That denial is necessary because otherwise it would reveal the criminal nature of US governments and their ongoing criminal prerogative to continue using the threat of nuclear weapons to maintain global hegemony.
Nagasaki, the second atomic bombing of Japan by the United States on August 9, 1945, was in many ways an even bigger crime. The US government had three days to assess the devastating human horror of the first bomb dropped on Hiroshima on the morning of August 6, in which some 70,000 civilians were incinerated.
Hardly a building was left standing in the southern Japanese port city amid humans vaporised or turned into charred jelly, yet the American leaders went ahead with the second atomic bombing on the western city of Nagasaki in which another 40,000 people were annihilated. In total over the following year, the death toll would reach at least 200,000, and many more again over subsequent decades from cancers and other malignancies.
It is documented by historians that the American and British wartime leaders were well aware that Japan was seeking to surrender in early 1945 – not least because of the merciless firebombing by the Western powers of the capital, Tokyo, and other Japanese cities, where the death tolls would match those later incurred at Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
With Soviet Russia about to enter the Pacific War in mid-August 1945, as agreed upon at the Potsdam conference held in July, it seems unequivocal that the Americans rushed to deploy their new nuclear weapon as a way of demarcating the postwar order in Asia-Pacific.
The first atomic explosion was tested by the Americans only three weeks prior on July 16 in the desert of New Mexico.
The Americans and the British did not want their then wartime Soviet ally to make territorial gains in Asia, as it had done in Europe when it alone had largely rolled back and defeated Nazi Germany.
To prevent Stalin’s Red Army also taking Japan and other Asian territories as it was poised to do on entering the Pacific War, American President Harry Truman went ahead with the A-bombing of Japan. The Americans were not planning a land invasion of Japan’s mainland until November 1945.
So, official US claims that the atomic bombs were dropped in order to promptly end the Pacific War are partially true. But the objective was not to save up to one million American troop lives, as Truman claimed. Rather the real objective was to forestall the geopolitical advance of the Soviet Union and the “dread of communism”.
Thus, the atomic bombing of Japan by the US was not the last act of the Pacific War, but rather was the opening act of the soon-to-be Cold War between the American-led Western world and the Soviet Union.
However, the salient point here is that the US deployed weapons of mass destruction on civilian populations not for any supposed military or moral imperative – the defeat of Japan and saving of American lives. No, the objective was primarily political, that is, the prevention of perceived Soviet geopolitical advance in the postwar global order. That makes the twin bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki nothing less than acts of state terrorism – on a scale that puts the American government in a barbarous class of its own.
The myth of military necessity to defeat Japan so as to save American lives has proven to be an enduring one. A recent public opinion survey by the Pew Institute found that a majority of Americans – 56 per cent – believe that it was right to drop the A-bombs on Japan.
But if we strip away that myth then that leaves us with a most chilling conclusion – that American leaders viewed it as their right to obliterate 200,000 civilians for geopolitical objectives. That genocidal ideology – to use weapons of mass destruction – still resides in Washington.
At the close of the Second World War, American and British leaders weighed up a secret plan, Operation Unthinkable, in which they contemplated dropping atomic weapons on their then Soviet wartime ally. The treacherous plan was eventually shelved.
Just this year, in June, the Associated Press reported on a Pentagon plan under Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey for “pre-emptive nuclear strikes to take out Russian military sites”. According to AP: “The options go as far as one implied – but not stated explicitly – that would improve the ability of US nuclear weapons to destroy military targets on Russian territory.”
Seventy years ago, the world witnessed the cold-blooded destruction of entire human populations with nuclear weapons. Today, the world has some 16,000 such weapons each many times more powerful than those dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Ninety per cent of the world’s stockpile of nuclear weapons is possessed by the US and Russia.
But it is the US that has doggedly prevented moves towards full-scale nuclear disarmament – despite incumbent President Barack Obama having been awarded a Nobel Peace Prize in 2009. Under Obama, the US is planning to spend some $355 billion over the next decade in upgrading its nuclear arsenal.
In May this year, the US blocked a global nuclear disarmament initiative signed by 107 nations, including Russia and Iran, which called for the immediate implementation of the 40-year-old Non-Proliferation Treaty.
It was the US that also unilaterally withdrew in 2002 from the Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty between Washington and Moscow.
Ironically, in the same week that the world commemorates the horror of the American atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, President Obama delivered a major speech in which he hailed the recent Geneva nuclear accord with Iran because it “would prevent Iran from obtaining the bomb” – a bomb that the Iranian leadership has repeatedly said it is not seeking nor desires. The monstrous American arrogance in Obama’s words is breath-taking.
- No. The bombing was designed to put an end to the war16.6% (450)
- Yes. This heinous crime could not be justified by the war83.4% (2267)
The United States is so contaminated with its own “exceptionalism” and propaganda that the world remains perilously under the pall of horror that was visited upon on Japan 70 years ago. Until that American genocidal ideology is disarmed then the threat to world peace will persist.
The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Sputnik.
The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.