Hiroshima Saved 500,000 American Lives?

Note: Repost from the old blog.
Or 1 million American lives, plus countless Japanese lives (As if we cared about that!), plus British lives (Huh?).
My late father was quite fond of this one, as he was scheduled to be with the invading force for the invasion of Japan.
This bullshit has become ingrained in the minds of tens of millions of otherwise intelligent, sensible and liberal Americans, like my parents for instance. It’s a bunch of crap. After the bombs were dropped, no one made any efforts to explain the mass slaughter of civilians away with justifications about saving lots of lifes by massacring 300,000 others in a couple of days.
It was only after time went on and questions started arising about the need to drop those bombs in the first place that this choice piece of steaming propaganda crap steak was served up and fed to an American public hungry to have their guilt absolved.
There has long been consensus among historians, including US historians, that the 500,000 lives saved figure is complete nonsense. In fact, when scholars finally got access to all of the secret reports that the US had made on how many US lives were be saved by dropping the two bombs, the estimates concluded that no more than 20,000 US lives were saved by dropping atom bombs, and possibly much fewer, even down to zero.
Keep in mind that the Japanese were getting ready to surrender at the time. The military was devastated, and the nation was in ruins. The army and civilians were both going hungry, and there were shortages of everything. The whole society was near collapse.
The Japanese were negotiating terms of surrender with us, but there was a sticking point in that they wanted to keep the emperor. We said no way, and dropped the bomb. We dropped the second one before they even knew what hit them. Why did we drop two bombs, including the utterly gratuitous bomb at Nagasaki? Because that was all we had – two bombs. As it turned out, we let them keep their emperor anyway.
There is good evidence, knowing the depths of the evil and stinking gutters in which the worms of US imperialism have always slithered, that the bombs were dropped for the most part in order to scare the shit out of the USSR. Many historical analyses have stated that this was indeed the reason for dropping the bombs, or at least a secondary reason.
Considering scholarly consensus on this subject for at least 23 years, it’s incredible that the American people have never been told that the 500,000 figure is a big, fat, stinking lie. “Freedom of the press” and American “democracy”, what a joke.


Miles Jr., Rufus E. 1985. Hiroshima: The Strange Myth of Half a Million American Lives Saved. International Security. Vol. 10:2, 121-140
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One thought on “Hiroshima Saved 500,000 American Lives?”

  1. I’m in basic agreement with most of this, but one of the crew from the Enola gaY wrote home before the mission that they were going to do something that would “end the war quickly and thereby save 100’s of 1000’s of American soldiers’ lives.” So at least the crews of the 2 bombers were told this version of the rationale at the time, if cable TV’s History channel is to be taken as an accurate source.
    We were trying to scare off Russia, who were due to show up in a short time. But we also may have been trying to “test out” our new toy.
    Just think, when no one had a nuke, when we were the only ones in the room with a gun, we used it, on a civilian population, when our backs were not against the wall. When asked why we dropped number 2 on Nagasaki, we were taught growing up that it was because the Japanese did not surrender after seeing the first bomb’s destruction. They needed another “push”.
    That has turned out to be untrue..there was no time for either damage assessment or verification between the first and second bombs.
    IMO, the dropping of the Atom bombs was a black stain on our national soul.
    Some years back i was working as a news announcer and engineer for a south Florida NPR station. I was given the rare opportunity to go to a local restaurant and interview Paul Tibbets, the Enola Gay pilot. He doesn’t like to give interviews, and this was a career-enhancing chance. I refused to do it, without hesitation. I didn’t want to be in the same room, let alone at the same table of food, as the guy that killed over 100,000 men, women and children in a split second. My feeling was that if there were such things as demons, they constantly hovered around Tibbets, waiting for the moment to snatch him to hell, and I don’t want to draw their attention to myself. What this guy did was beyond cold and callous..and yes, i understand that there was a collective consciousness of the era, a national tribal sentiment that had seen mass murder and the meat-grinder of war, and human rights abuses at the hands of the “japs”, and the demonization of a group of humans that conveniently looked physically different from “us” to the point that even Dr. Suess was drawing cartoons that demonized ‘them’. But…’they’ were human beings and civilians consisting of men but mostly women, children and the elderly. They recieved no warning, they posed no threat, they had no reason to expect bombings, to the point where the populace of Hiroshima ignored air-raid sirens and continued going about their business. After all, neither city was a militarily significant target.
    Tibbets was mature and experienced enough to think this through. The rest of the crew might’ve been youngsters that didn’t consider too deeply the specific implications of what they were doing…but not, IMO, Tibbets.
    Hell, even Curtis LeMay admitted at the time that if “we lost the war we’d all be tried as war criminals”.
    But Tibbets could’ve declined the mission..they’d have found someone else of course, but I was assigned to interview Tibbets and if it had been someone else I’d have reacted the same way.
    I wouldn’t have done it.
    I wouldn’t have accepted the interview assignment and i wouldn’t have accepted the bombing mission.
    The medals and promotions wouldn’t have assuaged my conscience or got me a window cabin in hell.
    “Calling it a job don’t make it right boss.” …Cool Hand Luke
    So the station manager was miffed, and gave the assignment to the next senior station show producers, who jumped at the opportunity. They returned later that day on cloud nine, whooping and holding the DAT tape over their heads as they danced through the station singing “We got it! We got it! Major piece!”
    Cheers kids…all the best. Hope you didn’t unknowingly bring something back with you that’s allergic to holy water.
    Tibbets basically told them he had no regrets, that he saved 1000’s of lives and the Japs wouldn’t have surrendered, that they were all crazy fanatics..like Samurai..and only the imminent complete annihilation of the country could get through their psychosis.
    OK..if he wants to believe that fine. I suppose he has to think like that. What’s the alternative? Coming to terms with simple reality? No..it seems that trying to do that would make any sane person sit in the bathtub, down a fifth of Bourbon, and shoot themselves in the head.
    Ever since that day my boss developed an attitude towards me, and we never got along well thereafter. I wound up quitting some months later, as of today i haven’t been back to broadcasting, I lift bags of mulch and rocks all day in the garden department at the home depot for a living.
    But I live trying to do what I think is right, and like mr. Tibbets, I have no regrets.

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