by Wally Linder and Ellen Isaacs
July 23, 2020
Atomic Terror Rained on Japan: A U.S. Rulers’ Executed Holocaust
Seventy-five years ago on August 6, 1945 — in a monstrous genocidal attack ordered by Democratic President Harry Truman — the U.S. military dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan and another two days later on Nagasaki, slaughtering more than 300,000 innocent civilians in the two cities, plus untold tens of thousands who would die later or suffer the poisonous effects from the radiation unleashed by the two bombs (City of Hiroshima Report, 8/6/2004 and CBS News, 8/6/2005).
The racist U.S. rulers, ever ready to murder Asian people, floated the lie that the A-Bomb attacks were necessary to “force Japan’s surrender and avoid a U.S. land invasion of Japan involving 1,000,000 U.S. casualties.” That Big Lie outdid even Hitler’s Nazis, for Japan’s rulers were ready to surrender BEFORE the atomic bombings.
Atomic Bombings Not Necessary to End the War
• The United States Strategic Bombing Survey reported that, “Certainly …in all probability prior to November 1945, Japan would have surrendered even if the atomic bomb had not been dropped…and even if no invasion had been planned or contemplated.” (Survey: “Japan’s Struggle to End the War”)
• General (later president) Eisenhower said it was his “belief that Japan was already defeated and that dropping the bomb was completely unnecessary…and no longer mandatory to save American lives.” (Eisenhower: “Mandate for Change”; 1963)
• General Douglas MacArthur, U.S. Pacific commander, believed the dropping of the bombs was “completely unnecessary from a military point of view.” (James Clayton: “The Years of MacArthur,” Vol. II)
• The LA Times reported in “The Myths of Hiroshima” (8/5/2005) that, “The hard truth is that the atomic bombings were unnecessary. A million lives were not saved. Indeed, McGeorge Bundy, the man who popularized this figure, later confessed that he had pulled it out of the air to justify the bombings in a 1947 Harper’s Magazine essay that he had ghostwritten for Secretary of War Henry Stimson.”
On March 9, 1945, “100,000 to 200,000 men, women and children died when the U.S. Air Force doused Tokyo with jellied gasoline….In the months before Hiroshima [conventional] bombs killed up to 500,000 in Japanese cities and left 13 million homeless.” (U.S. News & World Report, 7/13/1995) By the spring of 1945, Japan’s entire industrial and military machine had ground to a halt, severing its oil lifeline. By June, U.S. Air Force General LeMay complained that there was nothing left to bomb in Japanese cities except “garbage can targets.” [In fact, Truman’s Secy. of War Stimson told Truman that he was “fearful” that before the A-Bomb was delivered, the U.S. Air Force would have Japan “so bombed out” that the A-Bomb “would not have a fair background to show its strength.”
So, if not necessary to end the war, why was the Bomb dropped?
In May, 1945, Soviet leader Josef Stalin had promised U.S. president Truman at the Yalta Conference that the Red Army would enter the war against Japan within three months after the Nazi surrender in Europe, which occurred on May 8, 1945. On August 8, the Soviets swept into Manchuria and were preparing that invasion of Japan. “It was the Soviet Union’s entry into the Pacific war on Aug. 8, two days after the Hiroshima bombing, that provided the final ‘shock’ that led to Japan’s capitulation” (LA Times, 8/5/2005). The U.S. ruling class not only wanted to prevent any Soviet participation in peace settlements with Japan but also to use the bombings as a display of U.S. military might, a political warning to the Soviet Union of what awaited it in the post-war world. Rather than the last act of World War II, the atomic bombings signaled the U.S. launching of the Cold War.
The U.S. Ruling Class Aimed for the Driver’s Seat vs. the Soviets in Post-War World
• Truman’s War Secy. Stimson, in referring to the Bomb as a “master card,” said, “Let our actions speak for words. The Russians will understand them better than anything else….We have to regain the lead…in a pretty rough and realistic way….We have coming into action a weapon which will be unique.” (Stimson Diary)
• Atomic bomb scientist Leo Szilard, in a meeting with Truman’s Secretary of State James Byrnes, said: “Mr. Byrnes did not argue that it was necessary to use the bomb…in order to win the war….Mr. Byrnes’s view [was] that our possessing and demonstrating the bomb would make Russia more manageable in Europe.” (“Szilard: A Personal History of the Atomic Bomb”); 1949
• Byrnes told Stimson that, “The atomic bomb might well put us in a position to dictate our own terms at the end of the war.” (Truman: “Year of Decision”)
• Truman and Byrnes quite plainly used the Bomb primarily to prevent the Soviets from sharing in the occupation of Japan. (LA Times, 8/5/2005) As Churchill had said about the Bomb, “We now had something in our hands that would redress the balance with the Russians.”
• “It was clear already then that the US government intended to use the atomic weapon for the purpose of achieving its imperialist goals from a position of strength in ‘the cold war.’ This was amply corroborated on August 6 and 8. Without any military need whatsoever, the Americans dropped two atomic bombs on the peaceful and densely populated Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.” (“The Memoirs of Marshal Zhukov”; 1971, pp. 674-675)
In what amounted to an indictment of the liberal Democrat Truman administration, atomic scientist Szilard stated that, “If the Germans had dropped atomic bombs on cities…we would have defined [it]…as a war crime, and we would have sentenced the Germans who were guilty of this crime to death at Nuremburg and hanged them.” Instead, the US Government lied about the devastating effects of radiation. When stories of widespread radiation sickness began to circulate in late August, a New York Times editorial stated, “United States scientists say the atomic bomb will not have any lingering aftereffects in the devastated area.” Lt. Gen. Leslie Groves ,….testified before a Senate committee…claiming that radiation poisoning “is a very pleasant way to die.”(NYT 8/30/20)
The Historical Lessons
This history provides several important lessons. Despite its claims to be the most humane and democratic regime in the world, the U.S. Government is the only one that has ever used an atomic weapon on civilians. It is also very important that, although the lesson was aimed at the then socialist Soviet Union, it was perpetrated on a non-white nation. And it was not some overtly racist, reactionary politician like Trump that ordered it, but Truman who gave the order, the former Democratic Vice President under Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Except for the lead pilot, the bombing depended on ordinary airmen, who were not told what their mission was before they carried it out. Afterward they were fed the lie that it saved the U.S. from an invasion that would cost a million lives (https://airman.dodlive.mil/2016/12/12/atomic-exposure/).
Thus we cannot believe that electing a liberal president will make it less likely that the U.S. will involve itself in brutal war or mass murder, such as using an even stronger nuclear bomb. In fact, the Democratic Party represents broader international interests than isolationists like Trump, who has been trying to withdraw troops from Afghanistan and Syria. Biden, as did Obama and Hillary wished to do, wants to preserve the interests of big oil and prevent the expansion of China and Russia. As the U.S. continues to lose ground in the imperialist competition, it will be an ever more dangerous force, especially if it faces defeat in large conflicts. One of the greatest weaknesses of the U.S. rulers is the fear that creating an army large enough for ground wars and occupations, which can only be done through a draft, would lead to a rebellious military. But if we want to prevent more massive wars and war crimes, we must be organizing among soldiers and potential soldiers to question their orders and among workers and students to change this whole system and prevent another vast war crime from occurring.