August 12th, 2015.
“There are no innocent civilians. It is their government and you are fighting a people, you are not trying to fight an armed force anymore. So it doesn’t bother me so much to be killing the so-called innocent bystanders.”
US Air-force General Curtis Le May*
The Nuclear Attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the Firebombing of Tokyo.
The attacks on Tokyo in March and then Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945 remain the three most violent military operations conducted in modern human history.
It says a lot about modern day Western culture, along with the increasing travesty that is Wikipedia that although six individual songs from the most recent Justin Bieber album have their own Wikipedia page the Nuclear attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki are consigned to a combined entry.
Greater weight is given in Western culture to the Bieber “Mother’s Day” single of 2012 than the massacre of tens of thousands of Japanese civilians seventy years ago it seems.
For a more serious comparison, I chose the sinking of the H.M.S Lusitania in 1915, an earlier and smaller crime committed by the other side.
This degree of detail is completely appropriate, the sinking of the Lusitania remains a momentous event, although it did not achieve the apparent goal of drawing the US into World War I. The deeply suspicious Zimmerman letter seems to have played that role. But the inconsistency is clear.
The Nuclear attacks were themselves not the most large scale massacres conducted by the United States during the Second World War.
The action termed “Operation Meetinghouse” conducted against Tokyo in March 1945 saw 100,000 people killed in a single air raid. Almost all of them civilians. Wikipedia does an even better job of hiding this atrocity grouping it anonymously under
The mass murder operation against Tokyo is simply a sub heading.
The individual most closely associated with the US atrocities of the Japan air campaign is a fellow named Curtis Le May. The obvious fact that Le May was a psychopath and a bloodthirsty maniac have been well made many times.
It seems too easy to blame these crimes on any one man or even a single nation.
Of the three massacres the Nagasaki operation really stands out.
Whereas with the Tokyo and even the Hiroshima operations some type of justification could be argued. Tokyo was the Japanese capital and the attack was five months before the end of the war.
In Hiroshima the device targeted a major military base and is believed to have instantly killed 15,000 Japanese soldiers.
The Nagasaki attack by contrast may have killed as few as 150 soldiers. Nagasaki appears to have been a live fire weapons test along with an act of satanic malevolence against the sole major Christian city of Japan. The US military deliberately refrained from bombing Nagasaki so that they could gauge the full impact of the nuclear device they were testing on the city and the occupants.
World War II is a very confusing event even 70 years after it finished.
One confusing thing is that the Germans, who allegedly transported people to camps, murdered them with death squads, stripped them of their possessions and supposedly subjected them to mass gassing, are supposed to be the worst people ever.
But the Americans murdered civilians by the hundreds of thousands and have spent great parts of the post war period posturing as if they were a force of human improvement and the rule of law.
Post World War II US military operations in Korea, Vietnam and Iraq may have led to as many as 20 million excess deaths overall.
How can it possibly be lawful to launch an indiscriminate air attack on a civilian area and kill hundreds of thousands but to march people off to death camps and kill them there is the worst thing ever?
Clearly both actions are criminal and unjustifiable under any and all circumstances but whereas the German murderers were either killed or placed on trial the likes of Curtis Le May benefited greatly from their atrocities and moved on to become a passionate advocate of a first strike Nuclear attack against the Soviet Union.
I was discussing the atrocities and their lack of coverage with a family member born in the 1940s and after I complained that these events did not even get their own Wikipedia page, I was told that as far as this individual was concerned the attacks had not been covered up, they had been celebrated.
All I could say to that was “What type of civilisation celebrates the deaths of hundreds of thousands of civilians as a victory?”
To which might be answered, “A considerably more honest civilisation than the modern day West.” who simply consign “unhappy stories” to the apparently infinite “Things We Don’t Like to Talk About” list.
Lessons Learned: The Firebombing of Tokyo
- The Le May quote is from Curtis LeMay – Wikiquote which cites”Sherry, Michael (September 10, 1989). The Rise of American Air Power: The Creation of Armageddon, p. 287 (from “LeMay’s interview with Sherry,” interview “after the war,” p. 408 n. 108). Yale University Press. ISBN-13: 978-0300044140.”