From: Houston TX
In answer to Ike's question,
What I found was very interesting, and far different than what I had expected or been taught in school up to that point.
One must remember it was a very different time. WWI was less than a generation old, where mass Gas atacks, by BOTH sides was accepted. the targeting of non-combatants in WWII was an accepted practice by both sides also, but at least both refrained from mass gas-bombing attacks on cities that could have caused terrible loss. You cannot look at it from 2008 standards, but rather the way the world was then. In the 1940's, that was how wars were fought, as terrible as it was.
As for the Atomic bombs, there is no debate that using them to force Japan's surrender cost less lives than an invasion would have. Far less. However, personally, I do not think that is the main reason they were used. First and formast, the US leadership wanted the war over quickly. The is a large amount of evidence that at big part of the reason the bombs were dropped was to have Japan surrender before Russia could make huge gains in the area, and to show them the new weapon the US had available. Had the allies been willing to maintain a blockade, Japan woud have probably surrended in 6 months without an invasion. They had already made repeated attempts to try to get Russia to broker a peace. Had the bombing continued, Tojo and the die-hards would have had a harder and harder time holding power. However, there was no way the US joint chiefs were going to go that way.
This being said, I go back to the point that 6 more months of bombing would have cost more lives in Japan than the atomic bombs did, plus the additional US losses. Not to mention the men that would have been lost in the continuing land war in China and against the Russians that had now invaded. Were they "needed" to prevent an invasion. In my opinion clearly no; but even given as terrible, horrific, or any other term you want to use, and use with justification, they were probably the least destructive alternative.