”I want to make sure with my own eyes about this cruelty, so I can someday tell others about it as a witness.”
John Rabe, German Nazi businessman credited with organizing the efforts to save the lives of some 200,000 Chinese during the rape of Nanking that saw the murder of 300,000 Chinese civilians by the Imperial Japanese Army.
One of the problems of the analysis of Hiroshima and Nagasaki is that the events are often treated as if they occurred in a moral vacuum. They did not. Here are a few of the crimes of the Empire of Japan:
1. Launching a sneak attack against a country you are not at war with.
2. Murdering approximately 20 million civilians in a war of aggression.
3. Using live enemy POWs and civilians for bayonet practice.
4. Forcing enemy civilian women to serve as “comfort women” for your troops.
5. Starving POWs and interned enemy civilians.
6. Beheading enemy POWs and civilians for such serious crimes as stealing a bowl of rice or failing to bow low enough to a camp guard.
7. Using entire enemy civilian populations as slave labor.
8. Confiscating red cross packages intended for starving POWs and interned civilian populations.
9. Dissecting live POWs in “scientific” experiments, and infecting others with plague viruses and poisons.
10. Using enemy civilians to clear out suspected mine fields, by herding them into the mine fields.
I could come up with a few dozen other examples with no strain at all. The evil of the Third Reich is generally accepted. Outside Asia, the crimes of the Empire of Japan are largely ignored or forgotten. That was not the case in August of 1945. There was a moral urgency to defeat Japan as swiftly as possible and to end the holocaust in east Asia they had unleashed. Something to recall the next time you read a piece decrying the “immorality” of the atomic bombings.