Did I violate board culture in the Atomic bomb thread?

In THIS thread (“Japan was willing to surrender throughout all of 1945 but only with the guarantee their emperor would remain”), which was self evidently about the circumstances surrounding the decision to drop the atomic bomb, I asked a question in the 21st post, after there had been detailed answers given to the OP’s specific question:

This was criticized by several people for being off topic.

I am aware of board culture (I.e. no jokey answers before a real answer is given; bring cites to a debate; no personal insults outside the pit, et al). Here, I read with interest the specific answers to the specific question asked in the OP, and then asked an additional question - related directly to the topic of whether the Japanese had been able to avoid the atomic bomb through an agreement to surrender.

Some people engaged me. JKellyMap provided reference to a specific historian who affirmed the questions. Others responded to correct my misapprehensions. Even if it was terse (I didn’t mean to strike a nerve if I did), it was in the spirit of a Questions Forum thread.

But I also thought that “thread drift” (for lack of a better term) into tangential areas related to the OP - after it had been pretty throughly answered - was normal and acceptable.

Am I wrong?

That seems like legitimate ‘thread drift’ to me, though I can see why posters interested in the OP’s specific discussion would be concerned about a potential hijack.

WW2 is one of those topics where every single nitty gritty detail can (and has, and will) be analyzed endlessly. At the time you posted, there was still plenty of meat left on the bone to chew over.

A boilerplate “not to start a hijack, but…” might have saved you from the terse replies, but either the miffed posters weren’t miffed enough to report you, or they did report you and the mods didn’t feel it necessary to note you.

My useless verdict: I put this down as minor a pretty minor faux pas. You used the wrong spoon but didn’t wipe your face with the tablecloth or ask for the jelly when you meant the All Fruit.

As a lurker in that thread, I think you inadvertently poisoned the well with your initial question, which to me (and I think to those that replied to you) reads more like an assertion in the form of a rhetorical question than a genuine question. And it’s a pretty provocative “question”.

After that, the thread reads to me like there was a bit of a disconnect. Other posters were replying to what seemed to be your initial assertion that the U.S. was determined to use the atomic bomb regardless of any Japanese attempts to surrender. Meanwhile, you (it seemed to me) subtly shifted to arguing that the looming confrontation with the U.S.S.R. was a factor in the U.S. decision to drop the bomb. At that point, you and the other posters seemed to be slipping past each other a bit, and it was clearly a bit frustrating for other posters trying to come to grips with your posts.

But, of course, I may be the one experiencing the disconnect in reading that thread.

This. It read as an accusation that the US would have dropped the bombs no matter what, as a show of force. That’s a horrific accusation.

It was sorta like going into an extended discussion of the technical differences between the Chinese and European responses to COVID and asking “well, isn’t it true the Chinese designed it so knew better how it would develop?”

It’s incendiary and inevitably disrupts the highly technical discussion everyone was enjoying.

As one of the ones who responded, and is quoted in the OP, this analysis is spot on.

I didn’t like the initial assertion.
I didn’t like the subsequent claims that it was Just A Question.
My not liking it wasn’t grounds for reporting it, though.

Personally, I think topic drift is fine (the OP had been amply answered by that point). Asking what amounts to “wasn’t the US going to bomb them anyway, no matter what?” constitutes more than “drift”.

Fair enough. I get that it came across that way, and I regret that it did.

But I assure you that it wasn’t intended that way. I thoroughly enjoy American history, but this isn’t an area of expertise in any way. So I asked what I thought was part of the history, seeking some clarification, without having researched the answer.

In response to the pushback, I tried to answer the question on my own (I didn’t make it up completely! I got it from somewhere) and in so doing found some (subtle) nuances. Ignorance definitely fought!

I apologize to the board for any appearance of trollishness, as I wasn’t trying to be provocative. While lesson learned, this type of reaction surprised me - the US is pretty regularly condemned for examples of brutality, so I didn’t expect people to be horrified at the thought of a strategic bombing.

There’s a strategic bombing, and there’s killing a couple hundred thousand civilians. To do the later exclusively as a way to send a message to a third party would be pretty horrific.

“Board Culture?”

Be as contrarian all you like, so long as you don’t hurl personal insults or ignore the facts as they are solidly set forth. That’s all the board culture worth respecting.

So did we drop the a-bomb just to be a-holes? Answer: kind of, but not overwhelmingly. Cite: Leslie Groves wanted to target Kyoto specifically because it was the cultural heart (with the fig leaf of “rail center”), but was overruled by Secretary of War Stimson only because he’d been there and appreciated that culture. Truman fell in line with the latter because, as he wrote in his diary, he didn’t want to match “the Hitler crowd” in atrocity.

I don’t disagree, but I’ve never known that to be a reason to take umbrage about a question concerning American behavior.

It’s not that I was arguably wrong. It’s that the reaction struck me as akin to “how dare you suggest that America could be so conniving. To even think such a thing is outrageous.” That’s not a response I am used to seeing here, where there instead is usually a “realpolitik” recognition of America actions.

I was also a lurker in that thread, as I didn’t want to get embroiled in yet another discussion on this topic, and this was my take as well. I’ve seen this same point raised in previous threads wrt the US wanting to drop the bomb, not because they wanted to stop the war but because we just wanted to see what would happen or to stop the Soviets or whatever.

Moderator Note

Please do not bring the thread topic into ATMB except as necessary to discuss the rules and moderation, or to discuss whether something was or was not on topic. If you want to discuss the topic itself, do so in the original thread, not in ATMB.

FWIW, I am also a lurker in that thread. My opinion is that yes, you seemed to have a position on the matter, but that’s just fine, and a few people got more… agitated about it than was warranted.