Nagasaki is like the forgotten bomb. I will be talking about Hiroshima, but I wanted to talk about Nagasaki first. I went to both places and one of my best friends in Japan, Tomoyo is from Nagasaki. When you live in a city and meet all the people there and then imagine it being blown away, it makes you want to stop and cry.
They dropped the Fatman on Nagasaki on August 9th. It was the second atomic bomb dropped and the first and more powerful Plutonium bomb ever used. It not only had plutonium, it had 15% more mass than little boy which was dropped on Hiroshima. The blast was less effective because of the mountains, but 80,000 people were killed and far more would die later from the starvation, radiation, and injuries it caused.
I dont know why Hiroshima gets ALL the attention. If anything the pointlessness of the first atomic bombing ought to be over shadowed by the even more pointless and evil and unecessary SECOND atomic bombing
You will hear the rationalization about nuking people to “save lives.” This is a preposterous school room lie. A cultural city and history were lost. Erased in seconds. And why? The Japanese had been trying to surrender. Well the main reason America used the bombs when they did was because they did not want to divide Japan with Russia the way they were East and West Germany. Russia agreed to invade Japan (who had defeated Russia in their last war) three months after the German surrender on May 8th. Well that time was August 8th (or Aug 9th Japan time). And then Russian began attacking Manchuria China where the Japanese army was.
The US wanted all of Japan. They had plans to invade Korea after all, which we all saw, and Japan was the unsinkable aircraft carrier. Even now almost 65 years later the US still has troops in Japan. In fact, if you are a foreigner whose been to Japan the first questions you will be asked is are you military? and Okinawa or Misawa?
When I arrived in Japan 6 years ago it was in August. The first thing I saw on TV were reports about the bombs. In Japan, every year they talk to survivors and have remembrance. I’ve been to the museums and I’ve talked to countless numbers of Japanese about the bombing. In the US one rarely sees anything but some footage of the buildings. The people are never shown not like the half naked and starving people shown liberated from German labor camps, or the piles of corpses, we all get to see that as early as middle school. But not America’s victims.
The typical argument for dropping the bombs will never be analyzed by the kind of sick individuals that just revel in the power of it and love the showmanship or shall we say “Shock and Awe” of the bomb that makes them feel mighty through some distance attachment to their ego via nationalism. No the typical rationalization is that the bomb actually saved lives in their bizzaro world. This is accepted on its face because it fits a predetermined conclusion that America is the good guy and can do no wrong. Any crime it does has to be for the greater good. So I guess the next time the police chase a bank robber they should just fire at the car with bazookas or artillery and take out the entire city block for after all, if they tried to shoot the robber with their guns they might get shot back at, and collateral damage is worth it. Add to this analogy that the robber already tried to turn himself in to the police station on several occasions but the police said no.
The reason to drop the bombs wasn’t to save lives and it did not save lives it killed hundreds of thousands and the US could have ended the war long before dropping the bombs and saved lives on all sides by accepting the surrender the Japanese had been offering. But just like in Europe the US wanted to destroy things in overkill fashion and wreck as many cities as possible. Like in Dresden and Rohan, the clean up and reconstruction was just too profitable to pass up. The Russians needed to see US might and the US wanted to take the stage as the next Super power with a flash.
Bombing Nagasaki was completely unnecessary. Hiroshima was already wiped off the map. The war was over. The US kept killing until they had total control. In the aftermath of the war Japan was turned into ruins, the CIA paid the Yakuza Mafia to run the show, women prostituted themselves out to GIs because they were without homes, work, or food in many cases. An entire entertainment ring grew up in the new generation of black markets, gambling, and prostitution.
There is no justification for killing civilians much less cities full of them. Just imagine where ever you are right now and everyone you know, being bombed. You might be completely against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan but imagine you were blown up anyway. Kids, babies, animals, everything sacrificed because you’re the same nationality as the people at war. The US propaganda towards Japan was highly racist and well received. It wasn’t much different than the Nazi Propaganda about the Jews or other undesirables. And to top it off, in America, Japanese citizens were put into “internment” camps. They didn’t do that to scale to the Germans or Italians just the Japanese. Don’t think it was because it’s easier to tell who is who. It’s no easier to tell the difference between Asians as it would be between European groups. And yet they didn’t put the Chinese, Koreans, etc into camps. There were Germans rounded up even in South America and placed in camps in Texas.
Some hot headed people will say, “well they shouldn’t have bombed Pearl Harbor.” Well that’s damn right they shouldn’t have bombed Pearl Harbor. But that’s just the thing “THEY” didn’t bomb the harbor, the military did. And when the Japanese military bombed the Harbor that’s what they bombed, the base, US war ships, not Hawaii and not cities full of civilians. Hawaii was also not part of the United States. And we’ll leave aside the issues of the US antagonizing that by the oil embargo, the attacks in China, as well as the foreknowledge of the attack. The fact is, the people living in Nagasaki and Hiroshima had about as much say in that as you or I did (and I wasn’t even born yet).
For the record my grand father fought the Japanese all the way to Okinawa. He used a flame thrower to toast bunkers and holes and was shot in the leg eventually but continued to fight. I’m proud of him for serving his country. But like he felt himself, there was no glory in burning people alive, even soldiers. It was just a horrible thing to never talk about. War is hell and nationalism attached to war is a sick sick disease. There is no shame in serving in WWII. The issue here is with the nuclear bombs. There was no need to add that pointless destruction to the innocent.
Just imagine right now if America nuked Iraq, and not a base but a city. Imagine if they had nuked Fallujah years ago under the wild justification that it would save American lives. I could see some imperialist idiot saying to nuke every inch of Afghanistan just to kill “al qaeda” or to turn the whole middle east not only Iraq but all of it into a glass parking lot. That was the kind of Insane comments made by many Americans in the run up to the Iraq War or after 9/11.
Nuclear weapons are terrible. And right now the new nuclear weapon first used by Israel in 1973 and currently used by the US is depleted Uranium. This stuff murders by radiation poisoning. If causes massive birth defects and destroys the unborn and the young the most.
What is the argument for it? “Saving lives” really saving lives by killing people and putting a radioactive poison in the ground for eons?! Radiation doesn’t create super heroes. In the real world it only does one thing, kill everything around it. Other than creative torture it is among the most horrible ways to die possible.
Well winners write the history. Had the allies lost the war the nuclear bombings of Japan would be seen as what they are. Human atrocities. People are still dying from those damn bombs.
And it was not “good for Japan.” Japan rose to its economic leadership because of the Japanese’s people. For one they didn’t have to spend countless billions on war and military defense. Secondly they have year round school, the longest work hours, and busted their asses day and night to make Japan what it is. There is nearly no religion, and there are creative minds to invent and improve things. Rather than selling guns, they produced goods sold all over the world. But with the stroke of a pen the BIS ended all of that. Japan once held one half of all the money in the world. Now it’s down to about a 1/6th. Still they have the longest life expectancy, most centurions, gold reserves, most advanced technologies in several fields, top two in language and math, top two in health care, highest standard of living, lowest crime rate in the industrialized world even with the biggest cities. Japan has the second largest market in the world behind US of America which is currently falling apart and was based mostly on credit.
The future for hybrids, robotics, cell phones, flat screens, mass transit, wind power, game consuls, and international business is Japan.
One reason is the country’s near empty appetite for war. With Shinto now disconnected form government, and organized religion all but reduced to rituals for funerals and weddings there just isn’t a way to amass the people into senseless violence. There would be a better chance of violence from angry baseball fans than from nationalism or religion. Japan is proud of what it can Create not Destroy.
America could learn from that. America’s ego is still attached to what it can break.