Japan launches largest warship since World War II
By Brad Lendon, CNN
August 7, 2013 -- Updated 1043 GMT (1843 HKT)
“…Tuesday's launch also came on the 68th anniversary of the atomic bomb attack on Hiroshima.
Upwards of 60,000 people -- according to various estimates, about one-fifth of Hiroshima's population at the time -- were killed when a U.S. B-29 bomber dropped the bomb on August 6, 1945,
In remembrance ceremonies in Hiroshima on Tuesday, a list of 286,000 atomic bomb victims was presented,. In a speech, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called on the Japanese people to always remind the world about the consequences of nuclear war, NHK reported.”
I’m mildly surprised that Japan chose to launch a new warship on 6 August. Still, I am glad to see that Japan is bringing its defense forces forward in capability. We need their abilities as an ally in the Pacific.
Yesterday was the 68th anniversary of the Hiroshima bomb detonation. The nearly instantaneous removal of an entire city from the face of the earth was previously unimaginable. Now, we realize that those early nuclear bombs were the weak predecessors of the warheads and bombs available now.
There has been a long and contentious debate about the necessity of using the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs against a Japanese nation that was coming to grips with the realization of its military defeat. While the nationalistic rulers of Japan were aware that even a negotiated stalemate was not possible, the concept of unconditional surrender was not acceptable to those rulers. The reality of an allied attack upon the Japanese home islands would have most likely brought about a last ditch defensive effort resulting in huge numbers of killed and wounded both invaders and defenders.
Racism has been cited as a major factor in the decision to use nuclear weapons against Japan. The number of civilians killed and injured when Hiroshima and Nagasaki were targeted has always been pointed to as unjustified.
It must be recalled that every nation involved in WWII was involved in “total” war, with the industrial base of the major combatant nations competing to bring forward increasingly more deadly and horrifying tools of war. Remember also, that the wars of that era were won by eliminating the will of an enemy’s population to continue the war before the enemy could break the will of the home populace to continue. Civilians, if not the primary target in massive bombing campaigns, were certainly considered acceptable collateral damage.
The instant devastation of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was primarily notable because of the new nature of the weapon, its capacity to exceed all previous blast weaponry fielded by humans, and in its instantaneous obliteration of the target cities. The long-term elevation injurious fallout and contamination was not a major concern.
While the Japanese cities were incinerated, so too were Dresden, Hamburg, and other cities in the ETO. While the death toll from two bombs was previously unthinkable, so too were the death tolls in Europe. And Asia. Twenty million Soviets are believed to have died in the Great Patriotic War. Six million Jews were killed in assembly line fashion as well as in older and more barbaric ways. Britain was still recovering from the loss of a generation in WWI. So was Germany. We couldn’t kill people fast enough it seemed.
There was an ongoing race for nuclear weaponry the U.S. was fortunate in winning that race. Had it been available prior to Germany’s surrender I have no doubt that Truman would have used it against Germany. But the Manhattan Project did not produce sufficient fissile material to construct the initial test weapon until 16 July 1945.
The discussion and debate centered on the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs likely continue to rage back and forth with no clear decision. The debate’s half-life may be as long lasting as the bomb’ residuals.