The three best arguments for dropping the atomic bomb





Yeah, because there aren’t any.

Atomic_bombing_of_JapanSorry. There’s simply no way to square that circle. There’s no way to say it’s okay to intentionally kill tens of thousands of civilians because of ____. You just can’t finish that sentence in harmony with Catholic morality. At all. We are not talking about the accidental deaths of civilians in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. They were intentional.

The best attempt, and it still fails, is that the bombing prevented the deaths of a quarter million American troops. To me, that isn’t simply an academic debate. One of those troops could easily have been my own grandfather, John Ohmann, who served in the South Pacific on the U.S.S. Jenkins. If Truman hadn’t drop the bombs, John might not be 89 today and still living in Minnesota. Heck, I might not exist!

And yet, that doesn’t make it right.

How could I say, “Boy, I’m glad we vaporized a city of full of innocent people so that my grandfather might not have been killed and I could be born!”

Ruthless evil (like Imperial Japan) has the tendency to corrupt even its combatants. We’ve seen that this past decade with Al Queda. What happened at Abu Ghraib was considered unthinkable by Americans. But it once it came to light, there were Americans who justified or at least rationalized it.

We should stop this temptation. We should stop the justifications and the rationalizations. Catholics should look back at the atomic bombings of Japan like slavery, as an immoral action and a black mark on a country which has otherwise largely been a force for great good.



  • Donald

    Better articles. This post was unnecessarily silly and should have attempted a cogent response. I think if someone could make the case they were military targets and given sufficient warning then it was legitimate to drop them, but this is a point of fact and I don’t know if it is true.

  • M Haitz

    For those who really do want an argument, they might be interested in this short video from ‘Prager University,’ where Father Miscamble of Notre Dame gives a cogent response:

    • Ron

      M Haitz, thanks for sharing the link. The use of the atomic bomb against Japan was not a “might is right” action. The use of the bomb against Japan was not an “end justifies the means” action. The use of the atomic bomb against Japan was an act of humanity, saving millions of lives and ending a horrific war that would have gone on and on. When determining if an action is good or bad always search for the intent of the action. Truman’s intent was good.

  • Panda Rosa

    About the closest comparison might be cutting off gangrenous legs in order to keep the patient alive.
    Not the best, but just a thought.
    And yes, I would have lost my own father (and father-in-law) in such an invasion.

  • Rich Brown

    Agreed completely. Life is valuable, life matters.

    Additionally, the military command was largely telling Truman it wasn’t necessary.

    On a par with this, though, is the large scale firebombing that we conducted in Japan, destroying dozens of cities, well before the atomic bombs were dropped.


    • Panda Rosa

      Nobody with a soul would be “rejoicing” over the loss of so many lives; all anyone wanted was to end the war. By nearly all counts, even if much of the Japanese government was willing to surrender, there remained just enough die-hards (and they were literally that, ready to condemn the entire country to years of bloodshed) to keep the war going. Of course there might have been more “humane” ways to settle the Pacific War, but by then the US just wanted it over, by any means if necessary. We weren’t dropping bombs for fun.

  • Michael Cruz

    Your “best attempt” argument is one that no one makes. The fact of the matter is while your statement is true concerning allied casualties, you completely ignore how many more japanese would have died if the bomb wasn’t dropped.

    Here is a helpful video by a catholic priest and professor of history at Notre Dame University who completely disagrees with you:

    • Ron

      It’s been hypothesized that if America had not used the Atomic Bomb on Japan in WWII that the Cuban Missle Crisis in 1962 would have resulted in World War III and very possibly to the end of civilization as we know it. Because the world knew of the power of destruction possible with atomic weapontry, the Cuban crisis did not lead to WWIII.

  • Jake

    Can’t begin to say how happy I am to see this post



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