Sunday, August 08, 2010
UPDATE: For those who wish to berate me for saying Japan is owed no apology for America ending the war with the A-Bomb, Japan Developed Atom Bomb (1946 Atlanta Constitution Articles)
It’s difficult to believe that long before most of us were born, the entire world was embroiled in the bloodiest war in history, World War Two. Oh, we’ve read about it in books, learned about it from parents and grandparents who fought in it and saw the many movies made about it.
None can accurately capture the sheer brutality of war, though. Only participation can give the true feeling of that.
Being a Veteran of Viet Nam myself and growing up in the shadow of that brutal war, perhaps that is why I am so perplexed these past few years that the world now seems to demand America apologize to those who drug us into that war for our ending it by the two atomic bomb attacks on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Atomic weapons had never been used and it was not even known that they would work, having just been developed. But work they did and the Japanese agreed to an unconditional surrender, as had Germany many months before. The war ended and the troublesome task of peace began for a while.
But, why use such a brutal weapon that killed over 100,000, many ask today. Surely it could have been ended without taking so many lives, they opine. And, they are wrong.
The brutality of the Japanese Imperial Army is a well known historical fact today, thanks in part to such books as The Rape of Nanking by Iris Chang, which documented how they used the slaughter and beheadings of innocent Chinese for sport.
The maltreatment of Prisoners of War such as occurred during what is known as the Bataan Death March where “Beheadings, cutting of throats and casual shootings were the more common actions, compared to instances of bayonet stabbing, rape, disembowelment, rifle butt beating and a deliberate refusal to allow the prisoners food or water while keeping them continually marching for nearly a week in tropical heat” against captured American and Filipino soldiers and civilians are well documented.
Ignored or forgotten is that both Germany and Japan were also working on creating nuclear weapons as America was developing ours. Luckily, our scientists developed ours first.
Couple the Axis’ Powers development programs of Atomic Weapons with their work on developing delivery systems, such as the German Messerschmitt Me-264 Amerika Bomber and the sharing of technology between Germany and Japan prior to wars end, there can be little doubt that had they developed theirs first, it would have been used against Allied forces, if not America itself.
Much has been said over the years of the scientists that developed the American Atomic Bombs expressed hesitation on using it against Japan. While that will be endlessly debated, the decision was not an easy one for President Truman to make.
Given the Japanese refusal of the Potsdam Declaration and the fierce fighting seen in taking Okinawa and the high loss of life on both sides, every indication was that millions of lives would be lost to invade Japan and bring the war to an end by that means.
Many still claim a “demonstration” of the might of the “A-Bomb” would have encouraged Japan to surrender. But, remember that we only had two bombs built and there was still the question of whether or not they would actually work, even though one had worked in the New Mexico desert.
Even if it had worked, given the fanaticism of the Japanese Army at the time and even with the claims now of they were ready to quit anyways, Truman did not have a lot of choices if he were to end the war and avoid millions more in deaths on both sides.
Those now crying that America should apologize for the Atomic Bomb conveniently leave out one little undisputed fact.
That being, had there not been s sneak attack Sunday morning, December 7, 1941 against the United States Naval Forces moored in Pearl Harbor Hawaii, dragging a reluctant America into a war they were trying to avoid, there would have been no reason to drop any bombs on the cities of Hiroshima or Nagasaki just under 4 years later.
If any apologies are due to anyone, it should be from Germany and Japan for plunging the world into the bloodiest conflict ever seen in the history of mankind.
Posted by Lew Waters at 2:51 PM