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The actors are gone. The debate continues.


The point is: We dropped the bombs and saved a lot of lives. We… and the Japanese… would have had a bloodbath if we had invaded Japan. And they knew we were coming; they knew where we were gonna land; and they had their guns waiting for us.


2014.07.30 Wed posted at 14:40 JST


Theodore Van Kirk, 93, Enola Gay Navigator, Dies

He added: “The entire city was covered with smoke and dust and dirt. I describe it looking like a pot of black, boiling tar. You could see some fires burning on the edge of the city.”

Mr. Van Kirk remembered “a sense of relief.”

“Even though you were still up there in the air and no one else in the world knew what had happened, you just sort of had a sense that the war was over, or would be soon,” he told Bob Greene in Mr. Greene’s 2000 book, “Duty.”


The crews that dropped the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki were seen by Americans as saviors for ending the war. But over the years, the morality of atomic warfare and the need for the bombings has been questioned.

Mr. Van Kirk joined his fellow crewmen in unwavering defense of the atomic raids.

“We were fighting an enemy that had a reputation for never surrendering, never accepting defeat,” he said. “It’s really hard to talk about morality and war in the same sentence.”

He continued: “Where was the morality in the bombing of Coventry, or the bombing of Dresden, or the Bataan Death March, or the Rape of Nanking, or the bombing of Pearl Harbor? I believe that when you’re in a war, a nation must have the courage to do what it must to win the war with a minimum loss of lives.”

Hiroshima NagasakiHiroshima Nagasaki
Paul Ham


ウォールストリートジャーナルでは8月6日に合わせてか、Hiroshima Nagasakiというオーストラリア人記者の書いた本の書評を掲載していました。ここでも原爆の正当性について考察しています。原爆の使用はすでに敗戦が濃厚になっていた日本に対してはやり過ぎなのではなかったか、ソ連が日本に攻め込むのを牽制するためではなかったという議論が取り上げられていますが、やはり総力戦なのでやむを得なかったという論調になっています。

Book Review: 'Hiroshima Nagasaki' by Paul Ham
The atomic bombings gave the irresolute Japanese emperor and his military chiefs an excuse to end the war.

Aug. 5, 2014 8:04 p.m. ET

From the beginning, however, there were critics. The first wave, motivated primarily by moral revulsion, is best represented by the popular writer John Hersey, whose "Hiroshima" (1946) put a human face on the bomb's victims and graphically depicted their suffering. Many of the early critics even declared that Japan was trying to surrender when blindsided by the nuclear weapon. A second wave, launched by the radical scholar Gar Alperovitz ("Atomic Diplomacy," 1965), asserted that the bomb was deployed against an already defeated Japan to deter Soviet expansionism.

Paul Ham, the Australian correspondent of the Sunday Times of London, at times seems close to endorsing the Alperovitz thesis, but in the end he finds it simplistic. It is one thing to say that American leaders did not welcome a planned Soviet grab of the northernmost Japanese home island of Hokkaido, another to declare that this threat was the primary reason for deploying atomic weapons. Moral anger drives Mr. Ham. It is directed in roughly equal parts at Japanese elites (dithering civilians, fanatical generals), American developers of the weapon (especially Gen. Leslie Groves, whom he regards as an especially callous militarist), and the architect of the incendiary-bombing campaign that razed many Japanese cities before Hiroshima (Gen. Curtis LeMay).

この記事でもバンカークさんの“It's really hard to talk about morality and war in the same sentence.”という言葉が取り上げられています。

The author's liberally distributed indignation is understandable. The Pacific war was vicious and homicidal. From the 1937 rape of Nanking on, Japan engaged in the indiscriminate killing of millions of Chinese. The U.S. incendiary bombing offensive against Japan was indiscriminate and consumed the lives of many innocents. Mr. Ham condemns Henry Stimson, the U.S. secretary of war, for first objecting to the targeting of civilians and then "accepting the grotesque casuistry that 'workers' homes' represented a military target."

Yet in an age of industrialized total war, the assumption was not illogical. It was invoked by Nazis who bombed the East End of London, then by British and Americans who destroyed one German industrial center after another about as effectively as LeMay went at Japan. Dresden and many other German cities gave up their own quotas of maimed and burned children. The atomic bombs added only the special horror of radiation sickness. Timothy Snyder's important book "Bloodlands" (2010) aptly underscores the awful non-nuclear carnage in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe.

Dutch Van Kirk, looking back on Hiroshima with few regrets, expressed the logic of 20th-century total war with terse eloquence: "It's really hard to talk about morality and war in the same sentence."

Rising from the AshesRising from the Ashes
Akiko Mikamo


BBCは被爆者の立場にたったWhen time stood stillというサイトを立ち上げているのですね。被爆者の娘である美甘章子(Mikamo Akiko)さんがラジオで英語でお話しされています。美甘さんは昨年著書を出版されているようですね。

When time stood still
A Hiroshima survivor's story
By Vibeke Venema
24 July 2014

My Father Survived Hiroshima
Duration: 55 minutes
First broadcast: Monday 24 February 2014

Dr Akiko Mikamo's father Shinji survived the atomic bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima in 1945. Dr Mikamo says that despite suffering severe burns which have led to health problems throughout his life, her father has never held a grudge against the Americans and always taught his daughter about the importance of forgiveness.