Nancy's View: Were Two Bombs Necessary?Japanese Movie Depicts End of WWII
Opinions about the role atomic bombs played at the end of World War II are as varied as human beings. Personal views expressed in this newspaper came recently from Los Alamos and from Santa Fe, which included reports of selected quotes from U.S. military leaders.
Totally absent are viewpoints from Japanese military leaders. Their views are easily found on the Internet. The Japanese dilemma is deeply probed in the Japanese movie "Japan's Longest Day."
The movie—based on events recounted in a best-selling Japanese book of 1965—was Japan's 2nd highest grossing film in 1967. Famous Japanese actors depict Japan's wrenching struggles with its own history during the "longest day," which takes place after the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and Russia entered the war against Japan.
If one understands that in the Japanese culture 100% consensus is necessary to make a decision, then an observer realizes how difficult it was for Emperor Hirohito to convince all of his war council and cabinet to accept surrender. Indeed, unlike U.S. President Harry Truman’s power as commander-in-chief of the military, the Emperor was not in charge of his military, who wanted to fight to the death.
The Army general in charge wanted to wage a war on Japanese soil and so resisted surrender despite the loss of troops, ships, and resources in the Pacific. Indeed, some officers’ response to the news of Japan’s impending surrender was to organize a coup d’etat which killed the Captain of the Imperial Guards. Several thousand Army troops took over the Emperor’s headquarters in an attempt to destroy the surrender tapes, scheduled to be broadcast the next day. They prepared counterfeit orders to be substituted.
Up to the broadcast of the surrender, the entire nation of some 70 million military and civilians on the mainland were ready to fight to the death when the Allies would invade, which also would initiate the extermination of Allied POWs held in camps all over Japan. With a quarter million Asians dying per month, how many more would have to die waiting for America to invade November lst?
Watch the three-minute trailer of Japan's Longest Day. Expand your own views of cultural elements that are unique to Japan as you seek to judge times long past. ❇