Less Devastating Battle of Okinawa = no nukes?

I saw somewhere that the bloodbath of the Battle of Okinawa was a catalyst that led to Truman's decision to use atomic bombs on Japan, instead of a conventional invasion.

How accurate is that interpretation? If the battle wasn't as fierce, if civilians were not forced by the Japanese troops to take up arms against the Americans, or to commit mass suicide, would the U.S.'s decision to use atomic weapons have been delayed?
 
The Atomic bomb would have still been used, it promised the chance to end the War in the Pacific theater with less American blood. Also remember; Truman wasn't expecting the bomb to be that devastating I don't think. You need an earlier or different POD to prevent Hiroshima
 
Sure, but maybe it would have delayed the use of it, and one wonders if that delay would've been enough time for Japan to surrender *triggers debate about whether Imperial Japan would have surrendered without the use of the bomb or not*
 
Arguably there was no "decision" to drop the A-bomb on Japan. That decision was made the day the Manhattan Project started. It was obvious to everyone involved in the bomb project that when the US got it, it would be used, if the US was still at war at that stage. I think it is our modern understanding of decision-making surrounding nuclear weapons which colours the way we see atomic bombings in 1945. Truman himself seems to have dramatized his recollections of events when he told about them later.

The Atomic bomb would have still been used, it promised the chance to end the War in the Pacific theater with less American blood. Also remember; Truman wasn't expecting the bomb to be that devastating I don't think. You need an earlier or different POD to prevent Hiroshima

IIRC, Truman had understood that Hiroshima was more a military target than a civilian one and was actually shocked when he heard about the extent of civilian casualties.

Sure, but maybe it would have delayed the use of it, and one wonders if that delay would've been enough time for Japan to surrender *triggers debate about whether Imperial Japan would have surrendered without the use of the bomb or not*

Just to add one little more exotic option, some scientists working in the Manhattan Project suggested that the US should do first a demonstration with a nuclear device in some uninhabited area which Japanese would be able to observe.
 
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I suspect that if no A-bomb is dropped before japan is invaded then it will result in a situation where the emperor may decide that Japan can force the allies to the negotiation table through sheer casualties. Both sides are all-in and are unlikely to back down.

This might result in even more A-bombs dropped on japan than in OTL.
 
it promised the chance to end the War in the Pacific theater with less American blood
Potentially also far less Japanese as well, considering the casualties of a full blockade or more fire bombing?

I think it is our modern understanding of decision-making surrounding nuclear weapons which colours the way we see atomic bombings in 1945
and was actually shocked when he heard about the extent of civilian casualties.
Agree and why was he shocked when Fire bombing was causing comparable if not more casualties at the same time even if it did require more aircraft and time?
 
I saw somewhere that the bloodbath of the Battle of Okinawa was a catalyst that led to Truman's decision to use atomic bombs on Japan, instead of a conventional invasion.

How accurate is that interpretation? If the battle wasn't as fierce, if civilians were not forced by the Japanese troops to take up arms against the Americans, or to commit mass suicide, would the U.S.'s decision to use atomic weapons have been delayed?

Actually, the actions of the Japanese civilians on Saipan and Tinian ended most discussions on using the A-bomb (and the "demonstration" option). Parents, throwing their children (including babies) off the cliffs then following them, Japanese troops killing their civilians (young and old) who wouldn't commit suicide or tried to surrender....

The battle and killings sent a shock thru Army, Navy, and Marine leadership, and thought of what would happen in the Home Islands.... Short of absolute surrender, the bombs (as many as were needed... or had) were going to be used. Note, it was Saipan and Tinian that restarted the discussion about using chemical weapons as well.
 
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trurle

Banned
I saw somewhere that the bloodbath of the Battle of Okinawa was a catalyst that led to Truman's decision to use atomic bombs on Japan, instead of a conventional invasion.

How accurate is that interpretation? If the battle wasn't as fierce, if civilians were not forced by the Japanese troops to take up arms against the Americans, or to commit mass suicide, would the U.S.'s decision to use atomic weapons have been delayed?
Mostly incorrect. The selection of targets for nuclear bombing in Japan was complete in early May 1945, before the battle of Okinawa was acknowledged as "prolonged" or "bloody". The nuclear bombing plans were nearly irreversible by middle May 1945, i.m.h.o.
 
Agree and why was he shocked when Fire bombing was causing comparable if not more casualties at the same time even if it did require more aircraft and time?

I would guess that the reason was more or less the same why many people see those things differently today. Nuclear weapons also allow much greater amount of destruction with much less effort.
 
Just to add one little more exotic option, some scientists working in the Manhattan Project suggested that the US should do first a demonstration with a nuclear device in some uninhabited area which Japanese would be able to observe.

If I remember correctly, that option was discarded mainly because there was the real chance the bomb wouldn't work as intended...
 
If Japan was still at war when the first bombs were completed, they were gonna be used, period. Only reason they weren't used against Germany first was because that country was overrun before the first bomb was tested.
 
OLYMPIC was planned for October/November 1945. What this would mean, if the bomb was not dropped in August, 1945, was that for 2-3 months US servicemen would be dying in various fights across the war zone. This does not count the POWs who would be dying of disease and malnutrition during this time, as well as those executed to prevent them being liberated as Allied forces advanced in various areas. Likewise large numbers of civilians in China and the occupied territories were dying daily which would not stop until the end of the war - although that might not be much of a consideration. Even if the minute the death toll from OLYMPIC began to rise the bomb was dropped by delaying a large number of Americans have died or been crippled who OTL were not. The bomb was dropped to see if it would end the war ASAP, I don't see any way Okinawa not being as bad as it was would change this.
 
The USAAF bombing offensive had allready caused between 200.000 and 900.000 casualties; even that lower figure is greater than some estimates of both nukes combined:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Air_raids_on_Japan
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atomic_bombings_of_Hiroshima_and_Nagasaki
Which means that, if the US had continued it's conventional campaign up to 1946's date of invasion, far more japanese would have died from bombing alone. And the RAF was about to join the campaign:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tiger_Force_(air)

So, my take: the 2 nukes, shocking as they were (and the shock value was the main point) actually saved lives, not to mention what was left of Japan's infrasture, which was fast going back to the stone age...
 
The Atomic bomb would have still been used, it promised the chance to end the War in the Pacific theater with less American blood. Also remember; Truman wasn't expecting the bomb to be that devastating I don't think. You need an earlier or different POD to prevent Hiroshima

Only way I can see a POD this late in the game preventing The Bomb from being used is if the Trinity Test completely fails. No idea how plausible that is as I'm not a nuclear scientist.

Okinawa is completely irrelevant IMO.
 
I think an interesting POD is if the US Army and USMC units would have only gone North after the Okinawa landing to capture the airfields (the real reason to take the island). Then held at the Shuri Defense Line to contain the Japanese units in the South. After reading multiple books, there truly was no need for the US forces to take the Southern half of the island and it would have saved 10's of thousands of lives on both sides.
 
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