Letter: Saved by the A-bomb

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PHILIP NOBILE suggests the use of the A-bomb in 1945 was a war crime ("Were they war criminals?", 14 February). I served in the HQ of the heavy-bomber force, of some 30 squadrons and 60,000 men, which was starting to leave the UK for Okinawa, for the final assault on Japan, when it was stood down following the surrender.

The intelligence appreciation, based on casualties incurred in the capture of Okinawa, was that there would be some 4 million Japanese military and civilians killed in the two years of suicidal resistance likely to be encountered in Japan itself and in clearing forces out of the rest of Asia. It would also involve the deaths of 200,000 American, British, Commonwealth and Chinese forces, with heavy civilian casualties in the occupied countries. On top of this, imagine the effect of another two years of hostilities on a war-torn world.


Buckingham, Buckinghamshire