August 6, 1945
I always remember this date. It is the most important date in the 20th Century. Is the beginning of the atomic age. The dropping of th bomb on Hiroshima was the ultimate act of terror using the only true weapon of mass destruction, putting it in contemporary terms. It was the day when "good people" did the most evil thing.
Personally, this day of terror was the beginning for my generation having to live under the threat of nuclear destruction. The first social justice cause I ever got involved in was "Ban the Bomb".
Do you remember the fear that brought us air raid shelters. Periodic drills with air raid sirens screaming over our otherwise peaceful communities reminding us how dreadful life could become in a instant. The Doomsday Clock and its periodic adjsutment always reminded us of our potential peril. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doomsday_Clock
I remember clearly our high school passing out a form to fill out. It was about what to do in the face of an atomic explosion in our area. Even then, it seemed ridiculous to me and I told my teacher so. It required that we put down how long it would take us to get home at a brisk walk.
Supposedly this is so a school administrator could decide whether to send us home in the face of a nuclear attack or to have us stay at school. As if it would matter where we died. I think I refused to fill out their stupid form.
We all grew up being told that the dropping of the atomic bomb was sadly necessary to end the war and save maybe as many as a million lives of American soldiers invading the island of Japan.
I believed this for years and still many people believe this, as a justifications. Politicians still repeat it. To our shame IT IS ALL LIES. It seems all wars are justified by lies. Those who get their lies out first shape the discussion.
The lying began with President Truman who said the targets were chose because they were military targets and every effort was made to minimize civilian targets. 95% of the victims were civilian. We were told that the Japanese were fanatical and would not surrender without this dramatic act of terror. In fact, the Japanese were trying to surrender at the time through the good offices of the Swiss and also through the Russians. The only condition was that the phrase, "unconditional surrender" not be used. We were told they were not irrational people, but they understood the war was over for the Their navy and airforce had been destroyed and their people were suffering from starvation. They only require a little face saving jesture which the Americans rejected, instead using this dreadful weapon.
What we are not often told for it challenges the mythological thinking that dominates the rationalization for this ultimate war crime and act of terror is that many people including military officers of the highest rank did not want to use this weapon from Eisenhower on down. The pressure to use this weapon as the ultimate experiment (on human beings) was to see what it could do.
We have not been told that the dropping of the atomic bomb had little to do with military necessity against the Japanese but was a diplomatic jesture for the benefit of the Russians. It was perhaps the beginning of the cold war. The Americans did not want the Russians to get involved in the Pacific theatre. The end of the war with Japan ended the opportunity for the Russians to turn eastward.
We need to come to know that August 6 is a day of shame and not victory for us. There is no way we could ever expect the Japanese to forgive us. I wonder if we should really forgive ourselves. We have not done nearly enough to outlaw and elliminate these weapons. We seem to be waiting for the next use of them to rally the forces of sanity. The thought of my grandchildren and their children paying the price of my generations failure to resolve this issue, is upsetting.
If what I have written sound strange or unfamiliar to you read the few articles I have listed below.
is the chronology of political events before the use of the atomic bomb.