Last month contained the 66th anniversary of the first and only uses of nuclear weapons in war.  On August 6, 1945, America bombed Hiroshima, killing about 120,000 people.  Three days later, Nagasaki was bombed,  resulting in 80,000 deaths.  Naturally the extreme left with their blame-America-first policies—and many Ron Paul supporters whose foreign policy is barely distinguishable—use this as an example of our evil history.  But the facts tell a different story.  Death in war is horrible, but fewer deaths in war is  not as bad as more deaths in war.

Pearl Harbor

On the morning of December 7, 1941 (December 8 in Japan), the Japanese started the war with their unprovoked attack on our Hawaiian naval base.  Unfortunately, there is some revisionism about this history.  Consider the loony “9-11 Truthers” like Obama’s “green jobs czar” Van Jones, who think that the Bush administration might have “deliberately allowed 9/11 to happen, perhaps as a pretext for war.”  Similarly, there have been what could be called “Pearl Harbor Truthers”, who think FDR did the same.  Take note that  I have severely criticised FDR for prolonging the Depression with his big-government policies, continuing those of his predecessor Herbert Hoover.  But the Pearl Harbor Truth charge is preposterous, especially with new evidence.

The article Pearl Harbor Truly a Sneak Attack, Papers Show cites Takeo Iguchi, a professor of law and international relations at the International Christian University in Tokyo, and former diplomat.  He found documentation of strong debates in the Japanese government over whether to declare war before attacking, but most did not want to.  One note on the day before the attack bragged, “our deceptive diplomacy is steadily proceeding toward success.” Iguchi summarizes:

“The diary shows that the army and navy did not want to give any proper declaration of war, or indeed prior notice even of the termination of negotiations.  And they clearly prevailed.”

The Japan-caused Holocaust

Even before and after Pearl Harbour, the Japanese had waged a brutal war of aggression against their Asian neighbours, a veritable Asian Holocaust.  Historian Chalmers Johnson wrote in a book review:

“It may be pointless to try to establish which World War Two Axis aggressor, Germany or Japan, was the more brutal to the peoples it victimised. The Germans killed six million Jews and 20 million Russians [i.e. Soviet citizens]; the Japanese slaughtered as many as 30 million Filipinos, Malays, Vietnamese, Cambodians, Indonesians and Burmese, at least 23 million of them ethnic Chinese. Both nations looted the countries they conquered on a monumental scale, though Japan plundered more, over a longer period, than the Nazis. Both conquerors enslaved millions and exploited them as forced labourers—and, in the case of the Japanese, as [forced] prostitutes for front-line troops. If you were a Nazi prisoner of war from Britain, America, Australia, New Zealand or Canada (but not Russia) you faced a 4% chance of not surviving the war; [by comparison] the death rate for Allied POWs held by the Japanese was nearly 30%.”

Clearly this reign of terror needed to be stopped.  The only way forward was regime change.

Unconditional surrender

The Allies didn’t want to repeat the mistake of WW1, where they granted Germany an “Armistice”.  Unfortunately, this well-meant decision to allow Germany some face-saving, convinced many that they had not really been defeated.  This allowed Hitler to demagogue about a Jewish “stab in the back” to the military.  So the result was just a 20-year ceasefire—many historians regard WW2 as just a continuation of WW1.  So the second time round, the enemy had to know they were well and truly whipped, so they would submit completely to the needed changes.

Before the Japanese had surrendered, the Allies, led by General Eisenhower, the future Republican President, had already forced Germany to surrender unconditionally.   Then they began the long task of “denazifying” Germany and bringing the leading Nazis to justice.  We now know the result: Germany is a peaceful and prosperous democratic nation.

The same was true of Japan: an armistice would not have solved its main problem: leadership by a fanatical warrior class.  Instead, it would just have postponed conflict for a while.  Fortunately, at the time, America was not infested by Leftmedia calls for a “proportionate” response, which would logically mean: Japan bombed Pearl Harbor, so we bomb a Japanese harbor and call it even (see also Patriot column World War 2 lessons: soldiers against the Leftmedia).

Saving as many lives as possible

A huge obstacle in forcing surrender was the “bushido” warrior code of “no surrender”.  Our Navy faced suicide bombers, more commonly called “Kamikaze”.  And on the land battles, the casualties were enormous, as soldiers and even civilians were prepared to die fighting.  For example, in taking the small island of Okinawa, there were over 50,000 Allied (mainly American) casualties, including 12,500 killed.  Japanese casualties were even worse: about 110,000 soldiers and about 160,000 civilians.

Understandably, taking the Japanese home islands would have been far more costly: the new President Truman was informed that it would cost about 1,202,005 US casualties, including 314,619 Americans killed, with many times more Japanese soldiers and civilians.  Added to these casualty figures, the Japanese War Ministry had ordered the execution of all 168,500 Allied POWs, including 15,000 Americans prisoners, if the homeland were invaded.

Japan was also suffering enormous casualties from conventional bombing.  The atomic bombs weren’t even the worst: that sad honor goes to the fire-bombing of Tokyo on the night of March 9–10, 1945, killing 83,793.

Not only would an invasion have been lost millions of lives, but given the brutality of the enemy, any prolonging of the war would have been extremely costly.  Every month would cost more lives than the atomic bombs took, as the historian Robert Newman, Professor Emeritus at the University of Pittsburgh, shows in his book Truman and the Hiroshima Cult (1995):

“the last months were in many ways the worst; starvation and disease aggravated the usual beatings, beheadings and battle deaths.  It is plausible to hold that upwards of 250,000 people, mostly Asian but some Westerners, would have died each month the Japanese Empire struggled in its death throes beyond July 1945.”

Bombing and its aftermath

On July 26, 1945, the Allies issued the Potsdam Declaration, warned Japan to surrender and disarm or face “prompt and utter destruction.”  Yet it also promised “strengthening of democratic tendencies among the Japanese people. Freedom of speech, of religion, and of thought, as well as respect for the fundamental human rights shall be established.”

Despite what Leftists and Paulites claim, Hiroshima was a legitimate military target.  It was HQ for the Fifth Division and the 2nd General Army, and a military communications center, and contained 40,000 troops and military factories and Marine Headquarters.  They also claim that the Japanese would have surrendered anyway, ignoring the huge casualties every week the war continued.  This is simply false, as historian Richard Frank wrote on the 50th anniversary of the bombings:

“The Japanese did not see their situation as catastrophically hopeless. They were not seeking to surrender, but pursuing a negotiated end to the war that preserved the old order in Japan, not just a figurehead emperor. Finally, thanks to radio intelligence, American leaders, far from knowing that peace was at hand, understood—as one analytical piece in the ‘Magic’ Far East Summary stated in July 1945, after a review of both the military and diplomatic intercepts—that ‘until the Japanese leaders realize that an invasion can not be repelled, there is little likelihood that they will accept any peace terms satisfactory to the Allies.’”

Furthermore, we now know that the notorious WW2 Prime Minister Hideki Tojo, who was hanged as a war criminal in 1948, strongly opposed surrender even after the nukes.  From a 2008 report of the release of his diaries, Japan’s WWII PM wanted to keep fighting:

“ ‘Without fully employing its abilities even at the final moment, the imperial nation is surrendering before the enemies’ propaganda,’ Tojo wrote, as quoted by the newspaper. ‘I never imagined the torpor of the nation’s leaders and people,’ he wrote.

“Tojo said that Japan was surrendering because it was afraid of more atomic bombings and of the Soviet Union entering the Pacific front.

“But Tojo warned Japan ‘will come off as a complete loser by accepting unconditional surrender, even if it makes a few demands.’ ”

To show how crass the revisionists are, far from being ready to surrender, Japan didn’t capitulate until a week after Nagasaki, on August 15, 1945.

Conclusion

The atomic bombings were horrific, certainly, but it would have been even more horrific to allow the murderous warrior cult to continue, costing thousands of lives a day; or lose hundreds of thousands of American soldiers and POWs winning the war by “conventional” means.