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.
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.