Nagasaki, Mon Amour via BullionVault


This reader was particularly annoyed by our implication that dropping an atomic bomb on civilians was perhaps not such a good idea. (We’ll come back to that in a minute.)

BGT is as ancient as the Old Testament. Each generation, each culture, and each tribe has had its bad guys. The neighboring village. The nation over the mountains. Spartans. Queers. Yids. Reds. Bourgeois reactionaries. Mensheviks. Kulaks. Intellectuals. Gypsies. Heretics. Papists. Prods. Huns. Gooks. Kafirs. Insurgent Filipino savages. Rebel slaves. And bog-trotting, mouth-breathing, knuckle-dragging Paddies.

They all deserved to die…and all got the death sentence. Not that they necessarily did anything wrong. But their thoughts…their beliefs…their intentions and motivations marked them as bad guys.

But how could you know what was really in peoples’ hearts and minds? Use the rack and thumbscrews to find out!


On 8 August 1945, Nagasaki, Japan was still intact. Its citizens were living on short rations. They were mostly old men, women, and children…The young men had already been drafted into the army.

If we had been able to look into their hearts and minds, we probably would have found that they wished the entire American nation would drop dead.

Admiral Nimitz ruled the sea. General LeMay was master of the air. And General MacArthur was already on Japanese soil at Okinawa.

It was because of them, they reasoned, that the Japanese were dying of disease and hunger – short of food, fuel, clothing, and just about everything else.

It was onto these people that Harry Truman dropped the second atomic bomb.


Dwight Eisenhower, then supreme commander of the allied forces in Europe, disagreed. He recalled in a 1963 interview that:

“…it wasn’t necessary to hit them with that awful thing…I voiced to him my grave misgivings, first on the basis of my belief that Japan was already defeated and that dropping the bomb was completely unnecessary, and secondly because I thought that our country should avoid shocking world opinion by the use of a weapon whose employment was, I thought, no longer mandatory as a measure to save American lives…”

William Leahy, the president’s chief of staff, wrote in his diary:

“It is my opinion that the use of this barbarous weapon at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of no material assistance in our war against Japan. The Japanese were already defeated and ready to surrender…My own feeling was that in being the first to use it, we had adopted ethical standard common to the barbarians of the Dark Ages. I was not taught to make war in that fashion, and wars cannot be won by destroying women and children…”

Even the Uber Bomber himself, Major General Curtis LeMay, who had already scorched Tokyo with the most destructive bombing raid in history, was against it:

“The war would have been over in two weeks without the Russians entering and without the atomic bomb…the atomic bomb had nothing to do with the end of the war at all.”

So was Admiral Chester Nimitz, who had beaten the Japanese fleet and chased them back to the home islands:

“The Japanese had, in fact, already sued for peace before the atomic age was announced to the world with the destruction of Hiroshima and before the Russian entry into the war…The atomic bomb played no decisive part, from a purely military standpoint, in the defeat of Japan…”

And what about America’s top commander in the Pacific, General Douglas MacArthur?

President Nixon recalled:

“[General Douglas] MacArthur once spoke to me very eloquently about it, pacing the floor of his apartment in the Waldorf. He thought it a tragedy that the bomb was ever exploded. MacArthur believed that the same restrictions ought to apply to atomic weapons as to conventional weapons, that the military objective should always be limited damage to noncombatants…MacArthur, you see, was a soldier. He believed in using force only against military targets, and that is why the nuclear thing turned him off…”

So what to make of it? Who were the bad guys?

You decide.

Read more at Nagasaki, Mon Amour

This entry was posted in *English and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply