D-Day or H-Bomb?

at worst this is a dumb question and at best merely naive but here goes anyway:

why did the allies sacrifice all those troops invading normandy on d-day? the americans knew they were developing an atom bomb that would be ready in a year, why didn’t they just wait til it was ready and then drop nukes on europe? they didn’t invade japan, they used nukes and that worked out pretty well, why not do the same thing to the germans?:dubious::rolleyes::mad::confused::slight_smile:

Intense pressure from our then Allies the Russians (then the Soviet Union) to open up a 2nd European Front to take the pressure off of them doing most of the ground fighting.

At that time they did not know if the atom bomb would actually work as per the theory.

The A Bomb development was top secret, meaning the planners of the D Day invasion not aware of it at that time.

It was the A Bomb. The H bomb was not developed till after WW2 and not tested till about 1952 or 53.

They wouldn’t have been able to use the A bomb before D day … there was no target to use it on that they could get to. Germany didn’t have suitable targets on the coast.

While the allies had air superiority in terms of aeroplanes in the sky, the Germans had a lot of anti-air craft guns at the targets and along the way in between.

As Davida mentioned, there was no guarantee that the atomic bomb would work. That and the fact that we only had 2. There were extensive plans to invade Japan, but the expected high casualty rate was avoided. The situation in Europe was much different. With multiple fronts, much closer proximity (no Pacific ocean to cross) and a dispersed enemy, a substantial push from the other side (France) was the best plan. Again, as Davida said, the program was top secret and the success of the weapon was far from guaranteed. Waiting a year would have seen the fall of continental Europe.

Wouldn’t our European allies have been a bit miffed if we splattered deadly radiation over Europe?

Sure,** most** of it would have fallen on Germany…

We didn’t really know about the long term effects at that time. Radiation as a whole was not well known and certainly didn’t figure in any plans of the time.

wait a year, let jerry take over europe, then nuke berlin munich and frankfurt…hitler’s on his knees and it’s over and no americans lost, that’s the bottom line

From where ?

Beyond the availablity, the biggest difference is that D-Day was attacking friendly territory controlled by the enemy and the atomic bombs were on enemy territory controlled by the enemy.

Although it might sound callous we didn’t sacrifice that many troops for what was achieved on D-Day, comparatively speaking. 10,000 casualties would be nothing on the Eastern Front and even by western standards was comparatively light; we lost a third of that on the far smaller Dieppe raid in 1942.

By the time a bomb would have been ready the Soviets would have already won the war; everyone agreed that the war should be won as quickly as possible which wouldn’t have been accomplished by doing nothing.

If we did have an atomic bomb in 1944 we would probably have used it to support D-Day. Operation Olympic, the planned invasion of Japan, had bombs dropped on landing sites where troops would follow 48 hours later. As mentioned, radiation was not well understood. Fortunately Japan surrendered first.

We were already raining distruction on Europe at a faster rate than a single A-bomb could do and the Germans hadn’t given up. The power of an atomic bomb might have caused them to change their minds but the extra distruction would have been a drop in a bucket at that point.

Plus, they’d been planning the invasion for two years. They couldn’t just call it a off.

Did you not read any of the explanations given? Why ask a question if you don’t want to hear the answer?

… and all of Europe would be part of the Soviet Union.

We didn’t need atomics to turn German cities to ashes.

Destroying German cities in 1943-1944 didn’t force a withdrawal from occupied Europe. Maybe the novelty of nuclear weaponry might have, or it might not have. I’d argue that the supreme German leader was much less rational (and susceptible to scaring) than his Japanese equivalent.

It also wasn’t at all clear by D-Day that we’d be able to produce enough enriched Uranium or Plutonium to make a bomb. There were multiple processes being tried but in 1944 there were more failures than successes and the successful processes had tiny yields.

When Japan was bombed most the material produced to that date was used in the two bombs.

The whole point of the A-bombs was to win the war quickly. “Quickly” does not mean “Wait a year and hopefully we’ll maybe be able to do something then”.

It’s very easy with the benefit of hindsight to go back and say that they should have done this or should have done that.

They didn’t know for certain that the A-bomb would work. EMP weapons had been promised during the war, and they were going to make the German planes just fall out of the sky. They worked well in laboratory conditions, but didn’t do much in the real world. The Japanese had their fu-go bombs which were going to rain terror down on the continental U.S. and would bring America to its knees and force them to surrender. Those didn’t work. Germany had its Vergeltungswaffe 3 Cannon (a.k.a. “England Cannon”) which was so huge that it would shell London and bring the British to their knees. It proved to be fairly ineffectual in combat.

The folks working on the atomic bomb originally planned to use it on Hitler. They didn’t know for certain that they’d have it finished any time soon. Eventually it got to the point where they realized that even a their best, the bomb would not be ready in time for use in Europe, so they changed their focus to Japan.

You bomb Berlin and Munich, and then the bomb guys tell you they don’t have enough material left to make a bomb for Frankfurt. While we gave the Japanese the impression that we could now bomb cities at will, the truth of the matter was that we used up all of our uranium and plutonium on the three bombs that we had (Trinity test site, Hiroshima, and Nagasaki). It was going to be a LONG time before we dropped a third bomb on Japan.

In war terms, maybe. There would have been a third in August (but not within the same week as Hiroshima/Nagasaki) had the surrender not come through, with 2 or 3 more per month through the end of the year and accelerating production after that.

But certainly the doctrine that aerial bombardment can win wars on its own has been repeatedly proposed and discredited over the years.

Indeed, people forget just how popular communism was in western Europe back then - its popularity would only increase at seeing the USSR the only ones putting their backs in to defeating the Nazis while the UK and USA dragged their feat on a flimsy pretext.

The French FTP, Greek EAM and Italian CLN were all influential communist resistance movements in areas that would eventually fall under western influence (Greece only at Churchill’s effort, and even then it fell into civil war). With no allied boots on the ground, the Iron Curtain stretches to the Atlantic.

All of this is academic, of course. One of the main objectives of the hard-fought Italian campaign was to tie up German forces away from the quickest way into Germany - across northern France. Churchill was never keen on the idea of invading France, not because he wanted to wait for the a-bomb, but because he feared the Battle of the Somme Mark 2. He put forth a few other ideas, like invading the Balkans or Norway (the latter of which was floated around to con German intelligence), but United States commanders vetoed him for sound military reasons.

Roosevelt in particular was convinced, correctly, that the easiest and quickest way to crush Nazism was to use England as a springboard to invade Europe and would never in a million years be convinced that he should simply wait for the Manhattan Project to achieve fruition, whenever that may be and if it even worked.

It wasn’t either/or. Nuclear weapons were going to be used in the invasion of Japan:

Japan’s decision to surrender was stalemated in the cabinet 3-3 even after the dropping of both atomic bombs with the military leadership wanting to continue the war, a stalemate only broken when Hirohito came down in favor of surrender.

I reeaally don’t know about that. Consider, for example, that after the Emperor formally not_quite_surrendered (he never pronounced the words, merely alluded to “big difficulties in continuing the war” or somesuch) a cadre of officers tried to stage a coup to keep on fighting.

Minister Koizumi, pretty much the most influential of Japan’s war council, was aware of the plan and while he did not exactly support it, he did nothing to stop it either, preferring to let the chips fall where they may. He topped himself when the coup failed.

Contrast with Germany, where if Hitler was definitely bonkers and ordered everyone to burn and destroy as much as possible of Germany and what little occupied territories were left before the opportunity was lost, his upper echelon more or less unanimously went “Yeah OK, you go and do that, but the Russkies are coming so we’ll scarper”. As well there were quite a few attemps on the Führer’s life throughout the war, including some by high echelon guys; but none against the rulers of Imperial Japan (that I’m aware of).