I made some estimate on the The net effect of Little Boy and Fat Man 3 years ago. This year Kozak wrote for WSJ, quoted,
- "Japan remains the only country ever to have been targeted by atomic bombs. More than 120,000 Japanese died instantly from the bombings and perhaps as many succumbed to radiation poisoning afterwards (the exact number will never be known). It should be noted that when President Harry Truman was considering whether to invade Japan instead of dropping the bombs, his advisers estimated that an invasion would result in one million American casualties and at least two million Japanese deaths. In the strange calculus of war, the bombs actually saved Japanese lives."
Not far from my estimates. I estimated around 5M Japanese death had Japan defended to the last preferture. Truman's advisor's number is about half of that, quite realistic if assuming Hirohito would give up when he lost about half of his towns.
The full article via google cache is below (WSJ seems to require subscription for this article)
A Hiroshima Apology?
Japan's continued focus on remembering the bomb has been an understandable sore point for its Asian neighbors, who suffered greatly at its hands.
By WARREN KOZAKFor the first time since the United States dropped the atomic bomb on Japan 65 years ago, today the U.S. ambassador to Japan will attend the official commemoration ceremony at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial. The U.S. ambassador has always declined the annual invitation, but this year is different. President Barack Obama decided to acknowledge the event with the presence of a high-level dignitary. As State Department spokesman Philip Crowley explained, Ambassador John Roos will be there "to express respect for all the victims of World War II."
Gene Tibbets—the son of Brig. Gen. Paul W. Tibbets Jr., the pilot who dropped the bomb on Hiroshima—called the Obama administration's decision "an unsaid apology." Whether or not that's the case, by saying "all the victims" Mr. Crowley raises the specter of moral equivalence, a problem that's grown worse over the years when it comes to judging right and wrong during World War II and throughout history.
The U.S. dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima on Aug. 6, 1945. When the Japanese still didn't give up, the U.S. dropped a second bomb on Nagasaki three days later. On Aug. 15, the Japanese surrendered unconditionally, ending the most brutal war in the history of the world.
Japan remains the only country ever to have been targeted by atomic bombs. More than 120,000 Japanese died instantly from the bombings and perhaps as many succumbed to radiation poisoning afterwards (the exact number will never be known). It should be noted that when President Harry Truman was considering whether to invade Japan instead of dropping the bombs, his advisers estimated that an invasion would result in one million American casualties and at least two million Japanese deaths. In the strange calculus of war, the bombs actually saved Japanese lives.
If the Obama administration wants to ease the friction over this event or even to apologize, then perhaps it is also a good time for the Japanese government to begin to discuss World War II truthfully with its own people.
Since 1945, Japan's narrative has centered almost exclusively on the atomic blasts and its role as victim—with short shrift given to the Japanese invasions of China, Manchuria, Korea, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Indochina, Burma, New Guinea and, of course, the attack on Pearl Harbor. Japanese children have learned little about the Rape of Nanking or the fact that as many as 17 million Asians died at the hands of the Japanese in World War II—many in the most brutal ways imaginable.
There is also the inconvenient truth that Japan started the war in the first place. There would have been no war in the Pacific between 1937 and 1945 had Japan stayed home.
Focusing on the atomic bombs paints the Japanese as victims, like other participants in World War II. They were not. The Japanese, like their German allies, were bent on global conquest and the destruction of other people who did not fit their bizarre racial theories. Japan's continued focus on Hiroshima and Nagasaki has been an understandable sore point for its Asian neighbors, who suffered greatly at its hands.
There are times when ordinary citizens understand history better than their leaders. In approaching Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Mr. Obama should consider a related event that took place 25 years ago. On May 5, 1985, President Ronald Reagan made a rare public relations gaffe when he visited the Kolmeshohe Cemetery near Bitburg to lay a wreath at the graves of German soldiers.
His reasoning came from a decent place—he wanted to help bolster his ally, German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, and he thought that enough time had passed to allow both countries to move on together. But a firestorm erupted when it was learned that the graves were not just those of ordinary Wehrmacht soldiers but of SS troops as well. President Reagan dug in his heels despite strong protests and laid a wreath at the brick tower that loomed over those graves.
The protests came not because people refused to move on or because the postwar bonds between Germany and the U.S. were not strong and real. They were then and they remain so today. Rather, the anger came because the president's act created a tacit understanding that U.S. soldiers were no different than SS Storm Troopers, whose bloody tracks still leave a horror throughout Europe that can barely be equaled in that continent's long, lamentable history. The G.I.s were liberators. The SS were demented murderers. Period.
Young people today may have a hard time understanding that point because of the moral equivalence and political correctness that have taken over our society, our media and especially our universities. It teaches our children that all countries have good and bad elements within them—something so obvious that it's trite. But this lesson has become so powerful that it is not out of the norm for young people today to believe that, while World War II was certainly horrible, all sides share some blame.
Concerning today's event in Hiroshima, the State Department said "at this particular time, we thought it was the right thing to do." It may indeed be the right time for our two countries to share this event. But by tacitly placing all of World War II's participants in the same category, we undermine the ability of future generations to identify real evil, putting them at great risk.
Mr. Kozak is the author of "LeMay: The Life and Wars of General Curtis LeMay" (Regnery, 2009).