Today is the 65th Anniversary of the dropping of Little Boy, an atomic bomb developed by the Manhattan Project as a weapon to end the war.
Today for the first time in 65 years the United States is attending the Japanese Memorial of this event.
I do not agree with that decision. At. All.
We do not owe the Japanese people OR the Japanese government an apology for dropping this bomb or the one on Nagasaki three days later.
This bomb was not dropped in retaliation for Pearl Harbor, though I doubt few who were at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 shed tears. This bomb was deployed tactically. We needed to end this war BEFORE it came to invading the Japanese main island. Hiroshima was not some city filled with peaceful puppies and little babies. Hiroshima was a center of shipping and housed large weapons depots, three different military units kept their headquarters in the city. 1 However, non-combatants did die in the bombing.
Japan surrendered and ended the war only after the dropping of Fat Man on Nagasaki on August 9, 1945.
Contrary to Howard Zinn’s reported “history”, the Japanese were not on the verge of surrendering when the bombs were dropped. There were certainly discussions going on, but the military leaders refused to surrender and the emperor refused to intervene. To end the war meant invasion of Japan. To have a clue about what invasion of the Japanese main island would have looked like you have only to review the battle to win Okinawa. Allow me to quote an essay by Laura Lacey:
Beginning in April of 1945, over fifty years ago on an island in the Pacific, American and Japanese men fought and killed each other as never before. Caught in the crossfire between these warring powers were the native inhabitants of Okinawa. The battle’s significance has been lost despite the unprecedented events that occurred during those eighty-two days.
The Battle of Okinawa is distinguished among battles, yet often unrecognized when referring to the great battles of the Second World War. Over 250,000 people lost their lives. Approximately 150,000 Okinawans, about a third of the population, perished. At the battle’s end, somewhere between a third and half of all surviving civilians were wounded. No battle during the Second World War, except Stalingrad, had as massive a loss of civilian life. The stakes were high. The Japanese, determined to fight to the last man, almost achieved their objective, but in defeat 100,000 Japanese combatants died rather than surrender. In the end, fewer than 10,000 of General Mitsuri Ushijimas’s Thirty-Second Army were taken prisoner.
United States loss of life was staggering as well. The United States Navy sustained the largest loss of ships in its history with thirty-six lost and 368 damaged. The Navy also sustained the largest loss of life in a single battle with almost 5,000 killed and an equal number wounded. At Okinawa, the United States Tenth Army would incur its greatest losses in any campaign against the Japanese. The Tenth Army, which initially was made up of 183,000 army, navy, and marine personnel. During those eighty-two days, the Tenth Army would lose 7,613 men and over 30,000 men would be evacuated from the front lines for a minimum of a week due to wounds. Moreover, the largest numbers of U.S. combat fatigue cases ever recorded would occur on Okinawa.
The U.S., Truman and his Generals specifically, was, you see, well informed about what an invasion would cost. There was no indication that the Japanese were going to surrender, as in unconditional “sorry my bad I remove all my troops and go home a self acknowledged loser” surrender. All indications are that the surrender justice and actual peace required of the Rising Sun to end all hopes of a Greater East Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere, that surrender would not come until Japan was utterly and thoroughly beaten in a very bloody and deadly sort of way. Meaning, MILLIONS of lives lost, both Allies and Japanese. Pretty much, wiping Japan clean and scouring out all survivors. Who wants that? We didn’t, thus the bomb.
Please do not forget that the Soviet Union only got around to turning it’s eye on Japan that very August. Yes, you’re welcome for the reminder.
The Bushido Code that is currently all the rage to be enthusiastic about is the very code that made the Japanese invasions throughout the Pacific so very, very horrid for anyone who wasn’t Japanese. Do not forget that Hiroo Onoda only surrendered in 1974! Thirty years after the end of the war the last of the hold outs finally surrendered. WTF? Yeah, that’s how they rolled, that wasn’t just one guy, it was just one stubborn guy.
I see the Bushido Code as being directly related to how the Japanese treated it’s prisoners of war. If you are unfamiliar with this treatment, please get a flipping education. Want to know how the Japanese treated non-combatants? Let me introduce you to a city named Nanjing. Maybe you should read about the forced sexual slavery of thousands of women from across the Pacific. Or the starvation of thousands of POWS, the beatings, the torture.
Japan was not going to stop. They needed to be stopped. Fat Man and Little Boy stopped them with LESS loss of life than any other option.
There has been some murmuring that the current administration will, at some point, apologize for dropping these bombs during WWII. The calumny and grotesqueness of an apology like that would be dangerous. Deeply and unalterably dangerous. Also, it would be deeply stupid. I believe sending an official to attend the memorial is as deeply stupid.
I leave you with an image of The Shanghai Baby, one of the last humans left alive after the Japanese attack in 1937. It was 8 years later that the war that left this child an orphan and burned ended. 8 long years the Japanese burned through millions of lives in the Pacific during their quest to conquer and rule all.