In regard to Mr. Stanley Campbell’s commentary on the 65th anniversary of the atomic bombings of Japan, I agree with him in that this was an unfortunate and extreme destruction of human lives which inflicted indescribable horror not only on the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but on the entire nation of Japan. I also agree with his statement that anger on the part of the United States did play a part in making the decision to drop the bombs, but I part ways with Mr. Campbell in his reference to the bombs being dropped on a “population that was a different skin color.” There were many reasons that those bombs had to be deployed on Japan, but race wasn’t one of them. It is a well-known fact to any student of history that the U.S. was willing and in the process of negotiating a surrender of the Japanese military forces; however, the U.S. wanted an unconditional surrender, and the Japanese did not. What other options did the U.S. have at that point? Invade the Japanese mainland to fight against every man, woman and child who vowed to uphold the Emperor’s honor until death? The last few battles between the U.S. and Japan, particularly Iwo Jima and Okinawa alone, amounted to huge losses for the Americans. If we had invaded the Japanese mainland, it has been estimated that the loss of Allied troops would have been catastrophic; 1 to 2 million Americans at least. Not to mention the fact that just as many, if not more, Japanese would have lost their lives defending their homeland. Would that have been a better option, Mr. Campbell? I think not.
The decision to drop those bombs was necessitated by Japan’s willingness to continue fighting, and by the many lives lost on both sides up to that point; it had nothing to do with race. In hindsight, the decisions made in the heat of battle may seem unjust or unnecessary to some, especially to those who don’t take into consideration the sum of the facts involved, but it is undeniable that had those bombs not been dropped, the consequences for the United States would have been dire.
Mike St. Angel
From the Aug. 18-24, 2010 issue