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JUNE 2021

Death From the Sky: Hiroshima and Normalised Atrocities

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Submitted by Dr. Binoy Kampmark

When US President Harry S. Truman made the decision to drop the atomic bomb on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, followed by another on Nagasaki a few days later, he was not acting as an agent untethered from history.  In the wheels of his wearied mind lay the battered Marines who, despite being victorious, had received sanguinary lashings at Iwo Jima and Okinawa.

A fear grew, and US military sources speculated about, the slaughter that might follow an invasion of the Japanese homeland.  They also pondered the future role of the Soviets, and wondered whether there were other means by which Japan’s involvement in the war might be terminated before Moscow got its hands on the battered remains of North East Asia.

Much is made about the moral dilemma Truman faced.  He knew there was the nastiest of weapons at hand, born from the race to acquire it from Nazi Germany.  But on a certain level, it was merely another weapon, one to use, a choice sample in the cabinet of lethal means and measures.  By that stage of the war, killing civilians from the air, not to mention land, was banal and common place; enemy populations were to be experimented upon, burned, torched, gassed, shelled and eradicated in the program of total war.

By the time Truman made his decision, Japan had become a graveyard of strategic aerial bombing.  General Curtis E. LeMay of the US Air Force prided himself on incinerating the enemy, and was encouraged by various study commissions advocating the use of incendiary bombs against Japan’s flammable urban architecture.  He was realising the dreams of such figures as the pioneering US aviator and air power enthusiast Billy Mitchell, who fantasised in the 1920s about Japanese cities being “the greatest aerial targets the world has ever seen”. In 1941, US Army chief of staff George Marshall spread the word to journalists that the US would “set the paper cities of Japan on fire”.  Civilians would not be spared.

Towards the end of the war, daylight precision bombing had fallen out of favour; LeMay preferred the use of Boeing B-29 Superfortresses, heavily laden with firebombs, to do the work.  His pride of joy in conflagration was Tokyo.  During the six-hour raid over the night of March 9 and 10, 1945, the US Strategic Bombing Survey concluded that 87,793 had perished, with 40,918 injuries.

There was little novel in LeMay’s blunt approach.  Britain’s Air Force Marshal Arthur “Bomber” Harris fertilised the ground, and the air, for such an idea.  He made it his mission to not only kill Germans but kill German civilians with a cool determination. He did so with a workmanlike conviction so disturbing it chilled the blood of many Britons.  As he put it, “The cities of Germany, including their working populations, are literally the heart of Germany’s war potential.”  It was his intention to, he explained to personnel, “in addition to the horrors of fire … to bring masonry crashing down on top of the Boche, to kill the Boche and to terrify the Boche”.  The Teutonic enemy came, not so much in all shades, but one.  Saturation bombing, regarded after the Second World War as generally ineffective, a ghastly failure to bring the population to its knees, received its blessing in Bomber Command.

This entire process neutered the moral compass of its executioners.  Killing civilians had ceased to be a problem of war, one of those afterthoughts which served to sanction mass murder.  Britain’s chief of the air staff for a good deal of the war, Charles Portal, called it a “fallacy” that bombing Germany’s cities “was really intended to kill and frighten Germans and that we camouflaged this intention by the pretence that we would destroy industry.  Any such idea is completely false.  The loss of life, which amounted to some 600,000 killed, was purely incidental.”  When 600,000 becomes an incidental matter, we are well on the way to celebrating the charnel houses of indiscriminate war.

When the issue of saturation bombing creased the legal minds behind the Nuremberg and Tokyo war crimes trials, an admission had to be made: all sides of the Second World War had made the air a realm of convenience in the killing of humanity, uniformed or not.  To win was all that mattered.  While the Nuremberg Charter left it open to criminalise German aerial tactics, the International Military Tribunal hedged.  As chief of the Luftwaffe, Hermann Göring was singled out for air attacks on Poland and other states but the prosecutors refrained from pushing the point, likely reflecting the cold fact, as Matthew Lippmann puts it, “that both Germany and the Allies engaged in similar tactics.”

It is true that Germany and Japan gave a good pioneering go at indiscriminate aerial slaughter.  But the Allied powers, marshalling never before seen fleets of murderous bombers, perfected the bloody harvest.  The war had to be won, and, if needed, over the corpses of the hapless mother, defenceless child and frail grandparent.  As the historian Charles S. Maier notes with characteristic sharpness, a tacit consensus prevailed after the Second World War that the ledger of brutality was all stacked on one side.  German bombings during the Spanish Civil War, notably of Guernica; Warsaw, Rotterdam, London and Coventry during the world war that followed, were seen as “acts of wanton terror”. The Allied attacks on Italian, German and Japanese urban centres, in proportion and scale far more destructive, were seen as “legitimate military actions”.

Distinctions about civilian and non-civilian vanished in the atomic cloud.  Hiroshima’s tale is the apotheosis of eliminating distinctions in war.  It propagated such dangerous beliefs that nuclear wars might be won, sparing a handful of specialists and breeders in bunkers planning for the new post-apocalyptic dawn.  It normalised, even as it constituted a warning, the act of annihilation itself.

Prior to the twin incinerations of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the redoubtable nurse and writer Vera Brittain issued a warning that remains salient to those who wish to resort to waging death from the sky:  “If the nations cannot agree, when peace returns, to refrain from the use of the bombing aeroplane as they have refrained from using poison gas, then mankind itself deserves to perish from the epidemic of moral insanity which today afflicts our civilisation.”

Dr. Binoy Kampmark was a Commonwealth Scholar at Selwyn College, Cambridge.  He lectures at RMIT University, Melbourne.  Email: bkampmark@gmail.com

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johnny rotten

The double atomic bombing of Japan had a single purpose, to challenge and intimidate the USSR, all the rest are useful propaganda of the Yankees to hide the huge crime against humanity and to have established the era of nuclear terror.

Jens Holm

The estimates for dead américans invading the rest of Japan was 200.000. Thats why.

And this always has been a very good cover for Stalin letting millions getting killed by amputating the Red Armey as well as displace it far from the Stalin line. Even the heavy canons from there was not in the Stalin line as well as in the Molotow-Ribbentrop line.

Thats the real huge crime against the USSR population. How many millions was it – compared to about 100.000 ??

occupybacon

Waste of time to explain things to a Stalinist. All they understand is atomic bomb and anal fisting.

occupybacon

Well, they worked :)

guest

US has committed some horrendous cowardly crimes against humanity.

Zionism = EVIL

Americunt cowards could not even defeat a wounded Japan and resorted to dropping nukes on civilians.

Ivan Freely

It’s a World War. Sick and tired of this whining and moaning. Shit like this always happen especially a war that was global and using devastating weapons that humanity have ever created. One does not cherry-pick when fighting an existential war. It’s all or none.

Jens Holm

I agree. There was many dilemmas.

It was USA and UK that knocked the Nazi production lines out, so they could not be used against USSR. Many more died there as well as it worked.

We for many years even has heard russians blame USA that not so many of theirs died. I think thats cherrypicking as well.

occupybacon

They are still eating beans from the cans sent by Murica in WWII.

Zionism = EVIL

Well, Russia or the Soviet Union won the war single-handedly at a cost of 28 million lives. The Americunt cowardly arseholes were allied to Nazis until 1942, when the Japs bombed them. They could not even defeat a tired and battered Japan until 1945 and sunck so low as to bomb 2 civilian cities. What a bunch of sick losers. Their total losses in the 3 years that the cowards were in war amounted to less than half a million and almost all against the Japs. The have the most useless cowardly military in human histrory.

Антон С

“Well, Russia or the Soviet Union won the war single-handedly at a cost of 28 million lives.”

No one said so, even in the Union’s time. The USSR destroyed 75-80% of fascist land forces. 3rd reich with allies lost 607 divisions at the Sovetic-German front and 176 divisions at other fronts (data from the Grand Sovetic Encyclopedia). Rest countries did more in naval battles by obvious reason – bigger fleets. Russian losses: 26,6 million people, including 11 million soldiers (8 at battlefield, 3 at POW camps).

Need to admit the role of the USSR at the Far East. Kwantung army of Japan (near million soldiers) placed in Manchuria was destroyed in 2 weeks – 9-20 of August 1945. Manchuria and Korea was main resource base of Japan. While Korea was military occupied (with all usual consequences), Manchuria was quite peaceful and governed by puppet government. Lost of Manchuria was the final point in breaking Japan’s will to fight.

shylockracy

With the fabrication of the Rothschild neocolony in Palestine by global Ziocorporate established power, atrocities by those wielding military-financial power were made a global policy. Today, the US and Zioterrorists use air superiority and financial warfare to terrorise people in the Middle East and the world.

Most analysts fail miserably at making this very obvious connection because they followers of the Holohoax dogma.

Joaquin

“It is true that Germany and Japan gave a good pioneering go at indiscriminate aerial slaughter.”

Don’t know about Japan, but I’m certain that Germany wasn’t a pioneer in this field, and refrained from doing so until it’s own population started to get decimated from the air, as actual evidence shows.

Otherwise a good read. This Beirut bombing is a great reminder that nothing has changed since the indiscriminate bombings of WWII, and that we as humanity urgently need to get rid of the people who is in charge and prone to commit this attrocities

Jens Holm

It seemes they bombed You first as pilotproject and with great succes.

Japan did it many times. Nanking is one of them.

If missiles can be counted as aeriel bombarment the first one is Copenhagen 1801(2 pics):

https://da.wikipedia.org/wiki/K%C3%B8benhavns_bombardement

And Britts also invented the KZ camp in South Africa. There was no medical care as well as hardly any food. Terrible.

Joaquin

Well.. Today I’ve learnt something. Thank you sir

guest

Complete nutter!

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