August 6 – the day that should live in infamy in U.S. history

A sudden flash of light, followed by a gigantic ever-expanding mushroom cloud. Within minutes the explosion destroys virtually everything and everyone within a mile radius, including innocent children. A black rain of soot and oil descends on the region. Those who survive have severe burns and other injuries. A silent atmospheric poison leads to tens of thousands of deaths in the months and years ahead. In all, 140,000 people die.

That’s a fairly sanitized version of what happened at Hiroshima, Japan, where the United States of America dropped an atomic bomb 68 years ago. Three days later, we dropped another atomic bomb on Nagasaki, another mid-sized Japanese city, killing 80,000 and injuring thousands more. These two instances mark the only atomic bombs that any nation has ever deployed.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt declared that December 7, 1941 was a day that would live in infamy because that was the day that the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, killing 2,402 Americans and injuring another 1,282. About 3,000 people died in the 9/11 attacks.  We routinely memorialize these days, yet we keep relatively quiet about Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which are surely the two most savage and barbarous single actions in the history of mankind. (By contrast, the destruction of 5.7 million European Jews known as the Holocaust consisted of a series of thousands of actions).

Before writing this article, I did a quick check on Google News about the events of the day. Here’s what I found:

Hiroshima: 90,000 stories

Shark Week on the Discovery Channel: 203,000

Apple, the computer and smart phone company: 348,000

Jennifer Aniston, a popular celebrity: 1,930,000

Chris Brown, a popular entertainer: 17,600,000

In other words, the anniversary of the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima was effectively ignored by the news media today. Sure, the Wall Street Journal mentioned it as a one-sentence “factoid” at the bottom of its “Morning Moneybeat” and The New York Times buried a short description of Hiroshima Day events in the New York area in its August 1 roundup of upcoming events in the “Arts” section.  Washington Post’s website had a photo gallery of remembrances taking place throughout the world. Compare this paltry coverage with what we get every year about Pearl Harbor Day and 9/11.

August 6 should be declared a permanent day of mourning in the United States, a day when as a society we ask for forgiveness for our sin of mass destruction. Every year, our president should attend a Hiroshima memorial and make a major speech about peace and disarmament.  The news media should give wide coverage to Hiroshima remembrances. Our summer camps should engage our children in some commemoration of this tragic day when America lost its ethical bearings. Religious figures should focus their sermons on the horrors of Hiroshima on the Sundays before August 6.

Moreover, I believe that we should posthumously impeach and convict the president who made the decision to drop the bomb—Harry S. Truman, who should go down in history as a villain as heinous in his own way as Hitler and Mao. Certainly over time Hitler and Mao caused more death and suffering than Truman, but no tyrant, king, dictator or elected leader has been responsible for more deaths in one day than Truman—and he did it twice! Don’t believe the nonsense that Truman saved more lives than were killed by the atomic attacks. Japan was already on its knees and ready to surrender before Hiroshima and Nagasaki. There was absolutely no reason to drop these terrifying weapons of mass destruction, except to frighten the Soviet Union. Evil does not reside in the mind, but in our actions. Truman was one of the most evil men in history, responsible for the two most evil single actions in the history of mankind.

Despite the fact that the media has practically ignored Hiroshima Day, I hope that my dear readers all take a little time today to feel shame at being citizens of the only nation ever to use the ultimate weapon of mass destruction.

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2 comments on “August 6 – the day that should live in infamy in U.S. history
  1. Steve Wagner says:

    Truman was a true psychopath: He called August 6th, the day that atomic weaponry was first used to kill people and all other living things in its path, as “the greatest day in history.” When we do read of this enormous crime in the mainstream media, usually in early August, the stories almost always parrot the official U.S. version of events: “The bombs ended the war.” As you point out, Japan was already defeated, and was actually trying to surrender before the bombs were dropped. The United States refused to acknowledge the Japanese attempts to surrender because they wanted to test their new atomic weapons. In Robert Strange McNamera’s movie, “The Fog of War,” McNamera jokes about the Japanese cities that he and General Curtis LeMay had had firebombed, with incredible losses of life, saying that “people from The Manhattan Project asked us to save a few cities so they could test their new bomb.” The death of tens of thousands in Hiroshima and Nagasaki was gratuitous, part of a test that was totally unnecessary: Obviously, dropping a bomb on an inhabited city would result in a horrible loss of life. “They” didn’t need to actually drop one to reach that conclusion, having already witnessed the power of these weapons when they were first tested in the Nevada desert. The Japanese thought Hiroshima was being spared because there were American prisoners of war there: The Japanese seemed to care more about the POWs than the Americans did, however, because the Americans went ahead and bombed the city knowing that the POWs were there. You are absolutely right that August 6th is a day that should live in infamy in U.S. history.

  2. Amie says:

    Powerful.

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