Hiroshima and Nagasaki: Man’s Inhumanity to Man

How do people think about the dropping of the atomic bombs in general in the United States? Perhaps the representative opinion would be, “The military decision to use nuclear weapons against the Japanese saved 500,000 to 1,000,000 American soldiers, and it brought a quick end to the war.” President Roosevelt was quoted as saying, “We will drop atomic bombs on Japan to avenge the unjust attack on Pearl Harbor,” and his successor Truman had reportedly said the same thing.

So then, were the dropping of the atomic bombs really necessary?


Some Background Information on Developments in Atomic Bomb Technology

Let’s pause here to take a quick look at the development of the technology behind the atomic bomb.

It was on December 6th, 1941, the day before Japan attacked Pearl Harbor. President Roosevelt had passed a recorded budget of 6,000 dollars for the development of the atomic bomb in Congress. (This budget, afterwards, would rise to 2 billion dollars.) This is to note that President Roosevelt had been considering the creation of nuclear weapons since before Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor.

In 1939, scientists announced their hypothesis on fission, and the scramble for its military use sped up. In July of 1940, Dr. Kurchatov, a Soviet nuclear physicist, publicly stated in the American Physical Science Review, “This bomb could blow away a Japanese city.” By the early 1940s, many leaders began to think that if they used a long-distance bomber, then a nuclear attack on Japan could be possible. When the Americans created the bomb, it was huge. It measured 3 meters, and engineers needed to construct a long-distance bomber jet, the B29, to carry it.

About 2 years before Japan attacked Pearl Harbor on January 29th, 1940, Lieutenant General Arnold, known as the father of the Air Force, officially proposed the creation of a blueprint for a long-distance bomber. The construction of that B29 started with Boeing in 1943 when there was a 60% possibility of an atomic bomb at that time.

The U.S. spent 2 billion dollars on the atomic bomb, and the construction costs for the B29 alone have been estimated at 3 billion dollars. The bomb was ready for use in May of 1945, but Germany had already surrendered. The U.S. successfully created 3 bombs in 1945, and it dropped 2 of them on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.


People Who Opposed the Dropping of the Atomic Bombs

Now, when it came to the dropping of the atomic bombs, scientists who were involved in the development actually opposed the way in which the military used the technology. For what reasons were they against it?

Dr. Edward Teller, who was involved in the making of the atomic bomb, stated the following. “It was a mistake to drop the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. I believe that the tragic dropping of the atomic bombs were not necessary. There were other ways, such as detonating them at night at a high altitude over the skies of Tokyo.”

Moreover, he also stated for the record, “There was no need to use such devastating weapons in order to finish off an enemy who was already on the brink of failure.” Other people, who insisted that the dropping of the atomic bombs were unnecessary, included President Eisenhower, who was a General in the Army at that time, physicist Arthur Compton, and the Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission, Lewis Strauss.


Why It Was Unnecessary to Drop the Atomic Bombs:
Japan’s Situation at the Time – It Was in Ashes from the U.S. Air Force’s Fire-bombings

Dr. Teller described Japan as “an enemy on the brink of failure”, but what was Japan’s real situation at the time?

The Air Force told Congress, “Considering the situation, for the implementation of air-raid strategy at this time, there’s a possibility to end completely the strategic bombings against Japan by January 1, 1946. So, it’ll be difficult to find a purpose for the dropping of the atomic bombs.”

In other words, Japan had already been significantly bombed. The person in charge of the dropping of the atomic bombs, General Curtis LeMay, had already conducted a large scale bombing of almost every city on the island of Honshu in Japan.

On July 31st, 1945, 1,000 bombers took off from Mariana to bomb 12 Japanese cities. General LeMay carried out carpet bombings. A week before the dropping of the atomic bombs, America bombed 26 cities in Japan with a population of over 50,000 people in each one, and it killed 500,000 civilians with close to 100,000 tons of bombs and fire-bombs. In terms of the numbers of casualties, it was the equivalent of dropping 5 atomic bombs across Japan. America had, therefore, caused as much damage to Japan as the droppings of 5 atomic bombs.

Not limiting itself only to where urban populations were over 50,000 people, America also bombed cities where the populations were about 30,000 to 50,000 such as Koriyama and Toyama. It’s not an exaggeration to say America bombed every city on Japan’s main island. Towards the end of the war, it even bombed cities in Hokkaido and Shikoku.

I’m sure that some of you are already well aware, but in the Tokyo Air Raids on March 9th-10th, 1945, 100,000 people died in one night. LeMay, while bombing Japanese cities with populations of 30,000 people, said, “Soon we’ll have no cities left to bomb,” which meant that the American military was well aware of Japan’s internal situation, a country that it had devastated with its bombings.


Why It Was Unnecessary to Drop the Atomic Bombs:
Japan Had Already Offered to Begin Peace Negotiations

The Japanese government had actually ended the war in April. Japan’s war ended in 1944.

When we interviewed Professor Ben-Ami Shillony, a specialist in Japanese Studies at Hebrew University, he stated the following:

Japan was engaged in peace negotiations with Soviet mediators.If Japan had accepted the Potsdam Declaration, then the bombs would not have been dropped, perhaps.However, the reasons, why Japan did not accept it, were that America did not promise to maintain the Emperor system, it did not mention the use of the nuclear bomb, and the Soviet mediators, which the Japanese believed would help, didn’t deliver on their promises as expected.

It was unethical and militarily unnecessary to drop the atomic bombs.

And at that time, the Soviets had not started to war with Japan, and had not moved south, so that, if America had properly stated the terms and its situation, and had quickly ended the war, perhaps China and North Korea would not have turned Communist.It could only be said that it was a failure on the part of America’s leadership.

That is, if the Ambassador at the time, Grew, had stated that the emperor system could be maintained, Japan would have surrendered.

The Americans rejected the Japanese proposal for peace because they were thinking, “If Japan surrenders, we will not have the chance to experiment with the dropping of the atomic bombs, therefore we must not let Japan surrender until we drop the atomic bombs on them.”


The Cruelest Human Experimentation in the History of Humanity

So then, why were the atomic bombs dropped when Japan was an enemy on the brink of failure and members of the country’s top leadership were engaged in peace negotiations? The U.S. Air Force made a report at the time that provided some hints. People might look back on it as a detailed report on the effects of the bombings, but it hardly substantiated the effectiveness militarily. The report also detailed how the damage differed in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

As Professor Bernstein stated:

The Target Committee decided on “major cities with a densely populated area within a 3-mile diameter”. That is, there was a significant aspect of it being an experiment for two types of nuclear bombs, uranium and plutonium. And if anything could have been used to end the war quickly, they could have just used poisonous gas. Rather, they went with the atomic bomb as a test, that is, they wanted to see the effects on the human body.

America’s stance on the dropping of the atomic bombs is, “in order to bring the war to an end quickly, it had to be done”. Wilhelm II, the German Emperor, during World War I, had said that to bring war to an end quickly, you must indiscriminately kill the young and old, men and women, and burn away their homes, and Judge Pal had stated at the Tokyo Trial that perhaps this was the same principle that America had followed.

And at the Tokyo Trial, Judge Pal also stated that if something like the Nazi’s Holocaust or what Wilhelm II said had been done then it had to have been America’s dropping of the atomic bombs.


The Japanese Holocaust Happened When America Dropped Its Bombs

“If there were Allied war crimes comparable to the crimes of the Germans with regard to the Jews, it could only be the atomic attacks on Japanese cities…” (Dr. Ernst Nolte, German historian)

Professor David Williams of Cardiff University, whom we also interviewed, stated something similar:

The expansion of the White Republic was a catastrophe for its many victims, beginning with the crushing of the Native Americans. But in moral terms, the grimmest hour in the history of this expansion was the ‘Japanese Holocaust’, the almost wholly one-sided racial massacre of Japanese soldiers and civilians during the final phase of the Pacific War.

In Greek, the word “holocaust” refers to the Jewish religious ritual of roasting a beast as an offering to God. As the holocaust means completely roasting something, the dropping the atomic bombs on citizens signifies one of the cruelest human experiments in history and a crime against humanity.


Why Experimentation on Human Bodies Could Be Done

By early 1945, WW2 — especially in the Pacific — had virtually become total war. The fire-bombings of Dresden had helped set a precedent for the U.S. Air Force, which the American people supported, to kill mass numbers of Japanese citizens intentionally. The earlier moral insistence on noncombatant immunity crumbled during the savage war.

During one Tokyo night, March 9th – 10th, 1945, the U.S. Air Force attacked and killed about 80,000 Japanese civilians. American B-29s dropped napalm on the city’s heavily populated areas to produce uncontrollable firestorms. It might have even been easier to conduct this new kind of warfare outside of Europe and against the Japanese because they probably seemed like “yellow sub-humans” to many of the rank-and-file American citizens and their leaders.

“Americans considered the Japanese as Sub-Humans. In dealing with brutish humans, you must treat them like brutes.” (Professor Barton Bernstein)

“If an owner was in the wrong, the dog would be guilty, too. It is only fitting that the Japanese citizens paid for the cruel and illegal actions of the leaders of Japan.”

It’s become an extremely uncomfortable topic, but we must talk about racial discrimination.

In 1906, the year after the end of the Russo-Japanese War, measures, to move Japanese schoolchildren from ordinary schools to Asian schools, were implemented in California. In 1913, California banned Japanese immigrants from land ownership, and in 1920, Americans enacted a law that denied the land ownership of the Japanese-Americans who had legally purchased plots before the laws had changed. In 1924, American established the so-called “Asian Exclusion Act”.

As historian Barton Bernstein of Stanford University stated, Americans considered the Japanese as Sub-Humans, and they were to many of the rank-and-file American citizens and their leaders. In 1942, we saw how Japanese-Americans were sent to concentration camps, an act that was unconstitutional, and it’s easy to see how racial discrimination paved the way for the inhumane dropping of the atomic bombs.

“It’s very probable that these currents led to the dropping of the atomic bombs on the Japanese civilians.” Carey McWilliams, PREJUDICE Japanese-Americans: Symbol of Racial Intolerance


Why Was a New Morality Created?
Was International Law Applicable Only to Christians?

Professor Bernstein said, “In this new moral context, with mass killings of an enemy’s civilians even seeming desirable, the committee agreed to choose “large urban areas of not less than three miles in diameter, which existed in larger populated areas, as A-bomb targets.”

So then, what sort of morality ruled wars before that time?

The tradition actually held that people should stop the practice of launching into devastating wars, that we should not religiously and morally interfere with enemy countries, which was born from the results of the ghastly 30 Years War in the 17th century between the Catholics and the Protestants inside the Holy Roman Empire.

Since the 1648 Treaty of Westphalia, for the 300 years leading up to WW1, chivalry was observed, and a universal public law existed that recognized other nationalities’ religions, and did not mettle with religious observances at the country level. For 300 years, militaries observed this tradition.

War became like duels, and wars during Bismarck’s time did not involve attacks on citizens, and it did not feature anything like the Tokyo Trial.

However, when the Americans formulated a “just war theory”, which determined that it was possible for one side to conduct an ethical war, the people on the other side of the fence, as in America’s enemies, collectively became criminal and evil, and there was a return to brutish forms of warfare. The 20th century political theorist, Carl Schmitt, made this point.

Japan displayed its chivalry after the Russo-Japanese War, and it showed respect to its enemy, Russia. But with the crusader-esque “just war theory” and in the mentality of “I’m right, and you’re wrong”, the opposing side is not just or equal to you, in the way that you would like to be treated; the opponents become morally inferior enemies of humanity.

America got away with the most cruel human experiment in history with the dropping of the atomic bombs because it was able to occupy Japan for 7 years, it was able to pull off its punitive Tokyo Trial, it could force its version of Pacific War history at that time, it could dictate its Shinto Directive to a captive audience, it could revise constitutional, civil, and commercial laws, and morally interfere with various other public domains such as education.

What we would like for you to think about is the following: How would you feel if a Constitution had been forced upon you while some foreign power occupied your country? Please consider how it might have felt to live in your country, as it was occupied, and to have the occupying force create something called the ‘Christian Directive’, which said that you could no longer teach Christianity?

Or in more current terms, what do you think would happen in the Islamic World if your country were to issue an ‘Islamic Directive’, which banned the practice of Islam to one of its Muslim countries?

America seemed to think that with such interventions, it could really abolish war. But when a country goes to war in such a way, war spreads and it descends into a quagmire, and people wrongly feel as if they cannot lose. I think the time has come to reflect on how America has intruded into other nation’s traditions and cultures.


The Dropping of the Atomic Bombs Were Against International Law

Professor Teller called the dropping of the atomic bombs a foolish experiment. As Professor Teller pointed out, after the power of nuclear fission had theoretically been calculated and demonstrated at Trinity, there was no need to conduct human experimental trials on people that lived in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

The Japanese government made an announcement through a neutral country, Switzerland, after the atomic bomb was dropped in Nagasaki. On August 10th, it sent a message titled “Letter of Protest Against the Attack by America Using a New Type of Bomb.” That text had a description of the damage contained in it.

In the light of the actual state of damage, the damaged district covers a wide area, and those who were in the district were all killed indiscriminately by bombshell blasts and radiant heat without distinction of combatant or non-combatant or of age or sex. The damaged sphere is general and immense, and judging from the individual state of injury, the bomb in this case should be said to be the cruelest one that ever existed.

It is a fundamental principle of international law in time of war that a belligerent has not an unlimited right in choosing the means of injuring the enemy, and should not use such weapons, projectiles, and other material as cause for unnecessary pain; and these are each expressly stipulated in the annex of the Convention respecting the Laws and Customs of War on Land and articles 22 and 23(e) of the Regulations respecting the Laws and Customs of War on Land. Since the beginning of the present World War, the Government of the United States has declared repeatedly that the use of poison or other inhumane methods of warfare has been regarded as illegal by the pubic opinion in civilized countries, and that the United States would not use these methods of warfare unless other countries used them first.

However, the bomb in this case, which the United States used this time, exceeds by far the indiscriminate and cruel character of efficiency, the poison and other weapons the use of which has been prohibited hitherto because of such an efficiency. Disregarding fundamental principles of international law and humanity, the United States has already made indiscriminate aerial bombardments on cities of the Empire in very wide areas, and it has already killed and injured a large number of old people, children, and women and collapsed or burned down shrines, temples, schools, hospitals and ordinary private houses.

Also, the United States has used the new bomb in this case, which has indiscriminate and cruel character beyond comparison with all weapons and projectiles of the past. This is a new offence against the civilization of mankind. The Imperial Government impeaches the Government of the United States in its own name and the name of all mankind and of civilization, and demands strongly that the Government of the United States give up the use of such an inhumane weapon instantly.

Regarding the point on the necessity of the dropping of the bombs to “bring the war to an end as quickly as possible,” as it was written in the letter of protest sent right after the dropping of the bomb in Nagasaki where 70,000 out of 240 thousand people died, and a further 70,000 people died later, it was against international law.

Pope Pius XII likewise condemned the bombings, expressing a view in keeping with the traditional Roman Catholic position that “every act of war directed to the indiscriminate destruction of whole cities or vast inhabited areas is a crime against God and man.”

On the other hand, we’d like all of you to remember that the Pearl Harbor attack was limited to a military zone. The attack on Pearl Harbor has been portrayed in the media as a sneaky attack, since there was no declaration of war. However, a declaration of war is not an obligation under international law.

In 1939, Nazi Germany invaded Poland, and WW2 started. There was no declaration made at the time. For instance, when the Soviets invaded Finland in 1939, the international community did not condemn the Soviets because they did not make a declaration. Furthermore, in 1964, when America went to war with Vietnam, did it make an announcement? No, it did not. In the war in Middle East between Israel and the Arab world, there was no declaration.

Thus, regarding the war between Japan and America, even though the Japanese had the political intention of declaring war beforehand, in the end, they could not. There was no rule under international law mandating a declaration. However, if one had been established, not only Japan, but also America and various other nations would have also had to accept the responsibility of not having declared war in the past.

To conclude, from the perspective of international law, Japan must say, henceforth, that it is not obligated to accept any responsibility for not having made a declaration of war.


The GHQ’s Occupational Policy: Due to Fierce Censorship, Talk About the Atomic Bombings Has Become Taboo

So, why are the facts relating to the dropping of the atomic bombs still unknown to the general public?

The reason why proper educational textbooks with correct historical information have not been printed in America, concerning the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, is because General MacArthur’s first job was “to erase or confiscate all photos and documentation that provided evidence of the terrible reality of Hiroshima and Nagasaki”.


Censorship at the Tokyo Trial

MacArthur’s thorough censorship in Japan was in opposition to the American Constitution. Blakeney, a lawyer at the Tokyo Trial, made iconic remarks. He proposed that the court should judge the brutality of the atomic bombings. Blakeney stated, “If the prosecutor is familiar with the fourth Hague Convention, he must be familiar with the law that is among those laws concerning battle on land that bans types of weapons that can be used (lethal gas, weapons such as viruses that would injure non-combatants as well).”

He tried to submit evidence that showed what a bad decision it was to use the atomic bombs, but it was dismissed on grounds that the Tokyo Trial was not for the judging of America. It was for judging of Japan.

Chief Justice Webb rejected Blakeney’s suggestion. However, after he returned to Australia, Webb admitted that the trial was wrong.


Regret in America

Now, it’s not that Americans did not have regrets over what they did to the Japanese; it’s just that most people didn’t share their feelings when they came home. However, there have been a few statements from well-known Americans. For example, President Hoover stated in his memoir Freedom Betrayed:

Not only had Japan repeatedly sued for peace, but it was an act of unparalleled brutality in all of American history. It will forever weigh heavily on America’s conscience.

In 1995, a debate even occurred over the Smithsonian’s atomic bomb exhibition. You might also remember that Oliver Stone wrote “The Untold Story”.


The Alliance between Japan and America

It is impressive that America, as a democratic nation, is advancing with its research on the justice of the atomic bombings. However, over half of the citizens in America still seem to believe Roosevelt and Truman’s story that “to punish Japan, who made a surprise attack, and to bring the war, which began with Japan’s surprise attack, to a quick end, America had to use its atomic bombs”.

It’s regrettable that even as America knew Japan was trying to advance in peace talks, and knowing the large-scale damage that the atomic bombs would cause, its leaders went forward with the decision to drop bombs on the civilian population of Japan. 1,000,000 citizens of Japan ultimately died from the American bombings of every major city on the main island of Japan, Honshu.

Right now, Japan has Article 9 of the Peace Constitution, which the GHQ designed to keep Japan in a cocoon, and it prohibits Japan from building an army to defend its own nation based on the false premise that friendly countries neighbor Japan. Are you surprised? The U.S. wrote Article 9 in the same way as parts of the Filipino Constitution were when the country of the Philippines was an American colony. Japan’s Peace Constitution was modeled after that colonial constitution. However, it is against international law for an occupational force to set a constitution.

It seems that the American elite thought, at the time, that if Japan had no military power, then the world would be a safer place to live in. However, the Communist movement, which Japan was fighting against, took over the world after Japan’s surrender. 40,000,000 to 50,000,000 people died in China, and that country expanded militarily. North Korea continues to shoot off its missiles, and China has its missiles pointed at Japan, ready to shoot them off at any moment. Thus, we can say that America’s way of thinking, at the time, was like taking away the police regardless of whether there were still criminals on the loose.

The current American administration sadly seems to be taking sides with China and Korea over Prime Minister Abe’s stance on collective self-defense and his re-interpretation of Article 9. When it comes to the constitutional issue and certain historical facts, America has been appearing in public to side with China and Korea. One of the reasons may be the fact that America has not fully acknowledged or atoned for the wartime atrocities it committed in Asia.

Without American acknowledgment of the mistakes that it has made in Asia, the Obama administration’s stance could cause a rift between Japan and America, which strengthens the very intention of the Chinese government. We believe America is such a great nation because it taught us that the noble ideal of the pursuit of happiness was still possible after WW2. If the U.S. could come face to face with its past errors, it would create a more trusting, truthful relationship with Japan. This gesture would strengthen the mutual goals of both countries, which have been focused predominantly on the protection of the rule of law, the pursuit of liberty, and individual freedoms.

Our sincere hope is for America to see through Korea and China’s evil and manipulative strategies, to face its past mistakes, as Japan has, and to work toward a stronger Japan-U.S. alliance. It is also our fervent hope that the U.S. will continue to work to protect and to promote liberty around the world together with its allies. Japan stands strong as a partner in these goals.

The Liberty,
Hanako Cho

Hiroshima and Nagasaki: Man’s Inhumanity to Man
Copyright © IRH Press Co.Ltd. All Right Reserved.