Monday, August 06, 2007

Remembering the War Crime of Hiroshima and Nagasaki

August 6, 1945 marks the occasion of the use of the first modern weapon of mass destruction - the dropping of the "Little Boy" atomic bomb on Hiroshima by the United States. Three days later, a second atomic weapon, the "Fat Man" (left) was exploded over Nagasaki.

In both cases, the mass destruction of civilian populations was carried out for military and political purposes. Such is the definition of a war crime.

Details of the horrific nature of radiation-inflicted injuries came to light through the reportage of the Australian Communist Wilfred Burchett who, in an Australian wave of McCarthyism, was subsequently deprived of his passport by the Government of Pig-iron Bob Menzies.

It has been hard for some who were brutalised by the Japanese imperialists, or who lost family and friends to the fight against Japan, to see "us" as war criminals. We were, after all, the good guys: our participation in the war against fascism was just and necessary.

The defeat of Japanese imperialism was just and necessary.

The military and political purposes behind the use of these terrible weapons of mass destruction had little to do with Japan and its defeat.

This has been argued for years, but there is no denying the conclusion of these two senior US war time leaders:

"The Japanese had, in fact, already sued for peace. The atomic bomb played no decisive part, from a purely military point of view, in the defeat of Japan." Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, Commander in Chief of the U.S. Pacific Fleet.

"The use of [the atomic bombs] at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of no material assistance in our war against Japan. The Japanese were already defeated and ready to surrender." Admiral William D. Leahy, Chief of Staff to President Truman.

The real purpose behind the use of the atomic weapons of mass destruction by the United States was the assertion of its superiority over its war-time ally - the socialist Soviet Union.

Many in the West had hoped that the rise of the stridently anti-Bolshevik National Socialists in Germany would see the end of the Soviet Union. Appeasement, and the subsequent reluctance to open the second front in Europe, were designed to encourage Hitler to invade and then destroy the hated Reds.

Nothing was done by the West (I'm referring to the capitalists and their governments, and not to the workers who did act) to stand up to Japanese militarism's invasion of Manchuria and China, again in the hope that the Japanese would attack the Soviet rear in combination with a Nazi advance on the Soviet front.

Internationally, the Communist cause was strengthened and not weakened by the Nazi attack on the Soviet Union. Communists proved to be the staunchest opponents of fascism.

As the was drew to an end, the US was panicked, firstly by the raising of the Soviet flag over the Reichstag and the drive by the Red Army into Berlin, where it became one of the four occupying powers; secondly, by the gratitude shown by working people everywhere to "Uncle" Joe Stalin and the accompanying rise in international prestige of the Soviet Union; and thirdly by the phenomenon of Communist-led resistance movements which threatened to lead to new Communist countries.

At Potsdam, Stalin indicated to Truman that, with the defeat of Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union would declare war on Japan. By Potsdam, in July, Truman was already in possession of information about the ready availability of the atomic weapon.

Truman's decision was to sacrifice the lives of uncounted numbers of Japanese civilians in order to let the Soviet Union know who was gonna be boss of the post-war world. It would be the American Century or no century. The end.

Presciently, a number of scientists, led by Dr James Franck, who had worked on the Manhattan Project (manufacturing the first atomic bombs) stated to Truman's advisors as early as May, 1945: "If the United States were to be the first to release this new means of indiscriminate destruction upon mankind, she would sacrifice public support throughout the world, precipitate the race for armaments, and prejudice the possibility of reaching an international agreement on the future control of such weapons."

Three prophecies. Three outcomes.

Remembering the war crimes of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, we must reiterate the fundamental demand of the world's people:

For the Complete Prohibition and Thorough Destruction of All Nuclear Weapons!

NB - Read the words and hear as an mp3 file the Pig-Iron Song here.

PS - Great article by Peter J Kuznick: The Decision to Risk the Future: Harry Truman, the Atomic Bomb and the Apocalyptic Narrative here.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

mushroom clouds…

victors above

victims below

jim of brizzy