Defending the Bomb-1946

Karl T. Compton

 

 

Debate over the bomb started early after the War was won and the American troops who would quite likely have died in an invasion of the Home Islands safely demobilized and back home in the states.  I have recently come across a fascinating article which appeared in The Atlantic in 1946 defending the use of the atomic bomb.  The article was written by Karl T. Compton.  A prominent physicist and President of MIT, he had served on the committee that recommended use of the bomb.  He sums up the case in favor of the bomb as follows:

The evidence points to a combination of factors. (1) Some of the more informed and intelligent elements in Japanese official circles realized that they were fighting a losing battle and that complete destruction lay ahead if the war continued. These elements, however, were not powerful enough to sway the situation against the dominating Army organization, backed by the profiteering industrialists, the peasants, and the ignorant masses. (2) The atomic bomb introduced a dramatic new element into the situation, which strengthened the hands of those who sought peace and provided a face-saving argument for those who had hitherto advocated continued war. (3) When the second atomic bomb was dropped, it became clear that this was not an isolated weapon, but that there were others to follow. With dread prospect of a deluge of these terrible bombs and no possibility of preventing them, the argument for surrender was made convincing. This I believe to be the true picture of the effect of the atomic bomb in bringing the war to a sudden end, with Japan’s unconditional surrender.

If the atomic bomb had not been used, evidence like that I have cited points to the practical certainty that there would have been many more months of death and destruction on an enormous scale. Also the early timing of its use was fortunate for a reason which could not have been anticipated. If the invasion plans had proceeded as scheduled, October, 1945, would have seen Okinawa covered with airplanes and its harbors crowded with landing craft poised for the attack. The typhoon which struck Okinawa in that month would have wrecked the invasion plans with a military disaster comparable to Pearl Harbor.

These are some of the facts which lead those who know them, and especially those who had to base decisions on them, to feel that there is much delusion and wishful thinking among those after-the-event strategists who now deplore the use of the atomic bomb on the ground that its use was inhuman or that it was unnecessary because Japan was already beaten. And it was not one atomic bomb, or two, which brought surrender; it was the experience of what an atomic bomb will actually do to a community, plus the dread of many more, that was effective.
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Published in: on August 30, 2015 at 5:30 am  Comments (1)  
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Paint it Black

 

Something for the weekend.  Paint it Black by the Rolling Stones. (more…)

Published in: on August 29, 2015 at 5:30 am  Leave a Comment  
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Laughing at Evil

 

 

“They can’t make that (Blazing Saddles) movie today because everybody’s so politically correct. You know, the NAACP would stop a great movie that would do such a great service to black people because of the N-word,” says Brooks. “You’ve got to really examine these things and see what’s right and what’s wrong. Politically correct is absolutely wrong. Because it inhibits the freedom of thought. I’m so lucky that they weren’t so strong then and that the people that let things happen on the screen weren’t so powerful then. I was very lucky.”

Mel Brooks, 2014

(I originally posted this at The American Catholic, and I thought the culture mavens of Almost Chosen People might enjoy it)

To back up the words of Mr. Brooks:

Olney Theatre’s production of Mel Brooks’s 2001 musical The Producers only has three more performances, but it’s not going to close without a bit of manufactured controversy. Audience members at Montgomery County playhouse are going to have to walk past a small coterie protesting the show’s play-within-the-play, because, the demonstrators say, it makes light of Adolf Hitler and the atrocities committed by Nazi Germany.

“I understand the intent is satire,” says Jeffrey Imm, who is organizing the demonstration through his anti-discrimination group, Responsible for Equality And Liberty. “This is the point of morality: some things we have to recognize as absolute evil. When 6 million people are murdered, we don’t view it with knee-slapping, we view it with reverence.”

Go here to read the rest. Mr. Imm’s group is completely wrong-headed.  Too often Hitler, murderous little jumped up thug, is elevated into being some sort of grand demonic personification of evil.  This is precisely the wrong way to remember the psychopath and the movement he led.  Far better to make him into a clownish figure and condemn him throughout history with laughter and ridicule.  (more…)

MacArthur Takes Charge

MacArthur who was going to be responsible for ruling post war Japan during the occupation, lost no time in telling the Japanese precisely what they must do as he entered Japan to stage manage the formal surrender and take up his role as, in effect, the Yankee Shogun:

 

August 23, 1945

New York Times.

(1) Weather permitting, air-borne forces accompanying the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers will land at Atsugi Airdrome, in the vicinity of Tokyo, and naval and marine forces will land in the vicinity of Yokosuka Naval Base on Aug. 28, 1945. The instrument of surrender will be signed in the Tokyo area on Aug. 31.

(2) Requirements of the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers presented to Japanese representatives at Manila, Philippine Islands, Aug. 20, 1945:

Requirements for entry of the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers and his accompanying forces.

(1) The Japanese Imperial Government and Japanese Imperial General Headquarters will require execution of the following requirements effective 1800 hours [6 P.M.] Aug. 24, 1945:

(a) Japanese armed forces and civilian aviation authorities will insure that all Japanese military, naval and civil aircraft in Japan remain on ground, on water or aboard ship until further notification of disposition to be made of them.

(b) Japanese or Japanese-controlled military, naval or merchant vessels of all types in Japanese waters will be maintained without damage and will undertake no movement beyond voyages in progress pending instructions of the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers. Vessels at sea will immediately render harmless and throw overboard explosives of all types. Vessels not at sea will immediately remove explosives of all types to safe storage ashore.

(c) Merchant vessels under 100 gross tons engaged in civilian supply activities in Japanese waters are excepted from foregoing instructions. Vessels in Tokyo Bay engaged in evacuation of personnel from Yokosuka Naval Base are also excepted. (more…)

Published in: on August 26, 2015 at 5:30 am  Leave a Comment  
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World War II Pacific Theater: Day by Day

This video gives a good feel for the almost unbelievable scope of the Pacific War.  The distances were immense, the areas fought over often quite primitive, and the logistics were frequently nightmarish.  One of the main reasons why the Japanese were defeated was that they simply lacked the ability to supply the vast areas they initially conquered, with Allied sea and air power increasingly making such supply impossible as the War went on.

Published in: on August 26, 2015 at 5:30 am  Leave a Comment  
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August 25, 1945: Captain John Birch Murdered

John Birch

Sometimes regarded as the first casualty of the Cold War, Captain John Birch died seventy years ago.  Born in 1918 in India to American Baptist missionaries, he followed in his parents’ footsteps by becoming a missionary in China in 1940.  After the Doolittle Raid he helped rescue some of the raiders who landed in China.  He was commissioned a First Lieutenant, later promoted to Captain, in the Fourteenth Air Force.  General Chennault, legendary founder of the Flying Tigers, got him to accept the commission by telling him that he could still function as a missionary in his off hours.   He performed intelligence missions behind enemy lines for the Army Air Corps and the OSS.  While on these missions he would conduct services for Chinese Christians.  He was utterly fearless, despising both the Japanese and the Chinese Communists.  He built up an extensive network of Chinese who passed along information to him about Japanese troop movements and shipping that he passed on to Chennault for bombing attacks.

On August 25, 1945, as he was leading a group of Americans, National Chinese and Koreans to liberate Allied personnel in a Japanese POW camp, he was ordered by a party of Chinese Communists, who had intercepted his group, to surrender his revolver.   Birch refused and was murdered by the Communists.  He was posthumously awarded a Distinguished Service Medal.  Dead at age 27, he had led a short but eventful life. (more…)

Published in: on August 25, 2015 at 5:30 am  Leave a Comment  
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Japan’s Atom Bomb Program

 

Most Americans are unaware that during World War II Japan had two programs seeking to build an atomic bomb.

In 1939 Dr. Yoshio Nishina,  a Japanese nuclear physicist, recognized the potential of the then theoretical atomic bomb.  ( In 1934 Professor  Hikosaka Tadayoshi theorized about such a bomb.)  In 1940 he spoke with Lieutenant-General Takeo Yasuda, director of the Army Aeronautical Department’s Technical Research Institute, about the potential of an atomic bomb.  The Japanese Army began its program to develop an atomic bomb in April 1941.

Meantime, the Japanese Navy began its own program creating the Committee on Research in the Application of Nuclear Physics chaired by Dr. Nishina in 1942.  The Navy’s project ended in 1943 when the Committee reported that while such a bomb was feasible it predicted that it would be difficult for even the United States, with all its resources, to harness the power of the Atom in time to have an impact on the War.

However, the Navy dropping out had no effect on the Army’s program which continued on to the end of the War, hampered both by lack of materials and by ever heavier US bombing.  How far the Japanese got is open to speculation as the project was veiled in the deepest secrecy during the War, and most documents pertaining to it were destroyed by the Japanese prior to the Surrender. (more…)

Published in: on August 24, 2015 at 5:30 am  Leave a Comment  
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August 23, 1865: Lincoln, Argentina

argentina00010

 

Americans traveling through Argentina are sometimes surprised when they come across the town of Lincoln.  Founded in 1871, the name of the town was the result of a decree of the government of Argentina on August 23, 1865 which ordered that the employees of the government of Argentina observe three days of mourning for Lincoln and decreed that the next town founded be named in honor of Lincoln.  Domingo Faustino Sarmiento, President of Argentina from 1868-1874, was such an admirer of Lincoln, that he wrote the first biography of him in Spanish.

Published in: on August 23, 2015 at 5:30 am  Comments (1)  
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Just As I Am

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T1IjB7SDbPQ

 

Something for the weekend.  Johnny Cash singing Just As I Am.  Used as the altar call song in Billy Graham Crusades, it was written in 1835 by Charlotte Elliott.  It has a simple power about it as it relates a sinner coming before God for pardon:

Just as I am – without one plea,
But that Thy blood was shed for me,
And that Thou bidst me come to Thee,
-O Lamb of God, I come!

Just as I am – and waiting not
To rid my soul of one dark blot,
To Thee, whose blood can cleanse each spot,
-O Lamb of God, I come!

Just as I am – though toss’d about
With many a conflict, many a doubt,
Fightings and fears within, without,
-O Lamb of God, I come!

Just as I am – poor, wretched, blind;
Sight, riches, healing of the mind,
Yea, all I need, in Thee to find,
-O Lamb of God, I come!

Just as I am – Thou wilt receive,
Wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve;
Because Thy promise I believe,
-O Lamb of God, I come!

Just as I am – Thy love unknown
Has broken every barrier down;
Now to be Thine, yea, Thine alone,
-O Lamb of God, I come!

Just as I am – of that free love
The breadth, length, depth, and height to prove,
Here for a season, then above,
-O Lamb of God, I come! (more…)

Published in: on August 22, 2015 at 5:30 am  Leave a Comment  
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The Man in the High Castle

Also when they shall be afraid of that which is high, and fears shall be in the way, and the almond tree shall flourish, and the grasshopper shall be a burden, and desire shall fail: because man goeth to his long home, and the mourners go about the streets:

Ecclesiastes 12:5

 

The late Philip K. Dick, paranoid, left-leaning, mentally ill and drug abuser, was nevertheless a science fiction writer of pure genius.  His book The Man in the High Castle (1962) introduced me as a boy to the genre of alternate history, with his unforgettable evocation of a United States divided by the victorious Axis powers of Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan.  One of the main plot devices in the book is a novel The Grasshopper Lies Heavy which posits an alternate reality in which the Allies won World War II.  Like most of Dick’s work, the book suggests that the dividing line between alternate realities can be very thin. (more…)

Published in: on August 21, 2015 at 5:30 am  Leave a Comment  
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