August 6, 2010 is the 65th anniversary of the introduction to the nuclear age. Since then, over 1000 nuclear bombs of various configurations have been detonated by multiple countries, but only 2 have been in wartime.
Some say it was barbaric, I’m taking the position that it saved millions of lives. At that time “while the infrastructure and industrial capacity of Japan may have been ruined, the army was committed to and capable of suicidal resistance to the end.”
That is difficult to comprehend unless you understand the dedication to the emperor as a god, and the Samurai code of death by suicide before capture. Even when the Allies fought the Germans in the European Theater, both sides wanted to live and many surrendered before death. Not so in the Pacific theater where many Japanese were dropped off on Islands without provisions and told to live (as cannibals), documented in “Flyboys”. In fact, very few Japanese prisoners were taken as they either died fighting, or committed seppaku.
History notes the use of the bomb was first and foremost used to end a war against an enemy who was determined never to surrender.
While the Americans and their fellow countries were preparing for the Japanese invasion, they predicted the loss of life on both sides to be north of 2 million.
Ultimately, there had to be a statement of finality to convince this mentality of the utter futile nature of continuing. The bombs at Hiroshima and Nagasaki did this. My uncle, then a B-29 Pilot told me that far more damage and more lives were lost by the fire bombing, but it didn’t break the will of the Japanese people.
Japan still refused to surrender and upped its resistance with thousands of Kamikaze airstrikes. By the time of the atomic bombings, the U.S. Air Force was planning to transfer from Europe much of the idle British and American bombing fleet to join the B-29s in the Pacific.
Perhaps 5,000 Allied bombers would have saturated Japan with napalm. The atomic bombings prevented such a nightmarish incendiary storm.
The bombs also cut short plans for an invasion of Japan — an operation that might well have cost 1 million Allied lives, and at least three to four times that number of well-prepared, well-supplied Japanese defenders.
World War II was the most deadly event in human history. Some 60 million people perished in the six years between Germany’s surprise invasion of Poland on Sept. 1, 1939, and the official Japanese surrender on Sept. 2, 1945. No natural disaster — neither the flu pandemic of 1918 nor even the 14th-century bubonic plague that killed nearly two-thirds of Europe’s population — came close to the death toll of World War II.
Perhaps 80 percent of the dead were civilians, mostly Russians and Chinese who died at the hands of Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan. Both aggressors deliberately executed and starved to death millions of innocents.
World War II was also one of the few wars in history in which the losers, Japan and Germany, lost far fewer lives than did the winners. There were roughly five times as many deaths on the Allied side, both military and civilian, as on the Axis side.
Further, evidence was found that the Japanese had their own nuclear bomb and tested it on the Island of Hungnam days after the “bomb” was dropped on Hiroshima. So this act not only saved millions of lives, it now appears to have stopped a nuclear war. Reporter David Snell has documented this.
American soldiers found and destroyed a cyclotron in Japan shortly after the attack.
So ultimately, the goal of all war and the way it should be fought was achieved, to win. You fully defeat your enemy, then negotiate the terms of surrender. I only wish that today’s political correctness would go away and we would let the soldiers do their job without the meddling of an incompetent congress and inexperienced leader and put in a man like Harry Truman who said “We will unleash a rain of terror from the air”.
We face this again and will continue to face it as everyone will challenge the top dog. It is up to the free world to deliver what the architect of the Pearl Harbor attack knew.
This was both an important event in history and a lesson we should learn so that the next Hiroshima is not named New York.