AUTHORBernstein, B. J.
TITLEA Postwar Myth: 500,000 U.S. Lives Saved
PERIODICAL TITLEBulletin of the Atomic Scientists
DATE PUBLISHED1986
VOLUME NUMBER42
ISSUE NUMBERJune/July
PAGE NUMBERS38-40
ISSN0096-3402


This article seeks to disprove the popular belief that dropping atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki saved the lives of half a million United States servicemen who would have perished in an invasion of Japan. The author uses declassified documents to argue that the actual number would have been substantially lower. He supplies pre-Hiroshima estimates from several sources, including the Joint War Plans Committee, which estimated that between 20,000 and 46,000 troops would die in such an invasion. The sources cited all show that the estimates were significantly lower than 500,000. The article also speculates about the reasons for the post-war inflation of the estimates.


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