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Old 12th March 2013, 06:12 AM   #241
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What was necessary was to end the war as quickly as possible. What was used to do that was necessary for that end.
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Old 12th March 2013, 06:55 AM   #242
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Perhaps, rather than use a term like "necessary", which is understandably subject to interpretation, we should ask if the bombings were the best available option. Most people in this thread would have agreed to that, I think.
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Old 12th March 2013, 07:33 AM   #243
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Originally Posted by PhilosophicalCaveman View Post
The Japanese hit a military target "Pearl Harbour". Can this not be used to assume that they would not attack civilians to the same extent as the US did. What is your assumption, that is that they 'would have', based on?
1. generally, that's a logic that's not.

2. ON Dec 26 1941, Manilla was proclaimed a "open city", a declaration that all efforts to defend it had ceased, the Japanese could have it simply by walking in. On the 29th, they bombed it.
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Old 12th March 2013, 08:16 AM   #244
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
Perhaps, rather than use a term like "necessary", which is understandably subject to interpretation, we should ask if the bombings were the best available option. Most people in this thread would have agreed to that, I think.
I would have, with the qualification that that agreement is to the best of my knowledge. As I noted, what question is actually asked is important.

And to actually answer you, Gawdzilla, yes, I certainly could say that the bombings were not needed to the POWs. Were I in a position of authority on the matter, though, I would have likely ordered the bombs to be used, as well, and taken full responsibility for the decision, without resorting to claiming need or necessity, but rather a desire for the best reasonably achievable outcome for a terrible situation.
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Old 12th March 2013, 08:57 AM   #245
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Hiroshima and Nagasaki were valid military targets. The fact that they hadn't yet been bombed makes some people assume they weren't of military significance. That is wrong.
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Old 12th March 2013, 09:15 AM   #246
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Originally Posted by PhilosophicalCaveman View Post
There are more information available to us in modern times to see that it wasn't a simple act but one that really cause us to question the motives of dropping those 2 bombs.
PhilosophicalCaveman, I am interested to know if there is a specific piece of "information available to us in modern times" that you think influenced you the most in questioning the motive of dropping those two bombs.
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Old 12th March 2013, 11:29 AM   #247
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Originally Posted by Aridas View Post
As speedily and without Japan being in a position to launch further aggression are not particularly relevant to whether a course of action was necessary. More or less desirable, certainly.
By that whacky definition, NOTHING is ever necessary, because there is always an alternative.

If I have both pizza and pasta in by freezer, it is not necessary for me to eat pizza, because there is pasta in the freezer; it is not necessary for me to eat pasta, because there is pizza in the freezer. Yet it is still necessary for me to eat SOMETHING.
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Old 12th March 2013, 03:22 PM   #248
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Originally Posted by Chaos View Post
By that whacky definition, NOTHING is ever necessary, because there is always an alternative.
No, there is not always an alternative, when "necessary" is used reasonably. Very often, certainly.

Originally Posted by Chaos View Post
If I have both pizza and pasta in by freezer, it is not necessary for me to eat pizza, because there is pasta in the freezer; it is not necessary for me to eat pasta, because there is pizza in the freezer. Yet it is still necessary for me to eat SOMETHING.
You realize that this doesn't counter anything I said at all, right?
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Old 13th March 2013, 04:03 AM   #249
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Originally Posted by Gawdzilla View Post
Hiroshima and Nagasaki were valid military targets. The fact that they hadn't yet been bombed makes some people assume they weren't of military significance. That is wrong.
True, Hiroshima was an important army depot, with numerous military camps, and was headquarters for the 2nd Army (in charge of the defense of southern Japan). Nagasaki was a centre of industrial activity including production of ordnance, ships and other materiel; between them Mitsubishi Shipyards, Electrical Shipyards, Arms Plant and Steel and Arms Works employed 90% of the populace.
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Old 13th March 2013, 04:16 AM   #250
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Originally Posted by catsmate1 View Post
True, Hiroshima was an important army depot, with numerous military camps, and was headquarters for the 2nd Army (in charge of the defense of southern Japan). Nagasaki was a centre of industrial activity including production of ordnance, ships and other materiel; between them Mitsubishi Shipyards, Electrical Shipyards, Arms Plant and Steel and Arms Works employed 90% of the populace.
Not to mention that one of the bombs went off almost directly over ~5,000 soldiers line up for inspection. "Not a military target"?? Really?
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Old 13th March 2013, 04:18 AM   #251
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Originally Posted by Aridas View Post
As speedily and without Japan being in a position to launch further aggression are not particularly relevant to whether a course of action was necessary. More or less desirable, certainly.
Thank Buddha you weren't running the war then.

Quote:

Using the atomic bombs certainly didn't suck hard for the US, which was the primary concern of the American leaders. Thank you, though.
It sucked less for Japan than any other option the Allies had.
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Old 13th March 2013, 04:28 AM   #252
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Originally Posted by Gawdzilla View Post
Thank Buddha you weren't running the war then.
If you want to thank Buddha, go ahead. I think I've made my position quite clear, though, despite your poor attempts at sniping.


Originally Posted by Gawdzilla View Post
It sucked less for Japan than any other option the Allies had.
Which, again, doesn't contradict what I said at all.
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Old 13th March 2013, 04:40 AM   #253
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Originally Posted by catsmate1 View Post
True, Hiroshima was an important army depot, with numerous military camps, and was headquarters for the 2nd Army (in charge of the defense of southern Japan). Nagasaki was a centre of industrial activity including production of ordnance, ships and other materiel; between them Mitsubishi Shipyards, Electrical Shipyards, Arms Plant and Steel and Arms Works employed 90% of the populace.
Interesting fact: Nagasaki was bombed after Kokura was deemed too cloud covered that day. My Japanese wife's mother was 1 year old at that time and lived in Kokura. I thank the clouds !
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Old 13th March 2013, 04:58 AM   #254
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
Interesting fact: Nagasaki was bombed after Kokura was deemed too cloud covered that day. My Japanese wife's mother was 1 year old at that time and lived in Kokura. I thank the clouds !
In fact the entire second bombing mission was a bit of a farce.
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Old 13th March 2013, 06:42 AM   #255
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In what way ?
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Old 14th March 2013, 09:00 AM   #256
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
In what way ?
Not aborting the mission, or using an alternate aircraft, after discovering the fuel pump problem; the three failed attempts to bomb Kokura; the real possibility of interception there (Japanese fighters did actually take off to intercept the mission) and anti-aircraft fire had become heavy, due to the amount of time spent orbiting; missing the Nagasaki target by 2.5km (and saving a lot of Japanese lives); landing on fumes and nearly crashing. Plus the radio problem.
As LeMay put it: You ********** up, didn't you, Chuck?
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Old 14th March 2013, 03:18 PM   #257
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Originally Posted by catsmate1 View Post
Not aborting the mission, or using an alternate aircraft, after discovering the fuel pump problem; the three failed attempts to bomb Kokura; the real possibility of interception there (Japanese fighters did actually take off to intercept the mission) and anti-aircraft fire had become heavy, due to the amount of time spent orbiting; missing the Nagasaki target by 2.5km (and saving a lot of Japanese lives); landing on fumes and nearly crashing. Plus the radio problem.
As LeMay put it: You ********** up, didn't you, Chuck?
Zeppo Marx was involved, what do you expect?
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Old 15th March 2013, 03:32 AM   #258
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Originally Posted by dafydd View Post
Zeppo Marx was involved, what do you expect?
I'd expect a mission of the importance and priority to have eliminated some of the potential disasters..............

Here's an interesting What If: What if Bockscar had been shot own over Kokura?
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Old 15th March 2013, 04:01 AM   #259
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Originally Posted by catsmate1 View Post
I'd expect a mission of the importance and priority to have eliminated some of the potential disasters..............

Here's an interesting What If: What if Bockscar had been shot own over Kokura?
Lot's of people would have died as the core was batted about while they tried to figure out what it was. Even if they had sussed it out, copied it, and built more they didn't have fissiles and no means of delivering the products to any target of value.
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Old 15th March 2013, 04:03 AM   #260
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Originally Posted by catsmate1 View Post
I'd expect a mission of the importance and priority to have eliminated some of the potential disasters..............

Here's an interesting What If: What if Bockscar had been shot own over Kokura?
The Japanese have a bunch of radioactive debris to poke around at futilely until a new bomb is ready.
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Old 15th March 2013, 04:15 AM   #261
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Originally Posted by Travis View Post
The Japanese have a bunch of radioactive debris to poke around at futilely until a new bomb is ready.
There were two more bombs in the pipeline. Tests Able and Baker were done with bombs already available in the Pacific. (And yes, I'm aware they were post-war.)
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Old 15th March 2013, 04:16 AM   #262
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Congratulations!

You have won a time travel trip to go back to 1945. You have a choice of going ahead with dropping the bombs as it occurred, or doing something else instead to end the war.

What do you do?
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Old 15th March 2013, 04:19 AM   #263
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Originally Posted by Kid Eager View Post
Congratulations!

You have won a time travel trip to go back to 1945. You have a choice of going ahead with dropping the bombs as it occurred, or doing something else instead to end the war.

What do you do?
I'd use that machine to go back to the 1920s and try to tell the moderates keep control of Japan.
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Old 15th March 2013, 05:20 AM   #264
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How did the radicals get control again?
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Old 15th March 2013, 07:54 AM   #265
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Originally Posted by Travis View Post
How did the radicals get control again?
They shot the moderates. Literally.
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Old 15th March 2013, 09:27 AM   #266
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Originally Posted by Gawdzilla View Post
Lot's of people would have died as the core was batted about while they tried to figure out what it was.
How do you figure? Like most, you assume the ingredients of the bomb were radioactive; they were, but only just barely. The Fat Man bomb had a plutonium core; here is a pic of just such a core being carried in an unshielded, simply padded plywood box: http://dougkerr.net/images/Trinity/Trinity_Core-01.jpg. People handled cores all the time; as long as you don't bring a critical mass together (and the core isn't critical, not until it's density was tripled by explosives), or breathe/eat a pulverization of the material, and prevent it from catching fire, they were just another rock. Cores aren't radioactive enough to do more then raise their temperature a little, which certainly might have raised some eyebrows.

A definite hazard is that the bomb could have exploded it's HE in an uncontrolled way through fire or concussion, blowing the core all over a small area. A definite hazard, with the material dispersed in dust that could be ingested, causing death from ARS or cancer from a month to 30 years down the line in that area, also providing a fire hazard as plutonium is pyrophoric when dust or shaved.

There were a few in Tokyo who might have guessed and worked their way to the truth with an intact bomb in hand, if they and the bomb were somehow brought together. It's an interesting puzzle as to whether those in Tokyo who knew about the possibility of harnessing nuclear fission would recognize an implosion weapon. In war, doubtful.

Originally Posted by Travis View Post
The Japanese have a bunch of radioactive debris to poke around at futilely until a new bomb is ready.
No. More than likely, the bomb wouldn't have even been noticed until the Americans went poking for it after the war's end.

Originally Posted by Gawdzilla View Post
There were two more bombs in the pipeline. Tests Able and Baker were done with bombs already available in the Pacific. (And yes, I'm aware they were post-war.)
They were in the pipeline, yes. The Demon CoreWP (used in Operation CrossroadsWP Alpha, it was the core involved in the accidents killing Daghlien and Slotin in separate accidents) was shipped to Los Alamos in August, I think the Baker core was fabricated in September. Thereafter the proposed rate of manufacture was one core a month ramping up to two/month by December, I believe, but that fell away when the war ended. The Crossroads test were done in the summer of 1946. The cores and bombs, three of them, never arrived in the Pacific until carried there by Blandy's fleet to Bikini.

BTW, those accidents both involved arrangements designed to magnify reactions in the core by reflecting neutrons back in, not allowing them to escape the sub-critical mass. That is what allowed them to become super-critical for short times of not more than a second in each case.

Originally Posted by catsmate1 View Post
In fact the entire second bombing mission was a bit of a farce.
See BockscarWP for details.

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Old 15th March 2013, 09:47 AM   #267
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I'm in the process of re-reading Richard Rhodes' The Making to the Atomic Bomb. It is an excellent history read, covering the nuclear physics thoroughly from a historical standpoint beginning roughly with Planck, Rutherford and such. I just read a chapter in which Rhodes lays the foundation for the common rationalization of carpet bombing used by LeMay and others in the air forces nearer the end of the war. During WWI the French and the Germans got into using poison gas in order to break the trench warfare that started in Ypres, with the notion that the gas would break the stalemate and avoid the killing of many more soldiers in the trenches. Fritz Haber, the German chemist who brought the world nitrogen fixation for both fertilizer and explosives, was the German scientist who supervised the application; his wife committed suicide trying to get him to stop the Germans from using it.

Most of the Los Alamos scientists were ambivalent about the use of the bomb in Japan; they started the effort in the belief that they were in a race with Germany. They didn't realize that once the weapon was created it would be used to shorten the war regardless of the particular enemies remaining; Groves and LeMay were the architects of that plan, driven by political considerations from above. They were so caught up in the process and the intoxication of the research that they didn't recognize the re-purposing. Leo Szilard and Richard Feynman were perhaps the most articulate about that just after the end of the war.

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Old 15th March 2013, 12:24 PM   #268
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Originally Posted by shadron View Post
Groves and LeMay were the architects of that plan, driven by political considerations from above.
Citation for that? (The "political considerations from above" bit.) I always love this part.
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Old 15th March 2013, 12:55 PM   #269
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Originally Posted by Kid Eager View Post
Congratulations!

You have won a time travel trip to go back to 1945. You have a choice of going ahead with dropping the bombs as it occurred, or doing something else instead to end the war.

What do you do?
I totes drop the bombs.

But then, I'd be dropping the bombs left, right, and center, all day, every day, anyway.

Because the bombs are rad.

I'd still be carrying on the underground testing program.

I'd still be funding NERVA.

I'd be pushing for an Orion spacecraft.

Hell, I'd still be pushing for Project Pluto.
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Old 15th March 2013, 02:40 PM   #270
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Because the bombs are rad.
No, no, they produce rad.
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Old 15th March 2013, 09:38 PM   #271
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
I totes drop the bombs.

But then, I'd be dropping the bombs left, right, and center, all day, every day, anyway.

Because the bombs are rad.

I'd still be carrying on the underground testing program.

I'd still be funding NERVA.

I'd be pushing for an Orion spacecraft.

Hell, I'd still be pushing for Project Pluto.
Which was the one where they were going to use hydrogen bombs to blast harbors into a coast? I'd love to read the environmental impact statement on that one.
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Old 16th March 2013, 06:41 AM   #272
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If we didn't drop the bombs and the US and USSR had to invade, would Northern Japan be like North Korea today?

Would South Korea exist? Would the Korean War have been played out in Japan?

I know I'm JAQs, but I would love to hear how you people think it would have played out. I'm sure it would not have been fun for the Japanese.
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Old 16th March 2013, 06:54 AM   #273
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Russia might have gotten Hokkaido, but that's about it. It would have taken a total collapse of the Japanese defenders combined with a makeshift invasion fleet to give them anything more. They were very aware that they were heavily outgunned by the Western Allied navies in this theater, so I think they would have just taken the low-hanging fruit and settled for that.
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Old 16th March 2013, 07:11 AM   #274
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Originally Posted by Gawdzilla View Post
Lot's of people would have died as the core was batted about while they tried to figure out what it was. Even if they had sussed it out, copied it, and built more they didn't have fissiles and no means of delivering the products to any target of value.
Originally Posted by Travis View Post
The Japanese have a bunch of radioactive debris to poke around at futilely until a new bomb is ready.
Well I doubt the MK3 could have survived the impact intact; so you'd get bits of Plutonium spread around, probably from the burning plane.

Originally Posted by Gawdzilla View Post
There were two more bombs in the pipeline. Tests Able and Baker were done with bombs already available in the Pacific. (And yes, I'm aware they were post-war.)
Originally scheduled as the proposed third and fourth strikes on Japan, 19AUG1945 and 01SEP1945 or thereabouts.

Originally Posted by Kid Eager View Post
Congratulations!

You have won a time travel trip to go back to 1945. You have a choice of going ahead with dropping the bombs as it occurred, or doing something else instead to end the war.

What do you do?
Use the bombs. If possible speed up the production by a few weeks and launch a demonstration strike on Tokyo harbour as a prelude to the city strikes.
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Old 16th March 2013, 07:45 AM   #275
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Originally Posted by shadron View Post
How do you figure? Like most, you assume the ingredients of the bomb were radioactive; they were, but only just barely. The Fat Man bomb had a plutonium core; here is a pic of just such a core being carried in an unshielded, simply padded plywood box: http://dougkerr.net/images/Trinity/Trinity_Core-01.jpg. People handled cores all the time; as long as you don't bring a critical mass together (and the core isn't critical, not until it's density was tripled by explosives), or breathe/eat a pulverization of the material, and prevent it from catching fire, they were just another rock. Cores aren't radioactive enough to do more then raise their temperature a little, which certainly might have raised some eyebrows.

A definite hazard is that the bomb could have exploded it's HE in an uncontrolled way through fire or concussion, blowing the core all over a small area. A definite hazard, with the material dispersed in dust that could be ingested, causing death from ARS or cancer from a month to 30 years down the line in that area, also providing a fire hazard as plutonium is pyrophoric when dust or shaved.
I suspect the casing wouldn't have survived impact intact, despite the armoured case; I'm not sure if the Comp B would have detonated, though one of the detonators might have gone off. A burning plane might have spread PuO over the area.

Originally Posted by shadron View Post
There were a few in Tokyo who might have guessed and worked their way to the truth with an intact bomb in hand, if they and the bomb were somehow brought together. It's an interesting puzzle as to whether those in Tokyo who knew about the possibility of harnessing nuclear fission would recognize an implosion weapon. In war, doubtful.
Japan had two nuclear weapons programmes, they were quite familiar with the concept and identified the Hiroshima explosion as a nuclear bomb rapidly. If they'd found an intact bomb (extremely unlikely) they would have been able to dissect it for the details

Originally Posted by shadron View Post
They were in the pipeline, yes. The Demon CoreWP (used in Operation CrossroadsWP Alpha, it was the core involved in the accidents killing Daghlien and Slotin in separate accidents) was shipped to Los Alamos in August, I think the Baker core was fabricated in September. Thereafter the proposed rate of manufacture was one core a month ramping up to two/month by December, I believe, but that fell away when the war ended. The Crossroads test were done in the summer of 1946. The cores and bombs, three of them, never arrived in the Pacific until carried there by Blandy's fleet to Bikini.
According to the Hull-Seaman memorandum the fourth weapon would have been available for use around 19AUG1945 and the fifth around 01SEP1945.

Originally Posted by shadron View Post
I'm in the process of re-reading Richard Rhodes' The Making to the Atomic Bomb. It is an excellent history read, covering the nuclear physics thoroughly from a historical standpoint beginning roughly with Planck, Rutherford and such. I just read a chapter in which Rhodes lays the foundation for the common rationalization of carpet bombing used by LeMay and others in the air forces nearer the end of the war. During WWI the French and the Germans got into using poison gas in order to break the trench warfare that started in Ypres, with the notion that the gas would break the stalemate and avoid the killing of many more soldiers in the trenches. Fritz Haber, the German chemist who brought the world nitrogen fixation for both fertilizer and explosives, was the German scientist who supervised the application; his wife committed suicide trying to get him to stop the Germans from using it.
The actual historical record about Clara Haber's suicide isn't so definitive.
I'm also dubious about the relevance of this; WW1 (and WW2) didn't see chemical attacks against cities, it was employed mainly in a tactical role.

Originally Posted by shadron View Post
Most of the Los Alamos scientists were ambivalent about the use of the bomb in Japan; they started the effort in the belief that they were in a race with Germany. They didn't realize that once the weapon was created it would be used to shorten the war regardless of the particular enemies remaining; Groves and LeMay were the architects of that plan, driven by political considerations from above.
Based on my own rather extensive reading on the subject, including contemporaneous primary documents such as the letters and petition by Szilard, I disagree with that statement.
Indeed Szilard's main proposal was a demonstration strike.
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