My mom is a Hiroshima bomb survivor too *UPDATED*

Tomorrow is the 64th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima, and you can expect the usual breast-beating about how unutterably evil we were to target Japan’s civilian population.  Here in Marin, a “Hiroshima survivor” is going to read poems and speak about her experiences.

I freely acknowledge that this survivor went through a horrific experience that I hope is never again repeated.  Still, I’d like to acknowledge the other Hiroshima bomb survivors.  My Mom is one of those survivors.

My Mom wasn’t in Japan when the Americans dropped the bomb.  She wasn’t anywhere near Japan.  She was in Java, a civilian in a Japanese concentration camp, on the verge of starving to death.  But for the fact that the atom bombs immediately terminated the war in the Pacific, she would have died.  She didn’t have another month or even another week.  She needed the war to end instantly.  It was the bombing at Hiroshima that enabled her to survive the war.

Nor was my mother alone.  Truman didn’t drop the bomb only to impress the Soviets or to play with an exciting new toy.  He dropped the bomb because he’d been credibly advised that the Japanese were not going to surrender, but would fight the war on their own ground — and this was true despite the fact that the Japanese knew as well as the Americans did that the Japanese could not win.  In July 1945, Truman was looking at the possibility of up to 50,000 more American deaths, plus all of the Japanese military and civilian deaths.  (And that’s not even counting the Marines already suffering unthinkable torture in Japanese camps and slave works, or American, Dutch and English civilians imprisoned all over the Pacific).  Given that the Japanese had started the war and then refused to end it (even though they were losing), one big bomb that would kill the same number of Japanese with no American casualties seemed like a very good idea at the time.

So as the media predictably inundates us with stories of Japanese Hiroshima survivors (or I assume it will based on past history), feel free to sympathize with their very real suffering.  Please, however, take a minute to remember the other Hiroshima survivors, those whose suffering at Japanese hands was ended because of that same bomb.

UPDATE:  Thomas Lifson, who was kind enough to link to this post, adds an important bit of information: D.M. Giangreco, a military historian who is one of the people most intimately familiar with the invasion of Japan, has written a book on the subject, Hell to Pay: Operation DOWNFALL and the Invasion of Japan, 1945-1947, which comes out in a month or two.  I’ve corresponded with Mr. Giangreco and can assure you that he knows the subject intimately.  If this subject is at all interesting to you, you should get the book.

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  • http://explorations.chasrmartin.com Charlie (Colorado)

    My dad was in Okinawa, flying bombing missions and waiting for the Invasion. Odds are damn good he wouldn’t have come home without the Bomb; seeing that I was born in ’55, I wouldn’t have been here either.

    As you say, you must consider both sides of the argument. A while ago I wrote a piuece on moral choices, and ended it with:

    What I see in these arguments is not a high moral tone, but a very low one: they assert moral authority without accepting the necessary and consequential moral responsibility. By asserting a high-minded and plausible sounding abstraction, they avoid responsibility, at least in their own minds.

  • Allen

    I am reminded of the fact that Alfred Nobel believed that the horror at the use of explosives in war would make war unthinkable.

    Utopian beliefs: good throughout history.

  • Charles Martel

    There is one outcome of the atomic bombings of Japan that I rarely see discussed: their inhibitive effect on any subsequent use of nuclear weapons by any nation once the world was able to see just how destructive the weapons were.

    That’s why I’ve always laughed at the second guessers who insisted that the U.S. should have “demonstrated” the atomic bomb’s great power by dropping one offshore near Tokyo Bay.

    The Japanese would have shrugged and said, “So what? A big firecracker. How could it be any more destructive than the May 1945 firebomb raid on Tokyo that killed 140,000 people and destroyed about 40 percent of the city’s infrastructure?”

    But if you drop two bombs on bustling cities and incinerate them in split seconds, you suddenly have the world’s undivided attention. You then have monsters in the Kremlin contemplating (and dreading) the melting down of Moscow and their glorious evil empire, and you have defenders of what’s left of Western civilization in Washington making similar strenuous efforts to avoid having their world end in a radioactive flash.

    So, those bombs in 1945 clarified men’s minds, including those of the fanatics who finally saw that the total destruction they were so willing to consign their country to hadn’t an ounce or jot of nobility to it.

    Unfortunately, savages who believe that a man-god is slumbering at the bottom of a well and needs a few million charred Jews and Persians to wake him up are now ready to defy the logic that has held back the use of nukes for the past 64 years. Hell, man, who wouldn’t use atomic weapons if he knew he could get perpetually nookified by eternal virgins, pimped by a compassionate and merciful god, just by creating some corpses?

    It may be that our only hope is to create some sort of laser contraption that can project a giant image of Hugh Hefner over Tehran. Hef, clad in his fanciest gold lame lounging robe, can implore the mullahs: “Guys, I helped His Nibs design your paradise. Believe me, after the first 3,000 or so gals, you kind of start looking around for other stuff to do. Like cooking, or reading or learning how to use toilet paper. Or, what the heck, even making friends with Jews. They have great senses of humor, and Allah knows you guys could learn how to laugh. Why not try that for awhile?”

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ Ymarsakar

    It may be that our only hope is to create some sort of laser contraption that can project a giant image of

    My hope is that we create some sort of laser contraption that can drill a pin point hole in the Earth’s crust down to the mantle. In a radius anywhere between 50 meters and 5 miles.

  • suek

    >>In a radius anywhere between 50 meters and 5 miles.>>

    I know just the spot to try it on:

    Latitude 35.7°N, Longitude 51.4°E

  • http://photoncourier.blogspot.com David Foster

    Don Sensing has a thoughtful post on this topic.

  • http://photoncourier.blogspot.com David Foster

    It is interesting that “progressives” who are opposed to almost any form of conventional military action–and who also believe that the U.S. bears heavy war guilt for Hiroshima–nevertheless want to rely almost exclusively on the threat of “massive retaliation” to deal with the incipient Iranian nuclear capability. See my post deterrence and also my related post Dresden.

  • Charles Martel

    One of the best examples of massive retaliation I’ve ever seen is what the McCaulkin kid did to those thugs in “Home Alone.”

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ Ymarsakar

    Those guys you referred to reminds me of the Jiggly Butt Gang in Rave (manga).

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ Ymarsakar

    I just looked on a lat/long map, sue. That’s Tehran ; )

  • SADIE

    Ymarsakar

    My hope is that we create some sort of laser contraption that can drill a pin point hole in the Earth’s crust down to the mantle. In a radius anywhere between 50 meters and 5 miles.

    That would be quite a bonfire.

    Book:
    I know there are Holocaust survivor groups for the survivors and for the children of survivors and I am wondering if there is a Pacific rim equivalent?

    I remember reading a thread about this very sad and disturbing memory sometime in the past here and recounted the story of A Town called Alice. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0081949/

    We often say prayers for the dead, but they are for us in many ways – it makes us feel better. Prayers for the survivors are for them and they are deserved and needed daily like bread.
    Whoever decided that it was only the Japanese that survived WWII when it comes time to recount suffering, was not taking into account non Asians like your mom.

  • http://bookwormroom.com Bookworm

    Holland was enormously embarrassed by its civilian prisoners. It made no push to get them reparations from the Japanese, and it used social pressure to silence them in Holland. The internet is a place some of them are coming together — 60 years after the fact.

    As for A Town Like Alice, it is one of my all time favorite books, one that I recommend to everyone.

  • SADIE

    60 plus years is too long too walk alone. I don’t know enough to understand why Holland would be embarrassed. They should actually be ashamed that they did nothing and then shamed the survivors into silence.

    It may be the children, like you, who will be their voice.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ Ymarsakar

    What was the cause of that embarassment.

  • Danny Lemieux

    “60 plus years is too long too walk alone. I don’t know enough to understand why Holland would be embarrassed.”

    Holland had much to be embarrassed about during WWII, as did most occupied European countries. Reason number 1 was their high degree of collaboration with the enemy. I don’t hold that against those European countries: I believe that the same would happen here in the U.S. were we someday be occupied. Most human beings are cowards and want to accommodate rather than resist unpleasant circumstances. It’s human nature. Our own revolution was carried out by a minority actively opposed by a strong Loyalist contingent.

    In most countries, the Resistance represented a small minority that was in as much danger of betrayal by their fellow citizens as by the Nazis. It’s possible that what happened to Book’s mom and her fellow prisoners was part of a more general effort to get past and forget the war experience in its entirety.

  • http://home.earthlink.net/~nooriginalthought/ Charles

    Ditto to everything in Book’s post and the above comments. I only want to add a few things:

    1 – While those who lived through it remember; far too often overlooked in the history of WWII is how agressive the Japanese Empire was in Asia, especially China, before the U.S. entered the War. Japanese warboats, on more than one occassion and unprovoked, sank British and other Western merchant ships on the Yangtze river. Of course, they “apologized,” said it wouldn’t happen again, yada, yada, yada. This went on for almost a decade before the attack on Pearl Harbor and other targets. So, with that in mind, unconditional surrender was the only option. (appeasement, it didn’t work with Hitler and it didn’t work with the Japanese Empire either – today, some still don’t learn from history)

    2 – The brutality the Japanese army engaged in while in China and other parts of Asia is astounding. Read the “Rape of Nanking” by Iris Chang for just a small taste. I also had a couple of teachers while in Asia who had first-hand experience under the Japanese during the war. One teacher, an overseas Chinese from Indonesia, watched Japanese solders shoot his father and his uncles.

    3 – And lastly, while I cannot remember his name, there was a Japanese journalist who several decades ago defended the U.S. atomic attacks with a simple question. If the Japanese Empire had developed the atomic bomb first would they have not used it?

  • Pingback: Brutally Honest()

  • Oldflyer

    Chiming in; my father was an over-age sailor whose job was to drive landing craft to the beach during amphibious assaults. He survived Okinawa and would have been part of the invasion fleet that assaulted the Japanese homeland. Using the atomic bomb to end the war before that invasion became necessary never bothered me a bit.

    Without question, although WWII showcased the depths of human brutality; the atomic bomb was just another instrument. No better and no worse than many others.

    I had the pleasure of meeting the family of a Dutch gentleman who was a resistance fighter as a teenager. Unfortunately, this brilliant academic had fairly advanced alzheimers by the time I came in contact. So, I heard his stories second-hand as related by his wife–who was also in occupied Holland during WWII.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ Ymarsakar

    Truman made the right decision at the time. The people trying to second guess him are oxygen thieves. They don’t have a right to order any body’s termination, let alone the enlightened judgment to do so correctly.

  • SADIE

    Reason number 1 was their high degree of collaboration with the enemy.

    ..but to silence the survivors within the social structure has given them a lifetime of emotional repression as well. I guess I am wondering why there has been no outrage, no activism among the Dutch, American and English.

    I started to search for information last night and found only one book and review that detailed the brutality by the Japanese, Knights of Bushido, which was published in 1958. It should have been the starting point to gather the survivors and give them a forum. A Town like Alice (1950) was unknown to me until 1980. It should be required reading.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ Ymarsakar

    So, with that in mind, unconditional surrender was the only option.

    it’s not that people like Jon Stewart believes unconditional surrender wasn’t the only option. They just believe killing less people, the necessity of killing those people, wasn’t really necessary for unconditional surrender.

  • Gringo

    Here is an interesting paragraph from Louise Steinman in her book The Souvenir: A Daughter Discusses her Father’s War. She visited Japan, and had some interesting conversations.

    “During my visit to Japan, I met Japanese who (unlike Soji) had lived through the war years. They shocked me when they offered me their opinion that the atomic bomb had been necessary to end the war, that the military government would have urged them to mass suicide if the conflagration of Hiroshima hadn’t happened.”

    Wikipedia says that during World War II , China, the Dutch East Indies (Indonesia) and French Indochina ( Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos), Korea and the Phillipines suffered from 13 to 23 million civilian deaths, which would have been nearly all deaths at the hands of the Japanese. I lose little sleep over the 580,000 Japanese civilian deaths during World War II, nor do the citizens of those countries Japan blessed with its presence during World War II. ( I grant you that Wikipedia is not a universally accurate source, but I imagine in this case the numbers are in the ballpark.)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_War_II_casualties

  • SADIE

    A little off topic, but very interesting while on the subject of Japan

    The system pairs six citizens with three professional judges, and the nine together decide both guilt and sentencing. All nine are considered judges. Until now, all trials were heard only by professional judges.

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090806/ap_on_re_as/as_japan_jury_trial

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ Ymarsakar

    The military aristocracy that controlled Japan was historically consistent. For much of Japan’s Age of Warring States, the Shoguns and daimyos controlled food production (rice taken as taxation) and the armies of Nippon (The Land of the Gods).

    The Emperor, even though he had divine blood and was directly descended from Amaterasu, the Sun Goddess, was seen as the embodiment of Japanese honor and fealty. But this was very weird, in a sense. Weird in that the Emperor commanded no armies and had no control of taxation. If the Shoguns and daimyos thought necessary, they could starve the Emperor in his Imperial Court simply by refusing to contribute their taxes.

    Japan, a very interesting and contradictory place. Because while the Shoguns had that power over the Emperor, the Emperor could order the Shoguns to commit hara kiri and they would do so, or be ashamed before their forces.

    This is the background you must understand for Emperor Hirohito’s decision in light of the knowledge that the Americans had developed plutonium bomb technology, which could be mass produced in time.

    It is also what you must understand in order to comprehend the context in which some key members of the military rulers decided to kidnap the Emperor, sequester him, and give orders in his stead, in order to protect his person and his throne from American invasion and occupation. It doesn’t need to be consistent, you just need to grasp it.

    There were specific orders not to destroy the Imperial Palace of Japan and to avoid the destruction of Kyoto. Jon Stewart, of course, would probably blow up anybody he was told to blow up, thinking it was the right and moral order (assuming he had the balls to do it). But the military officers in charge of the decisions back then were more mature and more ethical. And definitely had large brass ones.

    Radio gave the Emperor of Japan a power they never had power. The fealty of the people of Japan to the Emperor was absolute. But always this power was channeled through the Shoguns and Daimyos. They controlled what their people heard from the Emperor. Certain things couldn’t be kept secret, but many things were. But when Emperor Hirohito gave voice on national radio, and also continued his guidance afterwards when MacArthur refused the British (traitors of Basrah) demands for his head, the people of Japan heard the commands that they could not refuse.

    The Japanese women were throwing babies to the cliffs at the islands the Marines landed on and conquered, due to Japanese propaganda and pride.

    Do not listen to the Left when they say that “If I were in the Japanese’s shoes, I would have surrendered without the need for a nuke”. They aren’t in the Japanese’s shoes, they don’t understand the Japanese, and they aren’t capable of understanding given the Left’s parochial and utterly regressive and cavemen mentalities. It is true the Left would have surrendered had we broken a single one of their fingers, let alone nuked their cities, but that’s the Left. They’re weak, parasitic, and cowardly like that. The Japanese were very far from that standard, however.

  • suek

    >>They just believe killing less people, the necessity of killing those people, wasn’t really necessary for unconditional surrender.>>

    That’s an interesting thought. It says to me that they themselves wouldn’t have to be pushed that far to surrender unconditionally.

    It’s like Clinton and the muslims and Bush and the muslims. The Dems – and Clinton – consistently hold the position that the muslims are amenable to changing “if we can just educate them” to western thought. Bush, on the other hand, is a man of religious belief. He _knew_ that you don’t change a man’s religious belief with education – all you produce is an educated extremist.

    Which tells me that Dems don’t have religion. They don’t believe – and they don’t understand the power of faith.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ Ymarsakar

    It says to me that they themselves wouldn’t have to be pushed that far to surrender unconditionally.

    Exactly. Anything the fake liberals say of other people who they disparage, is 99% certainly true of the fake liberals themselves.

    If they call us brownshirts, guess what. If they call Bush a liar, guess what. If they said Bush was using the war on terror as a means to seize more Executive Power, guess what.

    They don’t believe – and they don’t understand the power of faith.

    It’s not that they don’t understand the power. They just don’t understand the faith, because they split it into ‘good faith’ and ‘bad faith’. The former is called Gaia and progressive social justice, while the latter is called ‘religion’.

    I mean, any clear minded person could see that you could just about change Obama’s politics to be somebody like us as easily as you could change the views of Jews or Arabs. Yet they believe that, unlike themselves, Arabs can be convinced. Why?

    Because the Left would sell their mother to a whorehouse in return for power and goodies. And they believe the Arabs are the same way as the Left. But the Arabs aren’t the same way. They believe so strongly they will kill and die for those beliefs. The Left? Not so much, sue. Not so much.

  • SADIE

    The Japanese culture from what you have described is/was as robotic and unquestioning as many Islamic Jihadists.

    The Japanese women were throwing babies to the cliffs at the islands the Marines landed on and conquered, due to Japanese propaganda and pride.

    There can never be negotiations/diplomacy with a mind set such as exampled above.

    The Japanese were very far from that standard, however.
    Do you mean that they were not weak? If yes, then defining weakness is different from one culture to the next, although I would classify being brain washed with propaganda and pride as a sign of weakness.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ Ymarsakar

    The Japanese culture from what you have described is/was as robotic and unquestioning as many Islamic Jihadists.

    It’s a shame/honor culture. It still is to a certain extent. This differs from a Western guilt culture in this very simple way.

    If I accuse you of being a murderess, and you know you aren’t, you have the right to challenge me a duel and publicly defend your honor (in the Code Duello). If you know you are guilty, and I believe you are guilty, then you publicly accept your punishment in the face of society and admit guilt, contrition, and regret.

    In the Japanese culture, if I say you are an adulterer, and you know it isn’t true, you would have to commit suicide to avoid the shame of being publicly dishonored. Regardless of whether it was true or not. The same would be true if it was true and you knew it. (In Honor killings it doesn’t really matter what the daughter or wife did. It matters what they appeared to have done)

    In both cultures, if i believe you are innocent and you believe yourself innocent, nothing changes. We’re all good. It’s the other scenarios that impact upon.

    It is a singular and principle reason why the Japanese almost NEVER surrendered. They could not bear the shame. Yes, they could perhaps convince themselves that surrendering was right in that it saved lives. But it APPEARED cowardly, to their families at home, to the Emperor himself. And that’s what mattered, Sadie. That’s what mattered. For Americans, it was different.

    Do you mean that they were not weak? If yes, then defining weakness is different from one culture to the next, although I would classify being brain washed with propaganda and pride as a sign of weakness.

    I define strength similar to how I define faith. Not on whether it is provable or true, but on whether it confers strength. The strength that allows a person to sacrifice his life for a goal, the strength that allows a person to fight against insurmountable odds, killing as many as they can for something greater. That is strength. There is no ethical judgment here, except the ethics that strength is better than weakness, generally speaking.

    Btw, I wasn’t as clear as I could be before. The islands in which the Marines invaded and occupied, such as Tarawa, had Japanese mothers throw their own infant babies to the rocks and then followed them to both of their deaths, because they feared the Gringo White Demon Marines more. The Japanese propaganda had told the people what the Americans would do to them and the Japanese would rather kill themselves than to suffer the dishonor of it.

    This was not some militaristic brute taking a woman’s child, shooting the woman, and throwing the child to the sea to save their honor.

    Use your empathy people. Don’t think as an American. Think as a Japanese. What kind of motivation would be strong enough for that? And do you think weaklings like Obama, Jon Stewart, fauking Murtha and Ted Kennedy and Kerry would have been able to make the Japanese surrender?

    No, the war would have continued. Imagine the devastation that would have gone on in Japan, regardless of bombs and bullets. How many Marines have come home shattered and destroyed within from the horrors they faced? Would Japan ever be the same had Operation Olympus been mounted? Would we ever be the same?

  • SADIE

    Honor killings

    The two words that have come to haunt headlines.

    Following your train of thought, I can conclude that the Japanese will commit suicide for honor (kill themselves) and Muslim extremists will (kill those they believe have dishonored them).

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ Ymarsakar

    Sadie, you heard the bad stuff, of course. But I don’t want to bias you against the Japanese. I appreciate their culture, actually.

    After all, the phrase ‘death is lighter than a feather: duty heavier than mountains’ came from the Japanese. And many Marines, United States Marines, have that somewhere around on their I Love Me walls or personal mementos or personal philosophical phrases.

    In order to show you the other side, please read this, Sadie. The Left seeks to create class warfare by showing the horrors of one side but never the good. I seek not to be the same as them.

    http://www.geocities.com/kamikazes_web/isyo.html

    Captain Ryoji Uehara

    Is of particular interest.

    The others are also interesting. But that is still one side, the more positive and agreeable side, of the letters.

    Link

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ Ymarsakar
  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ Ymarsakar

    Nathan Hale was born in Coventry, Connecticut, and educated at Yale. He volunteered for service at the outbreak of the War for Independence, participated in the siege of Boston and was promoted to the rank of captain.

    Following the Continental Army’s ouster from Long Island, a pressing need was felt for information about British activities in New York City. In mid-September 1776, Hale volunteered to attempt to secure that intelligence.

    Poor planning almost guaranteed the mission’s failure from the beginning. Hale was to act alone rather than as one of several spies dispatched for the same purpose; a multiple effort would have helped to ensure that some member of the team would return to headquarters with the desired intelligence. Further, Hale was handicapped by the absence of Patriot contacts in the city, the failure to plan an effective avenue of escape and by the total lack of reliable communication channels with the American army.

    Perhaps the greatest impediment to success was Hale’s nature. He was regarded by his associates as exceedingly forthright and incapable duplicitous action — not characteristics usually associated with successful spies. His physical appearance also worked against him. Hale was said to have a handsome face, but one that bore evidence of powder burns that made him easy to identify.

    Despite his friends’ misgivings, Hale departed from the Continental Army at Harlem Heights and traveled to Norwalk, Connecticut. Then, dressed as an unemployed Dutch schoolmaster with his college diploma in hand, he secured passage across the Sound to Long Island. An exact recounting of his activities after this does not exist. He managed to work his way into New York City, gathered some information on the British soldiers there and make preparations for an escape. However, under confusing circumstances, Hale was captured on September 21. His notes and drawings were discovered hidden in his clothes; tragically, he had failed to use invisible ink, a technology available at the time. Forthright to the end, Hale admitted he was a Patriot soldier, an admission that sealed his fate. He had been out of uniform and operated behind enemy lines; under the existing rules of war he was subject to execution without trial. It should be noted that the British officers were especially uneasy about spies at this juncture because of recent fires that had ravaged the city and were thought to have been set by rebel agents.

    Nathan Hale Hale was hanged the next morning and his body left on display as a warning to the community. Most traditional accounts of his execution cite the words, “I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country,” as his last. This paraphrase of a line from British writer Joseph Addison’s Cato, a play frequently performed in America, was quoted by one witness to the event. Another noted Hale’s dignified conduct, but did not mention those specific words.-Description of Hale’s mission

    The destiny of our homeland hinges on the decisive battle in the seas to the south where I shall fall like a blossom from a radiant cherry tree.
      I shall be a shield for His Majesty and die cleanly along with my squadron leader and other friends. I wish that I could be born seven times, each time to smite the enemy.
    -Flying Petty Officer First Class Isao Matsuo

    The next time somebody tells you that they care about not causing unnecessary casualties by American action and that the atomic bombs were unjustified, just realize that they probably don’t give a damn about what lives were or were not saved. They just want to play the game from the safety of their little chair.

  • BrianE

    This is from the link at the Sense of Events blog by David Foster #6:

    (It must be considered, though, that throughout most of 1945, a half-million civilians were dying monthly at the hands of the Japanese in the Asian and Pacific lands Japan still occupied. Any criticism of the decision to drop the atom bombs must take this genocidal monthly death toll into account.)

    I knew the Japanese occupation was brutal, but didn’t realize it was it was that brutal.
    http://senseofevents.blogspot.com/2009/08/atom-bombings-and-japans-surrender.html
    He makes the case that the Japanese didn’t surrender because of the atom bomb, but the bombing provided the excuse to surrender. Without it they may have fought to the last man.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ Ymarsakar

    The Japanese surrendered because their Emperor told them to. They don’t speak about this because it is kind of shameful. So they take up the atomic bomb thing. That was their reason. That wasn’t really their reason though, although it would have been Hirohito’s reason.

  • SADIE

    Firstly, let me say, that Bookworm’s post and all the subsequent dialogue that ensues never ceases to amaze me. It can be a walk in the park or a hike into the mountains.

    Y, you gave me a lot of reading/thinking material today. I am not complaining, just pondering.

    Briefly, I’ll share my first reaction to the letters.
    They were powerful and poetic and yet for all they said, for all they shared with the intended reader and for all that was shared by the writer knowing his fate (which afforded him the opportunity to do so) they would have sat better with my soul if the pilot was addressing his life and his own death. He wasn’t. Period. His mission was to create death and destruction and while he could wax poetic in self reflection, it could not and did not reach beyond his own world.

    Death is lighter than a feather … but not when your heart is heavy with sadness.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ Ymarsakar

    When MacArthur arrived, things still may have turned into open revolt. MacArthur told Allied Command that he’d need an occupation of Japan to the tune of several million soldiers if Hirohito was executed as a war criminal.

    Instead, MacArthur tried a Constitutional committee to cook up something to govern Japan. The Japanese Diet, however, were not cooperating. So Hirohito stepped in once more and told the idiots to comply, now. Since all the Diet wanted was the preservation of the Imperial Family, its symbols, and its status, which MacArthur was actually for cause he needed it to keep Japan peaceful and calm, there was no real problem. But the Japanese are so tight lipped and stubborn at times, and given the language difficulties, MacArthur might not have been able to bypass the deadlock in time.

    A coup was actually attempted by an army general, who sent troops to occupy the emperor’s palace grounds, take the emperor into protective custody and seize the recordings of his statement to be broadcast. The coup failed, of course, but as Wellington had said about Waterloo, it was a close-run thing.

    Something people should know about this incident. It was the flight of an American bomber over the Imperial Palace that saved Hirohito from that little coup. When American bombers were sighted, the Japanese ordered all lights extinguished. Including those at the Imperial Palace gardens. This happened pretty much right at the moment the coup was going to ambush Hirohito’s vehicle and take him prisoner. It was so dark, however, they couldn’t see in front of their faces, let alone get into position to do anything useful. By the time the lights came on and the officers had regrouped, Hirohito was already gone to make the radio address. The night had passed Out of their hands.

    Divine providence? Washington would have said so.

    Btw, Emperor Hirohito did not surrender with the belief that he himself would survive that action.

    DOWER: In a way, the occupation ended on this imperial note, where the two emperors of the occupation period, the two sovereign figures, the two authoritarian figures, said farewell. MacArthur left for the airport and was given a good sendoff by the Japanese government. In his memoirs, I believe MacArthur says that two million people lined the streets and the police calculated that two hundred-thousand people actually lined the streets. That sounds about right to me, because MacArthur always tended to exaggerate things by a factor of ten.

    School children were given time off and if you look at the pictures from the period, you’ll see school children standing there, waving Japanese flags and American flags. And so he was seen off and some of the outpourings were really emotional, the people saying, imagining–this is an editorial in one of the newspapers, the Mainichi Newspaper–imagining him going, saying, what was almost like a liturgical prayer: “General, General, General, you have left us, did you see the fields of ripening grain, this is the bountiful harvest, which is like the harvest that you have left for us.” It was very, very emotional.

    A lot of Leftists paint the right, us, as warmongers. Our generals as warmongers. That we just want to bomb people. Why? Cause they are brainless drones which have no conception of real history. MacArthur was a political conservative, but he was no reactionist. He did not oppose Roosevelt’s policies just because they were new deal, unlike some of his subordinates.

    Link

    It may require an email to sign up, but I strongly recommend you save this link and read it at your leisure later. We all can benefit from the knowledge of the greatest leaders and heroes of the past, for the sake of the present and the children of the future.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ Ymarsakar

    His mission was to create death and destruction and while he could wax poetic in self reflection, it could not and did not reach beyond his own world.

    That is the duty of all soldiers and warriors. To defend their nation by killing as many of their enemies as feasible. Patton would have agreed. MacArthur too. Petraeus as well.

    For people who have studied the military or been in it or have studied military history, this is not such a strange thing. It can be a sad thing, but so is human nature. It is their duty to kill their enemies, just as it was America’s duty to kill as many of them as we could. That is what being enemies in war means, and that is why the horror of war is worse than the peace of victory, when two nations, who were once enemies, may now call each other friends and allies.

    This is the tragedy and the pride of the human species. It cannot be changed, though it can be temporarily made worse by incompetence and hatred.

    A military man understands that an honorable enemy does as best as he can to destroy and defeat his enemies. That is his duty, just as it is an American soldier’s duty to do the same in defense of our nation. He would not be the man he was, if he did not conduct himself in an honorable fashion.

    I know I’ve provided much research for people to read, but the benefits are worth it. These things were found by me today, even though I had a general idea of what I was searching for from previous research. The more recent links, like say the Yoshida memoirs, document the more positive reconstruction of Japan.

    but not when your heart is heavy with sadness.

    The sadness is born of the costs of duty. In the pursuit of duty, from which hardships and sacrifices will be called forth, it is indeed the mountains themselves that are upon those shoulders.

    Death, in itself, can be seen as a transition to another life, one in which people may reunite with their loved ones in Heaven or the Japanese version of spiritual shrines. To the Japanese, death was always easy compared to what duty called for them to do. That honor and shame culture once more.

  • http://explorations.chasrmartin.com Charlie (Colorado)

    “Nippon (The Land of the Gods).”

    Um, sorry, no. Nippon or Nihon 日本国 means “place the sun comes from”, “in the direction of sunrise.”

  • http://explorations.chasrmartin.com Charlie (Colorado)

    You know, it might be easier to understand the position of the mikado, the “Emperor”, of Japan if you think of him as the Pope instead of the Chief Executive or King.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ Ymarsakar

    Since Amaterasu is the Sun goddess, it’s not really an invalid translation.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ Ymarsakar

    I was searching for this little bit from MacArthur’s memoirs. You need the tree trial subscription for the Yoshida memoirs, only the first page of each section was available otherwise.

    4) In his memoirs General Douglas MacArthur wrote about his first meeting with Emperor Hirohito after the end of the Second World War.

    Shortly after my arrival in Tokyo, I was urged by members of my staff to summon the Emperor to my headquarters as a show of power. I brushed the suggestions aside. “To do so,” I explained, “would be to outrage the feelings of the Japanese people and make a martyr of the Emperor in their eyes.

    No, I shall wait and in time the Emperor will voluntarily come to see me. In this case, the patience of the East rather than the haste of the West will best serve our purpose.”

    The Emperor did indeed shortly request an interview. In cutaway, striped trousers, and top hat, riding in his Daimler with the imperial grand chamberlain facing him on the jump seat, Hirohito arrived at the embassy. I had, from the start of the occupation, directed that there should be no derogation in his treatment. Every honor due a sovereign was to be his. I met him cordially, and recalled that I had at one time been received by his father at the close of the Russo-Japanese War. He was nervous and the stress of the past months showed plainly. I dismissed everyone but his own interpreter, and we sat down before an open fire at one end of the long reception hall.

    I offered him an American cigarette, which he took with thanks. I noticed how his hands shook as I lighted it for him. I tried to make it as easy for him as I could, but I knew how deep and dreadful must be his agony of humiliation. I had an uneasy feeling he might plead his own cause against indictment as a war criminal. There had been considerable outcry from some of the Allies, notably the Russians and the British, to include him in this category. Indeed, the initial list of those proposed by them was headed by the Emperor’s name. Realizing the tragic consequences that would follow such an unjust action, I had stoutly resisted such efforts. When Washington seemed to be veering toward the British point of view, I had advised that I would need at least one million reinforcements should such action be taken. I believed that if the Emperor were indicted, and perhaps hanged, as a war criminal, military government would have to be instituted throughout all Japan, and guerrilla warfare would probably break out. The Emperor’s name had then been stricken from the list. But of all this he knew nothing.

    But my fears were groundless. What he said was this: “I come to you, General MacArthur, to offer myself to the judgment of the powers you represent as the one to bear sole responsibility for every political and military decision made and action taken by my people in the conduct of war.” A tremendous impression swept me. This courageous assumption of a responsibility implicit with death, a responsibility clearly belied by facts of which I was fully aware, moved me to the very marrow of my bones. He was an – Emperor by inherent birth, but in that instant I knew I faced the First Gentleman of Japan in his own right.

    The link doesn’t provide much else, just some minor background.

    link

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  • persia

    I should say that Iran have nuclear weapons but don’t want to use them. The nuclear weapons are for balancing power in the region and in the world. But I believe that all of countries that have nuclear weapons, such as the country that use them (such as: USA) should be disarmed. After that the all of these countries were disarmed, Iran voluntarily will give it’s nuclear weapons. Otherwise: Iranians,” happy nuclear weapons”!
     

     

     

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  • Ron19

    Charles #16 #3:
     
      If the Japanese Empire had developed the atomic bomb first would they have not used it?
     
    The Japanese did try to develop their own atomic bomb; they gave up when they decided that neither Japan nor any other nation had the resources to completely develop the bomb.
     
    Germany also had an atomic bomb development program that was on-going throughout WWII; it was not as high a priority as other projects, such as submarines, and didn’t get very far.  The Allies knew about this, and one of the things they did about it was to destroy the heavy water plant in Norway.  (Sweden had iron ore and coal fields; ever wonder why Germany invaded Norway instead?)  The famous German rocketry program was not only for terror bombing England; it’s goal was to develop a rocket powerful and sophisticated enough to accurately drop an atomic bomb on New York City.
     
    Albert Einstein was a front man that warned Roosevelt that Germany was developing an atomic bomb, and that America need to counter that threat.
     
    In all my reading over the years, I’ve never read of a hostile or potentially hostile nation that had much interest in the US atomic bomb program, except Russia, during the war.
     
    Robert Heinlein published a story about a US government group’s development of an atomic bomb.  It used the viable concept of using a very large mass of slightly refined uranium to get a critical mass, without using the compression techniques used in actual atomic bombs.  When his story was published, a US Government group about had a fit, and tried to suppress it, because they actually were developing an atomic bomb, and didn’t want to give anyone ideas about how to do it.
     
    Tom Clancy, in Sum of All Fears, wrote of an Israeli jet that crashed in enemy territory, and its hydrogen bomb lay buried in the desert for years.  When it was found, a terrorist group hired a German scientist to rebuild it, so that it could be used against the US.  Clancy did a very credible job of describing how the rebuilding took place, and a detailed description of what happened when it went off.  I could tell, because for years I had been reading non-classified publicly available information in newspapers, etc., on how to build a bomb. 
     
    I am certain I know enough to build my own atomic bomb, except for how to get hold of enough fissionable material.  One of the articles would be a perfect bomb for meeting virgins, because it would be set off by a guy swinging a hammer at the primer.

  • Ron19

    Does anyone else find it interesting that more than half a century later, the protesters feature speakers that survived being attacked by an atomic bomb so long ago?

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