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Posted: 11/11/2005 5:24:12 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 11/11/2005 5:32:42 PM EDT by AggieSS]
Since Va Dinger laments the lack of threads, I thought I'd start one.
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Considering the invasion of Okinawa was the last one before we dropped the nukes that ended WWII, was the invasion really necessary? Should the US have waited until the bombs were dropped to see if the Japs would surrender before sacrificing thousands of troops to invade Okinawa? In the absence of the Okinawa invasion, would the nukes have been enough to force the Japs to surrender?
Discuss.
Link Posted: 11/11/2005 10:00:56 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/8/2005 7:11:46 PM EDT by Spiff]
This is an interesting question, I've never heard of Okinawa being questioned as necessary or not. Peleliu is now regarded as a complete waist of lives as the forces it was supposed to protect against no longer existed at the time of the Philippine invasion (now theres a campaign we could argue over the *military* necessity for).

But here's my take:

1. Okinawa was invaded a full 5 months before the bombs were dropped in anger, and a good 4 months before the Trinity test. So at the time of the invasion the bombs were not even a viable weapons system. And there were many that did not think the bombs would work, though most scientists at the time were reasonably sure they would.

2. Without a doubt Okinawa was the next step in the island hopping campaign that was to end with the invasion of Japan. And it was necessary to keep the pressure on the enemy, you can't just sit around for 5 months waiting on a weapon that might or might not work. Giving the enemy time to recoup.

So at the time, given the situation and the information available to US planners, yes the invasion was necessary.

In the absence of the invasion would the Japanese have surrendered? I don't know, but it certainly helped their decision along knowing that the Allies were *literally* knocking on their doorsteps and had actually taken pre-war Japanese territory. Not to mention the added attrition on her military caused by loses suffered during the campaign.

I'll go out on a limb and say that it would have taken more bombs than just the two that were dropped. Even after the loss of Okinawa and the dropping of the two bombs it took direct action by the Emperor to end hostilities. And even then some hard liners had the balls to attempt a coup.

BTW, and FWIW, I was born on Kadena AFB, Okinawa.

Link Posted: 12/8/2005 12:09:21 PM EDT

I've never heard of Okinawa being questioned as necessary or not. Peleliu is now regarded as a complete waist of lives


+1

Just finished the book on Peleliu...Even the troops before the landing were discussing this unfortunate fact, however, command apparently felt that by the time they recognized the strategic unimportance of Peleliu, it was too late to recall the landing..Bad deal...
Link Posted: 12/14/2005 12:05:32 PM EDT
+1 on what Spiff said. Their were many doubts about whether or not the bombs would actually work. If they didn't, they needed Okinawa as another step to Japan.

On a side note, my wifes uncle was part of the 96th Infantry Division and he lost a leg below the knee to a Jap tank. Very interesting guy to talk to and I enjoyed visiting with him. He enjoyed talking with me as well because I was about the only person who like to talkt to him about his experiences. He even remembered the serial number of his M1 Garand. Unfortunately, he died last year before I could ask him again what it was. I wanted to try to find it for him.
Link Posted: 12/26/2005 2:08:00 PM EDT
Had the war not ended with the atomic weapons, Okinawa would have probably been the forward supply base for the invasion.
Link Posted: 12/27/2005 9:02:10 AM EDT
My father was wounded on Okinawa, I've always wanted to visit it.
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