Today marks the day on which the United States killed many thousands of innocent Japanese…..
Or so you might hear from some folks who weren’t there, in that time, nor who fully understand the facts of war.
Today does indeed mark the day on which the United States dropped a first of it’s kind weapon on a Japanese city and began the end of a war. Today does mark the day in which many Japanese people in Hiroshima died. This was, indeed, a tragedy. Many more died in the (conventional) bombings in Tokyo, and Dresden, and Hamburg. But this also was the culmination of a clash of cultures. The Japanese were, by our standards, barbarians, and by theirs, so were we. Historians argue that the Japanese were forced into war, and this may have some validity. But ultimately, the Japanese attacked the US, and ultimately, they were defeated. Their culture today bears little resemblance to that of pre-WWII. This is largely due to the changes the US (and it’s allies) forced upon the losers of the war. Total surrender was what made this happen. But Hiroshima was not a non-military city. It had many strategic targets, and it’s citizens were a significant part of the machine which made war materiel for the soldiers and sailors of the Japanese Amy and Navy.
Today marks the day when the weapon created by thousands of men and women, the most highly educated people in the world, ended a war. This weapon was created not only by the brains of those scientists, but also by the industrial might of a nation. Without that industrial might, “The Bomb” would not have been possible, and (estimates vary) up to a million US servicemen would likely have died invading the Japanese Home Islands.
Is this a day to rejoice? If you are the descendant of one of those men who would have been a part of the invasion force, then yes, I suppose it is. But for all of us, it should be a day of remembrance of the horrors of war, and a day of prayer for those who lost their lives, on that day and every other day of the war.
This day, 65 years ago, ushered in the “atomic age” with its attendant fears from that point forward of “The BOMB” for people around the world. People grew up learning to fear atomic annihilation, learned “Duck and Cover” and expected to spend weeks or months surviving in fallout shelters. Children of today apparently have no idea what the fears of the day were.
But this day was the beginning of the end of a war, 65 years ago.