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David Swanson explodes the myths about why the USA nuclear bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki

Why do U.S. history teachers in U.S. elementary schools today — in 2021! — tell children that nuclear bombs were dropped on Japan to save lives — or rather “the bomb” (singular) to avoid mentioning Nagasaki? Researchers and professors have pored over the evidence for 75 years. They know that Truman knew that the war was over, that Japan wanted to surrender, that the Soviet Union was about to invade. They’ve documented all the resistance to the bombing within the U.S. military and government and scientific community, as well as the motivation to test bombs that so much work and expense had gone into, as well as the motivation to intimidate the world and in particular the Soviets, as well as the open and shameless placing of zero value on Japanese lives. How were such powerful myths generated that the facts are treated like skunks at a picnic?

Hiroshima Is A Lie    Endangerment  By David Swanson, World BEYOND War, August 5, 2021

 ”…………………   could an 18-year-old in 2015 be expected to know that most of the victims of WWII were civilians — men and women and children alike? Who would have told her that? Certainly not her text books. Most definitely not the endless saturation of her culture with WWII-themed entertainment. ……… In U.S. culture as well, which heavily influences Italian, a top focus for drama and tragedy and comedy and heroism and historical fiction is WWII.

……… WWII is often called “the good war,” and sometimes this is thought of as principally or originally a contrast between WWII, the good war, and WWI, the bad war. However, it was not popular to call WWII “the good war” during or immediately after it happened, when the comparison with WWI would have been easiest. Various factors may have contributed to the growth in popularity of that phrase over the decades, including increased understanding of the Holocaust (and misunderstanding of the war’s relationship to it),[ii] plus, of course, the fact that the United States, unlike all the other major participants, wasn’t itself bombed or invaded …………

Perhaps the strangest myths, though, are those about nuclear weapons, especially the idea that by murdering huge numbers of people with them a far greater number of lives, or at least the right kind of lives, were spared. The nukes did not save lives. They took lives, possibly 200,000 of them. They were not intended to save lives or to end the war. And they didn’t end the war. The Russian invasion did that. But the war was going to end anyway, without either of those things. The United States Strategic Bombing Survey concluded that, “… certainly prior to 31 December, 1945, and in all probability prior to 1 November, 1945, Japan would have surrendered even if the atomic bombs had not been dropped, even if Russia had not entered the war, and even if no invasion had been planned or contemplated.”[vi]

One dissenter who had expressed this same view to the Secretary of War and, by his own account, to President Truman, prior to the bombings was General Dwight Eisenhower.[vii] Under Secretary of the Navy Ralph Bard, prior to the bombings, urged that Japan be given a warning.[viii] Lewis Strauss, Advisor to the Secretary of the Navy, also prior to the bombings, recommended blowing up a forest rather than a city.[ix] General George Marshall apparently agreed with that idea.[x] Atomic scientist Leo Szilard organized scientists to petition the president against using the bomb.[xi] Atomic scientist James Franck organized scientists who advocated treating atomic weapons as a civilian policy issue, not just a military decision.[xii] Another scientist, Joseph Rotblat, demanded an end to the Manhattan Project, and resigned when it was not ended.[xiii] A poll of the U.S. scientists who had developed the bombs, taken prior to their use, found that 83% wanted a nuclear bomb publicly demonstrated prior to dropping one on Japan. The U.S. military kept that poll secret.[xiv] General Douglas MacArthur held a press conference on August 6, 1945, prior to the bombing of Hiroshima, to announce that Japan was already beaten.[xv]

The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral William D. Leahy said angrily in 1949 that Truman had assured him only military targets would be nuked, not civilians. “The use of this barbarous weapon at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of no material assistance in our war against Japan. The Japanese were already defeated and ready to surrender,” Leahy said.[xvi] Top military officials who said just after the war that the Japanese would have quickly surrendered without the nuclear bombings included General Douglas MacArthur, General Henry “Hap” Arnold, General Curtis LeMay, General Carl “Tooey” Spaatz, Admiral Ernest King, Admiral Chester Nimitz, Admiral William “Bull” Halsey, and Brigadier General Carter Clarke. As Oliver Stone and Peter Kuznick summarize, seven of the United States’ eight five-star officers who received their final star in World War II or just after — Generals MacArthur, Eisenhower, and Arnold, and Admirals Leahy, King, Nimitz, and Halsey — in 1945 rejected the idea that the atomic bombs were needed to end the war. “Sadly, though, there is little evidence that they pressed their case with Truman before the fact.”[xvii]

On August 6, 1945, President Truman lied on the radio that a nuclear bomb had been dropped on an army base, rather than on a city. And he justified it, not as speeding the end of the war, but as revenge against Japanese offenses. “Mr. Truman was jubilant,” wrote Dorothy Day. Weeks before the first bomb was dropped, on July 13, 1945, Japan had sent a telegram to the Soviet Union expressing its desire to surrender and end the war. The United States had broken Japan’s codes and read the telegram. Truman referred in his diary to “the telegram from Jap Emperor asking for peace.” President Truman had been informed through Swiss and Portuguese channels of Japanese peace overtures as early as three months before Hiroshima. Japan objected only to surrendering unconditionally and giving up its emperor, but the United States insisted on those terms until after the bombs fell, at which point it allowed Japan to keep its emperor. So, the desire to drop the bombs may have lengthened the war. The bombs did not shorten the war.[xviii]

Presidential advisor James Byrnes had told Truman that dropping the bombs would allow the United States to “dictate the terms of ending the war.” Secretary of the Navy James Forrestal wrote in his diary that Byrnes was “most anxious to get the Japanese affair over with before the Russians got in.” Truman wrote in his diary that the Soviets were preparing to march against Japan and “Fini Japs when that comes about.” The Soviet invasion was planned prior to the bombs, not decided by them. The United States had no plans to invade for months, and no plans on the scale to risk the numbers of lives that U.S. school teachers will tell you were saved.[xix] The idea that a massive U.S. invasion was imminent and the only alternative to nuking cities, so that nuking cities saved huge numbers of U.S. lives, is a myth. Historians know this, just as they know that George Washington didn’t have wooden teeth or always tell the truth, and Paul Revere didn’t ride alone, and slave-owning Patrick Henry’s speech about liberty was written decades after he died, and Molly Pitcher didn’t exist.[xx] But the myths have their own power. Lives, by the way, are not the unique property of U.S. soldiers. Japanese people also had lives.

Truman ordered the bombs dropped, one on Hiroshima on August 6th and another type of bomb, a plutonium bomb, which the military also wanted to test and demonstrate, on Nagasaki on August 9th. The Nagasaki bombing was moved up from the 11th to the 9th to decrease the likelihood of Japan surrendering first.[xxi] Also on August 9th, the Soviets attacked the Japanese. During the next two weeks, the Soviets killed 84,000 Japanese while losing 12,000 of their own soldiers, and the United States continued bombing Japan with non-nuclear weapons — burning Japanese cities, as it had done to so much of Japan prior to August 6th that, when it came time to pick two cities to nuke, there hadn’t been many left to choose from. Then the Japanese surrendered.

That there was cause to use nuclear weapons is a myth. That there could again be cause to use nuclear weapons is a myth. That we can survive significant further use of nuclear weapons is a myth. That there is cause to produce nuclear weapons even though you’ll never use them is too stupid even to be a myth. And that we can forever survive possessing and proliferating nuclear weapons without someone intentionally or accidentally using them is pure insanity.[xxii]

Why do U.S. history teachers in U.S. elementary schools today — in 2021! — tell children that nuclear bombs were dropped on Japan to save lives — or rather “the bomb” (singular) to avoid mentioning Nagasaki? Researchers and professors have pored over the evidence for 75 years. They know that Truman knew that the war was over, that Japan wanted to surrender, that the Soviet Union was about to invade. They’ve documented all the resistance to the bombing within the U.S. military and government and scientific community, as well as the motivation to test bombs that so much work and expense had gone into, as well as the motivation to intimidate the world and in particular the Soviets, as well as the open and shameless placing of zero value on Japanese lives. How were such powerful myths generated that the facts are treated like skunks at a picnic? ……………………………….  https://worldbeyondwar.org/hiroshima-is-a-lie/

August 7, 2021 - Posted by | spinbuster, USA, weapons and war

1 Comment »

  1. nice post

    Comment by DCC - Zero Waste Recycler | August 7, 2021 | Reply


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