Atomic Bombing of Hiroshima: August 6, 1945

By | August 6, 2020

[August 6, 2020]  I don’t go to movie theaters anymore for the obvious reasons; sticky floors, idiots on their cell phones, poor service, and high prices.  But, I recently saw the movie Midway (2019) on Netflix.  My wife pointed out that the Rotten Tomatoes reviewers had given it a pathetic 41% rating while the Audience gave it a 92% thumbsup.1  What I liked was the movie did not sugarcoat the egregious war crimes of the Japanese.2  Yet, 75 years later, many across the world will feel immense guilt over the atomic bombing of the city of Hiroshima.

Americans, in particular, are supposed to feel guilty over Hiroshima.  It’s the only “atrocity” one can mention aloud.  Never mind that it saved more than a million American and Allied lives and probably several times more Japanese by preventing a land invasion of their home islands.

You can see why the leftist Reviewers gave the movie only two stars out of five.  The Battle of Midway was the decisive battle in the Pacific Theater of war.  It was the high watermark for the Japanese Empire.  Afterwards, the Japanese could not compete and the went on the defensive.  There are also important strategic factors from the Midway’s victory in the European Theater.  U.S. President had sold the strategy of Europe First.  This would have been a hard sell, if we had lost at Midway.

The Atomic Bomb dropped on Hiroshima was the right decision then and nothing since convinces me otherwise.  Saving lives and ending the war quickly were the twin goals; it worked.  Many historians suggest there were other, less noble reasons, like showing the Soviet Union that we were bigger and meaner than them.  Who cares?  Others say we dropped the bomb because we are racists.  How ridiculous.  It’s great to opine when you butt is not on the line.

British Prime Minister Winston Churchill gives us some perspective:

“The decision to use the atomic bomb was taken by President Truman and myself at Potsdam, and we approved the military plans to unchain the dread, pent-up forces …  There are voices which assert that the bomb should never have been used at all.  I cannot associate myself with such ideas.  Six years of total war have convinced most people that had the Germans or the Japanese discovered this new weapon, they would have used it upon us to our complete destruction with the utmost alacrity.  I am surprised that very worthy people, but people who in most cases had no intention of proceeding to the Japanese front themselves, should adopt the position that rather than throw this bomb, we should have sacrificed a million American, and a quarter of a million British lives in the desperate battles and massacres of an invasion of Japan.” –  Winston Churchill, August 16, 1945

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  1. https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/midway_2019
  2. Some of the Worst Japanese war crimes are mentioned here, yet it doesn’t even mention the Rape of Nanking: https://www.warhistoryonline.com/world-war-ii/war-crimes.html
Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I'm Doug and I provide at least one article every day on some leadership topic. I welcome comments and also guests who would like to write an article. Thanks for reading my blog.

25 thoughts on “Atomic Bombing of Hiroshima: August 6, 1945

  1. Greg Heyman

    Difficult subject. Thoughtful reasoning. Thanks.

  2. Georgie M.

    In mid-July, President Harry S Truman was notified of the successful test of the atomic bomb, what he called “the most terrible bomb in the history of the world.” Thousands of hours of research and development as well as billions of dollars had contributed to its production. This was no theoretical research project. It was created to destroy and kill on a massive scale. As president, it was Harry Truman’s decision if the weapon would be used with the goal to end the war. “It is an awful responsibility that has come to us,” the president wrote.

    1. Nick Lighthouse

      President Truman had four options: 1) continue conventional bombing of Japanese cities; 2) invade Japan; 3) demonstrate the bomb on an unpopulated island; or, 4) drop the bomb on an inhabited Japanese city. The rest is history. The right decision was made. End of story. We can pontificate all we want about morality during a brutal war. But in the end, a decision had to be made without a crystal ball of the future. Only now, 75 years later can we better lay out the arguments but we are NOT in their shoes. Thus, I will not poorly judge Truman or Churchill for their decision.

  3. Billy Kenningston

    Another one of the best posts yet. Thanks Gen. Satterfield. The old arguments are not necessarily out-dated.

  4. Kenny Foster

    Great blog post today, Gen. Satterfield. I’m sure that many will disagree but I think, IMHO, that their arguments will be weak.

    1. Lynn Pitts

      Yep, the wussies will come out of the woodwork. Put them in uniform, hand them a rifle, and give them orders to attack the Japanese homeland (in WW2) and watch their tune change rapidly.

  5. Randy Goodman

    For those that say the atomic bombings were unethical, then I ask what measure do you use? Is it based on the number of deaths? Or is it on damage to the physical infrastructure? What measure? No measure can be used to say it was unethical when the alternative clearly would be greater death and destruction. Convince me I’m wrong.

  6. Linux Man

    But what we have here is that the Japanese would not quit. Period. They were willing to be destroyed piecemeal. It took the shock of the atomic bombs to change their minds. It was a close call and their surrender almost did not occur. Just read the history.

    1. Fred Weber

      Correct. Yet some will say we should not have bombed civilians. That is a non-starter argument because it was impossible to separate the military, manufacturing, and residential areas – just like in Germany. Additionally, there were the so-called “shadow factories,” that produced prefabricated war materials destined for Japanese aircraft factories. These needed to be destroyed as well.

    2. Willie Shrumburger

      The leftist arguments are weak. By repeating them, we only make matters worse. But by not repeating them we do not firmly grasp the decision made by Truman and Churchill.

      1. Wilson Cox

        There were still Japanese Army troops in China doing bad things. They were expected to return to Japan to help defend the homeland.

      2. Xerxes I

        Estimated start of this offensive operation was expected in November but some said it would have to slip to December or later. The continued costs from conventional bombing, further death and destruction of Japan would have been terrible. But, it would continue unless something was done.

  7. Karl J.

    On the night of March 9, 1945, U.S. warplanes launch a new bombing offensive against Japan, dropping 2,000 tons of incendiary bombs on Tokyo over the course of the next 48 hours. Almost 16 square miles in and around the Japanese capital were incinerated, and between 80,000 and 130,000 Japanese civilians were killed in the worst single firestorm in recorded history.

  8. Max Foster

    The United States detonated two nuclear weapons over the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on August 6 and 9, 1945, respectively, with the consent of the United Kingdom, as required by the Quebec Agreement. The two bombings killed between 129,000 and 226,000 people, most of whom were civilians, and remain the only uses of nuclear weapons in armed conflict. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atomic_bombings_of_Hiroshima_and_Nagasaki#:~:text=The%20United%20States%20detonated%20two%20nuclear%20weapons%20over,two%20bombings%20killed%20between%20129%2C000%20and%20226%2C000%20people%2C

  9. Harry B. Donner

    On August 6, 1945, during World War II (1939-45), an American B-29 bomber dropped the world’s first deployed atomic bomb over the Japanese city of Hiroshima. The explosion immediately killed an estimated 80,000 people; tens of thousands more would later die of radiation exposure. Three days later, a second B-29 dropped another A-bomb on Nagasaki, killing an estimated 40,000 people.

    1. Janna Faulkner

      And there were more bombs being manufactured. More Japanese would have been killed.

    2. Otto Z. Zuckermann

      Right, and by August, 1945, Japan had lost World War II. Japan and the United States both knew it. How long would it be, however, before Japan surrendered? Japan was split between surrender or fighting to the end. They chose to fight.

  10. Gil Johnson

    Once again, a spot-on article, one that is easily read and understood, even for people like me who are hard to convince. Keep up the great work and please please please continue writing on battles such as the Battle of Midway and its strategic importance.

  11. Yusaf from Texas

    Loved this article, Gen. Satterfield, despite difficult topic. And, it is obvious why I keep coming back. This type of hard-hitting opinion (and facts) are what keeps your analysis so straightforward.

    1. JT Patterson

      Great story that must be told and retold often. The American side has told the right story. No one can change the facts of the atomic bombings. Those who try cannot be taken seriously.

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