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BG Paul W Tibbets, USAF, Ret: "That's their tough luck for being there."
The UK Guardian ^ | Tuesday August 6, 2002 | Studs Terkel

Posted on 08/06/2002 9:02:04 AM PDT by SlickWillard


Today is Hiroshima Day, the anniversary of the first use of a bomb so powerful that it would come to threaten the existence of the human race. Only two such devices have ever been used, but now, a decade after the end of the cold war, the world faces new dangers of nuclear attack - from India, Pakistan, Iraq, al-Qaida, and even the US. Launching a special investigation into nuclear weapons, Paul Tibbets, the man who piloted the Enola Gay on its mission to Japan, tells Studs Terkel why he has no regrets - and why he wouldn't hesitate to use it again

Studs Terkel

Tuesday August 6, 2002

Studs Terkel: We're seated here, two old gaffers. Me and Paul Tibbets, 89 years old, brigadier-general retired, in his home town of Columbus, Ohio, where has lived for many years.

Paul Tibbets: Hey, you've got to correct that. I'm only 87. You said 89.

ST: I know. See, I'm 90. So I got you beat by three years. Now we've had a nice lunch, you and I and your companion. I noticed as we sat in that restaurant, people passed by. They didn't know who you were. But once upon a time, you flew a plane called the Enola Gay over the city of Hiroshima, in Japan, on a Sunday morning - August 6 1945 - and a bomb fell. It was the atomic bomb, the first ever. And that particular moment changed the whole world around. You were the pilot of that plane.

PT: Yes, I was the pilot.

ST: And the Enola Gay was named after...

PT: My mother. She was Enola Gay Haggard before she married my dad, and my dad never supported me with the flying - he hated airplanes and motorcycles. When I told them I was going to leave college and go fly planes in the army air corps, my dad said, "Well, I've sent you through school, bought you automobiles, given you money to run around with the girls, but from here on, you're on your own. If you want to go kill yourself, go ahead, I don't give a damn." Then Mom just quietly said, "Paul, if you want to go fly airplanes, you're going to be all right." And that was that.

ST: Where was that?

PT: Well, that was Miami, Florida. My dad had been in the real estate business down there for years, and at that time he was retired. And I was going to school at Gaysville, Florida, but I had to leave after two years and go to Cincinnati because Florida had no medical school.

ST: You were thinking of being a doctor?

PT: I didn't think that, my father thought it. He said, "You're going to be a doctor," and I just nodded my head and that was it. And I started out that way; but about a year before, I was able to get into an airplane, fly it - I soloed - and I knew then that I had to go fly airplanes.

ST: Now by 1944 you were a pilot - a test pilot on the programme to develop the B-29 bomber. When did you get word that you had a special assignment?

PT: One day [in September 1944] I'm running a test on a B-29, I land, a man meets me. He says he just got a call from General Uzal Ent [commander of the second air force] at Colorado Springs, he wants me in his office the next morning at nine o'clock. He said, "Bring your clothing - your B4 bag - because you're not coming back." Well, I didn't know what it was and didn't pay any attention to it - it was just another assignment.

I got to Colorado Springs the next morning perfectly on time. A man named Lansdale met me, walked me to General Ent's office and closed the door behind me. With him was a man wearing a blue suit, a US Navy captain - that was William Parsons, who flew with me to Hiroshima - and Dr Norman Ramsey, Columbia University professor in nuclear physics. And Norman said: "OK, we've got what we call the Manhattan Project. What we're doing is trying to develop an atomic bomb. We've gotten to the point now where we can't go much further till we have airplanes to work with."

He gave me an explanation which probably lasted 45, 50 minutes, and they left. General Ent looked at me and said, "The other day, General Arnold [commander general of the army air corps] offered me three names." Both of the others were full colonels; I was lieutenant-colonel. He said that when General Arnold asked which of them could do this atomic weapons deal, he replied without hesitation, "Paul Tibbets is the man to do it." I said, "Well, thank you, sir." Then he laid out what was going on and it was up to me now to put together an organisation and train them to drop atomic weapons on both Europe and the Pacific - Tokyo.

ST: Interesting that they would have dropped it on Europe as well. We didn't know that.

PT: My edict was as clear as could be. Drop simultaneously in Europe and the Pacific because of the secrecy problem - you couldn't drop it in one part of the world without dropping it in the other. And so he said, "I don't know what to tell you, but I know you happen to have B-29s to start with. I've got a squadron in training in Nebraska - they have the best record so far of anybody we've got. I want you to go visit them, look at them, talk to them, do whatever you want. If they don't suit you, we'll get you some more." He said: "There's nobody could tell you what you have to do because nobody knows. If we can do anything to help you, ask me." I said thank you very much. He said, "Paul, be careful how you treat this responsibility, because if you're successful you'll probably be called a hero. And if you're unsuccessful, you might wind up in prison."

ST: Did you know the power of an atomic bomb? Were you told about that?

PT: No, I didn't know anything at that time. But I knew how to put an organisation together. He said, "Go take a look at the bases, and call me back and tell me which one you want." I wanted to get back to Grand Island Nebraska, that's where my wife and two kids were, where my laundry was done and all that stuff. But I thought, "Well, I'll go to Wendover [army airfield, in Utah] first and see what they've got." As I came in over the hills I saw it was a beautiful spot. It had been a final staging place for units that were going through combat crew training, and the guys ahead of me were the last P-47 fighter outfit. This lieutenant-colonel in charge said, "We've just been advised to stop here and I don't know what you want to do... but if it has anything to do with this base it's the most perfect base I've ever been on. You've got full machine shops, everybody's qualified, they know what they want to do. It's a good place."

ST: And now you chose your own crew.

PT: Well, I had mentally done it before that. I knew right away I was going to get Tom Ferebee [the Enola Gay's bombardier] and Theodore "Dutch" van Kirk [navigator] and Wyatt Duzenbury [flight engineer].

ST: Guys you had flown with in Europe?

PT: Yeah.

ST: And now you're training. And you're also talking to physicists like Robert Oppenheimer [senior scientist on the Manhattan project].

PT: I think I went to Los Alamos [the Manhattan project HQ] three times, and each time I got to see Dr Oppenheimer working in his own environment. Later, thinking about it, here's a young man, a brilliant person. And he's a chain smoker and he drinks cocktails. And he hates fat men. And General Leslie Groves [the general in charge of the Manhattan project], he's a fat man, and he hates people who smoke and drink. The two of them are the first, original odd couple.

ST: They had a feud, Groves and Oppenheimer?

PT: Yeah, but neither one of them showed it. Each one of them had a job to do.

ST: Did Oppenheimer tell you about the destructive nature of the bomb?

PT: No.

ST: How did you know about that?

PT: From Dr Ramsey. He said the only thing we can tell you about it is, it's going to explode with the force of 20,000 tons of TNT. I'd never seen 1lb of TNT blow up. I'd never heard of anybody who'd seen 100lbs of TNT blow up. All I felt was that this was gonna be one hell of a big bang.

ST: Twenty thousand tons - that's equivalent to how many planes full of bombs?

PT: Well, I think the two bombs that we used [at Hiroshima and Nagasaki] had more power than all the bombs the air force had used during the war on Europe.

ST: So Ramsey told you about the possibilities.

PT: Even though it was still theory, whatever those guys told me, that's what happened. So I was ready to say I wanted to go to war, but I wanted to ask Oppenheimer how to get away from the bomb after we dropped it. I told him that when we had dropped bombs in Europe and North Africa, we'd flown straight ahead after dropping them - which is also the trajectory of the bomb. But what should we do this time? He said, "You can't fly straight ahead because you'd be right over the top when it blows up and nobody would ever know you were there." He said I had to turn tangent to the expanding shockwave. I said, "Well, I've had some trigonometry, some physics. What is tangency in this case?" He said it was 159 degrees in either direction. "Turn 159 degrees as fast as you can and you'll be able to put yourself the greatest distance from where the bomb exploded."

ST: How many seconds did you have to make that turn?

PT: I had dropped enough practice bombs to realise that the charges would blow around 1,500ft in the air, so I would have 40 to 42 seconds to turn 159 degrees. I went back to Wendover as quick as I could and took the airplane up. I got myself to 25,000ft, and I practised turning, steeper, steeper, steeper and I got it where I could pull it round in 40 seconds. The tail was shaking dramatically and I was afraid of it breaking off, but I didn't quit. That was my goal. And I practised and practised until, without even thinking about it, I could do it in between 40 and 42, all the time. So, when that day came...

ST: You got the go-ahead on August 5.

PT: Yeah. We were in Tinian [the US island base in the Pacific] at the time we got the OK. They had sent this Norwegian to the weather station out on Guam [the US's westernmost territory] and I had a copy of his report. We said that, based on his forecast, the sixth day of August would be the best day that we could get over Honshu [the island on which Hiroshima stands]. So we did everything that had to be done to get the crews ready to go: airplane loaded, crews briefed, all of the things checked that you have to check before you can fly over enemy territory.

General Groves had a brigadier-general who was connected back to Washington DC by a special teletype machine. He stayed close to that thing all the time, notifying people back there, all by code, that we were preparing these airplanes to go any time after midnight on the sixth. And that's the way it worked out. We were ready to go at about four o'clock in the afternoon on the fifth and we got word from the president that we were free to go: "Use 'em as you wish." They give you a time you're supposed to drop your bomb on target and that was 9.15 in the morning , but that was Tinian time, one hour later than Japanese time. I told Dutch, "You figure it out what time we have to start after midnight to be over the target at 9am."

ST: That'd be Sunday morning.

PT: Well, we got going down the runway at right about 2.15am and we took off, we met our rendezvous guys, we made our flight up to what we call the initial point, that would be a geographic position that you could not mistake. Well, of course we had the best one in the world with the rivers and bridges and that big shrine. There was no mistaking what it was.

ST: So you had to have the right navigator to get it on the button.

PT: The airplane has a bomb sight connected to the autopilot and the bombardier puts figures in there for where he wants to be when he drops the weapon, and that's transmitted to the airplane. We always took into account what would happen if we had a failure and the bomb bay doors didn't open: we had a manual release put in each airplane so it was right down by the bombardier and he could pull on that. And the guys in the airplanes that followed us to drop the instruments needed to know when it was going to go. We were told not to use the radio, but, hell, I had to. I told them I would say, "One minute out," "Thirty seconds out," "Twenty seconds" and "Ten" and then I'd count, "Nine, eight, seven, six, five, four seconds", which would give them a time to drop their cargo. They knew what was going on because they knew where we were. And that's exactly the way it worked, it was absolutely perfect.

After we got the airplanes in formation I crawled into the tunnel and went back to tell the men, I said, "You know what we're doing today?" They said, "Well, yeah, we're going on a bombing mission." I said, "Yeah, we're going on a bombing mission, but it's a little bit special." My tailgunner, Bob Caron, was pretty alert. He said, "Colonel, we wouldn't be playing with atoms today, would we?" I said, "Bob, you've got it just exactly right." So I went back up in the front end and I told the navigator, bombardier, flight engineer, in turn. I said, "OK, this is an atom bomb we're dropping." They listened intently but I didn't see any change in their faces or anything else. Those guys were no idiots. We'd been fiddling round with the most peculiar-shaped things we'd ever seen.

So we're coming down. We get to that point where I say "one second" and by the time I'd got that second out of my mouth the airplane had lurched, because 10,000lbs had come out of the front. I'm in this turn now, tight as I can get it, that helps me hold my altitude and helps me hold my airspeed and everything else all the way round. When I level out, the nose is a little bit high and as I look up there the whole sky is lit up in the prettiest blues and pinks I've ever seen in my life. It was just great.

I tell people I tasted it. "Well," they say, "what do you mean?" When I was a child, if you had a cavity in your tooth the dentist put some mixture of some cotton or whatever it was and lead into your teeth and pounded them in with a hammer. I learned that if I had a spoon of ice-cream and touched one of those teeth I got this electrolysis and I got the taste of lead out of it. And I knew right away what it was.

OK, we're all going. We had been briefed to stay off the radios: "Don't say a damn word, what we do is we make this turn, we're going to get out of here as fast as we can." I want to get out over the sea of Japan because I know they can't find me over there. With that done we're home free. Then Tom Ferebee has to fill out his bombardier's report and Dutch, the navigator, has to fill out a log. Tom is working on his log and says, "Dutch, what time were we over the target?" And Dutch says, "Nine-fifteen plus 15 seconds." Ferebee says: "What lousy navigating. Fifteen seconds off!"

ST: Did you hear an explosion?

PT: Oh yeah. The shockwave was coming up at us after we turned. And the tailgunner said, "Here it comes." About the time he said that, we got this kick in the ass. I had accelerometers installed in all airplanes to record the magnitude of the bomb. It hit us with two and a half G. Next day, when we got figures from the scientists on what they had learned from all the things, they said, "When that bomb exploded, your airplane was 10 and half miles away from it."

ST: Did you see that mushroom cloud?

PT: You see all kinds of mushroom clouds, but they were made with different types of bombs. The Hiroshima bomb did not make a mushroom. It was what I call a stringer. It just came up. It was black as hell, and it had light and colours and white in it and grey colour in it and the top was like a folded-up Christmas tree.

ST: Do you have any idea what happened down below?

PT: Pandemonium! I think it's best stated by one of the historians, who said: "In one micro-second, the city of Hiroshima didn't exist."

ST: You came back, and you visited President Truman.

PT: We're talking 1948 now. I'm back in the Pentagon and I get notice from the chief of staff, Carl Spaatz, the first chief of staff of the air force. When we got to General Spaatz's office, General Doolittle was there, and a colonel named Dave Shillen. Spaatz said, "Gentlemen, I just got word from the president he wants us to go over to his office immediately." On the way over, Doolittle and Spaatz were doing some talking; I wasn't saying very much. When we got out of the car we were escorted right quick to the Oval Office. There was a black man there who always took care of Truman's needs and he said, "General Spaatz, will you please be facing the desk?" And now, facing the desk, Spaatz is on the right, Doolittle and Shillen. Of course, militarily speaking, that's the correct order: because Spaatz is senior, Doolittle has to sit to his left.

Then I was taken by this man and put in the chair that was right beside the president's desk, beside his left hand. Anyway, we got a cup of coffee and we got most of it consumed when Truman walked in and everybody stood on their feet. He said, "Sit down, please," and he had a big smile on his face and he said, "General Spaatz, I want to congratulate you on being first chief of the air force," because it was no longer the air corps. Spaatz said, "Thank you, sir, it's a great honour and I appreciate it." And he said to Doolittle: "That was a magnificent thing you pulled flying off of that carrier," and Doolittle said, "All in a day's work, Mr President." And he looked at Dave Shillen and said, "Colonel Shillen, I want to congratulate you on having the foresight to recognise the potential in aerial refuelling. We're gonna need it bad some day." And he said thank you very much.

Then he looked at me for 10 seconds and he didn't say anything. And when he finally did, he said, "What do you think?" I said, "Mr President, I think I did what I was told." He slapped his hand on the table and said: "You're damn right you did, and I'm the guy who sent you. If anybody gives you a hard time about it, refer them to me."

ST: Anybody ever give you a hard time?

PT: Nobody gave me a hard time.

ST: Do you ever have any second thoughts about the bomb?

PT: Second thoughts? No. Studs, look. Number one, I got into the air corps to defend the United States to the best of my ability. That's what I believe in and that's what I work for. Number two, I'd had so much experience with airplanes... I'd had jobs where there was no particular direction about how you do it and then of course I put this thing together with my own thoughts on how it should be because when I got the directive I was to be self-supporting at all times.

On the way to the target I was thinking: I can't think of any mistakes I've made. Maybe I did make a mistake: maybe I was too damned assured. At 29 years of age I was so shot in the ass with confidence I didn't think there was anything I couldn't do. Of course, that applied to airplanes and people. So, no, I had no problem with it. I knew we did the right thing because when I knew we'd be doing that I thought, yes, we're going to kill a lot of people, but by God we're going to save a lot of lives. We won't have to invade [Japan].

ST: Why did they drop the second one, the Bockscar [bomb] on Nagasaki?

PT: Unknown to anybody else - I knew it, but nobody else knew - there was a third one. See, the first bomb went off and they didn't hear anything out of the Japanese for two or three days. The second bomb was dropped and again they were silent for another couple of days. Then I got a phone call from General Curtis LeMay [chief of staff of the strategic air forces in the Pacific]. He said, "You got another one of those damn things?" I said, "Yessir." He said, "Where is it?" I said, "Over in Utah." He said, "Get it out here. You and your crew are going to fly it." I said, "Yessir." I sent word back and the crew loaded it on an airplane and we headed back to bring it right on out to Trinian and when they got it to California debarkation point, the war was over.

ST: What did General LeMay have in mind with the third one?

PT: Nobody knows.

ST: One big question. Since September 11, what are your thoughts? People talk about nukes, the hydrogen bomb.

PT: Let's put it this way. I don't know any more about these terrorists than you do, I know nothing. When they bombed the Trade Centre I couldn't believe what was going on. We've fought many enemies at different times. But we knew who they were and where they were. These people, we don't know who they are or where they are. That's the point that bothers me. Because they're gonna strike again, I'll put money on it. And it's going to be damned dramatic. But they're gonna do it in their own sweet time. We've got to get into a position where we can kill the bastards. None of this business of taking them to court, the hell with that. I wouldn't waste five seconds on them.

ST: What about the bomb? Einstein said the world has changed since the atom was split.

PT: That's right. It has changed.

ST: And Oppenheimer knew that.

PT: Oppenheimer is dead. He did something for the world and people don't understand. And it is a free world.

ST: One last thing, when you hear people say, "Let's nuke 'em," "Let's nuke these people," what do you think?

PT: Oh, I wouldn't hesitate if I had the choice. I'd wipe 'em out. You're gonna kill innocent people at the same time, but we've never fought a damn war anywhere in the world where they didn't kill innocent people. If the newspapers would just cut out the shit: "You've killed so many civilians." That's their tough luck for being there.

ST: By the way, I forgot to say Enola Gay was originally called number 82. How did your mother feel about having her name on it?

PT: Well, I can only tell you what my dad said. My mother never changed her expression very much about anything, whether it was serious or light, but when she'd get tickled, her stomach would jiggle. My dad said to me that when the telephone in Miami rang, my mother was quiet first. Then, when it was announced on the radio, he said: "You should have seen the old gal's belly jiggle on that one."

· Further information on the Enola Gay can be found at www.theenolagay.com.


TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; Front Page News; US: Ohio
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Tibbets has his own web site, http://www.theenolagay.com.

Just think, when he was a boy, in the early years of the twentieth century, automobiles were not entirely common devices. He grew up to fly propeller-driven aircraft, then jet aircraft, and somewhere along the way, he found time to drop the nuclear bomb that ended the greatest war in the history of mankind. Now, in his twilight years, he has one of the spiffier web sites on the internet.

I wonder if we will live to see the sorts of breathtaking changes in human history that were witnessed by General Tibbets and his contemporaries. So far, the little changes have been more remarkable, such the appearance of language nazis, who expropriate words like "Gay," and render them unfit for civil conversation.

Oh well, things could be worse.

1 posted on 08/06/2002 9:02:04 AM PDT by SlickWillard
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To: KayEyeDoubleDee
WWII history bump.
2 posted on 08/06/2002 9:03:24 AM PDT by SlickWillard
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To: SlickWillard
Because they're gonna strike again, I'll put money on it. And it's going to be damned dramatic. But they're gonna do it in their own sweet time. We've got to get into a position where we can kill the bastards. None of this business of taking them to court, the hell with that. I wouldn't waste five seconds on them.

Wise words from a wise man.

3 posted on 08/06/2002 9:07:43 AM PDT by Coop
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To: SlickWillard
Sensational stuff. Thanks for posting!
4 posted on 08/06/2002 9:12:45 AM PDT by ArcLight
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To: SlickWillard
bump
5 posted on 08/06/2002 9:13:09 AM PDT by Bigg Red
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To: SlickWillard
bump
6 posted on 08/06/2002 9:13:11 AM PDT by Bigg Red
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To: SlickWillard
"Tibbets has his own web site"

yup- just sent him an email thanking him for his service.

7 posted on 08/06/2002 9:15:51 AM PDT by fourdeuce82d
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To: SlickWillard
I lived in Hawaii from 1952 to 1960. As a young man I got to see one of the H-bomb explosions at Einewetok Island one evening. The island was about 1000 miles away from Oahu to the south. When it went off it made the night sky light up with this weird unearthly glow that lasted for several minutes. I will never forget that.
8 posted on 08/06/2002 9:21:11 AM PDT by tom paine 2
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To: SlickWillard
A very interesting read...thanks.
9 posted on 08/06/2002 9:23:37 AM PDT by EternalVigilance
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To: SlickWillard; Coop; EternalVigilance; Scholastic; sonofliberty2; rond
General Tibbets doesn't demonstrate much regard for the lives of the 140,000 innocent men, women, and children who lost their lives as the result of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Need I remind everyone that several hundred US POWs were knowingly atomized by their fellow countryman in Hiroshima and Nagasaki or that Hiroshima was the center of Christianity in Japan? The bottom line is that the dropping of the atomic bombs were both immoral and unnecessary to produce her surrender and end the war. Here are some relevant excerpts to add to the debate from my senior paper from over a decade ago. Oh, how I wish that we had a God-fearing, principled Joint Chiefs Chairman today like Admiral Leahy.

In the words of Admiral King, “Japan was finished long before either one of the two atomic bombs were dropped.” King believed that the defeat of Japan could be accomplished by sea and airpower alone without the necessity of invading the Japanese home islands. (The Decision to Drop the Atomic Bomb, p. 65) General Eisenhower, and USAAF Generals Arnold and Spaatz agreed with this assessment.

Admiral William D. Leahy, Chief of the Chiefs of Staff stated that he believed the use of the atomic bombs against Japan 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.” Leahy also stated that in his opinion, “War is not to be waged on women and children” and added that the deliberate use of the atomic bomb against Japanese civilians was “barbarous.” (The Decision to Drop the Atomic Bomb, p. 65)

This was the judgment of Admiral Leahy, the Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff of the U.S. armed services, on the use of the atomic bombs on Japan. Leahy also believed that certain other proposals for defeating Japan with chemicals and bacteria disseminated from the air were also morally repugnant. These proposals included using anthrax to kill the people or defoliants to kill the Japanese rice crops to starve the people into submission.

However, the Allied demand to the Japanese for 'unconditional surrender' was the biggest obstacle to securing the peace and served only to prolong the war and the great destruction, devastation, and loss of life, which accompanied it. This demand served to harden the Japanese will to resist until the bitter end and severely weakened the power of those who advocated peace in Japan just as it had done in Germany. The War Department under Secretary Henry Stimson believed that there would have been much to gain by renouncing this policy of accepting nothing less than the 'unconditional surrender' of Japan. Intelligence experts believed that Japan might surrender at anytime "depending upon the conditions of surrender" the allies might offer (Morton 1990, 505).

It was clear to intelligence experts that to have any chance at all for acceptance, these conditions would have to include retention of the Emperor. Joseph C. Grew, Acting Secretary of State, proposed to the President late in May 1945 that he issue a proclamation to the Japanese urging them to surrender and assuring them that they could keep their emperor (Morton 1990, 507). Truman, while not opposing the idea, did not act on it either. (Hiroshima, p. 36) Even after the dropping of the two atomic bombs, the Japanese Cabinet agreed to surrender with the condition that the position of the Emperor not be prejudiced, a condition that was subsequently accepted by the US so upon historical reflection it seems clear that the dropping of the atomic bombs accomplished absolutely nothing.

Beginning in September 1944, the Japanese government began quietly searching for a way to peace beginning with an approach to the Swedish Minister in Tokyo to sound out the Allies on terms of peace. Both this and another overture in March 1945 came to nought. The Swedish Minister did learn that those who advocated peace in Japan regarded the Allied demand for unconditional surrender as their greatest obstacle. The new government led by Admiral Suzuki that came to power in April 1945 had an unspoken mandate from the Emperor to end the war as quickly as possible.

The German surrender in May 1945 produced a crisis in the Japanese government and led to a decision to seek Soviet mediation. The first such approach on June 3 to Jacob Malik, the Soviet Ambassador, produced no results. At the end of June, the Japanese approached the Soviet government directly through Ambassador Sato in Moscow, asking that it mediate with the allies to bring about an end to the Far Eastern war. However, the Russians, already intent on war with Japan to increase their power in the region, delayed their answer until mid-July when Stalin and Molotov left for Potsdam. The Japanese government had accepted defeat and was desperately searching for a way out.

Following the war, the United States Strategic Bombing Survey was commissioned to assess the effectiveness of the strategic bombing campaign on the outcome of the war. They concluded that Japan would have surrendered by the end of the year, and in all probability by November 1, 1945, "even if the atomic bombs had not been dropped, even if Russia had not entered the war, and even if no invasion had been planned or contemplated.” (Takaki, Ronald, Hiroshima—Why America Dropped the Bomb, (Little Brown and Company, Limited: New York, 1995), 32)
10 posted on 08/06/2002 9:51:58 AM PDT by rightwing2
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To: Constitution Day; Sabertooth
History from one who made it.
11 posted on 08/06/2002 9:53:47 AM PDT by doglot
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To: SlickWillard
Just want to add a small story: When the Enola Gay was being restored at Garber, the Smithsonion facility, my son, the future commercial pilot (Ace) reached in and touched the aircraft, much to the dismay of a couple of old ladies. He touched history, and believe me the B-29 could withstand the soft touch of kid in awe of what he saw! Regards, Avery

DTOM!

12 posted on 08/06/2002 9:57:10 AM PDT by Ace's Dad
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To: doglot
Thanks for the ping... interesting read.

BTW, I believe today is also the anniv. of the landing at Guadalcanal.

13 posted on 08/06/2002 10:01:36 AM PDT by Constitution Day
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To: SlickWillard
JAPANESE MEDICAL EXPERIMENTS REVEALED

Tokyo, 31 August 1945 ...Stars and Stripes

Horrific details of atrocities carried out by Japanese doctors are emerging as Allied PoWs are released. Prisoners have been subjected to vivisection. Others have been used as human guinea-pigs and injected with acid, inoculated with fatal diseases, or frozen at minus six degrees Fahrenheit (-20 C).

Eight U.S. airman shot down after B-29 raids in May died in vivisection experiments carried out by Professor Fukujior at Kyushu University. One PoWs stomach was removed, and an artery cut to see how long it was before he died.

Many of the atrocities have been at Japan's top-secret bacteriological warfare unit 731 at Harblin, in Manchuria. Prisoners were inoculated with anthrax, typhoid and cholera to test germ potency. Others have been boiled or dehydrated to death. Experiments included prolonged exposure to X-rays and prisoners subjected to a pressure chamber where the blood was forced out of their skin as they died in agony.

PoWs fear that 731's commander, Shiro Ishii, will escape prosecution in return for turning over germ warfare data to the U.S. Two released U.S. doctors also revealed today how they were made to prepare lethal acid-based solutions for Japanese doctors to inject into U.S. PoWs at a Tokyo hospital.

14 posted on 08/06/2002 10:03:42 AM PDT by SkyPilot
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To: SlickWillard
Thanks for posting this.
15 posted on 08/06/2002 10:06:47 AM PDT by DaughterOfAnIwoJimaVet
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To: rightwing2
Need I remind everyone that several hundred US POWs were knowingly atomized by their fellow countryman in Hiroshima and Nagasaki or that Hiroshima was the center of Christianity in Japan?

No need to remind me, because you are wrong. Fewer than two dozen American POWs were killed at Hiroshima, not hundreds. Horrific indeed, but such is warfare.

16 posted on 08/06/2002 10:08:47 AM PDT by RoughDobermann
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To: rightwing2
Remember Pearl Harbor!
17 posted on 08/06/2002 10:09:22 AM PDT by Gumlegs
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To: SlickWillard
Bockscar?
18 posted on 08/06/2002 10:12:42 AM PDT by gcruse
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To: rightwing2
Who the hells side are you on? You come off as nothing but a liberal Blame-AMERICA first panty waste.
19 posted on 08/06/2002 10:12:48 AM PDT by ohioman
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To: rightwing2
Your assessment runs counter to that of every veteran of the war that I have ever met...to a man, they believe that the dropping of the bombs saved their lives, and the lives of hundreds of thousands of their fellow countrymen.

They had seen firsthand the cultural mindset of the Japenese soldier throughout the war in the Pacific...their refusal to surrender under the most horrific of circumstances.

Besides, was death by atomic bomb any more horrible than death by other means?

Do you also comdemn the bombing of Japenese and German cities with conventional bombs?

Should we have foresworn any military action which might have endangered civilians?

Silly questions, I know...but ones that need to be asked of those who would second-guess life and death decisions made nearly sixty years ago.

But the questions raised are as current as today's news headlines. Should the Israelis restrain themselves from bombing the terrorist masterminds in such a way that innocent civilians can't possibly be killed? Wouldn't such a policy simply give an insurmountable edge to the Islamo-fascists?

Smart bombs are good...I think America should always work to minimize civilian casualties whenever and wherever possible...but to restrain ourselves from going after our mortal enemies because the cowards hide themselves amongst the innocent would assure our defeat.

EV
20 posted on 08/06/2002 10:14:23 AM PDT by EternalVigilance
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To: gcruse
The name of the plane that dropped the bomb on Nagasaki.
21 posted on 08/06/2002 10:16:02 AM PDT by Gumlegs
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To: rightwing2
Who gives a shiite if the Japanese "would have surrendered by Nov 1"?

The bombs ended the war - that in itself is adequate justification.

22 posted on 08/06/2002 10:18:20 AM PDT by Tickle Me Pank
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To: SlickWillard
Is it too late to send Tibbets on another mission?
Hiroshima Mayor Criticizes U.S.

Story Filed: Tuesday, August 06, 2002 12:51 PM EDT

HIROSHIMA, Japan (AP) -- The mayor of Hiroshima criticized the United States for unilaterally pursuing its own interests and urged a worldwide ban on weapons of mass destruction, as thousands gathered Tuesday to mark the 57th anniversary of the world's first atomic bomb attack.

In the annual ceremony at Peace Memorial Park, Tadatoshi Akiba suggested that Washington's policies in the post-Sept. 11 world were misguided.

``The United States government has no right to force Pax Americana on the rest of us, or to unilaterally determine the fate of the world,'' Akiba said. He also urged President Bush to visit Hiroshima to see ``with his own eyes what nuclear weapons hold in store.''

At 8:15 a.m. -- the minute on Aug. 6, 1945, when the bomb exploded after being dropped from a U.S. B-29 warplane -- a bell tolled and more than 45,000 survivors, residents and dignitaries from around the world bowed their heads for 60 seconds of silence to remember the victims.

The bomb killed about 140,000 people and sickened hundreds of thousands more in Hiroshima, 430 miles southwest of Tokyo. Three days later, a U.S. bomber dropped a second atomic bomb on Nagasaki, killing 70,000 people. Japan surrendered Aug. 15, 1945, ending World War II.

In his remarks, Akiba criticized what he called the prevailing international philosophy of '``I'll show you' and 'I'm stronger than you are,''' particularly in Afghanistan and the Middle East.

Akiba called on countries to scrap weapons of mass destruction, even as nuclear-armed India and Pakistan remained on war footing in the hotly contested region of Kashmir.

``The probability that nuclear weapons will be used again and the danger of nuclear war are increasing,'' Akiba said. ``Since the terrorist attack against the American people on Sept. 11 last year, the danger has become more striking.''


By the way, I have a photo of the Enola Gay autographed by Tibbets. I display it proudly.
23 posted on 08/06/2002 10:19:51 AM PDT by Dog Gone
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To: SlickWillard; Dog Gone
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/chat/728194/posts
24 posted on 08/06/2002 10:21:57 AM PDT by swarthyguy
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To: Dog Gone
In his remarks, Akiba criticized what he called the prevailing international philosophy of '``I'll show you' and 'I'm stronger than you are,''' particularly in Afghanistan and the Middle East.

Been there, done that Mr. Akiba.

25 posted on 08/06/2002 10:24:04 AM PDT by LisaFab
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To: rightwing2
Loss of lives in a military operation are acceptable under certain circumstances and completely in line with Just War theory.

It all hinges on "proportionality" (the military gain in proportion to the cost).

The bombing was not "strategic devestation," it was "double effect."

The military gain was proportional to the civlian loss as the war was over almost immediately because of the bombing and thus saved hundreds of thousands, if not millions of lives that would otherwise have been lost.

26 posted on 08/06/2002 10:25:18 AM PDT by Gunrunner2
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To: swarthyguy
Great link!
27 posted on 08/06/2002 10:30:06 AM PDT by Dog Gone
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To: Dog Gone
IMO, the Japanese must never be permitted to re-arm. Unlike the Germans, they have learned nothing from World War II, and their culture makes it almost impossible for them to have an honest examination of the evil that Japan did.
28 posted on 08/06/2002 10:32:41 AM PDT by Campion
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To: EternalVigilance
Thank you for your well-thought out response. Mine was going to be far more vituperative.

I know my grandfather was glad that he didn't need participate in the Japanese invasion.

I was also reading "Semper Fi, Mac" recently....(an oral history of the Marines in WWII, and an excellent read). If I remember correctly, the book mentioned that the 1st and 6th Marine divisions were going to spearhead Operation Olympic (the invasion of Japan). Both divisions were written out of the plan by H+36. In other words, the casualties would have been so high that the divisions would have ceased to exist 36 hours after they hit the beach. And that's only one branch of the service.....

Maybe there's a military historian out there that confirm or comment.

29 posted on 08/06/2002 10:34:01 AM PDT by wbill
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To: SlickWillard
bttt
30 posted on 08/06/2002 10:34:31 AM PDT by hattend
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To: Gumlegs
"BOCKS CAR"
31 posted on 08/06/2002 10:39:46 AM PDT by bruoz
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To: rightwing2
That's their tough luck for being there.

Oh, I get it. Civilians at Hiroshima are to blame because they were dumb enough to live there. Too bad, so sad. People consider this acceptable?

Is it acceptable when enemies of the United States kill civilians and dismiss those casualties as "besides the point"?

I think Rightwing2 is spot-on with this elegant, succinct belief: the killing of innocents is always morally wrong. Doesn't matter the place, the time, the circumstances. It's wrong and we should not be a party to such barbarism. When we embrace the madness, we become mad ourselves.

32 posted on 08/06/2002 10:40:07 AM PDT by rond
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To: rightwing2
First, the Russians and Japanese still do not have a formal peace agreement because the Russians occupied 4 small islands north Japan that were historically Japanese. Second, the Americans had troops on the border between China and Russia to prevent the Russians from sending troops into China against Japan. Now the question. If the war had lasted to November 1st, how much of Japan do you think Russia could have controlled? How much of China? And would Japan have benefitted from being split between the Allies and Russia like Germany?
33 posted on 08/06/2002 10:42:43 AM PDT by Question_Assumptions
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To: rond
"...the killing of innocents is always morally wrong."

I'm glad you guys weren't in charge of WWII...we would have lost.

Zieg heil!

34 posted on 08/06/2002 10:42:55 AM PDT by EternalVigilance
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To: rond
"Is it acceptable when enemies of the United States kill civilians and dismiss those casualties as "besides the point"?

No. We have been known to drop a-bombs on them.

35 posted on 08/06/2002 10:45:23 AM PDT by bruoz
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To: SlickWillard
WWII bump. Good read
36 posted on 08/06/2002 10:46:08 AM PDT by billbears
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To: rightwing2
Maybe if you'd read about Japanese soldiers inserting firecrackers into the bodily cavities of Filipino women - blowing them up in front of their children - or the brutal killing of Marines and corpsmen on Iwo Jima, inserting the genitalia of the dead into places you really don't want to hear about (yes, this is meant to shock some sense into you) - instead of limiting yourself to material like this, you wouldn't feel quite so bad.

The WWII-era Japanese could have taught the Nazis a couple of things. And the Japanese of that era had the suicidal, fanatical mindset we see in Al Qaeda to go with it. That's not a combination to fool around with.

As ripe for surrender as you suggest they were, it took two bombs to get the message delivered - what's wrong with this picture?

No one will ever convince me it wasn't the right thing to do.

37 posted on 08/06/2002 10:46:34 AM PDT by DaughterOfAnIwoJimaVet
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Comment #38 Removed by Moderator

To: SlickWillard
Fascinating interview. Thanks for posting it.
39 posted on 08/06/2002 10:50:15 AM PDT by Fred Mertz
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To: rond
That's their tough luck for being there.

Oh, I get it. Civilians at Hiroshima are to blame because they were dumb enough to live there. Too bad, so sad. People consider this acceptable?

Read his comment in its context. Tibbets was addressing the recent spate of news stories concerning possible civilian deaths in Afghanistan [such as the "Wedding Party/Anti-Aircraft Battery" fraud].

There is a very old, very moral approach to this question: If men commit acts of barbarism, then run and hide behind the skirts of women and children, they should not be surprised to see similar acts of barbarism visited upon same.

40 posted on 08/06/2002 10:50:46 AM PDT by SlickWillard
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To: rightwing2
"...General Tibbets doesn't demonstrate much regard for the lives of the 140,000...who lost their lives as the result of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki".

That's right, and he doesn't 'HAVE TO' either.

41 posted on 08/06/2002 10:50:58 AM PDT by Pagey
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To: bruoz
I wasn't sure about exactly how it was named, but I knew the name 1) sounded like that, and 2) it was a play on "boxcar."
42 posted on 08/06/2002 10:52:34 AM PDT by Gumlegs
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To: SlickWillard
Moral of the story... Americans are amongst the kindest, gentlest people on earth. They are loathe to get involved in conflicts, and very slow to react. America, you might say, is something of a well armed wimp... except... and this is a big exception....If you push them, really push them, history has shown that they are capable of unleashing destruction heretofore only beknownst by Creation. The power of the gods with the fury of Demons.

To put it succinctly, don't F*CK with the USA.

43 posted on 08/06/2002 10:54:24 AM PDT by Paradox
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To: SlickWillard
If men commit acts of barbarism, then run and hide behind the skirts of women and children, they should not be surprised to see similar acts of barbarism visited upon same.

Excellent point.

44 posted on 08/06/2002 10:54:57 AM PDT by DaughterOfAnIwoJimaVet
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To: rond
I take it then, that your position is that the people on United Airlines Flight 93 who fought back against the terrorists were morally wrong because other passengers were killed.
45 posted on 08/06/2002 10:55:41 AM PDT by Gumlegs
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To: SlickWillard
Slick: I did go back and re-read the quote, and here it is, in its entirety:

"Oh, I wouldn't hesitate (to drop an atomic bomb) if I had the choice. I'd wipe 'em out. You're gonna kill innocent people at the same time, but we've never fought a damn war anywhere in the world where they didn't kill innocent people. If the newspapers would just cut out the shit: 'You've killed so many civilians.' That's their tough luck for being there."

He is talking about civilians, not the "recent spate of news stories concerning possible civilian deaths in Afghanistan," as you put it. He is dismissing civilian deaths as too bad, so sad, as "tough luck."

I concur with you on the "moral approach" to this issue. We should not be surprised when old birds of prey come home to roost.

46 posted on 08/06/2002 10:59:59 AM PDT by rond
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To: SlickWillard
Excellent read.
47 posted on 08/06/2002 11:04:07 AM PDT by Bikers4Bush
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To: Gumlegs
Remember Pearl Harbor!"

Remember Bataan!

48 posted on 08/06/2002 11:05:42 AM PDT by Badray
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To: Gumlegs
I take it then, that your position is that the people on United Airlines Flight 93 who fought back against the terrorists were morally wrong because other passengers were killed.

That's a straw-man debating point and you should know it. Unless, of course, you are saying that some of the Flight 93 passengers were four-square opposed to the fight to regain control of the craft.

Let's get back on point, shall we? It's really quite simple. The United States dropped two atomic weapons and killed tens of thousands of civilians. Our Joint Chiefs chair and the majority of his subordinates opposed the dropping of the A bombs. So did future President Eisenhower. The latter's words seem most applicable here:

"Japan was already defeated and dropping the bomb was completely unnecessary ... I thought that our country should avoid shocking world opinion by the use of a weapon whose employment was, I thought, no longer mandatory as a measure to save American lives."

Yes, I like Ike, and not just because of the interstate highway system.

49 posted on 08/06/2002 11:05:49 AM PDT by rond
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To: rightwing2
The dropping of the atomic bombs was neither immoral or unnecessary to get Japan to surrender.

It was the right thing to do whether you approve of it or not, whether you like it or not.

50 posted on 08/06/2002 11:07:40 AM PDT by Bikers4Bush
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