Yet another weird SF fan

I'm a mathematician, a libertarian, and a science-fiction fan. Common sense? What's that?

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Yet another weird SF fan

Sunday, December 07, 2008

A Speculation on What If Japan Hadn't Been Nuked

On this 67th anniversary of Pearl Harbor, I've been considering that the Japanese were mobilizing school children and also considering the effects of fighting wars in the Middle East against an enemy determined to mobilize emotions. As a result, I can think of three nasty possible effects of using an invasion of Japan as an alternative to nukes:

  1. We might have had a Vietnam War Syndrome twenty years earlier. The returning veterans would have been greeted as “baby killers” (at least those who survived attacks by ten-year old kids with machine guns). We might have seen a general turn toward pacifism and distrust of the “establishment.” On the other hand, we might have seen a cold civil war between the generations. (By the way, I suspect we might see such a cold civil war in the generation after abortion becomes obsolete.)
  2. We might have had reinforced racism. The returning veterans would have been as influential as in our time-line but they would be used to the idea of shooting at people just because they were a different race. Civil rights or relaxed immigration laws might not have gotten off the ground. (There is little danger of that in the aftermath of the Current Unpleasantness. We're not fighting brown people over there; we're fighting white people with suntans.)
  3. Our troops might have been reluctant to shoot back and gotten bogged down. After a few years, the Russians would be ready to launch a successful brutal invasion of what would eventually become the Japanese SSR.


Blogger TJIC said...

Get Harry Turtledove on the phone - I'd like to read this book!

7:54 AM  
Anonymous Cambias said...

I don't think Option 1 would have happened. There was no television to show the folks back home the worst of war first-hand, and there was no Leftist "peace" movement working busily to undermine support for the war.

No, I'd bet on Option 2 -- a very brutal ground campaign with hundreds of thousands of American dead and literally millions of Japanese dead. Enduring bitterness on both sides, and quite likely a sort of "Morgenthau plan" for Japan to keep it from being an industrial power ever again.

But I don't know if anti-Japanese racism would automatically translate back home into anti-black racism. Perhaps instead Asians would be the "new niggers" and black Americans would get promoted to honorary white people status.

9:16 AM  
Anonymous Kent G. Budge said...

I have to go with Option 3, but on a faster time scale. The Russians would have been in Hokkaido by the end of 1945 if the Japanese hadn't surrendered by then.

2:48 PM  

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