5 augustus 2005

The bomb (The Flemish Beerdrinker)

When liberal Democrats Brad DeLong and Kevin Drum recommend an article from Rupert Murdocs’ The Weekly Standard, it must be good. In Why Truman dropped the Bomb, historian Richard B. Frank shows, basing himself on new evidence, why the current standard view that Japan was about to surrender when the Americans dropped the bomb, is incorrect. He concludes:

There are a good many more points that now extend our understanding beyond the debates of 1995. But it is clear that all three of the critics’ central premises are wrong. The Japanese did not see their situation as catastrophically hopeless. They were not seeking to surrender, but pursuing a negotiated end to the war that preserved the old order in Japan, not just a figurehead emperor. Finally, thanks to radio intelligence, American leaders, far from knowing that peace was at hand, understood--as one analytical piece in the "Magic" Far East Summary stated in July 1945, after a review of both the military and diplomatic intercepts--that "until the Japanese leaders realize that an invasion can not be repelled, there is little likelihood that they will accept any peace terms satisfactory to the Allies." This cannot be improved upon as a succinct and accurate summary of the military and diplomatic realities of the summer of 1945.

At university my professor philosophy told us that not the holocaust, but the dropping of the bomb was the biggest war crime of the second world war, maybe even of the century. I already thought then that he was a crank. Now i know for sure. Frank also notes that with each month that the war continued between a quarter million and 400.000 ASIANS died. If Frank’s view is right then dropping the bomb saved not only many American lives, but also hundreds of thousands lives of citizens of victim countries in Asia. An eye-opener. Read the whole thing.

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