Hiroshima anniversary: Lives lost vs. lives saved

At AP is reporting from Tokyo about the 76th anniversary of the U.S. dropping an atomic bomb on Hiroshima. The Aug. 6, 1945, bombing killed 140,000 people. A second bomb three days later on Nagasaki killed another 70,000, but days later Japan surrendered and ended World War II.

But lest we forget, that bombing saved millions of American and Japanese lives.

Writing a year ago in The Wall Street Journal, John C. Hopkins, a nuclear physicist and former executive at Los Alamos National Laboratory, cited a July 1945 U.S. government report that estimated that invading the Japanese islands would have cost 5 million to 10 million Japanese lives. The U.S. also estimated that between 400,000 and 800,000 Americans would have lost their lives in the invasion. How many might have been our fathers and grandfathers?

A child prays in front of the cenotaph dedicated to the victims of the atomic bombing at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima, western Japan Friday, Aug. 6, 2021. Hiroshima on Friday marked the 76th anniversary of the world’s first atomic bombing of the city. (Kyodo News via AP)

12 comments on “Hiroshima anniversary: Lives lost vs. lives saved

  1. Athos says:

    to date, we are the only country to use the a-bomb. Sure hope old senile Joe doesn’t push the button in the midst of a “senior” moment! (Cause you know he wants to use it on us “deplorable” anti-vaxxers)

    Wait! I already got the vax! Does that mean I can’t cling to my God and my guns?

  2. NYPete says:

    Why did the U.S. intentionally bomb a civilian city?
    BTW, interesting story in the Times today about William Z. Lawrence and journalistic ethics.

  3. Both Hiroshima and Nagasaki were significant military targets.

  4. NYPete says:

    Hiroshima most certainly was not. Some troop-loading docks and not much else of military value. Some munitions factories on the periphery of the city, far away from the epicenter at the Aioi Bridge. That is why, of the approximately 70,000 people killed that day, only a small percentage were military personnel, and the munitions facilities were largely unscathed.

    The purpose of the Hiroshima bombing was to kill as many people as possible in a civilian city. In other words, its purpose was to terrorize.

  5. Anonymous says:


  6. It’s purpose was to end the war without an invasion.

  7. Athos says:

    And it worked! Which was a good thing for my father (and ultimately for me!) and a VERY good thing for the United States of America.

  8. NYPete says:

    Mr. Mitchell is correct. Hiroshima was bombed with an atomic weapon in order to force Japan to surrender unconditionally without an invasion. The idea was to kill as many civilians as possible, as dramatically as possible.
    In other words, it was a terror bombing. You can have a debate about whether the deliberate killing of women, children, old people and other civilians was a good idea or a bad idea. But let’s not kid ourselves about what happened.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Agree 100% Pete.

    It was a terror bombing that had no military purpose at all in the sense of destroying any military capability and it ended the war so mission accomplished.

  10. Athos says:

    If only America wasn’t such a racist country, with systemic racism baked into it’s DNA, huh petey? What an evil 99% white people country we have! Did you see the last census numbers?

    AND we’re the ONLY country to annihilate a people in order to win a war! And we ALWAYS occupy the countries that we conquer, don’t we?

    We’re just some bad motha f******!

    Hey, petey! What’s your new governor gonna be like? Isn’t she from Buffalo?

    Tom, when can we talk about the mask lawsuit against King Steve of Sisolak?

  11. It is by no means obvious that an invasion would have been necessary without the Atomic bombs. Also, the estimate you provide for casualties does not come from “The U.S.” It comes from a specific source which you do not name. There were other estimates, just as there were other options.

  12. Were the other ‘options’ better? The A-bombs saved lives on both sides.

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