Okay kids, gather round because you seem to be under the impression that this website owes you an education AND that your education on this subject is sufficient. Neither of those is true, but I’m gonna help you out anyway!
First, let’s discuss the “reasons for dropping the bomb” that are commonly given, but also happen to be totally wrong:
- Japan wasn’t willing to surrender
Actually, Japan was totally down to surrender! America was very good at cracking Japanese codes, and had intercepted several diplomatic messages sent to other countries where Japan expressed the terms of their conditions, with the only major term being that the emperor remain in power (Which would have been necessary to ensure a peaceful transition to foreign government for the Japanese people). Harry Truman ignored these messages and prolonged the war until the completion of the atomic bomb so that it could be used. More on that later.
In his 1965 study, Atomic Diplomacy: Hiroshima and Potsdam (pp. 107, 108), historian Gar Alperovitz writes:
Although Japanese peace feelers had been sent out as early as September 1944 (and [China’s] Chiang Kai-shek had been approached regarding surrender possibilities in December 1944), the real effort to end the war began in the spring of 1945. This effort stressed the role of the Soviet Union …
In mid-April  the [US] Joint Intelligence Committee reported that Japanese leaders were looking for a way to modify the surrender terms to end the war. The State Department was convinced the Emperor was actively seeking a way to stop the fighting.
- It would have saved more lives than it took
Nah. Japan was actually on it’s last legs, and wouldn’t have been able to fight much longer at all, thanks to effective embargoes, blockades, and traditional bombing. They had all but run out of fuel, ammunition, and other war supplies.
Admiral William Leahy – the highest ranking member of the U.S. military from 1942 until retiring in 1949, who was the first de facto Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and who was at the center of all major American military decisions in World War II – wrote (pg. 441):
It is my opinion that 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 because of the effective sea blockade and the successful bombing with conventional weapons.
- Destroying two major military targets helped us out
LOL Nagasaki and Hiroshima weren’t selected because they were military targets (Because they weren’t military targets at all!). They were selected because they were large cities where the bombs would have the most devastating affect.
President Truman steadfastly defended his use of the atomic bomb, claiming that it “saved millions of lives” by bringing the war to a quick end. Justifying his decision, he went so far as to declare: “The world will note that the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, a military base. That was because we wished in this first attack to avoid, insofar as possible, the killing of civilians.”
This was a preposterous statement. In fact, almost all of the victims were civilians, and the United States Strategic Bombing Survey (issued in 1946) stated in its official report: “Hiroshima and Nagasaki were chosen as targets because of their concentration of activities and population.”
General George Marshall agreed:
Contemporary documents show that Marshall felt “these weapons might first be used against straight military objectives such as a large naval installation and then if no complete result was derived from the effect of that, he thought we ought to designate a number of large manufacturing areas from which the people would be warned to leave–telling the Japanese that we intend to destroy such centers….”
As the document concerning Marshall’s views suggests, the question of whether the use of the atomic bomb was justified turns … on whether the bombs had to be used against a largely civilian target rather than a strictly military target—which, in fact, was the explicit choice since although there were Japanese troops in the cities, neither Hiroshima nor Nagasaki was deemed militarily vital by U.S. planners. (This is one of the reasons neither had been heavily bombed up to this point in the war.) Moreover, targeting [at Hiroshima and Nagasaki] was aimed explicitly on non-military facilities surrounded by workers’ homes.
Now, let’s discuss the the actual reasons for dropping the bomb:
- To send a message to the Soviet Union
- That’s it
- It was strictly politicalHistory.com notes:
By August 1945, relations between the Soviet Union and the United States had deteriorated badly. The Potsdam Conference between U.S. President Harry S. Truman, Russian leader Joseph Stalin, and Winston Churchill (before being replaced by Clement Attlee) ended just four days before the bombing of Hiroshima. The meeting was marked by recriminations and suspicion between the Americans and Soviets. Russian armies were occupying most of Eastern Europe. Truman and many of his advisers hoped that the U.S. atomic monopoly might offer diplomatic leverage with the Soviets. In this fashion, the dropping of the atomic bomb on Japan can be seen as the first shot of the Cold War.
New Scientist reportedin 2005:
The US decision to drop atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 wasmeant to kick-start the Cold Warrather than end the Second World War, according to two nuclear historians who say they have new evidence backing the controversial theory.
Causing a fission reaction in several kilograms of uranium and plutonium and killing over 200,000 people 60 years ago wasdone more to impress the Soviet Union than to cow Japan, they say. And the US President who took the decision, Harry Truman, was culpable, they add.
New studies of the US, Japanese and Soviet diplomatic archives suggest that Truman’s main motive was to limit Soviet expansion in Asia, Kuznick claims. Japan surrendered because the Soviet Union began an invasion a few days after the Hiroshima bombing, not because of the atomic bombs themselves, he says.
According to an account by Walter Brown, assistant to then-US secretary of state James Byrnes, Truman agreed at a meeting three days before the bomb was dropped on Hiroshima that Japan was “looking for peace”. Truman was told by his army generals, Douglas Macarthur and Dwight Eisenhower, and his naval chief of staff, William Leahy, that there was no military need to use the bomb.
“Impressing Russia was more important than ending the war in Japan,” says Selden.
So let’s recap:
Harry Truman purposely killed hundreds of thousands of Japanese civilians to make a political statement.
The US detonated the world’s first weapon of mass destruction simply to send a message to the Soviet Union and stop Red expansion into Asia.
I’m not saying the fact that one group of people (Who happened to be Asian) was viewed as disposable just to put on a show for another group of people (Who happened to also be white) is an act of racism.
I’m also not saying that we should examine the fact that no German or Italian families living in the US were put into containment camps out of fear of spies, but pretty much all Asian-Americans were (Because Asia is a country, obviously).
I AM saying that maybe you should consider that your history lessons in school were taught from books written by old white men, and they might read a little differently if they weren’t.
Oh, and I’ll leave on this little note from President Truman’s youth. Again, I’m not saying he’s racist or anything, but…
In Hiroshima: Why America Dropped the Bomb, Japanese American historian Ronald Takaki writes about the man who made the final decision to destroy two Japanese cities, President Harry Truman. This was the same man who, when he was younger, wrote the following in a letter to his future wife, Bess:
I think one man is as good as another, so long as he’s honest and decent and not a nigger or a Chinaman. My uncle Will says that the Lord made a white man of dust, a nigger from mud, then threw up what was left and it came down a Chinaman. He does hate Chinese and Japs. So do I. It is race prejudice I guess. But I am strongly of the opinion that negroes ought to be in Africa, yellow men in Asia, and white men in Europe and America.
Hey look, sources where you can go and educate yourself about all of this, and fact check me while you’re at it!
Put your mask back on
and come back to bed
pull down my pants
and fuck me in the head
cover your faces
with the words you said
the truth was ours
but you lied instead.
My hellos are her last goodbyes
my farewell is the breaking of her heart
my affection is the straight jacket
my words are her prison
my embrace is the constricting of her lungs
my kisses are bruises on her naked skin
my touch is a hand around her throat
and the harder I try to stop it
the more I come to realise that
my love is her asphyxiation.
The sun was hot enough to dry out the very air. Not a cloud could be seen in the never ending sky, stretched blue and unbroken far beyond the lip of the horizon. The church service had gone for over an hour and a half. So many people had spoken their final words for their fallen friend, brother, father. The w
”Come and have a turn helping to carry Uncle’s coffin, bro.”
Wirepa put his big hand on my shoulder as he said it, and nodded towards the group of pallbearers forming the front of the funeral procession. The hearse was about a hundred metres from the open earth, waiting to accept Uncle into his final resting place. Uncle was my one of my best friend’s father. I was honoured to be asked by her family to do something so important. My friend and her sisters formed a line behind the coffin as it started it’s slow ascent up the hill. Her younger brother one of the pallbearers, her fiancé and my connection to her and the family, another. Other men, older men, took up the remaining four handles, as myself and the young Māori men kept pace at either side of the coffin, waiting to accept the honour of carrying a much loved, and loving man to rest. One of the older men beckoned for reprieve, and I slid my hand under his and gripped the handle.
Māori harmonies filled the air as we slowly made our way up the hill. An acoustic guitar and a ukulele provided the rhythm for the song. Their voices were melancholy, and yet the aroha was impossible to miss. Their had been much singing during the Catholic service earlier, everyone had a song to sing and a tune to play. All who did, sang a song they knew he loved to hear. There was already quite a few family and guests at the top, watching as the procession got under way.
He said he had to work, so I went to the show alone
they turned down the lights and turned the projector on
and just as the news of the world started to begin
I saw my darling and my best friend walking in.
They sang together as I held my head high and felt the weight of the coffin grow with every step. It hadn’t really occurred to me at that point the mana I had earned to be asked, but I was humbled by the gesture. Soon enough, my left arm told me it was time for someone else to take over, and I gestured for one of the other family members to come and take over. Most of the funeral guests had moved around the coffin as it was loaded onto the lowering device.
Although I was sitting right there they didn’t see me
and so they both sat down right in front of me
and when he kissed her lips then I almost died
and in the middle of the colour cartoon I started to cry.
The priest went through his prayers, in Māori first, then in English. I didn’t understand either of them to be honest. I stood in the blistering sun next to the other friends from my circle who’d come to show support. One of the cemetery staff moved to the end of the casket, and pressed a button which started to lower the coffin into the ground. The family asked him to stop, there was more singing to be done. A Māori song, and while I didn’t know what the words meant, I understood perfectly. This was goodbye, and it always looks the same. Even when people are swaying from side to side, shifting from left foot to their right in time with an unheard rhythm. The guitar backed the beautiful crowd of voices. The worker tried again to lower the casket, and was again stopped. Wirepa, and some of the other cousins, had taken up position on the far side of their fallen Uncle, facing him.
His son, my friend’s younger brother, took his shirt off and stepped into the middle of the ring they had formed for him. He slapped his chest and growled, his eyes grew manic, his nostrils flared and his tongue was all the way out of his mouth, pointing down to his chin, and with his slaps, the haka had begun. Ferocious and otherworldly shouts and growls came from his mouth, none of which I understood, but the passion and the fury on his face was clear. He was the leader, the chant was his, and the other cousins, his warriors, answered his cries in a call and response method. From where I stood, they faced me directly, and I had seen many hakas from this family, none so gut wrenching as a son saying goodbye to his father taken too early. I can understand why the whites were so intimidated by this. The haka is a greeting, a goodbye, and a challenge depending on the circumstances and the chants and actions of the warriors performing it. Intimidating is not enough to describe it, beautiful either. Like so much of life I suppose. When they were done, Matthew, my friends brother, went down on one knee, and as the silence ensued, his put his hands to his face. A lone warrior in the dust.
And so I got up and slowly I walked on home
and Mama saw the tears and said “Baby, what is wrong”
and so just to keep from telling her a lie
I just said “Sad movies makes me cry.”
The priest went on with his prayers, repeating the Catholic verses in English. Matt stayed down in the dust, wiping the tears from his face as the casket was lowered slowly. I stood amongst warriors, amongst blood. Amongst something that is worth more to them, and me for that matter, than any amount of money or greed or pleasure or hollow fulfilment this modern life has to offer. Something I will never have. Grief is very personal. Even in front of a hundred people, you’re nowhere to be found, it’s turning you inside out and tearing you to pieces, and all you can do is wipe the tears away as your heart is strangled by your chest. I watched him there, and I thought a million other things to arrive at one. Grief is very personal.
The priest finished his prayers with an Amen. He approached Darryl’s mother, who sat staring at her son’s coffin, and kissed her cheek and pressed his nose to hers. He did the same to the other family members, and then walked over to Matt, still on the ground. He lifted him up, shook his hand, and pressed his nose to his, and whispered his condolences.
"Oh sad movies, always make me cry."
I watched as Kylie, one of my best friends, leant on edge of her father’s grave. Her back was to me, but I could see that she had started to cry by the way she gripped the lowering machine. Her fiancé comforted her as she tossed her final goodbye, a white rose, into the freshly opened soil. The rest of the family did the same, and then we all formed a line to place a flower, or some sand, into the coffin. I chose sand. It ran through my fingers and was caught on the breeze before it disappeared from my sight. He was returning to the Earth that had created him, and joining his people, returning to our mother. I chose sand, and dropped it in the hole.
"… always makes me cry."
Amongst the raised glasses that night, see you soon will be the call, but goodbye will be the sand slipping through their fingers.
I never want to wash
you’ve turned to filth
clinging to my skin and
always on my smile.
"You’re goddamn beautiful.”
I could be tortured by those lips for all eternity.
"… and you’re my goddess.”
is it always,
“I want to do
things to your body”
"I’m going to
free your mind”
When we were younger
we used to drink all night
and greet each other
with a warm embrace
and then we’d eat
and dance, and party
until the sun reminded us
it was time to pay the toll
and there was never a reason
only that we could
Now we’re a little older
we drink to get through it
now there’s tears on my shoulder
when I’m there for support
we’ll eat, and drink and dance
to escape the sadness of lives
that end before their time
remembering when we were immortal
we celebrate for just one reason
only because we should.