The History Thread Page 4

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  • disusedgenius 18 Jan 2013 17:00:39 5,220 posts
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    andytheadequate wrote:
    The atomic bombings were a diplomatic blunder (as well as a war crime), but militarily a success in the short term
    Militarily a success full-stop, no?
  • teamHAM 18 Jan 2013 17:02:47 2,755 posts
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    Maybe I could use CIA coup's gone wrong. There is probably enough source material to use that.

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  • andytheadequate 18 Jan 2013 17:03:01 8,080 posts
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    On a similar note, what about British military blunders?

    It has to be the general incopetence in WW1 for me. Apart from a few rare examples, the tactics and strategy used were utterly disgraceful. Although Britain ended up "winning" (not losing) the war, the loss of life cannot be accepted
  • Deleted user 18 January 2013 17:05:01
    "Would that be the plan to continue with total slaughter until everyone's dead except Field Marshal Haig, Lady Haig and their tortoise, Alan?"
  • andytheadequate 18 Jan 2013 17:08:53 8,080 posts
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    disusedgenius wrote:
    andytheadequate wrote:
    The atomic bombings were a diplomatic blunder (as well as a war crime), but militarily a success in the short term
    Militarily a success full-stop, no?
    Well, Japan was already beaten. They'd already offered peace (conditional rather than unconditional) several times already by that point, and they were on the verge of starvation. The Soviets had taken Manchuria off them and their navy and airforce had been destroyed by the US. The atomic bombing was a pyschological blow that led to immediate peace, but peace could have been achieved without using them.

    By diplomatic, I meant the relations with the Soviets. America had hidden the atomic bomb from their ally, and then dropped it without informing the Soviets. The distrust caused helped to intesify the already frail relations between the two states. Whether that could have been avoided is another matter though.

    Imagine if the Soviets had created the atomic bomb and dropped it on Berlin whilst the Allies were still in France, without mentioning that they had this revolutionary weapon?

    Truman should have been at Nuremberg along with the other war criminals

    Edited by andytheadequate at 17:11:52 18-01-2013
  • teamHAM 18 Jan 2013 17:12:21 2,755 posts
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    disusedgenius wrote:
    andytheadequate wrote:
    The atomic bombings were a diplomatic blunder (as well as a war crime), but militarily a success in the short term
    Militarily a success full-stop, no?
    Difficult one I think. For the history books to say it was a military success is shrouding the real core of the issue imho. Was every other alternative solution attempted before they were dropped? We know the Japanese were deliberately deceptive throughout the 30's in the run up to war and during the war itself, overall they were tricksy fuckers.

    IIRC the official line was it was better they were used than to risk 100'000 US deaths in an invasion of the Japanese mainland. But was it properly considered that the Japanese could be forced to sue for peace without the bombs being dropped, even without a land invasion. It was well known the Japanese were dependent on imports for oil, rubber and various other resources that could sure be prevented or heavily disrupted by naval blockade and sabotage to the point where they would give up. I do appreciate that a land based invasion of Japan would have been pretty grim. But with another six atomic bombs on standby to be used against Japan if they hadn't surrendered, it could have been even worse than it was.

    The US did after all dismiss out of hand the prospect of using nuclear weapons in the Vietnam War, despite the odds being far greater against the US than in 1945 v Japan, and they were being caught with their pants down fighting someone else's war, and the projection of power was failing.

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  • disusedgenius 18 Jan 2013 17:16:34 5,220 posts
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    I don't see any part of that which diminishes it as a military success...

    Without needing to go through an invasion they managed to create a peace which has lasted about 60-70 years and neutered the opponent's military forces for that time as well.
  • andytheadequate 18 Jan 2013 17:17:33 8,080 posts
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    The problem with using nuclear weapons in Vietnam was the fear of retalition.

    Very little thought was put into the decision behind using the bomb. They had this weapon available so they discussed on how best to use it (they went for a psychological display of power against a relatively untouched target). There was no discussion on whether or not it should be used at all, which is the scary thing. I did my dissertation topic on the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and I found it amazing when reading .through all of the documents that no thought was put into not using it.

    And they could have had the same lasting peace without using them. They weren't a military failure (in the short term), but they were only the catalyst for the surrender, not the cause. An invasion wouldn't have been necessary

    Edited by andytheadequate at 17:19:18 18-01-2013
  • Deleted user 18 January 2013 17:29:33
    One of the arguments behind the nuke was that it would be a demonstration of being unafraid to use it in retaliation and thus giving you a sizeable deterrent. The thinking behind it was that you had to show you were capable of deploying it, otherwise other nations may call your bluff. Whether that actually worked or not (or was even necessary) is a matter of opinion. But I've heard some argue that the Cold War was only Cold because of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, evidenced by some Soviet documents suggesting that was the case.
  • teamHAM 18 Jan 2013 17:30:47 2,755 posts
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    andytheadequate wrote:
    An invasion wouldn't have been necessary
    Exactly my thoughts. And with your sentence on catalyst/cause. Japan was crippled anyway and a peace could probably have been forced in other ways. IIRC the Soviet's also declared war on Japan late on and that could have been interesting if the bomb's weren't dropped.

    As for Vietnam, my understanding is that once China became involved, and with the Soviet's supplying the NVA, they weren't confident that using nuclear weapons wouldn't risk war with one of them. Also, with most North Vietnamese cities bombed to rubble with conventional and incendiary bombs anyway, the only effective option would be to drop it on large troop formations, but the technology available and delay in recon meant this wouldn't necessarily go well either.

    Nevertheless, I can't help but feel there was if anything more justification for using it in Vietnam than against Japan.

    Edited by teamHAM at 17:32:02 18-01-2013

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  • andytheadequate 18 Jan 2013 17:57:48 8,080 posts
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    They didn't think of using it in Vietnam did they? I know MacArthur wanted to drop them all over the Far East in the Korean war though.

    Meme- You may be right, but the Americans didn't think that at the time of dropping them. In fact, they didn't think anyone else would have one for decades.

    As I said before, there was practically no discussion on whether to use the bomb, only how to.
  • teamHAM 18 Jan 2013 18:21:41 2,755 posts
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    andytheadequate wrote:
    They didn't think of using it in Vietnam did they? I know MacArthur wanted to drop them all over the Far East in the Korean war though.

    Meme- You may be right, but the Americans didn't think that at the time of dropping them. In fact, they didn't think anyone else would have one for decades.

    As I said before, there was practically no discussion on whether to use the bomb, only how to.
    In Vietnam they discussed it every now and then. And by that it was literally brought up every few months, then seemingly dismissed. There were negotiations about tactical nuclear strikes via carrier fleet naval air arm before the US had any ground troops in Vietnam, and then a lot of bluffing about using nuclear weapons by the Nixon administration toward the end of the war.

    But as I said before, the uncertainty of Chinese and Soviet reaction coupled with unfavourable odds of any nuclear strike being effective meant that it was brushed under the rug.

    Also, Vietnam was one war where air power just did fuck all. The American's dropped something like 800 tons of bombs a day on Vietnam, and reduced nearly all it's infrastructure to rubble, and dropped chemicals on crops, jungle and arable land. Yet despite all this Ho Chi Minh just said "If America want's to war for 20 years we will war for 20 years. Even if we kill one American for every ten of our people, even at these odds we will win and you will lose". Siege mentality on a massive scale. So this probably played a part in deciding whether a strategic nuclear strike would really be effective. Some form of retaliation from China or the Soviet Union was probably more likely.

    As was mentioned earlier the US were obsessed with believing total overwhelming strength would provide certain victory, but Vietnam was different. Different terrain, a different enemy with a different mindset, and above all, different allies. South Vietnam were not anywhere near organised or even committed enough to the war. It was world's away from standing with Britain in WWII.

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  • RedSparrows 1 Feb 2013 18:29:57 22,058 posts
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    To link in with the, er, 'discussion' taking place on the front page, here's a wider topic to ponder:

    The history of ideas in relation to freedom, and the expression of those ideas in regards to the USA and to Europe. Why does Europe think as it does (very, very broadly speaking), and why does the USA (again, broadly), about the concept of liberty, with historical examples?

    Edited by RedSparrows at 18:30:16 01-02-2013
  • Deleted user 1 February 2013 18:36:58
    The US thinks as it does because of tyranny and oppression. One of the arguments against gun control and the 2nd Amendment is that it's designed to grant the people the physical power to overthrow government should it run rampant.

    "That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness."

    You can argue the above has already been tested once before by the Civil War - it wasn't just a battle of slavery, but a battle of individual/state liberty vs federal law. But you can also argue that it's probably at the stage now where it's kind of an impossibility to rebel and revolt against the government, mostly because of the sheer size of the population.

    Basically, the pursuit of liberty and individual freedom is the cornerstone of the whole US society and culture, although arguably it's not exactly relevant in a modern context. It forms more of an ideology than an actual cemented goal nowadays (to most sane people, anyway).
  • andytheadequate 1 Feb 2013 19:22:22 8,080 posts
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    Meme has hit the nail on the head, the early Americans were more afraid of their own government, whereas European countries were always at war with one another, so the citizens were more afraid of outside powers.

    In Europe it may have been the same if any of the revolutions in the 17th and 18th century had been successful. Our idea of freedom may have been more militant if it had been won at the barricades, whereas countless Europeans revolutions were defeated by force, with reforms coming in during times of relative peace (although only conceded by the ruling classes because of the underlying threat of revolt). Whereas America won their liberty with a successful war.

    In Europe, any sign of revolution was quickly crushed not only by their own government but by the other European powers. Austria, Prussia and Russia were incredibly conservative powers who were terrified of democracy, as it would seriously unsettle their internal affairs (Russia was still feudal even in the 19th century). However in America they neither cared nor had the ability to intervene, the sheer remoteness of America meant that it had little impact on them. The French even helped the Americans against the British, solely to undermine the power of Britain (Britain were isolated on the continent and had no real means of attacking the French at the time)
  • Deleted user 1 February 2013 21:15:22
    Interesting read, thanks.
  • RedSparrows 2 Feb 2013 00:01:17 22,058 posts
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    How did Romanticism affect the USA? Did it other than in the development of a national idea (or was that more of the Enlightenment?)? Europe has been riven by the clash of the two, both where they joined and where there were contradictions. I've not thought about the USA in such terms.
  • mal 2 Feb 2013 00:57:32 22,339 posts
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    For the most part the US was busy having a civil war while Europe was worrying about the enlightment and so on. Always seemed to me that America has a fundamentally more romantic association with ideas.

    Cubby didn't know how to turn off sigs!

  • Khanivor 2 Feb 2013 02:13:30 40,399 posts
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    Which is probably why the country is so susceptible to manipulation by those with ulterior motives.
  • Chopsen 2 Feb 2013 02:15:58 15,723 posts
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    I always assumed that was more to with America being a young country so hadn't got ideology out it's system.
  • Deleted user 2 February 2013 02:18:51
    Romanticism ushered in the national identity. Walt Whitman had a huge rant about it (look up "Democratic Vistas" ), and him and Emily Dickinson basically ushered in a transition towards the formation of a National Culture by massively breaking with conventions. It was a combination of this and reunification after the Civil War that cemented the idea of "America". Before that, people identified primarily by state, and "United States" was a plural (changing from "The United States are" to "The United States is" ).

    Leaves of Grass is awesome, by the way, if you're into poetry and whatnot.

    EDIT: Mixed up Romanticism and Enlightenment. Been ploughing through Twain for most of the day, so my mind is foggy.

    Edited by meme at 02:20:45 02-02-2013
  • Khanivor 2 Feb 2013 02:27:16 40,399 posts
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    Poof.
  • RedSparrows 2 Feb 2013 11:46:14 22,058 posts
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    Wtf I can't post what I want to post.

    Let me try this way

    Would you say Rousseau ('The Natural Human') is alive more in America than in Europe?

    Edited by RedSparrows at 11:46:57 02-02-2013
  • mal 2 Feb 2013 11:55:31 22,339 posts
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    Given he's buried in Paris, I'd say he's pretty much dead, in Europe.

    Cubby didn't know how to turn off sigs!

  • Bremenacht 2 Feb 2013 12:01:48 17,613 posts
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    Khanivor wrote:
    Poof.
    :'D
  • RedSparrows 2 Feb 2013 12:18:52 22,058 posts
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    Well put, Mal.
  • Deleted user 2 February 2013 12:39:05
    This is the most interesting thread on the forum. Happy to just read it all, I would like to add some facts and all that but takes massive posts and I'm on the run.
  • LeoliansBro 2 Feb 2013 12:42:24 43,227 posts
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    meme wrote:
    The US thinks as it does because of tyranny and oppression. One of the arguments against gun control and the 2nd Amendment is that it's designed to grant the people the physical power to overthrow government should it run rampant.
    This is such a ridiculous argument isn't it? We want people to have guns so they can reserve the right to commit treason.

    LB, you really are a massive geek.

  • Bremenacht 2 Feb 2013 14:51:16 17,613 posts
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    It's accountability. With guns.
  • Oh-Bollox 2 Feb 2013 15:50:08 5,164 posts
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    LeoliansBro wrote:
    meme wrote:
    The US thinks as it does because of tyranny and oppression. One of the arguments against gun control and the 2nd Amendment is that it's designed to grant the people the physical power to overthrow government should it run rampant.
    This is such a ridiculous argument isn't it? We want people to have guns so they can reserve the right to commit treason.
    The second amendment was conceived with armed resistance against a foreign power in mind, not Big Gubmint.
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