why didn’t they begin with dropping the atomic bombs outside cities as a warning?


Why did they not drop the Atomic bombs in rural areas as a warning/show of strength before using them on cities?

In: 2423


The US didn’t have dozens more in reserve, there was only one more working build available if I recall correctly.

More generally, the US and Japan had been in a state of total war for nearly four years at that point and many other Japanese cities had already been razed by conventional bombing runs. Tokyo was completely destroyed in march of 1945 with similar casualties.

It was well past the point of warning shots, the two nations were already committed to obliterating eachother.

The Japanese had been indoctrinated into fanaticism and a ground landing would be devastating. America had already killed more in firebombing Tokyo then died in the atomic attacks but while fire bombing was the use of arms the Japanese had and used the Atom bomb was something new and presented a massive ideological blow in addition to the physical blow. One bomb crippled a city, how many did America have? Where did they get it? Then the second confirmed the reality to those who still held doubts it could have been an unintentional fluke, America can obliterate any city with a single weapon, no location was safe. The choice was ideological propaganda to crush Japanese spirits with a symbol of overwhelming force.

it’s important to remember that the entire Manhattan Project produced a total of **three** devices. One was used for the Trinity test. That mean that the entire US stockpile was two nuclear weapons. That did not give us a lot of options in terms of using them as a “warning” particularly when it was impossible to know for certain that they would actually work (each bomb was a different design, only one of which had been tested at Trinity)

There actually was some discussion about dropping it above Tokyo Bay or in a remote forested region. Fundamentally they didn’t because they were at war with Japan. They had killed a hundred thousand people in a single day of aerial bombing of Tokyo (Operation Meetinghouse), so the idea that the atomic bombs would be a huge jump up doesn’t really make sense.

They did choose not to use it on Kyoto, the original target of the Nagasaki bomb. Kyoto is a cultural heart of Japan and also was much more populous than Nagasaki. So in some sense they actually were warnings – the damage could have been much worse.