History

Start of the Show, Hiroshima

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Sixty-five years ago today, the Enola Gay dropped an atomic bomb on the city of Hiroshima. About a decade later, NBC marked the occasion by having a survivor of the bombing on This Is Your Life, a program that would surprise its guests by reviewing the events of their lives and reuniting them with important figures from their past. Including, in this case, one of the pilots who dropped the bomb.

Yes. Really. Today CONELRAD has posted an account of the episode and the events that led to it, including some footage from the show. I recommend reading the whole thing, though not all in one sitting; you might occasionally want to get up to scream "holy fuck" or "what the fuck?" or "fuck on a fuckity fucking stick" while beating your head against the wall.

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  1. I had heard this before. I thought it was an urban legend.

    I know the whole thread will be a pro/con on dropping the bomb, but this is amazingly sickening.

    1. I know the whole thread will be a pro/con on dropping the bomb

      I figured the whole thread would be on bashing sites that still put white text on black backgrounds…

      1. Urkobold’s not that hard to read.

        1. His Trollishness cares not for readability.

      2. sites that still put white text on black backgrounds…

        If everyone stops, the Communications Decency Act might come back.

        1. the Communications Decency Act might come back.

          Back in Black?

      3. That’s just straight up racist.

        1. Please keep making this joke. It’s both funny and insightful.

          1. I agree. That’s just straight up racist.

  2. “fuck on a fuckity fucking stick” while beating your head against the wall.

    And vomiting. What the hell is wrong with NBC? “‘This is your life’ and now we’re gonna make it worse by pouring salt in your open wounds for everyone to watch.

    1. Salt is also used for healing. Discuss.

      1. Good point. Maybe the pain of having your city destroyed and losing all your loved ones will go away if all of America gets to watch you meet the pilot who dropped the bomb on your town.

        1. USA! USA! USA!

          But seriously, TV is worse now, not better. Have you seen what Maury Povich does for a living? Have you heard of The Jersey Shore? It probably seemed like a good idea at the time to reunite an airman (who was doing his duty, by the way) with a defeated former enemy, but I doubt the intention was humiliation. Today, self-abasement and narcissism is the norm, and people watch it. For entertainment.

          1. Your probably right. But I don’t watch any TV really, except sports. Watching my AZ Cardinals, PHX Suns and ASU Sun Devils lose every year is all the self abasement and drama I need from TV. That and watching our political class run this country through the sewer. Who needs Maury Povich and Balls on Chin boy?

            1. Forgot about cartoons and other comedy.

              1. And “cooking” shows, wherein pierced freaks, tattooed lesbians, militant dwarfs and others “compete” to become the “Top” whatever, all the while doing humiliating things to themselves and their opponents to a forboding soundtrack.

                1. Fuck you, Top Chef is awesome. Don’t you dare put it next to those other “reality” shows.

                  1. Heller, pack your commentary and go home.

          2. I’m 1000% sure that’s not my baby!

            1. This is the 3rd man she tests to see if he’s the father of her child!

              [Man, what a bunch on unrepentant whores!]

              1. Well Maury, I’m one million % sure its his baby this time.

        2. What do you think, they’d take it personally? It’s not as if he had anything against any of those individuals.

          1. Obviously NBC thinks there would be some kind of emotional controversy to exploit or they wouldn’t do it.

  3. I know the whole thread will be a pro/con on dropping the bomb

    The real villains of the piece are the imagined viewing audience of dipshit ’50s Jesuslanders who think Japanese women all wear kimonos all the time.

    You know the ones. From TV.

    NEVER FORGET

      1. ?’s comments haven’t been very coherent lately, but I think he’s claiming that the CONELRAD essay’s secret purpose was to mock the show’s audience.

  4. On paper, the idea of a Hiroshima survivor meeting one of the Enola Gay crew for the purposes of reconciliation is kind of poignant.

    The way it actually went down was crass, manipulative, and disgusting.

    1. Just like the freed innocent man who was reunited with his lying rape accuser on TV, and the host asked them to hug. Blechh

      1. My take – Television has been exploiting tragedy for profits regardless of the pain inflicted since its inception.

        1. Take the Today Show. Please.

      2. Believe it or not (I know, it sounds like a TV show), I lived across the street from the “freed innocent man”, and dated his sister, briefly. Gary Datson is his name. His accuser recanted her rape charge after he had already spent about 12 years in prison. Weird world.

        1. It’s nice to know that she probably never served any time herself or had to pay any settlement for that ‘mistake’.

          1. But she cried on the Today show, and Katie Couric was all bubbly and cute. That has to count for something.

    2. I can’t find any citation, but it is my undersatanding that there have be several notable one on one reconcilations between old enemies from both theaters of WWII.

      But, I’m fairly sure they were private and personal and with none of the “ambush drama” that seems present in so much TV.

      I’m not sure, but I seem to recall hearing that there’s a annual meetup between American and Japanese veterans of the Pearl harbor attack at the Arizona Memorial. Probably fewer and fewer attending these days if there is, I suppose. Those old geezers are dropping like flies.

      1. Veterans of the Union and Confederate armies sometimes held joint reunions. And I think I’ve read that the same was true of European soldiers who fought on opposing sides in World War I.

        1. You libertarians, you always have to bring marijuana into everything!

          Ohhh, not those kind of “joint” reunions. Sorry.

        2. When the Anzac soldiers returned to Gallipoli in 1934, they were greeted by Ataturk, no less, who made a speech to them:

          “Those heroes that shed their blood And lost their lives. You are now lying in the soil of a friendly country. Therefore rest in peace. There is no difference between the Johnnies And the Mehmets to us where they lie side by side Here in this country of ours. You, the mothers, Who sent their sons from far away countries Wipe away your tears, Your sons are now lying in our bosom And are in peace After having lost their lives on this land they have Become our sons as well.”

          1. Ataturk was an exceptional chap though.

        3. Of course. It’s not personal. Those people wouldn’t do such things off the job. It’s been traditional for enemy camps to honor each other both before & after battle, and to dishonor those who were judged to have given up too easily.

      2. I saw one where Vietnam vets traveled to Vietnam and talked to old NVA soldiers. The American soldiers did a lot of crying PTSD-ey stuff, and the NVA guys smoked cigarettes, smiled and said “it’s an even that is in the past, we should move on.”

        1. I me and my platoon ever get to meet the Iraqis we fought, I sure don’t want it to be on TV.

        2. Well sure, the NVA knew what they were fighting for and more importantly THEY WON!

    3. Just like the old show Queen for a Day.

  5. This morning, on Morning Joe, someone pointed out that 65 years ago we dropped the A-bomb on Japan because they were our mortal enemies and now today, we’re driving Subarus an Priouses. They were drawing an analogy to our current relationship with Iran, noting that unlike 2010 Iran, 1945 Japan wasn’t the least bit Westernized. I hope we do eventually reconcile with Iran. Iranian women are hot, hot, hot!

    1. Today we drive Japanese cars. Tomorrow let us drive Iranian women.

    2. Except that Japan *had* been Westernizing in many ways for the past 35-40 years. Akira Kurosawa’s films, for example, are extremely “Western” partially because of the cultural transition he had grown up in pre-WW2.

      1. My dad just married a Persian woman. My new cousins are fucking HOTT. They are pretty damn smart too.

        1. I know two men who were married to them. They come with a lot of baggage. They can be pretty crazy and possessive. Like cut your nuts off as you sleep possessive.

          1. Hmm, we’ll see. My new step mom seems pretty awesome, and she makes good money on her own, so she’s not gold digger. And Persian food is delicious too.

            1. Can I come to your house for Thanksgiving and flirt with your cousins and eat your step moms wonderful food.

              1. Sure. They are really fun and really smart, but they are kinda prudish. So good luck.

                1. The ones who are prudes in public are usually the ones who really love to fuuuuuuck.

                  1. This thread has become really creepy.

          2. Re: John,

            I know two men who were married to them. They come with a lot of baggage. They can be pretty crazy and possessive. Like cut your nuts off as you sleep possessive.

            Shit, man – you described like 90% of all women. Even lesbians are like that.

            1. Yeah. I really can’t argue with that.

          3. I thought we were talking about Persian women not Italian women.

        2. Once friend described being married to his ex wife as like owning some insanely fast car that only a formula one driver could have any hope of driving safely. It was real fun until it ran you into a wall.

          1. Funny, I made the exact same analogy recently regarding a girl I knew in college.

            I took that one into a wall, and then got to try driving it again. At which point I took it off a cliff. Toonces, look out indeed.

          2. That friend was George Jones:

            “She was hotter than a 2 dollar pistol
            She was the fastest thing around,
            Built for fun, hard to handle son,
            Turned every head in town
            I’m glad that you dropped in
            She reminds me of the one I loved back then

            Then I handed him my keys and said, here take her for a spin
            The old man scratched his head, then he looked at me and grinned
            He said son you just don’t understand it ain’t the car I want
            It’s the brunette in your ‘vette that turns me on

        3. First, a federal judge says gay marriage is constitutional, and now someone wants to bang his hot Persian cousins.

          Rick Santorum warned us all!!

          1. We’re not blood related, so its OK…. right?

            1. Check your state laws. Unless you’re in West Virginia, where it’s probably mandatory to bang them.

            2. In the eyes of the law, only in WV.

        4. Re: AA,

          My new cousins are fucking HOT

          Persia was for many centuries the pathway for many civilizations. You can see that in the people – they were certainly not affraid of immigrants…

          And yes, the women are hot.

          1. Hybrid vigor.

          2. Ya. She said that ethnic Persians actually hate Arabs because they took over the country centuries ago and forced Islam on them. They also hate Amadinjawhatever. My step mom converted to Christianity, but the rest of the family still practices a very Liberal form of Islam. I didn’t think it was possible, but Persians in general are much more open and Liberal than Arabs. So I can see how what you said makes sense.

            1. My lab is full of Turks, and not a one of them gives a fuck about Islam. They don’t even observe Ramadan, but they won’t eat pork. So I guess a liberal interpretation of Islam is possible.

              1. “So I guess a liberal interpretation of Islam is possible.”

                Too bad its not common.

            2. They should return to Zoroastrianism.

              1. They actually still follow that. My step mom has that bird-man emblem on a necklace she wears everywhere.

              2. “They should return to Zoroastrianism”

                A dear dear family friend from Iran is Zoroastrian. The only one I’ve ever met.

              3. My wife took an ESL class with a bunch Zoroastrians (I think that’s what they’re called) from Iran. They were the craziest foreign SOBs I’ve ever met. If you enjoy crazy parties you only need to invite 3 or 4 of them to ensure a good time

                1. I was friends with a Zoroastrian and his Sikh roommate my senior year in college. They were both Indian. Most of the world’s Zoroastrians are in India now.

    3. They were drawing an analogy to our current relationship with Iran

      So a couple of nukes will straighten them right out? Did they give any targeting suggestions?

    4. Japanese women aren’t bad either.

      1. They could do with a dental program though.

        1. And some crotch-hair razors.

        2. I’ve always wondered why a country as advanced as Japan doesn’t have better dental care. You’d think they would all have perfect teeth.

          1. You’d think it’d be braces and bleached anuses all round but no.

          2. Because for some reason over there is is insanely expensive. Don’t know why, though. Not having perfect teeth disqualifies you from so many jobs in Japan.

      2. Stop using my name!

    5. That fact that MSNBC doesn’t know Japan by World War Two was more Westernized than Iran has ever been doesn’t surprise me. They employ Olbermann, after all.

    6. Iranian women are hot, hot, hot!

      Once they’ve been exfoliated, sure.

  6. Wait wait wait… “This Is Your Life” wasn’t just a running Sesame Street set-up?! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7f-rlvnlkA8

  7. This just goes to show you that Hollywood has always been craven and awful. Sometimes I look at TV shows like Jersey Shore or Survivor and think the country has fallen apart. Then I see things like this and realize people in the entertainment industry have always been reptilian.

    1. “Sometimes I look at TV shows like Jersey Shore or Survivor…”

      There’s your problem, right there.

  8. It would have made for even better horrible TV if they had gotten the pilot of the Enola Gay instead of the co-pilot. If I remember correctly, Paul Tibbets publicly stated that he was proud of flying the mission until the day he died.

    1. He was doing his duty, helping to defeat a vicious enemy. In the real world, civilians die in war. The majority were killed by conventional bombs, of course.

      1. Fine. His co-pilot publicly fell apart over it, though.

        1. Yeah, one of the columnists at my paper interviewed Tibbets many times over the years. Tibbets said he never lost a wink of sleep over it.

          1. The bombing…not the interviews.

            1. The interviews, on the other hand – gave him night terrors?

          2. “Tibbets said he never lost a wink of sleep over it.”

            And there’s no reason why he should have.

      2. Re: –

        In the real world, civilians die are murdered in war.

        Let’s not downplay it too much. People do not simply die in war, as if by accident. Agree?

        1. I would go with “are killed” instead of “are murdered”. “die” is a little passive voice.

          1. If my next door neighbor comes into my home and stops blasting everyone in sight, and I grab a rifle and start shooting back, am I really guilty of murder if a stray round or two goes through on of the window on his house, taking out one of his kids?

            1. “stops blasting everyone” should be starts blasting everyone

            2. taking out one of his kids the guys loading ammo for him

              FTFY

            3. If he’s hiding in his house, and you throw molotov cocktails in his windows and kill his whole family, you’re guilty of murder. Unless you’re an ATF or FBI agent, of course.

            4. No but if you then go to his house after shooting him and through a grenade in his children’s bedroom then you are. (or you’re a SWAT officer in a justifiable shooting).

            5. It depends on your state, actually – and I mean geographically, not your mental state.

              Your hypothetical is an example of the doctrine of transferred intent. And how it works can vary by state.

            6. Re: The Gobbler,

              If my next door neighbor comes into my home and stops blasting everyone in sight, and I grab a rifle and start shooting back, am I really guilty of murder if a stray round or two goes through on of the window on his house, taking out one of his kids?

              If his kids were 3000 miles away, you WOULD BE a murderer.

            7. Murder requires intent so no, but you might be charged with manslaughter if they think you showed reckless disregard.

        2. People do not simply die in war, as if by accident. Agree?

          No. Intentional “murder” during wartime is a strictly defined crime. Having a dumb bomb fall on your house from 30,000 feet really sucks, but it’s hardly murder.

    2. Or maybe to bombadier.

      1. I was here first

  9. I RESEMBLE THAT REMARK!

  10. Maybe it’s just me, but I didn’t think it was all that bad. A hand shake, public guilt, implied apology, national conversation provoking.

    Whatever, I guess I’m a dick.

  11. Would’ve mad better TV if they’d introduced one of the bombers from Pearl Harbor to the Enola Gay co-pilot.

      1. I’m uncertain that any of the Pearl Harbor bombers survived the war. By the end of the war Japan’s pilot corps was pretty much destroyed.

        1. Re: J sub D,

          I’m uncertain that any of the Pearl Harbor bombers survived the war.

          A few did:

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minoru_Genda

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mitsuo_Fuchida

  12. I pretty certain there’s an episode where they do the life of an old black patriarch, and they bring out the even older southern white woman thet he used to butler for. If I recall correctly she says something to the effect of “he used to do a little dance for me.”

  13. Sixty-five years ago today, the Enola Gay dropped an atomic bomb on United States murdered around 80,000 innocents in the city of Hiroshima.

    There. More accurate.

    Utilitarian (i.e. immoral) justifications are welcome from now on. Thanks!

    1. Im pretty sure you know my take on utilitarianism, and I dont have a problem with nuking Hiroshima.

      Dont want to be nuked? Dont support a government that bombs Pearl Harbor.

      1. Agreed, Robc. The nukes were dropped mainly to bring the war to an end though, retribution was just a desirable side effect.

        It’s too bad about the civilians who were killed, but that’s karma for you, always bringing justice and ugliness into balance.

        1. “a desirable side effect”

          What the fuck is wrong with you?

          1. Re: Law Student,

            He probably meant an undesirable side effect . . . which does not make it any less creepy and stomach-turning.

      2. It is probably safe to assume that at least some of the people who got nuked did not support their government.

        Everything that happens in war is horrible and immoral. But sometimes it may be necessary. That is as close as I can get to morally justifying war.

      3. Dont want to be nuked? Dont support a government that bombs Pearl Harbor.

        The Japanese get to vote for Emperor? Who woulda thunk it?

        1. Not to mention the children who were killed or mutilated. They’re totally responsible for the actions of a military dictatorship and stooge emperor.

          1. The other option was to invade Japan, with expected casualties of several hundred thousand Japanese and about 100,000 US. They made the right choice.

            1. Re: Wayne,

              The other option was to invade Japan, with expected casualties of several hundred thousand Japanese and about 100,000 US.

              The other other option would have been to simply blockade Japan, which is an ISLAND. No need to invade anything.

              And another more intelligent option was to NOT ASK FOR UNCONDITIONAL SURRENDER. Who the fuck did Truman think he was, Tamerlane?

              1. Too bad you weren’t there at the time to set our strategy and tactics.

              2. OM, what concessions would you have made to the emperor?

              3. The other other option would have been to simply blockade Japan, which is an ISLAND. No need to invade anything.

                And another more intelligent option was to NOT ASK FOR UNCONDITIONAL SURRENDER. Who the fuck did Truman think he was, Tamerlane?

                Lets do it all again next year!

                Arf. The world’s greatest laptop bombardier is here everyone.

              4. Can you even comprehend the logistics and expense required to blockade an island the size of Japan?

              5. Blockade Japan? Are you familiar with how strong their navy was at the time?

                1. Actually, by this time it was pretty much kaput. We wiped out most of their Navy at Midway.

              6. OM, between 4000 and 8000 people were dying PER DAY due to the war in July 1945. How long would your blockade have had to go on before more people would have died to conventional warfare and privation than were killed by the bombs? About three months under the most liberal estimates of bomb-related deaths and the most conservative estimatates of conventional deaths. There was precisely zero chance Japan would have surrendured by November, so the bombs saved lives.

                And don’t cry “But, but, but the SOVIETS!!”. The Soviets invaded *because* of the bomb, which they were told about several weeks prior at Potsdam.

                The fact is that a blockade would have gone well into the winter of ’46, resulting in likely a million or more deaths due to conventional warfare and starvation. Eventually Japan would have surrendered, and probably would have wound up a hermit kingdom something like today’s North Korea.

                You know what, the bombs were a much better fate.

                1. Wait, is this our Chad? Every now and then he shocks me with common sense (i.e. by agreeing with me).

                  1. You have to understand, Papaya, that I am a professional troll. On liberal sites, they all think I am a raving right-wing lunatic. I tend not to post when I agree with the site’s CW.

                    I probably agree with you guys in full 15% of the time, and in large part another 20% of the time.

                    1. So what’s the pay for professional trolls? I could use some extra income, and could be good at it if the price was right.

              7. Simply blockade Japan? Why? Because killing by slow starvation is SO much nicer?

                Shit, look at stuff like Grave of the Fireflies or Barefoot Gen. Starvation was common enough after the war without stretching it out further.

                People sometimes ignore the death that comes from bombing because it happens from far away, but that’s no reason to do the same thing with starvation.

              8. I belief unconditional surrender was a position insisted upon by Stalin.

        2. No, but there is little doubt the Japanese supporter the emperor, he was a God, after all.

          1. Re: wayne,

            No, but there is little doubt the Japanese supporter the emperor, he was a God, after all.

            And for that they deserved to die?

            What’s wrong with you?

            1. Only a very few deserved to die, most were collateral damage. It was a price worth extracting, given the circumstances. You weren’t there and neither was I. Talk to the GIs who were there, though, and most were quite accepting of the decision.

              Looking at the history of the war in the Pacific, I am also content with the decision.

              The Japanese started the whole thing. If you start a fist fight and get your ass kicked, you have no right to whine about it.

              1. Your argument is different than robc’s. There is a difference between “It was a price worth extracting, given the circumstances. ” and Y’all had it coming!

          2. Not for long after the war was over, once the dirty laundry came out. The majority, I think, thought he should be deposed and put on trial for war crimes.

      4. Re: robc,

        Dont want to be nuked? Dont support a government that bombs Pearl Harbor.

        That was the argument forwarded by the people that shoved two planes into two buildings. robc. That argument does NOT justify THEM, it certainly does not justify Truman.

        1. Though I’m not trying to put words in robc’s mouth, one can certainly believe that the other side is “justified” yet still favor fighting a war against them.

          My grandfather was on the Bataan Death March and was a POW mining coal outside Fukuoka for years. He was always VERY clear that he didn’t blame the Japanese for it, that it was war.

      5. Dont want to be nuked? Dont support a government that bombs Pearl Harbor.

        Right. Because all governments are unanimously supported by all of their citizens.

    2. World War 2 was a total war and practiced as such by all sides involved.

      1. They did it too!

        1. I think the argument is “they would have done it too had they had the capability and technology.” That doesn’t justify our own actions, but it does keep it in perspective.

    3. Sorry Old Mexican, I’m usually with you around here, but Hiroshima and Nagasaki were both legitimate military targets.

    4. I’m quite happy we nuked Japan. I wouldn’t be here if we hadn’t: My dad was navigator on a B-24F, and he would not have survived an invasion of the Japanese main islands.

      Oh and if you’re going for accuracy you forgot to mention the tens of thousands dead at Nagasaki. I guess in your eyes they don’t count. Please tell me more about your moral calculus.

  14. In some ways, reality television is a step up from This Is Your Life.

    But, i’m kind of touched that just ten years after the war, ordinary Americans sent $55K to provide surgery for the former enemy. That’s a long way from “round up every slant eye and intern them” attitude just ten years before.

    1. FDR and Earl Warren weren’t “ordinary Americans”.

  15. I’ll be sure to ask my father-in-law (Marine, Pacific theater, 1943-45) whether he regards the use of the atomic bomb as murder.

    1. He will probably give the same answer my wife’s grandfather who survived being in the infantry in Europe and was saved from storming beaches in Japan by us dropping the bomb.

      Shockingly, he seems to kind of be a fan of the decision.

      1. My grandfather (rear and side gunner on bombers in the pacific) was quite happy to go home early.

    2. I think that the question of whether it was good for American soldiers (and indeed the US and perhaps the world in general) and whether it was a moral thing for the US government to do are separate questions. The fact that your father-in-law approved does not settle the question of whether or not it is murder to kill innocent civilians in war.

      I honestly don’t have a settled view on the matter.

      1. It’s one of those cases where the end arguably justifies the means, but the means are still questionable enough that one can support the need for a critical action to end the war fast while opposing the location, the manner in which it was handled and much of the aftermath.

        Another interesting moral question: the atomic bomb pretty much broke Japan’s appetite for war and is now amongst the most pacifistic nations in the world. Who can say how many Japanese were saved from their hesitancy to involve themselves in any future wars?

        We can’t live history twice. If we knew all the outcomes of our decisions and the cost-benefit analysis ahead of time, perhaps there would be better decision making. In the fog of war, it is difficult to have anything close to such clarity.

        Moreover, what Americans miss is that many in the emperor’s cabinet still wanted to fight even after Nagasaki. Had the attempted coup worked, perhaps such military leaders could have pushed the people into fighting to the death if necessary to get revenge for the murder of innocents. So the invasion might have happened anyway. It was a huge gamble, and luckily for us (and, arguably, for the Japanese people as a whole – who stopped getting killed when the war ended) it paid off.

    3. It was murder just as the German bombing of London during the Blitz was murder, the firebombing of Tokyo (which killed more people than the atomic bomb) was murder, just like the Dresden bombing was murder, just like an assload of strategic bombing in wwii in general was murder.

      My father dropped bombs on ball-bearing factories in Munster, Germany. Did he hit any civilians? I don’t know, but he probably did.

      1. Re: Paul,

        My father dropped bombs on ball-bearing factories in Munster, Germany. Did he hit any civilians? I don’t know, but he probably did.

        At least he knew he wasn’t targeting civilians, he was only going to blow up a factory.

        It is quite different than planning to murder innocents. Sir Arthur Harris and LeMay were no better than Goering.

        1. “At least he knew he wasn’t targeting civilians, he was only going to blow up a factory.”

          OM, that is just a dumb thing to say. Who do you think was working in the factory? He most certainly DID know he was targeting civilians.

        2. At least he knew he wasn’t targeting civilians, he was only going to blow up a factory.

          Come on, OM. You are not even trying.

          First of all, civilians worked in the factories, most likely day and night since there was a war on.

          Secondly, bombs weren’t very accurate, especially at night. IIRC, bombs back then usually landed with a mile of their intended target rather than mere yards as they do today.

          With all of those stray bombs landing about, I’m sure there were quite a few civilian casualties.

        3. It wasn’t uniformed, helmeted, be-weaponed soldiers working in the factories. Those were too busy shooting my father down. The factories were operated by civilians. And secondly, even if you discounted the civilian workers, working IN the factories at the time of a bombing, civilian housing was often near to, or integrated with the industrial areas.

          Sir Arthur Harris and LeMay were no better than Goering.

          I take exception to that.

          LeMay definitely had his moments of insanity, especially post WWII during the cold war where he was ordering missile “tests” which were near naked attempts to provoke the USSR into retaliation, but he was, in the end, Patton-esque. A soldier that probably should have been kept on a shorter leash.

          But Goering was not just a soldier, he was an entirely political animal. He was a Nazi in the purest sense.

          To summarize, I believe that there is a fine line when specifically targeting civilians in a situation where two countries are at “total war”.

          While that doesn’t excuse specific acts in WWII by theater commanders, creating a granular definition of “murder” during total war is very difficult to do.

        4. It is quite different than planning to murder innocents.

          What the fuck is your “just blockade Japan” plan other than planning to starve out innocents?

        5. Sir Arthur Harris and LeMay were no better than Goering.

          What the fuck is wrong with you? Please let us know exactly which program to round up and exterminate Americans both of those men supported?

          Oh, and you might want to check out Bill Whittle’s post about the Atomic bombings.

  16. Does anybody remember the SNL skit where an american indian had to go on a game show to win back the important historical artifacts of his people?

    This is sadly very much like that.

    1. Announcer: Andrew Jackson, you may remember this man behind the curtain.

      Voice behind curtain: You marched me off my prosperous farm in North Carolina into worthless desert in Oklahoma, and I watched my wife and children drop dead from the rigors of the trail.

      Announcer: Meet, a Cherokee Trail of Tears survivor!

      Cherokee: Let me add, die in a fire, Great White Chief.

      Annoncer: Our sponsor has given him a brand new elecrolux vaccumn cleaner!

      1. Announcer: Little wolf, you have never met the man behind the curtain, but he ate your great grandfather.

        Voice behind the curtain: Ummmm, tasty but a little lean for my taste.

        Announcer: meet, the last surviving Anastasi cannibal.

        Little Wolf: Here, let me dab that grease off your chin, you filthy cannibal.

        Announcer: Our sponsor has given him a deep fat fryer! Applause from the audience

  17. Always an admirer of the mag, I had never checked out the online version until I stumbled onto this. I have to say it’s a model for commentary — strong opinions but good humor.

    On the merits, I still think Truman should have dropped the bomb in Tokyo Bay, or turned Mt. Fuji into Italian ice. They would have taken the message and surrendered without the awful casualties.

    And by the way, what we did to German civilians with conventional bombs clearly was a war crime as well. Women and babies dead, by the tens of thousands.

    1. I have to say it’s a model for commentary — strong opinions but good humor.

      Yeah, it’s clear you haven’t been here long.

      Stick around awhile and then give us your assessment…

    2. Hello Shit Facktory!

    3. And by the way, what we did to German civilians with conventional bombs clearly was a war crime as well. Women and babies dead, by the tens of thousands.

      We would have a word…

    4. “…what we did to German civilians with conventional bombs clearly was a war crime as well. Women and babies dead, by the tens of thousands…”

      We are just despicable human beings. We should have just surrendered and avoided all the bloodshed.

    5. Come on, people. War is a crime. Sometimes you have to do it, but it is never good or honorable in any way. Was the bombing of civilian targets necessary to win the war? I don’t know and neither does anyone else. But there is a case to be made that it was not. And if that is the case, it is not too much of a stretch to call it murder.

      1. War is dumb, and often leads to crimes, but war itself is not a crime, at least not for the victors.

    6. Truman should have ordered the bomb dropped on the Emperor’s palace.

    7. The U.S. had only two bombs at the time. They couldn’t afford to waste one on a demonstration.

      1. Interestingly, it’s quite possible that the japs didn’t think the US could bomb them a second time as they knew that the hiroshima bomb was a Uranium device and deduced that the US wouldn’t have been able to produce a 2nd Uranium device in that time frame.

        1. The first bomb (“Little Boy”) was uranium 235; the second (“Fat Man”) was plutonium.

          1. Yes, I said that.

            They did not know that the US had a plutonium production reactor though. Hence the belief that the US could not produce a second bomb in that time frame.

            1. D’Oh!

              1. KABOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM!

    8. I use to be a staunch defender of the bombing but my opinion has tempered somewhat over the last few years.

      That said, one of the best ‘defenses’ of its use came from a Japanese soldier (I think it was on some documentary I saw on the History Channel) He said (I’m paraphrasing), if the Germans, Russians, or Japanese had the bomb, they would have used it… and all of them were working on it at the time.

      Of course multiple wrongs don’t make a right, but we as Americans (and numerous other countries for that matter) should consider ourselves damn lucky the war ended before the Krauts or Japs got ahold of the bomb.

      1. MNG:

        In hindsight, there are few plausible alternative histories where fewer people would have died, and fewer still that result in Japan rapidly becoming a peaceful, productive nation.

        We had every right to do what we did, and in the end, things would up as good as one could have hoped.

        1. We had every right to do what we did, and in the end, things would up as good as one could have hoped.

          Unless you or someone you loved was one of the tens of thousands vaporized or horribly burned or who died after suffering painfully for weeks from radiation poisoning.

          1. Verses millions in a blockade, or millions more in an invasion? Your moral calulus is perverted.

      2. Only somewhat true. The Manhattan Project was an incredibly huge undertaking, almost up there with the Apollo program. Nobody else had the resources to do it at the time.

        I highly recommend Manhattan Project: The Untold Story of the Making of the Atomic Bomb by Stephane Groueff for its account of the engineering challenges they faced. Most accounts focus on the physics, but the engineering aspects were awesome. E.g. invent a filter that takes radioactive and highly corrosive uranium hexafluoride gas and slightly enriches it, meaning what comes through the filter has a bit more U-235. Invent a pump that can push the gas through the filter. Build a giant factory of hundreds of pumps and miles of pipes to do this. Do all that in a matter of months.

        Another story: In the 1930s, a Belgian minerals dealer was told that some day uranium might be used to make a superbomb. He decided to ship large quantities of uranium ore from the Belgian Congo to the U.S. and store it on Long Island, and then moved to New York. Around 1943, the U.S. Army started searching for sources of uranium. They learned of the dealer and sent a few officers to visit him. After verifying their credentials, he said “I’ve been waiting for you” and turned over the ore. And so the first bombs were made from ore saved for them by a private citizen of a foreign country!

        One more: Copper was a valuable war material, so when they wanted to build giant electromagnets, they decided to use silver. The mint was happy to offer some: “How much do you need?” “About 10 tens.” (IIRC) “Sir, the mint measures silver in troy ounces!” And they built magnets so powerful that if you stood anywhere near them when they were on, you felt the nails in your shoes and your belt buckle pulled toward them.

    9. I disagree, Joe. We vaporized 150000 of them and they STILL barely surrendered. They would have not given up over a big splash and some melted snow. Even if you could have set up a sufficiently convincing demonstration, the process of doing so would have taken so long that more people would have died in the conventional warfare going on than died from the bombs.

      Estimates are that between 4000 and 8000 people were dying PER DAY in the war in the summer of 1945.

      1. Correct. There was even an abortive coup to prevent a surrender after the Nagasaki bombing.

        1. And as I said above, you know that the military leaders who led the attempted coup would have used the atomic bombs to motivate the Japanese citizenry to get revenge.

    10. I still think Truman should have dropped the bomb in Tokyo Bay, or turned Mt. Fuji into Italian ice.

      How much syrup would that have taken??!

      1. Truman was selling the sizzle, not the steak.

  18. At least they didn’t offer him oranges.

  19. HOLY SHIT….

    ENOLA GAY?!?!?!?!?!

    just kidding.

  20. War is gay.

  21. Wow, awful – the use of profanity on this blog. It’s just immature. I can’t take this publication seriously with that sort of language.

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