A recent article in the Washington Post by David Nakamura stated President Obama might be considering a visit to Hiroshima Japan as part of his self-proclaimed nonproliferation campaign.
While we can understand the symbolism, we respectfully ask “President Apology” not to apologize for the atomic bombs use to help end World War 2 sooner rather than later.
The simple fact is the United States was trying to end a war in which it never wanted to participate. However, the Japanese sneak attack on Pearl Harbor on Sunday, December 7th, 1941 changed everything. In fact, history shows we received two for the price of one as Japan’s ally, Germany, declared war on the United States the next day.
In reality, the United States’ use of the atomic bomb in Hiroshima and Nagasaki saved many more Japanese lives than an invasion of Japan would have taken. Those disputing that fact are revising history to fit a template at odds with history and most importantly the truth.
Historical Context Of Atomic Bombs Dropped On Japan In 1945
- The Japanese we the aggressors in the War in the Pacific. Beyond the Pearl Harbor attack, they spread terror throughout the southwest Pacific by violating international agreements, using biological and chemical weapons, torturing, murdering and enslaving civilians and prisoners of war.
- By virtue of breaking Japanese military and diplomatic code, American strategists knew the Japanese military leaders had no intention of surrendering unconditionally. In fact, Japan’s leaders were intending to “fight to the last man”. The goal was to inflict such high casualties on American forces they could negotiate a “conditional peace” (and hopefully avoid responsibility for the multitude of war crimes committed throughout Asia and The Pacific)
- Allied military planners also knew there would likely be an extremely hostile population to contend with as the Japanese Emperor was considered a God. A large percentage would likely defend to the death to protect the Emperor. Huge casualties were expected with an invasion of the Japanese homeland. Keep in mind, in spring of 1945, the invasions of Iwo Jima and Okinawa alone resulted in 18,000 dead and 78,000 wounded.
- Further, the United States Joint Chiefs of Staff estimated an invasion of Japan would produce 1.2 million casualties, including 267,000 deaths.
- Another separate study done for Henry Stimson, Secretary of War, projected an invasion of Japan would cost between 1.7 and 4 million American Casualties. That included a projected 400,000 to 800,000 dead Americans.
- More Perspective – These projected fatalities would have been in addition to Americans killed in action up to that date – which was 292,000. According to Henry Miller, a contributing editor to Forbes Magazine, the invasion of Japan could have resulted in the death of twice as many Americans as had already been killed in the European, North African and Pacific theaters!
- The same study for Stimson estimated between 5 – 10 million Japanese deaths. Some from battle, but most from starvation and disease.
- And last, but not least, the dropping of the Atomic bombs limited Soviet influence after the war. With a conventional invasion, the Soviets may have been more involved and forced a split nation – like Korea. That would not have been good for the Japanese people or the nation.
Hiroshima and Nagasaki Death Tolls
Consider the death tolls at about 66,000 for Hiroshima and 35,000 for Nagasaki at the times of detonation. Of course, the ultimate death toll was higher because of the impact of wounds and radiation. However, when compared to the projected loss of 5 to 10 million Japaneses during an invasion, the use of atomic weapons was almost humane. By forcing Japan’s military leaders to surrender unconditionally, millions of Japanese lives were spared.
Mr. President, pursue your goals for nonproliferation. But, do NOT apologize for the United States of America. The United States has provided security and stability for Japan since they surrendered, allowing economic growth to the point they are one of the economic super powers of our world today.
We believe nonproliferation is a noble goal and worth pursuing.
We also believe the United States of America has nothing to apologize for regarding Japan and how World War Two ended.