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History nerds hangout

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Re: History nerds hangout

Postby lostin1800 » Sep 25, 2009 10:14 am

Lets see, my user name says alot. I also ADORE the 20th century, from 1900 to the late 50's. The wars, fashions, figures, everything just interests me soo much.
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Re: History nerds hangout

Postby Gmatt » Sep 25, 2009 10:34 am

I believe using the bomb was necessary, yes. The side effects, and the way it changed the world was a sad side effect, but it saved the lives of many American, British and Commonwealth lives. When you consider how fanatically the Japanese defended their island possessions, the cost to invade Japan proper would be horrendous.

It was also used in moderation, and specifically to end the war. It was not dropped in a spirit of vindictiveness, and it was only used twice, all that was needed and no more.

In war, especially on that scale, it is either them or us, and seeing as the Axis powers started the war by attacking us, Poland, Denmark, Norway, Belgium, Holland, Luxembourg, France, China, the Philippines, and this is not considering the earlier Austria, Czechoslovakia, Ethiopia and Manchuria, or the damage done to the United Kingdom, Russia and the attack on the United States, it was more than justified.
Of course, people might class Atomic Weapons in the same category as Mustard Gas (Which if the enemy used first I would have no qualms about retaliating with) and other such weaponry, but the side effects of Atomic Weaponry were not fully known, while the effects of a full blown amphibious invasion against ferocious, dug in, and highly motivated troops was.

One possible way of avoiding it would have been to implement an even tighter naval blockade and step up the firebombing campaign, but that itself would have been even more vicious in my personal opinion.

We had won the war anyways, as you said narnianerd, but it would have been at a much higher costs, and likely even longer than months, I wouldn't be surprised if it took a year, considering we went from Normandy almost to Berlin in about 10-11 months, albeit the tactics used after Normandy left a lot to be desired. That said, the Russians bearing down on the other side was of inestimable aid.
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Re: History nerds hangout

Postby Shadowlander » Sep 25, 2009 6:49 pm

I'll agree with this one. Atomic/nuclear weapons are nasty and I think in this case were properly used. These were small devices (today's are much larger and more powerful) and yet had horrendous effect on their respective targets. Despite the loss of life I think it's obvious that the A-bomb ultimately saved hundreds of thousands of lives on both sides because a land invasion of Japan would have had a prohibitive cost in personnel and equipment. Modern folks tend to look back and view things through the prism of emotions but don't factor in that Germany itself was on the verge of acquiring atomic weapons. And let there be no doubt that Hitler would have used such devices on places like London or Moscow.

As bad as atomic weapons are there are worse things out there. Churchill, at one point, contemplated dropping an anthrax bomb on Berlin. And if he had gone through with it much of Berlin would be uninhabitable to this day. Biological weapons scare the daylights out of me because one can hide and even survive in a post-nuclear environment, but germs can find you no matter where you hide. They permeate the landscape and kill everything. I'm glad Churchill didn't drop the thingWar is nasty stuff, but sometimes you have to take extreme steps to ensure you win it. The alternative (the Nazis winning, for instance) would be catastrophic. And also bear in mind that it was never a certainty that the Allies would have been able to pull it off...Germany had a lot of things going for it; well trained and highly disciplined soldiers, the best air force in the world, the best armor/tanks in use at the time, and excellent generals.

One of the greatest moments in my life happened when I was 18 and I got to have a phone conversation with Colonel Tom Ferebee, the bombardier of the Enola Gay. He was a genuinely kind and sincere man who lived in those dark days and had no regrets about what he had to do. He ultimately sent me a copy of what I consider to be one of my prize possessions in this world, a copy of Flight of the Enola Gay, autographed by himself, Paul Tibbets, the pilot, and Dutch Van Kirk, the navigator. Van Kirk is, to my knowledge, the last of the Enola Gay crewmembers still alive. The book is priceless to me.
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Re: History nerds hangout

Postby TheGeneral » Sep 25, 2009 8:22 pm

I like to read about history on my own time. What interests me the most are epic battles/wars, especially WW2. My grandparents were kids in Germany at that time, and the memories they share are amazing.
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Re: History nerds hangout

Postby smartypants » Sep 26, 2009 10:51 am

Do you think it was nessisary for the US to drop A bombs on Japan or not?


Excellent question! In fact last year in my AP US history class we debated this exact question.

On one hand there is the fact of the hundreds of thousands (roughly 220,000) of innocent civilians killed. Not only did these two bombs automatically do harm, but the Japanese were feeling the effects of the radiation months later. People in other cities were hurt by these bombs because of the radiation. I have seen pictures and read first hand documents about the bombs in Nagasaki and Hiroshima, which are much too gruesome to post here.

Then on the other hand it did help the war with Japan dissolve much more quickly than it would have.

Take into consideration that the Japanese were a people who believed that surrendering was a dishonor to their country. If the bomb had not been dropped the war with Japan could have lasted another year, perhaps longer.

As former Secretary of War, Henry L. Stimson said in 1947, “As we understood in July there was a very strong possibility that the Japanese government might determine upon resistance to the end, in all areas of the Far East under its control.”We could not take that chance.

Though General H. H. Arnold, Commander of the American Army Air Force in WWII stated
“The surrender of Japan was not entirely the result of the two atomic bombs. We had hit some 60 Japanese cities with our regular H.E and incendiary bombs and, as a result of our raids, about 241,000 people had been killed, 313,000 wounded, and about 2,333,000 homes destroyed. Our B-29’s had destroyed most of the Japanese industries and, with the laying of mines, which prevented the arrival of incoming cargoes of critical items, had made it impossible for Japan to carry on a large-scale war…Accordingly, it always appeared to us, that atomic bomb or not atomic bomb, the Japanese were already on the verge of collapse.”

Something else I found interesting when we discussed this past year was the use of the bombs to scare Russia.

Take for instance, Dwight D. Eisenhower who in 1948 was retelling a meeting he had (in 1945) with Truman. Eisenhower stated…
“Another item on which I ventured to advise President Truman involved the Soviet’s intention to enter the Japanese war. I told him that since reports indicated that imminence of Japan’s collapse, I deprecated the Red Army’s engaging in that war. I foresaw certain difficulties arising out of such participation and suggested that, at the very least, we ought not to put ourselves in the position of requesting or begging for Soviet aid. It was my personal opinion that no power on earth could keep the Red Army out of that war unless victory came before they could get in.”

The main reason for keeping the Soviet’s out of the war with Japan was to keep them from gaining more land in than they had already gained. The US did not want to have another “Germany” on their hands.

Modern folks tend to look back and view things through the prism of emotions but don’t factor in that Germany itself was on the verge of acquiring atomic weapons.


Shadowlander, by the time the bombs were dropped in Japan (August 6, 1945 and August 9, 1945) Germany had already surrendered (May 7, 1945). Now unless you are speaking about before Germany’s surrender, your statement here is not relevant.
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Re: History nerds hangout

Postby Gmatt » Sep 26, 2009 12:14 pm

smartypants wrote:
Excellent question! In fact last year in my AP US history class we debated this exact question.

On one hand there is the fact of the hundreds of thousands (roughly 220,000) of innocent civilians killed.


I would argue that they are not necessarily innocent, not in the full sense of the word. The Second World War was total war, and the Axis powers had no qualms about destroying our cities to break our morale.
This is not, of course, to say it is correct to target civilians in all cases, it is very much a grey area and is quite debatable, but I would not call them innocent, not when they were just as much a part of the war effort as our own civilians were.

smartypants wrote:
“The surrender of Japan was not entirely the result of the two atomic bombs.


Of course not, as it went on to say, the bombs were really the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back and proved to the Japanese people resistance would only bring perhaps far worse of a fate.

smartypants wrote:
The main reason for keeping the Soviet’s out of the war with Japan was to keep them from gaining more land in than they had already gained. The US did not want to have another “Germany” on their hands.


This is very true, I am glad they learned their lessons from Europe, the ones that made it clear 'Uncle Joe' had gotten back to his old ways and catering to him would not do any good.

smartypants wrote: Shadowlander, by the time the bombs were dropped in Japan (August 6, 1945 and August 9, 1945) Germany had already surrendered (May 7, 1945). Now unless you are speaking about before Germany’s surrender, your statement here is not relevant.


I think perhaps he was trying to say that the Axis would have had no qualms about using it on us (And they certainly would not have).

Churchill, at one point, contemplated dropping an anthrax bomb on Berlin. And if he had gone through with it much of Berlin would be uninhabitable to this day.


I do know that Churchill made it quite plain to the world that if Germany used gasses and warfare of this sort on the Russians (as I imagine would be a real temptation), the Commonwealth had a large enough stock of our own, and that we were more than willing to then wipe out German cities with them. It was meant as a deterrent, and I entirely agree with the sentiment, and would have, in this case, supported it fully. If the Axis had opened this can of worms it would have been absolutely the only thing one could do, and saying so before hand worked as a splendid deterrent.

These paragraphs from W. Churchill's speech to the Canadian House of Commons in 1941 sum it up well.

We shall never descend to the German and Japanese level, but if anybody likes to play rough we can play rough too. Hitler and his Nazi gang have sown the wind; let them reap the whirlwind.


There shall be no halting, or half measures, there shall be no compromise, or parley. These gangs of bandits have sought to darken the light of the world; have sought to stand between the common people of all the lands and their march forward into their inheritance. They shall themselves be cast into the pit of death and shame, and only when the earth has been cleansed and purged of their crimes and their villainy shall we turn from the task which they have forced upon us, a task which we were reluctant to undertake, but which we shall now most faithfully and punctiliously discharge. According to my sense of proportion, this is no time to speak of the hopes of the future, or the broader world which lies beyond our struggles and our victory. We have to win that world for our children.



The enemies ranged against us, coalesced and combined against us, have asked for total war. Let us make sure they get it.
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Re: History nerds hangout

Postby Shadowlander » Sep 26, 2009 1:21 pm

GMatt wrote:
smartypants wrote:Shadowlander, by the time the bombs were dropped in Japan (August 6, 1945 and August 9, 1945) Germany had already surrendered (May 7, 1945). Now unless you are speaking about before Germany’s surrender, your statement here is not relevant.


I think perhaps he was trying to say that the Axis would have had no qualms about using it on us (And they certainly would not have).


That's exactly what I'm saying, GMatt. :) I am speaking of before the US dropped their own atomic ordinance. In the waning years of the war Germany had an atomic weapons program that developed in parallel fashion (of a sort) to that of the Manhattan Project in the US. Given enough time they could well have developed nuclear weapons, but if I remember correctly ran into some technical snafu's towards the end of Germany's participation in WW2. But Hitler was no boy scout and would have most certainly used atomic weapons had he had the chance. So would Hirohito.

I know the German program had several superstars in the physics world including no less than Werner Heisenberg, who most recognize for the "Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle"...which leads, coincidentally, to one of the coolest t-shirt's I ever saw. In bold letters on the front: "Heisenberg was here. I think...." =))

But I digress. Given enough time Germany would have developed its own nuclear stockpile.
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Re: History nerds hangout

Postby Gmatt » Sep 26, 2009 3:36 pm

I know that most current historians would not acknowledge the God-factor in how that war turned out, but considering even quite a few of the major people back then were firmly convinced God was on our side, (Although it would be more correct to assume we were on God's side - at least at that point perhaps), I am extraordinarily grateful to God that it did not turn out as it might have.

As you said before I believe, Shadowlander, it could have gone so much worse, the odds were stacked against us so badly in 1940. Perhaps, understandably, people have forgotten how desperate it was, for various reasons, but if Hitler had not invaded Russia but instead focused his industry on submarines, aircraft and building up his armoured forces (Instead of having to use the production to replace lost units), it very well could have gone the other way, and as it was, like Waterloo, it was a 'close run thing'.

And if the free world had fallen, "one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle" as Burke put it, it would certainly have ushered in a "new Dark Age made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science."

I just find it discouraging that, as history has continued, our peoples who at one point were solidly on the side of good, and right, and justice, have forgotten God, but that is another topic I better not get started into because I may not be able to stop myself. :p
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Re: History nerds hangout

Postby Shadowlander » Sep 26, 2009 4:47 pm

GMatt wrote:As you said before I believe, Shadowlander, it could have gone so much worse, the odds were stacked against us so badly in 1940. Perhaps, understandably, people have forgotten how desperate it was, for various reasons, but if Hitler had not invaded Russia but instead focused his industry on submarines, aircraft and building up his armoured forces (Instead of having to use the production to replace lost units), it very well could have gone the other way, and as it was, like Waterloo, it was a 'close run thing'.


Indeed, the UK, for a time, was the only thing really standing in the way of Germany. Germany owned most of continental Europe, had great manufacturing ability, what some would consider to be the best military in the world at that time, and very good military leadership. These guys, militarily speaking, were on top of their game. And there's small England sitting there in the crosshairs of what must have seemed to be an almost unbeatable juggernaught. So much is owed to the RAF in the Battle of Britain...they really held the wolf at bay and allowed time to divert the course of the war, which at that point was going very much Germany's way. Churchill was integral to keeping the British people, heck...all of the Commonwealth in high spirits and ready to fight to the death.

But there can be no question that WW2 was definitely a case of Divine Intervention. Hitler had so very much on his side...it was a truly lopsided matchup. And I'm also convinced that one of the primary "designed" results of WW2 was the formation of the nation of Israel. But that's an argument for another thread as well. ;)
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Re: History nerds hangout

Postby Gmatt » Sep 26, 2009 6:03 pm

Shadowlander wrote:But there can be no question that WW2 was definitely a case of Divine Intervention. Hitler had so very much on his side...it was a truly lopsided matchup. And I'm also convinced that one of the primary "designed" results of WW2 was the formation of the nation of Israel. But that's an argument for another thread as well. ;)


The RAF plus the RN sure played their bits, I am so glad that the Fleet did not fall into German hands, given by some Quislings trying to make peace if Churchill, and the Isle, fell. Even isolated North America would be in grave danger, Hitler would be eliminating dozens of battleships, carriers and a large amount of cruisers and smaller vessels, plus having the same ships pop back up on the enemy side. The Italian fleet would have been freed up in the Med, and with the Japanese fleet, I would really be afraid for the world.
For all the good Russia's stand did, and to a smaller extent China's, if the UK fell it would have been so much harder for that war to have been won, even if the Fleet did sail over to Canada, imagine having to do Overlord, into the UK, but from bases in Iceland... Plus the fact that even if Russia got the upperhand over Hitler on the continent, Europe would have been Communist. That powerful of a USSR would not have been much better in even the short run, I do not think.

In regards to Israel, I wouldn't be surprised if that was part of God's plan, the war certainly facilitated it's rebirth. Even the Islamic nations are a witness to it - they use it to try and make us look bad, as witnessed by the actions of this Iranian fellow, (Who is a bit crazy if you ask me).
I am just glad our Canadian UN chaps walked out on the Ahmadinejab because of how he is treating them. I always remember the verses in the Bible were God talks about honouring those who honour His people. I do not know if it still applies, but seeing as God never changes, it is a nice feeling at least. (I also almost want to say "for once", as before our engagement in Afghanistan, there is quite a large gap where Canada had done almost nothing of lasting value, in any sphere, and instead followed, if not led, the world along a path of disintegration to the detriment of our once great, or at least potentially great, country.)
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Re: History nerds hangout

Postby Lion's Emblem » Sep 26, 2009 10:29 pm

Phosphorus wrote:I love The Romance of the Three Kingdoms, and Chinese history is fascinating, but I prefer Persian, personally. Between Ireland and Scotland I also have a tendency to favor the latter. The Anglo-Saxon invasions have to rank as one of my favorite periods of all time.


Nice to know that someone besides me enjoys 'The Romance of the Three Kingdoms' :) . Well, it's not you favorite genre of history, but have you every tried your hand at any of the KOEI games about the Three Kingdoms? It's pretty cool to be able to set yourself up in these historical battles and play them out for yourself. I'm still trying to find the 'Battle of the Red Cliffs' on DVD. I've heard that it's really good.
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Re: History nerds hangout

Postby sillygoose » Sep 27, 2009 5:39 pm

oh if you want to learn more about history through books i highly recommend Salt: A world History by Mark Kalunsky or something. It takes you all around the world through every possible time in history. It's all about salt but its very very interesting.
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Re: History nerds hangout

Postby smartypants » Sep 29, 2009 4:06 pm

Gmatt, Why wouldn't you call the civillans innocent? Please expand.

Shadowlander, sorry for misunderstanding your comment! :-s
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Re: History nerds hangout

Postby Gmatt » Sep 30, 2009 2:49 pm

smartypants wrote:Gmatt, Why wouldn't you call the civillans innocent? Please expand.


It is a touchy issue, to be sure, and I haven't come to any firm conclusions on this, it being a very gray area.

This is how at the moment I am thinking. Civilians, in total war, are just as much a part of the war effort as any branch of the military, and while there is certain codes of conduct towards civilians that must be kept to avoid genocide, when they are actively working to subvert your country, and it's God-given values, they are not entirely innocent, and some blame must lay upon them. It is somewhat like the war between God and the Devil, there is no middle ground, you are on one side or the other.

I am not suggesting shooting unarmed civilians or anything of that sort, once they are under ones power they must be treated properly, but while they are working on weapons to kill or maim your own soldiers, they are, to a certain extent, 'fair game'.

Of course, massive bombing of cities with fire, or nuclear weaponry is an area one has to be very careful when entering. It is not a clear issue either way, but I hope I explained partly why I have a hard time viewing them as innocent. I apply the same reasoning to the Boer people in the later stages of the South African War, or the modern day Afghanis and Iraqis who aid and abet terrorists.
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Re: History nerds hangout

Postby Shadowlander » Sep 30, 2009 4:13 pm

In the history of warfare there have always been civilian casualties. It was really only in the last century with the Geneva Conventions that nations agreed not to purposely go out and destroy civilian targets but rather try and focus on the military side of things. But civilian deaths in war are unavoidable, and it's unrealistic to think of it any other way. There are some terrorists that use civilian buildings as HQ's just so that if that building is hit they can claim that the attacker is targetting civilian facilities/homes and thus increase their support among the populace.

The Israelis come across this stuff all the time. Some terrorist group will hide in an apartment building or mosque and the IDF is faced with a decision; take out the 10 terrorists there and incur some civilian casualties or ignore it and let the problem grow worse. See the problem? There are other times though where it's unecessary. Take the bombing of Dresden in WW2 by US bombers. The Soviets talked us into it even though the city didn't have much military infrastructure left, and there were more civilian deaths than can be accurately counted (I want to say it was in the hundreds of thousands). The fires burned so hot that from what I've read there were places in the city where the oxygen was literally sucked away leaving people to suffocate. We should not have listened to Stalin on that one. :( I think I also read that author Kurt Vonnegut was a POW at the time and was made to help clean up the corpses by the Germans. Horrific stuff. The Japanese did horrible things in the Chinese city of Nanking, stuff that cannot be repeated here. Touchy subject.
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Re: History nerds hangout

Postby Gmatt » Sep 30, 2009 4:33 pm

Shadowlander wrote:Touchy subject.


Exactly, and I hope I didn't come across as somehow advocating things of the last two instances you mentioned, human life is sacred, and that is what makes war such hellish business.
The people at the top had to make some very hard decisions, and of course they made mistakes being human.

Thankfully that before the Geneva convention, at least for the few hundred years previous to it, while civilians often were killed, the battles themselves were between armies and governments, and not entire peoples.
I personally think, where you can, civilian life needs to be treated carefully, even if they are 'not innocent' as I talked about in my last post, but as you said Shadowlander, sometimes things come up, and I at least would prefer our boys to come home safe than the low down scum of an enemy who use civilians as shields.
As a friend of mine put it, "War is war, and peace is peace, and unfortunately to mix them is to lose sight of the awful reality of it."

He also mentioned that on Okinawa alone, 122,513 combatants and over 100,000 civilians lost their lives, and that in three months! If we do some quick math, without going in too deep, say a year for the entirety of Japan, at the same rate, over four times the amount killed by the nuclear bombs are lost, and that is a low estimate! At that rate, it would be 400,000 civilians, but seeing as it might not be such a concentrated battle, you would still likely run into the same numbers as we killed with the bombs.
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