Why bomb Hiroshima?

Although Germany had been effectively defeated in World War I, on November 11, 1918, an armistice was signed which left the German Army in tact and did not admit defeat.

It turned out to be a serious mistake to allow the defeated German Army to get away so easily. Although this saved lives in the short run, it cost millions of lives in the long run, because it led to the rise of Adolph Hitler, who called the German politicians who signed the armistice on November 11, 1918 "The November Criminals".

When Hitler marched into Poland in 1939, it was easy to see that, although the treaty of November 1918 had bought a temporary peace, all it had really done was give the German Army 21 years to rebuild and regroup, so as to enable them to start the war all over again.


For this reason, the second time around, the allies were not going to make any deals with the Germans or with their allies, the Japanese. This time, no more Mr. Nice Guy. This time, the allies were going to accept nothing less than a total surrender and an occupation of both Germany and Japan. The purpose was to make sure that they could never start a war again.

One issue which has often been raised is racism. It was said that the reason the US dropped the A-Bomb on the Japanese and not the Germans was that the Germans were white but the Japanese were yellow. However, a recent interview of Col. Paul Tibbets, the Commander who actually dropped the A-Bomb on Japan and who is still alive, revealed that the original plan was to drop the A-Bomb on Germany. This plan was did not come to fruition only because the A-Bomb was not ready to be dropped yet. The Germans surrendered on May 7, 1945, which was before the A-Bomb was ready.


Paul Tibbets had the A-Bomb in Utah. After the Germans surrendered, it was no longer necessary to drop the bomb on them, so Tibbets flew the bomb to Tinian Island in the Marianas and, flying from there, dropped the A-Bomb on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945.


A big controversy has always been whether or not President Truman was essentially bluffing when he declared that the US would keep dropping A-Bombs on city after city until the Japanese surrendered. It has been said that the US only really had two A-bombs. However, Tibbets says that there was a third A-Bomb. After the second A-Bomb was dropped on Nagasaki and Japan still had not surrendered, Tibbets flew back to Utah, got the third A-Bomb and was in the process of flying it to Tinian when the Japanese finally surrendered.


Another even bigger controversy has been whether the Japanese would have surrendered anyway even if the A-Bomb had not been dropped. It is reasonably clear that the Japanese would not have surrendered otherwise. Some Japanese, including my wife's father, still do not accept the surrender of Japan. A little known fact is that after the second bomb was dropped on Nagasaki, a palace coup took place in the Japanese Imperial Palace. Emperor Hirohito wanted to surrender, but his generals were not going to let him. They took the emperor prisoner and held him for a few days. Hirohito prepared a tape recording saying that he wanted to surrender, but was not able to get it out so that it could be broadcast.

Later, he made a second tape recording. This one got out, although Hirohito was still a prisoner, and was broadcast on August 14, 1945. The Japanese people had never heard the emperor's voice before. It was high-pitched and squeaky. It sounded like a bird. Nevertheless, when the tape was broadcast over the radio, the people concluded that this must really be the emperor speaking, and so they accepted the surrender of Japan.

The radio broadcast by Emperor Hirohito specifically stated that surrender was necessary because "the enemy has begun to employ a new and most cruel bomb, the power of which to do damage is, indeed, incalculable, taking the toll of many innocent lives. Should we continue to fight, it would not only result in an ultimate collapse and obliteration of the Japanese nation, but also it would lead to the total extinction of human civilization."


Later the same day, most of the military officers who had held the emperor prisoner and who had wanted to fight to the end committed suicide.

Incidentally, my uncle, Alden Jacobson, was the co-pilot of the first US Air Force airplane ever to land safely in Japan. This was not intentional, however. My uncle was flying a B-29 named Battlin' Bonnie II. One of his engines caught fire and he had no choice but to land. He landed at Atsugi Air Base, a Japanese Air Base, on August 30, 1945. Fortunately, the American forces had just taken control of the airbase. This made General Douglas MacArthur very angry, because he was scheduled to land there a few hours later and he wanted to be said to be the first American to land in Japan.

My uncle stayed in Japan for the next five years and one of his sons was born there.

Sam Sloan

At 11:14 PM 10/2/2002 -0000, silver29meus wrote:

>Some inaccuracies in Sam Sloan's Hiroshima posting should not go >unchallanged. There was no A-bomb in Utah and there never was. >Tibbets did not fly the Little Boy bomb to Tinian, although he did >fly Enola Gay and drop the bomb on Hiroshima. Tibbets did not fly >back to Utah to pick up the third bomb. There was no third bomb at >Wendover AAF. Tom Classen and John Wilson flew Silverplate B-29's >back to Wendover to be in position to transport a third bomb, but >General Groves stopped any further shipment of bomb materials on the >12th of August (1945). Most parts for a third bomb were already on >Tinian. The crucial element, the plutonium core, was ready to >transport from Los Alamos to Kirtland on 12 Aug 45(where it would >have been picked up by Classen/Wilson), but the stop order by Groves >prevented the core from leaving Los Alamos.

You may be correct, but I do have a source for all this, which is none other than this e-mail group, where a recent interview of Paul Tibbets was posted. This is the interview which was published in the Guardian on August 6, 2002 and then was re-posted here and said the following:

From http://www.guardian.co.uk/g2/story/0,3604,769634,00.html

PT: Unknown to anybody else - I knew it, but nobody else knew - there was a third one. See, the first bomb went off and they didn't hear anything out of the Japanese for two or three days. The second bomb was dropped and again they were silent for another couple of days. Then I got a phone call from General Curtis LeMay [chief of staff of the strategic air forces in the Pacific]. He said, "You got another one of those damn things?" I said, "Yessir." He said, "Where is it?" I said, "Over in Utah." He said, "Get it out here. You and your crew are going to fly it." I said, "Yessir." I sent word back and the crew loaded it on an airplane and we headed back to bring it right on out to Tinian and when they got it to California debarkation point, the war was over.

ST: What did General LeMay have in mind with the third one?

PT: Nobody knows.

> Hirohito was never held prisoner by the Japanese rebels.

I have another source for this. I have sitting right next to me as I am typing on my computer a former Air Force officer who served in Japan starting in October 25, 1946. He personally attended the war crimes trials. He retired in 1966 and went back to Japan stayed there for the next 30 years. (This is an important point because the moderator insists that sources be people who were actually there.). The man sitting next to me says that Emperor Hirohito was held in what amounted to house arrest in an underground bunker beneath the Imperial Palace and was not allowed to leave. This is common knowledge, he says. However, my posting was slightly inaccurate in that Hirohito did not make a tape recording, as tape recordings did not exist in 1945. Instead, Hirohito made two identical phonograph records of his speech to the nation. He gave one to NHK Studios for broadcast. However, his generals found out about this and, before the record could be broadcast, seized and confiscated it.

However, Hirohito had made two identical copies of the record of his speech and had hidden the other one in a safe. The generals were not able to find that one. That record got out and that was the one that was broadcast.

* >The tape recording was broadcast as originally scheduled and Hirohito was * > not a prisoner when it was aired.

This is unclear. You may be correct that by the time it was broadcast, Hirohito had been released.

>I am not commenting on the question of Sloan's posting of this >subject. I just want the record to be straight so that no one >perpetuates the errors. > >Dick Campbell >

I did make a clear mistake when I said that Paul Tibbets brought the first A-Bomb to Tinian.

The firing mechanism and the uranium bullet which set off the first A-Bomb was brought in the USS Indianapolis to Tinian. There was a famous incident because after the USS Indianapolis left Tinian, it was sunk by a Japanese submarine. Unfortunately, military authorities did not notice that the Indianapolis was missing for four days, so the survivors bobbed in the ocean, where most of them were eaten by sharks. This incident formed part of the plot to the movie Jaws, where Captain Quint, a survivor of the USS Indianapolis, has to kill sharks to get revenge.

However, I was not entirely mistaken. The uranium core of the A-Bomb which was dropped on Hiroshima was flown from the US to Tinian, although not by Paul Tibbets. Also, all of the A-Bomb which was dropped on Nagasaki was flown to Tinian in three separate B-29s and then was assembled on Tinian.

Finally, in the recent interview, Paul Tibbets said that there was a third A-Bomb and it was in Utah, not in New Mexico.

Sam Sloan

UPDATE: I posted this article to a Yahoo E-mail List at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/B29-Superfortress/messages/27872 . This article caused such controversy that I was banned from the list and almost all messages for the next three weeks were expunged. Unfortunately, this prevented me from seeing any comments and corrections. Take a look at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/B29-Superfortress/messages/27872 . It is dated 10/2/2002. The next posting is number 28017 dated 10/12/2002, which is 12 days later. After that comes 28031. Then there is another gap until 28163 and 28205 dated 10/22/2002. Even after that there are a lot of missing gaps. It appears that most of the postings were on this topic and every one of them was expunged by the list owner.

If anybody has saved those messages, could you please forward them to me?

Sam Sloan

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