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Home  > Human Rights & Humanitarian Law > Hiroshima & Nagasaki - the Worst Terror Attacks in Human History: The Record Speaks

CONTENTS
OF THIS SECTION

Last updated
08/08/07

Hiroshima - Nagasaki - Fact File

USA Terrorism: Hiroshima Atomic Bomb - Audio Video Presentation


Hiroshima Bomb


The Nagasaki Bomb

Armed Conflict & the Law
What is Terrorism?
Arthur Koestler in Janus: A Summing Up " If I were asked to name the most important date in the history and prehistory of the human race, I would answer without hesitation 6 August 1945. The reason is simple. From the dawn of consciousness until 6 August 1945, man had to live with the prospect of his death as an individual; since the day when the first atomic bomb outshone the sun over Hiroshima, mankind as a whole has had to live with the prospect of its extinction as a species...as the devices of nuclear warfare become more potent and easier to make, their spreading to young and immature as well as old and arrogant nations becomes inevitable, and global control of their manufacture impracticable. ..One might compare the situation to a gathering of delinquent youths locked in a room full of inflammable material who are given a box of matches - with the pious warning not to use it.."

Colonel Paul W. Tibbets, Jr., pilot of the ENOLA GAY, the plane that dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, waves from his cockpit before the takeoff, 6 August 1945.

Atomic Bombs and US pilots' greatest thrill..- Audio Video
The Gita of Robert J Oppenheimer - James A Hijyah, Professor of History, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth

" an awareness of the Gita's teachings renders comprehensible some features of the scientist's life that would otherwise be hard to understand. J. Robert Oppenheimer was an unlikely father of the atomic bomb. While studying in England in 1925, he had attended a meeting of pacifists. Soon after Hiroshima and Nagasaki were obliterated, he became a leading critic of nuclear weapons and nuclear war. On occasion he suggested that perhaps the United States should have given the Japanese a less lethal demonstration of the bomb before using it on a city. He said that when the bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, Japan was already essentially defeated; and that nuclear weapons were instruments of aggression, of surprise, and of terror.."

"In the hurricane of annihilating material power provided by atomic energy, the practice of non-violence is necessary for mankind to save it from self-destruction." - Arnold Toynbee quoted by S. Sripal, Inspector General of Police, Tamilnadu in Jainism and Peace


Hiroshima Memorial


The Hiroshima Bomb




Hiroshima After the Bomb


Hiroshima Radiation Victim


Nagasaki after the Bomb

War and State Terrorism: The United States, Japan, and the Asia-Pacific in the Long Twentieth Century  -  Mark Selden  "Tracing the course of conflicts throughout Asia in the past century, this groundbreaking volume is the first to explore systematically the nexus of war and state terrorism. Challenging states' definitions of terrorism, which routinely exclude their own behavior, the book focuses especially on the nature of Japanese and American wars and crimes of war. This rare comparative perspective examines the ways in which state terror leads to civilian casualties, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. In counterbalance, they discuss anti-war movements and international efforts to protect human rights. This interdisciplinary volume will resonate with readers searching for a deeper understanding of an era dominated by war and terror.."
Dr Harold Agnew - Scientist, on Observation Plane, Hiroshima - on 60th Anniversary, 2005 "...I was part of a great undertaking. For the Hiroshima mission I was on board The Great Artiste, a second B-29 that had tailed the Enola Gay to the bombing zone. We'd flown alongside them all the way up there and were about four or five miles off to one side of Hiroshima, dropping gauges with parachutes that would measure the yield of the bomb.....My honest feeling at the time was that they deserved it, and as far as I am concerned that is still how I feel today...  there are no innocent civilians in war, everyone is doing something, contributing to the war effort.... I am proud to have been part of it...After the war I returned to the University of Chicago to continue my studies and later rejoined Los Alamos, where I eventually became director of the laboratory. About three-quarters of the US nuclear arsenal was designed under my tutelage at Los Alamos. That is my legacy..."
Hiroshima, an awful lesson of history, Dr. Sue Wareham, 2002
Gene Dannen's Page on the Atomic Bomb: Decision - Documents on the decision to use the atomic bomb are reproduced here in full-text form. In most cases, the originals are in the U.S. National Archives. Other aspects of the decision are shown from accounts by the participants.
Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum

Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum "An atomic bomb exploded over Nagasaki on August 9, 1945, three days after the explosion of the first atomic bomb over Hiroshima. The bomb was assembled at Tinian Island on August 6. On August 8, Field Order No.17 issued from the 20th Air Force Headquarters on Guam called for its use the following day on either Kokura, the primary target, or Nagasaki, the secondary target. That same day, the Soviet Union declared war on Japan. The B-29 bomber "Bockscar" reached the sky over Kokura on the morning of August 9 but abandoned the primary target because of smoke cover and changed course for Nagasaki, the secondary target, where it dropped the atomic bomb at 11:02 a.m..."

The Fire Still Burns: An interview with historian Gar Alperovitz  "..The use of the atomic bomb, most experts now believe, was totally unnecessary. Even people who support the decision for various reasons acknowledge that almost certainly the Japanese would have surrendered before the initial invasion planned for November. The U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey stated that officially in 1946. We found a top-secret War Department study that said when the Russians came in, which was August 8, the war would have ended anyway..."
The Decision To Use the Atomic Bomb: Gar Alperovitz & H-NET Debate 
Hiroshima National Peace Memorial Hall for the Atomic Bomb Victims
Statements of Witnesses 
The Atomic Bombings of Hiroshima And Nagasaki - Manhattan Engineer Project
The Decision To Use the Atomic Bomb 
Hiroshima Archive - Gallery of photographs by Hiromi Tsuchida commemorating Hiroshima and its citizens.
The Atomic Bombing of Nagasaki "At 11:02 a.m., August 9, 1945 an atomic bomb exploded 500 meters above this spot. The black stone monolith marks the hypocenter. The fierce blast wind, heat rays reaching several thousand degrees, and deadly radiation generated by the explosion crushed, burned and killed everything in sight and reduced this entire area to a barren field of rubble. About one-third of Nagasaki City was destroyed and 150,000 people killed or injured."

Photographs of
Hiroshima and Nagasaki

Hiroshima & Nagasaki -
the Worst Terror Attacks in Human History
The Record Speaks...

"...If terrorism is the massacre of innocents to break the will of rulers, were not Hiroshima and Nagasaki, terrorism on a colossal scale?... "Hiroshima, Nagasaki & Christian Morality - Patrick J. Buchanan,  August  2005

"Whatever may be said, whosoever may say it - to determine the truth of it, is wisdom" - Thirukural

On right: Hiroshima survivor with rice ball
- Photo: Yosuki Yamahata


Hiroshima Aftermath

 

At 8.15 am on 6 August 1945, United States dropped the uranium atom bomb "Little Boy" on the city of Hiroshima. It had an explosive yield of around 15,000 tons of TNT. 90,000 were killed immediately and 145,000 within months.  Three days later on 9 August 1945 at 11.02 am,  the United States  dropped the plutonium atom bomb  "Fat Man" on  Nagasaki. The plutonium bomb had an explosive yield of 21,000 tons of TNT. 45,000 were killed immediately and 75,000 more were dead by the end of 1945.

"A single nuclear weapon contains almost ten times the explosive force delivered by all of the allied air forces in the Second World War". -President John F. Kennedy -  Commencement Address at American University in Washington, 10 June 1963

"A bomb can now be manufactured which will be 25000 times as powerful as that which destroyed Hiroshima." - Betrand Russell


The Record Speaks...

Harry S. Truman, Diary, July 25, 1945

"We have discovered the most terrible bomb in the history of the world.... This weapon is to be used against Japan between now and August 10th. I have told the Sec. of War, Mr. Stimson, to use it so that military objectives and soldiers and sailors are the target and not women and children. Even if the Japs are savages, ruthless, merciless and fanatic, we as the leader of the world for the common welfare cannot drop that terrible bomb on the old capital or the new. He and I are in accord. The target will be a purely military one"

US President Harry S.Truman Address to the Nation, 6 August 1945

"Sixteen hours ago an American airplane dropped one bomb on Hiroshima, an important Japanese Army base. That bomb had more power than 20,000 tons of TNT. It had more than 2,000 times the blast power of the British "Grand Slam," which is the largest bomb ever yet used in the history of warfare. The Japanese began the war from the air at Pearl Harbor. They have been repaid manyfold. And the end is not yet. With this bomb we have now added a new and revolutionary increase in destruction to supplement the growing power of our armed forces. In their present form these bombs are now in production, and even more powerful forms are in development."

Emperor Hirohito, Acceptance of the Potsdam Declaration, 14 August 1945

 "..the enemy has begun to employ a new and most cruel bomb, the power of which to do damage is, indeed, incalculable, taking the toll of many innocent lives. Should we continue to fight, it would not only result in an ultimate collapse and obliteration of the Japanese nation, but also it would lead to the total extinction of human civilization..."

To Bomb or Not to Bomb Hiroshima and Nagasaki - a  Debate on the Uses of Terrorism? : Szilard Petition, J. R. Oppenheimer, Henry L. Stimson  - June/August 1945

"We, the undersigned scientists, have been working in the field of atomic power for a number of years. ..The war has to be brought speedily to a successful conclusion and the destruction of Japanese cities by means of atomic bombs may very well be an effective method of warfare. We feel, however, that such an attack on Japan could not be justified in the present circumstances..."

Poems by Toge Sankichi: Hibakusha (A-bomb survivor)

Toge Sankichi was born in Japan in 1921. He started writing poems at the age of eighteen. He was twenty-four when the A-bomb was dropped on Hiroshima on 6 August 1945. He died at age thirty-six, a victim of leukemia resulting from the A-bomb. His first hand experience of the bomb, his passion for peace and his realistic insight into the event made him the leading Hiroshima poet in Japan.

How could I ever forget that flash of light!
In a moment thirty thousand people ceased to be
The cries of fifty thousand killed
Through yellow smoke whirling into light
Buildings split, bridges collapsed
Crowded trams burnt as they rolled about
Hiroshima, all full of boundless heaps of embers

Testimony of Akiko Takakura - A Bomb Survivor

 "..The whirlpool of fire that was covering the entire street approached us from Ote-machi. So, everyone just tried so hard to keep away from the fire. It was just like a living hell. After a while, it began to rain. The fire and the smoke made us so thirsty and there was nothing to drink, no water, and the smoke even disturbed our eyes. As it began to rain, people opened their mouths and turned their faces towards the sky and try to drink the rain, but it wasn't easy to catch the rain drops in our mouths. It was a black rain with big drops..."

Testimony of Yosaku Mikami - A Bomb Survivor

"..We tried to open the eyes of the injured and we found out they were still alive. We tried to carry them by their arms and legs and to place them onto the fire truck. But this was difficult because their skin was peeled off as we tried to move them. They were all heavily burned..."

Testimony of Akihiro Takahashi - A Bomb Survivor

"I felt the city of Hiroshima had disappeared all of a sudden. Then I looked at myself and found my clothes had turned into rags due to the heat. I was probably burned at the back of the head, on my back, on both arms and both legs. My skin was peeling and hanging like this..."

The Atomic Bombings of Japan: A 50-Year Retrospective by Col Ralph J. Capio, USAF, 1995

"If 7 December 1941, a date "which will live in infamy," conjures up a vision for Americans of treachery, death, and destruction, then Hiroshima and Nagasaki are two names synonymous the world over with horrific power that, having been unleashed, still threatens mankind's fragile grip on survival. ("Cry 'Havoc!' and let slip the dogs of war." If we were to do the same thing today, the consequences would likely be "as much a punishment to the punisher as to the sufferer." Hiroshima and Nagasaki represent an experience of multiple dimensions. What happened? What led up to the bombings? Why was it done at all? What does it say about the character of the nation that did it and the nation that received it? "

Hiroshima and Nagasaki: Worst terror attacks in history, August 2005

"August 6 and August 9 will mark the 60th anniversaries of the US atomic-bomb attacks on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. ..The 60th anniversaries will inevitably be marked by countless mass media commentaries and speeches repeating the 60-year-old mantra that there was no other choice but to use A-bombs in order to avoid a bitter, prolonged invasion of Japan. On July 21, the British New Scientist magazine undermined this chorus when it reported that two historians had uncovered evidence revealing that “the US decision to drop atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki ... was meant to kick-start the Cold War [against the Soviet Union, Washington's war-time ally] rather than end the Second World War”. ..  it accords with the testimony of many central US political and military players at the time, including General Dwight Eisenhower, who stated bluntly in a 1963 Newsweek interview that “the Japanese were ready to surrender and it wasn't necessary to hit them with that awful thing”. "

Hiroshima, Nagasaki & Christian Morality - Patrick J. Buchanan,  August  2005

 "If terrorism is the massacre of innocents to break the will of rulers, were not Hiroshima and Nagasaki terrorism on a colossal scale?... Churchill did not deny what the Allied air war was about. Before departing for Yalta, he ordered Operation Thunderclap, a campaign to "de-house" civilians to clog roads so German soldiers could not move to stop the offensive of the Red Army. British Air Marshal "Bomber" Harris put Dresden, a jewel of a city and haven for hundreds of thousands of terrified refugees, on the target list."

Hiroshima and Nagasaki by Ralph Raico

"...The destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was a war crime worse than any that Japanese generals were executed for in Tokyo and Manila. If Harry Truman was not a war criminal, then no one ever was.. Today, self-styled conservatives slander as "anti-American" anyone who is in the least troubled by Truman’s massacre of so many tens of thousands of Japanese innocents from the air..."

Harry S. Truman, Diary, July 25, 1945  quoted in Robert H. Ferrell, Off the Record: The Private Papers of Harry S. Truman (New York: Harper and Row, 1980) pp. 55-56. Truman's writings are in the public domain

"We have discovered the most terrible bomb in the history of the world. It may be the fire destruction prophesied in the Euphrates Valley Era, after Noah and his fabulous Ark.

Anyway we "think" we have found the way to cause a disintegration of the atom. An experiment in the New Mexico desert was startling - to put it mildly. Thirteen pounds of the explosive caused the complete disintegration of a steel tower 60 feet high, created a crater 6 feet deep and 1,200 feet in diameter, knocked over a steel tower 1/2 mile away and knocked men down 10,000 yards away. The explosion was visible for more than 200 miles and audible for 40 miles and more.

This weapon is to be used against Japan between now and August 10th. I have told the Sec. of War, Mr. Stimson, to use it so that military objectives and soldiers and sailors are the target and not women and children. Even if the Japs are savages, ruthless, merciless and fanatic, we as the leader of the world for the common welfare cannot drop that terrible bomb on the old capital or the new.

He and I are in accord. The target will be a purely military one and we will issue a warning statement asking the Japs to surrender and save lives. I'm sure they will not do that, but we will have given them the chance. It is certainly a good thing for the world that Hitler's crowd or Stalin's did not discover this atomic bomb. It seems to be the most terrible thing ever discovered, but it can be made the most useful..."

US President Harry S.Truman Address to the Nation, 6 August 1945
"Sixteen hours ago an American airplane dropped one bomb on Hiroshima, an important Japanese Army base. That bomb had more power than 20,000 tons of TNT. It had more than 2,000 times the blast power of the British "Grand Slam," which is the largest bomb ever yet used in the history of warfare.

The Japanese began the war from the air at Pearl Harbor. They have been repaid manyfold. And the end is not yet. With this bomb we have now added a new and revolutionary increase in destruction to supplement the growing power of our armed forces. In their present form these bombs are now in production, and even more powerful forms are in development.

It is an atomic bomb. It is a harnessing of the basic power of the universe. The force from which the sun draws its power has been loosed against those who brought war to the Far East.

Before 1939, it was the accepted belief of scientists that it was theoretically possible to release atomic energy. But no one knew any practical method of doing it. By 1942, however, we knew that the Germans were working feverishly to find a way to add atomic energy to the other engines of war with which they hoped to enslave the world. But they failed. We may be grateful to Providence that the Germans got the V-1's and V-2's late and in limited quantities and even more grateful that they did not get the atomic bomb at all.

The battle of the laboratories held fateful risks for us as well as the battles of the air, land, and sea, and we have now won the battle of the laboratories as we have won the other battles

Beginning in 1940, before Pearl Harbor, scientific knowledge useful in war was pooled between the United States and Great Britain, and many priceless helps to our victories have come from that arrangement. Under that general policy the research on the atomic bomb was begun. With American and British scientists working together we entered the race of discovery against the Germans

The United States had available the large number of scientists of distinction in the many needed areas of knowledge. It had the tremendous industrial and financial resources necessary for the project, and they could be devoted to it without undue impairment of other vital war work. In the United States the laboratory work and the production plants, on which a substantial start had already been made, would be out of reach of enemy bombing, while at that time Britain was exposed to constant air attack and was still threatened with the possibility of invasion. For these reasons Prime Minister Churchill and President Roosevelt agreed that it was wise to carry on the project here

We now have two great plants and many lesser works devoted to the production of atomic power. Employment during peak construction numbered 125,000 and over 65,000 individuals are even now engaged in operating the plants. Many have worked there for two and a half years. Few know what they have been producing. They see great quantities of material going in and they see nothing coming out of these plants, for the physical size of the explosive charge is exceedingly small. We have spent $2 billion on the greatest scientific gamble in history--and won

But the greatest marvel is not the size of the enterprise, its secrecy, nor its cost, but the achievement of scientific brains in putting together infinitely complex pieces of knowledge held by many men in different fields of science into a workable plan. And hardly less marvelous has been the capacity of industry to design, and of labor to operate, the machines and methods to do things never done before so that the brainchild of many minds came forth in physical shape and performed as it was supposed to do. Both science and industry worked under the direction of the United States Army, which achieved a unique success in managing so diverse a problem in the advancement of knowledge in an amazingly short time. It is doubtful if such another combination could be got together in the world. What has been done is the greatest achievement of organized science in history. It was done under high pressure and without failure

We are now prepared to obliterate more rapidly and completely every productive enterprise the Japanese have above ground in any city. We shall destroy their docks, their factories, and their communications. Let there be no mistake; we shall completely destroy Japan's power to make war

It was to spare the Japanese people from utter destruction that the ultimatum of July 26 was issued at Potsdam. Their leaders promptly rejected that ultimatum. If they do not now accept our terms they may expect a rain of ruin from the air, the like of which has never been seen on this earth. Behind this air attack will follow sea and land forces in such numbers and power as they have not yet seen and with the fighting skill of which they are already well aware.

The secretary of war, who has kept in personal touch with all phases of the project, will immediately make public a statement giving further details

His statement will give facts concerning the sites at Oak Ridge near Knoxville, Tennessee, and at Richland near Pasco, Washington, and an installation near Santa Fe, New Mexico. Although the workers at the sites have been making materials to be used in producing the greatest destructive force in history, they have not themselves been in danger beyond that of many other occupations, for the utmost care has been taken of their safety

The fact that we can release atomic energy ushers in a new era in man's understanding of nature's forces. Atomic energy may in the future supplement the power that now comes from coal, oil, and falling water, but at present it cannot be produced on a basis to compete with them commercially. Before that comes there must be a long period of intensive research

It has never been the habit of the scientists of this country or the policy of this government to withhold from the world scientific knowledge. Normally, therefore, everything about the work with atomic energy would be made public

But under present circumstances it is not intended to divulge the technical processes of production or all the military applications, pending further examination of possible methods of protecting us and the rest of the world from the danger of sudden destruction.

I shall recommend that the Congress of the United States consider promptly the establishment of an appropriate commission to control the production and use of atomic power within the United States. I shall give further consideration and make further recommendations to the Congress as to how atomic power can become a powerful and forceful influence towards the maintenance of world peace."  Source: Department of Energy
Emperor Hirohito, Acceptance of the Potsdam Declaration, Radio Broadcast, Transmitted by Domei and Recorded by the Federal Communications Commission, 14 August 1945

"To our good and loyal subjects: After pondering deeply the general trends of the world and the actual conditions obtaining in our empire today, we have decided to effect a settlement of the present situation by resorting to an extraordinary measure.

We have ordered our Government to communicate to the Governments of the United States, Great Britain, China and the Soviet Union that our empire accepts the provisions of their joint declaration.

To strive for the common prosperity and happiness of all nations as well as the security and well-being of our subjects is the solemn obligation which has been handed down by our imperial ancestors and which we lay close to the heart.

Indeed, we declared war on America and Britain out of our sincere desire to insure Japan's self-preservation and the stabilization of East Asia, it being far from our thought either to infringe upon the sovereignty of other nations or to embark upon territorial aggrandizement.

But now the war has lasted for nearly four years. Despite the best that has been done by everyone--the gallant fighting of our military and naval forces, the diligence and assiduity of out servants of the State and the devoted service of our 100,000,000 people--the war situation has developed not necessarily to Japan's advantage, while the general trends of the world have all turned against her interest.

Moreover, the enemy has begun to employ a new and most cruel bomb, the power of which to do damage is, indeed, incalculable, taking the toll of many innocent lives. Should we continue to fight, it would not only result in an ultimate collapse and obliteration of the Japanese nation, but also it would lead to the total extinction of human civilization.

Such being the case, how are we to save the millions of our subjects, nor to atone ourselves before the hallowed spirits of our imperial ancestors? This is the reason why we have ordered the acceptance of the provisions of the joint declaration of the powers.

We cannot but express the deepest sense of regret to our allied nations of East Asia, who have consistently cooperated with the Empire toward the emancipation of East Asia.

The thought of those officers and men as well as others who have fallen in the fields of battle, those who died at their posts of duty, or those who met death [otherwise] and all their bereaved families, pains our heart night and day.

The welfare of the wounded and the war sufferers and of those who lost their homes and livelihood is the object of our profound solicitude. The hardships and sufferings to which our nation is to be subjected hereafter will be certainly great.

We are keenly aware of the inmost feelings of all of you, our subjects. However, it is according to the dictates of time and fate that we have resolved to pave the way for a grand peace for all the generations to come by enduring the [unavoidable] and suffering what is unsufferable. Having been able to save *** and maintain the structure of the Imperial State, we are always with you, our good and loyal subjects, relying upon your sincerity and integrity.

Beware most strictly of any outbursts of emotion that may engender needless complications, of any fraternal contention and strife that may create confusion, lead you astray and cause you to lose the confidence of the world.

Let the entire nation continue as one family from generation to generation, ever firm in its faith of the imperishableness of its divine land, and mindful of its heavy burden of responsibilities, and the long road before it. Unite your total strength to be devoted to the construction for the future. Cultivate the ways of rectitude, nobility of spirit, and work with resolution so that you may enhance the innate glory of the Imperial State and keep pace with the progress of the world."

To Bomb or Not to Bomb Hiroshima and Nagasaki - a Debate on the Uses of Terrorism: Szilard Petition, J. R. Oppenheimer, Henry L. Stimson  - June/August 1945 [see also The Correspondence at Nuclearfiles.org on Manhattan Project, Decision to Drop the Bomb, Concerns of Nuclear Capabilities, US Nuclear Doctrine and Diaries ]

The following documents represent the debate which preceded the dropping of two atomic bombs; one each on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima (August 6, 1945) and Nagasaki (August 9, 1945).

1. Szilard Petition to the President of the United States, First Version, July 3, 1945 Source: U.S. National Archives, Record Group 77, Records of the Chief of Engineers, Manhattan Engineer District, Harrison-Bundy File, folder #76.

"Discoveries of which the people of the United States are not aware may affect the welfare of this nation in the near future. The liberation of atomic power which has been achieved places atomic bombs in the hands of the Army. It places in your hands, as Commander-in-Chief, the fateful decision whether or not to sanction the use of such bombs in the present phase of the war against Japan.

We, the undersigned scientists, have been working in the field of atomic power for a number of years. Until recently we have had to reckon with the possibility that the United States might be attacked by atomic bombs during this war and that her only defense might lie in a counterattack by the same means. Today with this danger averted we feel impelled to say what follows:

The war has to be brought speedily to a successful conclusion and the destruction of Japanese cities by means of atomic bombs may very well be an effective method of warfare. We feel, however, that such an attack on Japan could not be justified in the present circumstances. We believe that the United States ought not to resort to the use of atomic bombs in the present phase of the war, at least not unless the terms which will be imposed upon Japan after the war are publicly announced and subsequently Japan is given an opportunity to surrender.

If such public announcement gave assurance to the Japanese that they could look forward to a life devoted to peaceful pursuits in their homeland and if Japan still refused to surrender, our nation would then be faced with a situation which might require a re-examination of her position with respect to the use of atomic bombs in the war.

Atomic bombs are primarily a means for the ruthless annihilation of cities. Once they were introduced as an instrument of war it would be difficult to resist for long the temptation of putting them to such use.

The last few years show a marked tendency toward increasing ruthlessness. At present our Air Forces, striking at the Japanese cities, are using the same methods of warfare which were condemned by American public opinion only a few years ago when applied by the Germans to the cities of England. Our use of atomic bombs in this war would carry the world a long way further on this path of ruthlessness.

Atomic power will provide the nations with new means of destruction. The atomic bombs at our disposal represent only the first step in this direction and there is almost no limit to the destructive power which will become available in the course of this development. Thus a nation which sets the precedent of using these newly liberated forces of nature for purposes of destruction may have to bear the responsibility of opening the door to an era of devastation on an unimaginable scale.

In view of the foregoing, we, the undersigned, respectfully petition that you exercise your power as Commander-in-Chief to rule that the United States shall not, in the present phase of the war, resort to the use of atomic bombs.

Leo Szilard and 58 co-signers

[Source for number of signers of July 3 petition: Szilard to Frank Oppenheimer, July 23, 1945, Robert Oppenheimer Papers, Library of Congress, Washington D.C.]


2. Szilard petition, cover letter, July 4, 1945 Source: U.S. National Archives, Record Group 77, Records of the Chief of Engineers, Manhattan Engineer District, Harrison-Bundy File, folder #76.

Dear

Inclosed is the text of a petition which will be submitted to the President of the United States. As you will see, this petition is based on purely moral considerations.

It may very well be that the decision of the President whether or not to use atomic bombs in the war against Japan will largely be based on considerations of expediency. On the basis of expediency, many arguments could be put forward both for and against our use of atomic bombs against Japan. Such arguments could be considered only
within the framework of a thorough analysis of the situation which will face the United States after this war and it was felt that no useful purpose would be served by considering arguments of expediency in a short petition.

However small the chance might be that our petition may influence the course of events, I personally feel that it would be a matter of importance if a large number of scientists who have worked in this field went clearly and unmistakably on record as to their opposition on moral grounds to the use of these bombs in the present phase of
the war.


Many of us are inclined to say that individual Germans share the guilt for the acts which Germany committed during this war because they did not raise their voices in protest against these acts. Their defense that their protest would have been of no avail hardly seems acceptable even though these Germans could not have protests without running risks to life and liberty. We are in a position to raise our voices without incurring any such risks even though we might incur the displeasure of some of those who are at present in charge of controlling the work on "atomic power".

The fact that the people of the United States are unaware of the choice which faces us increases our responsibility in this matter since those who have worked on "atomic power" represent a sample of the population and they alone are in a position to form an opinion and declare their stand.

Anyone who might wish to go on record by signing the petition ought to have an opportunity to do so and, therefore, it would be appreciated if you could give every member of your group an opportunity for signing.

Leo Szilard

P.S.-- Anyone who wants to sign the petition ought to sign both attached copies and ought to read not only the petition but also this covering letter.


3. Recommendations on the Immediate Use of Nuclear Weapons, June 16, 1945

Recommendations on the Immediate Use of Nuclear Weapons, by the Scientific Panel of the Interim Committee on Nuclear Power, June 16, 1945. Source: U. S. National Archives, Record Group 77, Records of the Office of the Chief of Engineers, Manhattan Engineer District, Harrison-Bundy File, Folder #76.

A. H. Compton
E. O. Lawrence
J. R. Oppenheimer
E. Fermi

[signature]
J. R. Oppenheimer For the Panel

You have asked us to comment on the initial use of the new weapon. This use, in our opinion, should be such as to promote a satisfactory adjustment of our international relations. At the same time, we recognize our obligation to our nation to use the weapons to help save American lives in the Japanese war.

To accomplish these ends we recommend that before the weapons are used not only Britain, but also Russia, France, and China be advised that we have made considerable progress in our work on atomic weapons, that these may be ready to use during the present war, and that we would welcome suggestions as to how we can cooperate in making this development contribute to improved international relations.

The opinions of our scientific colleagues on the initial use of these weapons are not unanimous: they range from the proposal of a purely technical demonstration to that of the military application best designed to induce surrender. Those who advocate a purely technical demonstration would wish to outlaw the use of atomic weapons, and have feared that if we use the weapons now our position in future negotiations will be prejudiced. Others emphasize the opportunity of saving American lives by immediate military use, and believe that such use will improve the international prospects, in that they are more concerned with the prevention of war than with the elimination of this specific weapon. We find ourselves closer to these latter views; we can propose no technical demonstration likely to bring an end to the war; we see no acceptable alternative to direct military use.

With regard to these general aspects of the use of atomic energy, it is clear that we, as scientific men, have no proprietary rights. It is true that we are among the few citizens who have had occasion to give thoughtful consideration to these problems during the past few years. We have, however, no claim to special competence in solving the political, social, and military problems which are presented by the advent of atomic power.


4. Henry L. Stimson - Memorandum to the President, July 2, 1945

Proposed Program for Japan

1. The plans of operation up to and including the first landing have been authorized and the preparations for the operation are now actually going on. This situation was accepted by all members of your conference on Monday, June. 18.

2. There is reason to believe that the operation for the occupation of Japan following the landing may be a very long, costly, and arduous struggle on our part. The terrain, much of which I have visited several times, has left the impression on my memory of being one which would be susceptible to a last ditch defense such as has been made on Iwo Jima and Okinawa and which of course is very much larger than either of those two areas. According to my recollection it will be much more unfavorable with regard to tank maneuvering than either the Philippines or Germany.

3. If we once land on one of the main islands and begin a forceful occupation of Japan, we shall probably have cast the die of last ditch resistance. The Japanese are highly patriotic and certainly susceptible to calls for fanatical resistance to repel an invasion. Once started in actual invasion, we shall in my opinion have to go through with an even more bitter finish than in Germany., We shall incur the losses incident to such a war and we shall have to leave the Japanese islands even more thoroughly destroyed than was the case with Germany. This would be due both the difference in the Japanese and German personal character and the differences in the size and character of the terrain through which the operations will take place.

4. A question then comes: Is there any alternative to such a forceful occupation of Japan which will secure for us the equivalent of an unconditional surrender of her forces and a permanent destruction of her power again to strike and aggressive blow at the "peace of the Pacific"? I am inclined to think that there is enough such chance to make it well worthwhile our giving them a warning of what is to come and a definite opportunity to capitulate. As above suggested, it should be tried before the actual forceful occupation of the homeland islands is begun and furthermore the warning should be given in ample time to permit a national reaction to set in.

We have the following enormously favorable factors on our side – factors much weightier than those we had against Germany:

Japan has no allies

Her navy is nearly destroyed and she is vulnerable to a surface and underwater blockade which can deprive her of sufficient food and supplies for her population.

She is terribly vulnerable to our concentrated air attack upon her crowded cities, industrial and food resources.

She has against her not only the Anglo-American forces but the rising forces of China and the ominous threat of Russia to bring to bear against her diminishing potential.

We have great moral superiority through being the victim of her first sneak attack.

The problem is to translate these advantages into prompt and economical achievement of our objectives. I believe Japan is susceptible to reason in such a crisis to a much greater extent than is indicated by our current press and other current comment. Japan is not a nation composed wholly of mad fanatics of an entirely different mentality form ours.

On the contrary, she has within the past century shown herself to possess extremely intelligent people, capable in an unprecedentedly short time of adoption not only the complicated techniques of Occidental civilization but to a substantial extent their culture and their political and social ideas. Her advance in all these respects during the short period of sixty or seventy years has been one of the most astounding feats of national progress in history – a leap from the isolated feudalism of centuries into the position of one of the six or seven great powers of the world. She has not only built up powerful armies and navies.

 She has maintained an honest and effective national finance and respected position in many of the sciences in which we pride ourselves. Prior to the forcible seizure of power over her government by the fanatical military group in 1931, she had for ten years lived a reasonably responsible and respectable international life.

My own opinion is in her favor on the two points involved in this question:

I think the Japanese nation has the mental intelligence and versatile capacity in such a crisis to recognize the folly of a fight to the finish and to accept the proffer of what will amount to an unconditional surrender; and  I think she has within her population enough liberal leaders (although now submerged by the terrorists) to be depended upon for her reconstruction as a responsible member of the family of nations. I think she is better in this last respect than Germany was. Her liberals yielded only at the point of the pistol and, so far as I am aware, their liberal attitude has not been personally subverted in the way which was so general in Germany.

On the other hand, I think that the attempt to exterminate her armies and her population by gunfire or other means will tend to produce a fusion of race solidity and antipathy which has no analogy in the case of Germany. We have a national interest in creating, if possible, a condition wherein the Japanese nation may live as a peaceful and useful member of the future Pacific community.

5. It is therefore my conclusion that a carefully timed warning be given to Japan by the chief representatives of the United States, Great Britain, China, and, if then a belligerent, Russia by calling upon Japan to surrender, and permit the occupation of her country in order to insure its complete demilitarization for the sake of the future peace.

This warning should contain the following elements:

The varied and overwhelming character of the force we are about to bring to bear on the islands.

The inevitability and completeness of the destruction which the full application of this force will entail.

The determination of the Allies to destroy permanently all authority and influence of those who have deceived and misled the country into embarking on world conquest.

The determination of the Allies to limit Japanese sovereignty to her main islands and to render them powerless to mount and support another war.

The disavowal of any attempt to extirpate the Japanese as a race or to destroy them as a nation.

A statement of our readiness, once her economy is purged of its militaristic influence, to permit the Japanese to maintain such industries, particularly of a light consumer character, which can produce a sustaining economy, and provide a reasonable standard of living. The statement should indicate our willingness, for this purpose, to give Japan trade access to external raw materials, but no longer any control over the sources of supply outside her main islands. It should also indicate our willingness, in accordance with our now established foreign trade policy, in due course to enter into mutually advantageous trade relations with her.

The withdrawal form their country as soon as the above objectives of the Allies are accomplished, and as soon as there has been established a peacefully inclined government, of a character representative of the masses of the Japanese people. I personally think that if in saying this we should add that we do not exclude a constitutional monarchy under her present dynasty, it would substantially add to the chances of acceptance.

6. Success of course will depend on the potency of the warning which we give her. She has an extremely sensitive national pride and, as we are now seeing every day, when actually locked with the enemy will fight to the very death. For that reason the warning must be tendered before the actual invasion has occurred and while the impending destruction, though clear beyond peradventure, has not yet reduced her to fanatical despair. If Russian is a part of the threat, the Russian attack, if actual, must not have progresses too far. Our own bombing should be confined to military objectives as far as possible.

Poems by Toge Sankichi: Hibakusha (A-bomb survivor)

Toge Sankichi was born in Japan in 1921. He started writing poems at the age of eighteen. He was twenty-four when the A-bomb was dropped on Hiroshima on 6 August 1945. He died at age thirty-six, a victim of leukemia resulting from the A-bomb. His first hand experience of the bomb, his passion for peace and his realistic insight into the event made him the leading Hiroshima poet in Japan.

August 6th

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

How could I ever forget that flash of light!
In a moment thirty thousand people ceased to be
The cries of fifty thousand killed
Through yellow smoke whirling into light
Buildings split, bridges collapsed
Crowded trams burnt as they rolled about
Hiroshima, all full of boundless heaps of embers
Soon after, skin dangling like rags
With hands on breasts
Treading upon the spilt brains
Wearing shreds of burnt cloth round their loins
There came numberless lines of the naked
all crying
Bodies on the parade ground, scattered like
jumbled stone images
Crowds in piles by the river banks
loaded upon rafts fastened to shore
Turned by and by into corpses
under the scorching sun
in the midst of flame
tossing against the evening sky
Round about the street where mother and
brother were trapped alive under the fallen house
The fire-flood shifted on
On beds of filth along the Armory floor
Heaps, God knew who they were....
Heaps of schoolgirls lying in refuse
Pot-bellied, one-eyed
with half their skin peeled off, bald
The sun shone, and nothing moved
but the buzzing flies in the metal basins
Reeking with stagnant odor
How can I forget that stillness
Prevailing over the city of three hundred thousand?
Amidst that calm
How can I forget the entreaties
Of the departed wife and child
Through their orbs of eyes
Cutting through our minds and souls?

At the First-Aid Station

You
Who weep although you have no ducts for tears
Who cry although you have no lips for words
Who wish to clasp
Although you have no skin to touch
You
Limbs twitching, oozing blood and foul secretions
Eyes all puffed-up slits of white
Tatters of underwear
Your only clothing now
Yet with no thought of shame
Ah! How fresh and lovely you all were
A flash of time ago
When you were school girls, a flash ago
Who could believe it now?
Out from the murky, quivering flames
Of burning, festering Hiroshima
You step, unrecognizable
even to yourselves
You leap and crawl, one by one
Onto this grassy plot
Wisps of hair on bronze bald heads
Into the dust of agony Why have you had to suffer this?
Why this, the cruelest of inflictions?
Was there some purpose?
Why?
You look so monstrous, but could not know
How far removed you are now from mankind
You think:
Perhaps you think
Of mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters
Could even they know you now?
Of sleeping and waking, of breakfast and home
Where the flowers in the hedge scattered in a flash
And even the ashes now have gone
Thinking, thinking, you are thinking
Trapped with friends
who ceased to move, one by one
Thinking when once you were a daughter
A daughter of humanity

Testimony of Akiko Takakura - A Bomb Survivor

Ms. Akiko Takakura was 20 years old when the bomb fell. She was in the Bank of Hiroshima, 300 meters away from the hypocenter. Ms. Takakura miraculously escaped death despite over 100 lacerated wounds on her back. She is one of the few survivors who was within 300 meters of the hypocenter. She now runs a kindergarten and she relates her experience of the atomic bombing to children.

Takakura: After the air-raid the alarm was called off, I walked from Hatchobori to the Bank of Hiroshima in Kamiya-cho. I arrived at the bank some time around 8:15 or so, and signed my name in the attendance book. When I was doing my morning routine, dusting the desks and things like that, the A-bomb was dropped. All I remember was that I saw something flash suddenly.

Interviewer: Can you explain the flash?

Takakura: Well, it was like a white magnesium flash. I lost consciousness right after or almost at the same time I saw the flash. When I regained consciousness, I found myself in the dark. I heard my friends, Ms. Asami, crying for her mother. Soon after, I found out that we actually had been attacked. Afraid of being caught by a fire, I told Ms. Asami to run out of the building. Ms. Asami, however, just told me to leave her and to try to escape by myself because she thought that she couldn't make it anywhere. She said she couldn't move. I said to her that I couldn't leave her, but she said that she couldn't even stand up. While we were talking, the sky started to grow lighter. Then, I heard water running in the lavatory. Apparently the water pipes had exploded. So I drew water with my helmet to pour over Ms. Asami's head again and again. She finally regained consciousness fully and went out of the building with me. We first thought to escape to the parade grounds, but we couldn't because there was a huge sheet of fire in front of us. So instead, we squatted down in the street next to a big water pool for fighting fires, which was about the size of this table. Since Hiroshima was completely enveloped in flames, we felt terribly hot and could not breathe well at all. After a while, a whirlpool of fire approached us from the south. It was like a big tornado of fire spreading over the full width of the street. Whenever the fire touched, wherever the fire touched, it burned. It burned my ear and leg, I didn't realize that I had burned myself at that moment, but I noticed it later.

Interviewer: So the fire came towards you?

Takakura: Yes, it did. The whirlpool of fire that was covering the entire street approached us from Ote-machi. So, everyone just tried so hard to keep away from the fire. It was just like a living hell. After a while, it began to rain. The fire and the smoke made us so thirsty and there was nothing to drink, no water, and the smoke even disturbed our eyes. As it began to rain, people opened their mouths and turned their faces towards the sky and try to drink the rain, but it wasn't easy to catch the rain drops in our mouths. It was a black rain with big drops.

Interviewer: How big were the rain drops?

Takakura: They were so big that we even felt pain when they dropped onto us. We opened our mouths just like this, as wide as possible in an effort to quench our thirst. Everybody did the same thing. But it just wasn't enough. Someone, someone found an empty can and held it to catch the rain.

Interviewer: I see. Did the black rain actually quench your thirst?

Takakura: No, no it didn't. Maybe I didn't catch enough rain, but I still felt very thirsty and there was nothing I could do about it. What I felt at that moment was that Hiroshima was entirely covered with only three colors. I remember red, black and brown, but, but, nothing else. Many people on the street were killed almost instantly. The fingertips of those dead bodies caught fire and the fire gradually spread over their entire bodies from their fingers. A light gray liquid dripped down their hands, scorching their fingers.

I, I was so shocked to know that fingers and bodies could be burned and deformed like that. I just couldn't believe it. It was horrible. And looking at it, it was more than painful for me to think how the fingers were burned, hands and fingers that would hold babies or turn pages, they just, they just burned away. For a few years after the A-bomb was dropped, I was terribly afraid of fire. I wasn't even able to get close to fire because all my senses remembered how fearful and horrible the fire was, how hot the blaze was, and how hard it was to breathe the hot air. It was really hard to breathe. Maybe because the fire burned all the oxygen, I don't know. I could not open my eyes enough because of the smoke, which was everywhere. Not only me but everyone felt the same. And my parts were covered with holes.




Testimony of Yosaku Mikami - A Bomb Survivor

Yosaku Mikami  was 32 years old when he was exposed. When the bomb was exploded, he was on a streetcar which was running in Sendamachi, 1.9 km from the hypocenter. He was a fireman. On the morning of August 6, he was on his way back from the night duty to Ujina going to his home in Sakaemachi. The rest of his family was all evacuated one day before.

"I was stationed at Ujina fire station. Our duty was to work 24 hours from 8 o'clock in the morning to 8 o'clock in the following morning. We were divided into 2 groups for the shifts. On that day, August 6, I was just about to leave work and go home at 8 o'clock in the morning. Shortly before it, the all clear was sounded. So I started to go home to Sakaemachi. When I reached the streetcar stop, I found out that I had missed the car by just a few minutes. So I had to wait about ten minutes more before I got on the next car. The car passed through Miyuki Bashi and was approaching the train office, when I saw the blue flash from the window.

At the same time, smoke filled the car which prevented me even from seeing person standing directly in front of me. In about half an hour, I went out of the car. I noticed that the fire was burning everywhere. The sky was dull as it covered by clouds. I decided to go back to work and I ran back to the fire station. There was nothing to drink at all. Can you see there is a streetcar over there near the fire station? When I reached that corner, I jumped onto the fire truck with my colleagues who were on duty on that day. I joined them. We drove along the trouble way but we had to return to the fire station soon because there was too much fire and we couldn't do anything at all.

When we were on our way back to the station, and approaching the office of the Tobacco and Salt Public Corporation, we found that the warehouse was on fire. So we stopped there and went inside to put out the fire. When the fire had come down, we decided to go to the main fire station to find out what had happened. We passed by the Miyuki Bridge. It was so hot as the result of the heat produced by the fire. The electric-light poles burned down. All of us wore raincoats to protect us from the fire. We also wore caps for the same purpose. Using buckets, we threw water over ourselves when we reached the water tanks.

Finally, we reached the main fire station. I guess that about 5 or 6 of my coworkers were there already. Then we were told to take care of the seriously injured. We drove a chief to a hospital and then we drove towards Miyuki Bridge and Takano Bridge, where we found a lot of people dying. There were about 4 or 5 firemen on the fire truck. The men in good condition were clinging to the side of the car.

We heard many people swearing, screaming, shouting, asking for help. Since our order was to help the most heavily injured, we searched for them. We tried to open the eyes of the injured and we found out they were still alive. We tried to carry them by their arms and legs and to place them onto the fire truck. But this was difficult because their skin was peeled off as we tried to move them. They were all heavily burned.

But they never complained but they felt pain even when their skin was peeling off. We carried the victims to the prefectural hospital. Soon afterwards, the hospital was full, so then we carried the injured to the Akatsuki Military Hospital. On the following day, we decided to visit the small fire stations throughout the town. I believe there were about 20 or 30 small stations with only 7 or 8 firemen each. Those small stations were temporary place near police stations and city halls during war time. The workers stationed at the important places were all killed.

 I visited one of the fire stations and inside the burned fire engine, I found a man who was scorched to death. He looked as if he was about to start the fire engine to fight the fire. Inside the broken building, I also found several dead men. I guess they were trapped inside the building. Many of my colleagues who survived on that day died one month later. Some of them lost their hair before their death. Yes. There were lots of firemen who died one or one and half months later. I feel very sorry for them. I also feel deeply sorry for those who lost their families. I sincerely hope that there would be no more nuclear war. "
 

Testimony of Akihiro Takahashi - A Bomb Survivor

Akihiro Takahashi was 14 years old, when the bomb was dropped. he was standing in line with other students of his junior high school, waiting for the morning meeting 1.4 km away from the center. He was under medical treatment for about year and half. And even today black nail grows at his finger tip, where a piece of glass was stuck.

"We were about to fall in on the ground the Hiroshima Municipal Junior High School on this spot. The position of the school building was not so different from what it is today and the platform was not positioned, too. We were about to form lines facing the front, we saw a B-29 approaching and about fly over us. All of us were looking up the sky, pointing out the aircraft. Then the teachers came out from the school building and the class leaders gave the command to fall in. Our faces were all shifted from the direction of the sky to that of the platform. That was the moment when the blast came. And then the tremendous noise came and we were left in the dark.

I couldn't see anything at the moment of explosion just like in this picture. We had been blown by the blast. Of course, I couldn't realize this until the darkness disappeared. I was actually blown about 10 m. My friends were all marked down on the ground by the blast just like this. Everything collapsed for as far as I could see. I felt the city of Hiroshima had disappeared all of a sudden. Then I looked at myself and found my clothes had turned into rags due to the heat. I was probably burned at the back of the head, on my back, on both arms and both legs. My skin was peeling and hanging like this.

Automatically I began to walk heading west because that was the direction of my home. After a while, I noticed somebody calling my name. I looked around and found a friend of mine who lived in my town and was studying at the same school. His name was Yamamoto. He was badly burnt just like myself. We walked toward the river. And on the way we saw many victims.

I saw a man whose skin was completely peeled off the upper half of his body and a woman whose eye balls were sticking out. Her whole baby was bleeding. A mother and her bady were lying with a skin completely peeled off. We desperately made a way crawling. And finally we reached the river bank.

At the same moment, a fire broke out. We made a narrow escape from the fire. If we had been slower by even one second, we would have been killed by the fire. Fire was blowing into the sky becoming 4 or even 5m high. There was a small wooden bridge left, which had not been destroyed by the blast. I went over to the other side of the river using that bridge.

But Yamamoto was not with me any more. He was lost somewhere. I remember I crossed the river by myself and on the other side, I purged myself into the water three times. The heat was tremendous . And I felt like my body was burning all over. For my burning body the cold water of the river was as precious as the treasure. Then I left the river, and I walked along the railroad tracks in the direction of my home.

On the way, I ran into an another friend of mine, Tokujiro Hatta. I wondered why the soles of his feet were badly burnt. It was unthinkable to get burned there. But it was undeniable fact the soles were peeling and red muscle was exposed. Even I myself was terribly burnt, I could not go home ignoring him. I made him crawl using his arms and knees. Next, I made him stand on his heels and I supported him. We walked heading toward my home repeating the two methods. When we were resting because we were so exhausted, I found my grandfather's brother and his wife, in other words, great uncle and great aunt, coming toward us. That was quite coincidence. As you know, we have a proverb about meeting Buddha in Hell. My encounter with my relatives at that time was just like that. They seem to be the Buddha to me wandering in the living hell.

Afterwards I was under medical treatment for one year and half and I miraculously recovered. Out of sixty of junior high school classmates, only ten of us are alive today. Yamamoto and Hatta soon died from the acute radiation disease. The radiation corroded the bodies and killed them. I myself am still alive on this earth suffering after-effect of the bomb. I have to see regularly an ear doctor, an eye doctor, a dermatologist and a surgeon. I feel uneasy about my health every day.

Further, on both of my hands, I have keloids. My injury was most serious on my right hand and I used to have terrible keloids at right here. I had it removed by surgery in 1954, which enabled me to move my wrist a little bit like this. For my four fingers are fixed just like this, and my elbow is fixed at one hundred twenty degrees and doesn't move. The muscle and bones are attached each other.

Also the fourth finger of my right hand doesn't have a normal nail. It has a black nail. A piece of glass which was blown by the blast stuck here and destroyed the cells of the base of the finger now. That is why a black nail continues to grow and from now on, too, it will continue to be black and never become normal. Anyway I'm alive today together with nine of my classmates for this forty years.

I've been living believing that we can never waste the depth of the victims. I've been living on dragging my body full of sickness and from time to time I question myself I wonder if it is worth living in such hardship and pain and I become desperate. But it's time I manage to pull myself together and I tell myself once my life was saved, I should fulfill my mission as a survivor in other words it has been and it is my belief that those who survived must continue to talk about our experiences. The hand down the awful memories to future generations representing the silent voices of those who had to die in misery. Throughout my life, I would like to fulfill this mission by talking about my experience both here in Japan and overseas.

The Atomic Bombings of Japan: A 50-Year Retrospective by Col Ralph J. Capio, USAF, 1995
"Know then thyself, presume not God to scan;
The proper study of Mankind is Man.
Placed on this isthmus of a middle state,
A Being darkly wise, and rudely great:
With too much knowledge for the Sceptic side,
With too much weakness for the Stoic's pride,
He hangs between." . . . Alexander Pope - Essay on Man

If 7 December 1941, a date "which will live in infamy,"1 conjures up a vision for Americans of treachery,2 death, and destruction, then Hiroshima and Nagasaki are two names synonymous the world over with horrific power that, having been unleashed, still threatens mankind's fragile grip on survival. ("Cry 'Havoc!' and let slip the dogs of war."3)

If we were to do the same thing today, the consequences would likely be "as much a punishment to the punisher as to the sufferer."4

Hiroshima and Nagasaki represent an experience of multiple dimensions. What happened? What led up to the bombings? Why was it done at all? What does it say about the character of the nation that did it and the nation that received it? What are the implications? These issues have fascinated historians, military scholars, and, indeed, the whole world for the past 50 years.

The events leading up to President Harry S Truman's decision to use weapons of unprecedented mass destruction against Japan are curious and-even now-controversial. As we approach the 50th anniversary of the bombings, a great deal of study, debate, and global attention will be paid to the circumstances that affected the decision. It is imperative that US military officers be aware of the issues surrounding this singular event.

No doubt, 6 August 1945 began as any other day. Before it ended, something dramatic occurred that would change the way nations dealt with each other-perhaps for all time. On this day at 8:15 A.M., the Enola Gay-a B-29 Superfortress named after its pilot's mother-opened its bomb-bay doors over Hiroshima-at the time, a military center and the seventh largest city in Japan5-and dropped a single weapon with a destructive capacity of biblical proportions. The crew on board and the team of scientists who developed the bomb were not sure whether the weapon would detonate. Nor were they sure what would happen if it did.6 In the split second in which a blinding flash of light told the crew of its success, approximately 70,000 souls7-who, until that fateful moment, had been going about their normal, everyday lives-perished, and the world changed:

It was a kind of hell on earth, and those who died instantly were among the more fortunate. Thousands died-vaporized, crushed, or burned. But there were tens of thousands more who were still alive and those who could move began to mill about the city, seeking relief from shock, fire, and pain. Thousands threw themselves into the Ota River, which would be awash with corpses by the end of the day.8

The bomb dropped that day had been in the making at top-secret laboratories, by order of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, since December 1941-before Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor.9 This $2 billion crash program, code-named Manhattan Project, began in the United States at the suggestion of physicists Albert Einstein and Leo Szilard, refugees from Nazi Germany. The scientific community feared-rightly so-that Nazi scientists were mastering new technology in physics necessary to manufacture such a weapon.

The single weapon ultimately dropped on Hiroshima,10 nicknamed Little Boy, produced a yield of approximately 20,000 tons of TNT-roughly seven times greater than all of the bombs dropped by all of the Allies on all of Germany in 1942. It produced an airburst approximately 1,000 feet above the city, creating a fireball with a diameter greater than the length of three football fields.

The temperature at ground zero reached 5,000 degrees centigrade. The shock wave and its reverse effect reached speeds close to the speed of sound. A mushroom cloud rose to 20,000 feet in the air, and 60 percent of the city was destroyed.11 Three days later, on 9 August, the United States dropped a second atomic bomb. Its target, Nagasaki-a port city in southern Japan-was 30 percent destroyed, and approximately 40,000 of its citizens were killed.12 On 15 August, Japan surrendered-unconditionally-thus ending a world conflagration in which 50 million people died.13

One of the threshold issues presented by the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki is the nature of the target itself. Many people have asked how it came to be that whole civilian populations could become the proper object of direct and purposeful military action. That is, the target at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was principally the civilian population itself.14 There was no "militarily" significant target to speak of beyond that, although Hiroshima did support an army headquarters.

The answer has to do, in part, with the changing concept of modern warfare:

World War I ushered in the period of total war, a type of war consisting of the combination of many allies, enormous cost, unlimited use of highly destructive weapons, and unlimited war aims. Hostilities were conducted over greater territory . . . than ever before. More troops were employed, supported by the home front population.15

As a consequence, the age-old distinction between enemy combatants and noncombatants began to blur.16 It became clear that the civilian population was absolutely necessary if a nation were to successfully prosecute a total war effort. Without economic and war-production aid from the "civilian front," military war fighters would be less able to continue their efforts.17 Thus, a gradual escalation of war fighting occurred, which included a nation's war-fighting sustainment capability and its civilian population. This trend manifested itself in the firebombing attacks on Dresden and Tokyo, the V-weapon attacks against London, and-eventually-the atomic attacks at Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

The rationale most often proffered to justify the use of such awesome weapons is "military necessity."18 That is, dropping the bombs actually served to save lives. One must consider that the immediate military context of the decision to use atomic weapons was the Okinawa campaign-the last major battle of the war. Located 350 miles off the coast of mainland Japan, Okinawa "was to be used as a jumping-off place for the long-anticipated invasion of Japan." During the Okinawa campaign, 49,151 US servicemen were killed or wounded.19

Okinawa was the first campaign in which the notorious kamikaze appeared. Over 5,000 American sailors died20 as a result of approximately 350 kamikaze missions21-the heaviest toll the US Navy had suffered in any episode of the war, including Pearl Harbor.22 More than just militarily significant, the kamikaze represented the totally committed enemy-even to the point of fanaticism. If a full-scale invasion of the Japanese home islands became necessary, the kamikaze was a harbinger of the degree of military difficulty that, in all likelihood, awaited an invasion force.

In the aftermath of the bitterly fought Okinawa campaign, the president was clearly concerned that an invasion of the well-defended Japanese homeland could give rise to an "Okinawa from one end of Japan to the other."23 Years later, in his memoirs, Truman cited Gen George C. Marshall's observation that approximately 1.5 million soldiers would have been required to invade Japan. Of this number, 250,000 would likely have been casualties, and an equal number of Japanese would have died.24

However, some people suggest that recently declassified documents indicate that no such "official" estimate existed and that estimations of casualties ranged from a low of about 25,000 to a high of 46,000.25 If true, this would make the figure of 250,000 nothing more than a "postwar creation"-an effort to justify, in some measure, the use of this weapon on the grounds of military necessity. Truman also went on to say, perhaps tellingly, that "the need for such a fateful decision never would have arisen had we not been shot in the back by Japan at Pearl Harbor in December 1941."26 Moreover, it has been further suggested that American citizens

recognize that pre- and post-Hiroshima dissent was rare in 1945. Indeed, few then asked why the United States used the atomic bomb on Japan. But had the bomb not been used, many more, including numerous outraged American citizens, would have bitterly asked that question of the Truman administration.27

Was the decision militarily justifiable as a "numbers" analysis? By this time, was the world so numbed to killing that the bombings were just one more step in an ongoing process? Or was the decision militarily unnecessary? Were we trying to "communicate" with the Russians for a better postwar environment? Even worse, was it an act of vengeance,28 complicated by overtones of racism29 and fanned by home-front propaganda?30

From our vantage point, we may now be far enough away from these events to draw conclusions dispassionately yet still be close enough to remember them as contemporary.31 Thus, I believe it is entirely appropriate for us to consider these truly difficult-even painful-questions. At the same time, we must keep in mind that this matter-like other complex issues-is subject to different interpretations, depending upon the perceptions and biases of the people being asked about it.

To be sure, servicemen who would have been tasked with the invasion of Japan were relieved by the bombings. It meant, quite simply, that now they could hope to "grow up to adulthood after all."32 The following account, written by a British soldier in 1945, illustrates the point:

I was all set to fly to Okinawa . . . and, since the Japanese had almost no air defenses, we were to bomb, like the Americans, in daylight.

I found this continuing slaughter of defenseless Japanese even more sickening than the slaughter of well-defended Germans. But still I did not quit. By that time I had been at war so long that I could hardly remember peace. No living poet had words to describe that emptiness of soul which allowed me to go on killing without hatred and without remorse. But Shakespeare understood it, and he gave Macbeth the words:

. . . I am in blood
Stepp'd in so far that, should I wade
no more,
Returning were as tedious as go o'er.

I was sitting at home, eating a quiet breakfast with my mother, when the morning paper arrived with the news of Hiroshima. I understood at once what it meant. "Thank God for that," I said. I . . . would never have to kill anybody again.33

The bombings meant something else to the scientists and other people associated with the development effort.34 Originally tasked with beating Nazi Germany to the punch, they clearly achieved this objective. However, as the war in Europe ended before Germany could develop the bomb and before we had any need to use it there, questions began to arise about whether or not it was necessary-or appropriate-to use the bomb in Japan:

Most of the Manhattan Project scientists, including J. Robert Oppenheimer, director of the Los Alamos laboratory, tended to favor use of the bomb. But as the war drew to a close, a growing minority questioned whether Japan should be the target of the terrible weapon that had been developed-they felt-mainly as insurance against a Nazi bomb.35

Leo Szilard was this group's most emphatic dissenter. To his credit, he continued expressing his concerns about the morality of using such indiscriminate weapons long after the end of the war. After Japan's surrender, even Oppenheimer became well aware of the implications for mankind:

Today . . . pride must be tempered with a profound concern. If atomic bombs are to be added as new weapons to the arsenals of . . . [the] world . . . then the time will come when mankind will curse the names of Los Alamos and Hiroshima.

The peoples of this world must unite, or they will perish. This war, that has ravaged so much of the earth, has written these words. The atomic bomb has spelled them out for all men to understand.36

From the perspective of US government officials who made decisions regarding the development and use of atomic weapons, the bombings aided in bringing about the surrender ceremony aboard the USS Missouri.37 While he was still at the Potsdam Conference with Churchill and Stalin, President Truman found out that that the atomic bomb had been successfully detonated at Alamogordo, New Mexico.

The conference itself was a difficult give-and-take among the Allies over the terms upon which the war should be ended and the conditions for the postwar peace. Buoyed by the Alamogordo success, Truman had decided upon and issued a harsh ultimatum-the Potsdam Declaration-that called upon Japan to surrender unconditionally or face "prompt and utter destruction."38

Japan had been subjected to overwhelming aerial bombardment, including firebombing and carpet bombing of most of its cities and civilian population, as well as devastating naval blockades by long-range submarines and surface vessels. Consequently, despite opposition from the imperial army, Japan began to realize that it had lost the war. Clearly defeated, the Japanese made peace overtures through the Russians, who had not yet entered the Pacific war. Their only request was that they be allowed to keep their emperor.39

The Japanese were ready to surrender. However, they hesitated in accepting Truman's Potsdam Declaration because it was silent-or, at least, ambiguous-on the subject of the emperor's status. Indeed, many people think that the United States's insistence on unconditional surrender amounted to "the chief obstacle to an early Japanese surrender,"40 which then rose to the level of "tragedy."41

In response to the Potsdam Declaration, the Japanese government issued a statement to its people, which led to one of history's most consequential "failures to communicate." While posturing with the Russians, the Japanese suggested that they were "withholding comment"42 on the Potsdam Declaration. From reports in Japanese newspapers, the United States concluded that the Japanese believed that the declaration was of "no great value" and was being "ignored."43 Taking this response to be a rejection, Truman ordered that the atomic bombs be dropped as a means of ending the war promptly (and on favorable terms) and of "influencing" Stalin.

Was this an honest misunderstanding? Did we explore adequately the diplomatic channels that were clearly open to us? Did we hear only what we, for some reason or another, wanted to hear? Were we so concerned about Russia and the postwar peace that we were willing to sacrifice thousands of Japanese men, women, and children to this awful weapon? Was our insistence on unconditional surrender driven only by some vague domestic notion-inherited from our own Civil War,44 perhaps-that this was the only true end to a war of this magnitude? Certainly, these are difficult questions.

But some things seem clear: we did achieve a quick end to the war on favorable terms; an invasion of Japan was unnecessary; President Truman never publicly regretted45 his fateful decision;46 and the United States and the Soviet Union were thrust into what was to become the cold war:

Never had any nation attained such immense power as had the United States at the end of the Second World War. It had a strong battle-tested army, a navy more powerful than all the other fleets combined, the world's greatest air force . . . and in the atomic bomb held the secret of a weapon capable of such vast destruction that no one had a defense against it.

Just as Americans were dismayed by Russia's politics . . . Russians were alarmed by American politics . . . and by efforts . . . to confine the secret of the atom bomb to themselves.47

The single most gripping characteristic of our time has been the reality of life in the shadow of potential nuclear devastation. We learned to live with theories of strategic "deterrence," such as mutual assured destruction (MAD). Just as the arms race escalated, so did uncertainty:

Armed with tens of thousands of nuclear weapons capable of being launched from land, sea, and air, the United States and the Soviet Union became prisoners of a cold war process that neither controlled. Locked into a nuclear arms race justified by national security, they increased their peril, diminished their economies, and promoted an international atmosphere of impending catastrophe.

How to prevent the nuclear system from becoming a way of death was the question that dominated the debate over nuclear weapons from their inception.48

Such was one of the legacies of the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

From the Japanese perspective, the bombings have had profound implications. The entire postwar era has been driven, to a large extent, by what happened to Japan-not only as a vanquished nation, but also as the only nation in the world to have suffered an atomic attack:

As victims of the advent of atomic weapons, the Japanese people could argue convincingly that wars were ever more destructive, that a new age in international affairs was accordingly at hand, and the sovereign prerogative to go to war must be renounced. No other nation embraced the liberal hope of the future world order with the enthusiasm of Japan, for no other nation's recent experiences seemed to bear out the costs of the old ways.49

Consequently, Japan developed an attitude that it could grow into a "modern industrial nation . . . without arming itself" and, further, that its recent past "justified devoting national energies entirely to rebuilding the national livelihood."50 That Japan has been able to achieve astounding postwar economic growth is clear-so much so, in fact, that because of this success (attributable, some say, to the government's "favorable" attitude towards its businesses), the term Japan, Inc.51 has been used, somewhat pejoratively, to describe the phenomenon. As a corollary, some people believe that Japan has taken unfair advantage of its attitude against rearmament in general and nuclear weapons in particular. In fact, some of them think that Japan has had a "free ride":

Criticism grew particularly vocal around the time that Japan's economy emerged as the third largest in the world. Some critics, in fact, attributed Japan's economic success to the abnormally low defense burden it carried, arguing that its remarkable growth was only made possible by US assumption of the lion's share of the defense burden.52

As the 50th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Japan approaches, the debate over whether or not the Japanese somehow qualify as "victims" of the war has already begun. The Smithsonian Institute announced plans to commemorate the event by holding a special exhibition, including the display of the Enola Gay. Plans for the exhibition were circulated for public comment and drew an immediate and adverse reaction, principally from US veterans groups who felt that the Japanese, by being cast as victims, were escaping from their responsibility for waging aggressive war and that such an exhibition amounted to revisionist history. The Smithsonian took these comments under advisement and cancelled its originally planned exhibit. It now intends simply to exhibit a portion of the fuselage of the Enola Gay and write a brief explanatory text.53

Clearly, the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki has had a profound effect-not only on Japan, but on mankind. Although it stands as historic testament to our intellectual capacity to discover and harness immense power, it also demonstrates the fragility of life. We can no longer be certain that such forces could never destroy us. In exhibiting our willingness to use such power in war, we have shown a capacity towards self-destruction that bears constant vigilance. Thus, the advent of the nuclear age forever changed the relationship among nation-states.

Hiroshima and Nagasaki have shown us that there is, ostensibly, a point beyond which we will not allow ourselves to be pushed without exhausting all military resources available to us and that, no matter how costly the consequences, we are prepared to justify those actions accordingly. Therefore, we now have "no more important challenge . . . than how to prevent the unprecedented catastrophe of nuclear war."54 It is critically important that US military officers carefully consider the lessons of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.&127


 Notes

1. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, address to a joint session of Congress, 7 December 1941.

2. On 22 November 1994, the government of Japan (GOJ) acknowledged, for the first time, that its surprise attack on Pearl Harbor was conducted while the negotiations process was still technically ongoing. Without actually apologizing, the GOJ indicated that it had instructed its ministers in Washington to deliver a diplomatic note indicating that the talks then being conducted between the US and Japan were terminated. The note was not delivered until after the attack on Pearl Harbor. The GOJ's recent statement seemed to offer as an explanation that their ministers did not recognize the urgent need to deliver the note. Cable News Network television report, 22 November 1994.

3. Julius Caesar, act 3, sc. 1, line 273.

4. Adrienne Koch and William Peden, eds., The Life and Selected Writings of Thomas Jefferson (New York: The Modern Library, 1944), 529.

5. Kodansha Encyclopedia of Japan, vol. 3 (Tokyo: Kodansha, Ltd., 1983), 149.

6. Some scientists feared that a nuclear chain reaction, once set in motion, might ignite the earth's atmosphere or crack the earth's crust at the point of the bomb's detonation. Peter Wyden, Day One: Before Hiroshima and After (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1984), 51.

7. "The Effects of Atomic Bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki," in The United States Strategic Bombing Survey, vol. 7, ed. David MacIsaac (New York: Garland Publishing, Inc., 1976), 3.

8. William Sweet, The Nuclear Age: Power, Proliferation and the Arms Race (Washington, D.C.: Congressional Quarterly, Inc., 1984), 10.

9. For an excellent rendition of the facts and circumstances leading up to the making and use of the atomic bombs on Japan, see Wyden.

10. The Outline of Atomic Bomb Damage in Hiroshima (Hiroshima: The Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, March 1990), 4.

11. Wyden, 9-10.

12. The New American Desk Encyclopedia (New York: Signet Books, 1984), 808.

13. Chronicle of the 20th Century, ed. Clifton Daniel (Mount Kisco, N.Y.: Chronicle Publications, 1987), 598.

14. Certain Japanese cities had been "exempted" from bombing and "reserved" for a nuclear weapon. Hiroshima had been selected as one of these for several reasons (e.g., its size ["a large part of the city would be destroyed"] and its adjacent hills [to "focus" the blast effect]). Wyden, 197.

15. Headquarters, Department of the Army, International Law, vol. 1 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1962), 11.

16. Barton J. Bernstein, "The Atomic Bombs Reconsidered," Foreign Affairs 74, no. 1 (January-February 1995): 135. Some people will contend that Professor Bernstein argues with a revisionist's logic. Nevertheless, it is important that military officers be aware of the issues and their presentation.

17. Hiroshima had "home factories" that produced artillery, aircraft parts, and machine tools. Wyden, 197.

18. William Lanouette, "Why We Dropped the Bomb," Civilization 2, no. 1 (January-February 1995): 28.

19. "Outlook: Database," U.S. News & World Report, 3 April 1995, 12.

20. John Keegan, The Second World War (New York: Penguin Books, 1989), 572.

21. "Outlook: Database," 12.

22. Keegan, 561.

23. Ronald H. Spector, Eagle against the Sun: The American War with Japan (New York: Free Press, 1985), 543.

24. Keegan, 574.

25. Eric Foner and John A. Garraty, eds., The Reader's Companion to American History (Boston: Houghton-Mifflin Co., 1991), 799.

26. Chronicle of the 20th Century, 811.

27. Bernstein, 152.

28. Soon after the Hiroshima bomb was dropped, President Truman received a number of entreaties that such weapons not be used again. In response to one such request by the Federal Council of Churches of Christ in America, President Truman articulated what was quite probably the existing sentiment among most Western nations at the time, when he said, "Nobody is more disturbed over the use of the atomic bomb than I am, but I was greatly disturbed over the unwarranted attack by the Japanese on Pearl Harbor and their murder of our prisoners of war. The only language they seem to understand is the one we have been using to bombard them. When you have to deal with a beast, you have to treat him as a beast." Wyden, 294.

29. The internment of Japanese-Americans at the outbreak of hostilities is, of course, a well-known event in American history. Additionally, American attitudes during the war have been described as follows: "The Americans never seemed to be as morally sensitive about bombing Japan as they were about attacking Germany. The attacks on Japan were ferocious and indiscriminate. There were several reasons for this. In the first place, in the war with Germany, the Americans distinguished between the Nazis, who were the real enemy, and the German people, who were at least partly victims. No such distinction was made when considering the Japanese; the entire population of Japan was perceived as the enemy. Further, there was a racial prejudice against the Japanese that the Americans did not feel towards the Germans." Louis A. Manzo, "Morality in War Fighting and Strategic Bombing in World War II," Air Power History 39, no. 3 (Fall 1992): 35-50.

30. In commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the United States's participation in World War II, the National Archives conducted a spectacular exhibit entitled "Powers of Persuasion," from February 1994 to February 1995. It was an exhibition of poster art from World War II advocating bond drives, scrap drives, ration plans, and patriotism. This latter concept sometimes took the form of very aggressive posters sensationally depicting the "evils" of Japan and Germany. One such poster characterized the Japanese and Germans as vermin, the clear implication being that they should be "exterminated." Archibald MacLeish-at the time, director of the forerunner of the Office of War Information-described the power and purpose of such World War II "information" campaigns as follows: "The principal battleground of this war is not the South Pacific. It is not the Middle East. It is not England, or Norway, or the Russian Steppes. It is American opinion." Stacy Bredhoff, Powers of Persuasion (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1994), i.

31. Indeed, the timing of such an inquiry is important. As Thucydides instructs us, it is difficult "because of its remoteness in time, to acquire a really precise knowledge of the distant past or even of the history preceding our own period." Thucydides, History of the Peloponnesian War, trans. Rex Warner (Baltimore, Md.: Penguin Books, 1954), 13.

32. Spector, 559.

33. Freeman Dyson, Weapons and Hope (New York: Harper & Row, 1984), 121.

34. For a complete and current description of Dr Oppenheimer's role in the Manhattan Project and the attitudes he and his fellow scientists developed towards the atom bomb and its use, see "Oppenheimer Investigated," The Wilson Quarterly 18, no. 4 (Autumn 1994): 34.

35. Sweet, 14.

36. Dyson, 16.

37. Alexander DeConde, A History of American Foreign Policy, 3d ed., vol. 2, Global Power: 1900 to the Present (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1978), 200-203.

38. Wyden, 226.

39. Charles Strozier, "The Tragedy of Unconditional Surrender," in Experience of War: An Anthology of Articles from MHQ: The Quarterly Journal of Military History, ed. Robert Cowley (New York: W. W. Norton & Co., 1992), 505-10.

40. Spector, 545.

41. Strozier, 505.

42. The Japanese word mokusatu was used by Prime Minister Suzuki to describe his government's reaction to the declaration. This word could be interpreted to mean anything from "ignore" to "treat with contempt." Wyden, 233.

43. Spector, 549.

44. For an interesting discussion of the importance of unconditional surrender, see Garry Wills, Lincoln at Gettysburg: The Words That Remade America (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1992), 135.

45. Spector, 554.

46. Cabell B. H. Phillips, The Truman Presidency: The History of a Triumphant Succession (New York: Macmillan Co., 1966), 57.

47. DeConde, 204.

48. Foner and Garraty, 798.

49. Daniel Okimoto and Thomas P. Rohlen, eds., Inside the Japanese System (Palo Alto, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 1988), 236.

50. Ibid.

51. Ibid., 172, 217.

52. "The Common Security Interests of Japan, the United States, and NATO," in Joint Working Group of the Atlantic Council of the U.S. and the Research Institute for Peace and Security (Cambridge, Mass.: Ballinger Publishing Co., 1981), 109.

53. David Umansky, director, Office of Public Affairs, Smithsonian Institute, Washington, D.C., telephone interview with author, 4 May 1995. Umansky distinguishes between a "commemorative" exhibit and an "informational" exhibit. He states that the institute's original plans impermissibly blended the two and, upon reflection, the exhibit was cancelled and a new commemorative-only exhibit will be conducted.

54. National Academy of Sciences, Committee on International Security and Arms Control, Nuclear Arms Control: Background and Issues (Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press, 1985), ix.

Disclaimer

The conclusions and opinions expressed in this document are those of the author cultivated in the freedom of expression, academic environment of Air University. They do not reflect the official position of the US Government, Department of Defense, the United States Air Force or the Air University.


Hiroshima and Nagasaki: Worst terror attacks in history Green Left Weekly, 3 August 2005
August 6 and August 9 will mark the 60th anniversaries of the US atomic-bomb attacks on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In Hiroshima, an estimated 80,000 people were killed in a split second. Some 13 square kilometres of the city was obliterated. By December, at least another 70,000 people had died from radiation and injuries.

Three days after Hiroshima's destruction, the US dropped an A-bomb on Nagasaki, resulting in the deaths of at least 70,000 people before the year was out.

Since 1945, tens of thousands more residents of the two cities have continued to suffer and die from radiation-induced cancers, birth defects and still births.

A tiny group of US rulers met secretly in Washington and callously ordered this indiscriminate annihilation of civilian populations. They gave no explicit warnings. They rejected all alternatives, preferring to inflict the most extreme human carnage possible. They ordered and had carried out the two worst terror acts in human history.

The 60th anniversaries will inevitably be marked by countless mass media commentaries and speeches repeating the 60-year-old mantra that there was no other choice but to use A-bombs in order to avoid a bitter, prolonged invasion of Japan.

On July 21, the British New Scientist magazine undermined this chorus when it reported that two historians had uncovered evidence revealing that “the US decision to drop atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki ... was meant to kick-start the Cold War [against the Soviet Union, Washington's war-time ally] rather than end the Second World War”. Peter Kuznick, director of the Nuclear Studies Institute at the American University in Washington stated that US President Harry Truman's decision to blast the cities “was not just a war crime, it was a crime against humanity”.

With Mark Selden, a historian from Cornell University in New York, Kuznick studied the diplomatic archives of the US, Japan and the USSR. They found that three days before Hiroshima, Truman agreed at a meeting that Japan was “looking for peace”. His senior generals and political advisers told him there was no need to use the A-bomb. But the bombs were dropped anyway. “Impressing Russia was more important than ending the war”, Selden told the New Scientist.

While the ...media immediately dubbed the historians' “theory” “controversial”, it accords with the testimony of many central US political and military players at the time, including General Dwight Eisenhower, who stated bluntly in a 1963 Newsweek interview that “the Japanese were ready to surrender and it wasn't necessary to hit them with that awful thing”.

Truman's chief of staff, Admiral William Leahy, stated in his memoirs that “the use of this barbarous weapon at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of no material assistance in our war against Japan. The Japanese were already defeated and ready to surrender.”

At the time though, Washington cold-bloodedly decided to obliterate the lives of hundreds of thousands of men, women and children to show off the terrible power of its new super weapon and underline the US rulers' ruthless preparedness to use it.

These terrible acts were intended to warn the leaders of the Soviet Union that their cities would suffer the same fate if the USSR attempted to stand in the way of Washington's plans to create an “American Century” of US global domination. Nuclear scientist Leo Szilard recounted to his biographers how Truman's secretary of state, James Byrnes, told him before the Hiroshima attack that “Russia might be more manageable if impressed by American military might and that a demonstration of the bomb may impress Russia”...

Washington's policy of nuclear terror remains intact. The US refuses to rule out the first use of nuclear weapons in a conflict. Its latest Nuclear Posture Review envisages the use of nuclear weapons against non-nuclear “rogue states” and it is developing a new generation of ‘battlefield” nuclear weapons.

Fear of the political backlash that would be caused in the US and around the globe by the use of nuclear weapons remains the main restraint upon ...Washington. On this 60th anniversary year of history's worst acts of terror, the most effective thing that peace-loving people around the world can do to keep that fear alive in the minds of the US rulers is to recommit ourselves to defeating Washington's current “local” wars of terror in Afghanistan and Iraq.
 
Hiroshima, Nagasaki & Christian Morality - Patrick J. Buchanan -  WorldNet Daily. August 10, 2005 "If terrorism is the massacre of innocents to break the will of rulers, were not Hiroshima and Nagasaki terrorism on a colossal scale?"
On the 40th, 50th and 60th anniversaries of D-Day, Presidents Reagan, Clinton and George W. Bush traveled to Normandy to lead us in tribute to the bravery of the Greatest Generation of Americans, who had liberated Europe. Always a deeply moving occasion.

The 40th, 50th and 60th anniversaries of the dropping of the atom bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, however, were not times of celebration or warm remembrance. Angry arguments for and against the dropping of the bombs roil the airwaves and fill the press.

And the reason is obvious. While World War II was a just war against enemies whose crimes, from Nanking to Auschwitz, will live in infamy, the means we used must trouble any Christian conscience.

That good came out of Hiroshima and Nagasaki is undeniable. In a week, Japan surrendered, World War II ended and, across the Japanese empire, soldiers laid down their arms. Thousands of U.S. soldiers and hundreds of thousands of Japanese who would have perished in an invasion of Japan survived, as did Allied POWs who might have been executed on the orders of Japanese commanders when we landed.

But were the means used – the destruction in seconds of two cities, inflicting instant death on 120,000 men, women and children, and an agonizing death from burns and radiation on scores of thousands more – moral?

Truman's defenders argue that by using the bomb, he saved more lives than were lost in those cities. Only the atom bombs, they contend, could have shocked Japan's warlords into surrender.

But if terrorism is the massacre of innocents to break the will of rulers, were not Hiroshima and Nagasaki terrorism on a colossal scale?

Churchill did not deny what the Allied air war was about. Before departing for Yalta, he ordered Operation Thunderclap, a campaign to "de-house" civilians to clog roads so German soldiers could not move to stop the offensive of the Red Army. British Air Marshal "Bomber" Harris put Dresden, a jewel of a city and haven for hundreds of thousands of terrified refugees, on the target list.

On the first night, 770 Lancasters arrived around 10:00. In two waves, 650,000 incendiary bombs rained down, along with 1,474 tons of high explosives. The next morning, 500 B-17s arrived in two waves, with 300 fighter escorts to strafe fleeing survivors.

Estimates of the dead in the Dresden firestorm range from 35,000 to 250,000. Wrote the Associated Press, "Allied war chiefs have made the long-awaited decision to adopt deliberate terror bombing of German populated centers as a ruthless expedient to hasten Hitler's doom."

In a memo to his air chiefs, Churchill revealed what Dresden had been about, "It seems to me that the moment has come when the question of bombing of German cities simply for the sake of increasing the terror, though under other pretexts, should be reviewed."

Gens. MacArthur, Eisenhower, "Hap" Arnold and Curtis LeMay reportedly felt the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was unnecessary. But recent documents have surfaced to show the Japanese warlords were far more determined to fight on to a bloody finish in the home islands than previously known.

Yet, whatever the mindset of Japan's warlords in August 1945, the moral question remains. In a just war against an evil enemy, is the deliberate slaughter of his women and children in the thousands justified to break his will to fight? Traditionally, the Christian's answer has been no.

Truman's defenders argue that the number of U.S. dead in any invasion would have been not 46,000, as one military estimate predicted, but 500,000. Others contend the cities were military targets.

But with Japan naked to our B-29s, her surface navy at the bottom of the Pacific, the home islands blockaded, what was the need to invade at all? On his island-hopping campaign back to the Philippines, MacArthur routinely bypassed Japanese strongholds like Rabaul, cut them off and left them to "rot on the vine."

And if Truman considered Hiroshima and Nagasaki military targets, why, in the Cabinet meeting of Aug. 10, as historian Ralph Raico relates, did he explain his reluctance to drop a third bomb thus: "The thought of wiping out another 100,000 people was too horrible," he said. He didn't like the idea of killing "all those kids."

Of Truman's decision, his own chief of staff, Adm. William Leahy, wrote: "This use of this barbarous weapon at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of no material assistance in our war against Japan. My own feeling was that in being the first to use it, we had adopted an ethical standard common to the barbarians of the Dark Ages. I was not taught to make wars in that fashion.."
Hiroshima and Nagasaki by Ralph Raico in "Harry S. Truman: Advancing the Revolution" in John V. Denson, ed., Reassessing the Presidency: The Rise of the Executive State and the Decline of Freedom.

The most spectacular episode of Truman’s presidency will never be forgotten, but will be forever linked to his name: the atomic bombings of Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, and of Nagasaki three days later. Probably around two hundred thousand persons were killed in the attacks and through radiation poisoning; the vast majority were civilians, including several thousand Korean workers. Twelve U.S. Navy fliers incarcerated in a Hiroshima jail were also among the dead.87

Great controversy has always surrounded the bombings. One thing Truman insisted on from the start: The decision to use the bombs, and the responsibility it entailed, was his. Over the years, he gave different, and contradictory, grounds for his decision. Sometimes he implied that he had acted simply out of revenge. To a clergyman who criticized him, Truman responded, testily:

Nobody is more disturbed over the use of Atomic bombs than I am but I was greatly disturbed over the unwarranted attack by the Japanese on Pearl Harbor and their murder of our prisoners of war. The only language they seem to understand is the one we have been using to bombard them.88

Such reasoning will not impress anyone who fails to see how the brutality of the Japanese military could justify deadly retaliation against innocent men, women, and children. Truman doubtless was aware of this, so from time to time he advanced other pretexts. On August 9, 1945, he stated: "The world will note that the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, a military base. That was because we wished in this first attack to avoid, insofar as possible, the killing of civilians."89

This, however, is absurd. Pearl Harbor was a military base. Hiroshima was a city, inhabited by some three hundred thousand people, which contained military elements. In any case, since the harbor was mined and the U.S. Navy and Air Force were in control of the waters around Japan, whatever troops were stationed in Hiroshima had been effectively neutralized.

On other occasions, Truman claimed that Hiroshima was bombed because it was an industrial center. But, as noted in the U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey, "all major factories in Hiroshima were on the periphery of the city – and escaped serious damage."90 The target was the center of the city. That Truman realized the kind of victims the bombs consumed is evident from his comment to his cabinet on August 10, explaining his reluctance to drop a third bomb: "The thought of wiping out another 100,000 people was too horrible," he said; he didn’t like the idea of killing "all those kids."91 Wiping out another one hundred thousand people . . . all those kids.

Moreover, the notion that Hiroshima was a major military or industrial center is implausible on the face of it. The city had remained untouched through years of devastating air attacks on the Japanese home islands, and never figured in Bomber Command’s list of the 33 primary targets.92

Thus, the rationale for the atomic bombings has come to rest on a single colossal fabrication, which has gained surprising currency: that they were necessary in order to save a half-million or more American lives. These, supposedly, are the lives that would have been lost in the planned invasion of Kyushu in December, then in the all-out invasion of Honshu the next year, if that was needed. But the worst-case scenario for a full-scale invasion of the Japanese home islands was forty-six thousand American lives lost.93 The ridiculously inflated figure of a half-million for the potential death toll – nearly twice the total of U.S. dead in all theaters in the Second World War – is now routinely repeated in high-school and college textbooks and bandied about by ignorant commentators. Unsurprisingly, the prize for sheer fatuousness on this score goes to President George H.W. Bush, who claimed in 1991 that dropping the bomb "spared millions of American lives."94

Still, Truman’s multiple deceptions and self-deceptions are understandable, considering the horror he unleashed. It is equally understandable that the U.S. occupation authorities censored reports from the shattered cities and did not permit films and photographs of the thousands of corpses and the frightfully mutilated survivors to reach the public.95 Otherwise, Americans – and the rest of the world – might have drawn disturbing comparisons to scenes then coming to light from the Nazi concentration camps.

The bombings were condemned as barbaric and unnecessary by high American military officers, including Eisenhower and MacArthur.96 The view of Admiral William D. Leahy, Truman’s own chief of staff, was typical:

the use of this barbarous weapon at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of no material assistance in our war against Japan. . . . My own feeling was that in being the first to use it, we had adopted an ethical standard common to the barbarians of the Dark Ages. I was not taught to make wars in that fashion, and wars cannot be won by destroying women and children.97

The political elite implicated in the atomic bombings feared a backlash that would aid and abet the rebirth of horrid prewar "isolationism." Apologias were rushed into print, lest public disgust at the sickening war crime result in erosion of enthusiasm for the globalist project.98 No need to worry. A sea-change had taken place in the attitudes of the American people. Then and ever after, all surveys have shown that the great majority supported Truman, believing that the bombs were required to end the war and save hundreds of thousands of American lives, or more likely, not really caring one way or the other.

Those who may still be troubled by such a grisly exercise in cost-benefit analysis – innocent Japanese lives balanced against the lives of Allied servicemen – might reflect on the judgment of the Catholic philosopher G.E.M. Anscombe, who insisted on the supremacy of moral rules.99 When, in June 1956, Truman was awarded an honorary degree by her university, Oxford, Anscombe protested.100 Truman was a war criminal, she contended, for what is the difference between the U.S. government massacring civilians from the air, as at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the Nazis wiping out the inhabitants of some Czech or Polish village?

Anscombe’s point is worth following up. Suppose that, when we invaded Germany in early 1945, our leaders had believed that executing all the inhabitants of Aachen, or Trier, or some other Rhineland city would finally break the will of the Germans and lead them to surrender. In this way, the war might have ended quickly, saving the lives of many Allied soldiers. Would that then have justified shooting tens of thousands of German civilians, including women and children? Yet how is that different from the atomic bombings?

By early summer 1945, the Japanese fully realized that they were beaten. Why did they nonetheless fight on? As Anscombe wrote: "It was the insistence on unconditional surrender that was the root of all evil."101

That mad formula was coined by Roosevelt at the Casablanca conference, and, with Churchill’s enthusiastic concurrence, it became the Allied shibboleth. After prolonging the war in Europe, it did its work in the Pacific. At the Potsdam conference, in July 1945, Truman issued a proclamation to the Japanese, threatening them with the "utter devastation" of their homeland unless they surrendered unconditionally. Among the Allied terms, to which "there are no alternatives," was that there be "eliminated for all time the authority and influence of those who have deceived and misled the people of Japan into embarking on world conquest [sic]." "Stern justice," the proclamation warned, "would be meted out to all war criminals."102

To the Japanese, this meant that the emperor – regarded by them to be divine, the direct descendent of the goddess of the sun – would certainly be dethroned and probably put on trial as a war criminal and hanged, perhaps in front of his palace.103 It was not, in fact, the U.S. intention to dethrone or punish the emperor. But this implicit modification of unconditional surrender was never communicated to the Japanese. In the end, after Nagasaki, Washington acceded to the Japanese desire to keep the dynasty and even to retain Hirohito as emperor.

For months before, Truman had been pressed to clarify the U.S. position by many high officials within the administration, and outside of it, as well. In May 1945, at the president’s request, Herbert Hoover prepared a memorandum stressing the urgent need to end the war as soon as possible. The Japanese should be informed that we would in no way interfere with the emperor or their chosen form of government. He even raised the possibility that, as part of the terms, Japan might be allowed to hold on to Formosa (Taiwan) and Korea. After meeting with Truman, Hoover dined with Taft and other Republican leaders, and outlined his proposals.104

Establishment writers on World War II often like to deal in lurid speculations. For instance: if the United States had not entered the war, then Hitler would have "conquered the world" (a sad undervaluation of the Red Army, it would appear; moreover, wasn’t it Japan that was trying to "conquer the world"?) and killed untold millions.

Now, applying conjectural history in this case: assume that the Pacific war had ended in the way wars customarily do – through negotiation of the terms of surrender. And assume the worst – that the Japanese had adamantly insisted on preserving part of their empire, say, Korea and Formosa, even Manchuria. In that event, it is quite possible that Japan would have been in a position to prevent the Communists from coming to power in China. And that could have meant that the thirty or forty million deaths now attributed to the Maoist regime would not have occurred.

But even remaining within the limits of feasible diplomacy in 1945, it is clear that Truman in no way exhausted the possibilities of ending the war without recourse to the atomic bomb. The Japanese were not informed that they would be the victims of by far the most lethal weapon ever invented (one with "more than two thousand times the blast power of the British ‘Grand Slam,’ which is the largest bomb ever yet used in the history of warfare," as Truman boasted in his announcement of the Hiroshima attack). Nor were they told that the Soviet Union was set to declare war on Japan, an event that shocked some in Tokyo more than the bombings.105 Pleas by some of the scientists involved in the project to demonstrate the power of the bomb in some uninhabited or evacuated area were rebuffed. All that mattered was to formally preserve the unconditional surrender formula and save the servicemen’s lives that might have been lost in the effort to enforce it. Yet, as Major General J.F.C. Fuller, one of the century’s great military historians, wrote in connection with the atomic bombings:

Though to save life is laudable, it in no way justifies the employment of means which run counter to every precept of humanity and the customs of war. Should it do so, then, on the pretext of shortening a war and of saving lives, every imaginable atrocity can be justified.106

Isn’t this obviously true? And isn’t this the reason that rational and humane men, over generations, developed rules of warfare in the first place?

While the mass media parroted the government line in praising the atomic incinerations, prominent conservatives denounced them as unspeakable war crimes. Felix Morley, constitutional scholar and one of the founders of Human Events, drew attention to the horror of Hiroshima, including the "thousands of children trapped in the thirty-three schools that were destroyed." He called on his compatriots to atone for what had been done in their name, and proposed that groups of Americans be sent to Hiroshima, as Germans were sent to witness what had been done in the Nazi camps. The Paulist priest, Father James Gillis, editor of The Catholic World and another stalwart of the Old Right, castigated the bombings as "the most powerful blow ever delivered against Christian civilization and the moral law." David Lawrence, conservative owner of U.S. News and World Report, continued to denounce them for years.107 The distinguished conservative philosopher Richard Weaver was revolted by the spectacle of young boys fresh out of Kansas and Texas turning nonmilitary Dresden into a holocaust . . . pulverizing ancient shrines like Monte Cassino and Nuremberg, and bringing atomic annihilation to Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Weaver considered such atrocities as deeply "inimical to the foundations on which civilization is built."108

Today, self-styled conservatives slander as "anti-American" anyone who is in the least troubled by Truman’s massacre of so many tens of thousands of Japanese innocents from the air. This shows as well as anything the difference between today’s "conservatives" and those who once deserved the name.

Leo Szilard was the world-renowned physicist who drafted the original letter to Roosevelt that Einstein signed, instigating the Manhattan Project. In 1960, shortly before his death, Szilard stated another obvious truth:

If the Germans had dropped atomic bombs on cities instead of us, we would have defined the dropping of atomic bombs on cities as a war crime, and we would have sentenced the Germans who were guilty of this crime to death at Nuremberg and hanged them.109

The destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was a war crime worse than any that Japanese generals were executed for in Tokyo and Manila. If Harry Truman was not a war criminal, then no one ever was.
 


Notes

  1. On the atomic bombings, see Gar Alperovitz, The Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb and the Architecture of an American Myth (New York: Knopf, 1995); and idem, "Was Harry Truman a Revisionist on Hiroshima?" Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations Newsletter 29, no. 2 (June 1998); also Martin J. Sherwin, A World Destroyed: The Atomic Bomb and the Grand Alliance (New York: Vintage, 1977); and Dennis D. Wainstock, The Decision to Drop the Atomic Bomb (Westport, Conn.: Praeger, 1996).
  2. Alperovitz, Decision, p. 563. Truman added: "When you deal with a beast you have to treat him as a beast. It is most regrettable but nevertheless true." For similar statements by Truman, see ibid., p. 564. Alperovitz’s monumental work is the end-product of four decades of study of the atomic bombings and is indispensable for comprehending the often complex argumentation on the issue.
  3. Ibid., p. 521.
  4. Ibid., p. 523.
  5. Barton J. Bernstein, "Understanding the Atomic Bomb and the Japanese Surrender: Missed Opportunities, Little-Known Near Disasters, and Modern Memory," Diplomatic History 19, no. 2 (Spring 1995): 257. General Carl Spaatz, commander of U.S. strategic bombing operations in the Pacific, was so shaken by the destruction at Hiroshima that he telephoned his superiors in Washington, proposing that the next bomb be dropped on a less populated area, so that it "would not be as devastating to the city and the people." His suggestion was rejected. Ronald Schaffer, Wings of Judgment: American Bombing in World War II (New York: Oxford University Press, 1985), pp. 147–48.
  6. This is true also of Nagasaki.
  7. See Barton J. Bernstein, "A Post-War Myth: 500,000 U.S. Lives Saved," Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists 42, no. 6 (June–July 1986): 38–40; and idem, "Wrong Numbers," The Independent Monthly (July 1995): 41–44.
  8. J. Samuel Walker, "History, Collective Memory, and the Decision to Use the Bomb," Diplomatic History 19, no. 2 (Spring 1995): 320, 323–25. Walker details the frantic evasions of Truman’s biographer, David McCullough, when confronted with the unambiguous record.
  9. Paul Boyer, "Exotic Resonances: Hiroshima in American Memory," Diplomatic History 19, no. 2 (Spring 1995): 299. On the fate of the bombings’ victims and the public’s restricted knowledge of them, see John W. Dower, "The Bombed: Hiroshimas and Nagasakis in Japanese Memory," in ibid., pp. 275–95.
  10. Alperovitz, Decision, pp. 320–65. On MacArthur and Eisenhower, see ibid., pp. 352 and 355–56.
  11. William D. Leahy, I Was There (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1950), p. 441. Leahy compared the use of the atomic bomb to the treatment of civilians by Genghis Khan, and termed it "not worthy of Christian man." Ibid., p. 442. Curiously, Truman himself supplied the foreword to Leahy’s book. In a private letter written just before he left the White House, Truman referred to the use of the atomic bomb as "murder," stating that the bomb "is far worse than gas and biological warfare because it affects the civilian population and murders them wholesale." Barton J. Bernstein, "Origins of the U.S. Biological Warfare Program," Preventing a Biological Arms Race, Susan Wright, ed. (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1990), p. 9.
  12. Barton J. Bernstein, "Seizing the Contested Terrain of Early Nuclear History: Stimson, Conant, and Their Allies Explain the Decision to Use the Bomb," Diplomatic History 17, no. 1 (Winter 1993): 35–72.
  13. One writer in no way troubled by the sacrifice of innocent Japanese to save Allied servicemen – indeed, just to save him – is Paul Fussell; see his Thank God for the Atom Bomb and Other Essays (New York: Summit, 1988). The reason for Fussell’s little Te Deum is, as he states, that he was among those scheduled to take part in the invasion of Japan, and might very well have been killed. It is a mystery why Fussell takes out his easily understandable terror, rather unchivalrously, on Japanese women and children instead of on the men in Washington who conscripted him to fight in the Pacific in the first place.
  14. G.E.M. Anscombe, "Mr. Truman’s Degree," in idem, Collected Philosophical Papers, vol. 3, Ethics, Religion and Politics (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1981), pp. 62–71.
  15. Anscombe, "Mr. Truman’s Degree," p. 62.
  16. Hans Adolf Jacobsen and Arthur S. Smith, Jr., eds., World War II: Policy and Strategy. Selected Documents with Commentary (Santa Barbara, Calif.: ABC-Clio, 1979), pp. 345–46.
  17. For some Japanese leaders, another reason for keeping the emperor was as a bulwark against a possible postwar communist takeover. See also Sherwin, A World Destroyed, p. 236: "the [Potsdam] proclamation offered the military die-hards in the Japanese government more ammunition to continue the war than it offered their opponents to end it."
  18. Alperovitz, Decision, pp. 44–45.
  19. Cf. Bernstein, "Understanding the Atomic Bomb," p. 254: "it does seem very likely, though certainly not definite, that a synergistic combination of guaranteeing the emperor, awaiting Soviet entry, and continuing the siege strategy would have ended the war in time to avoid the November invasion." Bernstein, an excellent and scrupulously objective scholar, nonetheless disagrees with Alperovitz and the revisionist school on several key points.
  20. J.F.C. Fuller, The Second World War, 1939–45: A Strategical and Tactical History (London: Eyre and Spottiswoode, 1948), p. 392. Fuller, who was similarly scathing on the terror-bombing of the German cities, characterized the attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki as "a type of war that would have disgraced Tamerlane." Cf. Barton J. Bernstein, who concludes, in "Understanding the Atomic Bomb," p. 235:

In 1945, American leaders were not seeking to avoid the use of the A-bomb. Its use did not create ethical or political problems for them. Thus, they easily rejected or never considered most of the so-called alternatives to the bomb.

  1. Felix Morley, "The Return to Nothingness," Human Events (August 29, 1945) reprinted in Hiroshima’s Shadow, Kai Bird and Lawrence Lifschultz, eds. (Stony Creek, Conn.: Pamphleteer’s Press, 1998), pp. 272–74; James Martin Gillis, "Nothing But Nihilism," The Catholic World, September 1945, reprinted in ibid., pp. 278–80; Alperovitz, Decision, pp. 438–40.
  2. Richard M. Weaver, "A Dialectic on Total War," in idem, Visions of Order: The Cultural Crisis of Our Time (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1964), pp. 98–99.
  3. Wainstock, Decision, p. 122.
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