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General Forums => Generic Discussion => Topic started by: jdurg on August 06, 2005, 10:01:10 PM

Title: 60 Years Ago Today..
Post by: jdurg on August 06, 2005, 10:01:10 PM
60 years ago today, the world as we know it ceased to exist.  As a person in the field of science and a human being, the destruction of Hiroshima by the first atomic bomb, and the subsequent obliteration of Nagaski three days later, is both amazing and disgusting at the same time.  It's amazing in that all of the scientific theory and postulations thought about for years by some of the greatest scientists in history proved to be true.  At the same time, those truths brought a sickening realization of the power contained within the atom.  While hundreds of thousands died in those two blasts, it brought about a new era in science.  I mean, it sounds sickening when I say it, but without the bomb dropping on Hiroshima, the entire field of nuclear chemistry would be vastly different if it even existed at all.

So I hope that at some point today we all think about what happened 60 years ago and for every bit of admiration there is a bit of silence for those who's lives ended so tragically on that day.
Title: Re:60 Years Ago Today..
Post by: Donaldson Tan on August 07, 2005, 11:30:02 AM
60yr has elasped since the first nuclear bomb detonated in Japan. The heartbeats of 250000 Japanese stopped consequently, so did WWII. A popular historic interpretation is that both 'Little Boy' and 'Fat Man' not only stopped the only determined member remained of the Axis Powers to continue fighting, but also ended the WWII. This interpretation is of course valid since then there is no more resistance from any Axis Power member state.

However, that interpretation does not justify that nuclear weapons ensured worldwide peace. A examination into history reveals a nuclear arm race in the midst of WWII among the Americans, Germans, Japanese and Russians. The nuclear arm race continued at the end of WWII. In fact, more countries joined the nuclear club at the end of WWII. The British exchanged their chemical weapon technology for American nuclear weapons technology. In the name of the Cold War and to strengthen Western Europe's position against Communist expansion in Eastern Europe, the American government armed their NATO partners France and Germany with nuclear weapons.

All my life I have been told that having a nuclear weapon stockpile in one country deters another another country (with or without nuclear weapons) from entering war. Is this true or it's just another propaganda?

The fact that America has the largest nuclear weapon stockpile in the world is not enough to stop the growth of the nuclear club? Even developing countries today have became nuclear weapon states, including China, Pakistan, India & North Korea. This highlight a facts - it is so much easier to assemble a nuclear weapon today than it was 50years ago. Back then, scientists had to research the know-how and design the nuclear weapon from scratch.That requires alot of smart people and alot of capital. Now, all rogue governments need is lot of highly enriched uranium, and some well-trained engineers to build their own A-bombs. The technological hurdle is no longer there. The South African even created their uranium enrichment process with simple engineering: the Becker Nozzle Process.

Today, U-235 isn't the ultimate fissile material for nuclear weapons. It is P-239: Plutonium. Incidentally, Japanese has the highest stockpile of Plutonium in the world. After-all, they run the world's longest and most successful line of Fast Breeder Reactors to generate electricity for domestic and industrial use. Isn't it worrying that Japan after-all might have developed their own nuclear ICBMs? They have the technology all this while. Mitsubishi has been building unmanned rockets to send Japanese satellites into space. Nuclear Science & Engineering has always been an integral part of Japanese higher education institute.

I am just being cautious regarding Japan. Although Japan has been actively promoting nuclear non-profileration, we must remember that the state is not a moral actor. I have attached a chart below that reflects the varying degree of attaining nuclear weapon technology in various countries today. With so many countries with nuclear weapons today, are we at peace or living through a tenseful period?

Source of Chart: Section VI - Nuclear Weapons Technology, NATO Handbook 1998.
Title: Re:60 Years Ago Today..
Post by: jdurg on August 07, 2005, 12:21:10 PM
The thing is, if the USA didn't go through with the development and deployment of the nuclear bomb, the USSR 100% certainly would have.  The Soviet Union saw the tail end of WWII as a great way to go ahead and increase their imperialistic domination of Asia.  It's really frustrating when people say that the USA started the nuclear arms race when in reality they just showed the world what happens when those 'arms' go off.  Nuclear weapons were going to be developed no matter what.  It's simply a matter of science and scientific fact cannot be hidden forever.  The thing is, there is an inherent deterrent effect in buliding a large stockpile.  Governments realize that if they have nuclear weapons, they are less likely to be attacked by another country and invaded.  This is why everybody wants to build nuclear weapons.  I honestly don't believe that it's in order to have the firepower to invade another country.  I think it's to prevent other countries from invading them.  Pakistan knows that if they try to invade India, India will nuke the living hell out of them and vice-versa.  Look at the Cold War.  These were two VERY powerful nations (The USA and the USSR) who easily could have used nukes to attack and invade other countries, but neither of them did.

As it is now, it's the rogue terrorist groups that you have to worry about because they have no home base they have to worry about getting nuked.  If they're in a country like Syria and they set off a nuke, they don't give a s#*$ if Syria gets nuked in return.  

Now Japan does have a good deal of plutonium, but since WWII they have decided to become a 'pacivistic' nation and focus more on their people and their society than invading other countries.  They make due on what they have and their society is very prosperous and independent.  They have no need to make weapons and invade other countries.
Title: Re:60 Years Ago Today..
Post by: Borek on August 07, 2005, 12:54:37 PM
The heartbeats of 250000 Japanese stopped consequently

On the historical note... Do you know that on the August 1st 1944 Warsaw Uprising started? Do you know that in the next two months death toll in Warsaw was 250000 as well?

Whole world remembers deaths of Japanese (enemies at the WWII time) in Horoshima and Nagasaki, yet nobody but Poles remembers deaths of Poles (allied at the same moment).
Title: Re:60 Years Ago Today..
Post by: Donaldson Tan on August 07, 2005, 08:04:47 PM
Borek: Every human life is valuable, whether it's Allied or Axis, whether he/she were to be killed by conventional arms or nuclear bombs. The Warsaw Uprising lives in my heart. Although Warsaw was completely destroyed in the process, it remains as a model of underground resistance against the Oppressors. What really amaze me was that you Poles rebuild the entire city of Warsaw from scratch after WWII. Today, it's a bustling modern city with some re-created artefacts of the old Warsaw. The Germans may have suppressed the resistance, but they have not destroyed the Polish spirit. This is evident in rebuilding Warsaw - a miraclous feat in its own right.

On the other hand, does the Polish government spend as much money as the Japanese to 'advertise' the tragedy? ;)

Jdsurg: America didn't start the nuclear arm race. The Germans did (and shared their research with the other Axis Power member states), and they were defeated in the process. In the end, the Germans could not secure enough Uranium to carry out any comprehensive test or build a bomb due to British and American Navy exercising trade embargo. This also meant that the Japanese had no supply of Uranium to supplement their nuclear research. Consequently, not only the American won the WWII nuclear arm race, but also bombed her Japanese rival. America did not start the nuclear arm race.

America merely propagated the nuclear arm race into the 21st century since the end of WWII. The Cold War & Marshall Plan had its roots in Germany, where American troops met Russian troops, where both armies were there to salvage German ruins for information. In fact, the  German intelligence service was the best then. It was known that German Intelligence had infiltrated into the various political factions and military ranks among the Allied Power member states. Not surprisingly the CIA was not only modelled after Hitler's Intelligence Service, but also the CIA intelligence database is built on information gathered from the German ruins. If you don't believe me regarding the establishment of the CIA, feel free to counter-check the history of the CIA.  Any country would have vested interest in all that could be gathered from German ruins, from intelligence on Europe to nuclear weapon research, including the United Kingdom and France. I guess they were too busy rebuilding themselves and seeking for foreign investment to revive their post-war economy. If America does not seek to propagate nuclear weapons worldwide for its own interest, how did the White House pull the trick to convince the British goverment to pay for Nuclear Trident Missiles that need American permission to fire?

The Soviet Union saw the tail end of WWII as a great way to go ahead and increase their imperialistic domination of Asia

Oh well, USA never believed it is an Imperial empire, perhaps because it lacks a monarchy. At the end of the twentieth century, the USA is the largest imperial power. In total, it controlled nearly 4 million people including Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands in the Caribbean together with the Pacific Islands of the Marshalls, Samoa and the Marianas. Most of the Pacific islands were used for military purposes, including nuclear testing. Are these American colonies or American states?

There is an inherent deterrent effect in building a large stockpile. Government realise if they have nuclear weapons, they are less likely to be attacked by another country and invaded.

How do nuclear weapons deter a war? The more countries that possess nuclear weapons, the greater the probability of any war. You were right that USSR never attacked USA or vice versa. But do you recall the Cuban Missile Crisis where the USSR had deployed mid-range nuclear missiles targetting Washington, New York, etc. The American stockpile never stopped Russian intention. As long all American nuclear misile silos are nuked, the Russians still win the war. Ultimately, as long the war was fought on American soil, USSR would have otherwise won. Moreover, 2months ago, the Financial Times UK quoted a Chinese general who had threatened to nuke the USA if the USA were to interfere with the future Chinese Invasion of Taiwan.

Seeing your rival country has equipped itself with nuclear weapons provides greater motivation to arm your own country with nuclear weapons. Was it not an arm race that triggered WWI? A nuclear arm race will inevitably leads to war, regardless if it's nuclear or conventional. Have you not ponder if Pakistan and Indian armed force will clash? Kashmir is a very dangerous place now.

In fact, the total destruction associated with nuclear weaponry makes other areas of weaponry more attractive. Has not non-nuclear warfare become progressively gory in recent times? Does the employment of Agent Orange during the Vietnam War and the 2yr-bombing of Chechnya with Chemical Nerve Agents ring a bell? Anthrax scare and Ebola Outbreaks in Africa is no joke too.

The nuclear arm race propagated by American has brought the world into darker realm than it was 60yr ago. Nuclear weaponry does not provide any deterrent. It provides a false sense of security. A large nuclear weapon stockpile does not protect one's country from other rival countries or groups. It takes one nuke to create ultimate horror but so much more conventional arms to create horror of the same magnitude.

Which is more terrifying? Nuclear rivalry between two countries or one terrorist group with a nuclear bomb? Both are equally horrific because of the levelling effect that is brought by the enormous magnitude of a nuclear weapon explosion. Now that the USSR has dissolved, nuclear weapons has become more accessible to terrorists. Isn't the world a safer place during the Cold War? At least alliance were so much more easier to forge and identify, and mercenaries wouldn't be out of job, such that now terrorists hire them.
Title: Re:60 Years Ago Today..
Post by: Jd1828 on August 07, 2005, 11:08:23 PM
In my general physics class, the prof was friends with a guy that worked on the project to create the bomb.  He had some amazing stories and pictures.  I wish I could remember some of them.  :-[
Title: Re:60 Years Ago Today..
Post by: Borek on August 08, 2005, 11:58:48 AM
On the other hand, does the Polish government spend as much money as the Japanese to 'advertise' the tragedy?

For almost sixty years underground army and the history of uprising was in large part deleted from Polish history, as it was politically incorrect and uncomfortable for communists in Warsaw and Moscow.

My history books from the seventies (primary/high school level) did mentioned uprising, but never mentioned that Soviet army was waiting till the uprising bleeds out on the eastern Vistula bank. They also didn't mention the fact that British and American planes were not allowed to land on the Soviet army liberated teroritory which made air-supplies for guerillas impossible.

The same books also never mentioned the fact that on Spetember 17th, 1939, 17 days after Germans attacked Poland from the west, Soviet army attacked from the east.

British historian Norman Davies wrote a book on the Warsaw Uprising - it was published two or three years ago - and (for all practical purposes) it was first time Joe Average was able to learn about uprising.
Title: Re:60 Years Ago Today..
Post by: Donaldson Tan on August 08, 2005, 12:42:00 PM

I came to know about the Warsaw Uprising while watching a BBC documentary this year. It is sad that long chapter in history was censored in textbooks. How can we tolerate such bastardisation? As intellectuals and individuals, it is rightful of us to demand the Truth.

We used to bow down to Emperors and Kings. Today, we kneel down to the Truth.
Title: Re:60 Years Ago Today..
Post by: Benzene265 on August 08, 2005, 01:19:30 PM
The saddest part about Hiroshima is that it wasn't even necessary to drop the bombs.  Japan was facing a famine and they were already losing the war.  The treaty could have been negotiated instead of blasted out of them.

Also, you'll never get the Truth from history books.  Every history textbook I've ever read was nothing but an endless line of dry pro-US propaganda.  Textbook authors are so afraid to offend one group or another, they leave out anything that refers to race, religion, economics, and sometimes political affiliation.  So, why did we do anything, ever?  The history book's too scared to say.  If you want to really learn history, you have to go for primary or secondary sources.  Get it from people who were actually there or scholars that care about truth.
Title: Re:60 Years Ago Today..
Post by: xiankai on August 08, 2005, 11:01:47 PM
like i heard last time, history is always about the victor. (somethign around those lines). also, im not very sure if japan would be surrendering due to the famine and the fact defeat was inevitable. their soldiers were fanatics and were willing to die fighting to the last men. (obivious from the prior island battles) even citizens were taught to defend their homeland with their lives. japan was simply not a political power, but a military one. its government being militaristic, it only ended when the emperor decided to end the war, but even then a coup was planned. (luckily it failed) in fact, all throughout the war the emperor was like a puppet pulled by the militaristic government, he was fed false reports and when the truth finally hit him (atomic bombs), he started to take action.
Title: Re:60 Years Ago Today..
Post by: jdurg on August 10, 2005, 02:05:26 PM
I think a lot of people did/do underestimate the power of the Japanese citizens.  It's really difficult to pinpoint exactly how many people on both sides were 'saved' by the use of the bombs.  Financially, the development of the atomic bombs was putting a terrible hardship on the USA.  The government was able to hide that fact from it's citizens and thusly prevented any mass panics.  At the same time, the USSR was busy working on its own nuclear weapons program.  If the USA didn't go in, there's a very high chance that the USSR would have but for different reasons.  The USA wanted to end the war while the USSR wanted more territory.  In addition, the Japanese were given numerous options to surrender, but they didn't want to surrender and have to give up things.  The Potsdam(sp?) Declaration was made well before the bombs were dropped.  Japan had plenty of time to give in, but they felt as if they could provide a resistance long enough to disinterest the USA.  It wasn't until the bombs were dropped that they realized the imperialistic way of life they were fighting for could be ruined in a heartbeat if a bomb was dropped on Tokyo.  If the USA really wanted to be a 'bad guy', they'd have done just that and wiped out Tokyo.  It was upon this realization that their enemy had a weapon which could flat out erase and entire city that the Japanese rulers finally said 'Enough.  We give in'.

As for the arms proliferation, that was going to happen no matter what.  If the USSR dropped the first bombs, then the USA would have immediately mass produced in order to fight back.  When a weapon is based on common knowledge science, you can't stop people from learning about it.  It's akin to gunpowder.  Gunpowder is common science, and all you need to do is spend a little bit of time learning and you can easily make it.  During WWII, the only reason the Germans didn't go through with the development of the atom bombs is that they felt it wasn't worth their time and money, so funding for the project was channeled elsewhere in the war effort.  The USA decided to keep funding the project and was able to succeed.  

Today's proliferation is akin to having a bunch of people own guns, and a small handful not having guns.  Those without the guns feel left out and want the guns for protection.  The people with the guns are afraid that if those without it get them, they'll use the guns on them.  If the presence of nuclear weapons isn't a deterrent, then please explain why we're here right now?  During the LONG Cold War, both the USA and USSR had weapons capable of traversing the planet and striking the opposition, yet neither country fired one single missle.  If the USSR had these missles and the USA did not, do you honestly think the USSR would refrain from using them?  The Cuban Missile Crisis was simply a test of strength amongst the countries.  The USSR wanted to know just how close they could get without getting in trouble.  They got that information and moved on.  No missles were fired.  No nuclear missles have ever been fired.  This fear of proliferation is really unfounded.  Most of these rules and decisions are being made by countries which already have nuclear weapons.  They don't want the countries without nukes to have them because they don't trust those countries.  The countries without the nukes want them because they don't trust the countries with them.  It's as simple as that.
Title: Re:60 Years Ago Today..
Post by: Donaldson Tan on August 10, 2005, 06:27:59 PM
The Potsdam(sp?) Declaration was made well before the bombs were dropped.

The Potsdam Declaration ( ( was issued on July 26, 1945. The first atomic bomb was dropped at Hiroshima on 7 August 1945. With less than two weeks, the Japanese Government had to consider the harsh terms stated, namely:

1. Clause 07 requires the destruction of Japan's offensive capabilities
2. Clause 09 requires the elimination of Japanese defense capabilities
3. Clause 10 requires the replacement of Japanese political system and government.
4. Clause 12 permits the Allied forces to stay until they deem fit to leave

Moreover, the Cairo Declaration states that "Japan shall be stripped of all the islands in the Pacific which she has seized or occupied since the beginning of the first World War in 1914, and that all the territories Japan has stolen from the Chinese, such as Manchuria, Formosa, and the Pescadores, shall be restored to the Republic of China. Japan will also be expelled from all other territories which she has taken by violence and greed."

The growing famine and petroleum shortage in Japan would have worsened under all these conditions. There were no promise of foreign aid stated in the terms of surrender. Unlike any other institution, the Japanese Government is accountable to its people. The Japanese  territorial expansion policy were justified on the grounds of economic growth and national pride, similar to European colonialism from 1600s to the early 1900s. History from WWI had demonstrated that the Allies were not kind to their surrendered enemies when it comes to national welfare of the surrendered countries. All mine coals in Germany were effectively French, and the European countries were selling food to Germany at very dear rates. It is difficult to compromise on the territorial expansion policy on total national vulnerability if the government has to be accountable to its people. 2 weeks is not sufficient time. The aim of the Potsdam Declaration is therefore to tell Japan to be ready for her "prompt and utter destruction" (Clause 13). There were no numerous options to the surrender of Japan.
Title: Re:60 Years Ago Today..
Post by: Donaldson Tan on August 10, 2005, 08:55:56 PM
If the USA really wanted to be a 'bad guy', they'd have done just that and wiped out Tokyo.

There were conflicts between USSR and the USA already before the surrender of Japan. It was this conflict that requires the USA to setup an American point of influence in Asia to monitor the USSR. Japan had to be spared. USA cannot afford Japan to be annihilated at all. In fact, this role was indeed taken up by Japan. The use of foreign navies to patrol Japan's water was a good platform to conduct reconnescience on the Communist expansion into Asia. Furthurmore, the Japanese government acted as an alternate source of funding for anti-Communism incentives throughout the Cold War, not forgetting that the USA had supplemented Japan with alot of money via the Marshall Plan.

During WWII, the only reason the Germans didn't go through with the development of the atom bombs is that they felt it wasn't worth their time and money, so funding for the project was channeled elsewhere in the war effort.  The USA decided to keep funding the project and was able to succeed. 

German records had showed that the German nuclear scientists were unable to obtain sufficient uranium to conduct any test or build an A-bomb. Germany sourced their uranium from the Belgium Congo in Africa. American and British navies prevented merchant ships that might carry uranium leaving the African continent for Nazi Germany.

They don't want the countries without nukes to have them because they don't trust those countries.  The countries without the nukes want them because they don't trust the countries with them.  It's as simple as that.

Insecurity breaks down the deterrent effect which you have been preaching all this while. Insecurity facilitates the spread of nuclear weapons world-wide. The dissolution of the USSR not only created a multi-fragmented distribution of world power, but also catalysed the spread of nuclear weapon technology. Consequently, international politics is now less predictable. This futhur fuels the insecurity and thus the need to build a bigger nuclear stockpile. This insecurity effect grows with age - It feeds on itself to fuel itself. That is why war (nuclear or non-nuclear) is therefore more likely today than it was 60years ago or 10years ago. How many wars were waged in the last 20yr? Do not forget that non-nuclear weaponry today is much more devastating than it was 60years ago.

jdsurg, you may be right that nuclear deterrence was important during the Cold War, but it is an obselette concept now. Nuclear deterrence will not work in our time. It saved your parents and your grandparents. It won't save us.
Title: Re: 60 Years Ago Today..
Post by: Donaldson Tan on November 01, 2006, 10:53:32 PM
My opinion is somewhat echoed (but not in whole) by Keir A Lieber (Assistant Professor of Political Science at University of Notre Dame) and Daryl G. Press (Associate Professor of Political Science at University of Pennsylvannia) in the article "The Rise of US Nuclear Primacy", Foreign Affairs March/April 2006. Many scholars and policy analysts describe the Cold War's nuclear deterrence is otherwise known as the military stalemate Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD).

Quote from: Kier & Daryl
This debate may now seem like ancient history, but it is actually more relevant than ever - because the age of MAD is nearing an end.

My arguements were based on the status quo of nuclear weapons proliferation today. However, Kier and Daryl based their arguments on the increasing divide between American nuclear arsenal and the waning Russian nuclear arsenal. This is especially true since the United States has strengthened its nuclear weapon capability since WWII and that the Federation of Russia has 39 percent fewer long-range bombers, 58% fewer ICBMs and 80% fewer SSBNs than te Soviet Union fielded during its last days. The true extent of the Russian arsenal's decay is much greater than these cuts. Russia's strategic bombers are now located at only two bases and thus very vulnerable to surprise attack. Their warheads are stored off-base. Over 80% of Russia's silo-based ICBMs have exceeded their original service lives and plans to replace them with new missiles have been stymied by failed tests and low rates of production. Moreover, a 2004 test (attended by President Vladimir Putin) of serveral submarine-launched ballistic missiles was a total fiasco: all either failed to launch or veered off course.

Then Kier & Daryl compare the American nuclear arsenal with that of other nuclear weapon states such as China. Despite much talk about China's military modernisation, the odds that Beijing will acquire a survivable nuclar deterrent in the next deade are slim. China's modernisation efforts are focused on conventional forces and the country's progress on nuclear modernisation has accordingly been slow. The Chinese-developed DF-31 ICBMs are estimated to have a range of 8000km and in order for them to hit the United States, they have to be deployed in China's far northeastern corner, principally in Heilongjiang Province, near the Russian-North Korean Border. However, Heilongjiang is mountainous - a terrain unsuitable for housing ICBM silos. Such restriction increases the missile's vulnerability and raises question whether they will be aimed at targets in Russia or Asia.

Quote from: Bush Administration 2002 National Security Strategy
Our forces will be strong enough to dissuade potential adversaries from pursuing a military build-up in hopes of surpassing or equaling, the power of the United States

To sum it all, MAD is essentially out of date. Currently, there is no country in the world that has nuclear arsenal to match the United States. The nuclear balance is no longer in equilibrium.
Title: Re: 60 Years Ago Today..
Post by: The Tao on December 22, 2006, 04:05:51 PM
I would like to point out something in relation to the concept that the possession of nuclear weapons deters a war. During the cold war, The United States, and the USSR were fanatically in the process of creating ABMs (Anti-Ballistic Missiles) and they continued to until the creation of the ABM Treaty, which would in principle stop the manufacturing of ABMs on both the USA and USSR sides.

Now, why on earth would they do this? The answer is simple. The United States wanted to ensure that MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction) meaning that if one was to fire a missile the other would return fire, and both would be destroyed. If ABM's were abundant, then MAD is not a clear outcome, and offers an incentive for being the first to fire.

So yes, in some situations the possession of nuclear weapons does indeed deter war.
Title: Re: 60 Years Ago Today..
Post by: Donaldson Tan on May 10, 2007, 03:13:23 PM
So yes, in some situations the possession of nuclear weapons does indeed deter war.

How is this applicable to current status quo on the nuclear weaponry divide?