Fifty years after Hiroshima — Kai Bird and Larry Lifschultz – Hiroshima’s Shadow (1998, Pamphleteer’s Press) and with text Introduction by Joseph Rotblat.
- This text is reviewed while reading in effort cover to cover and then making attempts to prioritize where and what to speak of concerning the editor’s values themselves that first fall upon Joe Rotblat, an émigré from the old world to the States (Poland) almost at the time Hitler invaded and decimated Central Europe with Blitzkrieg tactics and resources so formidable he won battles at will despite heroic resistance by Polish and other armies. Joe Rotblat mentions many things to resolve the frame of psyche of anyone of the mind to read the book, including an indirect history of WWII armaments and their commemoration at the Smithsonian in 1995 that was scrapped. The Smithsonian exhibit had difficulties but that were not beyond just hanging the Enola Gay from the ceiling as planned and being done with it. What arose in view of the presentation in the first place were plenty of opinions on how to dress up the museum with details about Allied victory in the Pacific War (ending with the bombing of Japan in August 1945) and these were so conflicted and some completely misinformed the project became extremely complex in scope and what would appear and what would be censored, that the entire thing was put in the garbage and the plane left to again fly around the country, or to stay in its hanger somewhere presumably in Virginia. The text, starting with the Introduction and edited by Bird and Lifschultz is greatly detailed and has many facets that apply in retrospect to the perhaps doubted perhaps pre – mature use if any use of nuclear weapons, or a nuclear weapon over Japan. The Hiroshima bomb was dropped first at August 6, 1945, a uranium bomb detonated not far above the ground at Hiroshima at about 8 : 15 A.M. local time. The Nagasaki bomb was a plutonium bomb that was detonated at about 11 : 00 A.M. Japan time on August 9. The significance of these weapons being used has been for years at the same time apocalyptic and very superstitious, and above all the right thing to do by the Truman administration; and differently an atrocity, severally and by the entirety not only against Japan, but against the human race past and present at the time and today. The dropping of these machines and the destructive blasts they produced over their targets that were construed as military, but whose victims included non – combattants in the thousands, especially the Nagasaki device, changed the model for warfare from total war to things that people cannot speak of and that presently and potentially threaten the existence of everyone to the extent of even controlled proliferation and then experimentation and testing, then to potentialities, that are real, of actual use. The decision by President Truman to use atomic weaponry might have been the result of a project that was fighting any number of opposing factors reified by the Japanese, some psychological, some with tangible and deadly reality to back them up. This writing is composed to allow for a set of ideas that an informed reader might chance to opine here, and that Bird and Lifschultz did not ignore, same just did not examine the narrator’s here as one is reading the book almost twenty years later, in 2017 when the book was originally in hardback (1996) and then softback that many people apparently bought also (1998). Current narrator learned in a study of the text the Japanese armies had retreated to hills within the main islands, Kyushu and Honshu, Japan. With guerilla tactics, maybe even as planned tree – to – tree, etc., as Japan is, the home country troops would have let invaders or occupiers install themselves in the valley urban areas and then skirmished and ambushed, booby – trapped, and entrapped their occupiers right out of victory, to mention it mildly yet literally, from the hilly parts of the country that are many and that would have helped the guerillas even to shell and to rocket the urban areas in any invasion attempt by the Allies as planned on Honshu for November 1945, and for Kyushu in March 1946, barring the effects of the nuclear blasts where they happened. This now clear, read the book.
- At the end of the text just about is an essay by the very gifted and well – known ethicist John Rawls. This is worth the price of the book in and of itself, but do read the other essays as even the Stimson and Fussell essays and other articles are greatly interesting and make the science of the bomb understandable while leaving the use of same really a matter of choice. Rawls applies the principles of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings to present – day India, Pakistan, P.R.C., North Asia and other places. What does he say? Read the book. It is greatly interesting how Rawls, in typical fashion, breaks the larger problem – model in to subparts and ones that are manageable : State leadership, military and arms, non – combattants as civilians. There are other features to his levels of analysis including human rights, the morality in the day of the use of “Little Boy” and “Fat Man”, the conduct of war and peace, philosophical evils and philosophical goods, end justified by the mean, the evils of Nazism, that the nuclear devices saved lives (and they did given the tearing apart of the occupying army that would have happened without a surrender after the blasts), statesmanship that was proper and appropriate by the Allies, soviet issues, democracy, prerogatives of the President and so on. All these features provoked into dialogue with the reader by moral principles and distinctions common sense makes when confronted with nuclear policy. To not examine the nuclear dilemma in this light is to miss opportunities to look at the destruction (real and figurative, metaphorical, too), pretenses and restraints of nuclear policies in the day and today also. I have no idea, though the principles and ideas in detailed form in the 660 – page path through the text make is full of classical themes and modes and levels of analysis. If there is a recent classic on cataclysms and total war and how they happened such as in WWII, this is one at least. Great!