|Left: photo of mushroom cloud |
above Hiroshima by George R. Caron;
Right: above Nagasaki. Wikipedia.
The horror of Hiroshima stands undiminished though 75 years have passed.
August 6 dawns, and forever it carries the mark of humanity's worst single sin. August 6 and its twin, August 9, bring tears to my eyes.
And it was my country--not Germany, not Russia--that needlessly killed 200,000-300,000 humans.
"U.S. leaders knew we didn’t have to drop atomic bombs on Japan to win the war. We did it anyway,"
reads the headline in the opinion article by Gar Alperovitz and Martin J. Sherwin in yesterday's Los Angeles Times. Alperovitz wrote The Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb (New York: Knopf, 1995).
"...the overwhelming historical evidence from American and Japanese archives indicates that Japan would have surrendered that August, even if atomic bombs had not been used — and documents prove that President Truman and his closest advisors knew it."
General MacArthur called the use of atomic bombs "inexcusable." Former president Herbert Hoover and future president Dwight Eisenhower opposed the use of these bombs.
Read about this. You have no right to remain ignorant, not when "the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists’ Doomsday Clock warns us, the world is now closer to nuclear annihilation than at any time since 1947."
The atomic bomb exploded 1800 ft. above Hiroshima, killing 80,000 people instantly, mothers and fathers and children going about their daily lives at 8:15 am. Another 62,000 died later of radiation poisoning or injuries. For additional statistics, see "How Many People Died in Hiroshima and Nagasaki?" by Seren Morris in Newsweek magazine on August 3, 2020.
Due to crosswind, the bomb missed the aiming point, the Aioi Bridge, by approximately 800 ft (240 m) and detonated directly over Shima Surgical Clinic. It released the equivalent energy of 16 ± 2 kilotons of TNT (66.9 ± 8.4 TJ). The weapon was considered very inefficient, with only 1.7 percent of its material fissioning. The radius of total destruction was about 1 mile (1.6 km), with resulting fires across 4.4 square miles (11 km2). (from Wikipedia)
Everyone should read about these two massacres once a year. Read a newspaper. Watch a television report. Search the internet or read Wikipedia:
Many victims were eating breakfast; some were children at school. Others were soldiers.
Since Mayor Senkichi Awaya had been killed while eating breakfast with his son and granddaughter at the mayoral residence, Field Marshal Shunroku Hata, who was only slightly wounded, took over the administration of the city, and coordinated relief efforts.
Most elements of the Japanese Second General Army headquarters were undergoing physical training on the grounds of Hiroshima Castle, barely 900 yards (820 m) from the hypocenter. The attack killed 3,243 troops on the parade ground.
American citizens were told about the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima, "a military base," 18 hours later with the spin that it was done "in order to save thousands and thousands of young American lives." My parents believed that story completely.
I don't believe it. There had to be another way to end the war with Japan. Research cited above shows that negotiations were already underway and that the Soviet invasion of Manchuria on August 8 convinced Japan's generals that they needed to negotiate a surrender.
In the same speech, President Harry Truman said, "We have won the race of discovery against the Germans." Cheer, everybody! It was a race, and we won. Don't think about the innocent civilians who died.
But before the bombing, "Truman knew that the Japanese were searching for a way to end the war; he had referred to Togo’s intercepted July 12 cable as the “telegram from the Jap emperor asking for peace.”
My father was in the Army, stationed in the Aleutian Islands, at the time. My mother was a Navy nurse, one of the WAVES (Women Accepted for Voluntary Emergency Service), serving at Camp Elliott near San Diego. They met in Boulder, Colorado, early in 1947, married in October, and I was born on August 19, 1948,
My birthday has always been close to the death day of tens of thousands of people.
Truman and those who insisted on this brutal demonstration of power have not only killed hundreds of thousands of humans and wounded many more.
They have also scarred the minds of every human on earth with the knowledge and photos of these two nuclear massacres and with fear of the future.
On every American then and now they have imposed indelible shame. We are ugly Americans.
For further reading:
Continued effects on Masaaki Takano, age 82, and others: https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/atomic-bomb-dropped-japan-s-hiroshima-75-years-ago-still-n1235849
Letters to the editor on 75th anniversary of Hiroshima https://www.latimes.com/opinion/story/2020-08-08/hiroshima-wasnt-the-start-of-the-nuclear-age-building-the-bomb-at-all-was
Pilot turned anti-nuclear activist https://www.nytimes.com/2020/08/06/magazine/hiroshima-claude-eatherly-antinuclear.html
Folded cranes and other facts https://www.latimes.com/world-nation/story/2020-08-06/5-things-to-know-hiroshima-atomic-bomb-anniversary