From: An Anonymous Reader [Email him]
I found James Fulford’s comments on Al Blue's letter interesting.
There is a relatively new, but authoritative book on what would have happened had the atom bomb not been dropped, published by the United States Naval Institute: Hell to Pay: Operation Downfall and the Invasion of Japan, 1945-1947.
Without the bomb, we might still be fighting the Japanese. There was no way to conclude the war without the bomb. The Americans would not accept a surrender with the Emperor in place, and the Japanese would not have abandoned their Emperor. The bomb gave us the excuse to accept the Emperor, and it gave the Japanese the excuse to throw in the towel.
The State Department people, and FDR, who imposed these sanctions in the summer of 1941, had no idea or, or concern for, the fighting capability of the Japanese, or notion of, or concern for, how the war they were provoking would be brought to an end. This should sound familiar.
The author of Hell to Pay states that by the end of the war, Japanese fighting quality had reduced the comparative casualty rate to almost 1-1, and that the Japanese had discovered that their wooden trainers were stealthy, and thus very effective kamikazes.
James Fulford writes: Counterfactual history is always contentious. My personal opinions that the sanctions against the sale of war materials to Japan didn't require them to bomb Pearl Harbor.
They could have stopped invading China instead, but did they think of that? No!
I'll mention, as I didn't yesterday, my 2008 blog item Reverend Wright And Hiroshima—How Many Lives Did Hiroshima Save? in which I quoted the South African writer Laurens van der Post, who was in a Japanese prison camp when the bomb fell. It saved his life, and many years he found himself discussing it on a talk show with a Japanese doctor who'd been bombed. He had to explain about Japanese prison camp atrocities to the doctor, who "confessed that even after all this time he personally had taken no interest in the matter and had read no literature about it."
I wrote at the time
If you are an American, you can never escape the constant drumbeat of guilty liberals affirming America's guilt, but the Japanese, who did much worse things than America ever did, just don't do that.
On a less serious counterfactual note, here's Road To The Multiverse from Family Guy.