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Brief reflections on the 62nd anniversary of the Hiroshoma bomb

The UN is making much of that anniversary, and has taken to referring to the 'the nuclear attack of 6 August 1945'. It then uses this as a hook on which to hang some cant about nuclear disarmament.

I have long been of the opinion that the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki saved lives by shortening the war, but the peerless Victor Davis Hanson in 'Ripples of Battle' makes that point all the more clear cut in his analysis of the battle of Okinawa.

This is comparatively little known in these parts, but the three month campaign for the island resulted in 12,520 American deaths (and over 33,000 missing or wounded), 110,000 Japanese military dead, and perhaps 100,000 civilian dead. This, note, was an outlying island of the archipelago, and inhabited by people speaking a language near incomprehensible to the Japanese. And yet the Japanese armed forces were prepared, to all intents and purposes to fight to the last man, and to take kamikaze operations to levels not previously seen. Consider then, what might have been the fate of the four main islands of Japan if the Americans, with our assistance, had engaged in saturation bombing ahead of a full scale invasion in the planned Operations Olympic and Coronet, targeting Kyushu and Honshu respectively. Hanson quotes from George Feifer's 'Tennozan: the Battle for Okinawa and Atomic Bomb':

"Okinawa's caves, killing grounds, and anguish ought to be re­membered. It ought to be suggested, at least for the sake of the am­bivalent human record, that the first atomic bombs probably prevented the homicidal equivalent of over two hundred more of the same: the twenty million Japanese deaths if invasion had been necessary, in addition to all the other deaths, Western and Asian.

It is difficult to comprehend such figures and to remember the strains of 1945. Focusing on the bomb is easier. But if a symbol is needed to help preserve the memory of the Pacific War, Okinawa is the more fitting one".



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Anonymous verity said... 6:30 pm

No bomb, no Sony Walkman. No Japanese car and electronics industry. You know it makes sense.  



Blogger Croydonian said... 6:33 pm

True. I read somewhere that the founder of Honda bought a half share in a vat of ethanol to see him through the dark days post war, and having avoided blindness then went on to achieve wonders. I think that the utter defeat of Japan was necessary for it to emerge as a fully fledged liberal democracy.  



Blogger CityUnslicker said... 10:00 pm

utter defeat has its merits in that the cancer is cleard from outside. Without it there can be trouble ahead. Germany and the Weimar republic srping to mind.

Which makes me worry about Putin's Russia today....  



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