Posts tagged ‘Harry Truman’

August 8, 2010

No Apologies Due Japan for Atomic Bomb

by lewwaters

UPDATE: For those that wish to berate me for saying Japan is owed no apology over America ending the war with the A-Bomb, Japan Developed Atom Bomb (1946 Atlanta Constitution Articles)

It’s difficult to believe that long before most of us were born, the entire world was embroiled in the bloodiest war in history, World War Two. Oh, we’ve read about it in books, learned about it from parents and grandparents who fought in it and saw the many movies made about it.

None can accurately capture the sheer brutality of war, though. Only participation can give the true feeling of that.

Being a Veteran of Viet Nam myself and growing up in the shadow of that brutal war, perhaps that is why I am so perplexed these past few years that the world now seems to demand America apologize to those who drug us into that war for our ending it by the two atomic bomb attacks on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Atomic weapons had never been used and it was not even known that they would work, having just been developed. But work they did and the Japanese agreed to an unconditional surrender, as had Germany many months before. The war ended and the troublesome task of peace began for a while.

But, why use such a brutal weapon that killed over 100,000, many ask today. Surely it could have been ended without taking so many lives, they opine. And, they are wrong.

The brutality of the Japanese Imperial Army is a well known historical fact today, thanks in part to such books as The Rape of Nanking by Iris Chang, which documented how they used the slaughter and beheadings of innocent Chinese for sport.

The maltreatment of Prisoners of War such as occurred during what is known as the Bataan Death March where “Beheadings, cutting of throats and casual shootings were the more common actions, compared to instances of bayonet stabbing, rape, disembowelment, rifle butt beating and a deliberate refusal to allow the prisoners food or water while keeping them continually marching for nearly a week in tropical heat” against captured American and Filipino soldiers and civilians are well documented.

Ignored or forgotten is that both Germany and Japan were also working on creating nuclear weapons as America was developing ours. Luckily, our scientists developed ours first.

Couple the Axis’ Powers development programs of Atomic Weapons with their work on developing delivery systems, such as the German Messerschmitt Me-264 Amerika Bomber and the sharing of technology between Germany and Japan prior to wars end, there can be little doubt that had they developed theirs first, it would have been used against Allied forces, if not America itself.

Much has been said over the years of the scientists that developed the American Atomic Bombs expressed hesitation on using it against Japan. While that will be endlessly debated, the decision was not an easy one for President Truman to make.

Given the Japanese refusal of the Potsdam Declaration and the fierce fighting seen in taking Okinawa and the high loss of life on both sides, every indication was that millions of lives would be lost to invade Japan and bring the war to an end by that means.

Many still claim a “demonstration” of the might of the “A-Bomb” would have encouraged Japan to surrender. But, remember that we only had two bombs built and there was still the question of whether or not they would actually work, even though one had worked in the New Mexico desert.

Even if it had worked, given the fanaticism of the Japanese Army at the time and even with the claims now of they were ready to quit anyways, Truman did not have a lot of choices if he were to end the war and avoid millions more in deaths on both sides.

Those now crying that America should now apologize for the Atomic Bomb conveniently leave out one little undisputed fact.

That being, had there not been s sneak attack Sunday morning, December 7, 1941 against the United States Naval Forces moored in Pearl Harbor Hawaii, dragging a reluctant America into a war they were trying to avoid, there would have been no reason to drop any bombs on the cities of Hiroshima or Nagasaki just under 4 years later.

If any apologies are due to anyone, it should be from Germany and Japan for plunging the world into the bloodiest conflict ever seen in the history of mankind.

November 3, 2009

Unsung Heroes That Won The Cold War

by lewwaters

Once again we prepare to honor those who have served in all of our wars, paying special homage to those who did not return from our wars. Nearly all of us who served in combat zones over our history view those whose names are etched in stone on the many Veterans Memorials as the true heroes of our conflicts.

Viet Nam is labeled as “America’s Longest War” due to our involvement in that country from 1950 to the fall of Saigon in 1975. That 25 years pales when considering that after World War Two, we began engagement in a much longer war, but a more quiet war, a war where our Troops did not fire weapons at the enemy but stood at the ready nonetheless, training for a battle that never materialized.

The “Cold War” was fought with political conflict, military tension, and economic competition with the increasingly threatening build up of the most brutal weapons known to mankind that never were used.

That war lasted 46 years, 1945 to 1991 and was manned by many millions of heroes who often fought boredom in lonely outposts in the Arctic, walked along a fenced border in Europe or flew many hours circling in pre-staging areas armed with nuclear weapons awaiting the order to return any attack against our nation from the very formidable enemy we fought against, the Soviet Union and the oppressive stranglehold that ideology had on so many European countries as they attempted to spread their influence on peaceful nations.

East German Fence

While the world sat on the brink of nuclear annihilation and moved as close as it ever has during the early 1960’s, it never saw the feared nuclear confrontation between the two superpowers, in spite of our engagements in both the Korean and Viet Nam wars.

On November 9, 1989 the world witnessed the beginning of the end of the Soviet Empire as a wall built to divide the city of Berlin Germany came crumbling down, opened by citizens of the divided city who longed to be free and to freely visit relatives who lived on the free side of the city.

President Ronald Reagan’s famous speech where he uttered the ominous words, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall” two years earlier, saw their fulfillment. The wall dividing Berlin and the fence dividing the country opened up and freedom returned to that half of the country.

By December 1991, the world watched as the Soviet Union itself collapsed

Much credit was given to President Reagan for winning the Cold War, with some preferring to grant credit to President Jimmy Carter for starting the collapse in the late 1970’s.

Truth be known, all presidents who came along during the time of the Cold War continued policies set in motion by President Harry S. Truman shortly after World War Two. It was he who initiated the Berlin Airlift in 1948 to break the blockade of Berlin initiated by the Soviets to force allied powers out.

While we tend to give accolades to presidents and generals for victories, it is the hard work and extraordinary efforts of the common soldiers and officers who flew those planes, loaded and unloaded them and who directed aircraft safely in and out of Berlin that broke the blockade.

Likewise, as we feared invasions from communist nations close and far away or nuclear annihilation from ICBM attacks, it was the common soldiers who again manned sub-freezing temperatures across the northern hemisphere in lonely radar stations in what was called the DEW Line that kept vigil should a Soviet launch begin.

It was common men and women who sat in offices in front of monitors and screens watching 24 hours a day 7 days a week in undisclosed locations watching for any warning sign of a pending attack.

It was ordinary people who joined a peace-time Air Force and who manned bombers armed with nuclear weapons circling the edges of our nation 24 hours a day 7 days a week, leaving their posts only when a relief flight came up top take over.

It was people from all over the country, all races, all colors, descendants of all nationalities who enlisted out of high school or answered the call of the nation in the draft and who served their two years along the borders of Europe, the DMZ of South Korea, Japan, the Philippine Islands and lonely posts spread across the globe and prepared to fight off any enemy that would be foolish enough to try to conquer our nation from outside.

Some of these same people joined in the silent service of our Naval Forces, above and below the surface of the world’s oceans who, like the Air Force’s Strategic Air Command kept constant vigil far away from their homes to keep America and her inhabitants safe from oppression.

Many protected those of my generation who fought in Viet Nam and those who served elsewhere as we grew into adults and learned from their sense of duty to stand up to the oppression of communism and carry forth their vigilance.

As we approach this 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, it is to those Cold War Warriors who never had to face the enemy head-on, who didn’t have the chance to earn medals of valor, who may have never collected hazardous duty pay, but stood at the ready should they have been called that I dedicate this Veterans Day to this year.

It is to their service and sacrifice that supplied the deterrent we all took for granted that I recognize this year.

Whenever we may feel their contribution to our greatness as a nation was not worth as much as ours, remember the famous photo from 1961 of the East German Soldier leaping across the wire in Berlin to the free west as the city was being divided by the communists.

East German Soldier Leaping

To all my brothers and sisters who served throughout the Cold War, standing watch on cold and miserable nights around the world, well done. Your steadfastness and readiness is what won the Cold War. Your combat may have been boredom, but you stood watch, keeping America safe, always at the ready.

“A veteran – whether active duty, retired, national guard, or reserve – is someone who, at one point in his or her life, wrote a blank check made payable to The ‘United States of America’, for an amount of ‘up to and including my life.’” (Author unknown)

Thank Your Military

Thank you too all who served.