Why exactly did the president plan to apologize for Hiroshima and Nagasaki?
WikiLeaks recently released a secret cable revealing that President Obama tried to apologize to the Japanese for the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki during his tour to that country in 2009. He obviously didn’t think that bowing to the emperor would suffice to obtain forgiveness for the evil actions (in his mind) of the country that he now led. The apology never materialized because even the Japanese themselves blocked it. Indeed, Japan’s Vice Foreign Minister Mitoji Yabunaka imparted to U.S. Ambassador John Roos that “the idea of President Obama visiting Hiroshima to apologize for the atomic bombing during World War II is a ‘nonstarter’.” The Japanese feared the apology would be exploited by anti-nuclear groups and opponents of the U.S.-Japanese alliance.
That Obama sought to apologize to the Japanese for ending a brutal war that they started and for doing it in such a way that it saved millions of lives on both sides is a disturbing testament to the destructive mindset of the man that leads the United States. On this occasion, it would be important to reflect on the ingredients of the decision that led President Truman to drop the bomb on the two Japanese cities on August 6th and 9th of 1945.
By August 1945, the war with Japan showed signs of continuing indefinitely and the use of the atomic bombs was the only alternative left to President Truman and his officials. As American forces advanced closer to the Japanese mainland, the Japanese refusal to surrender did not diminish but increased. At that time, Japan possessed more than 2 million soldiers and 30 million citizens who were prepared to choose "death over dishonor." This reality had already been horrifically established by the kamikaze pilots and Japanese soldiers who fought at Iwo Jima.
The Japanese view of war was in sharp contrast to the American view: death in war was not something to be avoided, but to be enthusiastically embraced. The Shinto cult, for example, which taught an extremist philosophy of self-sacrifice, preached that suicide was glorious, while surrender was an unfathomable shame. It was at Saipan that even Japanese civilians committed suicide by jumping off cliffs rather than surrender. Thousands of Japanese soldiers were known for blowing themselves up by hand-grenades rather than surrender.
The Japanese leadership never disguised its contempt for the idea of surrender, repeatedly making known its readiness to fight to the last man, woman and child. The Japanese infamous slogan called for "the honorable death of a hundred million" -- the entire population. Allied intercepts of communications revealed that Japanese militarists were gunning for a bloody, till-the-death battle over the home islands. This explains why the Japanese military was hastily building up forces on the island of Kyushu, where, by 1945, there were 14 divisions and 735,000 troops ready to sacrifice their lives in battle.
Japan's negative response to the Allies' Potsdam Declaration left Truman with no choice. He knew, as General Marshall's reports confirmed, that at least a half million U.S. lives would be lost in an invasion of Japan. That was a conservative estimate, as the possibility existed that up to one million Allied casualties would be suffered. Meanwhile, it was estimated that potential Japanese casualties stood at two million. This also does not take into account the casualties that would have been incurred in defeating the 2.5 million Japanese on the occupied Asian mainland.
Truman and his advisers knew that America had just suffered 75,000 U.S. casualties at Iwo Jima and Okinawa. For nearly four years America had witnessed its soldiers and sailors being killed by the militant and fanatical Japanese military. Every day that Japan refused to surrender, the death toll on both sides rose, while Allied POWs in Japanese concentration camps were being tortured and executed.
Truman knew that if an American invasion was carried through, the 100,000 Allied POWs would die. He was aware of Tokyo’s order that, at the moment that the Americans invaded Japan's home islands, the POWs were to be tortured and executed. Many POWs had already been ordered to dig their own graves. Tens of thousands of Allied POWs had already died from beheadings, unimaginable torture and starvation.
The slaughter of civilian populations was not born in Hiroshima and Nagasaki; such was accepted military practice on all sides. Japan's rape of Nanking (1937-38) exceeded the casualties of Hiroshima and Nagasaki combined (approximately 200,000). The death factories of Manchuria, the Bataan death march, the forced prostitution of Korean women, the terror of the Kempai-Tai (the Japanese secret police), and its concentration camps across occupied Asia, all manifested the savage barbarity of the Japanese regime. Those are the crimes against humanity for which an apology is due – and for which we are still waiting. But let’s not hold our breath for Obama to demand one, or even to mention the tragic crimes for which one is due.
All in all, the bombing of the two Japanese cities was the quickest way to end the brutal war with the least amount of deaths on both sides. And it did just that. The greatest crime awaiting mankind at that terrible time was not the use of the atomic bomb, but the more horrifying reality that would have followed its non-use.
By planning to apologize for the U.S. bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Obama has shown that, if he were president at that time, he would have perpetrated the continuation of a barbaric war for years, which would have caused the loss of millions of more lives on both sides. But that is actually a positive scenario of Obama as president in WWII, for it is based on the assumption that Obama would have even supported an American victory; indeed, with Obama’s hope to apologize for the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki now before us, it appears that Obama may well have supported an American surrender to the Japanese.
To get the whole story on why leftists yearn for American defeat and regret American victory, read Jamie Glazov's book, United in Hate: The Left’s Romance With Tyranny and Terror.