[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
- 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