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Tossing Pebbles in the Stream

This blog is my place to sit and toss pebbles into the stream. The stream of Life relentlessly passing before us. We can affect it little. For the most part I just watch it passing and follow the flow. Occasionally, I need to comment on its passing, tossing a pebble at it to enjoy the ripple affect upon Life's surface.

Friday, August 06, 2010

Hiroshima Day August 6, 1945

This is the 65th anniversary of the dropping of the bomb on Hiroshima. It was the beginning of the Atomic Age. It was the day humanity came to live under the cloud of fear of the possibility of mass extinction of the human race by accident or design. It is to the shame of us all that these weapons, the only true weapons of mass destruction, exist today. The existing weapons are even far more destructive than the realitively modest bombs that were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

I have always remembered this date. I am one of the generation that grew up the threat of thermonuclear war. The first issue I ever protested against was this issue of "Ban the Bomb".


















The atomic cloud over Hiroshima

I grew up believing the public relations version of the historical explanation of this war crime. In short it is that the Japanese were different than westerners. They were fanatical and would never give up. There was no other option than to use the bomb in order to end the war and save hundred of thousand lives of American soldiers. This was a deliberate public relations lie.

The truth was that the Japanese were busy trying to arrange a surrender with only two conditions: to protect the Emperor as leader of the country from war crimes prosecutions
and to maintain the Japanese constitution to prevent chaos after the surrender. It was the US who insisted on unconditional surrender.

It was only a small group in the US government that wanted to use the atomic bomb. The vast majority of the intelligence community , the leadership of joint Chief of Staff and the scientific community did not want the atomic bomb to be used for various reasons from being morally outrageous to being militarily unnecessary. The reasons to use it seemed to be more diplomatic that scientific or military. It seem the US wanted to send a message to Russia that the US still had powerful leadership under Truman. Russia had joined the war against Japan and had defeated them in Manchuria. There was the possibility that Russia may have invaded Japan before the Americans could. Hence, a quick surrender by the Japanese was needed.

You do not have to read far on the Internet to read the scholarly literature that debunks the public relation myth about dropping the bombs developed after the war. Here is a scholarly 35 page historical analysis from the University of Wisconsin. http://us.history.wisc.edu/hist102/pdocs/decisiontodrop.pdf


We need to remember and learn the true history of the the dropping of the bombs on Japan. Below is the series of videos of a film made in 1945 of the effect of the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.







http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3FtssfiZVxY&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CCAtBoYbEIo&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NzWGerKOBFk&feature=related


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P75GYaYl5w0&feature=related


This year the United States will be represented at the memorial in Hiroshima for the first time.
This is a small step in facing the American culpability in this war crime. What is needed is an apology and a plea for forgiveness. This will not happen as it is not in the American character to apologize for anything. One can only hope that President Barack Obama 's interest in reducing the number of nuclear weapons held by the US and Russia. It will not be enough but it will at least be a small step in the right direction.

2 Comments:

At 12:40 PM, Blogger possum said...

Yes, so many of us were brought up on lies, and today, the lies continue... just look at FOX news for 5 minutes. Well, no, don't.
It is sad when politicians openly lie surely knowing they will be found out, but seemingly don't care... Palin, for example.

This is a sad, sad world we live in. It is hard to know who is telling the truth, or who we can trust.

We can only hope that something of this magnitude never ever happens again.

 
At 11:12 AM, Blogger Navigator said...

As usual the pacifist in you overcomes an objective analysis of this important historical event.

I read through the 35 pages in the link you urged me to read. They don't really support the reading you want us to take out of this.

It was a small group who did not want to use the bomb, not the other way around. And while the revisionist ex-post facto conclusion that it was unnecessary to end the war is valid, it does not take into account what would have been required to end the war in the absence of using the bomb, and in declaring it to have been unnecessary is not the same as saying it had no effect.

The fact is that the Japanese government was deadlocked between the peacemakers and the warmakers. Even after the Hiroshima bomb the warmakers correctly believed that the U.S. probably had no more than two of them, and were not inclined to surrender.

That was another reason why the "demonstration" bomb was rejected, because it would have left the military option at only one bomb.

On the issue of war crimes, I see no reason why America should be apologizing to the Japanese for fighting them with every weapon at their disposal. The Japanese inflicted more casualties on American forces than any other foreign power had in any war in their suicidal defenses of the South Pacific islands. And the Americans had every reason to think those staggering losses would continue, as the documents make clear. And this is not to mention the many hundreds of thousands of Japanese lives that would have been lost had the war continued for many more months.

You should be asking the relatives of the victims of the Rape of Nanking how many tears they feel like shedding over the people of Hiroshima. Not too many, I would imagine.

Finally, you should consider that no other atomic bomb has been used in war since then. The psychological impact of the Hiroshima bomb was to make the world quake. If it hadn't been dropped, chances are a more powerful bomb in another war (Korea perhaps) would have been used with even greater destruction and consequences. The U.S. may well have done the world a favour by using this bomb in WWII to show how futile total war would be in the future.

 

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