To The Daily Sun,
War is horrible. People are killed, maimed, emotionally destroyed. Property is destroyed, wealth is consumed. Even the winners lose in protracted wars. In war, the best way to lessen the suffering is to end the war quickly.
This is why the United States and Japan should celebrate the anniversaries of August 6 and 9, 1945. The atomic bombs we dropped on those dates quickly brought WWII to an end saving many millions of lives.
WWII in the Pacific was particularly savage. The Japanese believed in death before dishonor, and surrender was considered dishonorable.
In the battles on island after island thousands of Japanese fought to the death, typically taking one American life for every 4 to 5 Japanese soldier deaths. Typically fewer than 5 percent of Japanese soldiers were captured, usually only those too sick or weak to fight or commit suicide. Many Japanese civilians on these islands died helping their soldiers or committed suicide; the videos of Japanese adults and children jumping off cliffs to their deaths are heartbreaking.
The 73 million Japanese prepared to defend their almost 146,000 square mile homeland to the last man, woman, and child. Everyone who could fight was being trained and armed; children were taught to fight with spears. The death toll promised to be horrendous.
The atomic bombs convinced the Japanese to surrender before the invasion.
While the death toll from the atomic bombs was high, Hiroshima 80,000 and Nagasaki 40,000, they were not extreme in WWII. For example, the March 9-10, 1945 bombing raid on Tokyo took about 100,000 lives, the raids on Hamburg took about 42,000 lives, the raids on London took perhaps 50,000 lives.
Compared to the perhaps 60-70 million Japanese that might have died in the invasion of Japan, the death toll from the atomic bombs was low and a small price to pay for the lives saved.
The quick Japanese surrender provided other benefits. Had the Soviet Union joined the invasion as planned, Japan may have been divided into U.S. and Soviet sectors, like Germany, and changed the whole post-war history in Asia.
Perhaps more importantly the world saw the destructiveness of these primitive bombs. These convinced the civilized world to avoid use of atomic, now nuclear, weapons.
There are at least 150,000 American soldiers and perhaps a few million descendants of those soldiers who lived because President Truman dropped the atomic bombs on Japan. The Japanese people have even more reason to celebrate August 6 and 9, 1945 because nearly every Japanese citizen that lived or was born after WWII owes their lives to those bombs.
- Written by Edward Engler
- Category: Letters
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