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The Trail of Death Continues
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Since the American conquest of the Marianas island chain, Guam, Saipan, and Tinian in 1944, air and naval bombardment systematically destroyed central areas of 64 Japanese cities, killed hundreds of thousands of civilians, and left thirteen million homeless. But it was the new, awesome weapon, the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, costing another 210,000 lives, that brought the war to an abrupt end. In the cold calculus of war, one must weigh the lives lost with use of the bomb against the horrible cost of the planned invasion that would have prolonged the war and cost hundreds of thousands of additional lives, both American and Japanese.