Thursday, April 18, 2013

Captain Paul Tibbets in the "Enola Gay" minutes before takeoff to drop the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima, changing the world forever. 1945

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The debate over the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings will continue forever, it's an issue that we honestly don't have an answer to, other than to say we could have found an unpopulated area of Japan to drop the bombs. This sounds ridiculous, but the entire point of both bombs was to convince Japan that continuing the war was futile, so we wouldn't have to make an amphibious invasion that could cost millions of Japanese lives and over a million U.S. lives, to prevent Stalin from influence in Japan and show him we had the bomb, and find out what it could do (Hiroshima's mountain valleys, etc.). People had their skin peel off, human beings were burned alive, vaporized, tornado fires created a hurricane of flames around each city, and everyone from children, pregnant women, and the elderly experienced a hell on Earth we could never imagine. Sadly, more people died in the fire bombing of Tokyo and other cities, and as for the atomic weapons, using them was part ending the war, and part finding out their destructive attributes. Therefore, we could have simply bombed an unpopulated area and displayed the power of each bomb while sparing all those lives, but after so many conventional bombings, and the urge to end the war in addition to addressing postwar interests, the bombs were dropped on populated cities. This was a crime, but then again so was the firebombings of other Japanese cities with conventional weapons, as was the horrifying criminality, Rape of Nanking, Bataan death march, etc. throughout Asia before and during WWII, so at the end of the day, as Air Force General Curtis Lemay stated: "I suppose if I had lost the war, I would have been tried as a war criminal.."

That being said, he also issued what was known as the "LeMay leaflets": “Read this carefully as it may save your life or the life of a relative or friend. In the next few days, some or all of the cities named on the reverse side will be destroyed by American bombs. These cities contain military installations and workshops or factories which produce military goods. We are determined to destroy all of the tools of the military clique which they are using to prolong this useless war. But, unfortunately, bombs have no eyes. So, in accordance with America’s humanitarian policies, the American Air Force, which does not wish to injure innocent people, now gives you warning to evacuate the cities named and save your lives..."

One frightening aspect of nukes today is that they're many times more powerful than the Little Boy bomb: "The atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki were comparable to explosions of about 15 to 20 kilotons of TNT. It is estimated that these two bombs killed roughly 200,000 people in the near term, with more dying in the following years from cancer. In comparison, today’s thermonuclear weapons are much more powerful. An average U.S. weapon would explode with a yield of 300 kilotons of TNT."

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