72nd Anniversary Of Hiroshima’s Gratuitous Mass Murder

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Above Photo: Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum/U.S. Army via AP

War in the Pacific was won months before Franklin Roosevelt’s April 12, 1945 death.

He declined to accept the Japanese offer of surrender. So did Harry Truman when he became president.

War continued for months unnecessarily, countless more casualties inflicted, mainly Japanese civilians – notably from fire-bombing Toyko in March 1945, an estimated 100,000 perishing in the firestorm, many more injured, over a million left homeless.

Around the same time, five dozen other Japanese cities were fire-bombed. Most structures in the country were wooden and easily consumed.

The attacks amounting to war crimes achieved no strategic advantage. In early 1945, Japan offered to surrender. In February, Douglas McArthur sent Roosevelt a 40-page summary of its terms.

They were nearly unconditional. The Japanese would accept an occupation, would cease hostilities, surrender its arms, remove all troops from occupied territories, submit to criminal war trials, and allow its industries to be regulated. In return, they asked only that their emperor be retained in an honorable capacity.

Roosevelt spurned the offer as did Truman. Hiroshima and Nagasaki followed on August 6 and 9 respectively.

They were gratuitous acts of mass murder, killing hundreds of thousands, scaring future generations to this day with birth defects and other serious health issues.

The bombings weren’t conducted to win a war won months earlier. They displayed America’s new might, what Soviet Russia’s leadership already knew, what might follow against its cities if Washington decided to attack its wartime ally.

Terror-bombing is an international crime – banned by the 1907 Hague IV Convention, Geneva IV protecting civilians in time of war, and the Nuremberg principles, forbidding “crimes against peace, war crimes and crimes against humanity,” including “inhumane acts committed against any civilian population, before or during the war.”

Hiroshima’s 72nd anniversary is an ominous reminder that what happened then can occur again – far more disastrously than earlier, including on US soil.

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  • Robert H. Stiver

    An excellent commentary…and meaningful, if only “leaders” would reflect on it from historical, current, and future probable unintended-consequences contexts.

    Yesterday/7th, I attended a remembrance of the 1945 Hiroshima massacre at a microscopic Buddhist temple in Honolulu. Each of the 100-or-so attendees, including the Japanese Consul General and his wife, rang the on-site Hiroshima-City-donated-dedicated-in-1990 peace bell at the end of a moving ceremony…one of whose highlights was the opera-quality singing of Schubert’s Ave Maria by the Buddhist head priest of an area temple! (Honolulu and Hiroshima established a “sister city” relationship in 1959.)

  • lcotler

    Has anyone tried to get “into the head” of Roosevelt or Truman to understand REALLY why they refused to accept the Japanese offer of surrender? I mean, really!?


  • chetdude

    Don’t know about FDR but apparently Truman was sending a message to Uncle Joe Stalin, “Don’t f*ck with us! We own the next century!”

    Of course, like many others the message he really got was, “You had better get your own nukes or you’ll be seriously f*cked!”

    Dumb sh*t USAmericans…

  • Freedomwoman

    And we constantly ramble on and on about how Iran and North Korea better not go down the path of nuclear arms, when they are sovereign nations with as much right to arm themselves as we have. We are the ONLY rogue nation to use nuclear weapons, and did so against innocent civilians for no other purpose than to show our might.

  • Jon

    Imagine if such countries announced “sanctions” against the US government! What if dozens of others joined in?

  • Robert H. Stiver

    I read an e-mail headline this morning that Russia, Iran and China have decided to dump the dollar as central/dominating currency. Think I’ve heard that refrain before, but I believe the payback potential of such a “divestment” might be good for the world…I’m all for it.