Skip to comments.The Atomic Bomb: It Was Always Right
Posted on 08/02/2014 8:08:59 AM PDT by Kaslin
This week Major Theodore Van Kirk, the last surviving Veteran of the Enola Gay that dropped the first atomic bomb on Japan, joined the rest of his comrades. His passing is a reminder of why using the atomic bomb was the right thing.
In August 1945 the Allied Powers, led by the United States, were at war with Imperial Japan in the latter days of World War II. Japan would not give up. For every ten thousand Japanese soldiers that were killed by the Allies only a minuscule amount gave up; usually in the single digits.
We were at war because Japan launched war, first against China in 1931, then with another sneak attack against China in 1937, and finally in December 1941 with sneak Japanese attacks against the US at Pearl Harbor and sneak attacks against the United Kingdom and the Netherlands in other areas of the Pacific.
It was during the war that the United States began to develop an atomic bomb, largely in response to the urging of Albert Einstein who warned President Roosevelt, in 1939, about Germanys attempts to make an atomic weapon.
Japan was a tough enemy. Surrender was seen as more than even disgrace; it was a dishonor to the Japanese Emperor, who was the Japanese God. The Japanese were allies of the Nazis. Comparing the two, the Nazis were evil but also methodical. The Nazis were fanatical about only one thing; the elimination of the Jews, a practice they kept up to the literal ending of the war in Europe in May of 1945. The Germans were a tough enemy but they were, by World War II standards, in their military operations, somewhat practical especially when Hitler was ignored. Germans did surrender by the hundreds of thousands years before the war ended. This was not the case of Imperial Japan and in fact Japanese non surrender got worse the closer we got to the shores of Japan. The Japanese soldier was fighting not just for their buddy, their family, or their homeland; they were fighting for their God.
The United States was inching closer to Japan in early and mid-1945. The island campaigns of Okinawa and Iwo Jima, the latter an island of mere miles, resulted in tens of thousands of casualties. The Japanese began going beyond even fanatical resistance to suicidal resistance by crashing their planes into American ships. Even then there was no hope for Japan. American submarines had nearly run out of targets, having surrounded Japan, and were reduced to shelling fishing boats and even targets on land. American planes were firebombing Japanese cities into oblivion. Japan was alone and starvation was a realistic possibility but they would not give up. Japan would have to be invaded.
Operation Downfall was the code name for the invasion of Japan. It was to be the largest and deadliest military operation of all time. If you saw Saving Private Ryan, the first stage of the invasion of Japan, Operation Olympic, was projected to be twice as large and twice as bloody as the invasion of Europe on D Day. The second stage of the invasion of Japan, Operation Coronet, was to be almost three times as large as D day and with even greater casualties than the first phase of the invasion of Japan.
Unlike D Day, the topographic composition of Japan made the landing locations obvious. Japan knew where we were going to land and they were ready for this last stand. Even children were taught in the ways of the sword and the spear so they could kill at least one American before they too would die for their Emperor. This happened with Japanese children in Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and throughout Japan.
To save American and Japanese lives and end the war, President Truman ordered the first atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945. Tens of thousands were instantly killed by the bomb dropped from the Enola Gay, the plane navigated by Maj. Van Kirk. The Japanese still did not surrender. Their military council was divided on surrendering. Three days later another bomb was dropped on Nagasaki also killing tens of thousands. More would die of radiation poisoning in years ahead.
The war council still was divided on surrendering but some Japanese officers looked to end the war and asked the Emperor to use his divine authority to stop the killing. The Soviet Union had entered the war against Japan, American planes were destroying what little was left of other Japanese cities, and an American POW told his captors that the next atomic bomb would be dropped on Tokyo.
It took the personal intervention of the Emperor to end the war. Even after their God had intervened and said to the Army that the war must end, some Japanese were not ready to give up. A group of Army officers launched a failed coup against the Emperor, ostensibly to save their God from shame. After the coup failed the Emperor spoke on radio to tell his people to surrender. It was the first time the Japanese people had ever heard his voice. Many of the Japanese soldiers who did not get the word from the Emperor continued to fight in isolated Pacific pockets until the mid-1970s, almost 30 years after the end of the war.
Any argument from leftist leadership that we should not have used the bombs, against this fanatical an enemy, shows why leftist leadership is not fit to teach our students.
The leftists are fools when it comes to the atomic bomb debate. They argue that the bomb was dropped because of Soviet entry into the war on Japan on August 9, the day Nagasaki was bombed. What the leftists conveniently leave out is that the bomb was shipped to the Pacific before the Soviet Union entered the war against Japan and that the United States asked the Soviet Union to enter the war against Japan.
Another common leftist argument is the bombs were dropped in quick succession in order to stop the Soviet Union from invading Northern Japan. This argument is laughable because the bombs were dropped three days apart and then Truman put a halt on further usage after August 9, leaving five days between the dropping of the second bomb and the end of the war.
Finally, leftists say how could you kill so many people? This is a typical argument from those who have never had to make such a decision as Truman did or other decisions of life and death. Truman was faced with kill now and hopefully end the war or have even more killed on both sides by not using the bomb. (Leftists apparently forget that even their beloved Soviet Union entered the war against Japan. Soviet lives were saved too by Truman.)
This is what leftism does; it plants seeds in people leading them to believe that America is somehow responsible for all the evils in the world, even when America has achieved victory and done well. They will even do it even with World War II, which no sane person can argue with our participation in. They are shameful and are a disgrace to the generation that made it through the Depression and fought, and won, World War II.
Knowing leftist emotion, if the bomb had not been used on Japan, and millions of American casualties occurred, along with tens of millions of Japanese casualties, the leftists would say that we should have used the bomb to alleviate the suffering of the war. Such as the argument of those who were protected by the Enola Gay.
Ask any living soldier from the Pacific, and those were ready to be shipped there from Europe and the USA, who is still alive whether they were happy the bomb was dropped they will respond with Thank God the bomb was dropped.
President Truman was an independent thinker and not a man to be pushed around. His desegregation of the armed forces and recognition of the new State of Israel were evidence of that. He was also a combat veteran. He knew the carnage of war and understood that hard decisions need to be made in war.
It will be interesting to see where the history books, backed by their common core allies and government employee teachers, go with teaching the atomic bomb in years ahead. Before all the Veterans of World War II had even begun to die in large numbers, the leftist jargon against usage of the bomb began. They have spared not even Truman, though Truman was a democrat, for their blind rage knows no bounds. It will get worse once all of the generation that made it through the Depression, and won the war, have passed away.
This is why we should, loudly and boldly, teach that it was right to drop the bomb and why. This is why we should honor the military service of Theodore Van Kirk and those who dropped the atomic bombs. They saved the lives of many of our readers, in America, Japan, and elsewhere.
To Major Theodore Van Kirk we say thank you. It was a tough mission, but you can rest well. You saved countless lives. Welcome home from your final mission. Your comrades are waiting.
No it wasn’t.
Is it that time of year already?
Even after the START and the new START(2010), we still have 5000 nuclear warheads. The warheads and the delivery systems can get expensive to maintain.
War: Obliterate the enemy or unconditional surrender.
If you don’t like war, don’t start one.
The myth continues.
Please explain why it wasn’t.
Thanks Kaslin. Last flight crewmember of the Enola Gay has passed.
I would have been extremely hesitant to bomb civilians even if the Japanese and Germans deserved it. If there was any other way to use the bomb, say on military targets, that is what President Yarddog would have done.
Unfortunately dropping them on cities was probably the only option.
an argument is a connected series of statements intended to establish a proposition
At a Catholic University 40 years ago I had a radical Iranian scumbag professor teaching that we dropped the bomb on the Japanese because they are a yellow people and we didn’t use it on the Germans because they are white.
When I told him the bomb was built to use on Germany he said this was a viewpoint that would only be believed “By reactionaries such as rednecks living in the Southern United States ... or Henry Kissinger!”
Such is the hatred and poison of the left and other assorted scumbag enemies of freedom.
If it saved the life of a single Allied soldier it was the right thing to do.Turns out that it's widely accepted (except by vociferous Marxists and anarchists) that it saved hundreds of thousands of Allied lives *as well as* an equal number of Japanese lives.
There is no explanation
AS the headline says “It Was Always Right”
And thank God my dad didn’t have to go invade Japan
God bless you each and everyone
True American heroes
It’s sad that to anyone who cares about history, every fact in this article is common knowledge. Yet it needs to be written for the idiots who think polar bears are endangered.
The best book I’ve read on this is Richard Frank’s “Downfall: The End Of The Imperial Japanese Empire.” He wrote the book to specifically refute the revisionist theories popular among leftist academicians that it was not necessary to drop the bombs. It is a masterful work that logically destroys every argument against the use of the bombs, based not only on what we knew then but also on what we know now. An historical tragedy, but also absolutely necessary. The bombs saved lives; literally millions of them.
And don’t forget; we didn’t start this war.
No it isn’t ...
He was in the Panama Canal area when the war ended. Bomb probably saved his life.
Arthur T. Hadley said recently that those for whom the use of the A-bomb was wrong seem to be implying that it would have been better to allow thousands on thousands of American and Japanese infantrymen to die in honest hand-to-hand combat on the beaches than to drop those two bombs. People holding such views, he notes, do not come from the ranks of society that produce infantrymen or pilots.
And theres an eloquence problem: most of those with firsthand experience of the war at its worst were not elaborately educated people. Relatively inarticulate, most have remained silent about what they know. That is, few of those destined to be blown to pieces if the main Japanese islands had been invaded went on to become our most effective men of letters or impressive ethical theorists or professors of contemporary history or of international law.
A couple of years ago, liberal comedian/commentator Jon Stewart discussed this on his show. And he said we should not have bombed Japan.
He said we should have provided the Japanese with a demonstration of the power of the bomb by dropping one off shore. Then, warn them that the next one was to be dropped on them if they didn’t surrender.
Over the years, various people have said it was some sort of crime against humanity, to have used an atomic bomb.
Hindsight is always 20/20 of course.
My unanswered questions to those who think we should not have bombed Japan, revolved around the questions of how many more lives on both sides would have been lost, if we had to launch a conventional invasion of the Japanese islands. My questions are: is it better to kill many more people, including Japanese civilians, through conventional means, rather than inducing them to surrender by the use of the atomic bombs? Never heard a coherent answer to such questions.
Yes, it is.
I’m with you. My Dad survived D-Day and the long, bloody slog across Europe to the Rhine. He said the happiest day of his life up to that point was hearing the bomb was dropped, because he knew he would not have to fight in another bloody invasion. He rarely talked about his experiences in the war but this was one thing he would talk about.
The atomic bomb showed the fanatics who still had a functioning brain cell that we didn’t have to face their insanity up close any longer;we could utterly destroy them with no casualties on our side.
Their last hope was to discourage an invasion with the knowledge that every Japanese was going to kill at least one American soldier.
The A-bomb ended that hope.
i fear it may need to be used again against another cult of suicidal death-worshipping fanatics who follow a false prophet.
One potential flaw in much of the historical analysis of this subject is that it's predicated on the assumption that there were only two options available to the U.S. government at the time: (1) drop atomic bombs on major Japanese cities (with certain risk to Japanese civilians); or (2) invade Japan (with certain risk to U.S. soldiers).
I have yet to see any compelling case made that the U.S. ever had to invade Japan in 1945 -- or any time after that -- in order to win World War II.
Would the Japs or the Krauts have hesitated to use the bomb on us if they had gotten it first?
Really? You really see no compelling evidence that the U.S. would have had to invade Japan to end World War II, if not for dropping the atomic bombs?
Please elaborate. I’m not sure I follow your reasoning, but would like to consider your point of view. I see what you are saying about assumptions of two options available to end the war, but just don’t see offhand what other options were available to us at the time. Please explain.
If morality and military ethics are the governing factor in this kind of determination, then the Roosevelt administration, and a sizeable portion of the U.S. military leadership, should have been tried and hanged for treason on the basis of their own decisions about the execution of the war in the Pacific. By your own standard, the strategy of p!ssing away the lives of thousands of Marines in landings on small islands all over the South Pacific --- when this was far from the most effective way of seizing those islands -- was tantamount to mass murder.
I suppose we could have starved the Japanese to death but that would have taken a long time and been incredibly cruel.
Do a bit of research into how far along Germany AND Japan were in developing their own atomic weapons. Rocketry technology was also a factor, since airplanes would not be needed to deliver atomic weaponry. Evidently, your perspective lacks sufficient data to make the assertions you’ve made.
Perhaps we could have set up a blockade around Japan, but starving them to death would have been cruel, you are right.
I hope Alberta’s Child will elaborate on how we could have ended the war without the A-bomb and without a conventional invasion of Japan.
The same delay midset will be what allows Iran, a totally fasnatical society, to develop nuclear weapons and have the delivery system to use them, which they will not hesitate to do when they feel they can obliterate Israel and maim Americans. To deny the reality of the demonic insanity we are witnessing from Islam fits right in with the mindset of those denying the validity of using the two weapons Fatman and Little Boy.
Then I suggest you go back and read the history of the War, starting with the invasion of Manchuria. Study how the Japanese acted when we fought them on Guadalcanal, or any of the other islands as the Pacific Fleet advanced on Japan. Out of a garrison estimated at 5000 troops on one of those islands, 2 surrendered. The rest either fought to the death or committed suicide. If you think they would have fought with less ferocity on their own soil, you are sadly mistaken. It would have taken an invasion of Japan to force them to surrender had it not been for the atomic bomb. Indeed, we might still be fighting door-to-door had it not been so.
Because your question is framed in the counterfactual condition, one cannot answer it in certain. However, given their previous behavior, there is no reason to think they would have gone quietly into the night.
RIP Major Theodore Van Kirk
A true American Hero
Japanese war production was spread throughout small workshops in their cities. Precision bombing of industrial targets was tried but found ineffective.
In March 1945 the USAAF began conventional fire bombing. The most destructive air raid of the war was the March 9 firebomb attack on Tokyo killing over 80,000. Atomic bomb casualty numbers include deaths occurring up to four months after the attack but for immediate lethality they were equalled by the firebombing campaign.
The left wanted this nation to be spent after the war. Chaos presents opportunities to seize power.
I am not opposed to dropping nukes into several ME “cities” to end the conflict at once. Of course, new conflicts will again arise, but there are hundreds, if not thousands, of working condition nukes. Why waste tax payer money in researching, building, and maintaining them, when they are not used from time to time?
“My basic approach on this subject is that there is no legal or moral justification for any military action whose sole purpose is the deliberate (or indiscriminate) destruction of civilians. You can go back through thousands of years of Judaeo-Christian moral principles and find that this has been the case since antiquity.”
Like when God killed non-Israelite first borns? I am guessing you don’t count that as neither civilian casualty nor Judaeo-Christian history.
My Uncle married a Japanese woman. Her brother was one of the best people I have ever known. Their father didn’t make it back to Tokyo until the end of 1946, he was a POW in Russian controlled territory (N.Korea, I think). As such, it was the son’s job, as the oldest boy (11 years old), to bring food home, to the starving family. He learned very quickly to find a military encampment, bring a pot, do menial chores (shoe shines, etc.), and then return home with leftover food. I remember him saying “One thing was for sure, in those uncertain times; G.I.s are gonna be fed, three times a day”.
Over 100,000 people burned alive. Pictures of Tokyo on March 6 look just like pictures of Hiroshima on August 8.
Only 3% of the bomb damage to Japan was caused by Fat Man and Little Boy. Martin Caiden's book A Torch to the Enemy is a must read for any WWII historian.
Exactly right. The bombing of the first city didn’t change the Japanese minds, so demonstrating the bomb’s power on an empty atoll somewhere would have moved them even less.
We both remember something others forget or gloss over - The very effective firebombing of over a hundred cities. See #43
In college I worked on the paint crew with an older gentleman who fought in the Pacific and was training for the invasion when japan surrendered. He wasn’t religious but said he said a prayer every year at Thanksgiving thanking God for the atomic bomb. Not just because he and all his buddies knew they’d be killed in the invasion, he was thankful he was spared having to kill the women and children they knew would be sent out against them.
Air superiority, then air supremecy, then naval supremecy, then land war.
At that point the land forces can be supported by naval and air forces unfettered by any opposition.
Military forces and targets are all that should be attacked, as there is nothing to gain militarily by indiscriminate attacks on civilians.
All of this is our present day doctrine.
Made in America!Tested in Japan.Thank God it worked. My dad was training for the invasion of Japan. He might have been killed which would negate my existance, my two sons existance, and my two grandsons existance.War is Hell!Guess God was on our side!
Did anyone ask this “professor” about the allied bombing raids on Berlin, Cologne, and Dresden?