Hiroshima 60 Years Later

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N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture

quote:


Bacchus: You could easily reverse the Japanese and Allied words there.

The racism went both ways


I would agree with you on both counts. However one kind of racism doesn't nullify another kind of racism.

Outside of the question of the merit of bombing Hiroshima the way the U.S. did, I think that Judes' commentary could leave the impression that the poll question itself referred to race when it did not. That's a little misleading.

quote:

Bacchus: Japan had a substantial force still left for convential warfare ...

To the best of my understanding a very large and strategic portion of the Japanese forces weren't even on the islands of Japan. They were in Manchuria and they took a pounding from the combined Soviet and Mongolian forces between early August to the date of surrender on September 2, 1945.

Some numbers:

quote:

By August 1945 the Japanese armed forces numbered about 7.2 million officers and men of whom 5.5 million formed the land forces. The Kwantung Army was a particularly highly organized force which consisted of several front formations and had more than one million officers and men, about 1,200 tanks, 5,400 artillery pieces and mortars and 1,800 planes. Tokyo considered the areas it occupied in China as its strategic rear.

W. Averill Harriman and Elie Abel, [i]Special Envoy to Churchill and Stalin 1941-1946,[/i] Random House, NY, 1975, p. 462

quote:

On August 9, Soviet and Mongolian troops began hostilities against Japan along a front of more than 5,000 kilometers. The Kwantung Army was routed in 23 days; its losses were 84,000 killed or wounded, and 593,000 Japanese officers and men, including 148 generals, were taken prisoner.

[i]Recalling the Past for the Sake of the Future[/i], Novosti Press Agency, Moscow, 1985.

quote:

The entry into the war of the Soviet Union this morning puts us in an utterly hopeless situation and makes further continuation of the war impossible.

Japanese Prime Minister Kantaro Suzuki on August 9, 1945.

Edited to add: It is noteworthy that this last statement was not made in relation to the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki for which there was no need militarily.

[ 04 August 2005: Message edited by: N.Beltov ]

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

quote:


However, as evidence, simply examine the way the Japanese were racially caricatured in U.S. popular culture during WWII, and the internment of Japanese-Amercians, as opposed to how Germans, and German-Americans were treated.

With regard to the cartoons, I'm aware that both the Japanese and the Germans were skewered with unflattering caricatures. I'm not sure I can see the Japanese cartoons as specifically worse simply because they had more phenotypic differences to mock.

And it's true that the U.S., and we, herded anyone of Japanese heritage into internment camps while not doing so for anyone of German heritage. This could, certainly, be due to racism, but it could also be because while the U.S. was fighting Germans, Germans hadn't made any kind of offensive strike on U.S. soil. The U.S. just kind of joined in the effort in Europe, whereas at Pearl Harbour the Japanese brought the war right to them.

And anyway, I'm certainly not going to try to make the case that the United States was "racism-free" in the forties or anytime thereafter. But that doesn't mean that dropping the bomb was motivated by racism, nor specifically racist at all in the context of a war with another "race".

N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture

Judes can defend her own statements. But it seems that racism is very hard to disentangle from the contributing factors to drop atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

In any case, was there any public debate on the use of this [i]secret[/i] weapon anyway? I mean, prior to August 6, 1945, wasn't the weapon [i]a secret of the US Government?[/i] Weren't Julius and Ethel Roseberg [i]executed[/i] for allegedly revealing this secret?

[ 04 August 2005: Message edited by: N.Beltov ]

Crippled_Newsie

German-Americans were put in internment camps, just not at the rate that Japanese-Americans were. Some of discrepancy was certainly born of racism, but another reason is that there were some 60 million German-Americans in the US at the time.

quote:

Pursuant to the Alien Enemy Act of 1798 (50 USC 21-24), which remains in effect today, the US may apprehend, intern and otherwise restrict the freedom of "alien enemies" upon declaration of war or actual, attempted or threatened invasion by a foreign nation. During WWII, the US Government interned at least 11,000 persons of German ancestry. By law, only "enemy aliens" could be interned. However, with governmental approval, their family members frequently joined them in the camps. Many such "voluntarily" interned spouses and children were American citizens. Internment was frequently based upon uncorroborated, hearsay evidence gathered by the FBI and other intelligence agencies. [url=http://www.foitimes.com/internment/gasummary.htm]Link[/url]

jeff house

Magoo wrote:

quote:

With regard to the cartoons, I'm aware that both the Japanese and the Germans were skewered with unflattering caricatures. I'm not sure I can see the Japanese cartoons as specifically worse simply because they had more phenotypic differences to mock.

And it's true that the U.S., and we, herded anyone of Japanese heritage into internment camps while not doing so for anyone of German heritage. This could, certainly, be due to racism, but it could also be because while the U.S. was fighting Germans, Germans hadn't made any kind of offensive strike on U.S. soil.


You are being overly protective of the U.S. here.

John Dower's book on the Pacific War, called "War Without Mercy", overwhelmingly documents the extent to which racism was a factor in the decisions taken in the war against Japan.

The internment of AMERICANS of Japanese ancestry is not comparable to the internment of Germans who were FOREIGN residents of the US who maintained German citizenship.

The internments were never justified on the basis that the Japanese had attacked Pearl Harbour. They were justified as a security measure to insure the home front would not be subject to sabotage.

I do not think the decision to drop the atomic bomb Japan was entirely motivated by racism. Obviously, it wasn't. But I do think the decision was made more easily than it might have been, because the image of the "sneaky Jap" was deeply internalized.

N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture

quote:


jeff house: I do not think the decision to drop the atomic bomb Japan was entirely motivated by racism. Obviously, it wasn't. But I do think the decision was made more easily than it might have been, because the image of the "sneaky Jap" was deeply internalized.

Yup. And there's a bitter kind of racism that still exists today in relation to the [i]unacknowledged[/i] wartime atrocities of the Japanese authorities in WW2. Allied veterans of that conflict see an unwillingness, from their point of view, to take the [current] Japanese Government to task for these past unacknowldged atrocities while seeing a willingness to villify the Allied governments' atrocities. It is the criticism of soldiers against governments everywhere - that their contribution is not properly acknowledged.

I don't agree with this attitude but I entirely understand its source. My own grandfather was MIA, and presumably KIA, in Hong Kong on Christmas Day, 1941 and I never met him.

Vigilante

For Magoo's sake someone should pull up that Makenzie King quote where he more or less says "better to nuke the Japs then our lovely white race"
The Globe quoted it this week I think.

As for racism in Japan, it's important to note that the Japanese were using white male constructed discourse. The ideas of Spencer were used to invade China and others.

obscurantist

I realize it's somewhat off-topic, but I'm surprised no one's responded to Fidel's observation:

quote:

Originally posted by Fidel:
[b]The two western leaders fully believed the Nazis would occupy the Kremlin in about six weeks time. They ignored Russia's request for backup and a second front against what was the bulk of the Hitler's offensive for two and a half years inside Russia. [/b]

Fidel, are you suggesting that after 1941 Churchill and Roosevelt wanted Hitler to defeat Stalin? I suspect I'm misunderstanding you on this point, but if that's what you're arguing, I don't think that argument stands up.

If the Russians had surrendered (and you're right, Stalin did continually warn the western powers that he wasn't sure how long his country could withstand the Nazi assault), Hitler could have turned his attentions back toward the Middle East, Africa, and Britain. Churchill didn't want this, for obvious reasons of national survival. Nor did Roosevelt want to be facing a Europe dominated completely by Hitler as well as an Asia controlled by Japan.

The debate over a second front was more complicated than Stalin constantly pleading for one and his ostensible allies ignoring him. (A good resource on this topic is Robert Dallek's [i]Franklin Roosevelt and American Foreign Policy, 1932-1945[/i].) There was vigorous disagreement between US and British war planners about when and where to launch the second front, with an eventual landing in Sicily in 1943 preceding the main invasion in 1944. And if the Allies preferred Hitler to Stalin, why would they have launched a second front at all?

Stalin at times speculated about whether he could count on the loyalty of his allies. You could interpret the postwar history of West Germany (with the "rehabilitation" of many unrepentant Nazis who the American occupiers employed in government, schools, and other positions of influence), as well as the early atomic arms race and Cold War, as confirming Stalin's suspiscions that the Americans' goal had always been to seek a separate peace with the Nazis and unite to fight Communism.

On the other hand, Stalin was known to have his paranoid moments. And the USSR-Nazi Germany 1939 "non-aggression" pact, by which the two countries started the second world war as allies and carved up Poland between them, may have led Stalin to project his own treacherous duplicity onto others or to fear that it would come back to bite him in the ass, in much the same way that many Americans feared a sneak nuclear attack in the 1950s and 1960s (as they do now), when the only sneak nuclear attacks in history were carried out by Americans in 1945.

[ 04 August 2005: Message edited by: obscurantist ]

N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture

Some more information about second fronts:

My timelines aren't exact but it is my understanding that after the Nazi attack in June 1941 the Soviets had a "non-aggression" treaty of sorts with the Japanese in the East. Hence, once the Nazis were driven off Soviet territory the other Allies argued strongly at Potsdam for the Soviets to join the war against Japan in the East. The Soviets were persuaded to do so and joined with a smaller Mongolian force to rout the Japanese forces in Manchuria by September of 1945.

[ 04 August 2005: Message edited by: N.Beltov ]

voice of the damned

quote:


As for racism in Japan, it's important to note that the Japanese were using white male constructed discourse. The ideas of Spencer were used to invade China and others.

That's an interesting historical point. Nevertheless, apart from providing a convenient justification, I'm not sure how relevant Herbert Spencer actually was in determining Japanese foreign policy. Certainly, Europeans managed to get in a few centuries of aggression long before Spencer came along. And we don't normally say that the Catholic Inquisition was "using the ideas of Akhenaton" when it imposed an intolerant monotheism on Europe.

VanLuke

quote:


Originally posted by Mr. Magoo:
[QB]
The U.S. just kind of joined in the effort in Europe, whereas at Pearl Harbour the Japanese brought the war right to them.

Wasn't it Germany that declared war on the USA and subsequently attacked US ships?

Crippled_Newsie

quote:


Originally posted by VanLuke:
[b]

Wasn't it Germany that declared war on the USA and subsequently attacked US ships?[/b]


The US declared war on Japan on Dec. 8, 1941. After that, according to [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_War_II#1941:_The_war_becomes_global]W...

quote:

Following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Germany declared war on the United States on 11 December 1941, even though it was not obligated to do so under the Tripartite Pact of 1940. Hitler made the declaration in the hopes that Japan would support him by attacking the Soviet Union. Japan did not oblige him, and this diplomatic move proved a catastrophic blunder which gave President Franklin D. Roosevelt the pretext needed for the United States joining the fight in Europe with full commitment and with no meaningful opposition from Congress. Some historians mark this moment as another major turning point of the war with Hitler provoking a grand alliance of powerful nations who could wage powerful attacks on both East and West simultaneously.


VanLuke

I was just deliberately being cautious as I didn't want to get into another "fight".

VanLuke

"Sorry" about all these quotes but I just read the whole thread and having watched the BBC "docu-drama" about Hiroshima (and a bit about Nagasaki at the end) on CBC last night and having some questions I read this thread first and picked the quotes, which are related to my questions. Some of them have been 'kind of ' answered. Maybe the others can't be answered. But here it goes anyway:

velcrow wrote:

quote:

I would come back to the fact that the Japanese were on the verge of surrender, a huge number of cities had been flattened by firebombing, and yet the U.S. still chose to drop the bomb. Perhaps it was because the Manhattan Project was the most expensive military project in history, and it needed to justify the expense. The race to finish the bomb was not so much to finish it in time to help end to war - it was to get the bomb ready before the war ended.

They denied this in the film and claimed that before Hiroshima they changed the terms to "unconditional surrender of Japanese armed forces". IMO it might have been kind of academic for the Japanese because once you can't defend yourself you pretty well surrendered unconditionally.

M. Spector wrote:

quote:

....The Hirohito speech you linked to is preceded by some explanatory material. It points out that the Japanese could not accept the persistent demands of Truman for "unconditional surrender". The Japanese had in fact been making surrender overtures to America through Russian diplomatic channels for months before Hiroshima; it is now known that Japan's only "condition" for surrender was that they be allowed to keep their Emperor as head of state. Truman's stubborn insistence on "unconditional surrender" was understood by both sides to mean that they could not keep their Emperor....

That's the way I read it so far but is the evidence there? I had a friend (by no means a reactionary) argue with me 'violently' that this is not true, i.e. the bomb was dropped to save lives (as sick as it sounds).

Cueball wrote:

quote:

....In other words Groves could have legally waited a full 8 to 9 days longer to drop the second bomb over Nagasaki, which would have given Japan that much more time to figure out what happened, consider the options and formulate a political response....

Maybe this is just 'leftie propaganda' but some people maintain that they wanted to try out the plutonium device. Is there any evidence for this? (And, yes I did read the article you linked. Thank you.)

N.Beltov wrote:

quote:

.... it is a fair question to ask "What were the real reasons for bombing Hiroshima?"....

It was pointed out in the film IIRC that Hiroshima was not firebombed and pretty well intact *precisely* because they wanted to test the new weapon. (Btw they mentioned 2 billion, somewhat less than the figure M. Spector gave. In any case, was that in current dollars or in today's?)

Slightly (but only slightly, I submit) off topic: On March 1 1954 the USA used the people of the Marshall Islands as guinee pigs to study the effects of radiation on humans. ('Bravo shot') Did they not know about the effects of radiation then? And if it was to study it does this not strengthen the argument that Hirishima and Nagasaki were 2 huge 'laboratories'?

Minor point:

Geneva

[b]According to that docu drama[/b] it was not the Emperor who forced the issue but there was a deadlock among the military guys and they asked him to make the decision. When he opted for surrender some army officers tried to avoid it.

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

It's now 8:15 am, August 6 in Hiroshima, where 60 years ago to this minute some 70,000 civilians were killed instantly by the first atomic bomb ever to be used in anger.

As a child I learned to fear nuclear annihilation - not just of myself and my family but of the whole world. We lived every day with the very real possibility that an impetuous finger on the nuclear trigger, or just a stupid accident, could result in the destruction of our whole civilization, on no more than a few hours' notice. We did practice bomb drills in school; we had air raid sirens installed (and periodically tested) in our cities; we saw the powerful politicians, who were supposed to be protecting us, building bomb shelters with our money so that they would somehow be able to carry on, even if the rest of us were all vapourized or exposed to fatal radiation dosages.

As a child I used to have nightmares about the bomb. My brain would invent scenarios of what I would do when the "civil defence" warnings came over the television, telling us that this was not a drill, that this was really going to happen, and very soon. I would have to forget about my hopes and dreams for a long life, and prepare myself for death. I could only hope that the end would be quick and painless.

When the Cuban Missile Crisis came along I was not the only one who was convinced that we were only days away from total nuclear war.

And so, being born in the shadow of the bombs that flattened two Japanese cities had a profound effect on me and many others of my generation. It taught us that we could not take our freedoms, our comforts - even our very lives - for granted. We knew that if it took us sixty years or even more we had to do our utmost to rid the world of this recurring nightmare.

When we marched for nuclear disarmament, we really, really meant it. Sixty years later we're still fighting to hold off the apocalypse.

Contrarian

I'm sure they studied the effects of the atom bomb; but that would be a by-product, not necessarily a motive for dropping it. While developing the bomb, they are said to have studied the effects of the Halifax Explosion of 1917, because that was the biggest one ever cause by humans.

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

quote:


Originally posted by VanLuke:
[b]That's the way I read it so far but is the evidence there? I had a friend (by no means a reactionary) argue with me 'violently' that this is not true, i.e. the bomb was dropped to save lives (as sick as it sounds).[/b]

Yes, the evidence is there, despite your "violent" friend's protests to the contrary.

I have already reminded you of the link to the [url=http://www.commondreams.org/views05/0803-26.htm]Gar Alperovitz article[/url] that Contrarian posted, and I have quoted from it. I urge you again to read it, and to read Alperovitz's books, which are chock full of "evidence".

Someone else also linked to an article that summarizes the evidence, called [url=http://www.pej.org/html/modules.php?op=modload&name=News&file=article&si... and the Bomb[/url]. I recommend reading that as well.

Also, this thread is really Part 2 of a thread that began [url=http://www.rabble.ca/babble/ultimatebb.php?ubb=get_topic&f=30&t=000602]H..., but is now closed. There is much there to read as well.

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

stupid software! [img]mad.gif" border="0[/img]

[ 05 August 2005: Message edited by: M. Spector ]

VanLuke

quote:


Originally posted by Contrarian:
[b]I'm sure they studied the effects of the atom bomb; but that would be a by-product, not necessarily a motive for dropping it. While developing the bomb, they are said to have studied the effects of the Halifax Explosion of 1917, because that was the biggest one ever cause by humans.[/b]

I think you misunderstood me. The testing for the effects I related to the Marshall Islanders horrific suffering not Hiroshima or Nagasaki.

Maybe I didn't express myself well enough.

VanLuke

quote:


Originally posted by M. Spector:
[b]

I have already reminded you of the link to the [url=http://www.commondreams.org/views05/0803-26.htm]Gar Alperovitz article[/url] that Contrarian posted, and I have quoted from it.

I urge you again to read it, and to read Alperovitz's books, which are chock full of "evidence".

Someone else also linked to an article that summarizes the evidence, called [url=http://www.pej.org/html/modules.php?op=modload&name=News&file=article&si... and the Bomb[/url]. I recommend reading that as well.
[URL=http://www.rabble.ca/babble/ultimatebb.ph[/b]


It seemed to me that the article by Alperovitz (which I did read) is not definitve on the matter. Why do you think "The Debate Continues" is in the title?

Thanks for the link to the beginning of the discussion.

[ 05 August 2005: Message edited by: VanLuke ]

VanLuke

It's not that there is unanimity among historians, is there? And if there isn't then the *available* evidence couldn't possibly be conclusive. That was the only thing I 'was going on about'.

Please don't ascribe positions to me I did not take.

Also be careful about Pulitzer Prizes. Look at the link below.

A little thing I dug up on my hard drive about studying the effects of radiation:

quote:

...Laurence was good at keeping his master's secrets-from suppressing the reports of deadly radioactivity in New Mexico to denying them in Japan.... What about the "deliberate deception" of William L. Laurence in denying the lethal effects of radioactivity? And what of the fact that the Pulitzer Board knowingly awarded the top journalism prize to the Pentagon's paid publicist, who denied the suffering of millions of Japanese? Do the Pulitzer Board and the Times approve of "uncritical parroting of propaganda"-as long as it is from the United States?...

[url=http://www.commondreams.org/views04/0810-01.htm]http://www.commondreams....

Contrarian

Well VanLuke you called Hiroshima and Nagasaki 'laboratories'; which I would agree with; like the Halifax Explosion, they were very rare events, so they would be studied a lot. I was thinking more of the physical effects of the explosions; of course radiation was not a concern in the Halifax one; though I wonder if it produced any toxic effects or if anyone would think to look for them? [Who knows how many people will be affected by the dust from 9/11?]

I don't know the rationale behind the Marshall Islanders study, but isn't it of a piece with various other iniquitous experiments done on soldiers and civilians for biological and chemical weapons?

VanLuke

Yes but maybe worse since there was already much more knowledge than a few years earlier. And it deliberately targeted civilians of a "country" (actually a UN mandate -the only one of its kind - the USA had given itself) that was not at war with anybody.

But it was not my intention to divert the thread to the Marshall Islanders and the horrific crimes *they have* suffered from.

Did I really call Hiroshima and Nagasaki 'laboratories'? (I'll have to check) If I did, it wasn't what I meant, except for trying out the plutonium device on Nagasaki. I thought I had used this in relation to the Marshall Islanders.

In any case it's on record above.

edited to add:

Checked and found out that I did indeed but it's not really what I meant to say, or maybe it is in a way because of leaving the cities intact. (Hiroshima was/is an industrial city. So why was it not bombed?)

Sorry for the confusion. It took quite a while to write the post and I wanted to relate it to the film I watched yesterday. I'm sure I'm not the first babbler who got a little off the track.

[img]confused.gif" border="0[/img]

further edited after rereading the other thread:

Actually Spector and Godfried made similar statements

[ 06 August 2005: Message edited by: VanLuke ]

VanLuke

quote:


I don't know the rationale behind the Marshall Islanders study

It wasn't done as a study. They blew up a number of Japanese war ships that are still littering the lagoon. The study was "incidental" as sick as it sounds and is.

edited to add:

quote:

...Fifty years ago this week, on Bikini Atoll, the U.S. detonated the Bravo shot, a 15-megaton hydrogen bomb 1,000 times more powerful than the bomb it dropped on Hiroshima.
The most powerful bomb in U.S. nuclear history, Bravo had a radioactive cloud that plumed over 7,000 square miles, an area about the size of New Jersey. A hundred or so miles downwind, near-lethal fallout powdered at least 236 inhabitants of the Rongelap and Utrik atolls, contaminating their ancestral homelands. The Bravo-dusted islanders entered history as unique examples of the effects of radioactive fallout on humans...

[url=http://tinyurl.com/8kaue]http://tinyurl.com/8kaue[/url]

[ 05 August 2005: Message edited by: VanLuke ]

Arvin Gentile

quote:


'Mine is bigger than yours' applies to both religion and the size of the bomb. Such mindless competition must end and the people responsible be taken to task. No matter if they call themselves scientists, great guards of male bastion or simply the pro-nukes.
For actually they are psychopaths. Sample this. The great big scientists who work on computers and internet (devised first to ensure Pentagon safety) do it on a universally same trend, barring countries.

Robert Jungk's work on the nuclear state shows that secrecy, security, surveillance, and police state methods invariably accompany the nuclear establishments in every country. Remember the secret journey of the scientists at Bhabha Atomic Research Centre in India who were consistently devising formulae to wipe out the mankind, after bagging awards and rewards. (After all, nuclear bombs have only one utility value: Destruction of life).

Nuclearism is framed by the genocidal mentality.


[url=http://saswat.com/articles/bombs.htm]Link.[/url]

Magical_Mongoose

"Mine is bigger than yours", though some people may claim this takes the form of religion (culture), or takes the form of the bomb, has it's ultimate root in our instincts.
Religion was formed to tame these instincts; to achieve social stability and to justify power/economic hierarchies within complex societies. Bombs were formed as a medium of delivery for our instincts; an instinct that is apparent in all societies, and that is "The fear of the Other/Unknown". And this fear is the arm of the politician; the bigot it's tool, and takes it's ultimate form in the unjustified killing of innocent civilians.
However, our instincts at best only whisper answers into our ears, and by no means do they dictate our every thoughts. We may have tendancies to fear; to cast the enemy as "evil" or "monstrous", and to justify it's destruction. Based on the propaganda used by all sides of the war during this time, fear can be a powerful tool in dulling the automatic human response of empathy, and it's ultimate goal was and is still to this day, apathy. Based upon the relative silence that followed the bombings, and the "Cold Wars" of Korea, Vietnam, Angola, South Africa, Afghanistan, and now Iraq, it is clear this apathy remains within our societies.
If there is any war that is justified in waging, it is not on War on Drugs, or a War on Terrorism (which, by my definition, is the targeting of unarmed civilian populations that can be committed by people both in and out of uniform), but a "War on Apathy". An intellectual and spiritual war agaisn't those who justified the bombings of Dresden, Berlin, London, Heroshima, Nagasaki, Stalingrad, and a war agaisn't those who hide from public scrutiny through proxy-wars. By giving weapons, aerial, intelligence and logistical support to mercenaries who later become terrorists, one only becomes greater entangled within the cycle of apathy that, in the end, only comes back to haunt you.
To show the true fruits of apathy, let us take the US involvement with the Mujahadeen within Afghanistan when it was occupied by the Soviets. The US cared nothing for the Soviet Union, and this great fear and hatred of the Reds led them to support the mujahadeen, under the CIA-trained leadership of Osama bin Laden in hopes of drawing the Reds into a quagmire. When they suddenly became evil, or as "supporters of terror we will not negotiate with", they were termed the Taliban and removed by the US. Yet this only happened once, ironically enough, the same man who was once "an ally of the West" attacked America. He was and still is the same man, a apethetic man with dillusional visions, yet we had no problem with supporting him when he commited acts of terror agaisn't the Soviets.
There is no need to describe what both terrorist networks and states have done, as all of us have this imagery within our minds; of charred bodies, blown-out buses, tanks driving-down houses and dazed survivors covered in dust. Yet what we must except is that many of our governments, and terrorist cells alike, have brought these fates upon countless innocent, unarmed, non-uniformed civilians through wars, whether directly through the military, or indirectly through mercenaries. The fruits of this apathy towards the Soviets and the people in the midst of societal-change was apathy; fear that clouded the minds of our politicians and manifested itself in the form of Osama bin Laden, who's apathy only furthers more.
Only when we accept the definition of terror as "the targeting of unarmed civilians by a group or institution" will we come to terms with the true battle that must be waged. Only when we have the sanity and peace-of-mind to place ourselves in the "Others" shoes, which is becoming possible through places like here; the Internet. Only when we realize that fear and hatred is a vicious cycle that turns friends into enemies, and accept the only true solution to the problems which plague us is through: 1)Self-determinism. 2)Cooperation. 3)Peace.
There is a long road ahead of us, as both the leadership of nation-states and quasi-religious leaders are fearful they will lose what they have relied upon for millenia: fear of the "Other" to fuel their wars, whether in Iraq, Palestine, and Chechnya today, or Germany, Britain, the US, Russia and Japan 60 years ago.
Remain critical; don't be a sucker for propaganda. Pressure your governments to put more money into peacekeeping and humanitarian aid, less in building rockets and guns. Never alienate or attempt to silence those who call for violence, instead open a dialogue with them to reveal to themselves and the public how they're wrong. Sanctions agaisn't "rogue nations" are wrong and inneffective, as the leadership is left mostly unharmed while their people are starving on the street. There are better ways to achieve change within a society other than starving them out.
Try incentives to bring about social change within other nations, yet except the fact that all people have the right to self-determination if they are not, in the process, targeting unarmed civilians. The wonders with incentives is that it's both a carrot and stick; remove the carrot when a government is opposed to cooperation, and it's the equivilant of a stick but entirely brought upon the offender by the offender.
As Gary Busey once said, "Fear is the darkroom where the Devil develops his negatives". If we stopped fearing one another, and realized the struggle for social change and self-determinism must be brought upon by peace (or at the very least, not targeting civilian populations and violating international law) alone.
The true divide will not be one of civilizations, a clash that will pit state versus state, but one of a struggle within our societies to achieve self-determinism with the hawks on one side, and the doves on the other.
"It's not the calm nor the strife that decides your direction, but the set of the soul that determines your course"

jeff house

Kai Bird is a very solid American historian. So I was interested to read his take on Hiroshima:

[url=http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/opinion/la-oe-bird5aug05,0,7840...

quote:

Today, in the post-9/11 era, it is critically important that the U.S. face the truth about the atomic bomb. For one thing, the myths surrounding Hiroshima have made it possible for our defense establishment to argue that atomic bombs are legitimate weapons that belong in a democracy's arsenal. But if, as Oppenheimer said, "they are weapons of aggression, of surprise and of terror," how can a democracy rely on such weapons?

Oppenheimer understood very soon after Hiroshima that these weapons would ultimately threaten our very survival.

Presciently, he even warned us against what is now our worst national nightmare — and Osama bin Laden's frequently voiced dream — an atomic suitcase bomb smuggled into an American city: "Of course it could be done," Oppenheimer told a Senate committee, "and people could destroy New York."


VanLuke

jeff house

Thanks for that link. Good article but many have written the same things and it's impossible to settle the debate in a newspaper article. You're a lawyer, I believe. I studied history and that meant having to take a course about the writing of history "in history". ("Sources and historiography".) Anyway, what I'm trying to say is that there is no precision in the analysis of history comparable to legal knowledge. We can argue forever and there will be no proof comparable to science.

Maybe the emphasis on nuclear disarmament is because of the anniversary. But it does bug me a bit.

My father was killed in WW2 when I was less than three years old. He had met me once, I was told, but I do not remember him. I missed not having a father and have been a pacifist all my life. Total disarmament would be my aim though nuclear disarmament would be a lovely beginning.

But we all know, it's not going to happen. "They're" developing new nukes as I write this.

jeff house

Sorry to hear that personal history, Vanluke. My dad served in the US Army and invaded Normandy at Omaha Beach. He was wounde, but after he recovered, they told him he was going to Japan to invade the home islands.

So, he felt "saved" by the bombs.

The Bird article includes reference to a new history of which I was not aware, Hasegawa's book called "Racing the Enemy".

Here's a review:

[url=http://www.christiansciencemonitor.com/2005/0802/p17s01-bogn.html]http:/...

Of course there is no certainty, but I do think some histories are closer to the truth than others.

VanLuke

quote:


Of course there is no certainty, but I do think some histories are closer to the truth than others.[/QB]

[b]Absolutely[/b]

P.S. I had a loving "stepfather" (oh how I hate the word!) who at first was my Mom's "boyfriend". I was in my mid-thirties when I realised that he was my father. When I told him that he was a better father to me than my "real" one would have been (based on what I heard about him) he got angry and said "I don't ever want to hear that again".

I answered "I only had to say it once OK OK OK"

Didn't mean to derail the thread and just wrote these words because you expressed sorrow about my fate. Heinz -as I always called him, even as a little boy- was the best father I could have had!

RIP

jeff house

Probably your Mom chose well both times.

VanLuke

No not really but we shouldn't turn this thread into something else.

My personal experiences are trivial.

In a way I would like to tell more about myself on this board than I have. And it's not really wise to do that on the net. Some boards allow an "anonymous" log in. I can see why but anon would also open up some channels.

Sad to say I was glad not to have met my biological father. He was a fascist.

I should not speak badly of the dead.

VanLuke

A search on the BBC website for 'Hiroshima' led to this page. It has many links; check it out.

[url=http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/war/wwtwo/nuclear_01.shtml]http://www.bbc.c...

sgm

The folks at the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists have some interesting material on the anniversary, including a [url=http://www.thebulletin.org/web_only_content/sixty_years_later/]series of essays[/url] answering the question 'Would you have dropped the bomb?'

Worth a look.

Boinker

There was an interesting question in Friday's Toronto Star asking if you would have ordered the bomb dropped. A writer from Pakistan who opposes nuclear proliferation there argues against stating that they could have simply dropped on 3 miles from shore to demonstrate its awful power. The opposing military historian argued that the military were at the point of deposing the emperor and that Japan was banking on the lack of US resolve and had planned to inflict as many casualties as possible on the invading armies.

They expected an attack on the south most island and had fortified it enormously. His argument was that the invasion would have been long and protracted there would have been a blocade and food shortages that would have killed millions of Japanese citizens.

There is a review of a book on North Korea 's bloody nuclear regime: [url=http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/07/books/review/07KURLANT.html?pagewanted...'Rogue Regime': A Marxist Sun King[/url] which provides a synopsis of the problem with nuclear proliferation. The article and the book seem fairly right wing but some of the facts are chilling...

How exactly do you deal with these types of horrendous "trade offs?" I am against them entirely but is there not a case for international intervention in North Korea aand isn't it far more justified than the Iraq debacle? Starving North Koreans would welcome an invasion and if it had Chinese and South Korean support it might even be successful. Here is a real dictator posing a real threat to the world and yet the US sends him aid which he diverts to his own use...

America should have not dropped teh bombs on Japan and should have listen to Oppenheimer's warnings. The problem of why they didn't is well documented in the book Wilson's Ghost by Robert McNamara. Before tin-pot dicators like Kim Jong get world destroying weapons the international community must move to protect human rights.

This seems completely obvious to most world watchers. The half truth that supporters of Bush & Co cling to has its basis in these facts. The fact that it is not their real motivation at all is a world calamity-in-the-making because now how will the interanational community act to prevent disaster with thw waters so tainted with innocent blood and oil?

[ 07 August 2005: Message edited by: Boinker ]

VanLuke

quote:


The opposing military historian argued that the military were at the point of deposing the emperor

Minor point:

Could they have known this at the time? (I'm aware they had cracked Japanese codes, but since the military was divided -if the BBC film was correct in that- would there have been any communications?)

Fidel

Boinker, all of Russia, Israel, India, Pakistan and France have nuclear weapons. Why doesn't anyone bomb them or label them a threat to peace and safety everywhere ?. And the US has blocked humanitarian aid to N.Korea as well as Cuba, illegally according to UN.

Edited to add China to the nuclear family.

[ 07 August 2005: Message edited by: Fidel ]

VanLuke

oops, my mistake

[ 07 August 2005: Message edited by: VanLuke ]

Boinker

quote:


Boinker, all of Russia, Israel, India, Pakistan and France have nuclear weapons. Why doesn't anyone bomb them or label them a threat to peace and safety everywhere ?. And the US has blocked humanitarian aid to N.Korea as well as Cuba, illegally according to UN.

I think Cuba still has nuclear weapons but there is an understanding that they will not advertise the fact an dthe US won't invade. But I see your point and it supports my point about the real reason US does things is not usually for any higher purpose. They are a violent militray culture that will stop a little to get what they want.

kuri

[url=http://www.asahi.com/english/Herald-asahi/TKY200508120188.html]`Barefoot Gen' (manga) author retraces his steps in Hiroshima[/url] [img]smile.gif" border="0[/img]

N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture

A bump for Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

sgm

There are nation-wide events to commemorate the bombings this year:

quote:

Fredericton, NB
Date and Time: Thurs. Aug 9 at 8:30 PM
Location: Peace Pole near the Walking Bridge (Rain location is Conserver House, 180 St. John St.)

Speakers, poetry and music. Contact info@frederictonpeace.org or visit [url=http://www.frederictonpeace.org]www.frederictonpeace.org[/url]

Grand Forks, BC
Date and Time: Monday, Aug 6 at 1PM
Location: Gyro Park, next to Boundary Museum

Presentations on the impacts of uranium mining. Youth will be drawing chalk silhouettes on Aug 5 in the downtown region. For more info contact Laura Savinkoff, 14peace@telus.net

Halifax, NS
Date and Time: Monday, Aug. 6, 3PM
Location: World Peace Pavilion at the waterfront park on the Dartmouth side of Halifax Harbour ( In the event of rain – the event will be inside the terminal building of the passenger ferry from Halifax to Dartmouth)

Program includes, speakers, Raging Grannies, play called “ One Thousand Cranes” will be performed.
See poster

Hamilton, ON
Date and Time: Thursday, Aug. 9, 7 PM
Location: Hamilton City Hall Council Chamber, 71 Main St West

Guest Speaker, Prof Graeme MacQueen
“ The Crisis of Civilization and the Need for Imagination”
click here for more details

Midlnad-Penetang, ON
Date and Time: Sunday, Aug 5, 5:30 PM
Location: Penetang Peace Garden on Rotary Trail

Potluck picnic at 5:30, followed by commemorative ceremony at 7 PM. Presentations, music, oragami. Contact Elizabeth O'Connor at peace_works@hotmail.com

Montreal, QC
Date and Time: Sunday, Aug 5, 7PM
Location: Japanese Pavillion of Botanical Gardens

Montreal is the twin city of Hiroshima so this event is being held to coincide with the ceremony taking place on Aug. 6 at the Hiroshima Peace Park. Contact Karine Jalbert at karinejalbert@ville.montreal.qc.ca for more info.

Ottawa, ON
Date and Time: Monday, Aug. 6, 6 PM
Location: Society of Friends, 91A Fourth Ave

Lantern making at 6 PM, followed by video at 6:45 – ‘People Versus the Bomb’, guest speakers, music and then at 8:15 we will walk to the pond to float lanterns.
Click here for more details

Powell River, BC
Date and Time: Thurs. Aug 9, 7 PM
Location: Willingdon Beach

Peace Lanterns, songs and speeches. Everyone welcome.
For more info contact: Dr. Sylvia Keet (604)483-3346 or visit website: [url=http://www.powellriverlibrary.ca/powellriverpeace]www.powellriverlibrary...

Salt Spring Island, BC
Date and Time: Monday, Aug 6, from 10 AM until 2 PM
Location: Peace Park, across from Artspring

Contact Jan Slakov, js@saltspring.com

Saskatoon
Date and Time: Monday, Aug 6, 7 PM
Location: Broadway Theatre
Film by Anton Wagner. Admission is $4 Click here for details

Saskatoon
Date and Time: Thurs, Aug 9, 7 PM
Location: Civic Plaza (City Hall)

Memorial service to honour those who have given their lives in the name of Peacekeeping.

Toronto, ON
Date and Time: Monday, Aug. 6, 6:30 PM
Location: Nathan Phillips Square

Toronto's Hiroshima Day Coalition invites everyone to join the August 6 Hiroshima Day Commemoration entitled "Paths to Hope" at the Toronto City Hall Peace Garden from 6:30 to 9 pm. This year's commemoration will serve as the Toronto launch of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), a global effort to push towards eliminating the 27,000 nuclear weapons that still exist.

Click here for details

Vancouver, BC
Mayor Sam Sullivan declares August 6 as Hiroshima Day in the City of Vancouver and will read the proclamation on Saturday, August 4 at the opening ceremonies of the Powell Street Festival. Contact David Laskey from VANA at laskey8824@shaw.ca for more information

Windsor, ON
Date and Time: Sunday, Aug 5, 1 until 5 PM
Location: Canada South Science City
930 Marion
See website for Windor Peace Coalition for more info

Origami and lantern making, followed by film presentation and commemoration

Winnipeg
Speakers, paper crane and lantern making. Contact Darrell Rankin at the Winnipeg Peace Alliance, mknfile@mts.net


Here's the link:[url=http://www.pgs.ca/]Events.[/url]

N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture

[url=http://www.monthlyreview.org/mrzine/me060807.html]Nobel Laureates and International Organisations Speak Out on Hiroshima's Anniversary: For a Middle East Free of All Weapons of Mass Destruction[/url]

quote:

from the statement: Despite the unfolding tragedy in Iraq and the dangerously spiraling crises in the Middle East, another war of an unprecedented scale, this time against Iran, is looming near. The environmental and human cost of this war would, by comparison, dwarf the suffering in Iraq; it would engulf the region and have serious and unforeseen global consequences.

I've found the [url=http://www.pcf.city.hiroshima.jp/]Hiroshima Peace Site (in English).[/url] The Virtual Museum includes drawings by the survivors.

[b]Peace Declaration, August 6, 2007[/b]

quote:

That fateful summer, 8:15. The roar of a B-29 breaks the morning calm. A parachute opens in the blue sky. Then suddenly, a flash, an enormous blast ― silence ― hell on Earth.

The eyes of young girls watching the parachute were melted. Their faces became giant charred blisters. The skin of people seeking help dangled from their fingernails. Their hair stood on end. Their clothes were ripped to shreds. People trapped in houses toppled by the blast were burned alive. Others died when their eyeballs and internal organs burst from their bodies―Hiroshima was a hell where those who somehow survived envied the dead.

Within the year, 140,000 had died. Many who escaped death initially are still suffering from leukemia, thyroid cancer, and a vast array of other afflictions.

But there was more. Sneered at for their keloid scars, discriminated against in employment and marriage, unable to find understanding for profound emotional wounds, survivors suffered and struggled day after day, questioning the meaning of life. ....

Despite their best efforts, vast arsenals of nuclear weapons remain in high states of readiness―deployed or easily available. Proliferation is gaining momentum, and the human family still faces the peril of extinction. This is because a handful of old-fashioned leaders, clinging to an early 20th century worldview in thrall to the rule of brute strength, are rejecting global democracy, turning their backs on the reality of the atomic bombings and the message of the hibakusha.

However, here in the 21st century the time has come when these problems can actually be solved through the power of the people. Former colonies have become independent. Democratic governments have taken root. Learning the lessons of history, people have created international rules prohibiting attacks on non-combatants and the use of inhumane weapons. They have worked hard to make the United Nations an instrument for the resolution of international disputes. And now city governments, entities that have always walked with and shared in the tragedy and pain of their citizens, are rising up. In the light of human wisdom, they are leveraging the voices of their citizens to lift international politics.

Because “Cities suffer most from war,” Mayors for Peace, with 1,698 city members around the world, is actively campaigning to eliminate all nuclear weapons by 2020.

In Hiroshima, we are continuing our effort to communicate the A-bomb experience by holding A-bomb exhibitions in 101 cities in the US and facilitating establishment of Hiroshima-Nagasaki Peace Study Courses in universities around the world. American mayors have taken the lead in our Cities Are Not Targets project. Mayors in the Czech Republic are opposing the deployment of a missile defense system. The mayor of Guernica-Lumo is calling for a resurgence of morality in international politics. The mayor of Ypres is providing an international secretariat for Mayors for Peace, while other Belgian mayors are contributing funds, and many more mayors around the world are working with their citizens on pioneering initiatives. In October this year, at the World Congress of United Cities and Local Governments, which represents the majority of our planet’s population, cities will express the will of humanity as we call for the elimination of nuclear weapons.

The government of Japan, the world’s only A-bombed nation, is duty-bound to humbly learn the philosophy of the hibakusha along with the facts of the atomic bombings and to spread this knowledge through the world. At the same time, to abide by international law and fulfill its good-faith obligation to press for nuclear weapons abolition, the Japanese government should take pride in and protect, as is, the Peace Constitution, while clearly saying “No,” to obsolete and mistaken US policies. We further demand, on behalf of the hibakusha whose average age now exceeds 74, improved and appropriate assistance, to be extended also to those living overseas or exposed in “black rain areas.”

Sixty-two years after the atomic bombing, we offer today our heartfelt prayers for the peaceful repose of all its victims and of Iccho Itoh, the mayor of Nagasaki shot down on his way toward nuclear weapons abolition. Let us pledge here and now to take all actions required to bequeath to future generations a nuclear-weapon-free world.

Tadatoshi Akiba
Mayor
The City of Hiroshima


[ 06 August 2007: Message edited by: N.Beltov ]

Fidel

quote:


Originally posted by Boinker:
[b]

I think Cuba still has nuclear weapons but there is an understanding that they will not advertise the fact an dthe US won't invade.[/b]


I think Turkey was the country where U.S. missiles were not maintained after the Cuban missile crisis. U2 pilots were shot down over Russia and Cuba. The Yanks wouldn't allow Soviet missiles stationed so close to their country, and so back-channel negotiations resulted in missiles pulled from Cuba and Turkey.

And this is the state of Liberal capitalism today with hinging on vicious rumors that the invisible fist will attack another oil-rich country.

[ 06 August 2007: Message edited by: Fidel ]

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Fascinating reading this thread. A current pet peeve of mine is what I see as American appropriation of language. There have been two ground zeros in human history but if you read and listen to American media there is only one ground zero and it killed a few thousand people not hundreds of thousands. How convenient that now the term to describe the most horrific event in human history has been spun into an attack on America rather than America's darkest moment. Goebel couldn't have done better.

sgm

Our local commemorative event in Regina got some decent media coverage, including [url=http://tinyurl.com/29dn6h]this story[/url] in the Leader-Post and some TV/Radio coverage as well.

quote:

Activists held a vigil Thursday to mark the 62nd anniversary of the atomic bombing of Japan.

Members of the group Making Peace Vigil distributed flyers on Scarth Street while others wore placards and held up a banner from the shade of the Bank of Montreal Building during the lunch hour.


Sven Sven's picture

In addition to the Hiroshima remembrances, why are there no remembrances of the 50 million who died because of German and Japanese agression?

Jingles

Nope, none at all. No where. It's as if they were all forgotten.

Unbelievable.

oldgoat

quote:


Originally posted by Sven:
[b]In addition to the Hiroshima remembrances, why are there no remembrances of the 50 million who died because of German and Japanese agression?[/b]

I don't think I've driven through a single burgh in this fair land, large or small, that didn't have one.

Sven Sven's picture

quote:


Originally posted by oldgoat:
[b]I don't think I've driven through a single burgh in this fair land, large or small, that didn't have one.[/b]

I’m not talking about memorials to our war dead (the soldiers). I’m talking about the hand-wringing every August about Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Why no similar angst about the 50 million dead?

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