Skip to comments.Nagasaki, Mon Amour
Posted on 08/03/2005 1:05:28 PM PDT by Siobhan
EACH AUGUST THE DEBATE RETURNS, this year won masterfully by my Front Page Magazine brother columnist Ronald Radosh: Should the United States on August 6, 1945, have dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima? Given that the alternative would have required invasion of Japan and the deaths of perhaps a quarter-million Americans, a million or more Japanese, and prolonged suffering on both sides, most moral people answer Yes, we should have dropped the bomb. We had only three bombs, one to test and two to use and none to spare on a demonstration for the Emperor.
But we should also ponder a very different question whose answer reveals much about American politics 56 years after the event: Why did the United States three days later drop a second atom bomb targeted specifically on Nagasaki? The answer might surprise or even horrify you.
Nagasaki reportedly was not on the original target list for nuclear extermination.
By late July 1945 military and Manhattan Project officials had selected four atom bomb targets. One was Hiroshima, an industrial center and staging area for Japans army and navy. The second was Kokura, home to one of Japans biggest munitions factories. The third was Niigata, a large Sea of Japan port city with a tanker terminal, oil refinery, and iron works. The fourth was the old imperial capital Kyoto, then also a huge industrial city with factories turning out parts for artillery, machinery, and aircraft.
But at the last moment the Secretary of War Henry Stimson, who arguably had knowingly precipitated Japans Pearl Harbor attack by instigating an international embargo on its life-or-death oil supplies, removed Kyoto from the list for annihilation and replaced it with Nagasaki.
On the day Nagasaki was bombed, reporter W.H. Lawrence told New York Times readers that it was more important industrially than Hiroshima, a transshipment port, and a major shipbuilding and repair center for both naval and merchantmen.
Nagasaki, indeed, was a port with one of the worlds finest deep harbors, but the beautiful mid-sized city on the far southern island of Kyushu had lost much of its status as a seaport. Hemmed in by mountains and 600 miles southwest of Tokyo, what reached or left there required transshipment, usually by sea.
Near Nagasaki was a huge Mitsubishi shipbuilding facility, but it survived the atomic bombing. Something else in this city, however, was virtually at Ground Zero and was destroyed. Was it the real target that Leftists in the Roosevelt-Truman New Deal government wanted most to obliterate?
Nagasaki was a sleepy fishing village on the day in 1542 when Portuguese sailors first dropped anchor there. Guided by their maps to Japan, on August 15, 1549, Roman Catholic missionary St. Francis Xavier landed at nearby Kagoshima, learned within a year how to speak Japanese, and began spreading the Christian faith.
By 1579, six of the regional military lords called daimyo had become Christian converts and brought 100,000 of their subjects under the sign of the cross with them.
Japan by tradition had been religiously tolerant. The Nagasaki prefecture was home to the nations ports nearest China and welcomed Buddhists, Taoists, and other traders and settlers from neighboring lands. But these new Christians were intolerant, and by 1587 the last Buddhist and ancestor-worshipping indigenous Shinto shrines had vanished from the district.
To Japans central ruler, the foreign traders and their fast-growing religion began to seem threatening, like a foreign Fifth Column in his midst. In place of the nations polytheistic faith, Christianity insisted on only one God. In a society based on submission to feudal and group authority, the new belief taught the value of the individual. In a society of central power, the faith from Europe created new rival centers of power and allegiance.
In 1587 the Shogun Toyotomi Hideyoshi issued a decree proscribing Christianity and ordering the Jesuits to depart Japan within 20 days, an edict that as tempers cooled went unenforced.
But nine years later new sparks flared, and in 1597 Hideyoshi had 26 missionaries six Franciscans, three Jesuits, and 17 Japanese Christians crucified at Nagasaki. A year later 137 Jesuit churches in the region were razed, along with a college and seminary.
Hideyoshi died in 1598, and with his passing eased the first wave of persecutions. But by 1612 the new Tokugawa Shogunate issued restrictions on Christianity, and a nationwide ban was issued two years later.
In 1622 at least 51 Christians were executed in Nagasaki, and two years later 50 were burned alive for their faith in Edo (now Tokyo). More and more foreigners were excluded from Japan. 30 more Christian missionaries were executed in 1633, and two years later even Japanese residents who had lived overseas were prohibited from returning to Japan, lest they bring back an infection of foreign ideas.
Japans rulers had reason to fear. By 1614, up to 300,000 Japanese were Christians, about 10 percent of the nations entire population. Unless this contagious foreign religion with its alien values could be stopped, it would soon take over and transform Japan. To fight it, daimyo were prohibited from becoming Christians, and thousands of Christians were executed.
Around Nagasaki hundreds of pieces of silver were offered to anyone who turned in priests, monks, or even ordinary believers. Those suspected were required to step on a crucifix or later on an image of Jesus molded from the metal of desecrated Christian altars. The alien religion was driven deep underground by persecution.
The Shogun directed those in Nagasaki to reject Jesus Christ and embrace a new city guardian god whose home was the local Suwa Shrine. Each year in early October the people of Nagasaki still hold the Kunchi Festival in this pagan gods honor. It is celebrated nowadays with a dragon dance, Kokkodesho, likely brought by Chinese merchants, and Hurrah dances brought to the trading city centuries ago by Dutch sailors.
Foreign traders were confined to an island near Nagasaki. Then, around 1640, the Japanese Shogun simply slammed and locked the door, cutting his entire nation off from world trade and communication for the next two centuries.
The door was pried open again in the mid-19th Century. Trade resumed with many Western nations, including the United States. Japans exotic qualities fascinated Western artists of all kinds. Giacomo Puccini set his tragic opera about a suicidal young Japanese woman left pregnant and abandoned by an American seaman, Madame Butterfly, in Nagasaki.
By 1859, Christian missionaries were permitted to return. In 1873, Christians were again allowed to evangelize in the island kingdom. In 1895, construction began on a Roman Catholic cathedral in Urakami, a suburb of Nagasaki, that would be the largest ecclesiastical building of its type in the Far East.
And, to the missionaries surprise, over 30,000 Japanese Kakure Kirishitan, hidden Christians, emerged who had risked their lives by secretly holding true to their faith during two centuries of persecution. Now, with tear-filled eyes and rejoicing, they came to worship openly in and around the place Pope Pius IX had blessed in 1867 by canonizing its 26 now-sainted martyrs to the faith, Japans most Christian city, Nagasaki.
The plutonium bomb called Fat Man dropped from the B-29s bomb bay at 11:02 A.M. Below in the August heat nuns and old people knelt praying, and summer sunlight danced on Nagasaki Bay.
Christians able to travel had made pilgrimage here. Some came to escape the nationalist war fever and Shinto Cult of the Emperor, descendant of the Sun God, that directed hate against all alien faiths, including Buddhists and especially those loyal to the enemys faith, Christians. Surely, these pilgrims thought, the last place a Christian United States would drop its terrible new weapon would be Japans home of the Prince of Peace.
The man-made sun, brighter than a million Rising Sun Japanese flags, ignited about 1,600 feet above Ground Zero. Its wind shockwave moving at 1,400 miles per hour pulverized the crowded homes below like a giant fist. Its energy flash burned flesh from bone, then vaporized both before a scream could reach melting human lips.
Scarcely a fifth of a mile from Ground Zero, the Urakami Cathedral, its lovingly-crafted stained glass, and the worshippers inside were smashed into dust and goo and flash-broiled. Heavy carved statues of Jesus and Mary were scorched black in an instant.
The bomb, bigger than Hiroshimas, with the explosive force of 21,000 tons of TNT, destroyed essentially everything and everyone within 1.2 miles of Ground Zero. Thousands of close-clustered wooden homes and their residents vanished in the glow of a rising mushroom cloud.
In that moment, an estimated 73,884 people died at least one in 10 of them Christians. Another 75,000 were blinded, had skin burned off, or were injured by the blast or engulfing firestorms or collapsing buildings for miles around. Thousands more would die from radiation or injury over days or months.
As one writer about the Cathedral put it, through this atom bomb blast the Truman Administration was ironically killing more Christians than had ever been killed in Japan during centuries of persecution.
So why did Marxocratic policymakers inside Roosevelts and Trumans New Deal alter military targeting decisions, commanding instead that Nagasaki relatively insignificant as a military target be moved into the bombardiers crosshairs and that its Christian people be cremated alive into clicking-hot radioactive ashes by atomic bomb annihilation?
And why today do Marxocrats use every tactic and technicality to politically exterminate each Christian word and symbol in Americas public square? Is their aim to remove all religions, morals, and values that people might prefer to their dogmatic religion, Marxism?
Urakami Cathedral near Nagasaki was rebuilt by 1959, but among the citys surviving families, scarcely three percent are now Christians. Modern Japanese, shaped by Americas secular occupation, have eclectically incorporated symbols from various religions. Many, it is said, now grow up Shinto, marry like Christians, and die as Buddhists. Brides wear white wedding gowns and even wed in churches. Many families celebrate Valentines Day, and some even exchange gifts on Christmas. Several of the founders of Japans post-war democracy were raised as Christians.
But the faith that once showed signs of sweeping Japan and thereby changing Asian history is now mostly a matter of style, not religious passion or mass conversion. Scarcely one percent of Japanese now think of themselves as Christians.
French director Alain Resnais in 1959 created the film masterpiece Hiroshima, Mon Amour. It plunges viewers into the fantasies and nightmares of two lovers, a French woman and a Japanese man, a survivor of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima.
The world needs a sequel to this film to help people understand the hidden wellsprings of history, love, faith, and the limitless evil of the political Left. Call it Nagasaki, Mon Amour.
The August 9th anniversary of Trumans deliberate bombing of the Christian city of Japan is a moment for prayer and contemplation. It is also a night to look heavenward, as from then through August 12th each year our planet splashes through a river of stardust left in space by an ancient earth crossing comet. These nights bring the Perseid meteor showers as tiny fragments from that comet burn up in Earths atmosphere. Especially after midnight, when the sky overhead wheels to become the front windshield of our world as it speeds around the Sun, you should be able to see at least one shooting star per minute.
The calendar, you see, is not a timepiece but a map. And these dates in August are places the planet we share comes to again and again places, like Hiroshima
I remember reading this article when it first came out. Thanks for reposting it.
Head of Madonna
photo by Mr. Y. Sata
They took Kyoto off the list because one of the men in command had spent time there, and decided to bomb Nagasaki instead.
Of course, there were a number of those in the administartion who really didn't like Christians in general. The real reason for the targeting will probably never be known.
Our Lady of Akita
* The mass murder of scores of innocent civilians was moral?
What is morally wrong can never be advantageous, even when it enables you to make some gain that you believe to be to your advantage...~Marcus Tullius Cicero
Secretary of War Henry Stemson, a Skull and Bones man, took Kyoto off the list because of "its religious significance." Stemson then added the most Christian and most Catholic city in Japan to the list -- Nagasaki.
I should have typed "Stimson" not Stemson.
Yep, that is him. Him and his wife spent some time in Kyoto, and fell in love with the shrines there. That is why it got put on the no bomb or nuke list.
Didn't know he was S&B, but that doesn't surprise me.
I don't think the average American will ever let it sink in that the government dropped the atomic bomb on the two most Christian cities in Japan.
Our Lady of Akita, pray for us.
He is also listed as a Mason, but that is not as easy to prove for Stimson as it is for Truman.
They have the sacred surviving statues gathered together now with part of a surviving corner of the old cathedral, but I am not certain at the moment about the Burned Head of the Madonna. I fairly think it is in the rebuilt Cathedral for veneration as a miraculous surviving image of our dear Mother. But you may already now all about this, dearest.
"With these truths in mind, this most holy synod makes its own the condemnations of total war already pronounced by recent popes, and issues the following declaration:
"Any act of war aimed indiscriminately at the destruction of entire cities of extensive areas along with their population is a crime against God and man himself. It merits unequivocal and unhesitating condemnation."
The Council condemned city = target bombing in the same terms that it condemned abortion and infanticide, and for the same reason: because they are the direct, deliberate destruction of innocent human life, and thus are an abomination in the eyes of God.
Exactly. Thank you, Mrs. Don-o, for posting the exact portion of the Conciliar document.
President Harry Truman, a Past Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Missouri, was quoted as saying: "Although I hold the highest civil honor in the world, I have always regarded my rank and title as a Past Grand Master of Masons as the greatest honor that has ever come to me."
Following President Truman's death in 1972, the Scottish Rite Grand Commander hailed the Missouri-born Chief Executive as "a devoted son" of the Fraternity, and "the first President of the United Statss to have been coroneted an Inspector General Honorary of the Thirty-third Degree (1945)."
Masons serving in Cabinet posts under President Roosevelt were Henry Morganthau, Secretary of the Treasury; Homer Cummings and Robert H. Jackson (later a Supreme Court Justice), Attorneys- General; Daniel Roper and Jesse Jones, Secretaries of Commerce; George Dern, Secretary of War; and Claude Swanson and Frank Knox, Secretaries of Navy.
Among Masons in President Truman's Cabinet were James F. Byrnes and George C. Marshall, Secretaries of State; Tom Clark, Attorney General (and later Supreme Court Justice); Fred Vinson, Secretary of Treasury (and later Chief Justice); Louis Johnson, Secretary of Defense; Clinton Anderson, Secretary of Agriculture; and Henry Wallace, Secrtary of Commerce. Mr. Wallace also served as Vice President during Franklin D. Roosevelt's third term.
During World War II, under both Presidents Roosevelt and Truman the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General George C. Marshall; the Commander of the U.S. Fleet, Admiral Ernest King; and the Chief of the U.S. Army Air Corps, General Henry H. Arnold-were all members of the Masonic Fraternity.
The only thing that rivals the annual debate about the dropping of the A-bombs is the hot debate in Japan about whether or not they should have attacked Pearl Harbor.