Wednesday, August 10, 2011


I’ve never been sure why the US needed to drop a second bomb on Nagasaki. To prove they could? Greg Mitchell also wonders why.

“Few journalists bother to visit Nagasaki, even though it is one of only two cities in the world to “meet the atomic bomb,” as some of the survivors of that experience, sixty-six years ago today, put it. It remains the Second City, and “Fat Man” the forgotten bomb. No one in America ever wrote a bestselling book called Nagasaki, or made a film titled Nagasaki, Mon Amour. “We are an asterisk,” Shinji Takahashi, a sociologist in Nagasaki, once told me, with a bitter smile. “The inferior A-bomb city.” Yet in many ways, Nagasaki is the modern A-bomb city, the city with perhaps the most meaning for us today. For one thing, when the plutonium bomb exploded above Nagasaki it made the uranium-type bomb dropped on Hiroshima obsolete. And then there’s this. “The rights and wrongs of Hiroshima are debatable,” Telford Taylor, the chief prosecutor at the Nuremberg trials, once observed, “but I have never heard a plausible justification of Nagasaki”—which he labeled a war crime. Kurt Vonnegut Jr., who experienced the firebombing of Dresden at close hand, said much the same thing. “The most racist, nastiest act by this country, after human slavery, was the bombing of Nagasaki,” he once said. “Not of Hiroshima, which might have had some military significance. But Nagasaki was purely blowing away yellow men, women, and children. I’m glad I’m not a scientist because I’d feel so guilty now.” (Click here for more)

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Natasha Yar-Routh said...

My father was a aircraft engineer specializing in tail surface in WW II. He was one of a group shipped of to los Alamos to design Fat Man's tail surfaces. He considered the A-Bomb a thing of pure evil. He was usualy right about such things.

Aleleeinn said...

Yeah Mick Vonnegut for all his sci-fi was an excellent social critic. So the Guardian better get its shit together, and recognize the metaphor is an excellent tool for communication and description.

Was friends with a young exchange student from Nagasaki. She, at least, seemed to have come to terms with the past. But she wasn't born until the late '70s.
It was telling that Robert Oppenheimer was aware of the racial implications of the A-Bombs being used on Japan. But the second bomb has never made sense in any context.