One by the Joint Chiefs of Staff in April resulted in an estimate of 1,, casualties, with , fatalities. General Douglas MacArthur had been chosen to command US invasion forces for Operation Downfall, and his staff conducted their own study. In June their prediction was American casualties of , after days of combat. Mid-July intelligence estimates placed the number of Japanese soldiers in the main islands at under 2,,, but that number increased sharply in the weeks that followed as more units were repatriated from Asia for the final homeland defense.
All of the military planners based their casualty estimates on the ongoing conduct of the war and the evolving tactics employed by the Japanese. This tactic had worked well against enemy forces in their Asian campaigns, but against the Marines, the Japanese lost about 2, troops and killed only 80 Marines. At Tarawa in May , The Japanese modified their tactics and put up a fierce resistance to the Marine amphibious landings. Once the battered Marines made it ashore, the 4, well-supplied and well-prepared Japanese defenders fought almost to the last man. Only 17 Japanese soldiers were alive at the end of the battle.
On Saipan in July , the Japanese again put up fanatical resistance, even though a decisive U. Navy victory over the Japanese fleet had ended any hope of their resupply. Marines were forced to mow them down. Meanwhile, on the north end of the island a thousand civilians threw committed suicide by jumping from the cliff to the rocks below after being promised an honorable afterlife by Emperor Hirohito, and after being threatened with death by the Japanese army.
In the fall of , Marines landed on the small island of Peleliu, just east of the Philippines, for what was supposed to be a four-day mission. The battle lasted two months. At Peleliu, the Japanese unveiled a new defense strategy. Colonel Kunio Nakagawa, the Japanese commander, constructed a system of heavily fortified bunkers, caves, and underground positions, and waited for the Marines to attack them, and they replaced the fruitless banzai attacks with coordinated counterattacks.
Much of the island was solid volcanic rock, making the digging of foxholes with the standard-issue entrenching tool impossible.
The plan was to make Peleliu a bloody war of attrition, and it worked well. The fight for Umurbrogol Mountain is considered by many to be the most difficult fight that the U. At Peleliu, U. Japanese losses were 10, killed and only captured. After securing the Philippines and delivering yet another shattering blow to the Japanese navy, the Americans landed next on Iwo Jima in February , where the main mission was to secure three Japanese airfields.
Marines again faced an enemy well entrenched in a vast network of bunkers, hidden artillery, and miles of underground tunnels. American casualties on Iwo Jima were 6, killed or missing and 19, wounded. Japanese casualties were about 18, killed or missing, and only captured. Meanwhile, another method of Japanese resistance was emerging. With the Japanese navy neutralized, the Japanese resorted to suicide missions designed to turn piloted aircraft into guided bombs.
It was a harbinger of things to come. After Iwo Jima, only the island of Okinawa stood between U. Once secured, Okinawa would be used as a staging area for Operation Torch. Situated less than miles from Kyushu, the island had been Japanese territory since , and it was home to several hundred thousand Japanese civilians.
The Battle of Okinawa was fought from April 1 — June 22, Five U. Army divisions, three Marine divisions, and dozens of Navy vessels participated in the day battle. The Japanese stepped up their use of kamikaze attacks, this time sending them at U. Seven major kamikaze attacks took place involving 1, planes. They took a devastatingtoll—both physically and psychologically.
The U. On land, U.
The Japanese extracted heavy American casualties at one line of defense, and then as the Americans began to gain the upper hand, fell back to another series of fortifications. Japanese defenders and civilians fought to the death even women with spears or committed suicide rather than be captured.
The Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb: Arguments in Support
The civilians had been told the Americans would go on a rampage of killing and raping. And the fierce resistance took a heavy toll on the Americans; 12, were killed on Okinawa, and another 38, were wounded.
The increased level of Japanese resistance on Okinawa was of particular significance to military planners, especially the resistance of civilians. This was a concern for the American troops as well. In the Ken Burns documentary The War , a veteran Marine pilot of the Okinawa campaign relates his thoughts at the time about invading the home islands:. By then, our sense of the strangeness of the Japanese opposition had become stronger. And I could imagine every farmer with his pitchfork coming at my guts; every pretty girl with a hand grenade strapped to her bottom, or something; that everyone would be an enemy.
Although the estimates of American casualties in Operation Downfall vary widely, no one doubts that they would have been significant. Military planners included Japanese casualties in their estimates. The study done for Secretary of War Stimson predicted five to ten million Japanese fatalities.
There is support for the bomb even among some Japanese.
The Decision Of Drop An Atomic Bomb
Only the atomic bomb saved me. Not me alone, but many Japanese, ironically speaking, were saved by the atomic bomb.
Argument 1. Another concurrent argument supporting the use of the bomb is that it achieved its primary objective of shortening the war. The bombs were dropped on August 6 and 9. The next day, the Japanese requested a halting of the war. Military planners had wanted the Pacific war finished no later than a year after the fall of Nazi Germany. The rationale was the belief that in a democracy, there is only so much that can reasonably be asked of its citizen soldiers and of the voting public. During the baseball games when the men were stripped to their waists, or wearing only shorts, the sight of all those battle scars made me conscious of the fact that other than a handful of men in the battalion who had survived all four campaigns, only a few were lucky enough to be without at least one scar.
Some men had two, three, even four scars on their chests, backs, arms, or legs. Keep in mind that…I was looking only at the men who were not seriously wounded. Supporters of the bomb wonder if it was reasonable to ask even more sacrifice of these men.
The Decision to Drop the Bomb [saediritorchru.gq]
Since these veterans are the men whose lives or wholeness were, by this argument, saved by the bomb, it is relevant to survey their thoughts on the matter, as written in various war memoirs going back to the s. The record is mixed. Apparently the atomic bomb carried as much punch as a regiment of paratroopers.
It seemed inhumane for our national leaders to employ either weapon on the human race. We were so relieved. It was the greatest thing that could have happened. Somebody once said to me that the bomb was the worst thing that ever happened, that the U. Me and all my buddies jumping in Tokyo, and the Allied forces going in, and all of us getting killed? Millions more Allied soldiers getting killed? The end of the war was good news to us. We knew we were going home soon. Those soldiers with extensive combat experience in the Pacific theater and with first-hand knowledge of Japanese resistance also express conflicting thoughts about the bomb.
All of them write of the relief and joy they felt upon first hearing the news. This is where the nuclear shadow first appeared. I feel forlorn, alienated, wholly without empathy for the men who did what they did. This was not my war…Standing there, notebook in hand; you are shrouded in absolute, inexpressible loneliness.
Eugene Sledge published his combat memoir in He describes the moment when they first heard about the atom bomb, having just survived the Okinawa campaign:. We received the news with quiet disbelief coupled with an indescribable sense of relief. We thought the Japanese would never surrender. Many refused to believe it. Sitting around in stunned silence, we remembered our dead.