Yesterday was the anniversary of one the most horrible atrocities in human history: the dropping of the atomic bombs on
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The Tree of the Knowledge of good and Evil/ Hiroshima Maidens
60"x80" Oil on Canvass/ Wood, 2003
The central image of this painting is a representation of the tree of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. The side panels are taken from displays in the Hiroshima Peace Museum showing the aftermath of the nuclear bombing of that city.
The Hiroshima Maidens is a group of twenty-five Japanese women who were seriously disfigured as young women as a result of the atom bomb dropped on
My curiosity piqued after listening to their talk, I investigated further and what I discovered wasn’t pretty, to say the least.
The accepted rationale for
Many nations have tested nuclear weapons, but only one has ever used them. That nation, of course, is the
How many lives would have been lost in such an invasion is not clear. While President Truman threw around figures from 500,000 -- one million dead, at least one historian wrote that the figures the military planners projected put the number at between 20,000-46,000. However, the disturbing issue here is not the discrepancy in numbers, but the fact that neither an invasion nor a nuclear attack was necessary to make
By June 1945, whole-scale bombing of
While it is true that some Japanese factions were resisting the notion of surrender, the leaders in charge were on the verge of calling it quits. The only point deterring surrender was the Japanese concern that the emperor would be allowed to maintain his title. The
Another 1946 document, a recently discovered secret intelligence study by the army’s top planning and operations group came to the same conclusion: an invasion “would not have been necessary” and the A-bomb was not decisive in ending the war.
This view wasn’t some radical lefty bullshit; key military leaders echoed it. “The Japanese were already defeated and ready to surrender… In being the first to use [the atomic bomb] we had adopted an ethical standard common to the barbarians of the Dark Ages,” said William D. Leahy, who was the president’s Chief of Staff and the nation’s senior military officer. The same opinion was offered by Dwight D. Eisenhower and Winston Churchill.
This isn’t hindsight, these assessments were known by US policy makers before they chose to drop the bombs. In fact, in July, American intelligence had intercepted a cable from Japanese foreign Minister Shigenori
There was no attempt on behalf of the Truman administration to demand surrender. No show of power by, say, dropping the bomb on an unpopulated island. There was no careful consideration. This wasn’t the act of last resort.
So, if there was no true imperative to drop the bombs then why?
There are several theories, but the one I adhere to is that the
The bombs were more of an opening shot in a Cold War that would last for decades.
I write all this because we should never forget... We all should know all those innocent men, women, and children didn’t need to die, as those in power would have us believe.
Alperovitz, G. (1995) The Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb and the Architecture of an American Myth. (
Zinn, H. (1991). A people's history of the United States: 1492-present.