Thursday, August 5, 2010

Hiroshima 1945, Hiroshima 2010

This is Hiroshima today.

By Alan Caruba

It was sixty-five years ago, August 6, 1945, and the anticipation of the end of the war in the Pacific swept across America when the news that an atomic bomb had been dropped on Hiroshima, Japan. Surely they would surrender, but there was no response from the Emperor or Japanese high command.

A second atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki six days later. And still we waited! Finally, on August 15, Japan announced its acceptance of an unconditional surrender. That avoided what military experts of the time estimated would be casualties in the hundreds of thousands if the U.S. had been forced to invade.

By May of 1945 the allies had defeated Nazi Germany and secured its surrender. What followed was the division of Europe as the Soviet Union seized control of its Eastern bloc nations. They would remain under its oppression until it finally collapsed in 1991.

Japan would be occupied by the United States and its allies until September 8, 1951. On April 28, 1952 Japan regained its status as an independent nation. Japan would go on to become an economic powerhouse.

History has been re-written since 1945 to depict the United States as the aggressor, as a wicked nation that used atomic bombs in war. The destruction of Hiroshima is depicted as evidence of some moral flaw in the American character. That is hogwash.

The United States had done everything it could to avoid going to war with Japan and only what it could to aid Great Britain that had already been at war with Nazi Germany from 1939 after the invasion of Poland began World War Two. At the time, the Soviet Union was an ally of Germany.

In Asia, Japan had invaded Manchuria in 1931 and China in 1937. On December 7, 1941, a sneak attack on Pearl Harbor launched America into a two theatre war, the Pacific against Japan and the Atlantic against the Axis powers.

The use of the atomic bombs ended World War II. By then much of Europe and much of Japan had been bombed to rubble. By then millions had died throughout the world as the conflict raged in various nations.

Since then, the awesome destructive power of nuclear weapons has deterred a global war, though America engaged in smaller deadly conflicts in Korea, in Vietnam, and in Iraq.

Until September 11, 2001, the American homeland had not been attacked since Pearl Harbor, sixty years earlier. The American response in Afghanistan was conventional warfare with no hint or suggestion of nuclear weapons. The wars conducted against the most aggressive nation in the Middle East, Iraq, were fought with conventional weaponry.

The generation that lived through and fought World War II is now passing from the scene. Those who fought in Korea are old timers and those who fought in Vietnam are men in their fifties and sixties.

Whatever else will be said at the ceremonies marking the bombing of Hiroshima, generations born since must be told they asked for it. The day they attacked America was one Franklin Roosevelt said “will live in infamy.”

August 6, 1945 was not infamous. It was necessary.

August 6, 1945 did not end the war with Japan. It took a second bomb to do that and, even then, the warmongers argued among themselves for several days whether to surrender. In the end, the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki set Japan free to pursue peace.

A new generation of Americans must be reminded and must understand that America does not start wars. It ends them.

© Alan Caruba, 2010


Jeremy Jacobs said...

Interesting piece Alan, One small typo though - it was 1939 not 1938. Sorry, you lot didn't come in until 1941!


Unknown said...

In March this year in Hiroshima I stood in front of the Peace Museum looking at the Atomic Dome and talked to an "official" tourist guide who was with us for nearly three weeks.

She told me with what I can only describe as a mixture of shyness embarrassment humility and sorrow that only as a result of having to answer questions from tourists when she took the job at the age of forty six did she learn why America dropped the bombs. Prior to that all she knew or had been told was that they had done so.

My questions about what is taught to Japanese school children had led us to this point.

She was visibly upset and I could think of nothing to say. My inadequate reaction was to briefly hold her hand.

Forgive but don't forget I understand. But not forgive and forget.

Donna Harris said...

Evidently some of the earlier generations need to know that America ends wars, not starts them. I just had a horrid conversation with a man who thinks America is an imperialistic power, and that we maintain military presence in order to create an empire.

Anonymous said...

Looking at the ceremony from Hiroshima on CNN and BBC, today, and seeing all those serious faces, I feel little sympathy for Japan. All the hand-wringing and tears seem somehow misplaced.

Instead, I am reminded of the utter barbarity with which they conducted thier unprovoked invasions in Asia; the cruelty practiced by way of all manner of people-murdering systematic acts in China from December 1937, in a determination more than equal to Hitler's and Stalin's efforts and ending with the estimated death of 19 million non combat Chinese persons.
Eugenics on a grand scale

Where are the tears, hand-wringing and rememberance ceremonies for those poor Chinese souls and their survivors? Do we see any on CNN, BBC?
Let alone all the other nationalities that suffered so badly at the hands of the Japanese.

How they conducted their death-dealing can be well compared to a Medieval Islamic horde - only worse. At the time of WW2 the Japanese were of a medieval mindset. It took the 'Boys' to begin the true civilization into the 20th century of the Japanese and in the error of their ways.

The US should offer no apology for August 6th 1945 because it was fully justified and the deaths incurred in no way measure up to those incurred by the Japanese on their campaigns and what boodbath would ensue if the US invaded the Japanese mainland

The Japanese have yet to be seen to make their apologies to all those whose blood in which they are drenched, although they have gone a little way towards reparatins in some Asian countries.

To forgive is a human condition and should be exercised, but as we know, to forget is not possible and nor should it be. I mean, the Crusades are still a bone of contention within Islam as are the Armenians with Turkey. We should be joyful that the Japanese are now ex-medieval and were protected from Chinese wrath by a large US presence and allowed to develop and prosper and enter into the larger international brotherhood of nations. However, that the Japanese schooling is distorting the truth about their past should be exorcised and truth accepted by them.

In the meantime, constant reminders of all attrocities should be put before new generations to remind them of the ever-present capability of man's inhumanity to man.

Clive in the Philippines

Ron H. said...

"those who fought in Vietnam are men in their forties and fifties."

Alan, I don't mean to be picky, but you may have intended to say 'men in their fifties and sixties'. I doubt anyone who fought in Vietnam is under 50 at this time.

Alan Caruba said...

The corrections have been duly noted and made.


Christinewjc said...

Thanks for this post, Alan.

If my dad was still alive today (he fought in WW II) and heard about Obama's apology tours and the awfully distorted history being spewed by the progressive left, he would be furious!

Alan Caruba said...

To those who left comments distorting history and blaming America for World War II, be advised this blog does not post idiots and ingrates.

Ronbo said...

Interesting article and pictures at Free Republic making the case that socialism American style causes more lasting damage to a city than the atomic bomb.


Rich Kozlovich said...

I think Clive Graham Smale said most of what needed to be said. I will say this see the horrors the people suffered is bound to touch the heart of every descent person, but the horrors that would have occurred if an invasion had taken place would have been far worse. It is hard to for many to accept this, but those two bombs saved millions and millions of civilian lives. Lives the Japanese hierarchy would have willing sacrificed. The Japanese elite were the monsters of Nagasaki and Hiroshima....and that is the real history.

Agus Sumarna said...

nice article...

Carolyn said...

The way I see it Mr. Caruba, is dropping those bombs ended the war. I don't like the fact that people got killed, but they had their own rulers who brought it upon them. I refuse to really play a blame game- the Emperor and Military leaders brought it on, and they realized painfully what happens when America "bites" back. It ended the war. If they hadn't have done what was necessary, how many millions of those on both sides would have died in more years of fighting? War stinks, and people die in war-we didn't ask for it, but we answered.
God Bless all the men and women who fought and are still fighting, and God bless our allies, which inculde Japan. God Bless you too Mr. Caruba

LarryOldtimer said...

Certainly, the additional death toll for the Japanese would have been counted in the millions, had the US not utilized atomic bombs.

Gen. Douglas MacArthur said, "Have a good plan, execute it violently, and do it today." He was a brilliant general and was, without doubt, correct.

My observations of history tell me that when a nation not at war sues for peace, that nation soon finds itself at war. When a nation prepares for war vigorously, and makes it clear that it will go to war if necessary, peace breaks out all over.

At times, however dreadful war can be, it becomes time to give war a chance.

Alan Caruba said...

Si vis pacem, para bellum.

The Romans understood this simple principle.

If you want peace, plan for war.

Zacaman said...

Alan - speaking of "warning signs", do you have an authoritative source for that image? It appears in a hoax chain letter with other images, which according to a website which debunks these things, is in fact the wealthy port city of Yokohama (

Alan Caruba said...

If it is Yokohama, then it is in error. I assume that Hiroshima, however, has been rebuilt since then.

Unknown said...

It's not true. The U.S. has been using small nuclear weapons all over the middle east since the Gulf War. They call them nuclear "tipped" weapons, but they are solid uranium.

There are tons of reports outside of the U.S. media that chronicle our continued use of nuclear weapons whenever we invade another country.

There are lots of first hand descriptions of U.S. vehicles firing weapons in the distance and people instantly flying apart and melting. Leaving public buses wall-papered in human flesh, brains and blood.

We in the U.S. are in complete denial of the morons who continue to take turns running our country. Do most Americans play along with the fake, misinformed and uneducated people who lie, cheat and steal their way into power, just to feel normal about their lives?