Wednesday, August 17, 2005

The Nuclear Arms Race, v2.0

For years, the world has tried to shame and chastise the US for the use of nuclear weapons on a country that it is often said was on the brink of collapse and/or submission. Japan has joined in this “bash the US” party for 60 years. Most intelligent people here in the US realize that, had we instead taken the route of invasion instead of nuclear arms, the death toll on both sides, would have been millions higher. Meanwhile, seemingly the rest of the world and many nutcase liberals here at home as well, seem to want every US general and politician since FDR tried for war crimes. Add in the fact that the USSR and the US faced off with more and bigger nukes, poised to annihilate the human race 5 times over for most of that time, and you can see why the shame of destroying nearly the entire population of two Japanese cities would wear upon our collective souls, regardless of the necessity. Such has been the history and politics of nuclear arms for the last 60 years.

Now everything has changed.

Last night, The History Channel aired a program entitled Japan's Atomic Bomb in this show, The History Channel claims to have proof that Japan not only had a nuclear weapons program, it had TWO different teams working on it. And that four days before Japan surrendered, one of the teams actually tested a device on an island off the coast of North Korea. This team, run by the Japanese Imperial Navy, had relocated to Korea which had been under Japanese control since 1905, to evade B-29 bombing which had previously destroyed the other Japanese army backed team’s gaseous diffusion uranium separation apparatus. This had been rumored amongst historians for some time but with little corroboration, but a few years ago, documents that had been ordered destroyed prior to the surrender but had been instead saved by one of the scientists involved surfaced. This document lead to the last surviving member of the army backed team, which in turn lead to a surviving member of the Navy backed team. The Navy facility was seized by the Soviet Army in 1945 and it is thought that some of the facilities and/or expertise assisted in the development of the USSR’s nuclear program.

These revalations change the entire scope of the controversy. Had we tried the invasion route, it is entirely possible that Japan might have been able to complete a bomb and use it on us. MADD would not have sufficed to prevent it because Japan had absolutely nothing to loose by using it. Japan apparently came very close to calling our bluff and retaliating with a bomb of thier own anyway. Having used every bit of bomb grade fissile material to build the three that we had built at the time, we would have had nothing left to retaliate with. As it is, Imperial Japan may very well have jump-started the USSR's nuclear weapons program, much the same way Nazi germany contributed to the USSR's missile program, bringing on the Cold War that much sooner. Ladies and gentlemen, the human race got very lucky, very lucky indeed.

More resources:
Japan A-Bomb Project
Wikipedia's entry

6 Comments:

Blogger ttyler5 Editor said...

I'm glad that documentary has aired, it really gives the lie to the recent allegations of the anti-American propogandists who claim that Japan was ready to surrender and we did not have to nuke 'em.

BTW, after 8 years of total war, 60 million deaths, and axis war crimes committed on a world -historic level, why didn't we build more bombs and just keep dropping them on Japan ...

August 18, 2005 7:25 AM  
Blogger Rorschach said...

Because it took so long to obtain enough fissile material to build the three we had. After we dropped the third one on Nagasaki, we were running a bluff. We wanted the world to think we had more of them. We didn't. Had Japan CALLED that bluff by detonating one of thier own in San Francisco harbour as they planned (they were going to deliver it via a kamakazi U-boat.) We would have been in the unenviable position of not being able to retaliate in kind for some time (maybe as much as six months or more).

August 18, 2005 8:04 AM  
Blogger Kathy Herrmann said...

What caused the purloined documents to surface?

August 18, 2005 8:40 AM  
Blogger Rorschach said...

According to the documentary (and I'm going from drugged memory here, I was half asleep from sinus meds when the show came on and I fell asleep about 5 minutes prior to it's end, so I missed the last few minutes.) The documents were removed from the burn pile by one of the scientists named in the document as an author/contributor and given to another scientist who had not been attributed in the paper with the statement that "Your name is not on any of this, you will not be charged with any war crimes." This scientist then immigrated to the US shortly after the war on the same kind of visa that Werner Von Braun had been issued, and taught Nuclear Physics at a university in Arkansas. He had shown the papers around to his grad students and told them it described how Japan was trying to build an atomic bomb during WWII, but since none of them read japanese, it was kind of a curiosity. After his death 10 years ago his wife turned the papers over to researchers. Just who she turned them over to I cannot recall if it was even mentioned.

August 18, 2005 12:36 PM  
Blogger Pigilito said...

As you note, your post is a nice counter to all the editorials and individuals who continue to protest our use of the atomic bombs.

No matter how close the Japanese came to developing the bomb, there can be no doubt that they were prepared to use it.

Good thing we used ours first. The benefit in lives saved and economic damage averted makes the decision all the more right.

August 19, 2005 4:36 AM  
Blogger wayne said...

The more civilized thing, according to the liberals and other USA haters, would have been to stand off from Japan and burn the whole country down with fire bombs and coincedentally killing a couple million or more Japanese.
May the left is advocating blockading Japan into total starvation. Sure as water is wet, Japan's military was not about to surrender.

August 20, 2005 12:37 AM  

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