LAST week saw the 70th anniversary of one of the greatest war crimes in human history, the dropping of the two Atomic bombs onto Japan, the first one hit Hiroshima and the second three days later Nagasaki, incinerating hundreds of thousands of people.
In fact, there was no need to drop these weapons onto Japan, since the Japanese militarists were on the point of surrender. The deed was in fact directed at Stalin and the USSR to show both the weaponry that the US possessed and would not hesitate to use against its enemies in the future.
In fact a large number of US officials were opposed to the atomic bombing!
The US Strategic Bombing Survey group, assigned by President Truman to study the air attacks on Japan, produced a report in July of 1946 that concluded (52-56): ‘Based on a detailed investigation of all the facts and supported by the testimony of the surviving Japanese leaders involved, it is the Survey’s opinion that certainly prior to 31 December 1945 and in all probability prior to 1 November 1945, Japan would have surrendered even if the atomic bombs had not been dropped, even if Russia had not entered the war, and even if no invasion had been planned or contemplated.’
General (and later president) Dwight Eisenhower – then Supreme Commander of all Allied Forces, and the officer who created most of America’s WWII military plans for Europe and Japan – said: ‘The Japanese were ready to surrender and it wasn’t necessary to hit them with that awful thing.’
Eisenhower also noted: ‘In (July) 1945… Secretary of War Stimson, visiting my headquarters in Germany, informed me that our government was preparing to drop an atomic bomb on Japan. I was one of those who felt that there were a number of cogent reasons to question the wisdom of such an act. … During his recitation of the relevant facts, I had been conscious of a feeling of depression and so I voiced to him my grave misgivings, first on the basis of my belief that Japan was already defeated and that dropping the bomb was completely unnecessary, and secondly because I thought that our country should avoid shocking world opinion by the use of a weapon whose employment was, I thought, no longer mandatory as a measure to save American lives. It was my belief that Japan was, at that very moment, seeking some way to surrender with a minimum loss of “face”. The Secretary was deeply perturbed by my attitude….’
Admiral William Leahy wrote: ‘It is my opinion that the use of this barbarous weapon at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of no material assistance in our war against Japan. The Japanese were already defeated and ready to surrender because of the effective sea blockade and the successful bombing with conventional weapons. The lethal possibilities of atomic warfare in the future are frightening. My own feeling was that in being the first to use it, we had adopted an ethical standard common to the barbarians of the Dark Ages. I was not taught to make war in that fashion, and wars cannot be won by destroying women and children.’
The bombings were directed at the then Marshal Stalin, and the insurgent people of Asia who were about to erupt in the Chinese and Vietnamese revolutions. However the forces of militarism are on the march once again and are currently setting the Middle East alight, causing millions to flee for their lives.
At Nagasaki yesterday the response to the return of militarism made itself felt. Speeches at the ceremony criticised the attending Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for his plans to loosen the restrictions on what Japan’s military can abroad in support of its ally, the USA.
Nagasaki mayor Tomihisa Taue delivered a peace declaration to the ceremony. He said there was ‘widespread unease’ about Abe’s bid to alter the country”s pacifist constitution. 86-year-old Sumiteru Taniguchi, described the injuries he had suffered and warned Abe, ‘Do not meddle with Japan’s pacifist constitution.’
However the crisis of capitalism is driving imperialism forward to new wars and atrocities. The only way these can be prevented is by the working people of the world joining together to carry out the world socialist revolution to put an end to capitalism and imperialism.