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August 02, 2005

Hiroshima and Nagasaki

From Don Stott...

While most may not remember the details, they do know about that famous B-29 bomber which dropped two atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki Japan, for all practical purposes ending World War Two. The Smithsonian has completed a cosmetic restoration of the Enola Gay, the plane that dropped the bombs, and is now on display. As expected, a large sized hullabaloo has arisen over the way Harry Truman decided to end the war. Various old saws are paraded about, such as the hackneyed and untrue one that, "The Japanese had already sued for peace," "Atomic weapons shouldn't have been used," and "Unnecessary lives were lost." After 60 years, a lot of facts have been lost, buried, or conveniently forgotten. Allow me to refresh your memory.

The Japanese hadn't sued for peace at all, but were continuing the war, as if nothing had happened, vowing to kill all the POW's if they lost. As each island was captured, it was discovered that Allied prisoners had been shot, beheaded, drowned, burned, or in some other way killed in the most unmentionable atrocities. The professional hand wringers remember two dates: August 6th, 1945, when the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, and August 9th, when a larger one was dropped on Nagasaki. Here are a few more pertinent dates, which will explain August 6th and 9th, 1945.

Even though the Jap navy had been largely sunk, air force decimated, and factories destroyed, they fought on, as if all was going well. They considered themselves to be a superior race, which could not be beaten by inferior 'white devils.' Then came the B-29 "Super Fortress." On the nights of March 9 and 10, the largest air raid in history took place over Tokyo, with 279 B-29's unloading fire bombs, totally destroying 16 square miles of that city with five million inhabitants. 63% of the commercial district, and 18% of the remaining industrial capacity was destroyed in these raids. 250,000 buildings were destroyed, and possibly as many as 100,000 killed. The flames could be seen a hundred miles at sea by the crews, as they returned to their home bases or carriers. Next month, the B-29's came back again, further destroying Tokyo. Still, the Japanese acted as if nothing had happened, continued to kill POW's, and believing Tojo's words, that all was going well. The 'white devils' were being smashed.

On May 24th and 25th, the Super Fortresses came back again, this time another record being set, with 558 planes over Tokyo, this time destroying half the city, with 56.3 miles being reduced to ashes. Still no surrender. By the end of June, 13 million Japanese were homeless, and 58 smaller cities were being hit. On July 10th, 2,000 planes were in the air over Japan. B-29's, as well as fighters were bombing everything in sight, and even dropping leaflets, giving the schedules as to what cities were next in line.

Surrender was not in the Jap lexicon. Rather than being taken prisoner or surrendering, hundreds of thousands of them committed hari-kari. On Iwo Jima, 21,000 Jap soldiers died, and on Okinawa, 70,000. The Emperor expected them to resist to the death, and they followed instructions. On July 26th, Japan was told to give up or face prompt and utter destruction. On August 1st, 836 B-29's again broke records for the largest bomb drop, and number of planes in air raid history. No reply.

Truman had enough. He knew the Japs had promised no POW would be spared, and an invasion of the mainland would cost a million lives of both the Japs and Allies. There was absolutely no reasoning with them. On August 6th, the Enola Gay (maiden name of the pilot's mother) came over Hiroshima at 31,600 feet, and dropped "Little Boy," killing perhaps 100,000. After the drop, Truman said that Japan must give up or, "Face a rain of ruin from the air, the like of which had never been seen on this earth." No reply. Three days later, on August 9th, "Fat Man" was dropped over Nagasaki, killing perhaps another 50,000. Still no surrender. Finally, on August 15th, almost a week after Nagasaki had been destroyed, and over a week after Hiroshima, the Japanese surrendered.

The Americans had warned, pleaded, begged, threatened, and done everything in their power to end the war with a civilized surrender. The Japs wouldn't give up, in spite of the Allies virtually destroying their major cities, minor cities, navy, air force, manufacturing capability, capturing their outposts, and making every possible conventional war move. It was necessary to do what was done. The Japanese would have fought to their last man, killing every prisoner they held along the way, and obliterating their nation from the face of the earth, probably thinking that in the after-life, they would receive just rewards for fighting the 'white devils.' Truman did what he had to do, and saved the most lives in the process.

The dropping of those two nuclear bombs on Japan, save at least a million lives, and shortened the war by many months. Those that choose not to recognize that America tried over and over again to get them to surrender, without success, ignore the figures as borne out by history. The death rate in the Jap POW camps was 27%, and in German ones, 4%, The Holocaust did not take place in POW camps. The Germans obeyed the Geneva Convention as best they could, and the Japs didn't even try. The Jap POW camps were so lethal, that few returning veterans would even speak of them, and most of the WW II stories and film, ignore the Jap camps, they were so brutal and death dealing. I can see no wrong in remembering and approving the final act which ended that hideous war. The true crime, was FDR getting us into it in the first place. I still will not own anything Japanese, and am glad to admit it.

Related coverage: Right Wing News

Posted by Danny Carlton at August 2, 2005 08:37 AM

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Comments

Your history lesson about Hiroshima and Nagasaki is much appreciated, but your refusal to own anything Japanese is cut from the same cloth as those who want whites to pay blacks for wrongs done generations ago. And the "real crime" was the response of THE CHURCH when MacArthur called for Bibles and missionaries after the war because the Japanese people were ready for the Gospel and we sent an anemic few of each. We should have been as willing to follow our God ("go and preach the Gospel")as the Japanese people where in following theirs.

Posted by: Dorothy at August 2, 2005 11:20 AM

Don Stott wrote it. I posted it because of the details rarely heard.

Posted by: Danny Carlton at August 2, 2005 11:40 AM

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