The Corner

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Re: Operation Unthinkable


From a reader:

[T]he Operation Unthinkable analysis was prepared two months before the detonation of the first atomic bomb on 16 July 1945 and three months before one was dropped on Hiroshima on 6 August 1945…[I]t seems plausible that the British chiefs of staff might have been a little more optimistic after they had knowledge of the efficacy of the atomic bomb than before they perhaps even knew of its existence.

True enough, of course.  But after the intensive little historical exercise that has taken place in this space over the last couple of days, I’m satisifed that the commanders, British and American alike, had good and reasonable grounds for believing, a) that a conventional war against the Soviets would have proven massively costly and, perhaps, ultimately unsuccessful, while, b) the prospect of using nuclear weapons on a nation that had just fought Hitler as our ally amounted to the…unthinkable.