General Question

elbanditoroso's avatar

If there had been webcams and instantaneous communication like the internet back in 1945, would the US have dropped nukes on Nagasaki and Hiroshima?

Asked by elbanditoroso (33140points) September 15th, 2021
10 responses
“Great Question” (4points)

Or would the US have reticent to do so because of the immediate bad publicity?

It’s an impossible question to answer, because it calls for historical speculation. But I’m curious about your thoughts.

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Lost_World's avatar

I think the nature of war and technology has changed so much since then; if the question is “If WW2 had been fought with technology from 2021, what would it have been like” Then answer is no, they would not have done so because it would have been unnecessary for the same reasons that so far atomic weapons have not been used this century, information and economics are more useful than force.

If the question is “Would they have used those weapons if there was a guarantee of greater publicity of the aftermath”. Yes. It was WW2, they were concerned with winning, and in the case of Japan, achieving a fast surrender which would keep the Soviets out of Japan (which was a big concern at the time). Also for the most part, the effects of atomic weapons were not that well understood in the 1940s, so I’m not sure they would have known what that aftermath would be exactly.

Its hard to imagine WW2 today, living in a culturally integrated Europe and having been to Japan. Yet it happened, and not that long ago. Humanity has not changed, but I’m still not sure we have the means or the ability to fully understand the thinking of that time in this age of relative peace.

ragingloli's avatar

They would have dropped the bombs extra hard.
Remember, their primary reason for dropping the bombs was to demonstrate their destructive power to the world.
They would have LOVED the ability to live-stream the devastation across the globe.
A little girl melting in atomic fire live on camera, what could be better?

rebbel's avatar

A girl doused and lit in napalm?

gorillapaws's avatar

It was the two worst acts of terrorism the world has ever seen. Maybe if it had been live-streamed, Nagasaki wouldn’t have happened, but @ragingloli is spot-on with the purpose and intent.

kritiper's avatar

The bombs were dropped to save the lives of American soldiers who would have had to invade Japan to end the war, so the bombs would still have been dropped.

Zaku's avatar

i think people think they understand the fullness of complex situations far more thoroughly than they actually do. And I think once we substantially change history in a “what if?”, we very much don’t know what else would be different as a result, nor what would happen.

Mindsets about violence, war, national enemies, and destroying entire cities from the air, were VERY different in the 1940s (only 80 years ago). So were ideas about other ethnicities, cultures and nationalities.

I think the Internet and videos probably tend to have an effect on worldwide relatability and other shifts in ideas (as well as many other things), so what sorts of effects this would have would depend on how long before 1945 these had been around. If they had just appeared, then I don’t imagine they would have all that much effect.

Sadly, too many people still relate to nuclear weapons as a potentially valid weapon to actually use, even on civilian targets.

flutherother's avatar

We would probably still have dropped the first bomb but maybe not the second.

Nomore_lockout's avatar

Hard to say. But I don’t think Intelligence Analysts have changed techniques that much over the years. At the time, the common perception was that Japan would fight on no matter what. And that an invasion of the Home Islands would cost millions of Allied lives. Short of wire tapping the Emperor’s inner sanctum and getting a real feel for what he and his advisors were actually thinking, I don’t the l the outcome would be much different.

give_seek's avatar

What is all of our technology stopping us from doing now? Nothing. Wars and atrocities continue.

mazingerz88's avatar

More likely yes than no.

Yes, the US leadership wary of negative global reaction for killing thousands of cellphone owning civilians might give the Japanese Emperor and his military leaders explicit warning to force them to surrender but there is a better chance than not that the Japanese leadership would say go for it. They will go to their graves with honor.

The Japanese at that time if I’m not mistaken saw their Emperor as a living god.

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