Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Today In History: Rising fire, setting sun.

On this day in 1945, Col. Paul Tibbetts and the crew of the Enola Gay unleashed a nuclear fireball over downtown Hiroshima, Japan.


Nathan Brindle said...

Thank God for that.

All the weenies out there who say we shouldn't have done it haven't got a clue.

Tam said...

Hey! I just realized, it's Moon A Hippie Day in Oak Ridge! And I'm in Knoxville!

staghounds said...

"The force from which the sun draws its power has been loosed against those who brought war to the Far East."

I always thought that was some serious snark.

Sort of like when they put Adm. Nimitz on the international first class rate stamp. Allll those letters to Japan...

Scott said...

Actually, like most revisionists, those who’d have us believe the use of the atomic bomb was not necessary do have a couple of clues and an agenda. The clues are the reason one can’t simply dismiss them out of hand. The agenda is why the must be fought and crushed with the facts.

I’d always believed that it was the best decision, but I didn’t have a lot of facts to back that up until the controversy erupted over the display of the Enola Gay’s fuselage at the Smithsonian. After that, I studied up and can hold my own, if not win, a debate with anyone below the level of professional historian.

The Wikipedia article on the controversy (believe it or not) is a good place to start. The pro-bombing part of the article is meticulously constructed and sourced; the anti- section, not so much (though the anti- section gets the last word). I remember thinking (about the anti- section of the Wikipedia article), “If this is the best that the America-hating leftie revisionists with too much time on their hands can do, we don’t have much to worry about as long as we keep telling our side of the story.” (There are entire websites devoted to why it wasn’t necessary to drop the Bomb; they’re educational in the sense that they are seldom by professional historians; they’re lessons in how cherry pick facts and sources, twist sources to conclude the opposite of what the source actually says, etc.; the same kind of stuff you find on Truther sites.)

Also, never underestimate the power of a simple, true and emotionally-charged fact. (God knows our adversaries do.) More than once, I have ended the debate (and ‘won’ according to most onlookers) with two small facts:

(1) The U.S. had so many Purple Hearts manufactured for the anticipated casualties in a ground invasion of Japan that we are still using medals from the original order more than sixty years later.
(2) In 1945, Japan was importing most of its’ food from the mainland. The destruction of Japan’s internal transportation infrastructure and naval blockade that would have preceded an invasion would have starved as many as 20 million Japanese during the winter of 1945-46. After an unconditional surrender, occupation with little or no resistance, complete cooperation from the Japanese government and the full logistical support of the Allies the daily food ration for a Japanese adult was only 1200 calories for almost a year after the surrender.

Ed Foster said...

And, the Japanese high command, after the war, thought our estimates of "only" a million American casualties were off by a factor of four.
When our planners actually saw the underground fortifications the Japanese had constructed, their comment was fully in agreement with their former enemies.
Not including the fact that the Japanese military had standing orders to execute all allied prisoners of war the moment the invasion started.

DirtCrashr said...

Hey, get out the weenies and marshmellows!
Fun-Fact-Five - it pissed off the Russians and made them wet their communist pants.

Rob D said...

My father was a pilot in WWII and in June of 1945 was awaiting the USS Franklin to get out of dry dock so they could provide fighter cover to the first wave of Marines landing on the mainland of Japan. He said they all expected to die because they knew how the Japanese defended the islands in the Pacific and would be even worse on the mainland. August of 1945 rolled around and he never had to go. He told me that I was here because of the atomic bomb and to never forget how many lives it saved for both the American forces and for the Japanese. He cited the 4 million American and 20 million Japanese numbers to me. A little food for thought and I am glad to be here.

PS: Wish I was a hippie with a camera in Oak Ridge today... :)

Lergnom said...

And you can see that very plane, almost close enough to touch, along with a HUGE number of aircraft, at the Udvar-Hazy Center of the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, outside Dulles Airport.
It's a never-miss visit whenever we go to D.C.

Anonymous said...

My wifes father was on a troop ship heading toward Japan as part of the build up of the land invasion and was one of those that occupied Nagasaki after its little test.

His only comments were that it was fully necessary to drop the bombs and millions on both sides were saved because of it.

Don Meaker said...

It is important to know that the Japanese nuclear physicists got samples of the dust, and determined that Little Boy was a Uranium-235 bomb. They had their own nuclear program, and knew that Uranium 235 is hard to separate from U-238. They reported to the cabinet that this was a catastrophe, but would not happen again. The Japanese cabinet decided to continue the war, with the intent of accepting 30 million Japanese deaths if that was necessary to cause 1 million US deaths. They were sure that the US would not accept that many casualties. They were certain that they would be able to force the US to negotiate with them.

Fat Man, dropped later on Nagasaki was a plutonium bomb, as shown by analysis of the dust. The Japanese physicists knew that plutonium could be chemically separated from Uranium 238, and mass production of nuclear bombs must be anticipated.

The US knew the Japanese strategy, due to masterful decryption efforts, grouped under the code name MAGIC. Fat Man saved a million US lives, and 30 million Japanese lives. It also prevented Soviet occupation of part of Japan.