Nov 19, 2007
Paul Tibbets, the military pilot of the Enola Gay, that dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan, on August 6, 1945 just died. He was 92 years old. About a hundred thousand people died that day but Tibbets never expressed the least regret. “I slept well every night,” he said justifying his pride in following the orders to destroy an entire city.
But not all those who participated in the bombing of Hiroshima agreed with Tibbets. Claude Eatherly was the radio-operator of the reconnaissance plane that signaled Tibbets that weather conditions were perfect over Hiroshima. The political establishment wanted the bomb dropped in such weather so that it could be filmed and the pictures of the mushroom cloud could be shown all over the world.
Easterly expressed regret and anguish for the role he played in the bombing; he was treated for mental problems after the war. Yet he still spoke out against nuclear weapons and against the lies of politicians.
Politicians and others have always justified the terrible devastation of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by saying it shortened the war and saved more than a million lives. These are outright lies.
In August of 1945, Japan was on its knees, which the U.S. military and political brass knew full well. Fifty years later, Admiral Leahy, a top admiral under Roosevelt and Truman, wrote in his memoirs, “The Japanese were already defeated and ready to surrender.... The use of that barbarous arm did not help us win the war.” Another witness was General Dwight Eisenhower, supreme commander of Allied Military forces in Europe. Eisenhower also opposed dropping the bomb, saying, “At this precise moment, Japan was looking for the way to capitulate while saving a little face.... It was not necessary to strike with that terrible thing.”
The U.S. government had other reasons to drop the atomic bombs over Hiroshima and Nagasaki. On the one hand, the American government wanted to keep the imperial Japanese regime in place in order to guarantee social order. A few generals were executed as war criminals, thus relieving the regime of having to explain the failure of its policies.
Even more importantly, these bombs were a signal sent to the USSR, proof that the United States possessed the “ultimate weapon” to ensure its crushing military superiority over Stalin, at a time when he was still their “ally.”
The bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was the first act of the Cold War.