Thursday, August 06, 2015


 The Hiroshima Prefectural Industrial Promotion
Hall in 1945 and today, now nicknamed
the A-Bomb Dome (AP Photo)
The 70th anniversary of Hiroshima's destruction by an atomic bomb is a time for sober reflection, not only about the horror of nuclear war but of the circumstances that gave rise to the use of such a weapon. As the World War II generation disappears into history, support among Americans for the atomic bombing of Japan has fallen from 85% to 56% today. There are cogent arguments for and against the use of the bomb. This is one of those issues where it behooves us all to study the arguments on both sides before drawing a conclusion.

I have no enthusiasm in being part of the shrinking majority supporting Truman's decision. Killing 200,000-250,000 Japanese in Hiroshima and Nagasaki saved hundreds of thousands American soldiers' lives and perhaps avoided 20 million (!) Japanese casualties, the latter a Japanese official's estimate.

Three more comments:

1) Thank God Harry S Truman was President.

2) I doubt strongly whether many in the generations that came after, including myself or for that matter the current holder of the Presidency, would have the courage to make the decision and be second-guessed and vilified throughout history.

3) There's a good chance that I owe my existence to the bomb. My father, who celebrated his 90th birthday in June, would have been part of the invasion of Japan. (Dad served in the post-War occupation.)

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