Saturday, August 06, 2011

Enola's 'Little Boy'... and the transfiguration of Hiroshima.

The bomb was named 'Little Boy'.

Dropped on Hiroshima August 6, 1945, Feast of the Transfiguration.


2314 "Every act of war directed to the indiscriminate destruction of whole cities or vast areas with their inhabitants is a crime against God and man, which merits firm and unequivocal condemnation."110 A danger of modern warfare is that it provides the opportunity to those who possess modern scientific weapons especially atomic, biological, or chemical weapons - to commit such crimes. - CCC


  1. Our Lady of Akita, St. Peter Baptist, St. Paul Miki, St. Francis Nagasaki, pray for us.

    We still have not repented of this as a nation.

  2. My opinion on the whole issue has changed since I started to understand why consequentialism is so wrong. I know now that nothing can justify directly attacking civilians.

    Still, I wonder how we could have ended it without the bombs, how much longer it would have gone on - I know Harry Truman struggled with the decision for the rest of his life. I don't think he'd have even considered it if it weren't for Iwo Jima and Okinawa (the Japanese fought almost to a man and US losses were higher than in anything they'd seen before).

    The options would have been invasion or blockade, and I think in both cases more civilians would have died.

    That doesn't make it right - not at all - but it does mean that it wasn't an easy decision, and the results would have been hellish no matter what. The Japanese should have surrendered months before, but were not going to (Hitler did the same thing - kept fighting even after the war was obviously lost, determined to bring the whole country down with him).

    Interestingly enough, the fire-bombing of Tokyo killed way more people (maybe 100,000)

  3. Dropping a bomb off the Pacific coast would have made a spectacular point and not killed children. Done far enough away, a generation wouldn't have suffered with every form of cancer imaginable.

  4. NOTE: I am not saying the bombings were a good idea. They were wrong.

    But they were a class apart from the rape of Nanking, from the Bataan death march, from Auschwitz, etc.

    We certainly do have blood on our hands as a nation, and it was an atrocity, but I still wonder what else could have been done.

  5. Perhaps you're right Thom. I've thought of that too. But considering Truman struggled so much with the issue, I wonder why he didn't do that.

    To be fair - I don't think anyone really understood the long-term effects at that point - I think they thought of it as sort of a giant conventional bomb.

  6. And Terry, is this another "gay" topic? :)

  7. Pray while you wait7:43 AM

    ... wonder what would have happened if we were a Nation that collectively prayed to God for his intervention ... has not happened in recent Modern Times...

  8. Anonymous7:49 AM

    Japan was ready to surrender. We knew that. Military officers under Truman -- including ones who would later urge the US to use nukes in Korea -- were opposed to the bombing of Japan because of this.

    We wanted more than mere surrender. We wanted 1) to exact revenge 2) to make an example to warn the USSR 3) to show the world if you attack us the only thing we will accept is "unconditional surrender."

  9. Merc - it could have been, but I didn't want to make light of the horror.

    Anonymous has is closer to the mark - Japan was close to surrender - we insisted on unconditional surrender however.

    What makes this even worse is that we bombed Nagasaki after wirnessing the annihilation of Hiroshima.

    Anonymous commenters - please use some form of ID when commenting here. Thanks.

  10. Anonymous, it was not "to show the world that if you attack us the only thing we will accept is unconditional surrender". To make into a little tot for tat over Pearl Harbor is silly and ignorant of historical fact

    It was that the Allies (US, British, and Chinese in this case) in general who demanded unconditional surrender of both Germany and Japan, and the intention was to disarm those countries and take away the capability to do what they had done in recent history (overrun and enslave everyone in their respective areas). In World War I, the surrender of Germany resulted in claims by Hitler and the like that the country "was never really defeated, only betrayed form the inside". This was a rallying cry and a justification for the Second World War.

    "Unconditional surrender" was the goal, true, but it was an entirely reasonable goal given what had just happened, and there is nothing immoral per se about demanding unconditional surrender given the circumstances, especially since the people of both Japan and Germany, even those complicit in outright genocide and war crimes, usually got off pretty lightly after the war was over - and history shows that the occupation was not nearly as harsh as it could have been.

    It is true that US generals were against the bomb - MacArthur was also a big proponent of retaining the Emperor, and that view won out. But no one was against unconditional surrender per se.

    "Conditional surrender" would have been unacceptable in any case - in Germany it would have meant the Nazis would remain in power, and in Japan it would have meant that the ruling military junta whose raison d'etre was imperial conquest would have remained in power, both simply waiting for a chance to regain their previous status.

    I'm not defending the bombs (I think Thom is right, I think we could have demonstrated their capability without dropping them on cities) - but I will defend the fact that unconditional surrender was necessary. And yes, it's very easy to Monday morning quarterback things knowing what we know now. As for making an example to the USSR - I don't know where the proof for that is. Especially since we gave away the store in Eastern Europe because we were scared of THEM.

  11. When I was in Desert Storm and Saddam Hussein was threatening to use chemical weapons on us the troops....President Bush (the First) very calmly said "If you use cemical weapons on my troops, I'll NUKE you." (Or something to that effect)

    The chemical weapons were not deployed.

    People all over the world know EXACTLY what a nuclear bombwill do, after Hiroshima and theories, or maybes...

    And that threat has helped keep a somewhat tottering "peace", where most everything is kept conventional.

    Although I do mostly believe Sting's verse where he said "There's no such thing as a winnable war". And hisotory is never written by the losers...


  12. Actually, just to be contrary, the conquests of the Mongols were primarily recorded by the losers :)

  13. Everyone says, “I wonder what the Pope thinks of it?” How everyone turns to the Vatican for judgment, even though they do not seem to listen to the voice there! But our Lord Himself has already pronounced judgment on the atomic bomb. When James and John (John the beloved) wished to call down fire from heaven on their enemies, Jesus said:

    “You know not of what spirit you are. The Son of Man came not to destroy souls but to save.” He said also, “What you do unto the least of these my brethren, you do unto me.

    — Dorothy Day, The Catholic Worker, September 1945


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