© The Japan Times
November 22, 1998
Better to bomb than blockade
It is disturbing that Todd Strickland suggests that
blockading Japan and waiting for Japanese to starve to death would have been the
right course to take in August 1945. Forcing millions of civilians to starve to
death was something the Japanese had already done in China and Southeast Asia,
but even if the starving were their own citizens it's unlikely that Japan's
leaders would have taken responsibility.
"leaders" were so factionalized that no one had been tasked with the power
necessary to end the war. Though one faction was considering surrender before
Hiroshima, another, more powerful faction was planning to fight until every last
Japanese man, woman and child had dropped dead.
It is common
knowledge the United States was preparing an invasion of Kyushu and the Kanto
plain, while the Soviets had designs on Hokkaido and Northern Honshu. Japan was
running out of food, but was determined to fight to the end, and its military
had plenty of hardware left to do so. The 28 million Japanese civilians
training to defend the shores with nothing but bamboo spears were to be used as
cannon fodder and would have been slaughtered.
his letter by stating he is worried about how the present generation denies the
past. If denial is the issue we must examine Japan's responsibility for the
events in the war leading up to the atomic bombings, for it is here you will
encounter denial and obfuscation every step of the way. The fact is that the
Japanese killed more than 15 million people from 1937 to 1945.
War is hell, and given the terrain, U.S. President Harry Truman did not have the
option of choosing between right and wrong. Rather, he was forced to choose
between two evils. He chose the lesser when he made the decision to drop atomic
bombs on Japan.
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