Along with many of you, I learned so much. Anyone interested in this topic can find a wealth of information from studies like Operation Coronet reported on my AMA site,
But to summarize the responses. Filmmaker Ken Burns' personal observation after his series on WWII is quoted as concluding that casualties on both sides would have been significantly worse had the bomb not been dropped. While I was most overwhelmed by the interest and knowledge about the topic. Most striking to me was this reply:
"I actually live in Yokohama - and when you study the war from the Japanese side, the destruction in the firebombing of Tokyo/Yokohama was equally destructive. In some ways (including the casualties) it was substantially worse. Had the Americans invaded, Japan could have expected relentless, non-stop firebombing of this type, more or less completely unopposed, as the Japanese were incapable at this point of mounting any serious air defense. And that would have been before the invasion. It's highly likely that the destruction to Japanese civilians without the bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki would have been much, much worse. Interesting point - most Japanese I speak to blame all of this squarely on the Japanese government, not the Americans."
So what's my personal take-away from the discussion? I was of course gratified that my own (selfish) position on the wisdom of dropping the bomb was substantiated by respondents. And I had two further reactions:
- At first I felt that readers had a knee-jerk reaction to the first comment on my bio - that I was a veteran of WWII.
- As a former high school "Social Studies" teacher, I was delighted with the interest in History and a recognition that knowledge of history is important to help us avoid repeating the mistakes of the past.