The first day I went to school was September 5, 1945. On that day, I walked about a mile to the East Natick Elementary School in Massachusetts. Three days earlier, on September 2, Japan surrendered and World II came to an end. But on July 16, the first atomic bomb was detonated in New Mexico, and 70 years ago yesterday, the “Little Boy” atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima killing more than 70,000 people. On August 9, another atom bomb was dropped on Nagasaki killing more than 40,000 people. At that time, the U.S. military had no more than six atom bombs.
I remember reading the headlines in the Boston Globe, the newspaper to which my father subscribed . In the boldest font you could image it read: A-Bomb.
Being only 5, I had no idea what was the meaning of A-Bomb. I don’t think my parents knew, but like many other Americans, they hoped that the end of the war would come. It didn’t until another A-Bomb was dropped, and then in September it was over.
Little did they and most people know that the war was over, and was only a matter of working out details with the Japanese. So we ask:
Did we need to kill nearly 150,000 Japanese citizens with atomic bombs to end the war?
Gen. Dwight Eisenhower, for his part, stated in his memoirs that when notified by Secretary of War Henry Stimson of the decision to use atomic weapons, he “voiced to him my grave misgivings, first on the basis of my belief that Japan was already defeated and that dropping the bomb was completely unnecessary, and secondly because I thought that our country should avoid shocking world opinion by the use of a weapon whose employment was, I thought, no longer mandatory as a measure to save American lives…” He later publicly declared “…it wasn’t necessary to hit them with that awful thing.” (Alperovitz, Gar. “The War Was Won Before Hiroshima-And the Generals Who Dropped the Bomb Knew It.” The Nation. 6 Aug. 2015. Web. 7 Aug. 2015.)
Today, we have more than 6 nuclear bombs.
- China: 250 warheads
- France: 290 warheads
- Russia: 1,582 strategic warheads, several thousand non deployed warheads, and 2,000 tactical warheads
- United Kingdom: 120 strategic warheads, total stockpile about 225 weapons
- United States: 1, 597 strategic nuclear warheads, 2,800 non deployed strategic warheads. In total about 4,800 nuclear warheads.
And these bombs are thousands of times more powerful than Little Boy, the first bomb dropped on a populated city.
Tonight there is a so-called Republican Presidential Debate (Shout Out). I wonder what their positions are on these strategic nuclear weapons?