An article recently published in a Catholic periodical alleges that America dropped The Bomb on Hiroshima "without any prior warning whatsoever, so as to ensure the highest possible number of casualties." See
This is not quite true.
The Potsdam Ultimatum to the Japanese, as to which the Japanese formally responded with one word -- "Mokusatsu," or "Ignored" -- warned only of "prompt and utter destruction" -- not "prompt and utter destruction by a newly-developed weapon of immense power."
The main reason for this was fear of a dud, and of having to face the consequences of it being a dud.
Contrary to popular opinion, the bomb dropped on Hiroshima was a crude but completely untested Uranium device. The Trinity Test in the American Southwest in the months before the Hiroshima blast involved an absurdly-complex failure-prone Plutonium bomb. The Nagasaki bomb was of that variety. The failure-prone "fat man" design for Plutonium bombs was regarded as less reliable than the simple-but-fabulously-expensive "little boy" gun trigger design originally employed in Uranium 235 bombs -- the Hiroshima bomb. So, though untested, we used the "little boy" gun trigger design Uranium 235 bomb design first.
Though it as regarded as much more reliable, because it was untested the fear among Los Alamos scientists, the military, the President's cabinet and President Truman himself was that if the dropping of the bomb were announced in advance, it would draw major fighter resistance; and even if the bomber got through, if all it did is fall to the ground and splatter some mud the Japanese would be encouraged to fight, fight, fight, fight, fight on, endlessly, hoping for more duds.
In other words, there was a feeling that more American AND Japanese lives would be saved if an initial unannounced succesful bombing shocked the Japanese terribly, than if an initial announced successful bombing or an especially an announced unsuccessful bombing occurred.
Proof that the American government had limiting losses of Japanese civilians in mind, too, is the giant leaflet drops made by American bombers before and after the Hiroshima bombing.
Before the bombing of Hiroshima, on August 1, 1945 American bombers dropped leaflets asking the Japanese to please leave Hiroshima and other cities because they faced imminent destruction from bombing, which the picture inferred would be utterly massive...
No one is reported to have left the cities.
The government reviewed the warnings, and pooh-poohed them.
After the destruction of Hiroshima, we warned the Japanese people in another mass leaflet drop that we were in a position to destroy more cities in the same fashion, and begged them to please demand that the war end.
Read that leaflet. Determine for yourself if that is an effort to "to ensure the highest possible number of casualties."
The article writer who accused the United States of that was irresponsible.
Even despite the successful Hiroshima blast, and even despite careful consideration of the leaflets, the Japanese government was so intent on conquest and on continuing mass murder in Asia that they decided to gamble that we had no more atomic bombs remaining.
They were wrong.
Nagasaki was destroyed next.
Finally, the Japanese murder machine, which produced results like this...
...and like this...
We did it right, in a way God would have approved of.