Color footage of 1945 showing the horrors in the Japanese city of Hiroshima after the atomic bomb dropped by the American airplane “Enola Gaye”
My thanks are due to Sudhan (Dr Nasir Khan) for posting the excerpt from Ralph Raico’s “Harry S. Truman: Advancing the Revolution” in John V. Denson, ed., Reassessing the Presidency: The Rise of the Executive State and the Decline of Freedom on the dropping of the bomb on Hiroshima.
It was, of course, on this day, 64 years ago, that the bomb was dropped.
As a 14-year-old schoolboy, fascinated by History, I read Pulitzer prize-winning author, John Hersey’s, Hiroshima, which left me angry and deeply shocked and which led to a numer of heated arguments with fellow schoolboys at the boarding school I attended at the time.
Like many, my step-mother, who was 6 at the time, accepted at face value the story put about in 1945 that the dropping of the bomb was necessary to save the lives of hundreds of thousands of US and British soldiers who would perish in an invasion of the Japanese mainland, and it was from her that I imbibed this version of events, which I continued to accept for several years until I saw a TV interview with Denis Healey, former Minister of Defence and Chancellor of the Exchequor (UK counterpart to US Secretary of the Treasury), who said that the bomb had been used to bring the war to a swift end before the Russians muscled in and demanded their tid-bit of a supine Japan.
Then, a few years ago, I read the chapter, “Japanese Intentions in the Second World War”, in Gore Vidal’s, The Last Empire, which introduced me to the work of Gar Alperovitz, Cold War revisionist historian, whose book, The Decision to Use the Bomb, is frequently cited in the article posted by Sudhan.
(Vidal also reviews Robert Stinnett’s Day of Deceit, in which its author argues that President Roosevelt had advance knowledge of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and withheld intelligence of it from the US Navy commander in Hawaii in order to “bounce” American public opinion into entering the war against Japan, but that’s another story.)
Published on the 60th anniversary of the dropping of the bomb in 2005 in Commondreams.org, Alperovitz’s article, Hiroshima After Sixty Years: The Debate Continues, constitutes a fitting and thought-provoking way of marking today’s anniversary:
Hiroshima After Sixty Years: The Debate Continues
by Gar Alperovitz, published on Wednesday, August 3, 2005 by CommonDreams.org
This weekend marks the 60th anniversary of the August 6, 1945 bombing of Hiroshima. One might think that by now historians would agree on all the fundamental issues. The reality, however, is just the opposite: All the major issues involved in the decision are still very much a matter of dispute among experts. An obvious question is why this should be so after so many years.
Did the atomic bomb, in fact, cause Japan to surrender? Most Americans think the answer is self-evident. However, many historical studies–including new publications by two highly regarded scholars–challenge the conventional understanding. In a recently released Harvard University Press volume drawing upon the latest Japanese sources, for instance, Professor Tsuyohsi Hasegawa concludes that the traditional “myth cannot be supported by historical facts.” By far the most important factor forcing the decision, his research indicates, was the Soviet declaration of war against Japan on August 8, 1945, just after the Hiroshima bombing.
Similarly, Professor Herbert Bix–whose biography of Hirohito won the 2000 Pulitzer Prize for general nonfiction–also writes in a recent article that “the Soviet factor carried greater weight in the eyes of the emperor and most military leaders.”