“The generation of survivors of the atomic bombings are in their eighties, those that survived”. This was our most-anticipated stop on an 11-day Crystal Serenity Sea of Japan cruise.
The July 30 “Today In History” feature notes that in 1945 the USS Indianapolis dropped off “the bomb” at Tinian in the Marianas, where it would be assembled and delivered to Hiroshima on August 6. The civilian residents received warnings to evacuate. Perhaps more insidiously, it catalyzes our preoccupation with military force rather than promoting the spiritual and moral lessons that the anniversary of Hiroshima and Nagasaki so profoundly compels. On the tiny island of Okinawa, 66,000 Japanese soldiers committed suicide. In a 1996 advisory opinion, the global Court of Justice interpreted this obligation as follows: “There exists an obligation to pursue in good faith and bring to a conclusion negotiations leading to nuclear disarmament in all its aspects under strict and effective worldwide control”. And, if Putin does respond, the President Obama could continue to make similar reductions, as long as they are matched by the Russians, until the American and Russian arsenals are down to the level of the other major nuclear powers.
THIS COMING WEEK will mark 70 years since the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
The second alternative was accepting a conditional surrender by Japan.
Herbert Bix, 2001 Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan, and professor emeritus at Binghamton University in New York, spoke to dpa about the bombs and the effect they had on Japan. (President Franklin Roosevelt had insisted upon unconditional surrender, and Truman reiterated that demand after Roosevelt’s death in mid-April 1945.). Another bomb was ready for delivery on August 17 or 18, but Mr. Truman did not like the idea of killing “all those kids”. He went on, “In being the first to use it, we… adopted an ethical standard common to the barbarians of the Dark Ages”. Many more died later, our Japanese guide explained, matter-of-factly acknowledging, “It shortened the war”.
At the end of it, over 200,000 people, mostly civilians, were dead and countless survivors left to deal with the nuclear fallout. But beyond simply continuing the conventional bombing and naval blockade of Japan, there were two other options recognized at the time. You can then receive our daily newsletter AND add your point of view to stories that you read here. At least you won’t be killed when the fighting is over.
There is to be no power for the Japanese emperor – although Allies will let him remain their tool.
I have visited Hiroshima, and can testify to the will of its citizens who found the spirit, resources and energy to rebuild their city into one as vibrant, energetic and purposeful as any in Japan.
This claim has been a staple of revisionist historiography, which argues that U.S. policymakers hoped the bomb might end the war against Japan before the Soviet entry into the conflict gave the Russians a significant role in a postwar peace settlement.
Our country has been at war nearly half of my life since the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor.
And do share with your family and friends – so they don’t miss out! “And that was better than I knew”.
As the world relives those August mornings through black-and-white photographs and as we hear the moving stories of the survivors, the most important question we can ask is how do we make sure this never happens again. But we still grieve for Cousins Raymond and Jordan who died during the war. They won’t prevent a single disease, build one road or school or hospital, feed our hungry, house those without shelter or educate our children.
We want to be regular people like everyone else.
“I strongly believe my students engage more with their learning when their teacher has had first-hand experience of what he is talking about”. So I think it’s necessary to continue, to keep talking.