Wednesday, August 10, 2005



On August 6, 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb which destroyed the city of Hiroshima, Japan. Three days later on August 9, the United States dropped a second atomic bomb, this time on the city of Nagasaki, Japan. In both cases, the cities targeted were utterly destroyed. It is salient to note that Japan refused to surrender, even after these attacks, until August 14. On that day, just hours after Ministers Anami, Umezu, and Toyoda argued that it was still possible for Japan to defeat the Allied forces, the Japanese government resolved to surrender, only and specifically because of the request made by Emperor Hirohito: “It is my desire that you, my Ministers of State, accede to my wishes and forthwith accept the Allied reply". In this way, the Second World War of the 20th century ended at last, making way for the Cold War already in progress.

The debate over the use of the atom bomb in World War 2 has been rashly cast over the years, with the U.S. most often portrayed as the aggressor. The stubborn refusal of the Japanese cabinet to surrender, even after the use of two atom bombs, clearly shows the need for extreme measures, especially given the clear cost of a conventional invasion. Also, the United States needed to send a clear message to the Soviet Union, to demonstrate a capacity which would deter the clear aggression planned by Stalin. And, to be frank, it worked.

The use of nuclear weapons is hardly trivial or a simple decision. But the decision was made for hard and valid reasons, and while whiners and the short-sighted attempt to rewrite History, the men who had the hard decisions, took it on themselves to make the choice. A painful cost now, may well be better than allowing a danger to spread. A lesson worth retelling.

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