

 

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1 hour ago, SCOTT said:

the bomb was dropped as a warning to stalin. also to shorten the war because there was a fear that stalin would take over asia.

and the japanese were beaten much more quickly than the U.S. chiefs of staff thought they would be.  also with the incredible brutality of the japanese during their successful period in 1941-1942 they were so hated that no one gave a damn whether the japanese people were wiped out. The level of hatred in the U.S. and with the troops that had to fight these hordes of rapacious monsters was very intense.

i would have dropped it  without thinking twice. millions more japanese would have died if we had invaded as planned

Also many hundreds of thousands of allied troops. look at the horror show that iwo jima and okinawa became on such a small scale.

imaging the whole of the japanese islands? there really was no political or moral choice. it had to be done.

those who oppose it are absolutely wrong. i know a woman whos 2 high school friends died at hong kong in the Cdn army after brutal mistreatment.

 

Why am I replying!! This discussion is already WAY TOO long, and has too many nonsense comments.

But still - how do we let some egregious errors get by??

Scott said that the atomic bomb was to prevent Staling from taking over Asia - do you have any idea what you are saying??? How would Stalin have the resources to take over "Asia" as in China, Japan, Korea, all of Southeast Asia, etc etc etc?? Stalin took over Eastern Europe - some of the control was not firm until well after we dropped an atomic bomb. The Communists also took over half of Korea, Manchuria, etc etc etc. The atomic bomb was NOT to prevent "Stalin from taking over Asia". 

And more nonsense - the "level of hatred in the U.S. (snip) was very intense." that is very wrong. Our occupation troops generally treated the Japanese with respect, sure there was anger but there were no massacres, no widespread mistreatment of the Japanese. When the Soviets occupied Eastern Germany they terribly mistreated the German people, they stripped the country of usable machines, etc etc. The Soviets paused at the outskirts of Warsaw so that the Germans and Polish Home Army would tear each other apart - that was hatred. 

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20 hours ago, CharlesHouston said:

When the Soviets occupied Eastern Germany they terribly mistreated the German people, they stripped the country of usable machines, etc etc. The Soviets paused at the outskirts of Warsaw so that the Germans and Polish Home Army would tear each other apart - that was hatred. 

I believe that when judging the Soviet troops' behavior in Europe on macro scale, "hatred" factor should be discounted as irrelevant. It's well enough documented that atrocities in East Prussia and Silesia were intentionally organized by NKVD to drive the German population out en mass. Likewise, Rokossovsky's inaction during the Warsaw uprising was a calculated by Stalin move aiming at consequently installing a puppet regime in Poland.

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On 6/14/2018 at 12:20 AM, CharlesHouston said:

Why am I replying!! This discussion is already WAY TOO long, and has too many nonsense comments.

But still - how do we let some egregious errors get by??

Scott said that the atomic bomb was to prevent Staling from taking over Asia - do you have any idea what you are saying??? How would Stalin have the resources to take over "Asia" as in China, Japan, Korea, all of Southeast Asia, etc etc etc?? Stalin took over Eastern Europe - some of the control was not firm until well after we dropped an atomic bomb. The Communists also took over half of Korea, Manchuria, etc etc etc. The atomic bomb was NOT to prevent "Stalin from taking over Asia". 

And more nonsense - the "level of hatred in the U.S. (snip) was very intense." that is very wrong. Our occupation troops generally treated the Japanese with respect, sure there was anger but there were no massacres, no widespread mistreatment of the Japanese. When the Soviets occupied Eastern Germany they terribly mistreated the German people, they stripped the country of usable machines, etc etc. The Soviets paused at the outskirts of Warsaw so that the Germans and Polish Home Army would tear each other apart - that was hatred. 

maybe i rushed that statement, it was definitely a warning to stalin. . and it was also at least partly to end the war quickly before stalin took over more asian territory.

if you do not want to believe that fine. ignorance is bliss.

read your history. stalin had already taken over eastern europe. he shipped a large number of troops to asia as soon as berlin fell.

he ended up with manchuria mongolia the stans, north korea and his allies ended up with china. that to me signals an attempt to grab as much territory as possible.

if you do not call that a threat then you are delusional. stalin went for booty everywhere he ""liberated""

 

viz a viz occupation troops-- yes most of the combat troops had gone home. There was hatred in the public for the sneak attack on pearl harbour. there was racism in the propaganda.. read any report by a combat soldier or marine in the pacific in ww2. the japanese soldier was respected in some measure due to his tenacity in defence, but was ruthlessly exterminated universally.

There was not much feeling about killing japanese troops.  It amounted to the emotion aroused in killing a bug.

the occupation troops were recent draftees. most of the combat soldiers with enough points were on their way home.

the japanese had become docile in defeat. There was no resistance or bitter feelings expressed by the population.

it was easy for the new soldiers to lose them selves in cheap booze and women. Which is what they did.  read about the condition of the "combat" troops brought to korea in 1950. "task force smith" are the keywords.

 

i disagree with your attack points and the ridicule your express. there was little hated for the german people in north america in ww2 because they were white and germanic people had settled in large numbers. therefore many families had relatives on the other side. the russians and the germans hated each other with a passion. cruelty will generate hate. the same cruelty expressed by the japanese for civillains-nanking, pow's -the railroads and the starvation and murder of prisoners

there was universal hatred and no sympathy for the victims of the tokyo fire bombings. that series of bombings alone killed more people than the a bombs.  The true totals of either are hard to count but it is my guess that they are close to the same numbers. That would not include the ultimate deaths caused by radiation perhaps. 

 i enjoy a lively discussion but as your rebuttal style is personal attack, we have nothing more to exchange.

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