I've always been troubled by the dropping of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
I wondered if there wasn't still a chance to end the war in another way - maybe the Japanese would have surrendered if given an ultimatum and knowing that they had no chance of winning. Or maybe we could have waited for the Soviet Union to come in, again as a way to show the Japanese that they could not win. Or maybe we could have dropped one bomb in an uninhabited area but before Japanese witnesses as a demonstration to shock them into surrendering. Or at the least, we could have chosen militatry, and not civilian, targets.
One argument often put forward for the bombings was that an invasion would have cost a half a million American lives. That number always seeemed high to me - that's more than we lost in the entire war.
But I recently came across an article that addresses this issue - and provides a different estimate.
Ralph Raico points to studies that indicate the high estimate of loss of U.S. lives was actually 46,000 - and it could have been less. That's terrible, but not anywhere near 500,000.
Instead, between 100,000 and 200,000 civilians were killed.
I'm going to do do some more digging, but if this holds up, then the bombings were indeed unjustified.
Pax et bonum