We have mixed views about the two atomic bomb attacks on Japan. Both our Fathers were caught-up in the Pacific War and arguably would not have survived during a prolonged invasion of Japan.
And in defence of the decision to use the bombs, it needs to be remembered that 1945 was already a time of mass slaughter. In March, 100,000 died in a single Tokyo bombing raid. And the Battle of Okinama was ritualised killing with some 240,000 soldiers and civilians slain.
But going round the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, reading the text, the inference was clearly made that America, having developed the bomb at great expense (the Manhattan Project), and fearing the Soviet Union’s global expansion, wanted to detonate it for a bit of “shock and awe” and so delayed offering Japan acceptable surrender terms until after August 6th and August 9th.
Surely, it’s more than ironic that a weapon today justified by its deterrent factor, was launched into the world with no warning and no ultimatum. 140,000 people in Hiroshima died horrendously within four months, whilst armchair generals wrote congratulatory memos.
The vision of the museum is to call for a worldwide ban on nuclear weapons, as proposed by the July 7th United Nations motion signed by 122 countries, but not the existing nuclear powers, including of course North Korea.