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What if Manhattan Project did not exist?

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How much would it cost to invade main Japan territory: Hokkaidō, Honshū, Shikoku and Kyūshū?

Which kind of war? Armored? ...

I know there were studies, but what is your opinion?

In terms of lives?  Horrific.

Probably would have meant thousand bomber raids as the norm, and massed infantry assault with huge armoured support.  Every bit as gruelling as D-Day onwards.

much worse than D-Day !  A friends uncle was a Marine assigned to the third wave of US invasion troops in '45 when the bombs were dropped - he said they were told to expect 100% casualties in the first wave, 90% in the second wave & 80% in the third wave.
Even allowing for this pessimistic asumption, it would still be worse than D-Day.

The US had better & more weapons but Japan had many civilians (men, women & teenagers) prepared to die in battle using kitchen knives, molotovs etc.

Regarding the bomber raids, Martin Cadin's book regarding the strategic bombing of Japan suggested that by war's end, the list of strategic targets had dwindled to fourth & fifth tier levels.  I'd suggest that an invasion would be a predominantly tactical affair from the point of view of airpower.

Casualty-wise, it would be beyond horrific as witnessed by the Okinawan invasion where an entire village jumped to their deaths rather than being captured by the Americans due to obviously negative propaganda by the Japanese.



ed s:
I wonder if a full scale invasion would have been necessary. It might have been just as effective and taken a lot fewer casualties if the allies had just embargoed the whole country. They already had Okinawa to use as a major support base. Just keep bombing the military targets and factories to keep them from building up their military, sink all their shipping, shut down their air bases, and keep the fleet around the island and sink any ship coming or going. After all, at this point, they didn't have a lot of allies to try and help them.



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