Never Apologize to Japan For Dropping the A-Bomb

Wreckage of buildings in Hiroshima after the dropping of the atomic bomb (August 1945). (Photo by
Keystone/Getty Images

President Obama is off on another apology tour, this time to Hiroshima, Japan. If you think any apology to Japan is not only unnecessary but asinine, you belong to a very large club. It’s called Hell No!

Obama may stop short of making an explicit apology for our nation dropping two atomic bombs on Japan in August 1945 to bring a swift end to World War II. More likely he will instead offer “regrets,” which of course is the same thing in the eyes of “world opinion.”

To most Americans, this whole Obama apology scenario has it backwards. Japan should be thanking the United States for ending that war mercifully. Japan surrendered six days after the second bomb was dropped.

I say “mercifully” because the alternative to using the two atomic bombs was a US Army invasion of the Japanese homeland beginning in October 1945. It would likely have extended well into 1946.

The estimated Japanese deaths if that invasion had been necessary: a minimum of 2,000,000. Japan in March 1945 had an army of 2.5 million in training to repel the expected invasion, and American military casualties from only the first phase of the invasion were anticipated to exceed 130,000 and 25,000 dead.

Historians have noted that even many of the Japanese kamikazes, the suicide pilots who flew their planes into American warships, were happy the war ended without an American invasion, when they would be called upon to make that sacrifice.

There is another, somewhat macabre reason the anti-nuclear pacifists among us ought to be grateful for the that first use of atomic weapons.

In July 1945, the atomic bomb was tested in New Mexico and it now existed in the American arsenal.

The Soviet Union knew all about the Manhattan Project thanks to Soviet spies, and by 1945 was busy developing its own atomic bomb.

Thus, the development of nuclear weapons was well underway and would have continued even if we had not used the bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Let’s acknowledge the brute reality that the visual, human evidence of the horrific nature of the atomic bomb revealed to the world by Hiroshima made the use of those devastating weapons less likely during the 1945-1990 Cold War. Without that evidence, it is more likely the US and USSR would have had a nuclear confrontation, not a nuclear standoff.

In US military planning for the invasion of Japan, Canadian and British forces were going to be part of the invasion force, but not Soviet forces because the Soviet Union had not yet declared war on Japan. They did so on August 9, the day Nagasaki was hit with the second atomic bomb.

What if we did not have the atomic bombs or had not used them?

If we had to invade Japan and defeat its large army, would we have turned down an offer from the Soviet Union to add a few Red Army divisions to the invasion force if it meant fewer American casualties?

Could the involvement of the Red Army that have resulted in a divided Japan like what happened with a divided Germany– a Soviet occupation that would have hindered Japan’s economic growth after the war?

The use of the atomic bomb meant that Japan was spared the total devastation that Germany experienced. The Japanese economy recovered quickly under the American-imposed constitution. Can you imagine that mutually profitable economic partnership developing if 2,000,000 Japanese had died fighting an American invading force?

The truth is, the horrible, unprecedented devastation caused by the atomic bomb and the lack of any defense against it gave the Japanese Emperor a face-saving way to surrender and end the war.

Japan has already apologized for the aggression against Pearl Harbor and the many atrocities committed in China and other places during the war. The Japanese people are not expecting or petitioning for an apology for the atomic bombs dropped to end the war quickly.

The atomic bomb saved over two million lives, Japanese and American. So, why in the world would Obama think Americans should feel guilty or have regrets?

The answer lies in Obama’s ideology: every misadventure of the 20th century was in some way caused by a misuse of American power.

To Obama and the American left, the use of the atomic bomb on the largely civilian population of two Japanese cities fits that pattern.

For Obama, the fact that the first use of atomic weapons by the United States was against an Asian nation would only confirm our innate racism.

For more than 50 years, Japan has been a staunch American ally in the Pacific and in world affairs generally. That may change now that Obama is rewriting history and thereby undermining that relationship.


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