Home History Hiroshima


Mushroom cloud over Nagasaki after the dropping of the 2nd atomic bomb by the US Air Force, 509th Composite Group of 313th Wing, which brought a swift end to WWII. (Photo by Time Life Pictures/Us Air Force/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)

Today marks 75 years since the United States dropped the first of two Atomic Bombs on the Empire of Japan.

It was well understood at the time that the bombings were necessary to end the war without the tremendous number of casualties on both sides that a land invasion of the home islands would have entailed.

The war would have dragged on well into 1946 before enough Japanese were killed to make further killing a moot point.

Japan had never been invaded by an outside power in it’s history. The Japanese, military and civilian, were prepared to fight until the last Japanese was dead. They still believed that they could defeat the United States and British Commonwealth forces on land.

Once President Truman was informed of the Manhattan Project and the successful Trinity test in New Mexico, he was presented with two choices.

He could continue preparations for an invasion of Japan or he could order the first Atomic Bomb to be dropped on Japan. Based on the horrendous losses at Iwo Jima and Okinowa, he chose the latter.

Keep in mind that the fire bombings by the United States Army Air Force had already killed over 100,000 people and injured another million. The USAAF flew over Japan with impunity bombing and strafing at will. The Japanese had dispersed production of military items into individual homes turning most of them into military targets under the rules of warfare.

So, the bomb was dropped, followed by another on August 9. The second one convinced the Emperor that continuing the war was futile. It was a close thing as there were still those in the Japanese military and government who wanted to continue fighting.

All of which was well understood until sometime in the early 1990s. At which point some elements in the US decided that the bombing was unnecessary and based on “racism.”

They forgot, or maybe never knew, that the original goal of the Manhattan Project was to develop a bomb that could be dropped on Berlin to end the war in Europe. The Russians advanced more quickly than expected and Germany capitulated before the Atomic Bomb was ready.

Speaking of racism, people should look at the behavior of the Japanese against not only American, Commonwealth, and European civilians and military, but against the other Asians in countries Japan conquered.

Research the way the Japanese treated the Chinese, Koreans, and Filipinos, while occupying those nations. Not to mention the Pacific Islanders who lived on captured islands.

The Japanese waged war with a viciousness rivaled only by that between the Germans and Russians.

The bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki saved hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of lives on both sides.

America and Americans need make no apologies for using a new weapon to end a war that Japan had started.

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After a long career as a field EMS provider, I'm now doing all that back office stuff I used to laugh at. Life is full of ironies, isn't it? I still live in the Northeast corner of the United States, although I hope to change that to another part of the country more in tune with my values and beliefs. I still write about EMS, but I'm adding more and more non EMS subject matter. Thanks for visiting.