Why Were Hiroshima and Nagasaki Destroyed
in the Only Nuclear Attack in World History?
The evidence thus far disproves the old propaganda story about saving lives and ending the war. Serious historians no longer even debate whether the nuclear attacks against Japan were used to end the war, prevent the necessity of a U.S. invasion, or to save lives, either Japanese or U.S. That debate ended with new material from newly-found Truman diary entrees and letters, starting in the early 1980s, and with new material found from U.S. and Japanese archives which have since been declassified. These materials are offered in great detail in the books listed below.
After reading them and other sources as well, I’ve concluded that it is likely that Truman and Robert Byrnes made the decision to use nuclear weapons against Japan to use the threat of nuclear force to gain post-war control in key areas of the world to extend U.S. power (see all four books for voluminous evidence); for Truman to appear strong instead of being seen as a wimp or sissy, accusations he grew up with (see Takaki), and specifically to intimidate the Russians for a favorable situation of U.S. domination of post-war Europe (see all four books).
One of the more important sets of evidence that the US nuclear attacks on Japan were not needed to end the war with Japan come from Truman’s own hand:
“He’ll be in the Jap war on August 15. Fini Japs when that comes about.”
July 17, 1945
“Met at the gate by Mr. Churchill. Guards of honor drawn up. Fine body of men — Scottish Guards. Band played “Star-Spangled Banner.” Inspected guard and went in for lunch. P.M. and I ate alone. Discussed Manhattan (it is a success). Decided to tell Stalin about it. Stalin had told P.M. of telegram from Jap emperor asking for peace. Stalin also read his answer to me. It was satisfactory. Believe Japs will fold up before Russia comes in. I am sure they will when Manhattan appears over their homeland.”
Truman, July 18, 1945
That’s what Truman said in his own diary. Publicly he lied:
“It was to spare the Japanese people from utter destruction that the ultimatum of July 26 was issued at Potsdam. Their leaders promptly rejected that ultimatum. If they do not now accept our terms they may expect a rain of ruin from the air, the like of which has never been seen on this earth. Behind this air attack will follow sea and land forces in such number that and power as they have not yet seen and with the fighting skill of which they are already well aware.”
Truman obviously knew the Japanese were finished. Yet he failed to stop the plan to demonstrate the nuclear weapons on cities populated mainly by civilians. THAT is a war crime. And then he lied about it.
Psychological Foundations for Supporting Obvious
War Crimes, and for Continuing to Commit Them
This sort of study for understanding the criminal nature of incinerating hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians is not that hard or time-consuming. But to do it, the truth must matter more than one’s dedication to the perfection of one’s own society because of having been born into it. Our progressive approach is merely thinking like a jury. When people must attempt to use propaganda or shallow, knee-jerk, herd thinking to self-delude one’s self into thinking WE are GOOD, and THEY are BAD, it is really a deep attachment disorder.
The need for a Negative Other comes from a deep and pervasive sense that one’s self is inferior, and fraudulent, and must be bolstered up by a fake image of one’s own grandiose perfection, and the grand imperfection of the Negative Other. It is all kinda sad really. So much violence and pain continues. The real good ethical, moral thing to do on days of remembrance like August 6th or August 9th, (tragic days for me as an American) is to let the light of obvious truths about war and war crimes and their psychological causes, shine light on the darkness of the war mentality so we can get the ultimate goal—law not war. (A line taken from Ben Ferencz, Nuremberg chief prosecutor. www.benferencz.org)
Psychologically, the healthy state of thinking or worldview is to work hard to see one’s self and society accurately, based on evidence, not to idealize either. And to work hard to see others, especially enemies, accurately, based on evidence, and not to demonize them. That is the basis for win/win solutions, for negotiating, and for peaceful relations. All of this is a prerequisite for stopping the human march off the cliff of ecocide, and instead diverting resources for domination and war towards sustainable liberty and justice for all human beings.
Good Sources of Factual Evidence
about the Hiroshima and Nagasaki War Crimes
There is a fully developed scholarship about the decision to launch nuclear attacks against Japan.
I’ve reviewed the file of the decision at the Truman Library in Independence Missouri.
It is a long discussion, of course.
But if you want to research it to verify the conclusion that the bombings were war crimes, which is supported by the evidence, go here:
National Security Hiroshima Archive:
And read these books:
“The Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb: and the Architecture of an American Myth” by Gar Alperovitz, Alfred A. Knopf, NY, 1995.
“Hiroshima in America: Fifty Years of Denial” by Robert Jay Lifton and Greg Mitchell, G.P. Putnam’s Sons, NY, 1995.
“Hiroshima’s Shadow” Eds., Kai Bird and Lawrence Lifschultz, the Pamphleteer’s Press, Stony Creek, Connecticut, USA. 1998.
“Hiroshima: Why America Dropped the Atomic Bomb” by Ronald Takaki, Little Brown and Co., NY/London, 1995.
These books lay out the case for how the decision was made quite well, debunking the popular story presented by Truman and others ever since to justify the attacks, saying they were to SAVE lives. They were not. They were a demonstration of power. They were mass murder. And they were the first shots of the Cold War.