Guilt for WWII atom bomb deaths belongs solely to Japan

Editor,

The recent letter, “We must admit guilt, end this nuclear madness,” is an incomplete recollection of history and the assignment of guilt is wrong.

Culpability for the decimation of Hiroshima and Nagasaki can be traced to Japan’s decision to attack the U.S. naval fleet at Pearl Harbor. Japan’s culpability started in 1937 with their invasions of China and Korea. From 1937-1945, Japan was responsible for 20 million civilian deaths in China. Japan used chemical and biological weapons on Chinese soldiers and civilians during this time. In Korea over 500,000 civilian deaths are attributed to Japan’s forced labor camps there. Deaths in Japanese POW Camps were 27 percent, whereas in German POW camps it was 4 percent. Japan was brutal everywhere it invaded, and cared little about the lives and welfare of those it conquered.

By July 1945, we were routinely bombing targets in Japan’s cities. There was no doubt Japan would eventually be defeated. However, Japan began training all of its citizens in warfare skills to defend the nation against the expected invasion by the U.S.

Japanese soldiers willingness to die for their war effort are well documented. The battle for Okinawa was the ultimate indication of their willingness to sacrifice themselves. In this three-month battle, 100,000 of their 115,000 soldiers died before they surrendered. Based upon this, we estimated a traditional invasion of Japan’s homeland would result in over 1 million Japanese deaths, plus those of our own soldiers.

Eleven days after Japan rejected Truman’s July 26 Potsdam Declaration for surrender, he chose to bomb Hiroshima. Japan estimates 140,000 people died from this bomb. Truman warned it would happen again unless they surrendered. They did not, and another 75,000 died in Nagasaki. While this is a huge loss of life, it is far less than would have died in an invasion.

A compassionate emperor and military commanders would have recognized the futility of continuing the fight in July 1945 and surrendered. That didn’t happen.

We can mourn with Japan the loss of life that occurred as a result of the atom bombs, but the guilt for this loss of life belongs solely with the Japanese leadership of that time period.

CHUCK CLARK

Clinton

More in Letters to the Editor

Thank you for urging responsible climate change action

Editor, Thank you for your editorial urging responsible action in confronting climate… Continue reading

Irony in Navy, civillian responses to security

Editor, Naval Air Station Whidbey Island just concluded a two-week drill which… Continue reading

Roundabout isn’t safe solution to traffic

Editor, The Washington State Department of Transportation has not put traffic counters… Continue reading

Concerned with safety of island and country

Editor, I was concerned about the Feb. 7 article “Law will allow… Continue reading

Clarifying a few seed-related facts in article

Editor, Thanks so much to The Record for helping spread the word… Continue reading

Good job county for implementing ban

Editor, I want to take a moment to express my appreciation to… Continue reading

Trump’s parade proposal is missing its mark

Editor, When I heard about Trump’s parade proposal, I was reminded of… Continue reading

Navy shouldn’t take public space for training

Editor, We are very alarmed by the potential impact of two bills… Continue reading

Thankful for Burnett’s commitment to H&H

Editor, On behalf of the South Whidbey Hearts and Hammers board, this… Continue reading

Most Read