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Old 2008-11-19, 21:17   Link #61
ganbaru
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HE was speaking from a 10 year old perspective , not his own.
I think you missed the point.
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Old 2008-11-19, 21:20   Link #62
WanderingKnight
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Umm, did you miss the last part of the sentence? The one about serious adults comparing how many each of them killed and how?
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Old 2008-11-19, 21:23   Link #63
Irenicus
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mumitroll View Post
sure they do. a simplified version of history commonly told to Western ten-year-olds is something like: "Nazis were bad people in Germany and they started World War II. Then the US and UK came in and defeated them, as well as the bad Japanese emperor who was their ally."

i often see slightly more sophisticated versions of this retold on Western political forums.
How the hell is that what I said?

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42!

...there is no single "answer". an answer can only be given to a specific question
Yet you continuously attempt to portray the USA as uniformly bad throughout this thread...

Look, I'm not even pro-American, I'm the type the patriots hate and think I think far too much and argue far too much; and yet I think you're rabidly out of sorts with your opinion of the USA. I really really hate it when I see the stereotype of the rabidly anti-American European acted out, because more often than not I'm more than prepared to agree with many Europeans on the utter foolishness -- criminal, even -- of certain US foreign policies.

...and then I'm forced to the defend the USA from this kind of, well, bigotry.

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did I say that somewhere?
See my answer waaaay below.

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thats a logic that you should try to quit. most major historical conflicts have a clear aggressor, and you should understand who that was. WWI had one, WWII had one, WWIII will probably have one too. yes, there are various complicated conflicts (mostly civil war type) which do not really have a specific aggressor, but they are mostly regional - like Israel/Palestina, Balkans, Nagornyi Karabach, Kashmir, etc - and not a reason to relativize everything to death.

people who go "USSR was as evil as Nazi Germany and would have started WWII if the Germans wouldnt have" are about as ridiculously historically incompetent as people who go "Japan provoked the US into dropping nuclear bombs" or "Saddam's WMD were a danger to humanity".
Okay, we were talking about the Pacific War, right? And I've read your posts above: you hinted at the USA forcing Japan's hand with the Oil Embargo among other sanction measures. That's an interesting argument, one that historians have made and I have listened. So now here's a question: who's the clear aggressor in WW2, Pacific theater?


If you answer Japan, then did you not, through your own argument of retaliation being morally understandable, gave the USA a carte blanche to do whatever it takes to defeat Japan in the war, considering they were attacked first? The concept of the atomic bomb as a last-resort weapon did not exist at the leadership level of anybody at the time -- although scientists, being smarter than everybody else, especially politicians, thoroughly recognized it -- it was merely a military and political tool for the US leadership to use. Drastic, risky, and destructive, definitely, and the pesky pacifistic scientists gave their usual warnings; but it'd just cause roughly the same results as firebombing campaigns or vicious street-to-street urban fighting; better yet, same casualties for the Japan, may be more, but less for "us," and we'd gain a lot of geopolitical power.

That was their mindset, a superweapon, a war-winning tool, justified because the Japanese attacked first and attacked "unprovoked" (culture shock here too). Until it sank in, holy shit, this is not just a bomb, this is Death, the Destroyer of Worlds. We just changed everything. Are they to blame for causing it? Hell yes. Would it have been worse than a full-scale assault on a very densely populated island chain with the intention to fight to the death? Or starving them to death, longer, more painful even? Grave of the Fireflies, 10 million people style? I don't know. Do you know?

Does that question mean all that much? I don't think so. People died. People were killed. So it was all for politics. So it goes. Nobody's right here, but few of them are alive to take blame today, if not none whatsoever. All we can do is learn the lesson.

Unless you think my immigration to the United States imply me sharing the blame for the traumatic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki?


If you answer the USA, then you would be arguing that such diplomatic measures are considered valid casus belli for a military response, essentially arguing that, say, the Germans were quite perfectly justified in pushing for the return of Danzig against "Western and Polish provocations*," which, of course, is full of it.

Now, there are cases like the German invasion of Poland mentioned above that the aggressor seems clear -- but never without arguments for the other side -- but your assertion displays a surprising level of confidence in the nature of human conflicts that I happen to strongly, very strongly, disagree.

*I'm not talking about the Propaganda Ministry's little blatant deception with "Polish attacks on German soil" either; the history of Polish-German relations dated back deep into history and was quite thoroughly ugly on both sides, although many are inclined to forgive the Polish because of their oppression by the German conquerors. Between WW1 and 2, even Weimar Germany was thoroughly hostile towards Poland, and vice versa -- the Corridor was the kind of issue that made nationalists rabid and moderates nationalist, and the treatment of minorities on both sides were atrocious. All sorts of nasty sanctions, all sorts of treaties, all sorts of justifications for armed response from either side. None of that means shit when people died for things they could not possibly care less.

Nazi Germany's crimes against the Polish people are without a doubt incredible and immense, and thoroughly tragic in scope; but the expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Germans from their ancestral homes in modern Poland post WW2 was something not quite recognized by most. Though I suppose you would considering you're -- I assume -- German.

I, well, I don't have much to say. It happened, may be for the better, most likely not, may be for the worse; the key thing is to prevent such things from happening again, and these descendants of past enemies are doing a great job of reconciliation, necessary remorse and diplomatic overtures like formal apologies. Not finger-pointing and throwing around blame and negative epithets.

Oh, right, and I forgot to mention: nobody knows for sure who fired the first shot, or cut the first cut, in this long and sad history that has since turned for the better. Some ambitious Medieval Polish King? Henry the Lion? A fanatical Teutonic Knight? Friedrich-Stanislaw the Unlucky Peasant?


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this logic is something I dislike very much. THESE THINGS HAPPEN you say???

do you know WHY these things happen? because masses of clueless ignorant idiots ALLOW them to happen and support it! this picture repeats itself many times in history. yes there are cases where a tyrannic regime simply seizes power and kills everyone who opposes it - Bolsheviks/Stalin is one of the most prominent examples. you cant do much there as a single citizen except rebelling against it and (most likely) dying. but Hitler/Nazis or the US in Iraq - those were elected governments. it was in the power of the citizens to vote for someone else who wasnt running such a course - but they chose to support it. with the well-known results.
How did you read my statement into this again?

What I'm expressing isn't apathy. Quite the opposite. I'm saying here: it's all bullshit, your blame, my blame, our country 'tis of thee. None of it matters. None of this nationalist crap, or anti-X nation crap: people died, they were killed. That's the thing. What you want to do, after to figure out what was going on, is to try and stop it from happening again, not pointing the finger: look, the USA doesn't even know it did this. What a horrible country.

Guess what? It did. The USA isn't homogeneous, the USA is a place where when half the country's youth was drafted to Vietnam for no decent reason whatsoever, the other half were singing protest songs in San Francisco. And interestingly enough, probably more than half who came back from the Southeast Asian country became thoroughly disillusioned at war. So many American kids don't know head to toe in their history classes; how about Germany? Do German kids come out of their history classes aware of the intricacies of history? I'd bet on no. And no, the classes aren't celebrations of American greatness: if anything, I remember from a few years ago a very clear lesson from my AP US history class was that the European immigrants who came over fucked over the natives really, really bad. Over and over again. And they fucked over the black slaves really, really bad. Over and over again. And they attacked Mexico on flimsy pretexts, Spain on flimsy pretexts. And we were taught that. Nobody happens to pay attention to history class, that is all.

Are Americans the bullheaded big blondies who are too stupid to realize what's going on like they show on anime? Of course not.

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if, by this thread, i'm able to slightly influence even a single person away from their brainwashed Western position of "US means it well" etc, I'm fine with it. it's minimal effort for me, and I like such arguments as well - there's much more freedom of argumentation here than in precise mathematical arguments which i'm used to.
Great, brainwashed Western position. Quite a way to portray the opposition.

As an OT: what academic field are you in? It's quite interesting you'd do a lot of precise mathematical arguments.

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if you were paying attention, thats what I was trying to do. I never tried to judge who's "good" and who's "bad". thats pointless. what I do is compare the respective actions and draw them into a historical context.

the key point is that the result of it all makes the US with its current policy look very, VERY bad. and it can be logically explained and founded in very much detail.

which is what I'm trying to make people understand.
Again, why should nuclear weapon usage in 1945 makes light of anti-nuclear sentiment in 2008?

The USA is -not- a monolithic, static entity. People change, leaders change; there are much better reasons to argue that the US nuclear policy during the Bush years are hypocritical than Truman ordered the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Reasons like, oh, the USA continues to fund nuclear expansion programs despite its diplomatic stance overseas. Now that's real crap, and guess what, if you said so, I'd agree.

But the WW2 blame game has to stop. It has nothing to do with this. And to answer your question below (the last one) right here: if this is not what you were trying to say, then what is your argument trying to achieve? That the decision to use nuclear weapons against Japan was complex, and it wasn't necessarily a heroic, pure decision? Nobody here I see disputes that, not me at least. Or is it to say that US conduct places it on the same level as Japan's in WW2? Lathdrinor gladly disputes that too. And as for me, it really depends on the point of the argument being made. I would not excuse the USA's actions as saintly in the war, but quite frankly, I would not use that to start arguing that it, in your own words, made the US's "current policy look very, very bad." I don't buy that.

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where'd you see me do that?
How about including the statement I quoted just above, the one with the US policy? Or in the first page, with cold-bloodedness and cruelty?

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the "ten-year-old" comment is about the relativizing argument: "everyone was bad, stop comparing". to illustrate, a description of some people for 10-year-olds:

Hitler was a bad person, he killed many people.
Jack the Ripper was a bad person, he killed many people.
Napoleon was a bad person, he killed many people.
George Washington was a bad person, he killed many people.

does this mean they're all the same? or do we, after all, if we are serious adults, have to compare who they killed, how many they killed, and why?
WanderingKnight said it, and I agree with him. Essentially: everyone did this and that, so let's use history to learn what that means; not using questionable premises to establish the morality or immorality of an act just to further your own agenda.

Premises like the number game.

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"should probably"? do you recognize that dropping nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki was wrong and a war crime? the US doesnt, till today.
It was a war crime back then? News to me. It was wrong? Against what alternatives? I don't see it as good either, war is bad, that's not hard to grasp. But in choices of kill them (nuclear), kill them (invasion), kill them (firebombing/air raids), or kill them (starvation), what's the difference?
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Old 2008-11-19, 21:31   Link #64
Mumitroll
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Those people all lived in different situations, under different contexts. Yes, you can compare them (you can compare anything you want, actually), but historically speaking, there's little point in doing so. It's not that it's impossible to compare them--it's that it helps very little (read: nothing) in understanding the context in which these people were born and raised--and why they acted the way they did.
did you pick that out of a book? sounds like it.

it is popular in (especially educational - read: textbook) history to refer to different contexts etc when avoiding comparisons. it makes it look more complicated and cool, and avoids legal problems. reality is though that human morals and human behavior overall have changed little in the last couple thousand years. the main difference is in technology. but when we look at the basic reasons, they're largely the same. so, even as textbooks may not do it for political correctness reasons, sure it is possible to compare tyrants and oppressive regimes of various ages.



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It's not about justifying them, it's about understanding them. History is about understanding these sorts of people and the different contexts in which they acted and by which they were influenced.
so? let's see: Hitler was basically a failed painter with much natural rhetoric ability, the Japanese emperor Hirohito was a highly orthodox and nationalistic hereditary noble, and Stalin was a paranoid and cunning Georgian bandit.

how much do you understand from that?



Quote:
seeking to blame someone or making a "Top 10 Most Evil Bastards Ever" chart.
while thats largely a pointless occupation, one should at least ahve an idea of who belongs in that general vicinity. people like Truman are not commonly classified there, at least by Western sources.
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Old 2008-11-19, 21:37   Link #65
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Irenicus, I wholeheartedly agree with what you're saying--but allow me to say that the US' case is kind of... peculiar. It hasn't had a very good track record throughout the whole of the 20th century in terms of international relationships--and I can see clearly how this can form "grudges" against them, or at least mistrust.

I mean, you can screw up once, but that many times...

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reality is though that human morals and human behavior overall have changed little in the last couple thousand years.
lol

PS:

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did you pick that out of a book? sounds like it.
Oh, so how do you learn history? Do you travel back through time?

Anyways, that's not something I read from a book. That's a conclusion I got to after reading lots of books. Lots of complicated books written by people who studied a lot to write them.

Grow up. History is complex. Studying a society is complex. Studying the hundreds of different societies that were born and died during the whole history of mankind is even more complex.

People actually study to become historians, you know.
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Old 2008-11-19, 22:28   Link #66
Mumitroll
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How the hell is that what I said?
it was an example paraphrasing your position.



Quote:
Yet you continuously attempt to portray the USA as uniformly bad throughout this thread...
wrong. I attempt to show that the US foreign policy has been almost uniformly bad for the world since WWII. of course tehre are also various other shortcomings about the US which I dont mention here - but many positive things as well.



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and yet I think you're rabidly out of sorts with your opinion of the USA. I really really hate it when I see the stereotype of the rabidly anti-American European acted out, because more often than not I'm more than prepared to agree with many Europeans on the utter foolishness -- criminal, even -- of certain US foreign policies.
this is typical. what you should think about is the following:

what if the crazy rabid anti-American Europeans are actually right to a significant extent? what if the US "patriots" are in fact, insane pro-American nationalists, and the people called "unpatriotic" in the US are, in fact, US patriots who are not nationalistic ENOUGH?

funny thing is, this is not new in history either. it was much the same in Nazi Germany in the mid-30s.



Quote:
...and then I'm forced to the defend the USA from this kind of, well, bigotry.
what you should think about is our comparative knowledge of world history. do you think you have a better idea of what the US (and other major nations) did in the 20th century than I do?


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So now here's a question: who's the clear aggressor in WW2, Pacific theater?
Japan.


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through your own argument of retaliation being morally understandable, gave the USA a carte blanche to do whatever it takes to defeat Japan in the war, considering they were attacked first?
No. check my statement. it says "millions of casualties". all Japan did was attack a few military targets at an offshore military base, with a couple thousand - military - casualties. thats two orders of magnitude less.



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Drastic, risky, and destructive, definitely, and the pesky pacifistic scientists gave their usual warnings; but it'd just cause roughly the same results as firebombing campaigns or vicious street-to-street urban fighting; better yet, same casualties for the Japan, may be more, but less for "us," and we'd gain a lot of geopolitical power.
you probably aren't familiar with http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trinity_Site?



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Until it sank in, holy shit, this is not just a bomb, this is Death, the Destroyer of Worlds. We just changed everything.
that's your invention. there is no reason to think that any of the responsibles for the atomic bombings changed their point of view (most didnt, at all) just because of the destruction. they expected it.


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I don't know. Do you know?
I do know, because I have a much better idea of world history. Japan was on the verge of surrender before the bombings already. that is confirmed by MANY independent reports from different authoritative people. the bombs were directed primarily against Stalin and not against Japan.



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That's the thing. What you want to do, after to figure out what was going on, is to try and stop it from happening again, not pointing the finger: look, the USA doesn't even know it did this. What a horrible country.
well, you see, in order to stop something from happening, you must first understand what is causing it. I dont think most Americans understand that.



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he USA is a place where when half the country's youth was drafted to Vietnam for no decent reason whatsoever, the other half were singing protest songs in San Francisco.
protests against the Vietnam war, in its early years, were nowhere close to 50% of the population. 5% would be a better estimate, and even that is probably exaggerated.



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how about Germany? Do German kids come out of their history classes aware of the intricacies of history? I'd bet on no.
not really, but they have a better general idea of world history since German history classes and media are in general much less propagandistic than American ones.



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if anything, I remember from a few years ago a very clear lesson from my AP US history class was that the European immigrants who came over fucked over the natives really, really bad. Over and over again. And they fucked over the black slaves really, really bad. Over and over again. And they attacked Mexico on flimsy pretexts, Spain on flimsy pretexts. And we were taught that. Nobody happens to pay attention to history class, that is all.
European colonial history is, obviously, about as savage and brutal as the history of US foreign policy, if not more. it's just that ist much older and not present anymore nowadays.


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Great, brainwashed Western position. Quite a way to portray the opposition.
thats a fact, whether you like it or not. i am yet to meet a single American who would be able to defend a position significantly different from mine on US foreign policy in post-WWII 20th century. it's all a question of knowledge and logic.



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As an OT: what academic field are you in? It's quite interesting you'd do a lot of precise mathematical arguments.
i have a MSc degree in CS and a Bachelor in Mathematics.



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Again, why should nuclear weapon usage in 1945 makes light of anti-nuclear sentiment in 2008?
the point is how it is perceived today. and, very much to my regret, it is STILL not recognized as an error, much less as a war crime. sadly, this must make one
assume that the US would not have any trouble doing the same again, given sufficient propaganda effort. and THIS is really scary, since it may ultimately
simply lead to a total nuclear war and the demise of modern civilization.



Quote:
The USA is -not- a monolithic, static entity. People change, leaders change;
the problem is that the foreign policy doesnt change! if you paid attention, you would have realized that the US foreign policy under Clinton was not much less aggressive and mischievous than that under Bush. the reason is simple: the people driving it in the background dont change with the administrations. its still largely the same corporations, military-industrial complex, large industry figures, etc.


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But the WW2 blame game has to stop. It has nothing to do with this.
see above. you need to understand a few key facts of WWII to go on. if you are living in an illusory world already regarding that - almost ancient history for some from today's standpoint - you have little chance of understanding contemporary politics.


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And to answer your question below (the last one) right here: if this is not
what you were trying to say, then what is your argument trying to achieve?
my central argument, in simple words:

US foreign policy is fucked up and might with a good chance lead to a WWIII, with hundreds of millions dead. also, the perception of the world and world history that the majority of US population has, is fucked up (courtesy to decades of brainwash).

that clear enough?


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That the decision to use nuclear weapons against Japan was complex, and it wasn't necessarily a heroic,
pure decision?
it was simply a war crime.



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I would not use that to start arguing that it, in your own words, made the US's
"current policy look very, very bad." I don't buy that.
I could prove that in EXTREME detail. taking dozens of specific conflicts, both WWII and post-WWII, and going deep down in historic materials to show you, time after time, that you don't have a clear picture of what the US foreign policy is all about. but, honestly, its a lot of work, and I am busy. typing posts like this already takes up more free time than I have. so I sincerely recommend you to take initiative into your own hands, throw away your prejudice, and read up in MUCH DETAIL on some historic post-WWII conflicts with US participation.


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How about including the statement I quoted just above, the one with the US policy? Or in the first page, with cold-bloodedness
and cruelty?
which statement?



Quote:
WanderingKnight said it, and I agree with him. Essentially: everyone did this and that, so let's
use history to learn what that means; not using questionable premises to establish the morality or immorality
of an act just to further your own agenda.

Premises like the number game.
thats a meaningless statement. what does it mean - "use history"? history is not more and not less than using that very "numbers game" to verify stuff for yourself.


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It was a war crime back then?
it was one back then - Geneva convention - and it still is one today:

"Noncombatants [...] shall in all circumstances be treated humanely".


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News to me. It was wrong? Against what alternatives?
against all of them. i dont really see an alternative which would have been more cruel to the Japanese civilian population. maybe drop a couple more nuclear bombs after they had surrendered? or something...


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but in choices of kill them (nuclear), kill them
(invasion), kill them (firebombing/air raids), or kill them (starvation), what's the difference?
thats totally inadequate to the reality of the situation. read my posts above. a valid alternative would have been for example to accept Japan's repeated offers for a conditional surrender.
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Old 2008-11-19, 22:33   Link #67
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Originally Posted by WanderingKnight View Post
For someone who claims to know a lot of history and understand how it must be applied you surely don't understand what the concept of socio-historical context means.

Those people all lived in different situations, under different contexts. Yes, you can compare them (you can compare anything you want, actually), but historically speaking, there's little point in doing so. It's not that it's impossible to compare them--it's that it helps very little (read: nothing) in understanding the context in which these people were born and raised--and why they acted the way they did.

It's not about justifying them, it's about understanding them. History is about understanding these sorts of people and the different contexts in which they acted and by which they were influenced. Not about seeking to blame someone or making a "Top 10 Most Evil Bastards Ever" chart.
While this is true, and is what I argued in the very beginning (that the brutality of World War II must be put in context), you have to realize that the ability to moralize about the past is a necessary step on the path to progress. It's fine to say "everybody did terrible things and we understand why," but sooner or later you're going to have to make a choice as to what's more terrible, and what's less, and then you have no choice but to make a judgment about history.

For example, if you don't even acknowledge that Eisenhower was better than Hitler, but instead go for the cop-out answer that "they were both products of their times" (which is true), then how does that inform your present-day decisions? If the Nazis were up for vote again, would you vote for them? How would you even distinguish between which ideology or economic system works, without first making a judgment about history? If Mao's reign was the moral equivalent of Clinton's, then what would be the difference between choosing either man?

Making a list of the "top ten evil bastards in history" might seem meaningless, but it is a useful way of prioritizing your understanding of history. Looking at what the "top ten evil bastards" did helps you realize what kind of circumstances and worldviews produce and sustain evil, and also informs your personal views of right and wrong. But to make this list in the first place, you need to make a judgment - a moral judgment - about the leaders of history. If your list tops out with George W. Bush, that implies a very different view than if your list tops out with Hitler.

So while it may indeed be pointless to blame people today for what their countries did in the past, it is not at all meaningless to make judgments about the past - that's how we make progress.

When historians state that an event must be put into context, they don't mean that you should stop making judgments about history, but that you should judge history fairly. Screaming "why do people look up to Gandhi? He's racist against black people and the Hippies were just as non-violent!" is judging history out of context. By contrast, saying "Gandhi was a great man because he fought for pacifism and freedom during a time when the prevailing ideology was one of war and imperial exploitation" is a better evaluation.

Evaluating history is inevitably a part of learning from it. It's not about (or at least, should not be about) self-righteousness and national pride. It's more about recognizing that something was wrong, understanding the factors that led to it, and erecting safeguards against such factors in the modern world. That's how we improve, that's how we keep ourselves from repeating history.

Last edited by Lathdrinor; 2008-11-19 at 22:56.
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Old 2008-11-19, 22:48   Link #68
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Originally Posted by Mumitroll View Post
I do know, because I have a much better idea of world history. Japan was on the verge of surrender before the bombings already. that is confirmed by MANY independent reports from different authoritative people. the bombs were directed primarily against Stalin and not against Japan.
Not necessarily. It is true that the US had dropped the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki has a threat to flex its military muscle to the Soviet Union, as well as their will to use their nukes. However, it is also true that the attack was directed at Japan for at least 2 reasons: 1) as a method of vengeance over Pearl Harbor (an issue that many Americans seem to be concerned about even now), and 2) due to racist ideals during the early era of the 20th century, the US had totally used the victims of Nagasaki and Hiroshima as atomic bomb test results. An actual war crime! It is evident when they dropped a second atomic bomb after making modifications of their first one that it is merely a test of atomic bomb using living human beings as test subjects. Talking about cruelty!
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Old 2008-11-19, 23:28   Link #69
Reckoner
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@Mumitroll

I'm hoping to dispel an illusion you seem to have about the education of history in this country. You seem to think that Americans are all indoctrinated by the same viewpoints and misrepresentations of events that you accuse us of. This is clearly not the case, and at least in my AP US history class we never approached history from the type of standpoint you think we have. What we covered were the motives and reasons, not the morals of such stories. My teacher never went off and said the "Germans were evil" or that the "Japanese deserved this," or anything of such a matter. He also did not go on talking about things like Iraq and Iran. If certain facts were unclear, he would tell us about them. Please do not put sweeping generalizations on not just the US, but anyone.

And talk about history always repeating itself... Whoever is on the high stage in history always seems to receive all the wonderful scrutiny of the world. Who is next? China and India? It seems we just cannot seem to learn from history properly.
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Old 2008-11-20, 06:11   Link #70
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mumitroll, by definition bombing cities and military targets through military means is a military act, rounding up jews, slavs, and gypsies and killing them systemically is NOT THE SAME THING. By your pathetic definition, every military act is an act of genocide, put down the crack pipe. Civilians who die through military acts are victims of collateral damage whereas in the holocaust or similar genocides, it is the civilians themselves who are the target. The nuking of japan was to act as a detente and shock to japanese militarism which it itself declared it would fight to the death anyways. Last time i checked, the Nazi's killing slavs, jews, gypsies, etc was not to act as a detent or deterrent, but rather was just out of cold hearted eugenisism

looks like we didn't do a good enough job with germany 60 years ago...missed a few that slipped through the cracks
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Old 2008-11-20, 06:25   Link #71
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Originally Posted by FLCL View Post
looks like we didn't do a good enough job with germany 60 years ago...missed a few that slipped through the cracks
I must say than this one made me unneasy.
Is this a argument for telling appart millitary act and genocide?
or
A personnal attack?
Somehow, I hope it the first .
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Old 2008-11-20, 06:30   Link #72
Tri-ring
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FLCL View Post
mumitroll, by definition bombing cities and military targets through military means is a military act, rounding up jews, slavs, and gypsies and killing them systemically is NOT THE SAME THING. By your pathetic definition, every military act is an act of genocide, put down the crack pipe. Civilians who die through military acts are victims of collateral damage whereas in the holocaust or similar genocides, it is the civilians themselves who are the target. The nuking of japan was to act as a detente and shock to japanese militarism which it itself declared it would fight to the death anyways.
It's this kind of crackpot reasoning that gives America a bad name.

Collateral damage?
Pre-emptive strike?
Watering?

What else?
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Old 2008-11-20, 07:03   Link #73
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Originally Posted by Tri-ring View Post
It's this kind of crackpot reasoning that gives America a bad name.

Collateral damage?
Pre-emptive strike?
Watering?

What else?
i hope you do realize im not american....

its a gray line, but at somepoint genocide and what would be considered civilian collateral damage are differentiated
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Old 2008-11-20, 07:23   Link #74
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If you bomb a military base and a civilian happen to be killed by the flying shrapnel, he's collateral damage.

If you purposely tartet civilian areas with bombs, the dead are anything but "collateral".
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Old 2008-11-20, 07:39   Link #75
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@Lathdrinor: good post, I agree with most of that.


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Not necessarily. It is true that the US had dropped the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki has a threat to flex its military muscle to the Soviet Union, as well as their will to use their nukes. However, it is also true that the attack was directed at Japan for at least 2 reasons: 1) as a method of vengeance over Pearl Harbor (an issue that many Americans seem to be concerned about even now), and 2) due to racist ideals during the early era of the 20th century, the US had totally used the victims of Nagasaki and Hiroshima as atomic bomb test results. An actual war crime! It is evident when they dropped a second atomic bomb after making modifications of their first one that it is merely a test of atomic bomb using living human beings as test subjects. Talking about cruelty!
those were secondary goals. yes, some people were interested in the actual effects of a nuclear explosion with so many test subjects. and yes surely there was a certain sentiment of taking "revenge" - especially in the yellow press. however, on the top level - Truman and military lead - that was of lesser importance. the predominant goal, confirmed by many different sources quite clearly, was a power demonstration to Stalin/claiming Japan before the USSR would get there.



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I'm hoping to dispel an illusion you seem to have about the education of history in this country. You seem to think that Americans are all indoctrinated by the same viewpoints and misrepresentations of events that you accuse us of.
not all Americans, but the vast majority. sometimes including even PhD+ level people. you forget that I've been to the US, and that I have talked and argued with many Americans on politics and history. by and large, Americans are rather historically illiterate/misinformed. thats not to say that, e.g., Russians are very historically literate in regard to, say, pre-20th century US history. but the average level is much higher - perhaps because the country has experienced so much of that very history during the invasions of various people - be it Napoleon or Germans in WWI and WWII, so maybe the interest is higher, or the distrust towards official propaganda is higher, or something...


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This is clearly not the case, and at least in my AP US history class we never approached history from the type of standpoint you think we have. What we covered were the motives and reasons, not the morals of such stories. My teacher never went off and said the "Germans were evil" or that the "Japanese deserved this," or anything of such a matter. He also did not go on talking about things like Iraq and Iran. If certain facts were unclear, he would tell us about them. Please do not put sweeping generalizations on not just the US, but anyone.
I only make generalizations when I'm sure that they're rather accurate. regarding your classes, I doubt that, for example, either of these 3 - all historically essential - things were mentioned, and conclusions from them clearly explained:

1) The largest WWII battle with US/UK participation - Ardennes - barely makes the top 10 of the largest battles of WWII. All the larger ones were at the Eastern front, and all of them except Berlin and Vistula were earlier.
2) The US bombing in Vietnam was primarily directed against South Vietnam.
3) The US has deliberately started to provide Afghan islamic fundamentalists - commonly called terrorists nowadays - with weapons and military training 6 months before the USSR invaded Afghanistan, with the outspoken goal of luring the USSR into "a Vietnam war of its own" (quote Zbigniew Brzezinski).


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mumitroll, by definition bombing cities and military targets through military means is a military act
bombing military targets is one, yes. bombing cities - i.e. deliberately targeting civilians - is not. it is prohibited by the Geneva conventions and considered terrorism.


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By your pathetic definition, every military act is an act of genocide, put down the crack pipe.

it wasnt me who wrote the Geneva conventions. if you think those people were on crack when they were doing it.. well.. not much I can say to that.


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The nuking of japan was to act as a detente and shock to japanese militarism which it itself declared it would fight to the death anyways.
no. read up on history. i quoted many sources above.


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looks like we didn't do a good enough job with germany 60 years ago...missed a few that slipped through the cracks
is that supposed to insult me?

Last edited by Mumitroll; 2008-11-21 at 21:10.
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Old 2008-11-20, 08:54   Link #76
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2) The US bombing in Vietnam was primarily directed against South Vietnam.
I believe you mean North Vietnam, since that's the communist state, whereas South Vietnam was a democratic one.

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bombing military targets is one, yes. bombing cities - i.e. deliberately targeting civilians - is not. it is prohibited by the Geneva conventions and considered terrorism.
True, yet not exactly. The current Iraq war involves American air raids on schools and hospitals, yet it is considered a mistake in military act, not terrorism. The intentions of the American air raids in the American perspective is a military act of anti-terrorism, even though they are deliberately targetting civilians, since America has the most advanced radar system used by the military. More over, military bases shouldn't look similar or bear resemblances of schools and hospitals. This cannot be considered as collateral damage either.

Quote:
looks like we didn't do a good enough job with germany 60 years ago...missed a few that slipped through the cracks
This does not sound right. First, you claim that you are not American and if America goes into a military crisis, you would move back to China implying that you are Chinese, right? The strange thing is that China did not had a military offensive with Germany during WWII 60 years ago and thus, you are contradicting yourself here. How can China miss a few that slipped through the cracks if China never had fought Germany in the first place?
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Old 2008-11-20, 09:05   Link #77
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Originally Posted by Shadow Minato View Post
I believe you mean North Vietnam, since that's the communist state, whereas South Vietnam was a democratic one.
QED regarding my point about US history teaching (if you're from the US).

I do actually mean South Vietnam. the so-called "democratic" state. perhaps if you read up on the extent of bombing that the US has done to it, you would question yourself just how "democratic" it actually was... as a hint:

Quote:
In a referendum on the future of the monarchy, Diem rigged the poll supervised by his brother Ngo Dinh Nhu and was accredited with 98.2 percent of the vote, including 133% in Saigon. His American advisers had recommended a more modest winning margin of “60 to 70 percent.” Diem, however, viewed the election as a test of authority.[38] On October 26, 1955, Diem declared the new Republic of Vietnam, with himself as president

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vietnam_War



let me quote something on this:

Quote:
QUESTION: ... [In Robert McNamara's #1 bestseller In Retrospect, he] writes, "We of the Kennedy and Johnson administrations who participated in the decisions on Vietnam acted according to what we thought were the principles and traditions of this nation. We made our decisions in light of those values. Yet we were wrong, terribly wrong. We owe it to future generations to explain why. I truly believe that we made an error not of values and intentions, but of judgment and capabilities."

CHOMSKY: Actually, he's correct about the values. If somebody tries to disobey us, our values are that they have to be crushed and massacred. Those are our values. They go back hundreds of years, and those are exactly the values they acted upon. His belief that it was a mistake -- personally, I agree with the hawks on this. He's been criticized by the doves who say, You came around too late, and by the hawks who say, Well, it was a victory. And the hawks are right, it was a victory. So, it wasn't a mistake. He doesn't understand that. He doesn't understand very much, incidentally. The one interesting aspect of the book is how little he understood about what was going on or understands today. He doesn't even understand what he was involved in.

I assume he's telling the truth. The book has a kind of ring of honesty about it. What it reads like is an extremely narrow technocrat, a small-time engineer who was given a particular job to do and just tried to do that job efficiently, didn't understand anything that was going on, including what he himself was doing.

...There's only one criticism that he sees, or that any of his critics see, or even his supporters, the whole range of discussion, including people who were very active in the peace movement, I should say. I've been shocked by this, the people who are active in the peace movement who are saying, "We're vindicated because he finally recognized that we were right. It was an unwinnable war."

What about the maybe, if you count them up, four million Indochinese that died, something on that order? What about them? Actually, he has a sentence or two about them, and even that sentence is interesting. He talks about the North Vietnamese who were killed. An interesting fact about the book -- and you can't blame him for this, because he's just adopting the conventions of the culture that he comes from, he's completely uncritical and couldn't think of questioning it -- throughout the book the "South Vietnamese" are the collaborators whom we installed and supported. He recognizes that the population was mostly on the other side, but they're not "South Vietnamese." The attack on them doesn't appear.

The most interesting part of the book, in my opinion, the first thing I looked at when I read it, is what he would say about the two major decisions that he was involved in. He was involved in two basic decisions. He implemented orders, of course. One [decision] was in November and December 1961, when the internal resistance was overthrowing the U.S. client regime after it had already killed probably 80,000 people, eliciting internal resistance which Washington's terror state couldn't withstand. Kennedy just turned from straight terror, which it had been before, to outright aggression. They unleashed the American air force against Vietnamese villagers, authorized napalm, started crop destruction. They also started attacks against the North, which was not involved seriously at the time. That was the first big decision. He doesn't even mention it. I don't think he's concealing anything. I don't think he thought of it as a decision. Because, after all, we're just slaughtering South Vietnamese, and that doesn't harm us at all. So why shouldn't we do it? Nobody's going to get angry. Nobody's going to harm us if we kill South Vietnamese. So, when we send U.S. planes to napalm Vietnamese villages, what could be the problem? So that's not even mentioned.

The second one is even more interesting. In January 1965 they made the decision to escalate radically the bombing of South Vietnam. They also started bombing North Vietnam at the time, February 1965. But the bombing of South Vietnam was tripled in scale, and much more devastating. That was known. In fact, one person who describes that right at the time -- and this is a very interesting aspect of McNamara's book and of the commentary on it -- was Bernard Fall, a French military historian and Indochina specialist. A big hawk, incidentally. It's "we" and "them." He was on "our side" and that sort of thing. But he happened to have a missing gene or something. He cared about the people of Vietnam, although he was a hawk and a military historian who supported the French and then the Americans. He didn't want to see the place destroyed. In 1965, he wrote that the biggest decision of the war was not the bombing of North Vietnam, not the sending of American troops a couple of months later, but the decision to bomb South Vietnam at a far greater scale than anything else and to smash the place to bits. He had also pointed out in the preceding couple of years that the U.S. had been destroying the so-called Viet Cong with napalm and vomiting gases and massive bombardment and it was a massacre. He said in 1965 they escalated it to a much higher attack, and that was a big change. He was an American advisor. He describes how he flew with the American planes when they napalmed villages, destroyed hospitals. He described it very graphically. He was infuriated about it, but he describes it.

McNamara refers to those articles. He says Fall's reports were "encouraging" and justified the U.S. escalation. McNamara didn't mention the decision to vastly increase the bombing of South Vietnam. That's just passed over. Nor is there discussion of the bombing of South Vietnam in general. He just passes over it without comment. He cites Fall's articles and says, Part of the reason that we were encouraged to proceed was that Fall was a fine analyst and knowledgeable person and was very impressed with what we were doing and thought it was going to work. There's a certain truth to that. Fall was saying, Yes, these guys are such murderous maniacs that they may succeed in destroying the country. In that sense, he thought it was going to work.

Then McNamara has a footnote in his book. He says, two years later, Fall had changed his mind about the efficacy of American actions and took a more pessimistic view about the prospects for an American victory. That was 1967. Look at what [Fall] wrote in 1967. He said this just before he died. He said Vietnam is literally dying under the worst attack that any country has ever suffered and it was very likely that Vietnam as a cultural and historical entity was going to become extinct under the American attack. And McNamara reads this and says [Fall] changed his mind about the efficacy of what we were doing. Not only did he write that, but every reviewer read it. Nobody comments on it. Nobody sees anything funny about it. Because if we want to destroy a country and extinguish it as a cultural and historical entity, who could object? Fall was talking about South Vietnam, notice, not North Vietnam. The killing was mostly in South Vietnam. The attack was mostly against South Vietnam.

In fact, there's an interesting aspect of the Pentagon Papers, too. The Pentagon Papers were not very revealing, contrary to what people say. I had advance access to them, since I was helping Dan Ellsberg in releasing them, so I wrote about them in a lot of detail and very fast because I had already read them. But one of the very few interesting things about the Pentagon Papers which I wrote about at that time was the disparity between the planning for the bombing of the North and the planning for the bombing of the South. On the bombing of the North, there was meticulous detailed planning. How far should we go? At what rate? What targets? The bombing of the South, at three times the rate and with far more vicious consequences, was unplanned. There's no discussion about it. Why? Very simple. The bombing of the North might cause us problems. When we started bombing the North, we were bombing, for example, Chinese railroads, which happened to go right through North Vietnam. We were going to hit Russian ships, as they did. And there could be a reaction somewhere in the world that might harm us. So therefore that you have to plan for. But massacring people in South Vietnam, nothing. B-52 bombing of the Mekong Delta, one of the most densely populated areas in the world, destroying hospitals and dams, nobody's going to bother us about that. So that doesn't require any planning or evaluation.

Not only is it interesting that this happened, but also interesting is the fact that no one noticed it. I wrote about it, but I have yet to find any commentator, scholar, or anyone else, who noticed this fact about the Pentagon Papers. And you see that in the contemporary discussion. We were "defending" South Vietnam, namely the country that we were destroying. The very fact that McNamara can say that and quote Bernard Fall, who was the most knowledgeable person, who was utterly infuriated and outraged over this assault against South Vietnam, even though he was a hawk, who thought Saigon ought to rule the whole country -- you can quote him and not see that that's what he's saying -- that reveals a degree of moral blindness, not just in McNamara, but in the whole culture, that surpasses comment.
Quote:
True, yet not exactly. The current Iraq war involves American air raids on schools and hospitals, yet it is considered a mistake in military act, not terrorism.
the question here is: by whom? by the Americans? its obvious that they wouldnt consider their OWN actions terrorism. thats impossible by definition. since "we" are good and "them others" are bad.

objective outside observers obviously consider it terrorism. but that's not something you'll typically hear in Western mass media because it "won't do" to say it - even although its true. its very similar for Israel. try to say that Israel is, basically, engaging in terrorist activities and violating many UN resolutions - and you'll be most probably quickly decried as antisemitic (it has happened a few times here).

Last edited by Mumitroll; 2008-11-20 at 09:35.
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Old 2008-11-20, 13:28   Link #78
Vexx
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In a very small bright light to American Foreign Mis-policy ...

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/21/us/21guantanamo.html

... showing that at least *some* parts of our government still understand rule-of-law.
The fascinating thing is that the judge is a conservative and a Bush appointee.
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Old 2008-11-21, 17:49   Link #79
4Tran
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On the original subject of a nuclear war sometime in the near future, this is highly unlikely since none of the current nuclear powers are prone to starting one. The only foreseeable conflict of this nature that I find even slightly likely is if Iran gets nuclear weapons, and even in that case, it'd be Israel striking the first blow. Despite its rhetoric, Iran has no real motive for destroying Israel (or even attacking it directly, for that matter).

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Originally Posted by Tri-ring View Post
So are you making a sweeping generalization that Jews were bad?
In any case, Japan did not have anything against the ethnic Chinese in terms of racism nor did Japan had any lavish scheme to cleanse the ethnic Chinese.
Just tried to subdue the resistance through ethnic choice.(Generalization and a bad choice I know but nevertheless those are the fact)
Whether there was any official program to kill the Chinese is academic compared to how the Chinese people fared under Japanese attack and subsequent occupation. In any case, if you want to be an apologist for Japan's World War II activities, I suggest that you put up some substantitive facts to back up any of your assertions.

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Originally Posted by Mumitroll View Post
those were secondary goals. yes, some people were interested in the actual effects of a nuclear explosion with so many test subjects. and yes surely there was a certain sentiment of taking "revenge" - especially in the yellow press. however, on the top level - Truman and military lead - that was of lesser importance. the predominant goal, confirmed by many different sources quite clearly, was a power demonstration to Stalin/claiming Japan before the USSR would get there.
I don't think that the decision was as straightforward as you're making it sound. While deterring Stalin with a show of technological prowess was certainly one of the prime considerations, there was also an imperative to end the war as well. In Hasegawa's "Racing the Enemy", the sequence of events suggest that while the nuclear attacks weren't completely necessary for several reasons, the Americans had no way of knowing that. Most pointedly, they didn't know that the Soviets would be true to their word and attack Manchuria almost exactly three months after the Germans surrendered. For that matter, it seems as if Stalin knew full well about the capabilities of the nuclear weapons (and for that matter, that the U.S. had only constructed three devices), so such a demonstration wasn't necessary.

Still, the invasion of the Japanese home islands - Downfall - would have cost both the Americans and the Japanese a lot of lives, and it's in the interest of all parties that it was avoided. The Americans had expected a vast amount of casualties (500,000 Purple Heart medals were made in accordance to the estimates), and they had actually underestimated the ability of the Japanese to resist an invasion, so there would have been higher loses than they predicted.
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Old 2008-11-21, 19:17   Link #80
Mumitroll
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On the original subject of a nuclear war sometime in the near future, this is highly unlikely since none of the current nuclear powers are prone to starting one.
i hope so too. however, there are a few points worth noting here.

1) the situation in Pakistan and Kashmir/vs. India is not stable. nobody can exclude with certainty that an a hardline islamic Pakistani government would not use tactical nuclear missiles in the Kashmir conflict.

2) if the US continues its current extremely anti-Islamic and anti-Russian foreign policy, it is not all that unlikely that terrorist circles (Al Qaeda or similar) will obtain a tactical nuclear warhead and explode it in a US city.

3) while the probability for this is much lower than for either of the above scenarios, it is not excluded that the current anti-Russian US policy would result in a cruise missile strike on Russian territory at some point, with whatever pretext. which might provoke a nuclear counterattack and a global all-out nuclear war.


Quote:
The only foreseeable conflict of this nature that I find even slightly likely is if Iran gets nuclear weapons, and even in that case, it'd be Israel striking the first
blow.
thats very unlikely because the power balance is so uneven.


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I don't think that the decision was as straightforward as you're making it sound.
if you read a lot on it, you'll probably conclude the same as me. it is pretty obvious.


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In Hasegawa's "Racing the Enemy", the sequence of events suggest that while the nuclear attacks weren't completely necessary for several reasons, the Americans had no way of knowing that.
really? with Japan trying to mediate a conditional surrender several times?


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Most pointedly, they didn't know that the Soviets would be true to their word and attack Manchuria almost exactly three months after the Germans surrendered.
eh? the USSR renounced the neutrality pact with Japan on August 5th (already pretty much a war declaration), and officially declared war on the 8th. in terms of real (not paper) politics, Roosevelt and Churchill had an informal promise from Stalin that he would declare war on Japan as early as the Yalta conference in February 1945, and a confirmation at the Potsdam conference in July. Soviet troops attacked Japanese forces in Manchuria already before the official war declaration, in July 1945.

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For that matter, it seems as if Stalin knew full well about the capabilities of the nuclear weapons (and for that matter, that the U.S. had only constructed three devices), so such a demonstration wasn't necessary.
he did - as a spy program was underway since 1941 - but the US didnt know about it at the time. many historians note that Stalin's remarkedly calm reaction on Truman mentioning a "weapon of unheard-of destructive power" - which was a surprise to the Truman administration at the time - was due to him already being well-informed about the US nuclear program.


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they had actually underestimated the ability of the Japanese to resist an invasion, so there would have been higher loses than they predicted.
i'm very sceptical about all that. even if we forget the fact that the imminent Japanese defeat was obvious to all major politicians involved, and that Japan had already attempted to negotiate conditional surrender, the inexperienced US Pacific forces may have had much trouble with the Japanese at the southern islands, but it was completely different with the Red Army. since the German front was done, Stalin moved many highly experienced veteran divisions over to the Far Eastern front in June-July 1945. those had fought for 4 years against the most powerful military machine in history - the Wehrmacht - and prevailed. so when they were put up against the inexperienced Japanese continental army in late July-mid August 1945, even although it numbered close to 1.5 million - FAR more than the forces opposing the US at Okinawa and Iwo Jima - the Japanese forces were literally obliterated within less than 3 weeks, and their whole continental army fell apart like a card house. the Manchurian offensive formally ended on August 20th with 640,000 Japanese POWs and another 80,000 killed - about half of the Japanese forces gone. this is practically unreported in Western history because it makes all US land operations in the Pacific theatre look like sandbox games.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_August_Storm

it takes a lot of naivete to think that Japan would have been able to oppose that kind of force even on their home islands.

Last edited by Mumitroll; 2008-11-21 at 21:57.
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