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Myth of Lives Saved by A-Bombs

August 04, 1985

Bernstein says that only 20,000 to 46,000 American boys' lives were saved by the A-bombs, rather than the 50,000 lives saved claimed by President Truman.

Bernstein's estimates are based on generals' speculations. The German generals predicted 500,000 dead in the Russian invasion--they lost 3,500,000 dead. Bernstein quoted Douglas MacArthur's estimate of 100,000 casualties in the Kyusu, Japan invasion. How much did MacArthur underestimate the Korean War losses? What general foresaw the American casualties in Vietnam?

The Allies invaded Europe from friendly England--30 miles from Normandy. Germans were fighting on three fronts: France, Russia, and Italy. Yet from D-Day to VE-Day, the Allies suffered 842,000 dead, wounded, and missing.

The nearest base to Japan was Okinawa, a newly captured island 350 miles away. The Japanese had hoarded 8,000 aircraft and the bulk of their army in their homeland. The Japanese were conditioned to suicide rather than surrender. In the battle for Okinawa, the Japanese launched 1,465 kamakazi (suicide) aircraft.

The A-bomb saved Japanese lives, too.

In the Pacific war--according to Bernstein--there were 13,742 American deaths vs. 310,000 Japanese; 22.5 Japanese for each American. Using his lowest estimate of American invasion deaths (20,000), the Japanese military would have lost 450,000 lives (20,000 times 22.5).

IRV UTTAL

Pacific Palisades

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