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