For some reason this is making the rounds on Digg and MeFi today, mainly for the sweet CGI used to render the attack. The “Day After vs. Threads” post got a healthy response so I thought I’d run this one up the flagpole too and see how she flies.
It comes from a Beeb series on WWII produced for the 60th anniversary of the war last year.
More (Bryan): A word to the commenters who are blaming Japanese people for the tone and content of the video posted here. It was produced by the BBC. That’s in Britain. Japan had nothing to do with the production of this video. Furthermore, you’re only seeing a short clip of a much longer piece. The context some of you seek is probably in that other 80-90% of the documentary that’s not posted on YouTube.
Some of you might find my history and take on Hiroshima and Nagasaki interesting. I spent four years, 1993 to 1997, in Japan courtesy the US Air Force. During that time I married into a Japanese family who took me in and have always treated me like I was their own son. I’ve visited both atomic bomb museums, the one in Nagasaki first and the one in Hiroshima a year or two later. Of the two, the Hiroshima museum is superior because it does a better job of placing the bomb in its true context. It documents the lead up to the war, the war itself and its abrupt ending after the twin atomic blasts. I visited the Hiroshima museum with my father-in-law, who was a little boy living not too far from Nagasaki during the war. By the grace of God he survived the war, grace that gave me the family I have now. So not only do I see the historic import of the atomic blasts, but it touches me personally.
I happen to think that the atomic bomb saved not only a potential 1,000,000 Americans, but probably saved Japan itself. Invading the mainland would have resulted in violence and death on a scale we can’t really get our heads around, because the imperial government had begun training civilians and children to fight to the death, using sticks or whatever they had to hand. And they would have done so; the battle for Okinawa taught us that much. The record of the kamikazes and the slaughters on Iwo Jima and Guam and Saipan taught us that much as well. The war on the Japanese main islands, if it came to that, would probably have destroyed the fabric of the country and might have robbed Japan of a couple of generations of its people. Millions wiped out, and a culture going back centuries in total ruin. In my opinion we wouldn’t have the Japan we have today, a staunch ally in the war against terrorism and the ongoing standoff with North Korea, if we hadn’t short circuited World War II and then rebuilt Japan as a democracy in the decades that followed the war. Not to mention the many good American men who would have died needlessly fighting a guerilla war in mountainous terrain for another three, four, even five years after the defeat of Hitler. The atomic bombs prevented all that. Truman made the right call.
That said, there’s no place on this blog for language like “Japs” and there’s no place for comments that lament the fact that the bomb didn’t kill more Japanese civilians. There is no place for that kind of thinking or language here at all. I don’t ever want to see comments here take the directions they took in the thread below, again. Some of you really ought to be ashamed of yourselves.