Atomic Bomb vs. Invasion

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On August 6, 1945, an atomic bomb was dropped on the Japanese city of Hiroshima. A second bomb was dropped on Nagasaki on August 9. The unconditional surrender of Japan was announced on August 10. The atomic bomb ended the war swiftly and quickly, and resulted in no Allied casualties. Others supported Operation Downfall, an invasion of Japan. However, this may not have resulted in an unconditional surrender.

U.S. President Truman was advised that 250,000 to one million U.S. soldiers could have died in Operation Downfall, the planned invasion of mainland Japan. In a study done by the Joint Chiefs of Staff in April 1945, the figures of 7.45 casualties per 1,000 man-days and 1.78 fatalities per 1,000 man-days were developed. This implied that the two planned campaigns to conquer Japan would cost 1.6 million U.S. casualties, including 380,000 dead. On August 1, 1944, the Japanese War Ministry ordered the execution of all Allied war prisoners if an invasion of Japan happened. This means that over 100,000 allied soldiers that would have been executed.

Some may argue that innocent Japanese civilians and military soldiers lost their lives to the bomb. The Japanese were dangerous and were raised to fight, starting from a young age. An Air Force Association history of the 21st century says, "Millions of women, old men, and boys and girls had been trained to resist by such means as attacking with bamboo spears and strapping explosives to their bodies and throwing themselves under advancing tanks." The AFA noted that, “The Japanese cabinet had approved a measure extending the draft to include men from ages fifteen to sixty and women from seventeen to forty-five.” As a result of the increase in draft range, 28 million more people were drafted.

The result of the atomic bombs was the unconditional surrender of Japan. If an invasion took place, the surrender may not have been unconditional. According to historian Richard B. Frank, “The intercepts of Japanese Imperial Army...
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