** World War II Japan surrender dropping the atomic bomb Hiroshima








World War II: Dropping the Atomic Bomb--Hiroshima (August 6, 1945)


Figure 1.-This is a recreation from the BBC documentary 'Hiroshima' which depictrs the world's first nuclear attack and examines the repercussions. The film covers a 3-week period from the Trinity test to the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. It uses archival film, dramatizations, and special effects depict what occurred aboard the 'Enola Gay 'and on the ground in Hiroshinma inside the nuclear blast. It accurately captures the inhumanity and horror of war. Film makers have covered the dropping of the atomic bombs in great detail. There is no doubt that the dropping of the atmic bomb was a horendous event. But the reader should ask himself why has no film been made of the Japanese ‘Rape of Nanking’ or other Japanese attrocities in China and other occupied countries in which vastly more civilians were killed? And why is there no consideration in this film of the millions more who would have perished from starvation (including Japanese) if Japan had not surrendered in August.

The United States did not include Hiroshima as a target in the Strategic Bombing Campaign, in part because the Air Force wanted to be able to determine the impact of an atomic bomb. Japan publicly rejected the Potsdam Declaration. President Truman ordered the Air Force to begin atomic attacks on Japan as soon as possible (July 25). The United States dropped two atomic bombs on Japan. The Enola Gay dropped the first bomb on Hiroshima (August 6). The results were catastrophic. Japanese scientists had already developed and used weapons of mass destruction (chemical and biolgical agents). And they were at the time working on an atomic bomb, but with out the resources and facilities available to the Americans. This was of course secret and only a small number of officials and scientists were aware of the work. Thus the Japanese were totally unprepared and had no idea at first what had occurred. The human tragedies are heart rending. There are many factual accounts. Many fiction writers have also addressed the cataclysm. One particularly moving account was about Emikio Amai age 6. "One morning toward the end of the summer they burned away by face. My little brother and I were playing on the bank of the river." [Bock] Most Americans believe that it was the atomic bombs that forced Japan to surrender. This comes from a basic inclination of most Americans to assume that all national leaderships are concerned about the welfare of their people. Of course this is not the case and the Axis leaders that took their countries to war are a prime example of this. The U.S. Air Force had already destroyed 66 Japanese cities before the attack on Hiroshima. One city more should not have been expected to dramatically change Japanese policy. The force of the weapon and the ease of destroying an entire city is another matter. One historian points out that the Japanese Supreme Council did not meet immediately after the Hiroshima attack. They did meet after the Soviet declaration of war and invasion of Manchuria. [Wilson]

Targetting

The United States did not include Hiroshima as a target in the Strategic Bombing Campaign, in part because the Air Force wanted to be able to determine the impact of an atomic bomb. In the end both Hiroshima and Nagasaki were chosen because they were cities supporting the Japanese military build up om Kyushu where the Americans were planning to invade.

Potsdam Declaration

Japan publicly rejected the Potsdam Declaration in which President Truman warned what was to come if they did not surrender.

Japanese Weapons of Mass Destructio

Japanese scientists had already developed and used weapons of mass destruction (chemical and biolgical agents). And they were at the time working on an atomic bomb, but with out the resources and facilities available to the Americans. This was of course secret and only a small number of officials and scientists were aware of the work. Thus the Japanese were totally unprepared and had no idea at first what had occurred.

First Bomb

President Truman ordered the Air Force to begin atomic attacks on Japan as soon as possible (July 25). The United States dropped two atomic bombs on Japan. The Enola Gay dropped the first bomb on Hiroshima (August 6). The results were catastrophic.

Human Tragedies

The human tragedies are heart rending. There are many factual accounts. Many fiction writers have also addressed the cataclysm. One particularly moving account was about Emikio Amai age 6. "One morning toward the end of the summer they burned away by face. My little brother and I were playing on the bank of the river." [Bock]

Impact on the Japanese Leadership

Most Americans believe that it was the atomic bombs that forced Japan to surrender. This comes from a basic inclination of most Americans to assume that all national leaderships are concerned about the welfare of their people. Of course this is not the case and the Axis leaders that took their countries to war are a prime example of this. The U.S. Air Force had already destroyed 66 Japanese cities before the attack on Hiroshima. One city more should not have been expected to dramatically change Japanese policy. The force of the weapon and the ease of destroying an entire city is another matter. One historian points out that the Japanese Supreme Council did not meet immediately after the Hiroshima attack. They did meet after the Soviet declaration of war and invasion of Manchuria. [Wilson]

Need for a Second Bomb

Japanese scientists informed the Emperor and military commnders wht had hppened. The military ueged the Emperor to coninue the War. They assured him that while America had produced an atmomic bomb, the process was so complicted and time consuming that they cold not possibly have anotherr one ready. They insisted that it ould be mponths bedore another bomb was ready.

Reader Comment

A reader writes, "I happened upon your page about the Hiroshima bombing. I was struck by these sentences: 'But the reader should ask himself why has no film been made of the Japanese ‘Rape of Nanking’ or other Japanese attrocities in China and other occupied countries in which vastly more civilians were killed? And why is there no consideration in this film of the millions more who would have perished from starvation (including Japanese) if Japan had not surrendered in August.' Actually, there have been a number of movies made about the Japanese rape of Nanking. I can’t recall their titles. I specifically recall one about an American who helps a group of Chinese prostitutes who step in for a group of young Chinese girls who are about to be raped by Japanese officers. The movie definitely demonstrates the brutality of the Japanese actions in Nanking. There have also been many, many films about the suffering of civilians in World War II. What motivates me to write you, though, is the insinuation that somehow the suffering of the Japanese at Hiroshima should be 'balanced' against the sufferings of others. This kind of thinking always leads to moral dead ends. How do you balance one death against another? Is the death of a baby worse than the death of a ten-year-old? Is the death of a man better than the death of a woman? Did Japanese civilians deserve to die because their government started the war? The deeper you dive into questions like this, the more contradictions you encounter." [Crawford]

CIH reply: Chris, I think here we simply disagree. The fact that you can not even remember the title of the Nanking film speaks volumes. Japanese brutality is addressed in films, but primarily the brutality against Westerners in the fetid POW and internee camps. The far greater outrages against Asian civilians is simply not addressed. Where are the films about the deaths due to famines in Vietnam and Indonesia? Films about the Comfort Women? Films about the civilians on Okinawa and Saipan the Japanese soldiers killed or forced to commit suicide?. Films about vivisection or Japanese germ and chemical warfare? Films about canaibalism? And the long list of other Japanese war crimes?. Before I entered the First Grade, I knew that numbered mattered. The Japanese killed 15-20 million during the War--mostly innocent civilians. The two bombs killed less than 0.2 million people immediately. And perhaps 0.3 million when those who died due to injuries are considered--a VERY SMALL fraction of the bloody Japanese outrages committed throughout Asia and the Pacific. And less than the number of people savaged in Nanking alone. My contention is that morality had to bring numbers into the discussion. I am not balancing one death against another, I am balancing the death of innocents against aggressors and the death of one against tens of thousands. Base line: The Japanese killed 15-20 million people BEFORE we dropped the bombs and virtually no one AFTER the bombs dropped. I do not contend that anyone 'deserved to die', but it was not America that launched the War, it was Germany and Japan. And once the War began, people were going to die--that is the nature of War. My belief is that the Japanese and German civilians while not innately evil, were supporting powerful and evil, genocidal governments killing people in the millions (including their on people). And that there there were no options but to pursue the strategic bombing campaign--which incidentally both the Japanese and Germans began. It was their governments that began bombing cities. The simple fact is that the bombs stopped the war and stopped the killing. I would feel differently if there was a way we could have stopped the War with less loss of life, but ever possible scenario leads one to a greater death toll, both of our soldiers AND the Japanese people."

Sources

Bock, Dennis. The Ash Garden (Knopf, 2001), 281p.

Crawford, Chris. E-Mil message (March 30, 2016).

Wilson, Ward. International Security (2007).






CIH







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Created: 3:47 AM 10/1/2013
Last updated: 6:43 PM 3/30/2016