No Apology for Hiroshima

While we conservatives ponder what to do with the mess in the Republican party, President Obama may be planning to drop another bomb. There are rumors that, in his upcoming visit to Japan, President Obama plans to apologize for something else he didn’t do. It is said he will apologize for the U. S. dropping the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. To apologize for Hiroshima would be a huge mistake. Not even the Japanese government wants an apology from the U S. for Hiroshima. But, of course, some on the left think it would be a good idea because it has become a leftist mantra that dropping the bomb was a horrible thing.

Younger conservatives may not have all the facts conveniently at hand when they are faced with the standard arguments from liberals. The Wikipedia article linked above sets the historical facts forth fairly succinctly. A longer essay by Paul Fussell, a leftist historian does a magnificent job of explaining them. In an essay first published in the The New Republic titled “Thank God for the Atom Bomb”. Why would, Fussell, generally a leftist, say such a thing in a liberal magazine? Put succinctly, because he was one of the millions of soldiers being trained for the invasion of Japan when the first bomb was dropped. He states in his essay that when he and his comrades in arms heard that the bomb had been dropped, they burst into tears because they knew that, because of the bomb, they would live.

So lets dispatch some of the common and extremely misinformed liberal arguments. 1) It must have been racist because we didn’t drop an atom bomb on Germany. Answer: The impetus for creating the bomb was, indeed, Germany. Germany was developing its own bomb. The reason we didn’t drop one on Germany was that Germany surrendered in May of 1945. The first experimental bomb was successfully detonated in July of 1945. In short, we didn’t drop one on Germany because we didn’t have one ready to drop before they surrendered. 2) Japan would have surrendered anyway without an invasion. Answer: there is zero evidence to support this claim. Perhaps the most telling fact that this is NOT TRUE is the fact, the Japan did not immediately surrender after the first bomb was dropped. A second bomb was dropped on Nagasaki three days after the first bomb was dropped. There was telephone service between Japan and the United States. Having seen the great horror and devastation, the Japanese did not surrender until almost two weeks AFTER the second bomb was dropped. We didn’t drop a third one because we didn’t have, at that time, any more bombs. 3) We should have warned them. Answer: we did warn them. Extensively. They didn’t believe us.

In the essay referenced above, Fussell lays out in detail the history that Harry Truman had to take account of in making the decision. The peaceful culture that people see when they visit Japan today is the result of years of American occupation and a renunciation of a violent and highly nationalistic Japanese past. In 1945, the Japanese had proved to be fierce, even suicidal fighters. Kamikaze is a Japanese word that described, for example, fighter pilots who would deliberately guide their planes into ships in order to sink them and do it for the glory of Japan. When the decision was made, the Allies had already invaded one of the outer islands, Okinawa. That invasion lasted more than a month and cost the allies more than 14000 deaths and 82,000 casualties of all kinds. Japan reportedly lost almost 80,000. And that was not the home island.

We did not drop the bomb out of clear blue sky on a peaceful day on a country that was minding its own business. WE did not drop it in retaliation for Pearl Harbor. We dropped it to end the war and the killing. Based on how many deaths were suffered in the invasion of Okinawa it was anticipated that a conventional invasion would take a year and cost as many as a million allied lives. Based on the number of Japanese deaths in the invasion of Okinawa, a reasonable argument can be made that dropping the two bombs saved Japanese lives as well.

AS noted above, it is rumored that the Japanese government does not want an apology. The reason given is that it does not want the inevitable reminders of its war filled past and the terrible barbarities inflicted by its troops on its Asian neighbors. The Koreans, the Chinese, the Viet Namese need no reminder of Japanese atrocities during the second world war. But perhaps some gullible millennial who have been taught to see the U. S. as the eternal villain do.