Last week Josh Mercer reminded us of the tension (to put it mildly) between the traditional Catholic understanding of just warfare and America’s decision to use the atomic bomb on Japan during WWII. This prompted me to revisit some of the various statements made on this question by various Catholic authors. Here are some of the more interesting brief ones that I know about, for those who wish to think about this matter further.
Back in the 1950s the English Catholic philosopher G.E.M. Anscombe wrote against the use of nuclear weapons in WWII and condemned the allied policy of unconditional surrender, which she thought contributed to the ferocity of the warfare that was waged. Her article is available online here.
Recently, Fr. Wilson Miscamble has written a book in defense of Truman’s decision to bomb Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Philosopher Christopher Tollefsen wrote a critical review of it (available here), arguing that the bombings were violations of the absolute moral prohibition on deliberately killing the innocent.
Finally, here is Christopher Tollefsen’s rejoinder.