Volunteer Fighting Corps

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On March 23, 1945 the Japanese government ordered the formation of the Volunteer Fighting Corps.  Contrary to the name of the organization, there was nothing voluntary about it.  All Japanese males from 15-60 and all Japanese women from 17-40 were considered to have “enlisted” in this organization.  This produced a force of approximately 28,000,000, overwhelmingly made up of old men, girls and women, since the Japanese had already conscripted virtually every male of military age.  The Japanese military was made responsible for training and arming this huge force.  In practice this often resulted in masses of Japanese civilians drilling with spears, Japan lacking sufficient small arms to intially arm the civilian-soldiers.

Hiroshima Volunteers

Although it had its comical “Dad’s Army” aspect, the mobilization scheme was deadly serious.  Volunteer Fighting Corps units in the event of invasion were to be “married” to regular units and provide combat support and combat services.  They would in effect serve as cannon fodder to spare the trained and armed Japanese regular Army units.  They were planned to serve as garrisons for the host of defensive bastions being constructed throughout Japan.  Special units were trained to conduct a guerilla war behind American lines as the invasion progressed.  The Japanese were proceeding forward with these plans with their usual efficiency, and by the planned invasion time of November 1945 the Volunteer Fighting Corps would have been a formidable force multiplier for the Japanese Army, albeit at the cost of hideous casualties among the impressed civilians.

Richard Frank, in his magisterial Downfall, estimates that the fatalities among these civilian soldiers opposing Operation Olympic would have been in the range of 380,000.

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27 Comments

  1. Doubtless they would have been if American troops had had to fight their way through Hiroshima block by bloody block in Operation Olympic in November ’45. (One hundred thousand civilians died in block to block fighting in Manila at the beginning of ’45 and that is with MacArthur going to great lengths to avoid civilian casualties.) That of course assumes that they hadn’t died in the famine that historically MacArthur barely averted with massive shipments of food from the States following the surrender after Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Of course they might well have died prior to November in the carpet bombing of cities that would have ramped up as the invasion date neared.

    The persons morally responsible for every death in the Pacific War are the same people who led the nation during World War II that embraces pretended victimhood at this time each year.

  2. Yes, this would truly be a fearsome force that would inflict most of the 50k American casualties planners expected upon invasion of Japan. Of course, no such invasion was even really needed, given that the Jap navy was gone, we had total air superiority, and could have simply strangled them into submission.

    But this laughable paper “army” does not in any way take away from the fact that Hiroshima and Nagasaki was full of civilians, American and Allied prisoners, and a few hundred garrison troops. When they were incinerated, they were in so sense of the word combatants.

  3. Glad to read Donald biting the bullet (so to speak) and having us bomb Japanese school children (as young as first grade — seven and eight years old?) as they might pose a threat during our hypothetical invasion. What about the Japanese babies? Did they have a role as part of the mobilization force?

    Meanwhile, I think it would help everyone to get out your Veritatis Splendor and do some serious study:

    74. But on what does the moral assessment of man’s free acts depend? What is it that ensures this ordering of human acts to God? Is it the intention of the acting subject, the circumstances — and in particular the consequences — of his action, or the object itself of his act?

    This is what is traditionally called the problem of the “sources of morality”. Precisely with regard to this problem there have emerged in the last few decades new or newly-revived theological and cultural trends which call for careful discernment on the part of the Church’s Magisterium.

    Certain ethical theories, called “teleological”, claim to be concerned for the conformity of human acts with the ends pursued by the agent and with the values intended by him. The criteria for evaluating the moral rightness of an action are drawn from the weighing of the non-moral or pre-moral goods to be gained and the corresponding non-moral or pre-moral values to be respected. For some, concrete behaviour would be right or wrong according as whether or not it is capable of producing a better state of affairs for all concerned. Right conduct would be the one capable of “maximizing” goods and “minimizing” evils.

    Many of the Catholic moralists who follow in this direction seek to distance themselves from utilitarianism and pragmatism, where the morality of human acts would be judged without any reference to the man’s true ultimate end. They rightly recognize the need to find ever more consistent rational arguments in order to justify the requirements and to provide a foundation for the norms of the moral life. This kind of investigation is legitimate and necessary, since the moral order, as established by the natural law, is in principle accessible to human reason. Furthermore, such investigation is well-suited to meeting the demands of dialogue and cooperation with non-Catholics and non-believers, especially in pluralistic societies.

    75. But as part of the effort to work out such a rational morality (for this reason it is sometimes called an “autonomous morality” ) there exist false solutions, linked in particular to an inadequate understanding of the object of moral action. Some authors do not take into sufficient consideration the fact that the will is involved in the concrete choices which it makes: these choices are a condition of its moral goodness and its being ordered to the ultimate end of the person. Others are inspired by a notion of freedom which prescinds from the actual conditions of its exercise, from its objective reference to the truth about the good, and from its determination through choices of concrete kinds of behaviour. According to these theories, free will would neither be morally subjected to specific obligations nor shaped by its choices, while nonetheless still remaining responsible for its own acts and for their consequences. This “teleologism”, as a method for discovering the moral norm, can thus be called — according to terminology and approaches imported from different currents of thought — “consequentialism” or “proportionalism”. The former claims to draw the criteria of the rightness of a given way of acting solely from a calculation of foreseeable consequences deriving from a given choice. The latter, by weighing the various values and goods being sought, focuses rather on the proportion acknowledged between the good and bad effects of that choice, with a view to the “greater good” or “lesser evil” actually possible in a particular situation.

    The teleological ethical theories (proportionalism, consequentialism), while acknowledging that moral values are indicated by reason and by Revelation, maintain that it is never possible to formulate an absolute prohibition of particular kinds of behaviour which would be in conflict, in every circumstance and in every culture, with those values. The acting subject would indeed be responsible for attaining the values pursued, but in two ways: the values or goods involved in a human act would be, from one viewpoint, of the moral order (in relation to properly moral values, such as love of God and neighbour, justice, etc.) and, from another viewpoint, of the pre-moral order, which some term non-moral, physical or ontic (in relation to the advantages and disadvantages accruing both to the agent and to all other persons possibly involved, such as, for example, health or its endangerment, physical integrity, life, death, loss of material goods, etc.). In a world where goodness is always mixed with evil, and every good effect linked to other evil effects, the morality of an act would be judged in two different ways: its moral “goodness” would be judged on the basis of the subject’s intention in reference to moral goods, and its “rightness” on the basis of a consideration of its foreseeable effects or consequences and of their proportion. Consequently, concrete kinds of behaviour could be described as “right” or “wrong”, without it being thereby possible to judge as morally “good” or “bad” the will of the person choosing them. In this way, an act which, by contradicting a universal negative norm, directly violates goods considered as “pre-moral” could be qualified as morally acceptable if the intention of the subject is focused, in accordance with a “responsible” assessment of the goods involved in the concrete action, on the moral value judged to be decisive in the situation.

    The evaluation of the consequences of the action, based on the proportion between the act and its effects and between the effects themselves, would regard only the pre-moral order. The moral specificity of acts, that is their goodness or evil, would be determined exclusively by the faithfulness of the person to the highest values of charity and prudence, without this faithfulness necessarily being incompatible with choices contrary to certain particular moral precepts. Even when grave matter is concerned, these precepts should be considered as operative norms which are always relative and open to exceptions.

    In this view, deliberate consent to certain kinds of behaviour declared illicit by traditional moral theology would not imply an objective moral evil.

    The object of the deliberate act

    76. These theories can gain a certain persuasive force from their affinity to the scientific mentality, which is rightly concerned with ordering technical and economic activities on the basis of a calculation of resources and profits, procedures and their effects. They seek to provide liberation from the constraints of a voluntaristic and arbitrary morality of obligation which would ultimately be dehumanizing.

    Such theories however are not faithful to the Church’s teaching, when they believe they can justify, as morally good, deliberate choices of kinds of behaviour contrary to the commandments of the divine and natural law. These theories cannot claim to be grounded in the Catholic moral tradition. Although the latter did witness the development of a casuistry which tried to assess the best ways to achieve the good in certain concrete situations, it is nonetheless true that this casuistry concerned only cases in which the law was uncertain, and thus the absolute validity of negative moral precepts, which oblige without exception, was not called into question. The faithful are obliged to acknowledge and respect the specific moral precepts declared and taught by the Church in the name of God, the Creator and Lord.125 When the Apostle Paul sums up the fulfilment of the law in the precept of love of neighbour as oneself (cf. Rom 13:8-10), he is not weakening the commandments but reinforcing them, since he is revealing their requirements and their gravity. Love of God and of one’s neighbour cannot be separated from the observance of the commandments of the Covenant renewed in the blood of Jesus Christ and in the gift of the Spirit. It is an honour characteristic of Christians to obey God rather than men (cf. Acts 4:19; 5:29) and accept even martyrdom as a consequence, like the holy men and women of the Old and New Testaments, who are considered such because they gave their lives rather than perform this or that particular act contrary to faith or virtue.

    77. In order to offer rational criteria for a right moral decision, the theories mentioned above take account of the intention and consequences of human action. Certainly there is need to take into account both the intention — as Jesus forcefully insisted in clear disagreement with the scribes and Pharisees, who prescribed in great detail certain outward practices without paying attention to the heart (cf. Mk 7:20-21; Mt 15:19) — and the goods obtained and the evils avoided as a result of a particular act. Responsibility demands as much. But the consideration of these consequences, and also of intentions, is not sufficient for judging the moral quality of a concrete choice. The weighing of the goods and evils foreseeable as the consequence of an action is not an adequate method for determining whether the choice of that concrete kind of behaviour is “according to its species”, or “in itself”, morally good or bad, licit or illicit. The foreseeable consequences are part of those circumstances of the act, which, while capable of lessening the gravity of an evil act, nonetheless cannot alter its moral species.

    Moreover, everyone recognizes the difficulty, or rather the impossibility, of evaluating all the good and evil consequences and effects — defined as pre-moral — of one’s own acts: an exhaustive rational calculation is not possible. How then can one go about establishing proportions which depend on a measuring, the criteria of which remain obscure? How could an absolute obligation be justified on the basis of such debatable calculations?

    78. The morality of the human act depends primarily and fundamentally on the “object” rationally chosen by the deliberate will, as is borne out by the insightful analysis, still valid today, made by Saint Thomas.126 In order to be able to grasp the object of an act which specifies that act morally, it is therefore necessary to place oneself in the perspective of the acting person. The object of the act of willing is in fact a freely chosen kind of behaviour. To the extent that it is in conformity with the order of reason, it is the cause of the goodness of the will; it perfects us morally, and disposes us to recognize our ultimate end in the perfect good, primordial love. By the object of a given moral act, then, one cannot mean a process or an event of the merely physical order, to be assessed on the basis of its ability to bring about a given state of affairs in the outside world. Rather, that object is the proximate end of a deliberate decision which determines the act of willing on the part of the acting person. Consequently, as the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches, “there are certain specific kinds of behaviour that are always wrong to choose, because choosing them involves a disorder of the will, that is, a moral evil”.127 And Saint Thomas observes that “it often happens that man acts with a good intention, but without spiritual gain, because he lacks a good will. Let us say that someone robs in order to feed the poor: in this case, even though the intention is good, the uprightness of the will is lacking. Consequently, no evil done with a good intention can be excused. ‘There are those who say: And why not do evil that good may come? Their condemnation is just’ (Rom 3:8)”.128

    The reason why a good intention is not itself sufficient, but a correct choice of actions is also needed, is that the human act depends on its object, whether that object is capable or not of being ordered to God, to the One who “alone is good”, and thus brings about the perfection of the person. An act is therefore good if its object is in conformity with the good of the person with respect for the goods morally relevant for him. Christian ethics, which pays particular attention to the moral object, does not refuse to consider the inner “teleology” of acting, inasmuch as it is directed to promoting the true good of the person; but it recognizes that it is really pursued only when the essential elements of human nature are respected. The human act, good according to its object, is also capable of being ordered to its ultimate end. That same act then attains its ultimate and decisive perfection when the will actually does order it to God through charity. As the Patron of moral theologians and confessors teaches: “It is not enough to do good works; they need to be done well. For our works to be good and perfect, they must be done for the sole purpose of pleasing God”.129

    “Intrinsic evil”: it is not licit to do evil that good may come of it (cf. Rom 3:8)

    79. One must therefore reject the thesis, characteristic of teleological and proportionalist theories, which holds that it is impossible to qualify as morally evil according to its species — its “object” — the deliberate choice of certain kinds of behaviour or specific acts, apart from a consideration of the intention for which the choice is made or the totality of the foreseeable consequences of that act for all persons concerned.

    The primary and decisive element for moral judgment is the object of the human act, which establishes whether it is capable of being ordered to the good and to the ultimate end, which is God. This capability is grasped by reason in the very being of man, considered in his integral truth, and therefore in his natural inclinations, his motivations and his finalities, which always have a spiritual dimension as well. It is precisely these which are the contents of the natural law and hence that ordered complex of “personal goods” which serve the “good of the person”: the good which is the person himself and his perfection. These are the goods safeguarded by the commandments, which, according to Saint Thomas, contain the whole natural law.130

    80. Reason attests that there are objects of the human act which are by their nature “incapable of being ordered” to God, because they radically contradict the good of the person made in his image. These are the acts which, in the Church’s moral tradition, have been termed “intrinsically evil” (intrinsece malum): they are such always and per se, in other words, on account of their very object, and quite apart from the ulterior intentions of the one acting and the circumstances. Consequently, without in the least denying the influence on morality exercised by circumstances and especially by intentions, the Church teaches that “there exist acts which per se and in themselves, independently of circumstances, are always seriously wrong by reason of their object”.131 The Second Vatican Council itself, in discussing the respect due to the human person, gives a number of examples of such acts: “Whatever is hostile to life itself, such as any kind of homicide, genocide, abortion, euthanasia and voluntary suicide; whatever violates the integrity of the human person, such as mutilation, physical and mental torture and attempts to coerce the spirit; whatever is offensive to human dignity, such as subhuman living conditions, arbitrary imprisonment, deportation, slavery, prostitution and trafficking in women and children; degrading conditions of work which treat labourers as mere instruments of profit, and not as free responsible persons: all these and the like are a disgrace, and so long as they infect human civilization they contaminate those who inflict them more than those who suffer injustice, and they are a negation of the honour due to the Creator”.132

    With regard to intrinsically evil acts, and in reference to contraceptive practices whereby the conjugal act is intentionally rendered infertile, Pope Paul VI teaches: “Though it is true that sometimes it is lawful to tolerate a lesser moral evil in order to avoid a greater evil or in order to promote a greater good, it is never lawful, even for the gravest reasons, to do evil that good may come of it (cf. Rom 3:8) — in other words, to intend directly something which of its very nature contradicts the moral order, and which must therefore be judged unworthy of man, even though the intention is to protect or promote the welfare of an individual, of a family or of society in general”.133

    81. In teaching the existence of intrinsically evil acts, the Church accepts the teaching of Sacred Scripture. The Apostle Paul emphatically states: “Do not be deceived: neither the immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor sexual perverts, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor robbers will inherit the Kingdom of God” (1 Cor 6:9-10).

    If acts are intrinsically evil, a good intention or particular circumstances can diminish their evil, but they cannot remove it. They remain “irremediably” evil acts; per se and in themselves they are not capable of being ordered to God and to the good of the person. “As for acts which are themselves sins (cum iam opera ipsa peccata sunt), Saint Augustine writes, like theft, fornication, blasphemy, who would dare affirm that, by doing them for good motives (causis bonis), they would no longer be sins, or, what is even more absurd, that they would be sins that are justified?”.134

    Consequently, circumstances or intentions can never transform an act intrinsically evil by virtue of its object into an act “subjectively” good or defensible as a choice.

  4. Sorry for the non-sequitur. Wrong thread.

    Why you apologizing, Ernst? your statement:
    “Because starving civilians to death is less immoral.”
    Was actually entirely relevant to Tom’s “plan”

    Of course, no such invasion was even really needed, given that the Jap navy was gone, we had total air superiority, and could have simply strangled them into submission.

    Because apparently starving to death nearly ALL of the babies in Japan is a better outcome. Near genocide is apparently to be preferred to horrible consequentialism.

    Japanese school children (as young as first grade — seven and eight years old?) as they might pose a threat during our hypothetical invasion.

    So you don’t think children are a threat? Wish someone would tell… pretty much every nation in the world (as they all have a history of using kids in battle). But wait! Here comes Jeffrey to tell us how all of history and human experience is wrong and guns won’t work if someone under the age of fifteen pulls the trigger.

  5. Why you apologizing, Ernst?

    I was confused because I was doing too many things at once and none of them well.

    You know, multi-tasking.

  6. “Glad to read Donald biting the bullet (so to speak) and having us bomb Japanese school children (as young as first grade — seven and eight years old?) as they might pose a threat during our hypothetical invasion.”

    Jeff, please try not to act more ignorant than you are. You know precisely what I was saying and you have no good response, so you bloviate. The dropping of the atomic bombs spared a great many more people in Japan, than the lives they took. All the bleating by you won’t alter that hard fact. Critics of Truman have no solutions to the problem he confronted so they engage in hand waving and useless emotimg. I thank God that you were not at the helm of this nation in ’45 for us to have incurred an additional one million casualties, several million more dead Japanese and who knows how many more dead Chinese and the other occupied people living under the Rising Sun.

  7. “Yes, this would truly be a fearsome force that would inflict most of the 50k American casualties planners expected upon invasion of Japan.”

    Where do you get that rubbish Tom? The Joint Chiefs predicted in April of ’45 456,000 casualties for Operation Olympic. Throw in Operation Coronet, the invasion of Honshu, and estimated casualties were 1,200,000, of which KIAs would have been 267,000. For comparison, taking Okinawa alone cost in excess of 100,000 American casualties, 20,0000 of them fatalities.

    “simply strangled them into submission.”

    Pretty words for starving to death several million Japanese. All the while on the Asian mainland at least 300,000 people a month in occupied territories, assuming no major military operations, would have been been killed by the Japanese occupation. Bravo, for such a “moral” alternative.

  8. “The dropping of the atomic bombs spared a great many more people in Japan, than the lives they took.”

    (1) This is an educated guess — no one here has a time machine and gets to replay the past. But you do highlight…

    (2) The chief moral problem outlined in Veritatis Splendor — that as Catholics (you do consider yourself a Catholic, correct?) we cannot, ever, use the consequences of an action as the guide to whether or not the action is moral. If it is wrong to incinerate innocent Japanese babies, then we cannot do it — period, end of story. Or to put it in John Paul the II’s words:

    79. One must therefore reject the thesis, characteristic of teleological and proportionalist theories, which holds that it is impossible to qualify as morally evil according to its species — its “object” — the deliberate choice of certain kinds of behaviour or specific acts, apart from a consideration of the intention for which the choice is made or the totality of the foreseeable consequences of that act for all persons concerned.

    Once you accept what is moral and not moral, we can figure out what would have been an appropriate course of action. But our first job should be to say, “this action [incinerating hundreds of Japanese babies/little children] is unacceptable.”

  9. Yes, this would truly be a fearsome force that would inflict most of the 50k American casualties planners expected upon invasion of Japan.

    Why not invent a fictional surrender offer?

  10. Once you accept what is moral and not moral, we can figure out what would have been an appropriate course of action. But our first job should be to say, “this action [incinerating hundreds of Japanese babies/little children] is unacceptable.”

    Jeffrey, you’ve got three tools in your kit and two possible objects. What are your objects, what are your tools, and what does the state of the world look like in each circumstance? Get back to us when you have an answer and quit striking attitudes.

  11. The chief moral problem outlined in Veritatis Splendor — that as Catholics (you do consider yourself a Catholic, correct?) we cannot, ever, use the consequences of an action as the guide to whether or not the action is moral.

    “[that] is the equivalent of saying that the man who pushes an old lady into the path of a hurtling bus is not to be distinguished from the man who pushes an old lady out of the path of a hurtling bus: on the grounds that, after all, in both cases someone is pushing old ladies around.” -William F. Buckley Jr.

    If your morals logically lead to the conclusion that it is best to let old ladies be hit by buses, there is a huge error in program or definitions that needs to be corrected.

  12. Where do you get that rubbish Tom?

    It’s a meme I first saw in print around about 1981. IIRC it usually hits the letters-to-the-editor column in the exchange of brickbats the week after the surrender-offer meme has been floated.

  13. If your morals logically lead to the conclusion that it is best to let old ladies be hit by buses, there is a huge error in program or definitions that needs to be corrected.

    Which is by way of saying those invoking ‘consequentialism’ are making use of what would be a reductio ad absurdam in some other circumstance.

  14. “(1) This is an educated guess — no one here has a time machine and gets to replay the past. But you do highlight…”

    It is a dead certainty considering that the Japanese were unwilling to surrender after Hiroshima, and a military coup was attempted when Hirohito finally decided to surrender after Nagasaki. He, of course, in his surrender message indicated that the bomb was the reason why Japan was surrendering.

    “The chief moral problem outlined in Veritatis Splendor”

    Veritatis Splendor was not the best work of John Paul II, especially when he included this laundry list of intrinsic evils from Vatican II:

    “The Second Vatican Council itself, in discussing the respect due to the human person, gives a number of examples of such acts: “Whatever is hostile to life itself, such as any kind of homicide, genocide, abortion, euthanasia and voluntary suicide; whatever violates the integrity of the human person, such as mutilation, physical and mental torture and attempts to coerce the spirit; whatever is offensive to human dignity, such as subhuman living conditions, arbitrary imprisonment, deportation, slavery, prostitution and trafficking in women and children; degrading conditions of work which treat labourers as mere instruments of profit, and not as free responsible persons: all these and the like are a disgrace, and so long as they infect human civilization they contaminate those who inflict them more than those who suffer injustice, and they are a negation of the honour due to the Creator”.132 ”

    Some of those items are intrinsically evil and some are dependent upon the facts of the case. For example, a Dad captures the kidnapper of his child. He pummels the kidnapper until he reveals the hiding place of the child. That is “coercing the spirit” of the kidnapper, but it is most certainly not intrinsically evil. Deporting illegal aliens is not intrinsically evil. “Subhuman living conditions”, well that is pretty subjective isn’t it? Like most moral questions, if the Pope had been asked about such issues, I assume he would have used phrases like, “this is what I meant”, “it depends”, etc. Especially in wartime moral issues arise that do not have one size fits all answers. Any morality which will lead to a great many more deaths needs to be examined closely and not simply followed blindly. What may seem reasonable in a papal Encyclical or a combox discussion may need a good deal of caveats when it comes to real world application, lest in an attempt to follow the angels in theory, we unleash devils in reality.

  15. Pretty sure the only blameless thing (morally speaking) to do in war is to lose it.

    I mean, if we’re going to adopt an absolutist position.
    .
    Maybe I’m wrong. I’m still waiting for Jeffery or Tom to expound on the moral alternatives to the intrinsic evil of
    .
    of…
    .
    of….
    .
    What exactly is the objective evil we’re rejecting out of hand?

  16. Why are some people so fanatical about people dying under a nuclear explosion in Japan 70 years ago, at the expense of no fanaticism over other means of death?

    Because above all they fear it will happen to them someday. This is not really about Japan at all.

  17. As Jeffry S points out, Veritatis Splendor points out the features of a moral act – that is the moral object, circumstances and intention. This is not a novel construct of John Paul II but rather goes back to Aquinas. All three must be good or at least neutral for a person to pursue the act. For example, giving alms is good. But doing so if one’s intention was to increase one’s prestige would be vain and thus immoral. Also, if one gave alms when one’s own children would suffer due to one’s own constrained circumstances, then this would be immoral

    He is also right in that consequentialism is wrong. For example, Obama’s executive order (and the USCCB’s support of this) was a consequentialist act in that he pursued a perceived good (aiding illegal immigrants) through a immoral means (an illegal executive order.) Of course if could also be immoral if he did it for the intention to increase Democratic voters (thus reducing the immigrants to means for his ends) or for cheap labor, rather than for then own good. It would also be immoral if the circumstances were such that our society could not accept a continued increase in immigrants.

    The bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki would be immoral if done merely for the intention of “killing Japs” or if the circumstances that the Japanese were about to surrender. Deliberately targeting civilians would also be immoral and if it was argued that it was done to end the war or reduce casualties would be consequentialist and immoral.
    The problem becomes if, as posted, the Japanese were conscripting large numbers of civilians as combatants. Thus, one may be able to argue that such cities were actually large numbers of combatants and thus legitimate targets.
    But what of those few non-combatants present (babies etc. ) Now we would get into the question of double effect. I will not go into the details of this but point to the example of the hysterectomy of a gravid, cancerous uterus. On can in fact licitly perform the hysterectomy even though it results in the death of the baby. This, as long at there is proportionate reason (no other treatment possible and delay not advisable) and the intention was good (one intended only the removal of the uterus and not the death of the baby. The same reasoning has been used in the bombing of cities. If there was a sufficiently important target (some industry vital to the war effort of the enemy) then collateral damage (the death of babies) was seen as acceptable.

  18. Hiroshima served as the base of the Second General Army, which commanded the defense of Southern Japan and was garrisoned by 43,000 troops, approximately 20,000 of whom died in the bomb blast. Nagasaki was an industrial powerhouse for the Japanese military:

    “The city of Nagasaki had been one of the largest seaports in southern Japan, and was of great wartime importance because of its wide-ranging industrial activity, including the production of ordnance, ships, military equipment, and other war materials. The four largest companies in the city were Mitsubishi Shipyards, Electrical Shipyards, Arms Plant, and Steel and Arms Works, which employed about 90% of the city’s labor force, and accounted for 90% of the city’s industry.[169] Although an important industrial city, Nagasaki had been spared from firebombing because its geography made it difficult to locate at night with AN/APQ-13 radar.”

  19. Why are some people so fanatical about people dying under a nuclear explosion in Japan 70 years ago, at the expense of no fanaticism over other means of death?

    Ignorance, I think.
    They believe roughly that an innocent population was chosen for malicious reasons and killed in a way that couldn’t be replicated in terms of damage.
    .
    Some have simply never been taught the inconvenient facts. I hadn’t heard of the firebombing, and we were told that blackout curtains were to keep pilots from mistaking houses for military targets. As Donald has pointed out, Nagasaki wasn’t a purely civilian town– or just a well known religious spot.
    Some choose to ignore those facts, call people names, go to another spot and repeat the same false information.

  20. Donald McClarey: Even though we regularly disagree about the Civil War times, we are in full agreement regarding the historical facts you have listed on this post. Bravo!

    “Jeff, please try not to act more ignorant than you are. You know precisely what I was saying and you have no good response, so you bloviate. The dropping of the atomic bombs spared a great many more people in Japan, than the lives they took. All the bleating by you won’t alter that hard fact. Critics of Truman have no solutions to the problem he confronted so they engage in hand waving and useless emotimg. I thank God that you were not at the helm of this nation in ’45 for us to have incurred an additional one million casualties, several million more dead Japanese and who knows how many more dead Chinese and the other occupied people living under the Rising Sun.”

    I am currently reading “Truman” by David McCollough. It along with the biography of Truman written by his daughter, which both quote original source documents extensively, are two of my favorite books. A reading the section of the McCollough’s book entitled “To The Best Of My Ability” will yield implicit & explicit reasoning (Truman’s & several of his close advisors) re: dropping the atomic bombs as well as the attempts made to get the Japenese to surrender before the dropping of the bombs. Unfortunately, the Japanese built their private homes in near proximity to the war industrial factories in which they worked. Japanese civilians were being slaughtered by basically carpet bombing by B-29s. “On May 14, five hundred B-29s hit Nagoya, Japan’s third largest industrial city, in what the New York Times called the greatest concentration of fire bombs in the history of aerial warfare.” “On May 23, five square miles of Tokyo were obliterated. Thirty-six hours later, 16 square miles were destroyed.” the purpose of developing the bomb as quickly as possible by the US govt was to use the bomb to bring the war to an end as quickly as possible–period.

    A memo, dated 6-4-1945, by Gen. Thomas Handy said that by achieving peace, the US wud be saving at least 500,000 US lives up to 1,000,000 US lives.

    Truman fought in WW 1 and led men into battle. He dealt with and interacted with the men whose live he was responsible for during battle for the rest of his life. Actually having to face war as a leader who is responsible to protect lives of people under your authority (dependent on your every decision for their safety–knowing you would get to see their dead, mangled body & bury it (maybe) if they died) would probably greatly clarify the reasoning of these self righteous, bovine feces, pychobable laden, pseudo-moralizing idiots.

    On page 400-401, it lists exactly the info Truman asked for in order to make the dreaded decision.

    As I understand it, Truman saw his responsibilty as the US Commander-in-Chief, a role he never wanted to have by the way, as being to end the war as quickly as possible in orde to save as many American lives as possible.

    Would, that every US commande-in-chief since his time would have seen their responsibility as being primarily to guard & save American lives!!!!

    It is very clear that those who criticize Truman’s actions offer no real exchangeable solutions that would have brought about the quick end of the war & the saving of American lives.

  21. As a girl, I sat many times and listened to my father cry & grieve over loss of life in battle during WW 2. He only spoke about it to me, in private, during very quiet, solemn times. A daughter, who adores her father, seeing him son years after the war,because he was still trying to process the thousands of dead in individual locations/battles, has an incredible impact on her. Because my father cried every time the national anthem was played and he taught me the price it cost to hear it, I cried & still cry every time the national anthem is played. Daddy said that during the war so many young men had been killed in the war that younger women were marrying older men–because there were such few young men to marry. His brother was drafted into the army near the end of the war. His brother was 45 years old, married, & had 5 kids at the time he was drafted & sent to Germany. Dad said that the draft had started with single 18 year olds with no children.

  22. ” Of course, no such invasion was even really needed, given that the Jap navy was gone, we had total air superiority, and could have simply strangled them into submission.”

    The British blockade of Greece killed 40,000 civilians (and Greece is not an island). How many Japanese civilians (certainly all food would go to the army) would you be willing to let starve to death?

    “The chief moral problem outlined in Veritatis Splendor — that as Catholics (you do consider yourself a Catholic, correct?)”

    The chief problem with your continued reliance on Veritatis Splendor is that it was issued 48 years after the bombs were dropped, making it very unlikely that Truman had a copy available.

  23. “Yes, this would truly be a fearsome force that would inflict most of the 50k American casualties planners expected upon invasion of Japan”

    David McCollough’s book, “Truman,” mentions on page 400 the following projected numbers of American deaths related to THE FIRST 30 DAYS OF THE FIRST PHASE of a two phase invasion: 41,000 by an Admiral King; 49,000 by an Admiral Nimitz; 50,000 by Gen. MacArthur’s staff. It is stated that McArthur considered 50,000 deaths to be too high for the first 30 days of the first phase of the invasion–however, MacArthur was completely in favor of the invasion taking place (which was his nature.)

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