Should U.S. Leaders Have Been Tried For "War Crimes" After WW II?

By JJ
@myklj999 (27009)
Olney, Illinois
June 28, 2008 2:02pm CST
Were the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki simply the results of war, or were they a criminal act? http://www.gensuikin.org/english/photo.html http://www.waagnfnp.com/2007/10/23/firestorms-2/ These links show the terrible devastation caused by these acts. Approximately 200,000 people were killed by these bombs; most were not soldiers involved in fighting. http://www.atomicarchive.com/Docs/MED/med_chp10.shtml In your honest opinion, were these simply "casualties of war" or were they innocent people murdered?
2 people like this
7 responses
@Savvynlady (3685)
• United States
28 Jun 08
I'm going to have say the results of war. although I do ponder on the latter as well. The theory at the time was that if Japan kept the war going, 100,000 more people would have lost their lives, yet with this bombing, 200,000 were killed. And to be honest, the Japanese Army after the Germans and Italians were defeated, were the only power causing serious devastation. plus they were the ones who have been on the prowl the longest(as early as 1900) towards world domination and something had to be done. Even as I write this, I have to think about this because no matter how you slice it, folks got hurt. no matter how you slice this, innocent folks were killed as casualities of war. They may not have been soldiers, they may not had nothing to do with nothing, but the fact remained, a war was still going on and folks were dying whether they had something to do with it or not.
1 person likes this
@myklj999 (27009)
• Olney, Illinois
28 Jun 08
But couldn't we use the same argument as justification for what the Nazis did? (I don't agree with what they did; I am merely stating this as a point of debate.)
1 person likes this
• United States
28 Jun 08
Why I feel so careful about this subject, I don't know. I really had to think about what you said. On the situation with the Nazis, I'll say no because that is what they felt they had to do. NO, it wasn't right, but if we go back to World War 1 and us(specifically, The League of Nations) hollering that Germany pay the other nations back for causing it in the first place placing their nation into serious inflation, then I'll say that yes, we placed the root there for Germany to do what it did twenty years later, though it was seriously flawed. Yet, when we bombed Japan, we made restitution to them? they still turned around and became a world figure to deal with in terms of economic and business dealings.
1 person likes this
@myklj999 (27009)
• Olney, Illinois
29 Jun 08
You probably feel careful about this subject because it is one of those that some people will blast you for whatever you say. I put it in the "debate" interest hoping to have a civilized discussion about it, but I know it probably won't stay that way for long. I do want to thank you for your opinions; I'm appreciative of all who enter my discussions.
1 person likes this
@bobmnu (8160)
• United States
29 Jun 08
My first comment is there would have been no Hiroshima or Nagasaki with out Pear Harbor. During the war against Japan we learned that the closer we got to the Home islands of Japan the worse the fighting became. Look at the Kamiza attacks on our ships and troops. President Truman was not in on the planning of battles during WWII. It was FDR who knew what was going on and the long term plans and strategies. President Truman had to make a decision based on what FDR's advisers told him. The bombing of Pearl Harbor killed many civilians but that is not considered a war crime. The attacks on the Philippians killed many civilians and that is not considered a war crime. What Hitler did was to single out the people in an occupied country and executed them. Dropping the bomb was horrific but it was an act of war.
1 person likes this
@calcynic (433)
• United States
29 Jun 08
Great observation, bobmnu. There certainly was a strong post-war movement to have Pearl Harbor officially documented as a war crime, but we failed to do so. It was, however, used extensively in testimony against the accused Japanese leaders at the post war tribunals. One damning piece of evidence was the testimony of an Imperial Navy steward. He overheard much consternation and fear on the part of senior officers over the fact that Pearl was a dishonorable PRE-WAR attack, as the papers containing a formal declaration of war were delivered subsequent to the attack rather than after. We quickly and quietly tried and executed many japanese officers and agents, including scores of those involved in Nanking and the genocidal horrors of Manchuria. I have no doubt that we were freaked out by the methods used by Japan in its quest to become the power of the Pacific, that we came down swifter and harder on the Japanese than we did against the Germans.
@calcynic (433)
• United States
29 Jun 08
My mistake...the papers were delivered after the attack...by about an hour.
@tessah (6621)
• United States
29 Jun 08
it all depends on who you ask as to the answer youll recieve.
1 person likes this
• Philippines
29 Jun 08
good day. I totally agree with that, that the victor writes the history and of course tainted for their purpose. But I also would point out that with today's technological advantage making the world smaller than before we can find the truth at least even the shadow of truth.
1 person likes this
@tessah (6621)
• United States
29 Jun 08
for current events sure.. to some extent. but the "truth" of all of it is sketchy at best.. and history past especially when we didnt have the technologies and reporters willing to risk their lives to find that truth didnt exist.
1 person likes this
• United States
29 Jun 08
I think in war we have to fight to win, if we are accused of war crimes for dropping fat man and little boy then we would be the first country to stop all nuclear arms. That won't happen. The history that I know shows these were casualties of war. Innocent people die in battle all the time, I'm sure there are those that would disagree, but I question the result of war, not the actions of winning it.
@tessah (6621)
• United States
29 Jun 08
history is writen by the victor.. so regardless of what you read, its going to be tainted.
1 person likes this
• Philippines
29 Jun 08
good day ..Your topics are really interesting and to be honest it does warrant a good response. I've been reading all the comments here and really broadening my knowledge on world affairs be it current or history. Back to the discussion, the scientist who made the bomb actually were hesitant to use it and made a negative recommendation, they know about the toxic effect of radiation just doesn't know how extensive. As a doctor I always value life with no sides regarded I even treat criminals so I think I know what I'm talking about. The thing that bugs me is that why the US dropped two bombs within short days of each other? I mean would one bomb suffice and let the Japanese know the damage and digest it and decide. I mean would waiting for a month after the 1st bombing would cost as much the casualty on their sides using the 2nd bomb as it was on the US side? Is this pure strategy? or part experimentation on nuclear war to see the effects more clearly?? Just my two cents.
1 person likes this
@calcynic (433)
• United States
29 Jun 08
From what I've read, the reason for 2 bombs was a bit of gamesmanship and a bit experimentation. Nagasaki was a heavy industry target and the 2nd bomb was not uranium like the first. It was plutonium. We weren't sure how it would work. Also, after the hiroshima bomb, there was the possibility that Japan would think that was our whole load. We actually had only the plutonium bomb left. By dropping it, Japan was to think we had more...how many? Who knew?
@lvaldean (1612)
• United States
29 Jun 08
The answer is no from my perspective. While the decision to drop the bombs was horrific and the devasation on civilians a terrible price to pay it was an act of war that was consequential. Japan could and would have continued to fight and the long term affect of that would have resulted in greater loss of life. The US assisted in rebuilding Japan after the war. The acts of aggression against Roma (Gypsy), Jews, Catholics, the retarded, the handicapped, and other imperfect or racially "unwanted" civilians by the Nazis during WWII was an entirely different issue. It was not undertaken to end the war. It was not undertaken for any other reason than ethnic cleansing. Everyone knows of course the issues of the Jews, what people don't know is that the Nazi's "cleasned" between 500,000-600,000 of the ethnic Roma's from Eastern Europe. That estimate in raw percentages means that somewhere between 50% - 75% of Europes ethnic Roma population was successfully targeted by the Nazi's as Sub-human. It is unfortunate that the Roma has been forgotten, regularly included in the "other" category when discussing the victims of the Holocaust and Hitlers "Final Solution". In truth the Roma were his first victims.
@calcynic (433)
• United States
28 Jun 08
I"ve been wrestling with this since I had to debate it in high school (1966). This was a devastated and war-weary world. There was no stomach for an invasion and no patience for a siege. Knowing what I know now, I'm anti-nuke. In 1945, there was little data, due to a rushed project and very limited testing. Hiroshima was not an industrial center, as was Nagasaki. Hiroshima was also not the primary target; the weather over Kobe was awful and Hiroshima was the backup. Even though the results were equal to genocide in raw numbers, the intent was to save up to and exceeding 100,000 casualties on our side, added to the huge amount of Japanese we would have killed and wounded in a wholesale invasion. I don't think it has all the elements of a crime against humanity. Never again, though!
@myklj999 (27009)
• Olney, Illinois
28 Jun 08
But if we had lost 100,000 soldiers or killed an equal number of Japanese soldiers, that would have been different. They were soldiers. They weren't women and children.
1 person likes this