Every year in Germany, on the 6th of August, for the nightly news at 8PM.....state-run German TV will feature a 30-to-60 second note near the end of the broadcast about the events of the day in Hiroshima, and note that once again that the use of a nuke weapon on a civilian city was unnecessary. Then about two hours later....either on ARD or ZDF (both state-run networks) there will usually be at least a five-minute update and explanation by some German historian about the reckless nature of American leaders in 1945, and how unnecessary this really was.
I started to notice this in the 1990s (yes, it's a yearly thing and always repeats itself). Sometimes, they do find an American or British historian to repeat the emphasis of it being an unjust or unnecessary use of warfare.
Few Germans, even Germans who claim some authority on the topic of history.....have any understanding of Operation Downfall.....the invasion of Japan, planned toward the end of 1945.
Downfall was planned into two parts. The first would occur toward October of 1945 and would be called Operation Olympic. This would have involved landing and capturing the southern most island of Japan, and being able to establish some control over roughly one-third of that island. If curious, the island measures roughly 100 km by 100 km.
Okinawa? It was to be used for staging operations and for a large assortment of US fighters and bombers.
Nothing else would be moving much for four to six months. Naturally, you'd ask why and you come to something that Germans never seem to grasp. The invasion of Japan was considered a massive problem and based on the amount of fight that had been put up for each island battle in 1944 and 1945....the US needed to take the bulk of Army personnel who'd fought through to the heart of Germany, and move them across the Pacific....putting them in a stage to invade again.
You can imagine the gut feeling of most Army personnel who'd fought one entire war and survived.....now being told that their participation really isn't over and that at best....they get a six-month reprieve.
While this wait is going on....what exactly do you think the Russians would be doing? Think about it.
German defeat for them. A long train ride, and you would have transferred the bulk of the Russian force to one side of Japan as well.
The expect death toll just for the Americans? 150,000 dead troops minimum. Some estimates....thinking it'd take 18 months to take the entire country....thought the end result for dead American troops would have been 500,000 dead.
The Japanese tally, with both military and civilian dead? Some estimates put it at 1.5 million, and another half million dead from starvation during the possible 18-month war.
Fear of a chemical attack against the Americans? This was reality because they'd used chemical weapons against the Chinese.
In short summation.....there was never any shown tendency of the Japanese to easily surrender during the whole island campaign of 1944 or 1945. If the Germans or the Japanese had put emphasis into the nuclear program and built it before the Americans.....yes, they would have used it on New York City or some west coast urban area.
This will talked about on the German news tonight of President Obama's visit to Hiroshima and the almost apology that he issued. It's not worth much but it gives the German obsession one more bit of emphasis.