Reminder: Imperial Japan was an evil, belligerent, militant, racist society which was responsible for the greatest cataclysm in man’s history.
Today is the 65th anniversary of the United States dropping the Little Boy nuclear bomb on Hiroshima in an effort to finally end the most costly, horrible war in mankind’s history. This anniversary always brings out the preening moralizers to talk about how horrible the bomb was. A bunch of doves are released at the Hiroshima Peace Park, and newspapers are full of pictures of the aftermath, which was no doubt horrible.
However, anyone who thinks that the US was anything other than totally right to use the bomb to try to end the war simply is too ignorant of history. Today we think of Japan as Hello Kitty, Nintendo, and Priuses. Even when World War II-era Imperial Japan is thought of we think about Pearl Harbor or Kamikazes (which are so cute we named a drink after them). No one really talks about The Rape of Nanking. Everyone knows about the racism of the Nazis and even the American internment of people of Japanese decent in the west, but one rarely hears of the world class racism of the Imperial Japanese.
And I suppose I shouldn’t forget the fact that Japanese society at the time was militaristic from cradle to grave. What does it say about Imperial Japan that it didn’t surrender after the first bomb? They knew how horrible it was. They knew they couldn’t counter it. But it was the citizen’s duty to make the US prove they had another one. (For the record, I’ve always thought they should have given Japan more than three days before dropping the second bomb, but I can’t really blame them for not wanting to wait around, either.)
And, honestly, leaving all of that aside, put yourself in the shoes of Truman and his generals: You are at the end of a war where over 60 million people have been killed. You’ve defeated two of the three principle belligerents. The last one has been mostly pushed back to their home island. After seeing how poorly ending in a stalemate worked less than a generation earlier, the commitment is to total defeat of the enemy. The enemy has proved very good at inflicting casualties upon invading forces on small islands, and now you face invading the home island. Should you marshal the resources and the blood, let another half million Americans be killed or wounded and extend the war by another year or two, or do you drop the bomb that was developed with considerable resources in hopes of avoiding all of that? Any other decision by Truman would have been criminally irresponsible. (It’s also worth noting that the term “nuclear” had not yet become politically incorrect.)
So, have all the hand wringing, navel gazing ceremonies and remembrances you want, just don’t expect me to join in any regret whatsoever that Hiroshima was nuked. Imperial Japan made its bed over the decade prior to the bombing, Little Boy just made them lay in it.
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