Beta

Slashdot: News for Nerds

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

60 Years Since Hiroshima

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the science-has-consequences dept.

Science 806

cryptoz writes "Today is the 6th of August, 2005, exactly 60 years after the first nuclear device was used in a war. Japan remembers what happened, as do those around the world. Elswhere, we remember where the bomb hit, as well as how it worked." From the article about Japan's observation of the anniversary: "The anniversary comes as regional powers meet in Beijing to urge North Korea to give up its nuclear programme, seen by Tokyo as a threat and one of the reasons behind rising calls in Japan to strengthen its defence and seek closer military ties with the United States. Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi was among those attending the ceremony in Hiroshima, 690 km (430 miles) southwest of Tokyo." We've previously reported on the anniversary of the first nuclear explosion.

cancel ×

806 comments

we need anotherone!!!! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13260596)

killl more gooks!

with George Bush running the world.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13260643)

... we won't have to wait too long!!!

Re:with George Bush running the world.... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13260854)

Zonk is a fucking retard.

Victim's story (1, Interesting)

Azadre (632442) | more than 8 years ago | (#13260599)

Keiko Ogura was eight years old when the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. She still lives in the city.

I wanted to go to school, but my father said 'I have a very strange feeling today - you shouldn't go to school, stay with us'.

That morning I was on the road near the house and all of a sudden I saw a flash of blueish white light - a magnesium-like flash and soon after a big sound with dust, and I was blown away and fell on the ground.

I found myself lying on the ground near the house. I thought the house was just in front of me but I couldn't see it because everything had become so dark and many pieces of wood and roof tiles and rubbish were falling on my head.

And in the darkness there was a strong, strong wind like a typhoon. I couldn't open my eyes but tried to get back to my house and in the darkness I heard somebody was crying - my brother and sister.

I was 2.4km from the hypocentre but houses nearer the hypocentre had caught fire and were burning.

I saw long lines of refugees, just quiet, I don't know why they were so quiet. There were long lines, like ghosts.

Most of them were stretching out their arms because the skin was peeling off from the tips of their fingers. I could clearly see the hanging skin, peeling skin, and the wet red flesh and their hair was burned and smelled, the burnt hair smelled a lot.

And many people, just slowly passed by the front of my house.

Parched

All of a sudden a hand squeezed my ankle. I was so scared but they said 'get me water'. Almost all the people were just asking 'water', and 'help me'.

I rushed into my home where there was a well and brought them water. They thanked me but some of them were drinking water and vomiting blood and [then] died, stopped moving. They died in front of me. I felt regret and so scared. Maybe I killed them? Did I kill them?

And that night, 6 August, my father was so busy looking after the neighbours, but when he came back he said: 'Listen children - you shouldn't give water, some of the refugees died after drinking water. Please remember that.'

Then I felt so guilty, and I saw them many times in my nightmares. I thought I was a very bad girl - I didn't do what my father said - so I kept it a secret. I didn't tell anybody this story until my father died.

There was black rain falling, black rain mingling with ashes and rubbish and oil, something like that. It smelled bad and there were many spots on my white blouse - sticky, dirty rain.

In the morning people were moving, brushing away flies from their skin. My house was full of injured people.

But as a little girl I was so curious. I wanted to see what the city looked like. My house was at the bottom of a hill - I climbed up the hill, near our house, and then I saw the whole city. I was so astonished - all the city was flattened and demolished. I counted just a couple of concrete buildings.

In denial

The next day some of the buildings were still burning, and the next day, and the next day, and for three or four days I climbed the hill to see what the city was like.

I have a brother-in-law. He was living almost at the centre of the city - his family was very close to the hypocentre. Until now his family members were missing and he didn't want to recognise they were all gone, so he refused to say and report the family's names to the officials and he didn't want to visit Hiroshima.

Right now, he is living far away in Tokyo, and only last year he decided to report to Hiroshima city that his family members - his mother and sister - had passed away.

And there were so many people [who saw] so many dead or dying, but actually, most of them made up their mind not to tell anyone about what they saw.

Private Yutaka Nakagawa was a 20-year-old soldier and veteran of the Indonesia campaign, stationed in Hiroshima when the bomb fell on 6 August 1945.

I was in the barracks on the night of the 5 August. There was a warning of an air-raid. But I was in bed. A B29 was flying over the city and dropped hundreds of leaflets.

The leaflets said Japan would be defeated. The officers said don't touch the leaflets - they could be poisoned. Our officers collected them up so we didn't read them.

When the bomb fell - I was asleep. But when I awoke I saw the aftermath - some of my fellow soldiers were horribly burned
Yutaka Nakagawa

On the night of the 5 August there were warnings of air raids so I had to take our unit's communications equipment to a bunker 2km from our barracks.

All through the night I was moving this equipment so in the morning I was allowed to rest. When the bomb fell I was asleep. But when I awoke I saw the aftermath - some of my fellow soldiers were horribly burned.

In the city, the citizens of Hiroshima were trying to reach the Ota river to drink water. The banks of the rivers were covered with dead bodies.

Cries for water

Some time later I returned to the barracks. Inside the barracks were civilian victims, lying on the ground.

When I approached they cried out for water but our officers said: 'Don't give them water - if you do that they'll die immediately'.

But there was a pond inside the barracks - water reserved for fire-fighting - I saw black, burned bodies in the water - it was like a nightmare.

Even now I cannot believe the things that I saw. There are lots of memorials in Hiroshima - like the atomic bomb dome - but for me the most vivid image of the atomic bomb is the memory of those burned bodies.

I wonder if the men who flew the missions have religious beliefs? The surviving crewmen are all old men, very near to death. What will they say to god? What do they think god will say to them?

What God will say to them (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13260666)

"Thanks for saving many hundreds of thousands of lives that would've been lost had the war the Japanese started with a surprise attack continued."

Re:What God will say to them (0, Flamebait)

Aardpig (622459) | more than 8 years ago | (#13260709)

"Thanks for saving many hundreds of thousands of lives that would've been lost had the war the Japanese started with a surprise attack continued."

In fact, according to most of the Christian Right in the USA, including the President, God will say 'You unbeliever, off to hell with you!'

Re:What God will say to them (0, Troll)

arkanoid.dk (895391) | more than 8 years ago | (#13260744)

"... saving many hundreds of thousands of lives ... "

By doing what? Oh, that's right... by killing hundreds of thousands (70,000 when the first bomb were thrown, 70,000 of complications afterwards, 25,000 when the bomb over Nagasaki were thrown 40,000 afterwards. That sums up to 205,000 deaths...)

Re:What God will say to them (2, Informative)

HexRei (515117) | more than 8 years ago | (#13260768)

IIRC 300,000+ or so were lost in Japan's Rape of Nanking, addition to the hundreds of thousands that were literally raped.

Would you not prefer that a nuke had been dropped, and only 210k killed?

japan was about to surrender (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13260757)

You must be unaware that Japan was about to surrender at the time of the attack. The bomb drops were done mostly to test the new technology "live" and to show the world America is a superpower.

Re:What God will say to them (3, Insightful)

Read Icculus (606527) | more than 8 years ago | (#13260804)

Utter propaganda developed by the United States for it's own benefit.

Take a look at the scholarly work on the subject. Japan was ready to surrender, they had offered conditional surrender before the bombs were dropped. Of course that was rejected, and no doubt should have been for strategic reasons.

US military officials agreed that Japan was close to surrender, and it's military capability was almost entirely destroyed in the fire-bombings that took place before Hiroshima/Nagasaki. The military dictatorship that influenced and basically forced the Emperor to support it and their ideals has already collapsed under the shame from their losses and failure to defend Japan. Take a look at the 1946 Bombing Survey for more info. Japan was not a significant military threat at the time. Howard Zinn's "A People's History of the United States" is a good starting point. Though if you think he's biased you can find the same referenced info elsewhere. Military officials were clear that Japan was not a great threat anymore. Marshall councilled against using the bomb on civilian populations, as did most other advisors and the creators of the weapons.

No evidence backs up the claim that anywhere from half a million, to a million US lives would be required to take Japan. No data at all supports that, indeed the numbers seem to be drawn out of thin air. There is no accurate measurement of how many lives would be needed to take Japan, especially as many suggest that Japan was close to surrender, had little military might, and might not even need to be invaded at all.

It is clear that Truman lied to the American people when he notified them on the bombing of Japan with nuclear weapons. "The world will note that the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, a military base. That was because we wished in this first attack to avoid, insofar as possible, the killing of civilians."

Hiroshima was not a "military base". The aim of dropping the bomb was not to hasten Japanese defeat in order to spare US lives, but rather as a strategic move to check Stalin. Stalin was to declare war on Japan and join in any possible invasion. The US did not want to face another East/West Germany situation, with a possible unfriendly government in the region. Instead they wished to have influence in the region, and to show military might. Taking the first step in the Cold War meant that they had to make a show of power, and dropping the Bomb was that step. It showed the region, Stalin, and the world at large that they were in control. An impressive step was needed to assert this power, and indeed Truman no doubt felt that by asserting US authority and making a power play he could prevent the US from having to fight more wars in the future and scede power to unfriendly governments.

So your point is entirely falacious. Often repeated and held as truth in schools and blindly pro-US people, but there is no factual evidence to support it. Please take a look at all the scholarly work on the subject. It is so one-sided as to be ridiculous. Bombing Japan in order to save hundreds of thousands of US lives is a story without any merit at all.

Re:Victim's story (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13260670)

Um, if you forget, by your own web page, you're a pasty white kid from ohio. You're not even old enough to remember NES let alone hiroshima...

And yet you post someone else's story or perhaps just a bit of science fiction, in what vein?

Just to be anti-american for the sake of it?

You should be ashamed of yourself.

Re:Victim's story (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13260677)

Wow. Americans sure are assholes.

Re:Victim's story (0, Flamebait)

Aardpig (622459) | more than 8 years ago | (#13260689)

Just to be anti-american for the sake of it?

So, it is anti-German to post stories about the Holocaust? Stupid cunt.

Re:Victim's story (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13260735)

So, it is anti-German to post stories about the Holocaust? Stupid cunt.

Can you give me a point by point comparsion on how the Holocaust was like Hiroshima? I'm guessing beyond the "H" and the fact that numerous people perished, there's very little in common.

Re:Victim's story (1)

Aardpig (622459) | more than 8 years ago | (#13260765)

...and the fact that numerous people perished...

That is my point. To criticize someone who posts the story of a victim of Hiroshima as 'anti-American' is just as bat-shit crazy as to criticize an account of the holocaust as 'anti-German'.

Re:Victim's story (0)

hackwrench (573697) | more than 8 years ago | (#13260793)

The Japanese were our enemy, the Jews were the enemy of Hitler. The Japanese were civillians, the Jews were civillians. The Japanese were killed by the order of Truman. The Jews were killed by the order of Hitler. The general U.S. population was unaware of the nature of the attack on the Japanese civillians, the general German population was unaware of the degree of Hitler's attack on the Jews. Is that enough for you?

Re:Victim's story (1)

blackpaw (240313) | more than 8 years ago | (#13260706)

Yup, you nailed it - on the aniversary of the only nukes used in war its all anti-americanism.

Dick head

more stories (1)

thelost (808451) | more than 8 years ago | (#13260792)

via the guardian newspaper [guardian.co.uk] A bright green flash No one should again suffer as we did 60 years ago in Hiroshima Keiko Lane Saturday August 6, 2005 The Guardian On the morning of August 6 1945 I was sitting in my garden beside an ornamental pond and singing as I cleaned my brother's shoes. I was seven. My mother was in the kitchen and my 14-year-old brother had already left for work. Suddenly there was a bright green flash on the other side of the house, and with a mighty roar the house collapsed, leaving me buried deep under smashed wood and panelling. My mother was thrown the length of the house and also buried. Luckily she freed herself and searched desperately for me. Article continues She was very slender and less than 5ft tall, yet she found a superhuman strength to move heavy timbers, already starting to burn, and other debris until she found me. I was pulled from the wreckage and my injuries were roughly dressed with bandages torn from her clothes. Next door a young woman was trapped. My mother found it impossible to move the burning wood and, finding no one alive or uninjured nearby to help, she picked me up and ran up the street, leaving the woman still trapped. All that day my mother carried me through the destroyed and burning city, stepping over or around the dead and dying as she made her way to the outskirts of Hiroshima, where she hoped medical help could be found. As I was being carried I saw many charred bodies lying in the streets, including several mothers who had instinctively tried to shelter their children with their bodies but had died, leaving their children still alive, many with terrible burns. In the evening we found an emergency dressing station set up at a still-smouldering elementary school. My mother had carried me more than six miles. I was examined by a doctor, who suspected that I was dying from internal injuries and told my mother to give me nothing to drink in spite of my desperate need for water. Finally, a nearby injured old lady reasoned that if I was dying then a drink of water would do me no harm. Next day a large pit was dug in the playground by some old soldiers and they began to incinerate the dead, of which there were many stacked up against the walls. All day the playground filled with the injured, and as some of them died they were thrown on the fire. In particular I remember a boy of about 12 who was terribly burnt and blind. He kept asking for his mother and as he became more delirious he asked repeatedly for her to cook him some tempura, which apparently was his favourite food. Finally, he also died and was put on the fire. No one knows exactly how many died in Hiroshima, but it is estimated at more than 200,000, of which many were refugee women and children. Those near ground zero were instantly vaporised, leaving behind only a shadow on the ground or wall. Maybe they were the lucky ones, because many of the survivors died in agony from terrible burns. Some took a long time to die. My mother suffered the effects of radiation for many years. I was in and out of hospitals with leukaemia until my mid-20s, and because of the possibility of having deformed babies I decided not to marry until much later in life. My brother had been affected by radiation and was unable to have children. My aunt, who had a silk dressing gown welded to her body and her fingers joined together like ducks' feet, took three years to die. Recently I retraced my journey through Hiroshima with my husband and revisited the school where I received treatment on that dreadful day. It was a moment of mixed emotions, but I did feel strongly that this horror must never be allowed to happen again. The only certain way to ensure this is to destroy all nuclear weapons and ban the making of any more.

Importance of rememberance (5, Insightful)

Sv-Manowar (772313) | more than 8 years ago | (#13260607)

I think its extremely important that we remember these events, to ensure that the situations and attitudes that led to them can be remembered and the contribution of people who died on both sides to bringing the world to the way it is today. We can't change the past, but we can try to avoid the same situations and circumstances. A generation now are being raised where full scale war between first world countries is a thing of the past, and its important that they can come to respect the happenings of the past.

Re:Importance of rememberance (-1, Troll)

KillShill (877105) | more than 8 years ago | (#13260696)

indeed we should remember the war criminals who dropped 2 atomic weapons of MASS DESTRUCTION on helpless civilians.

Re:Importance of rememberance (4, Insightful)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 8 years ago | (#13260743)

and the contribution of people who died on both sides to bringing the world to the way it is today. We can't change the past, but we can try to avoid the same situations and circumstances.

Hmm, I don't know what world you live in, but the lessons of the past have not been learned, and your "world the way it is today" is on the brink of war. And no, I'm not talking about the "war on terrorism", I'm talking about a constant, low-level, diffuse state of warfare as predicted by Georges Orwell, and as desired by neocons in order to maintain themselves in a position of power.

As for the future, when energy resources start to dwindle (and some expert say they already are right now), you can bet your money on a full-scale war over control of what's left. If you think Hiroshima taught anything to today's world leaders, you're sadly mistaken.

CBC timeline (4, Informative)

saskboy (600063) | more than 8 years ago | (#13260614)

http://archives.cbc.ca/IDD-1-71-1794/conflict_war/ hiroshima/ [archives.cbc.ca]

It's a sad day in the history of humanity. The cruelty that we visit upon each other should never be forgotten.

Re:CBC timeline (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13260708)

The cruelty that we visit upon each other should never be forgotten. You mean the cruelty that United States of America visit upon the world? That USA, as the only nation in the world, actually used a nuclear bomb, not only once but twice, should never be forgiven nor forgotten.

Re:CBC timeline (1, Insightful)

EvilTwinSkippy (112490) | more than 8 years ago | (#13260753)

You mean the cruelty that United States of America visit upon the world? That USA, as the only nation in the world, actually used a nuclear bomb, not only once but twice, should never be forgiven nor forgotten

You've obviously never reviewed the body counds from Japan's Rape of Nanking [tribo.org] .

Re:CBC timeline (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13260802)

You're not saying much by comparing the use of WMD to one of the worst atrocities in history.

Re:CBC timeline (1)

RevengeOfPoopJuggler (872968) | more than 8 years ago | (#13260763)

Flamebait. All's fair in love and war.

Re:CBC timeline (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 8 years ago | (#13260818)

You mean the cruelty that United States of America visit upon the world? That USA, as the only nation in the world, actually used a nuclear bomb, not only once but twice, should never be forgiven nor forgotten.

      My ancestor was almost killed by your ancestor, hopefully our grandchildren will still be fighting. Ugh. War is hell, you know? People die. On both sides. That is, basically, THE WHOLE POINT. That's why war should be avoided, if it can be.

      Whining about old wars however gets you nowhere. I have both English and French ancestry. How confused would _I_ be in that case? No to mention I should despise just about every other European culture that invaded one of those countries at some point or other. Right. What would I gain from that?

      We have the potential, every one of us, to make all those old conflicts and hatreds stop NOW. I'm willing. You, however, are not helping at all. But I can't expect more from an Anonymous Coward I guess.

Re:CBC timeline (5, Informative)

interiot (50685) | more than 8 years ago | (#13260777)

The UN sanctions against Iraq [wikipedia.org] killed more civilians (500,000 to 1,200,000) than the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki combined (~350,000 [wikipedia.org] ). Tens of thousands of civilians died during and after the 2003 US Invasion of Iraq. Hiroshima and Nagasaki were undoubtedly one of the most prominent symbols of civilian casualties in the name of war, but war in general follows a close second. War is never kind to the citizens who happen to live in the wrong place at the wrong time.

We must realize that war always has a large cost on everyone involved, and only resort to physical confrontation as an absolute last resort.

Yaaawwnnn !! (-1, Troll)

Jeet81 (613099) | more than 8 years ago | (#13260615)

Wasn't this on CNN a day or two ago?
I thought slashdot had a reputation of reporting news a day or two ahead of others.

Tell me about it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13260625)

I heard this on the radio about 60 years ago!

Re:Yaaawwnnn !! (1)

Winckle (870180) | more than 8 years ago | (#13260637)

I thought slashdot had a reputation of reporting news a day or two ahead of others.

You must be new here!

Re:Yaaawwnnn !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13260662)

I think you are just a moron. We can "celebrate" the event through out the year. If you don't remember history, it was on 6th. So what is the point of posting this story on 4th ? Why don't you go and do your programming work.

At least Zonk read it correctly this time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13260784)

See his boner on Monad and Windows Vista yesterday.

What ordinary men can do (5, Interesting)

Azadre (632442) | more than 8 years ago | (#13260623)

They were young men hoping to help end World War II. But to their mission's critics, the crews that dropped the atomic bombs on Japan were part of a war crime.

Three men involved in the attack on Hiroshima shared with the BBC their memories of a day that has stayed with them for 60 years.

Theodore "Dutch" Van Kirk, 84
The day before the mission we sat through briefings on Tinian island where they told us who was assigned to which plane, and we ran through what we were going to do.

About 2pm we were told to get some sleep. But I don't know how they expected to tell us were we dropping the first atomic bomb on Japan and then expect us to sleep.

I didn't get a wink. Nor did most of the others. But at 10pm we had to get up again because we were flying at 2.45am.

They briefed us that the weather was good, but they were sending weather observation planes up so we would have the best information on targeting Hiroshima.

We had a final breakfast and then went down to the plane shortly after midnight.

There was a lot of picture-taking and interviewing going on - by the military - and it was a relief to get in the Enola Gay about an hour before we took off.

We flew in low over Iwo Jima while the bomb crew checked and armed Little Boy (the uranium bomb) and once we cleared the island we began climbing to our bombing altitude of just over 30,000 feet.

It was perfectly clear and I was just doing all the things I'd always done as a navigator - plotting our course, getting fixes to make sure we were on course and reading the drifts so we knew the wind speed.

As we flew over an inland sea I could make out the city of Hiroshima from miles away - my first thought was 'That's the target, now let's bomb the damn thing'.

But it was quiet in the sky. I'd flown 58 missions over Europe and Africa - and I said to one of the boys that if we'd sat in the sky for so long over there we'd have been blown out of the air.

Once we verified the target, I went in the back and just sat down. The next thing I felt was 94,000lbs of bomb leaving the aircraft - there was a huge surge and we immediately banked into a right hand turn and lost about 2,000 feet.

We'd been told that if we were eight miles away when the thing went off, we'd probably be ok - so we wanted to put as much distance as possible between us and the blast.

All of us - except the pilot - were wearing dark goggles, but we still saw a flash - a bit like a camera bulb going off in the plane.

There was a great jolt on the aircraft and we were thrown off the floor. Someone called out 'flak' but of course it was the shockwave from the bomb.

The tail-gunner later said he saw it coming towards us - a bit like the haze you see over a car park on a hot day, but moving forwards a great speed.

We turned to look back at Hiroshima and already there was a huge white cloud reaching up more than 42,000 feet. At the base you could see nothing but thick black dust and debris - it looked like a pot of hot oil down there.

We were pleased that the bomb had exploded as planned and later we got to talking about what it meant for the war.

We concluded that it would be over - that not even the most obstinate, uncaring leaders could refuse to surrender after this.

In the weeks afterwards, I actually flew back to Japan with some US scientists and some Japanese from their atomic programme.

We flew low over Hiroshima but could not land anywhere and eventually landed at Nagasaki.

We didn't hide the fact that we were American and many people turned their faces away from us. But where we stayed we were made very welcome and I think people were glad that the war had ended.

Morris "Dick" Jepson, 83
I was a young second lieutenant in the US Air Force and was designated as the weapons test officer on the Enola Gay.

Enola Gay returns after Hiroshima mission (photo: Smithsonian Institution)
For Dick Jepson, the Enola Gay flight was his first combat mission

The bomb was designed to detonate when it was about 1,500 feet - or about one-and-a-half seconds - above the ground to ensure the maximum possible destructive range.

To that end it contained a range of radar-designated electronics.

In the run-up to the mission I had spent five months at Harvard and three months at MIT studying radar design.

For several months I worked on developing the electronics that would allow the bomb to detonate above the ground, flying test missions over southern California.

The Manhattan Project [to build the atomic bomb] was compartmentalised so the thousands of people working on it could not know the full details of the plan, but I was in no doubt I was training for an atomic bomb drop.

On the day of the mission, I had to perform some final tests on the electronics that operated the bomb.

There was a box in the plane's forward compartment that connected to the bomb via a cable system.

My final job was to climb down into the bomb bay, crawl around the bomb and manually arm the device. I took out three testing plugs that isolated the bomb and put in three red firing plugs.

The most important thought in my mind was that this would detonate and end the war.

Unlike the others, this was the only combat mission I had been on, but there was only one point when I was apprehensive.

I knew how long it took for the bomb to fall and detonate - 43 seconds - so I counted but nothing happened. I just thought this was devastating.

But in the excitement I had counted too fast. That second, the crew reported a huge flash and it had gone off.

A few seconds later I felt the first blast wave.

There was a second shockwave and I knew by the delay that it had detonated at the right height - and this second wave was the force of the bomb bouncing back off the ground.

Everyone's thoughts turned to what devastation there would have been down below - we all had that thought on our mind because we had seen what the bomb could do.

But it was the right thing to do.

Dr Harold Agnew, 85
I had come from working on the Manhattan Project at Los Alamos and my abiding memory is of it being a very exciting time, working with all the best scientific minds of the day.

I describe myself as a 'grunt' at that time, I did what I was told to do. But I was part of a great undertaking.

For the Hiroshima mission I was on board The Great Artiste, a second B-29 that had tailed the Enola Gay to the bombing zone.

We'd flown alongside them all the way up there and were about four or five miles off to one side of Hiroshima, dropping gauges with parachutes that would measure the yield of the bomb.

After we dropped our gauges I remember we made a sharp turn to the right so that we would not get caught in the blast - but we still got badly shaken up by it.

I don't think anyone realised exactly what would happen. It was the only uranium bomb to be dropped.

My honest feeling at the time was that they deserved it, and as far as I am concerned that is still how I feel today.

People never look back to what led up to it - Pearl Harbour, Nanking - and there are no innocent civilians in war, everyone is doing something, contributing to the war effort, building bombs.

What we did saved a lot of lives in the long run and I am proud to have been part of it.

After the war I returned to the University of Chicago to continue my studies and later rejoined Los Alamos, where I eventually became director of the laboratory.

About three-quarters of the US nuclear arsenal was designed under my tutelage at Los Alamos. That is my legacy.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/4718579. stm [bbc.co.uk]

Not to flame you americans (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13260624)

But how does it feel -after all pride and duty- to be part of the nation that fired up such a "baby" at first?

Just a -perhaps- dumb question I would ask myself if I would be an american boy. Doesn't matter, being a german boy isn't easy anyway ;-)

Re:Not to flame you americans (1)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 8 years ago | (#13260741)

I think you have do what has to be done to end the war. Remember, people were estimating that an invasion of Japan would cost one million Allied casulties, and probably at least that many Japanese. Horrible though the two bombs were, they still cost less lives than an invasion would have.

Re:Not to flame you americans (2, Insightful)

sqrt(2) (786011) | more than 8 years ago | (#13260772)

I am more ashamed of the horrible and needless fire bombings of Dresden [meredith.edu] . Germany was defeated; it was a senseless waste of human life, and a loss of hundreds of years of culture. I can justify the a-bomb, military and industrial targets were hit including the factory that made the torpedoes that hit Pearl Harbor, but Dresden was a city of no military or strategic importance. You can make the case that the a-bomb saved lives by avoiding an invasion of mainland Japan, but there is no justification for what happened in Dresden.

Re:Not to flame you americans (1)

Kojiro Ganryu Sasaki (895364) | more than 8 years ago | (#13260790)

Interesting however was that the bomb was not aiming for the factory. It was aiming to kill as many civilians as possible.

Re:Not to flame you americans (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13260808)

However, Hiroshima and Nagasaki did have industrial value, the same thing can't be said for Dresden.

Re:Not to flame you americans (1)

Kojiro Ganryu Sasaki (895364) | more than 8 years ago | (#13260842)

I'm not defending the Dresden issue if that's what you think.

Re:Not to flame you americans (1)

arkanoid.dk (895391) | more than 8 years ago | (#13260810)

You can't really blame the Americans for throwing the bomb(s).
Noone, not even Einstein, Bohr, Oppenheimer and the rest of the scientists could really predict the devastating consequences of that bomb. Of course, the atomic bomb had been tested, but afterall, you never know what good a weapon really is, before it has been used.

The good thing about the two bombs over Hiroshima and Nagasaki is that they were terrible enough to have prevented anybody else from throwing them... afterall... we learned our lesson there (no, I'm not American, but it was a lesson for the entire world to learn).

Just a side-comment. Einstein actually said once, that if he had known what his research would've led to, he would have become a locksmith instead.

Re:Not to flame you americans (1, Insightful)

Registered Coward v2 (447531) | more than 8 years ago | (#13260812)

ut how does it feel -after all pride and duty- to be part of the nation that fired up such a "baby" at first?

Not bad at all - remember:

The Japanese started the war with us via strike they hoped would prevent the US from challenging them in the Pacific - unfortunately for them they were wrong.

They had ample opportunity to surrender before that - and after the first bomb, but chose not to. It should have been clear to their leadership that there was no way they would win the war.

While the damage was horrific, fewer died than would have if we decided to blockade them and continue to use regular weapons to force a surrender, invading if needed.

A better question is:

Would Japan and Germany have given as liberal surrender terms and as benign an occupation as they experienced under the Allies?

I think the Chineses, Phillipinos, Indo-Chinese, Poles, French, Dutch, et. al. might be able to shed some light on what a German / Japanese victory might have been like.

Well... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13260627)

I expect to see similar footage from Mecca in about 10 years.

Please read this before commenting (4, Insightful)

Ogemaniac (841129) | more than 8 years ago | (#13260632)

http://www.weeklystandard.com/Utilities/printer_pr eview.asp?idArticle=5894&R=C62A29C91 [weeklystandard.com]

This is a wonderful article from the Weekly Standard concerning Truman's choice.

The most salient fact? About 10,000 people per day were dying per day in the Pacific theatre, mostly civilians in Japanese-occupied countries. Any alternative to the bombs that would have caused a one month delay would have wound up with more dead than the bombs themselves.

Remember this before you rattle off about some alternative scheme to end the war.

My alternative scheme to end the war... (3, Funny)

Hamster Lover (558288) | more than 8 years ago | (#13260671)

Truman had another option to end the war -- Godzilla. Yes, Godzilla.

We could have avoided the whole nuclear arms race if we'd only sent it Godzilla. Or giant robots. Ok, the robots wouldn't have worked without a nuclear power source, but still think of it -- Godzilla or giant robots!

Only problem is finding enough butterscotch pudding to control Gozilla. It's his favorite, by the way.

I have always thought Godzilla has had a crush on (1)

Ogemaniac (841129) | more than 8 years ago | (#13260813)

Hello Kitty...

Perhaps we could have asked her to intervene.

Re:Please read this before commenting (5, Insightful)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 8 years ago | (#13260682)

Precisely. The battle leading up to Aug 6, centering on Okinowa between April and July, had 50,000 Americans killed, and an estimated 200,000 Japanese.

In hindsight, it's easy to say the bombs shouldn't have been dropped. But at the time, things were very, very different.

It is a completely fair point (1)

Ogemaniac (841129) | more than 8 years ago | (#13260718)

and remember, our next attack was the main island Kyushuu, with a population ten times that of Okinawa. There is no reason to believe that the Japanese would defend one of their main four islands any less fiercely than they did Okinawa, which is actually a long way from the main cluster of islands and about as much a part of Japan as Hawaii is part of the US.

Actually, as the article I cited notes, our generals and admirals were having second thoughts about the invasion.

Good but not quite (1)

Tiger4 (840741) | more than 8 years ago | (#13260720)

The US forces were not planning an invasion until October-November anyway. Those peole would have died had the bombs not worked or Japan not surrendered. The bomb was first an effort to save the lives of American soldiers, and second an effort to forestall serious Russian incursions into Japanese territory. The Russians were our allies, but we knew they wanted parts of the Japanese islands back from losses in the Russo-Japanese War.

Saving the lives of civilians was a poor third at best. The war was already in progress. They would be saved or die as chance would allow. The US was not fighting on the basis of liberating the most subjugated people first. It was moving on the basis of strategic advantage to get at the Japanese home islands and end the war soonest. Saving civilian lives was a byproduct.

I agree, it was a by-product (1)

Ogemaniac (841129) | more than 8 years ago | (#13260745)

but a product is a product either way. Truman's first line of reasoning was concerned with American lives, as it should have been. The fact that it also saved allied lives, Japanese lives, forced Japan into a totally-defeated surrender, and prevented a split, half-communist controlled nation were all icing on the cake.

Despite the horrors, the alternatives were worse.

Be careful about that (1)

Pseudonym (62607) | more than 8 years ago | (#13260756)

What you refer to as "the US" or "US forces" was a group of people, and it was not entirely homogeneous. Some had good motives, some had bad motives, and most (I think) had mixed motives.

Trying to put the priorities of an inhomogeneous group of people in some kind of order isn't necessarily helpful, even if it is accurate at some level of abstraction.

Re:Please read this before commenting (3, Interesting)

grungebox (578982) | more than 8 years ago | (#13260727)

It's also worth remembering that the Weekly Standard is a conservative rag. Not to say the author is right or wrong, just that the article has a built-in bias in favor of certain views of foreign policy. An FYI.

On a side note, perhaps the worst implication of the a-bomb dropping was what's called the "genocidal mentality." The idea is that now that the idea of an ultimate weapon to wipe out so many people at once has entered our consciousness, humans have developed an inherent mental threshold that is much lower than that of leaders in previous centuries, termed "psychic numbing." A good article on the subject is here [himalmag.com] . Here's a choice quote: "Nuclearism does not remain confined to the nuclear establishment or the nuclear community. It introduces other psychopathologies in a society. For instance, as it seeps into public consciousness, it creates a new awareness of the transience of life. It forces people to live with the constant fear that, one day, a sudden war or accident might kill not only them, but also their children and grandchildren, and everybody they love. This awareness gradually creates a sense of the hollowness of life. For many, life is denuded of substantive meaning. The psychological numbing I have mentioned completes the picture. While the ordinary citizen leads an apparently normal life, he or she is constantly aware of the transience of such life and the risk of mega-death for the entire society. Often this finds expression in unnecessary or inexplicable violence in social life or in a more general, high state of anxiety and a variety of psychosomatic ailments. In other words, nuclearism begins to brutalise ordinary people and vitiates everyday life."

So whether or not the bomb was good at ending the war, it may have had more deadly consequences decades later. It's something worth thinking about that isn't typically brought up in pragmatic discussions about war-termination scenarios for the pacific theater in WWII.

One point (1)

Ogemaniac (841129) | more than 8 years ago | (#13260766)

The likelyhood of someone dying in war has dropped dramatically since August 9th, 1945. Despite a boom in world population, the annual number of deaths due to war has fallen about 80%.

I will agree, however, that people have odd reactions to minute but spectacular risks (while all but ignoring everyday risks such as driving your car)

Re:Please read this before commenting (1)

learn fast (824724) | more than 8 years ago | (#13260732)

I believe Eisenhower's "alternative scheme" was to accept their existing motions of conditional surrender. Their only condition was the continuation of the monarchy, and after unconditional surrender the US decided that the monarchy should be allowed to continue anyway, so there had been no actual point.

MacArthur made similar arguments at the time.

As I asked, please read the article (1)

Ogemaniac (841129) | more than 8 years ago | (#13260789)

The Japanese were not close to surrender on such terms. They completely rejected such terms in secret codes we had intercepted and cracked. They were considering asking the Russians to mediate a cease-fire, leaving them in possession of large chunks of China and leaving their military junta intact, not just the emperor.

Nor should the Japanese have been close to surrender. Our generals were already backing out of their support for an invasion, because it would be too bloody.

Wrong. Japanese military also had to stay in power (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13260837)

Read the Weekly Standard article.

According to that article, there were two conditions the Japanese wanted:

1. The Emperor must remain
2. Military control of the government must continue.

That second one was a show-stopper, given the wars of conquest to create the "East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere", and the brutality of the Japanese in Nanking among other places. And this was before we even knew of things like that military setting up atrocities like Unit 731 [google.com] .

The Weekly Standard article also mentions that the Japanese military was nowhere near surrendering, they knew where the invasion was planned to be, and that they would be able to dramatically outnumber the forces the US could bring to bear in an invasion.

The invasion would have happened without the atomic bomb, and once the US had it they were going to use it - because as someone pointed out to Truman: "What will you say in the impeachment hearings after the bloodbath of the invasion when they find out you could have ended the war much earlier?"

Re:Please read this before commenting (1)

HexRei (515117) | more than 8 years ago | (#13260782)

Not to mention that Japan killed literally millions of Chinese. 370,000 dead in the Rape of Nanking? Where is the "Rape of Nanking" remembrance day? Or is that somehow better, since those people were murdered individually with bullets instead of with a pair of bombings that ended a bloody war?

Rogue Fundementalist Nations (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13260642)

The fact that rogue fundementalist nations like the United States and Israel posses WMDs is the number one threat to world security today.

Every nation with any useful natural resources or territory that has any relevance to the lunatic fundementalist Christian or Jewish whackjobs in power right now can only do the sane thing of arming themselves with their own WMDs to prevent a war of terror like what is going on in Palestein and Iraq.

Re:Rogue Fundementalist Nations (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 8 years ago | (#13260680)

Every nation with any useful natural resources or territory ... can only do the sane thing of arming themselves

  OK so let me get this straight, Canada should develop nukes to defend itself from the US, is that what you're saying?

      Another point, umm, people or nations arming themselves is supposed to REDUCE tension?

      Yeah, whatever. Have a nice day.

Re:Rogue Fundementalist Nations (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13260844)

If might not be a bad idea for Canada to take the lead in asking the USA to comply with the disarmament requirements of the Non Proliferation Treaty. Escalate to refusing to sell Uranium, Petroleum, Auto Parts, Machine Tools, and all other dual use technologies and materials. Partner with Cuba in asking which nations laws apply in Guantanamo bay, as the USA seems to think that US law, international law and Cuban law do not apply. Failing an answer on that question, detain USA citizens on Sealand, or the Hutt River Province (near Australia).

submittor view (1)

bokkepoot (143872) | more than 8 years ago | (#13260647)

The division between Japan, those around the world and the USA gives a nice perspective on the submittor.

Justified or not, the effect of the bombing is more than just a hole in the ground.

Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13260651)

Japan remembers what happened, as do those around the world. Yeah, actually, so do most Americans who were alive at the time...

Actually, I live in Japan (4, Interesting)

Ogemaniac (841129) | more than 8 years ago | (#13260688)

and can say without hesitation whatsoever that this anniversary is getting far less news coverage here, and isn't being talked about by the average Japanese. In general, Japanese are much less political than Americans. I could go into why but that would be a really long post. If you care, start by learning about honne and tatamae.

The unforgettable fire (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13260653)

Hiroshima - the unforgettable fire. I suggest you to go see that exhibition. It will open your eyes.

6 August Where? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13260654)

Was it dropped 6 August US time? Because it's the 7th now in Tokyo.

And oddly enough there was a really huge fireworks presentation in Chiba I went to last night

Bittorrent of the video clips anyone? (1)

oniqPL (466334) | more than 8 years ago | (#13260655)

Or are they not released under public domain..?

Before some say 'Poor Japan' (4, Informative)

DAldredge (2353) | more than 8 years ago | (#13260669)

from wikipedia.

The Japanese also engaged in mass killings; millions of Asian civilians and Allied POWs were killed by its military and/or used as forced labour. The most notorious atrocities occurred in China, including the slaughter of almost half a million Chinese during the Nanjing Massacre and Unit 731's experiments with biological warfare in Manchuria, with a view to killing a large part of the Chinese population. Japanese war crimes also included rape, pillage, murder, cannibalism and forcing female civilians to become sex slaves, known as "comfort women" .

Re:Before some say 'Poor Japan' (3, Insightful)

myowntrueself (607117) | more than 8 years ago | (#13260703)

This is a great /. article!

I get to spot people with disgusting attitudes like this and mark them 'foe'!

Thanks for standing out in the crowd!

Most of the people who died as a result of being nuked by 'The Americans' were not 'The Japanese' who commited the atrocities.

Grow up.

Re:Before some say 'Poor Japan' (4, Insightful)

EvilTwinSkippy (112490) | more than 8 years ago | (#13260781)

Last I checked, most of the Americans being pillored as evil for dropping the bomb weren't even alive at the time.

Re:Before some say 'Poor Japan' (1)

Pecisk (688001) | more than 8 years ago | (#13260851)

I have to second this. Claiming that A-bomb stopped everything is ridiculous - overhyped historical reality. Most of victims was common crowd - I would say that if Germany had done something like this over for example Seatle, US would be claimed it biggest war crime in the history.

Nukes are NOT usable even in modern warfare, PERIOD. It is just useful for someone who sees everything like chess board (not alive people) like military in every country. They don't see people.

I know, i know...emotional rant and all that stuff. But I really can't see how normal human beings can accept this as usable strategy to end war. We can end usage of drugs - kill all junkies and all like that stuff. Go ahead, do it.

Re:Before some say 'Poor Japan' (4, Insightful)

Sc00ter (99550) | more than 8 years ago | (#13260856)

The problem was this was during a time of carpet bombing. There were no smart bombs. Planes would fly over and just drop bombs over everybody. Also, Japan would NOT give up.. it took -TWO- atomic bombs to get them to give up. Without them the war probably would have went on for a LOT longer. This probably would have created more deaths/casualties on both sides in the long run.

Re:Before some say 'Poor Japan' (1)

KillShill (877105) | more than 8 years ago | (#13260714)

dehumanizing the enemy. the ploy of a monsterous and diseased philosophy.

Re:Before some say 'Poor Japan' (1)

nagora (177841) | more than 8 years ago | (#13260760)

Ah, the old "two wrongs make a right" argument. Lot of that about these days.

Re:Before some say 'Poor Japan' (1)

DAldredge (2353) | more than 8 years ago | (#13260801)

It was a War. Shit happens. If you don't want to have bad things happen to your homeland make sure you can wipe out the enemy before they wipe you out.

It wasn't our fault that the leadership of Japan refused to surrender till we droped two atomic bombs on them.

Re:Before some say 'Poor Japan' (1)

centipetalforce (793178) | more than 8 years ago | (#13260787)

We didn't give two shits about that, we just wanted to end the war quickly, and the bombs were the two final blows. We had been firebombing the majority of Japan for months, burning to death hundreds of thousands of civilians in a night over Tokyo.

It wasn't necessary. Neither was a hypothetical invasion. We had them surrounded from all sides, their Navy was destroyed, Air Force crushed, foreign supplies entire blockaded. We could have laid seige and they would have eventually surrendered. Their infrastructure would have been left intact, and their economy would be 10 years ahead of what it is today. We didn't do that because everyone was simply anxious to end the war, and if it meant killing 10 million or their entire population, no one cared. It was our most shameful days, and no, we were no better than they were.

Re:Before some say 'Poor Japan' (1)

dominion (3153) | more than 8 years ago | (#13260820)


Japanese war crimes also included rape, pillage, murder, cannibalism and forcing female civilians to become sex slaves, known as "comfort women".

If you think that these acts are specific to the Japanese under Hirohito, then you're hopelessly naive about the nature of war.

The expression "War is Hell" didn't come out of nowhere, and it sure as anything is not the name of an upcoming X-Box game.

Re:Before some say 'Poor Japan' (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13260823)

Pardon me, but did the civilian population of Hiroshima and Nagasaki do all this? What a bunch och bastards! In that case, they sure deserved to die in an inferno, or slowly and painfully, depending on where they were at the time. And their unborn children sure as hell deserved their leuchaemia.

That seems fair. And also, I'd say balanced.

Vietnam (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13260855)

...war crimes also included rape, pillage, murder, cannibalism and forcing female civilians to become sex slaves, known as "comfort women".

Sounds like what the Americans did in Vietnam.

important to note (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13260675)

1) more people died previously in (single) conventional bomb strikes (firebombings);
2) Japan had, at that point, lost control of air and sea (over and around) their nation;
3) Japan was starving it's people and urging them to prepare for "millions of honorable deaths";
4) The Emperor wanted to surrender, but the Japanese military leadership refused to allow it;
5) Japan was warned repeatedly by the USA that refusing to surrender would exact a terrible toll;
6) Japan was seriously dragging their heels, taking weeks to decide, preparing for a defensive land war.

Finally, the US ended the stalemate, without a gruesome land war.

No one in the USA wanted to fight an "Iwo Jima" style battle, one in which hundreds of lives were lost just gaining or losing a couple of yards.

Fought on their home islands, the Japanese would have fought terribly, to the last man woman or child, with hundreds of thousands of lives lost on each side to starvation or this hellish land war.

The bomb, in many ways, was a gift for both sides.

Re:important to note (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13260693)

Including those who died or suffered extremely painful and debilitating burns and other horrifying sicknesses related to the effects of a nuclear bomb.

I don't see how this is relevant. (1)

MillionthMonkey (240664) | more than 8 years ago | (#13260752)

The strategic situation in 1945 may indeed have been such that Truman's decision to drop the bomb saved more lives than it cost. But whenever the world stops to remember Hiroshima and reflect on the destruction that nuclear weapons can inflict on civilian populations, Americans get all thin-skinned and start huffing and puffing about what the Japanese did before the bombings.

These are valid points, but they're largely irrelevant. Nuclear weapons have not been used since, so when we reflect on their actual usage, we have no choice but to recall these two events in 1945- which is unfortunate because they bring in the baggage associated with that particular war that makes Americans lose sight of the larger issue. The point in remembering them really has more to do with the nature of nuclear war itself than some perceived effort to slight the Americans. If someone had dropped a nuclear bomb on the U.S.A., the world would no doubt commemorate that too.

The world remembered... (1)

slasho81 (455509) | more than 8 years ago | (#13260685)

Today is the 6th of August, 2005, exactly 60 years after the first nuclear device was used in a war.

yet slashdot missed this immensely important anniversary in a day.

21,915 days ago, a city died. (0, Redundant)

sourcery (87455) | more than 8 years ago | (#13260690)

2005-08-06 is 21,915 days since 1945-08-06.

1945-08-06 AD (Gregorian) in various calendars:

0102-08-06 BE [Bahai]
1661-11-30 AM [Coptic]
1937-11-30 ZH [Ethiopic]
5705-05-27 AM [Hebrew]
1867-05-15 AS [Indian Civil]
1364-08-26 AH [Islamic (Fatimid)]
1945-07-24 AD [Julian]
1324-05-15 AP [Persian]
1945-218 [Gregorian-ordinal date]
1945-W32-1 [ISO]
J.D. 2431674 [Julian Day]

typical of us government (-1, Troll)

fadetoblack (905715) | more than 8 years ago | (#13260715)

all they do is bomb the shit out of other countries, causing mass death and destruction for decades and wonder why the rest of the world hates them. if the people who run this country dont change their arrogant attitudes we'll have a situation worse than 9/11.

Actually (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13260758)

Most Japanese (2/3) have a favorable opinion of the United States and Americans [washingtontimes.com] . Maybe we should drop a few more nukes to boost our popularity?

Re:typical of us government (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13260785)

actually, if you remove the "us" i think your comment may have some merit. governments usually start and end wars, not the citizens.

Re:typical of us government (1)

fadetoblack (905715) | more than 8 years ago | (#13260806)

actually by 'us' i meant U.S. (united states) government. i shouldve written it in caps.

Japan's history (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13260764)

I think it's important also to remember that Japan has also recently removed from it's student's textbooks some very horrific events of it's attempt at world conquest. Such as the raping of Nanjing.

You can understand why the Chinese people are so upset. Of course I dont think there is anything wrong with having national pride, but let's not forget the recent past.

I don't want to sound like a racist either, but let us examine the incident named above and Japanese culture. I find Anime perverted and I am not surprised considering I believe the Japanese to be the most sexually perverted people on earth.

Is someone going to censor this?

a question (1)

Flunitrazepam (664690) | more than 8 years ago | (#13260773)

any physics majors in the house:

What would have happened if we detonated the bomb about 60 miles offshore of Japan in the Pacific instead? More deaths? Less?

Film (3, Informative)

Knacklappen (526643) | more than 8 years ago | (#13260780)

Here's a film from the Internet Archive:
A Tale of Two Cities" (1946) [archive.org]

There is be more [archive.org] ...

Re:Film (1)

Knacklappen (526643) | more than 8 years ago | (#13260839)

Correct [archive.org] "more"-link

The problem with the debate... (5, Insightful)

dominion (3153) | more than 8 years ago | (#13260795)


I already know that there's going to be people arguing back and forth that a) Hiroshima was a tragedy that never should have happened, or b) Hiroshima was necessary because it ended the war/punished the Japanese/etc.

Well, you know what? I don't care about either of those perspectives. Maybe it was necessary, maybe it wasn't, it's history now, and let's treat it as such. But there's one thing about the bomb that nobody in the US seems to realize:

Any country, *any* country, that uses nuclear weapons against another country had better let it weigh on their soul for as long as that country exists. The discussion should be constant, and permanent, and without end. The empathy of the pain that the Japanese people went through should be part and parcel of every conversation about World War II. People should go to sleep every night knowing exactly how serious of a decision that was.

And that's the problem: For every other country whose government's have committed mass murder, whether justifiable or not, there is a sense of history, of ownership of the bad as well as the good, there is a conceivability that they are as much responsible for the past as they are for the present and future.

In the US, we don't have that sense. It's all abstract and textbook, it's all justifications and wartime terminoligy. It's all disconnected and abstracted to the point of science fiction.

So argue all you want about whether it was right, or wrong, or good, or bad, or justifiable, or unjustifiable. To me, I can understand both sides of that debate.

What I can't understand is how most Americans seem to care much about what it means that we sent two Japenese cities into a nuclear hell. Using the bomb was a horrible act, whether or not it was justifiable, and the real tragedy is that the Japanese people were forced to understand that, while we read the headlines, added some notes to the next year's schoolbooks, and then continued on with our lives.

Sympathy? (1, Insightful)

DesScorp (410532) | more than 8 years ago | (#13260796)

Ask the Chinese survivors of Nanking [wikipedia.org] how many tears they shed for the Japanese after Hiroshima.

Ask the survivors of the Bataan Death March [wikipedia.org] how many tears they shed for Japan.

Ask the Philipinos that survived the Manila Massacre [wikipedia.org] how many tears they shed for Japan.

I bet all of the people that carried up pieces of human remains from Pearl Harbor don't give a shit. I bet the veterans of the Pacific island hopping campaign don't give a shit. Nor the prisoners of war all over Asia.

Re:Sympathy? (1)

Microlith (54737) | more than 8 years ago | (#13260815)

They're not asking for SYMPATHY you dick.

They're saying "let this never happen again. anywhere."

Go read the fucking article. Oh wait, then you wouldn't be a slashbot.

Don't forget Nagasaki (2, Interesting)

sakusha (441986) | more than 8 years ago | (#13260807)

I always thought Nagasaki gets less attention than it deserves. You always hear about the Hiroshima anniversary, but rarely hear about the Nagasaki anniversary.

So let me remedy that with a link to the San Francisco Exploratorium's exhibition of restored photos taken shortly after the attack, Remembering Nagasaki. [exploratorium.edu]

bomb likely was unnecessary (2, Informative)

wotevah (620758) | more than 8 years ago | (#13260829)

I keep reading posts from proud Americans how the bombs were justified, saved x lives and the world should be thankful for the guardian angel that US is.

Yet no word on the point of view (that I assume was never taught in US schools) that the bombing was unnecessary, as Japan was about to surrender, the wheels were in motion but accidental/intentional communication problems prevented that from happening before the bombs were dropped.

I also cannot discount the point of view that US had used this opportunity to do a real-life test and show the world its new weapon technology, just like recently in Iraq with the bunker busters and stealth fighters, and to ensure its uncontended first page in the world superpower book.

No words on that fact that mostly CIVILIANS were killed in a horrible way in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

It seems that is what we are talking about now (1)

Ogemaniac (841129) | more than 8 years ago | (#13260850)

As I have cited above, the Japanese were nowhere near surrendering, nor should they have been. They were beginning to whisper about a cease-fire, which would have left their military junta intact and them in possession of large chunks of the asian mainland.

Thank God for the Atom Bomb (1, Interesting)

Detritus (11846) | more than 8 years ago | (#13260846)

Paul Fussell [wikipedia.org] 's essay, Thank God for the Atom Bomb [journeythroughjapan.org] , should be required reading for those who want to understand the decision to drop the bomb and its historical context.

Finally Bush finds WMD... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13260849)

...but they are American and they used them on Japan...

You missed it by a day (1)

bhiestand (157373) | more than 8 years ago | (#13260857)

Not meant to be too nitpicky, but it's the 7th of August here in Japan. It has been for about nine hours now, or rather since before your article was printed on the main page.

This is a question that has always confused me in history and, I imagine, will only get worse. How do you keep track of what time things actually happened? I know the use of local and zulu in the military has made things easier, but how do historians keep track? Or is everyone just assumed to be talking about their time zones, and all anniversaries are celebrated as that time comes to other time zones, like new years?
Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...