On Planet Patriarchy, males dominate. Thus, our decisions and inventions impact all forms of life 24/7. This series of articles will explore some of the “creations” spawned by the hearts and minds of men. Previously, it was firebombing and depleted uranium weapons and dam busting and torture (part 1). For article #5, it’s nuking civilians.
The Greatest Generation in action
“It is an atomic bomb. It is the greatest thing in history.”
(President Harry S. Truman, August 6, 1945)
Sixty percent of Hiroshima, a city with a population of roughly 343,000, was annihilated by the “greatest thing in history” on Aug. 6, 1945. A Tokyo radio broadcast two days later described how “the impact of the bomb was so terrific that practically all living things, human and animal, were seared to death by the tremendous heat and pressure engendered by the blast.”
Tokyo radio went on to call Hiroshima a city with corpses “too numerous to be counted … literally seared to death.” It was impossible to “distinguish between men and women.” The Associated Press carried the first eyewitness account: a Japanese soldier who described the victims as “bloated and scorched -- their legs and bodies stripped of clothes and burned with a huge blister.”
Then there were the “ant-walking alligators.” This is what eyewitnesses called those who “had the misfortune” to survive the initial blast: “The skin had been seared from their skulls; leaving only a black, leathery substance without eyes or features. All that remained was a red hole where their mouths had once been. They staggered about the outskirts of Hiroshima, avoided by other survivors -- but the real horror was the sound they made.”
In his book, Last Train to Hiroshima, Charles Pellegrino wrote: “The alligator people did not scream. Their mouths could not form the sounds. The noise they made was worse than screaming. They uttered a continuous murmur -- like locusts on a midsummer night. One man, staggering on charred stumps of legs, was carrying a dead baby upside down.”
Three days later, barbaric men dropped the second bomb on Nagasaki -- an act that has never been convincingly explained. “Was it because this was a plutonium bomb whereas the Hiroshima bomb was a uranium bomb?” asked historian Howard Zinn. “Were the dead and irradiated of Nagasaki victim of a scientific experiment?”
The male leaders and heroes who devised and carried out America's nuclear “experiment” on Japanese civilians are generally considered to be part of this country’s "greatest generation" (of men) yet, by any accurate definition, what I just detailed is a particularly massive form of male pattern violence -- nuclear terrorism -- and versions of it continue to this day.
I could write pages graphically detailing the horrors of post-bombing Hiroshima and Nagasaki but let’s be clear: No matter how many nightmarish specifics I share, such sadism is not an anomaly. This is what men regularly do -- on many levels. And since we know our behavior is heinous and indefensible, there’s something else we regularly do: condition the masses via propaganda. Read on for a sampling…
“Unassailable proof that the race with the Nazis was a fiction”
Before confronting the unleashing of the bomb, there is a lesser-known myth that must be dealt with: the life-and-death race with German scientists. “Working at Los Alamos, New Mexico,” writes historian Kenneth C. Davis, “atomic scientists, many of them refugees from Hitler’s Europe, thought they were racing against Germans developing a ‘Nazi bomb.’”
Surely, if it were possible for the epitome of evil to produce such a weapon, it would be the responsibility of the good guys to beat der Führer to the plutonium punch. While such a desperate race makes for excellent melodrama, the German bomb effort, it appears, fell far short of success.
Thanks to the declassification of key documents, we now have access to “unassailable proof that the race with the Nazis was a fiction,” says Stewart Udall, who cites the work of McGeorge Bundy and Thomas Powers before adding: “According to the official history of the British Secret Intelligence Service (SIS), those agents maintained ‘contacts with scientists in neutral countries.’”
These contacts, by mid-1943, provided enough evidence to convince the SIS that the German bomb program simply did not exist.
Despite such findings, U.S. General Leslie Groves, macho military commander of the Manhattan Project, got permission in the fall of 1943 to begin a secret espionage mission known as Alsos (Greek for “grove,” get it?). The mission saw Groves’ men following the Allies’ armies throughout Europe with the goal of capturing male German scientists involved in the manufacture of atomic weapons.
While the data uncovered by Alsos only served to reinforce the prior reports that the Third Reich was not pursuing a nuclear program, Groves was able to maintain enough of a cover-up to keep his pet project alive. In the no-holds-barred patriarchal religion of anti-communism, the “Good War” enemy was never fascism. Truman’s daughter, Margaret, remarked about her dad’s early presidential efforts after the death of FDR in April 1945, “My father’s overriding concern in these first weeks was our policy towards Russia.”
“Saved millions of lives”
The most commonly evoked justification for the dropping of atomic bombs on Japan was to save lives, but was it true? Would such an invasion even have been necessary? Finally, were the actions of the United States motivated by an escalating Cold War with the Soviet Union? Here are the facts that don’t mesh with the long-accepted storyline:
Although hundreds of thousands of Japanese lives were lost in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the bombings are arrogantly explained away as a “life-saving” measure -- American lives. Exactly how many lives saved is, however, up for grabs. (We do know of a few U.S. soldiers who fell between the cracks About a dozen or more American POWs were killed in Hiroshima, a truth that remained hidden for some 30 years.)
In defense of the U.S. action, the male powers-that-be usually claim that the hypothetical body count of a U.S. invasion ranges from 20,000 to “millions.” In an Aug. 9, 1945, statement to “the men and women of the Manhattan Project,” President Truman declared the hope that “this new weapon will result in saving thousands of American lives.”
“The president’s initial formulation of ‘thousands,” however, was clearly not his final statement on the matter to say the least,” remarks historian Gar Alperovitz. In his book, The Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb and the Architecture of an American Myth, Alperovitz documents but a few of Truman’s public estimates throughout the years:
Fortunately, we are not operating without the benefit of official estimates.
In June 1945, Truman ordered the U.S. military to calculate the cost in American lives for a planned assault on Japan. Consequently, the Joint War Plans Committee prepared a report for the Chiefs of Staff, dated June 15, 1945, thus providing the closest thing anyone has to “accurate”: 40,000 U.S. soldiers killed, 150,000 wounded, and 3,500 missing.
While the actual casualty count remains unknowable, it was widely known at the time that Japan had been trying to surrender for months prior to the atomic bombing. A May 5, 1945, cable, intercepted and decoded by the United States, “dispelled any possible doubt that the Japanese were eager to sue for peace.” In fact, the U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey reported shortly after the war, that Japan “in all probability” would have surrendered before the much-discussed Nov. 1, 1945, Allied invasion of the homeland.
Truman himself eloquently noted in his diary that Stalin would “be in the Jap War on August 15th. Fini (sic) Japs when that comes about.”
The cold logic [sic] of patriarchal capitalism
Some post-Hiroshima/Nagasaki sentiments questioned the use of the bombs.
“I thought our country should avoid shocking world opinion by the use of a weapon whose employment was, I thought, no longer mandatory as a measure to save American lives,” said General Dwight D. Eisenhower while, not long after the Japanese surrender, New York Times military analyst Hanson Baldwin wrote, “The enemy, in a military sense, was in a hopeless strategic position ... Such then, was the situation when we wiped out Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Need we have done it? No one can, of course, be positive, but the answer is almost certainly negative.”
So, was it the cold logic of patriarchal capitalism that motivated the nuking of civilians?
As far back as May 1945, a Venezuelan diplomat was reporting how Assistant Secretary of State Nelson Rockefeller “communicated to us the anxiety of the United States government about the Russian attitude.”
U.S. Secretary of State James F. Byrnes seemed to agree when he turned the anxiety up a notch by explaining how “our possessing and demonstrating the bomb would make Russia more manageable in the East ... The demonstration of the bomb might impress Russia with America’s military might.”
General Leslie Groves was less cryptic: “There was never, from about two weeks from the time I took charge of this Project, any illusion on my part but that Russia was our enemy, and the Project was conducted on that basis.”
During the same time period, President Truman noted that Secretary of War Henry Stimson was “at least as much concerned with the role of the atomic bomb in the shaping of history as in its capacity to shorten the war.” What sort of shaping Stimson had in mind might be discerned from his Sept. 11, 1945, comment to the president: “I consider the problem of our satisfactory relations with Russia as not merely connected but as virtually dominated by the problem of the atomic bomb.”
Stimson called the bomb a “diplomatic weapon,” and duly explained that “American statesmen were eager for their country to browbeat the Russians with the bomb held rather ostentatiously on our hip.”
“The Butcher of Asia”
“From the very concept of strategic bombing, all the developments -- night, pattern, saturation, area, indiscriminate -- have led straight to Hiroshima, and Hiroshima was, and was intended to be, almost pure Schrecklichkeit [terror bombing].”
- Life magazine, summing up Allied bombing tactics (August 1945)
At 11 o’clock on the morning of Aug. 9, 1945, Prime Minister Kintaro Suzuki told the Japanese Cabinet that Japan’s “only alternative” was to accept the Allied peace terms and “terminate the war.”
Minutes later, the Home of the Brave Men™ dropped on the Japanese city of Nagasaki.
Afterwards, novelist Zora Neale Hurston, called Truman a “monster,” adding, “I can think of him as nothing else but the Butcher of Asia,” and even U.S. Admiral William D. Leahy characterized the atom bombs as “an inhuman weapon to use on a people that were already defeated and ready to surrender.”
If the Hiroshima bombing was pure Schrecklichkeit, who then could explain the purpose of bombing Nagasaki three days later? “The psychological effect on Stalin was twofold,” proposed Charles L. Mee, Jr. “The Americans had not only used a doomsday machine; they had used it when, as Stalin knew, it was not militarily necessary. It was this last chilling fact that doubtless made the greatest impression on the Russians.”
Name the problem
“Humanity had been forced to witness enormous destruction all through World War II,” declared Michael C.C. Adams, in The Best War Ever: America and World War II. “By 1945, the killing had reached such enormous proportions that the bombing of one more city did not have the aspect of moral horror that it might have now. In such a time of death, the unimaginable had become acceptable.”
Reminder: If it's imaginable by males, it’s acceptable and then normalized… so skip the self-serving talk of “moral horror.”
As uber-male Henry Kissinger reminds us: “With proper tactics, nuclear war need not be as destructive as it appears.”
Name the problem.
Mickey Z. is the founder of Helping Homeless Women - NYC, offering direct relief to women on the streets of New York City. To help him grow this project, CLICK HERE and make a donation right now. And please spread the word!
From the hearts and minds of men: Nuking civilians by Mickey Z. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at http://worldnewstrust.com/from-the-hearts-and-minds-of-men-nuking-civilians.