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The Myth of Nuclear Deterrence- Ward Wilson

Myth about Hiroshima winning the war ruined thinking around nuclear.
The end result is devastating- city destruction is at the heart of deterrence.
Getting out of control is using nuclear weapons.
US had 1000 weapons before they started talking about eliminating cities.
If destroying cities ends wars why did the 30 years war keep going. In WWII no
one surrendered because of city bombing.
Destroying cities is not central to military strategies.
South Americans didnt surrender when Atlanta was burned.
Killing civilians is not decisive.
Paraguayans wars- 58% civilians were killed and war did not end.
We thought Hiroshima won WWII- Truman believed the bomb ended the war. 4
reasons to doubt this- the soviet invasion changed strategic decisions massively,
Hiroshima and Nagasaki were just 2 of 68 cities, if you compare soviet invasion to
Hiroshima bomb the reaction to soviets invading is way worse, Japanese leadership lied
to their people.
Japansese were scared of a socialist revolution before the bomb was dropped
due to them losing the war.
US planned one huge defensive where massive casualties on the side of the US
occurred, forcing US into negotiation. Even after Hiroshima was dropped they were
planning this. Soviets invade with 1.4m men, a 5:1 superiority in tanks into Manchuria.
They then wanted to invade Hokkaido where Japanese had just left to fight US troops in
the South. They were out of strategic options.
Bomb cost $2 billion.
320,000 killed, 8 million homeless during US bombing of 68 cities. US bombed
everywhere. Average bombing rate was dropping 4-8 kilotonnes on a city.
Hiroshima did not kill the most people, it was 2nd, Tokyo was the worst.
In terms of square miles destroyed, Hiroshima is 4th.
In terms of percentage of city destroyed, Hiroshima is 17th.
Other cities had 80% or more destruction.
Hiroshima was only 60.8% destroyed.
There was no initial reaction after Hiroshima, but when Soviets invaded, there
was immediately meetings.
June 25th 1950- When N. Korea invaded- Truman abandoned his holidays. Many
other examples like this.
Hiroshima took 3 days to react.
Chief of Army of Japan- 8th August- says Hiroshima gave him a serious jolt but
he says we must be tenacious and fight on. After Soviets invade, he declares Marshall
Law and tries to overthrow govt.
City bombing is only mentioned twice in the supreme council- city bombing
does not matter.
Blaming the Hiroshima bomb was a good tactic for taking blame away from
From US point of view- if Soviets were given credit for their invasion, then USA
would not be happy.
Japanese surrendered because of Soviets.
Nuclear weapons are too big and they leave poison wherever you use them.
Weapons have a bell curve-their usefulness tail off.
City is a good size for a nuke to destroy- but theres no need to destroy cities.
Nukes cannot win wars if targeted against cities.
Its not clear if they can coerce our enemies or aggressors
They cannot be used on the battlefield.
They are dangerous for terrorists to have.