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The Atomic Bombing of Japan in World War II, 1945

Copyright@shravancharitymission

    The United States dropped atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945 only to hasten the end of the World War II in the Pacific. Although, it was the first, and to date the only, actual use of such weapons of “mass destruction,” the mushroom clouds have hung over every military and political policy since then.

    Less than five months after the sneak attack by the Japanese on Pearl Harbour, in Hawaii the Americans launched a small carrier-based bomber raid against Tokyo. While the attack was good for the American morale, it accomplished little other than to demonstrate to the Japanese that their shores were not invulnerable. Later in the war, U.S. bombers were able to attack the Japanese home islands from bases in China, but it was not until late 1944 that the United States could mount a sustained bombing campaign.

    Because of the distance to Japan, American bombers could not reach the targets and safely return to friendly bases in the Pacific until the island-hopping campaign had captured the Northern Mariana Islands located in (Western north pacific islands). From bases on the Mariana Islands, long-range Boeing B-29 Super-fortresses conducted high altitude bombing runs on November 24, 1944. On March 9, 1945, an armada of 234 B-29s descended to less than 7,000 feet and dropped 1,667 tons of incendiaries on Tokyo. By the time the fire storm finally abated, a sixteen-square-mile corridor that had contained a quarter million homes was in ashes, and more than 80,000 Japanese, mostly civilians, lay dead. Only the Allied fire-bombing of Dresden, in East Germany, the previous month, had killed 135,000, people that exceeded the destruction of the Tokyo raid.

    Both Tokyo and Dresden were primarily civilian rather than military targets. Prior to World War II, international law regarded the bombing of civilians as illegal and barbaric. But after several years of warfare, however, neither the Allies nor the Axis distinguished between military and civilian air targets. Interestingly, while a pilot could drop tons of explosives and firebombs on civilian cities, an infantryman often faced a court-martial for even minor mistreatment of non-combatants. 

    Despite the air raids and their shrinking territory outside their home islands, the Japanese fought on. Their warrior code did not allow for surrender, and soldiers and civilians alike often chose suicide rather than giving up. By July 1945, the Americans were launching more than 1200 bombing sorties a week against Japan. The bombing had killed more than a quarter million (about 2.50 lacs) and left more than nine million homeless. Still, the Japanese gave no indication of surrender as the Americans prepared to invade the home islands.

    While the air attacks and plans for a land invasion continued in the Pacific, a top-secret project back in the United States was coming to fruition. On July 16, 1945, the Manhattan Engineer District successfully carried out history’s first atomic explosion. When President Harry Truman learned of the successful experiment, he remarked in his diary, “It seems to be the most terrible thing ever discovered, but it can be made the most useful.” 

    Truman realized that the “most terrible thing” could shorten the war and prevent as many as a million Allied casualties, as well as untold Japanese deaths, by preventing a ground invasion of Japan. On July 27, the United States issued an ultimatum: surrender or the U.S. would drop a “super weapon.” But Japan refused. In the early morning hours of August 6, 1945, a B-29 Superfortress Bomber named Enola Gay piloted by Lieutenant Colonel Paul Tibbets lifted off from Tinian Island in the Marianas. Aboard was a single atomic bomb weighing 8,000 pounds and containing the destructive power of 12.5 kilotons of TNT. Tibbets headed his plane towards Hiroshima, selected as the primary target because of its military bases and industrial areas. It also had not yet been bombed to any extent, so it would have provided an excellent evaluation of the bomb’s destructive power. 

    At 8:15 A.M., the Enola Gay dropped the device called “Little Boy.” A short time later, Tibbets noted, “A bright light filled the plane. We turned back to look at Hiroshima. The city was hidden by that awful cloud … boiling up, mushrooming.” The immediate impact of Little Boy killed at least 70,000 Hiroshima residents. Some estimates claim three times that number but exact figures are impossible to calculate because the blast destroyed all of the city’s records. 

    Truman again demanded that Japan surrender. After three days when there was no response, a B-29 took off again from Tinian with an even larger atomic bomb aboard. When the crew found their primary target of Kokura obscured by clouds, they turned towards their secondary target, Nagasaki. At 11:02 A.M. on August 9, 1945, they dropped the atomic device known as “Fat Man” that destroyed most of the city and killed more than 60,000 of its inhabitants. 

    Conventional bombing raids were also conducted against other Japanese cities on August 9, and five days later, 800 B-29s raided across the country. On August 15 (Tokyo time), the Japanese finally accepted unconditional surrender. World War II was over. 

    Much debate has occurred since the atomic bombings. While some evidence indicates that the Japanese were considering surrender, but far more information indicates otherwise. Apparently the Japanese were planning to train civilians to use rifles and spears to join the military in resisting a land invasion. Protesters of the Atomic bombings ignore the conventional incendiaries dropped on Tokyo and Dresden that claimed more casualties. Some historians even note that the losses at Hiroshima and Nagasaki were far fewer than the anticipated Japanese casualties from an invasion and continued conventional bombing. 

    Whatever the debate, there can be no doubt that the dropping of the atomic bombs on Japan shortened the war. The strikes against Hiroshima and Nagasaki are the only air battles that directly affected the outcome of a conflict. Air warfare, both before and since, has merely supplemented ground fighting. As confirmed by the recent Allied bombing of Iraq in Desert Storm and in Bosnia, air attacks can harass and make life miserable for civilian population, but battles and wars continue to be decided by ground forces. 

    In addition to hastening the end of the war with Japan, the development and use of the atomic bomb provided the United States with unmatched military superiority—at least for a brief time, until the Soviet Union exploded their own atomic device. The two superpowers then began competitive advancements in nuclear weaponry that brought the world to the edge of destruction. Only tentative treaties and the threat of mutual total destruction kept nuclear arms harnessed, producing the Cold War period in which the U.S., along with the USSR, worked out their differences through conventional means.

By Kamlesh Tripathi

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https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

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Share it if you like it

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Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases especially cancer. Our posts are meant for our readers that includes both children and adults and it has a huge variety in terms of content. We also accept donations for our mission. Should you wish to donate for the cause. The bank details are given below:

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

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Our publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

(The book is about a young cancer patient. Now archived in 7 prestigious libraries of the US, including, Harvard University and Library of Congress. It can also be accessed in MIT through Worldcat.org. Besides, it is also available for reading in Libraries and archives of Canada and Cancer Aid and Research Foundation Mumbai)  

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

(Is a book on ‘singlehood’ about a Delhi girl now archived in Connemara Library, Chennai and Delhi Public Library, GOI, Ministry of Culture, Delhi)

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

(Is a fiction written around the great city of Nawabs—Lucknow. It describes Lucknow in great detail and also talks about its Hindu-Muslim amity. That happens to be its undying characteristic. The book was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival of 2014)

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

(Co-published by Cankids–Kidscan, a pan India NGO and Shravan Charity Mission, that works for Child cancer in India. The book is endorsed by Ms Preetha Reddy, MD Apollo Hospitals Group. It was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival 2016)

TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN

(Is a story of an Indian salesman who is, humbly qualified. Yet he fights his ways through unceasing uncertainties to reach the top. A good read not only for salesmen. The book was launched on 10th February, 2018 in Gorakhpur Lit-Fest. Now available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha)

RHYTHM … in poems

(Published in January 2019. The book contains 50 poems. The poems describe our day to day life. The book is available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha)

(ALL THE ABOVE TITLES ARE AVAILABLE FOR SALE IN AMAZON, FLIPKART AND OTHER ONLINE STORES OR YOU COULD EVEN WRITE TO US FOR A COPY)

*****

 

 

 

SHORT STORY: HOW SUZUKI FOUND HIROO ONODA IN THE JUNGLES OF LUBANG (PHILIPPINES)

Copyright@shravancharitymission

 

    It was in the closing months of 1944 and almost after a decade when the tide was turning against Japan.  Their economy was staggering, their military was exhausted across, half of Asia. The territories that they had won all along the Pacific were now toppling like dominoes against the forces of U.S. Defeat now, seemed inevitable.

    On December 26, 1944, Second Lieutenant Hiroo Onoda of the Japanese Imperial Army was deployed at the small island of Lubang in the Philippines. His orders were, to slow the progress of United States as much as possible. To stand and fight at all costs, and to never surrender. Both he and his commander knew it was essentially a suicide mission.

    In February 1945, the Americans finally arrived at Lubang and took the island by storm. Within days, most of the Japanese soldiers had either surrendered or were killed. But Onoda and three of his men managed to hide in the jungle. From there, they began a campaign of guerrilla warfare against the U.S. forces and the local population. They attacked supply lines, shot stray soldiers, and interfered with the American forces in every possible manner that they could.

    After about six months on August 6 and 9, 1945, United States, dropped the atomic bombs on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki respectively. Japan surrendered, and the deadliest war in human history came to its dramatic end.

    However, thousands of Japanese soldiers were still scattered among the Pacific isle, and most, like Onoda, were hiding in the jungle, unaware that the war was over. These holdouts continued to fight and pillage as they had done before. This became a real problem for rebuilding eastern Asia after the war. Where, the governments did agree that something needs to be done.

    The U.S. military, in agreement with the Japanese government, dropped thousands of leaflets throughout the Pacific region. Announcing that the war was over and it was time for everyone to go home. Onoda and his men, like many others soldiers, found and read these leaflets. But unlike most of them, Onoda decided that they were fake. A trap set by the American forces to get the guerrilla fighters to show themselves. Onoda burned the leaflets. He and his men stayed hidden and continued to fight.

    Five years had gone by. The leaflets had stopped, and most of the American forces had long since gone home. The local population of Lubang attempted to return to their normal lives of farming and fishing. Yet, there were, Hiroo Onoda and his merry men, still shooting farmers, burning their crops, stealing their livestock, and murdering locals who wandered too far into the jungle. The Philippine government then took to drawing up new flyers and spreading them out across the jungle. Come out, they said. The war is over. You lost. But these too, were also ignored by Onoda.

    In 1952, the Japanese government made one final effort to pull out the last remaining soldiers out of the hiding all throughout the Pacific. This time, letters and pictures, from the missing soldiers’ families were air-dropped, along with a personal note from the emperor himself. Once again, Onoda refused to believe that the information was real. Once again, he believed the airdrop, to be a trick of the Americans. So, once again, he and his men stood their ground and continued with their fight.

    By now another few years had gone by. The Philippine locals, sick of being terrorized, finally armed themselves, and began firing back. By 1959, one of Onoda’s companions had surrendered, and another was killed. A decade later. Onoda’s last companion. A man called Kozuka, was killed in a shootout with the local police, while he was burning rice fields—still waging war against the local population, a full quarter-century after the end of World War II.

    Onoda, now having spent more than half of his life in the jungles of Lubang, was all alone.

    In 1972, the news of Kozuka’s death reached Japan and caused a stir. The Japanese people had thought. The last of the soldiers from the war had come home years earlier. The Japanese media began to speculate. If Kozuka was still in Lubang until 1972. Then perhaps, Onoda himself, the last known Japanese holdout, from World War II, might still be alive as well. That year, both Japanese and Philippine governments, jointly sent search parties, to look for the enigmatic second lieutenant Onoda. Who, by now had become a part of a myth, a hero, or even a ghost, for no one knew the reality. Finally, the search parties found nothing.

    As months progressed. The story of Lieutenant Onoda morphed into, something like an urban legend in Japan—the war hero sounded too insane to actually exist. Many romanticized him. Others criticized him. Others thought he was a stuff out of a fairy tale.

    It was around this time that a young man by the name of Norio Suzuki first heard of second lieutenant Onoda. Suzuki was an adventurer, an explorer, and a bit of a hippie. Born after the end of the war. He had dropped out of school and had spent four years hitchhiking his way across Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. Sleeping on park benches, in stranger’s cars, in jail cells, and under the stars. He volunteered on farms for food, and donated blood to pay for places to stay. He was a free spirit, and perhaps a little bit nuts.

    In 1972, Suzuki needed another adventure. He had returned to Japan after his travels and found the strict cultural norms and social hierarchy to be too stifling. He hated school. He couldn’t hold on to a job. He wanted to be back on the road, back on his own again.

    For Suzuki, the legend of Hiroo Onoda came as the answer to his problems. It was a new and worthy adventure for him to pursue. Suzuki believed that he would be the one who would find Onoda. Extensive search parties conducted by the Japanese, Philippine and American governments had not been able to find Onoda. Local police forces had been scavenging the jungles for almost thirty years now with no luck. Thousands of leaflets had met with no response. So, was it this deadbeat, a college dropout, a hippie, be the one, to find him?

    Unarmed and untrained for any sort of reconnaissance or tactical warfare, Suzuki travelled to Lubang and began wandering around the jungle all by himself. His strategy was simple. Scream Onoda’s name really loud and tell him that the emperor was worried about him.

    He found second lieutenant Hiroo Onoda in just four days.

   Moral of the story: One, use the right means and methods to communicate. See how Suzuki found Onoda in just four days. Two, learn to trust people, which Onoda didn’t, and as a result of which, he spent, more than half of his life, in the jungles of Lubang.  

    Second Lieutenant Hiroo Onoda died later in Japan at the age of ninety one.

By Kamlesh Tripathi

*

https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

*

Share it if you like it

*

Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases especially cancer. Our posts are meant for our readers that includes both children and adults and it has a huge variety in terms of content. We also accept donations for our mission. Should you wish to donate for the cause. The bank details are given below:

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

*

Our publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

(The book is about a young cancer patient. Now archived in 7 prestigious libraries of the US, including, Harvard University and Library of Congress. It can also be accessed in MIT through Worldcat.org. Besides, it is also available for reading in Libraries and archives of Canada and Cancer Aid and Research Foundation Mumbai)  

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

(Is a book on ‘singlehood’ about a Delhi girl now archived in Connemara Library, Chennai and Delhi Public Library, GOI, Ministry of Culture, Delhi)

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

(Is a fiction written around the great city of Nawabs—Lucknow. It describes Lucknow in great detail and also talks about its Hindu-Muslim amity. That happens to be its undying characteristic. The book was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival of 2014)

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

(Co-published by Cankids–Kidscan, a pan India NGO and Shravan Charity Mission, that works for Child cancer in India. The book is endorsed by Ms Preetha Reddy, MD Apollo Hospitals Group. It was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival 2016)

TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN

(Is a story of an Indian salesman who is, humbly qualified. Yet he fights his ways through unceasing uncertainties to reach the top. A good read not only for salesmen. The book was launched on 10th February, 2018 in Gorakhpur Lit-Fest. Now available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha)

RHYTHM … in poems

(Published in January 2019. The book contains 50 poems. The poems describe our day to day life. The book is available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha)

(ALL THE ABOVE TITLES ARE AVAILABLE FOR SALE IN AMAZON, FLIPKART AND OTHER ONLINE STORES OR YOU COULD EVEN WRITE TO US FOR A COPY)

*****