he atomic bomb at Hiroshima was a horrible thing. But it was not the beginning of horrible things, but the end. Why the world went on it’s horrible spasm in the 1930’s and into the 1940’s will probably never be known. The people responsible for all the decisions are long dead and gone.
For what ever reasons, the people who had just survived the greatest war of all time after 1918 went right back to the old arguments as soon as they could, in new places. If the first war was fought in Europe, well the new would start in China and Spain. With the turmoil stirred up by new players who learned nothing from the first war and the big players of the first war trying as hard as they could to “give peace a chance” when the new players wanted terror, death and monstrosities, what happened was inevitable.
The atomic bomb didn’t emerge singly from a massive program created by mad scientists. It was an inevitable product of a time where things had gone mad and where nobody was willing to place limits on any actions. By the time the Manhattan project was initiated, million were already dead, many killed or starved by their own governments in places like the Ukraine.
By the time the atomic bombs were dropped, there was no technology, instrumentality or government action that had not been used in horrible ways on citizens or occupied populations. This was the age of monsters and the world was covered in them. The big lesson of the not so great first war seemed to be that there were no limits to atrocity and the monsters took that to heart.
I think that the monsters were aided by the relative isolation of peoples. we are now so used to global travel and communications that it’s hard to understand, now that instant communications between people in countries just did not happen. And that with isolation came the opportunity for propaganda and distortion even when those things were not what was needed for the case at hand. Consider this rather racist movie from the OSS.
The movie starts out with the need for facts, yet almost immediately steps into the language of propaganda. Seriously, in a movie designed for intelligence officers? Does this actually help such people gain the empathy that they need to do their jobs? If a US film is this bad, what were the Japanese films like?
In the West, the monsters had to hide their ambitions, because far too many people would be shocked and horrified by their ambitions. Even Hitler had to start small by euthanizing the “unfit” through having doctors kill their patients. Stalin had no such restraint and could kill his people in job lots if he didn’t like them. This was the time that things like concentration camps and the various ‘cides came into vogue. There was a certain banality to all the evil. The craziness of normality among the terror and death.
In China, though the monsters could play to their heart’s content, with the USSR and Imperial Japan plating the game of who can be the worst, this year. The Japanese seemed to have the top in that one, but the USSR’s proxy, Mao made a good effort. After all the Soviets had the most experience in mass killing.
So it’s no surprise that when Japan went to war with the US and the rest that they played the game as business as usual. After all nobody said that there were any rules in China, did they. Did the Soviets play by the rules in Mongolia? I think not. And the Japanese managed, somehow beyond all reason, that they could win a war against the United States. I have some inkling that they were encouraged in this by the Soviets who, in late 1941, could no longer afford to play in Manchuria for the time being.
Well the result was that you had a Japanese culture trying to come to grips with modernity and not having come to the grasp of the realities of total war. At least at home. So you ended up with a with a bloody mess of atrocities like these.
I’ve known about most of these things for a long time. The ritual cannibalism was new though. But it’s in line with the Japanese thinking about how to improve their determination. The Japanese were good about determination. Logistics and planning, not so much. Of course a lot of that thinking was the result of poor information and intelligence. Which was common in both sides.
In any case it’s no as if the Japanese pulled any punches during the war. As far as indiscriminant bombing goes, well there were the balloon flights sent across the Pacific with incendiaries . As far as indiscriminant destruction and pointlessness in a weapons system, the balloons rank right there with the bat bomb.
Though, had the Japanese known that the balloons were actually reaching the US they might have given them nastier cargos, such as the stuff they were cooking at Unit 731.
It’s also true that nuclear fission was the big physics toy of the late 1930’s, being talked about and experimented with in all the journals and labs. So the path to starting a nuclear bomb program was not exactly unknown by anybody. In fact, nuclear energy and weapons were common stuff in the pulps in the late 1930’s. So it’s no big surprise that the Japanese had started a nuclear bomb program.
And had they had the opportunity to finish the program, they would have used them. which would have been very messy all around.
The Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings were hardly the only attacks on Japan. They weren’t even the most lethal. That distinction goes to the Tokyo firebomb raids. For what those were like, see “Grave of the Fireflies” Also consider that without the bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the events of “Grave” would have been far worse. In August 1945, Japan was a struggling but still essentially intact country. In September, General Le May was planning a series of raids on the Japanese rail system that would have rendered it inoperable with all that meant for keeping cities fed. And he would have a lot more B29’s to do it with as his projected fleet strength was supposed to be 4000 B29’s plus all of the aircraft from the European theatre, some 14,000 odd B17’s and B24’s. That was what just the ramp up to the invasion, which, by every memoir and document that I have seen, on all sides, was considered Okinawa writ on a scale never seen before. That’s what must be the consideration when thinking about Hiroshima
The bomb was terrible. But at the time of late 1945 it was going to take something truly terrible to end the vastly more terrible thing that the world had become. The President went to Hiroshima. That is a good thing if you go, like I did, with knowledge and understanding of all that Hiroshima means. Unfortunately the President seems to have gone in ignorance, only knowing the tokens of the Progressive narrative. And willing to apologize for something that no apology was necessary for.
Lies and propaganda are part of the Progressive toolkit. As is locking inconvenient people away and making movies about how happy they are.
It’s time to stop lying to ourselves. By and large the US has tried to be a force for what is right. We don’t need to apologize for stopping the Axis terror. we should admit our own misdeeds, mostly domestic, but that’s about it.
Hiroshima was not a beginning, but an end. Maybe if, instead of chooming around with his friends in that drug smoke filled car, the President had spent time with the veterans that got to come home because the war ended, he would have understood that. the veterans, along with the Japanese Americans who were interred by officials from his Party that he now owes an apology to.