Skip to comments.Barton J. Bernstein: American conservatives are the forgotten critics of the atomic bombing of Japan
Posted on 08/06/2014 2:28:23 AM PDT by No One Special
"The use of the atomic bomb, with its indiscriminate killing of women and children, revolts my soul," he wrote. "The only difference between this and the use of gas (which President Franklin D. Roosevelt had barred as a first-use weapon in World War II) is the fear of retaliation."
Those harsh words, written three days after the Hiroshima bombing in August, 1945, were not by a man of the American left, but rather by a very prominent conservative -- former President Herbert Hoover, a foe of the New Deal and Fair Deal.
In 1959, Medford Evans, a conservative writing in William Buckley's strongly nationalistic, energetically right-wing magazine, National Review, stated: "The indefensibility of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima is becoming a part of the national conservative creed." Just the year before, the National Review had featured an angry, anti-atomic bomb article, "Hiroshima: Assault on a Beaten Foe." Like Hoover, that 1958 essay had decried the atomic bombing as wanton murder. National Review's editors, impressed by that article, had offered special reprints.
Those two sets of events --Hoover in 1945 and National Review in 1968-69 -- were not anomalies in early post-Hiroshima U.S. conservatism. In fact, many noted American conservatives -- journalists, former diplomats and retired and occasionally on-duty military officers, and some right-wing historians and political scientists -- criticized the atomic bombing. They frequently contended it was unnecessary, and often maintained it was immoral and that softer surrender terms could have ended the war without such mass killing. They sometimes charged Truman and the atomic bombing with "criminality" and "slaughter."
Yet today, this history of early anti-A-bomb dissent by conservatives is largely unknown. In about the past 20 years, various American conservatives have even assailed A-bomb dissent as typically leftist and anti-American, and as having begun...
(Excerpt) Read more at mercurynews.com ...
Stopped reading right there...
Monday morning quarterbacks with nothing to lose.
Ask all the survivors of the non-invasion of the Japanese islands about the atomic bomb. My great-uncle, who enlisted on December 8, 1941, would put his teeth in and give Herbert Hoover a earful.
Japan brought it on themselves. They were racist barbarians.
I believe Truman’s sincere motive was to shorten the war and save lives. Nevertheless, dropping bombs on cities with their civilian populations for the purpose of terror is and was a crime.
Used on military property. Military targets are legitimate targets in wartime. The Japs had no problem bombing our military property in peacetime, why should we feel guilty that we did so during wartime?
My great-uncle, after combat all across the Pacific, including New Guinea, Philippines, and Okinawa, was going to be in the first wave to hit Japan.
He said they told him his unit would take “at least” 95% casualties ... probably just because you’re probably going to have one fluke survivor somehow, if the unit’s big enough.
Would he have let this mass slaughter happen just to make some moral point if he had been President again at the time?
Problem with that is that Japan's civilian population was thoroughly integrated into its war machine at the time, with its cottage industry system of war production.
Nevertheless, dropping bombs on cities with their civilian populations for the purpose of terror is and was a crime.
You win a war by destroying the will of the people to fight, or you destroy the people. There is no other way.
If the U.S. had been forced to invade Japan casualties on both sides could have run into the millions. Many Baby Boomers would have never been born. And Truman proved to Stalin that the U.S. would use the bomb.
The Japanese at the time were akin to our current Muslim terrorists as they were both barbaric and from an old fashioned belief system that was anathema to freedom and individuality. They attacked and killed millions in China and were without mercy or remorse in the theater of war - that plus the counting of the cost of allied lives in the possible takeover of Japan adds a lot of justification for the use of the bomb - we may find in the not so distant future that Israel may find itself in such a predicament - I wonder who will fall on what side then?
Actually the Japanese casualties would have been even higher than a million. We had absolute control of the air over Japan. We were and would have continued to bomb every major city, industrial complex, factories of importance, until Japan ceased to function as a unified society. Disease and starvation would have killed more than a million easily. Once we invaded our casualties would have been high despite the destruction of Japan's infrastructure. We would have been ruthless as on the Island campaigns in the Pacific, because we faced a ruthless enemy.
It seems that in our nation we have forgotten that war must be ruthless to be effective. If you are not willing to kill your enemy and all that stand with him surrender, for he has already defeated you.
You know dad. Rest his soul was a Marine, who fought in the pacific in such garden spots as Guadlecanal and Bougainville. He was felled by a filaria mosquito and recuperated back in the states.... He was earmarked for the invasion of japan. Millions of American servicemen and millions of Japanese would have died if that had occurred.
Who is this history revisionist? Must be another liberal.
Unfortunately, nonsense like this is being taught in public schools.
War is the systematic application of terror. War should be a last resort and not the first option. If there is no alternative, war must be terrible and a terror to be effective. It is ugly business to be avoided if possible.
I think people forget that the US dropped leaflets warning those cities that we were going to be dropping a devastating bomb on then within a few weeks and that they needed to LEAVE!
In other words, we told then it was coming, if they didn’t get out then why in the hell should we feel sorry or remorseful?!?
The title makes it sound like conservatives were anti-nuke, one and all. This is based on a single letter written by one man?? One swallow does not a spring make, as the old adage goes.
Hiroshima was a carefully thought out target. It had to have enough ‘shock and awe’ to trick the japanese leaders into thinking that continuing to fight was useless. Don’t forget, we only had 2 bombs in total! The US had been avoiding Kyoto and other places (with regular carpet bombing) that were not used for military purposes with the thought of a post war Japan needing to keep some of its positive heritage and dignity. This is a courtesy that would not have been extended to us by either the Germans or the Japanese.