Should The United States Apologize For Hiroshima?

President Barack Obama is the first American president to visit Hiroshima, Japan, since US forces bombed the city during World War Two To many Americans, the bombing of Hiroshima, and later Nagasaki, was a devastating but unavoidable maneuver to end the war

But in Japan, the reaction to the bombs has not been as cut-and-dry So, more than a half-century later, how do the Japanese feel about the Hiroshima bombing? In the summer of 1945, World War II was in its final stages But while Germany had surrendered, the United States was still locked in a seemingly endless battle with Japan The US had already carried out an extensive bombing campaign against the country, resulting in hundreds of thousands of casualties But still Japan refused to surrender, leaving the United States with two difficult choices

Send in ground troops which was estimated would result in as many as one million American casualties, or they could drop the atomic bomb The world’s first deployed A-bomb fell on Hiroshima in August 1945 The blast obliterated 90 percent of the city and instantly killed an estimated 80 thousand people A second bomb was dropped on Nagasaki, and Japan’s Emperor announced the country’s surrender, citing the overwhelming power of a “new and most cruel bomb”With the war over, US troops flooded into the country to help rebuild the devastation

In the immediate aftermath of the event, many Japanese were, understandably, overwhelmed with sadness and frustration Some victims even demanded compensation from their government But in truth, the reaction of the Japanese people was mixed After six years of losing the war and the deaths of millions of people, many felt as though a huge weight had been lifted "There was a great deal of relief I think on the part of the Japanese when the war ended

" That’s Political Scientist TJ Pempel, who has spent decades studying Japan’s post-war development According to Pempel the war, particularly the ongoing bombing campaign, was an unbearable burden on the Japanese But the irony was that very quickly within the first couple months of american occupation and the defeat, most japanese were relieved that the war was over that they could move on to some version of a normal life But, of course, this wasn’t representative of the entire Japanese population, particularly those on the far ideological left and right In fact, many of these people felt that an apology from the US was very much warranted, and still is today

The victims of the bombing or children of victims of the bombing, etc they feel that it was never justified and that an apology is due Alternately, many on the far right would like to see an apology largely because they feel that japan’s entire action during the 1930s and 1940s were a series of actions that were justified But President Obama did not issue an apology during his Hiroshima visit Instead, the President met with Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to discuss their ongoing effort to rid the world of all nuclear weapons

Japan has outright rejected nuclear proliferation, even while their country is the only in the world that has been victim to a nuclear attack The hope is that Abe and Obama will go to Hiroshima and say, ‘this was terrible let’s make sure it doesn’t happen again Let’s work for the reduction of nuclear arms Let’s work for ways for the US and Japan to work towards peace Since the war, Japan has taken a very different approach to international relations The country has been less inclined to solve disputes through military force, instead opting for peaceful diplomacy

This, coupled with their status as a world power, puts Japan in a unique position to set an example for the rest of the world As controversial as the bombings continue to be to this day, many factors went into the US’s decision to attack Japan with nuclear weapons For a deep dive into this decision, check out our video

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1 Comment

  1. don’t be stupid — THE GOV SHOULD NOT BE SAYING THEY ARE SORRY FOR THINGS LONG AGO. Digging up old wounds is UNCOOL. DIG UP POO, you eat if fool .. DIVIDED WE FALL>. WORK ON THE FUTURES>. MORE Private Sector JOBS that pay well.. ANY MINUTE you’ll take this to say sorry to give all black people money — The war ended 150 years ago.. grow up.

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