Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Victor Davis Hanson on Hiroshima

Victor Davis Hanson on National Review Online: "As it was, after Hiroshima and Nagasaki, General Tojo’s followers capitulated only through the intervention of the emperor. And it was not altogether clear even then that Japanese fanatics would not attack the Americans as they steamed into Tokyo Bay for the surrender ceremonies.

These are the debates that matured in the relative peace of the postwar era. But in August 1945 most Americans had a much different take on Hiroshima, a decision that cannot be fathomed without appreciation of the recently concluded Okinawa campaign (April 1-July 2) that had cost 50,000 American casualties and 200,000 Japanese and Okinawa dead. Okinawa saw the worst losses in the history of the U.S. Navy. Over 300 ships were damaged, more than 30 sunk, as about 5,000 sailors perished under a barrage of some 2,000 Kamikaze attacks.

And it was believed at least 10,000 more suicide planes were waiting on Kyushu and Honshu. Those who were asked to continue such fighting on the Japanese mainland — as we learn from the memoirs of Paul Fussell, William Manchester, and E. B. Sledge — were relieved at the idea of encountering a shell-shocked defeated enemy rather than a defiant Japanese nation in arms."


steve said...
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steve said...

Just to put this in perspective, the Okinawa campaign alone equalled all the fatalities we racked up in the entire Viet Nam War.

steve said...

Oftentimes, on pragmatic issues, we don't know the right thing to do because there are reasonable arguments on both sides of an issue. And in such a case, which is common, I think the standard should be, not what is right--which we don't know--but is it a reasonable choice.

Interesting Stuff