I have always considered the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki as a crime against humanity, there is absolutely no doubt about this. Then I was surprised, for not saying shocked, to hear some Traditional Catholic Americans who say that it was a necessary thing to end the war and to save the life of American soldiers. Ending the war and saving American lives is definitely a good purpose, but not at any cost. And patriotism is certainly a very good thing…as long as it remains virtuous, which means as long as it remains a prudent medium between defect and excess. One can love his country very much without justifying the crimes of its Government. The fact is that on a moral level, nothing can justify the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, according to the old principle: the end does not justify the means.
Besides, in the opinion of many, this was totally useless, as Japan was already almost defeated.
Secretary of War Stimson, visiting my headquarters in Germany, informed me that our government was preparing to drop an atomic bomb on Japan. I was one of those who felt that there were a number of cogent reasons to question the wisdom of such an act. ...the Secretary, upon giving me the news of the successful bomb test in New Mexico, and of the plan for using it, asked for my reaction, apparently expecting a vigorous assent.
"During his recitation of the relevant facts, I had been conscious of a feeling of depression and so I voiced to him my grave misgivings, first on the basis of my belief that Japan was already defeated and that dropping the bomb was completely unnecessary, and secondly because I thought that our country should avoid shocking world opinion by the use of a weapon whose employment was, I thought, no longer mandatory as a measure to save American lives. It was my belief that Japan was, at that very moment, seeking some way to surrender with a minimum loss of 'face'. The Secretary was deeply perturbed by my attitude.. "
Admiral William Leahy:
"It is my opinion that the use of this barbarous weapon at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of no material assistance in our war against Japan. The Japanese were already defeated and ready to surrender because of the effective sea blockade and the successful bombing with conventional weapons.
"The lethal possibilities of atomic warfare in the future are frightening. My own feeling was that in being the first to use it, we had adopted an ethical standard common to the barbarians of the Dark Ages. I was not taught to make war in that fashion, and wars cannot be won by destroying women and children."
"Every act of war directed to the indiscriminate destruction of whole cities or vast areas with their inhabitants is a crime against God and man, which merits firm and unequivocal condemnation." (Cathechism of the Catholic Churc # 2314)