Seventy years ago this week, the United States committed one of the greatest atrocities in the history of the human race, dropping nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki and killing nearly 200 000 people, almost all of them civilians.
That this massacre was completely unnecessary from a military stand-point is a well-established fact, and was widely acknowledged by the leading military commanders and strategists of the day. Indeed, President Truman was said to have overridden the explicit and strongly-worded advice of his top military command in ordering that the bombs be dropped. This is not a widely acknowledged fact, however, and many people still tell themselves the comforting lie that the bombs were necessary to bring an end to what would otherwise have been a protracted and deadly war.
But the plain and simple truth is that Japan was on the verge of surrender – and America knew it:
— “We didn’t need to do it, and we knew we didn’t need to do it, and they knew that we didn’t need to do it, we used them as an experiment for two atomic bombs.” That’s Brig. Gen. Carter Clarke, quoted in “The Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb,” by Gar Alperovitz.
–“The Japanese position was hopeless even before the first atomic bomb fell because the Japanese had lost control of their own air.”– Henry H. Arnold, commanding general of the U.S. Army Air Forces, Pacific Fleet.
–“The Japanese had, in fact, already sued for peace. The atomic bomb played no decisive part from a purely military point of view in the defeat of Japan. The use of atomic bombs at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of no material assistance in our war against Japan. The Japanese were already defeated and ready to surrender.” – – Fleet Adm. Chester W. Nimitz, commander in chief of the U.S. Pacific Fleet.
–“Certainly, prior to 31 December 1945, and in all probability, prior to 1 November 1945, Japan would have surrendered even if atomic bombs had not been dropped.” — Adm. William D. Leahy, chief of staff to President Truman, in the U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey.
–“The war would have been over in two weeks without the Russians entering and without the atomic bomb. The atomic bomb had nothing to do with the end of the war at all.” —Maj. Gen. Curtis LeMay.
To what end, then, were those hundreds of thousands of people murdered? Continue Reading