Film director Stone dismisses U.S. A-bomb claim as ‘tremendous lie’

by Mai Iida

Kyodo

American film director Oliver Stone has challenged the commonly held U.S. perception that the 1945 atomic bombing of Japan ended World War II — saving a huge number of American lives in the process — as “a tremendous lie” during his visit to Hiroshima through Wednesday.

“It’s easy to look at the issue simply that Americans dropped the bomb to end World War II because Japanese militarists would not give up . . . (but) that would be the surface explanation,” Stone, 66, said as part of his Japan trip to attend a series of peace events commemorating the 68th anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

“But those people who looked deeper will find out there is a much more cynical explanation,” he said, noting the Soviet Union’s war on Japan, begun on Aug. 9, was “a strong factor” behind Tokyo’s surrender six days later.

“The United States was able to get away with it because we were the winners. But as a result, we lost our moral compass,” he said. “We were able to use nuclear threats against Vietnam, against the Soviet Union, against whoever we had to get our win.”

Stone, who went to the Vietnam War as “a young man, as a believer I was fighting communism,” said that for decades he used to take as a given the justification for the atomic bombings.

But his view changed after he started research with U.S. historian Peter Kuznick, with whom he produced a 10-part documentary series and companion book, “The Untold History of the United States.”

Coming to Hiroshima for the first time, Stone visited the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, met atomic bomb survivors and attended the city’s memorial ceremony held Tuesday morning near ground zero at exactly at the same moment when the atomic bomb code-named Little Boy was dropped by a U.S. B-29 bomber 68 years ago.

The blast, fire and radiation from the world’s first atomic bombing devastated the city, with the temperature on the ground at the hypocenter rising as high as 3,000 to 4,000 degrees.

Referring to the U.S. wars in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan as behaviors to “trash” those countries, he said the origins of “American empire” come from the atomic bombing and criticized his country for having “no sense of history.”

“We never think about the implications of what we do,” he said, noting the importance of remembering the lessons of history to prevent the recurrence of tragedy.

“When you come to Hiroshima, if you can remember or try to remember, that’s the first step in keeping your humanity,” he said. “The battle of memory against forgetting is the battle of civilization against inhumanity.”

Kuznick, who is traveling with Stone, said he greatly admires the hibakusha, as “they have turned their anger, bitterness and hatefulness into something positive” and “led the fighting against nuclear weapons.”

Kuznick described as a “fundamental contradiction” the fact that Japan has been opposed to atomic weapons while relying on the U.S. nuclear umbrella.

  • Tyler Chester

    I’m not sure how I feel with his sentiment. I do agree the U.S. wasn’t aware of the moral implications prior to bombing Japan. I feel the U.S. has learned from their mistakes, that’s probably why they haven’t used an atomic bomb since. It caused a lot of destruction but in the end, Japan and the United States forged a great relationship. Japan is well developed and an industrial giant in today’s society. I also think the bomb was to show the Soviet Union that the U.S. meant business. Japan wasn’t innocent either, they occupied parts of China and committed horrific crimes against their own citizens. I think it ultimately saved lives though on both sides of the Pacific.

    • Glen

      Stone is a fantasist. When taking that terrible decision, Truman had to consider the following: estimates of 250,0000 american casualities and MANY MORE japanese ones if a ground invasion was attempted,the option to blockade a japan reliant on food imports causing mass starvation for untold japanese men , woman and children, and the apparent resolve of japan to fight on given the huges losses they took in Okinawa (100,000 men).What the hell should he have done other than drop the bomb?
      Stone says that the japanese would have surrended when the Russians entered the war, but they knew this was coming and it didn`t seem to dent their resolve. Even after the A bomb the japanese war cabinet was split with the hard core militarists wanting to fight on. How do we know the A-bomb ended the war? Among other things because Hirohito said so himself in his surrender address.

      • Jens Gerlach

        There is book by the German political scientist Kindermann about the the history of East Asia from 1840 to 2000. I remember his argument as follows:

        - Japan was, although an ally of Germany, not at war with the Soviet Union

        - this made some in the leading circles of Japan hope that the USSR could help broker a amore favourable deal between the western allies and Japan

        - the USSR, however, stood to their agreements with the US to declare war against Japan not later than three month after the capitulation of Germany (8 May)

        Stone therefore definitely has a point, that waiting with the bomb for another week would have given the Japanese leaders an opportunity to react on the declaration of war by the Soviet Union.

      • Steve Gregg

        The Japanese were killing 400,000 people per month at the end of the war. Every week you wait, they kill another 100,000. Why would you spare the aggressor at the expensive of its victims?

      • Enteringsandman

        sorry for spamming you, but this is interesting. Who were they killing? Link or cite me please :)

      • Steve Gregg

        Mostly civilians in their occupied countries by taking their food, redirecting their economy, stealing their stuff. But they also casually killed a significant fraction of that.

      • Enteringsandman

        There were plenty of options to get Japan to surrender before nuking them (both free and quick), see my post above for details

      • Darryl Myers

        As far as I know (I have studied history for years but I admit I am not a specialist in this area), there is no record–memos, meeting transcripts, operational plans, etc.–that anyone in the Truman administration explicitly considered the Soviet factor in deciding to use the atomic bombs. All of the discussion and planning was about avoiding the huge cost and casualties of a conventional invasion of Japan, and what it would take to persuade the Japanese government to surrender. As far as I know.

      • Christopher Glen

        Truman had but to offer Japan one or two concessions. Unconditional surrender was a b.s demand

    • Jens Gerlach

      I don’t agree that the U.S. and Japan have a “great relationship”. Surely, the Japan governments have tied itself very closely to the U.S. but at the same time Japan has failed to develop healthy relationships with its more direct neighbors (South Korea, China, Russia). The U.S. are far far away from Japan…

      • Steve Gregg

        The US made Japan an economic superpower. That’s a pretty great relationship. If you read the history of WWII, you may discover why Koreans and Chinese don’t care much for Japanese. And the Russians don’t get along with anyone.

  • Murasaki

    Good to see not all Americans are brainwashed in to thinking dropping atomic weapons on the elderly, women and children was a good thing.

    Truth about Japan and the war in the Pacific

    The former US President H. Hoover said that Japan would never have attacked the US unless provoked, and that FDR provoked Japan into attacking Pearl Habor

    1994 declassified US document stated the US provoked Japan in to attack it, a 8 step plan was given to FDR on how to provoke Japan in to attacking so Germany would declare war on the USA and allow the USA to enter the war in Europe.

    Decision to industrialize USSR was made long before Hitler came to power. By the january 1933 construction in USSR was in full speed. As Stalin said in 1931:”…. We are lagging behind the advanced countries by 50-100 years. We must run this distance in ten years. Either we do it, or they crush us. ” (Stalin, Collected Works, V. 13, pp. 38-39).

    The main reason of the “pacification” of nazy Germany by England and France was to have force, that could be led toward USSR borders. But the beast turn against them first.

    But even if Hitler would never come to power, there were many willing parties to make war to USSR. Even Poland had such plans:

    “…Report from soviet agent, which got to Stalin: “The Turkish headquarters in Ankara received from Germany, Poland and England reports that the Soviet war with Poland take place in early 1930 … Poland through the Swedish Embassy in Berlin, turned to the germans with request, at the time of war let pass through the territory of Germany all that Poland will require from France in time of war, including the troops … The Germans categorically denied … The British suggested to the Turks at the time of war or be neutral, opening a free pass through the Dardanelles to English fleet, or take part in the war against the Soviet Union. ”

    So it goes. It’s not misinformation: according to the reports of others, the chief of the General Staff of the Poland Gonsyarovsky mentioned, that there are agreements between Poland and the Japanese – when the Japanese invade the Soviet Union, the Poles will strike from their side. He also held talks with the British and French staffs …

    Interestingly, a Soviet agent for sure was part of the inner circle of the chief of the Polish General Staff, as follows clearly from the reports: the information obtained by the agent was from the personal conversation with Gonsyarovsky.

    All of these ideas have been developed in detail in a solid theoretical work by B. Studnitsky who was close to Pilsudski (polish dictator) . In his book, “The political system of Europe and Poland” (1935) he elaborates on plans to attack the USSR with combined efforts of Poland, Germany, Japan and Finland, tear Ukraine, Crimea, Karelia, Caucasus and Turkestan, and gave to Japanese russian Far East up to the lake Baikal (this is to the issue of the white and fluffy, innocent and peace-loving Poland subjected in 1939, well, to absolutely unprovoked Soviet attack …) ”

    FDR refused to send assistance to Chang Ki Schiek of nationalist china, instead he abandon nationalist china which was an Allie of the US and handed it to the commies that are still running it today.

    Japan was assisting Chang Ki Schiek of nationalist china fighting against the commies, FDR was afraid if he did not help the commie chinese, then Starlin in the USSR would take over china, then Japan and then the USA.

    Without FDR taunting Japan with an oil embargo and then allowing them to attack an Pearl Habor, the Germans would never have declared war and the US would have been left out of the war in Europe and the South Pacific.

    If the US did not provoke Japan in to attacking pearl habor this is what would have happen

    - Japan would have conquered southeast Asia and China

    - The Soviets would have eventually conquered Germany and absorbed their nuclear and missile technology and marched to the English Channel

    - The Soviets would have become the world’s sole nuclear super power and turned their attention to conquering China, Japan, and Southeast Asia.

    - The Soviets would have given Great Britain an ultimatum to surrender or be turned into a parking lot

    - Africa and South America would have fallen to Soviet aggression.

    - The USA, fat dumb and happy with no nuclear offense or defense, no allies and an industrial base never having recovered from the great depression would have been given an ultimatum to surrender to the Soviets or be destroyed.

    • 思德

      You are misinformed regarding the Chinese front. Chiang Kai Shek was fighting the Japanese. The two week resistance at the Battle of Shanghai, while bitterly short for the Chinese, absolutely infuriated the Japanese who thought it would be a cakewalk. Political concessions often had to be made to the Japanese by Chinese politicians leading up to 1937 due to military realities. China simply hadn’t caught up yet and was still too politically divided.

      A large pert of why the Communists won against Chiang Kai Shek after the war had to do with his forces being chewed away by the Japanese continuously while the Communists played hit and fade games, letting the Japanese tire the Nationalists out for the inevitable civil war that both the Nationalists and Communists knew was coming. We sent the Nationalists massive amounts of aid after WWII during the Chinese Civil war to help them fight the communits; air lifts, equipment, arms. Huge amounts in modern terms. But there was nothing for it- the Nationalists, after years of corruption, abuse, ruining the economy and repeated losses against the Japanese, had lost all public support.

      You are right about the US not giving China any credit, though; I didn’t even realize they were involved in WWII until I went to college, and only because I studied China specifically. If it weren’t for Japan’s obsession with conquering China, the Pacific Theatre might have been far, far more difficult for us to win.

    • Andrey Dalnov

      Interesting, we never discussed events prior to Pearl Habor from such point of view in our institute (for US and Canada studies, Moscow). You made me believe that I must read more on the point some day.

    • Hitokiri 1989

      Sources please? There is one thing I know for sure though. Japan was a primary contributor to the rise of Communism in Asia. Without Japanese military action, the KMT would not have lost their best troops, the Soviets would not have entered Manchuria and North Korea and Ho Chi Minh would not have been in a position to form his Democratic Republic of Vietnam. Essentially Japan led to the rise of Communism in Asia.

      • shinjukuboy

        The primary contributor to Asian communism was European Imperialism. Asia experienced capitalism at the other end of the stick. Our wealth was sucked into Europe and we were enslaved. We don’t like capitalism even today.

      • Eric D. Mertz

        That wasn’t Capitalism. That was Mercantilism. And yes, there IS a difference. Mercantilism is a system designed to suck wealth from the territories on the basis of a zero-sum economic model which is inherently flawed on a logical and economic basis. Capitalism is about the equal exchange of value for value. I would suggest reading the works of Smith or Mises to understand where you are mistaken. The Capitalist philosophers decried the exact same effects of Mercantilism you are.

      • shinjukuboy

        Mercantilism? I gues that makes you feel real good.

      • Hitokiri 1989

        I did say “a” and not “the” primary contributor to Asian Communism. The Japanese did not even do what their supposed goal was in China, to rid it of Communism. They left the CCP alone for most of the war. Anyway I just raised the point, as Japanese revisionists like to point out how Japan’s actions led to the “liberation of Asia”. They must also get credit for the rise of Communism imo.

      • Christopher-trier

        “Enslaved” is naked hyperbole. Had it not been for the complicity of numerous factions in the different Asian countries/empires (India and China are both empires that became countries) then very little of Asia would have been colonised. After all, the 1857 Indian uprising was put down primarily with Indian troops, Vietnamese rulers were complicit with the French (at times for no other reason than to mitigate the worst), Chinese officials — up to the imperial household itself — were making vast profits on the opium trade. Chinese merchants were also the ones who distributed the evil product to their fellows, etcetera.

  • Jay Wilson

    As much as I dislike Oliver Stone, it’s agreeable to see someone else thinks that the bomb was dropped not just to save American lives

    • Steve Gregg

      Saving American lives was paramount. All other considerations were trivial.

  • http://www.sheldonthinks.com/ andrew Sheldon

    His side of politics and ‘the other’ is proof enough we lost the intellectual war. The ‘nuclear consequences’ were there for everyone….WWII, Vietnam….even our crazy friend in North Korea. He likes them so much, he needed to build his own. Why? Because they work. If he is allowed to develop and keep nuclear weapons he will be able to extort all-manner of concessions…None as serious as the tax offices ability to extort though.

  • Steve van Dresser

    I once had doubts about the necessity of using the A-bombs to end the Pacific war, until I visited the Peace Park in Okinawa. There, I learned that the Battle of Okinawa, using conventional weapons in a “Rain of Steel”, killed more people than Hiroshima and Nagasaki combined. Most of those who died in the month long conquest of Okinawa were civilians.

    Okinawa is a very small island group, much smaller than even the smallest prefecture in Kyushu. Many Japanese didn’t even consider residents of Okinawa to be Japanese. If more than a quarter of million people had to die defending this speck in the ocean, how many would have died when the next target, southern Kyushu island, in the homeland, was attacked as planned in November, 1945.

    Japan knew it had lost the war before the Battle of Okinawa, but they didn’t surrender. Japan knew it had lost the war, but it didn’t surrender after losing that battle, either. And Japan didn’t surrender after the a-bomb attack on Hiroshima. While American forces were planning the invasion of Kyushu, part of which would have struck at the Hitotsuba Beach in my new hometown, Miyazaki City, the Japanese were planning for the defense of Kyushu, not for any surrender. I have seen no evidence suggesting that Japan would have surrendered before the battle of Kyushu if the a-bombs had not been used. And if the Battle of Kyushu were proportionate to the Battle of Okinawa, millions of Japanese would have been killed here before an assault on the the main island of Honshu.

    • RIKA

      so, you are saying, dropping the atomic bomb was the only solution to make Japanese surrender?

      • Eric D. Mertz

        Had the United States invaded Japan it would have gone down in history as the first case in world history of involuntary or defensive genocide. By the time we dropped the bombs, the following things were true:

        1. Japanese Pilots and Sailors were killing themselves in Kamikaze strikes against the United States Armed Forces
        2. Japanese soldiers were strapping bombs to civilians and sending them across the lines to explode and weaken US positions
        3. Japanese civilians were jumping into the sea to die – often taking those too young to understand what was happening with them – because of Japanese propaganda
        4. Japanese students as young as five years old were being trained in how to use rifles and machine guns in defense of the homeland
        5. Japanese soldiers were dieing – in the thousands – to defend scraps of land in the Pacific, how would they have reacted to an invasion of Honshu? You think Aokigahara is bad now? ALL of Mt. Fuji would have been covered in bodies. It would have been Iwo Jima writ across all four home islands.

        By the time Japan had been subdued its population would have shrunken so low that it never would have recovered. There were NO good choices at that point, just the choice that in the moral calculus was least bad. I pray to God everyday that no one else has to face that choice, and thank him Japan still exists.

      • Steve Gregg

        The atom bomb was the cheapest alternative with regard to loss of life on all sides. A conventional invasion would have cost millions of lives.

      • Enteringsandman

        Just plain wrong. A) Tell Japan you have nukes.

        B)Show Japan you have nukes (i.e. detonate over Tokyo bay)

        C)Tell Japan Russia will invade Mancuria

        D)Offer a surrender deal in which the emperor is preserved

        See http://gaijinsgrumblings.wordpress.com/2013/06/08/were-the-atomic-bombings-war-crimes/ for details!

      • Steve Gregg

        We dropped a nuke on Hiroshima, which told Japan we had a nuke and displayed its power. It wasn’t enough. And we had given a surrender demand to Japan two weeks before the atom bombings. They rejected it out of hand.

      • Enteringsandman

        Yes, but the surrender demand didn’t tell the Japanese that the USA had atomic weapons and were going to incinerate (another) city. The surrender should have warned that they had a nuke, and should have offered amnest to the imperial family (a key thing which prevented the Japanese from surrendering, as the allies knew, and then did anyway after killing everyone), then they should have demonstrated its power on a non-civilian population. If it still didn’t work then they would have finished the war on the 19th of August (when the third nuke would have been ready). The key thing is that you should avoid killing hundreds of thousands of civilians if you have another option, which the USA clearly did

      • Steve Gregg

        Dropping the atom bomb stopped the killing of 400,000 civilians per month by Japan. When you oppose the atom bombs, you’re endorsing more civilian deaths.

      • Jens Gerlach

        You endorse the killing of 100,000 civilians in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

      • Steve Gregg

        You endorse the killing of millions of Japanese in a conventional war when you reject the atom bomb. How is that more moral?

      • Christopher-trier

        The Americans demanded unconditional surrender — something highly unusual in the history of conflict. Had the Americans been more in keeping with diplomatic norms, terms of surrender highly favourable to the allies with token concessions to Japan, the war would have been over months before the bombs were dropped. Even after the first bomb was dropped on Hiroshima the Americans would not give the Japanese chain of command the chance to surrender — it had to be everything on American terms. Ironically, MacArthur saw to it that the emperor was maintained — the one thing the Japanese wanted assurance on before surrendering.

      • Steve Gregg

        The Japanese were very familiar with unconditional surrender since that is what they practiced. It is sheer fantasy that Japan would have accepted a negotiated surrender before the atom bombs. The Japanese always had the option to surrender. There is no time when the US would not have accepted a Japanese surrender. The very idea that America would have rejected a Japanese surrender is nuts.

      • Christopher-trier

        Nope, the USA demanded unconditional surrender — facts hurt, but they’re true.

      • Steve Gregg

        What conditions did Japan offer to the countries it conquered? Your contention that only the US demanded unconditional surrender is false.

      • Christopher Glen

        The Japanese in WW2 didn`t practice surrender, period. And certainly not the unconditional kind. I don`t know where you get your info. All that was needed were a few concessions, and no atom bombs would have been necessary

      • Christopher Glen

        The U.S could have dropped a nuke in a more isolated place, and it`s power would have still been demonstrated.

    • Christopher Glen

      The typical U.S party line. The fact was, the U.S would offer no guarantees about the fate of the Emperor, that was what encouraged the hardline stance of the militarists. And as we saw in the recent film: “Emperor” the U.S ended up keeping the Emperor anyway. For all you atom bomb proponents, I suggest you visit the A-bomb museum in Nagasaki, and see the bits of glass fused with human flesh

  • goseki

    The origins of the American empire really begin with the overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii in 1893.
    But yes the Russian threat was probably as big a “decider” in the surrender as the demonstration to the Soviets that the US had nuclear weapons and just how effective they were.
    Was it a war crime? Probably. Will anyone be punished for it? No, they were on the winning side. And winners write the history.

    • Christopher-trier

      You could also make arguments that it began during Andrew Jackson’s time as president as well. After all, that was when the “Five Civilised Tribes” were thrown off their legally recognised lands in favour of US settlers. The Mexican-American war also saw a vast increase in the size of US territory. An empire need not have far-flung colonies to qualify as one.

  • Lewis Clark

    I was discussing WWII with a good Japanese friend one evening when he made a surprising statement:

    “We are glad Mister Truman dropped the bomb.”

    When I asked why, he replied:

    “Because the US beat the Russians to Tokyo. Japan would be a very different country today if the Russians got there first.”

    • Mark Garrett

      Yeah, fewer Starbucks and McDonalds.

      • Christopher-trier

        It’s been over 20 years since Germany was legally reunified. In reality, the old border still exists in the mindset of both former West and East Germans. If the DPRK were to fall today, it would take at least 50 years before Korea could feasibly be reunified. I am not a great fan of the USA, but Starbucks and McDonald’s can be avoided, communism was destructive beyond anything even the most extreme excesses of American consumerism and pop culture could inflict.

      • Steve Gregg

        Starbucks and McDonald’s are not an occupying force. They only exist because people like their stuff enough to buy them. If people stopped liking them, they would shut down. They’re perfectly democratic in that sense. It’s wildly absurd to compare them in any way as being destructive to human life and spirit as communism.

      • Christopher-trier

        Read my comment again — I clearly stated that Starbucks and McDonald’s can be avoided, Communism could not. I made my comment as a response to someone who implied that.

    • Enteringsandman

      I think it`s a shame that so many Japanese are unwilling to critically evaluate the decision to drop the bombs. Russia had no troop transports in the area and could not have invaded the area for a long time. I got quite sad when a Japanese friend kept insisting that although it was sad it “couldn`t be helped”, which is what they are force fed as the party line…

      • Jens Gerlach

        I agree that it is sad that Japanese take this stance.

    • Steve Gregg

      That’s exactly true. Had we been forced to defeat Japan with conventional weapons, Russia would have time to invade Japan. It would have split Japan into North and South Japans, just like Vietnam and Korea. Inevitably, we would have had to fight another war there just like in Vietnam in Korea. Dropping the atom bombs ended the war quickly, maintaining Japan as one country.

      • Jens Gerlach

        If the USSR had entered Japan, then Hokkaido might have become a “Socialist Ainu Republic”. In an way, I think that Japan then had at least something to “mourn” about. I do not understand why Japan makes such a fuss about the four (fairly small) South Kuril Islands.

      • Steve Gregg

        Aggressors start small. If they are successful, they go for more.

  • 思德

    For a while I felt it was totally justified, however if you look at the situation and what was targeted, I don’t think the use of the nuclear weapon served any purpose except for the that of intimidation. Sometimes as an American I wondered why other super powers like China and Russia are so concerned about us. Considering that we were the only nation with the gall to use nuclear weapons, twice, I think it’s more reasonable than one might initially believe.

  • galacticcannibal

    So who the hell are we (the USA) to tell others you cannot have nuclear bombs (WMD) ??? That makes us the bully of the world, does it not ?

    • Steve Gregg

      It makes us the peacemaker.

      • blindanddumb

        peace through aggression . .its perfectly logical

      • Steve Gregg

        You’ve heard of Pearl Harbor, right? You are aware that Japan started the war, not us, right? And, you are aware that we have not dropped any atom bombs since, right?

      • Christopher-trier

        Isn’t it ironic that the USA would enter a war on the grounds that a country it was, and continues to, illegally occupy was attacked by another country seeking to cripple US military interests in its own region in order to prevent the US from cutting off its vital commodities?

      • Steve Gregg

        How does this relate to the atom bombing of Hiroshima?

      • Christopher-trier

        Why did the USA enter the war?

      • Steve Gregg

        Hawaii was not a country but a state. It was not occupied.

  • blindanddumb

    dropping an atomic bomb on civilian city is a war crime . .there can be no justification . . .but only the losers get prosecuted for war crimes

    • Steve van Dresser

      So, is dropping conventional bombs on civilian cities any different? I don’t see any moral difference between the fire bombing of Dresden and the atomic bombing of Hiroshima.

      • blindanddumb

        you’ll get no argument from me . . war is a crime and the elites on both sides should be executed

      • Steve Gregg

        So you think FDR should have been executed for war crimes?

    • Steve Gregg

      Hiroshima was not a civilian city but a military town and had been for a century. An eighth of its popularion was uniformed military. Much of the civilian population was engaged in the production of military supplies, mostly in their homes. And all Japanese civilians were tasked by their government to be combatants, resisting the invasion. In effect, the civilian population were a militia.

      • blindanddumb

        you could justify anything sitting there at your computer..

      • Steve Gregg

        Non sequitur. You’re avoiding historical fact. Hiroshima was a military town, proud of its samurai tradition.

      • Enteringsandman

        …and you’re avoiding that over 95% of the people killed were civilians…

      • Steve Gregg

        As I’ve repeated many times here and which the Hiroshima defenders keep ignoring, that’s false. An eighth of Hiroshima were uniformed soldiers. An eighth is 12.%. So you have pulled that 95% figure out of the air, made it up, fabricated it. Much of the civilian population made war supplies in their homes and all were tasked to be combatants resisting the invasion.

      • Enteringsandman

        I’m sure you’re aware of the irony of calling me out for not giving sources for my figure when you never do…

        I’m sorry, you appear to be illiterate. You said that an eighth of the population was military. I said that 95% of the people killed were not military. These things are not mutually exclusive. It is not surprising that a high proportion of civilians died relative to the total population because the USA targeted a central residential area rather than the military base.

        Some more quotes from people a lot more involved than you in the bombing:

        “The Japanese had, in fact, already sued for peace. The atomic bomb played no decisive part, from a purely military point of view, in the defeat of Japan.” Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, Commander in Chief of the U.S. Pacific Fleet.

        “In1945 Secretary of War Stimson, visiting my headquarters in Germany, informed me that our government was preparing to drop an atomic bomb on Japan. I was one of those who felt that there were a number of cogent reasons to question the wisdom of such an act. During his recitation of the relevant facts, I had been conscious of a feeling of depression and so 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.” Dwight D. Eisenhower

        “The use of [the atomic bombs] at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of no material assistance in our war against Japan. The Japanese were already defeated and ready to surrender.” Admiral William D. Leahy, Chief of Staff to President Truman

        Douglas MacArthur (Commander of US Army Forces in the Far East) – “There was no military justification for the dropping of the atomic bombs. The war might have ended weeks earlier, if the United States had agreed, as it later did anyway, to the retention of the institution of the [Japanese] Emperor.”

        “Based on a detailed investigation of all the facts, and supported by the testimony of the surviving Japanese leaders involved, it is the Survey’s opinion that certainly prior to 31 December 1945, and in all probability prior to 1 November 1945, Japan would have surrendered even if the atomic bombs had not been dropped, even if Russia had not entered the war, and even if no invasion had been planned or contemplated.” The United States Strategic Bombing Survey, July 1, 1946.

      • Steve Gregg

        Actually, I am quite literate but you are inumerate. If an eighth or 12.5% of the population are uniformed military, 95% of the population can not be civilian, only 87.5%. So, I repeat, you pulled that number out of the air.

        The military suffered disproportionately, not less, because 19,000 of them were caught out on an open parade ground doing mass exercises.

        Both Nimitz and MacArthur are wrong that the atom bomb did not force Japan to surrender, when Hirohito immediately surrendered after the bombs were dropped, cited the atom bombs as the reason, and his court later revealed that the atom bombs were the deciding factor in their discussions.

        You must realize that the Army and Navy were fighting for funds. MacArthur expected to lead an invasion into Japan one and a half times as big as the D-Day invasion, but was cheated of that glory by the atom bombs. Likewise, the Navy wanted to starve Japan out with a blockade, but was preempted by the Bomb. The success of the atom bomb meant that funds would be diverted from the army and navy to the the new air force. That is their meta-objection.

        The United States Strategic Bombing Survey for Japan is notoriously inferior to its counterpart in Germany. Its methods and conclusions were sloppy. However, even accepting its optimistic estimate that Japan would have surrendered on Nov 1, that is still two and half months in which the Japanese were killing 400,000 people per month, plus they would have killed the 150,000 POWs they held. That’s over a million people that would have been killed by the conventional war as opposed to 300,000 by the atom bombs.

      • Jens Gerlach

        So, are you suggesting it would have been ok to kill every Japanese civilian?

      • Steve Gregg

        If they fought on as combatants, yes. If they surrendered, no.

      • Yamatosenkan

        Hiroshima was a civilian target. The naval base of Kure, an hour from Hiroshima was a real military target, but was not the target of the A-bomb.

        By your logic, Nazi Germany would be justified in nuking Moscow because it was a center for production and recruits for militias. By that logic, anyone can A-bomb anyone else.

      • Steve Gregg

        Nazi Germany was the aggressor and therefore not justified in any of its attacks. By contrast, the Soviet Union would have been justified in nuking Berlin to defeat its invader. Likewise, the US planned to nuke Germany.

        As I’ve pointed out before, Hiroshima was a military city. Repeating that it was a civilian city does not make it so.

      • Matsuian

        Guess you missed where the Germans tried to eradicate Moskava eh?

  • RealityCheck4You

    Hearing Oliver Stone say this simply confirms that the opposite is true. A hallucinatory conspiracy theorist who peddles fiction movies thinly disguised as fact for his own financial gain, has no credibility. Although the history revisionists love spins like this, the known facts of the time say otherwise. But then, facts have never gotten in the way of a money-making film opportunity for O. Stoned.
    More likely, he has a movie about this in mind and is stirring the media pot to see whether it can be a financial success for him.

    • Enteringsandman

      Straw man argument; just because Stone is a douche doesn`t mean Hiroshima wasn`t a war crime. Which the known facts show it is.

      • Steve Gregg

        False. Argument by assertion.

      • Enteringsandman

        What am I asserting? The bombing was a deliberate targeting of a large civilian population, which was not the last option.

      • Steve Gregg

        You’re claiming the atom bombing was a war crime. It wasn’t. You are also ignoring that the Japanese government had tasked the entire civilian population to be combatants to resist the invasion.

      • Enteringsandman

        Why wasn’t it a war crime? It killed many civilians, and there was the option not to use it. Numerous lawyers agree with me, and the US themselves cited fear of being held to account over Hiroshima when rejecting the Rome convention on human rights. General Curtis Lemay (who relayed the attack order) said that they committed war crimes.

        You are making the bizarre assumption that just because a civilian population has been told to attack tanks with sticks, they will do so. Some of them would, but not so many. To say they are combatants is like calling any male victim of a drone strike a combatant. Oh wait…

      • Steve Gregg

        Please read my previous post that civilians were tasked to be combatants. You can not fight as a combatant and simultaneously claim exemption from retaliation as a civilian. The civilian population on Saipan and Okinawa did as they were told and fought the invasions there. It only seems a bizarre assumption that mainland Japanese would do the same if you don’t know the history of this fight in Saipan and Okinawa.

      • Matsuian

        You are obviously ignorant of the Japanese culture of the time.

        ALL of the civilians would have done what they were told. MOST of them would have died, for NOTHING except of course their own idea of honor which I do not discount.

        Bushido was applicable to ALL Japanese of the time and had been so since the 1920′s.

        You a simply ignorant of the facts on the ground at the time.

      • Enteringsandman

        so why didn’t they? There was a dress rehearsal for this on Okinawa, and although most civilians died, it was only because most of them were forced to fight or commit suicide by the military. This is according to the Okinawans, who I trust over the japanese textbook makers (even they now admit the military ‘ordered’ the civilians to commit suicide).

        I know that the view of the Japanese people is some kind of rabid mass that would do whatever they were told is common, and may be true to a small extent, but the idea that 100 million people would fight tanks with farm implements without being forced into it at gunpoint is ludicrous. The strongest part of human nature is self preservation. Japanese people are humans too. You are ignorant bordering on racist.

      • Jens Gerlach

        Still, it is a crime to kill to target civilian. In particular, in such big numbers.

  • Hitokiri 1989

    Curiously, he has not rebutted the assumption that the militarists would not surrender without the A-bomb. For better or worse, the A-bomb robbed Japan’s military leadership of any countermeasures of which they could use against the US.

    • Steve Gregg

      The militarists did not concede surrender even with the atom bombs. They did not budge from their position that they could bleed the invasion force enough to dictate terms. Hirohito overrode them.

      • Hitokiri 1989

        I agree with you but the A-bombs certainly made the militarists’ argument weaker when pressing their position toward the Emperor.

      • Steve Gregg

        After Hiroshima, Hirohito asked the military to make him a stronger bomb shelter that could withstand an atom bomb. When the military said his shelter was sufficient, Hirohito wavered and broke, going for surrender. In the end, Hirohito’s will to make war was broken when his own miserable life was threatened.

      • Enteringsandman

        source? If the military wanted hirohito dead they only had to bomb his palace…

      • Steve Gregg

        Hirohito didn’t know that the US would not bomb him. If it came down to an invasion, anything could have happenned. The official plan was to drop fifty atom bombs on Japan. Certainly, Tokyo would have been a main target, since it would have been an invasion target.

  • shadysentinel

    What Lewis Clark said is true. My grandmother (Japanese) expressed the exact same sentiment.

  • Steve Gregg

    Hirohito explicitly mentioned the atom bomb as the reason for surrendering in his address to the Japanese. The atom bombs did not change the minds of the Japanese military, who still thought they could bleed the invasion forces enough to dictate terms. So, Stone is wrong, as usual.

    • Enteringsandman

      As is your argument. The (real) question is not whether the atomic bombs were a factor in eliciting Japanese surrender, but whether there were other feasible options that would elicit surrender without incinerating hundreds of thousands of innocents, which there were…

      • Steve Gregg

        Yes, Japan could have been defeated with conventional weapons, but that would have extended the war and cost many more lives than the atom bombs. Therefore, rejecting the atom bombs is immoral.

      • Enteringsandman

        Not quite sure if you’re trolling given some of your other posts (I kind of hope so). I don’t mean conventional warfare, which I agree would have been catastrophic. I mean a demonstration and a surrender offer which the Japanese government could actually consider accepting (see my point about the imperial family above). Therefore, rejecting the atomic bombs is not immoral.

      • Steve Gregg

        Hiroshima was a demonstration. It didn’t work. It took two atom bombs with the threat of more coming to make the Japanese surrender immediately. Taking it easy on the enemy to make him surrender doesn’t work. You don’t win wars by soothing the enemy.

      • Enteringsandman

        What’s your view on not offering amnesty to the imperial family, despite knowing it is a major block to Japanese surrender? And asking for unconditional surrender? This alone shows that Japanese surrender, and the preservation of civilian life, was not the main concern of the US military

      • Steve Gregg

        Must I point out that we did, in fact, offer the Japanese a conditional surrender that maintained the Emperor, even though we called it an unconditional surrender? The main concern was to disassemble the Japanese racist tyranny so that it could never make war again. That’s what unconditional surrender was about.

      • Darryl Myers

        Remember at that time atomic bombs were the cutting edge of advanced technology and highly experimental. What if the US announced that it would demonstrate a powerful new weapon in Tokyo Bay and then the bomb fizzled? This would only strengthen Japanese resistance to surrender demands. US planners were highly worried about this possibility and this is why they considered and rejected the proposal to warn the Japanese in advance that a new powerful weapon would be used.

      • Enteringsandman

        No, there were other options, as I stated above. It is not an A or B choice between atomic bombs and mainland invasion. Do you think it is morally correct to use atomic bombs on a predominantly civilian population when it is not a last resort?
        I have listed the other options above, all of which cost little or no time or human life (with the possible exception of C). Not granting an imperial pardon is the real stickler for me. The allies knew it was a major barrier to Japanese surrender, didn`t offer it as a surrender term, then preserved the imperial family anyway after the slaughter. Even when the Japanese didn`t surrender after Hiroshima, this was because of a 3-3 split vote, with half wanting to surrender, and the other half wanting to ask for the preservation of the imperial family!

      • Hitokiri 1989

        The other option was to starve em out with blockade and fire-bombing. Not much of a “humanitarian” option either way you look at it.

  • Leo Schneider

    It is a fact that the Imperial Army of Japan saw the two atomic bombs as no worse than the fire bombings of 70 or 80 of their biggest cities. They were simply not impressed. Their thinking was that we would have run out of cities to burn well before they would run out of the will to fight.
    If you know any thing about history, you know that they were impressed by 2 million men pouring across the Manchurian border and sweeping their Army away. The Reds beat the Germans and forced the collapse of the military dictatorship in Japan.
    That is way we were engaged in the cold war.

  • Sanchita Banerjee

    The controversy is alive, even today. Searching the net , I found an article by the then-Secretary of War of the USA , H.L.Stimson written in 1947, defending his govt’s decision, as expected.Interestingly, he mentioned that the USA were fully aware of Japan tentatively approaching the USSR as early as July that year, asking them to help negotiate for surrender, with some favourable terms for Japan, like getting to keep some of the occupied territory.The USA were not interested. When the USSR attacked Japan on the occupied mainland on the night of 8th August, they lost hope.In the morning the Japanese Supreme Council of War were already discussing surrender when Nagasaki was bombed.
    He mentions that it was part of the strategy not to reveal to Japan that they would unleashe on them something more destructive than the incendiary bombs pounding at least 60 Japanese cities since March that year.Pearl harbour, if I am not mistaken, was a naval air-base playing a role in these previous bombings. He claims that they wanted to imply that there was plenty more of A-bombs in store,unless they surrendered,while at the same time claiming that such was not the actual case. Wickipedia (perhaps not a very authentic source of information always), says that there were, in fact, a number of A-bombs in the U.S arsenal, lined up for Japan for August through September. The instant casualties in hiroshima being about 70-80,000, of whom only about 20,000 were military. The horrifying pictures of the victims were withheld from the U.S public, as they reminded one of similar images of concentration camp victims. A month later an american journalist reached there and shot a documentary, which was suppressed by the U.S govt for at least 22 yrs.And there was the usual propaganda, even earlier, calling the Japanese names, like “monkeys” , implying they were less human than the Aryan races. Sounds familiar ! So maybe it weighed easier on the conscience to A- bomb them, than the Germans. If the civilians being military-trained justified the bombing, then Israel can also be justifiably razed to the ground, if it suits a nation’s financial interest. Even more than 10/20 yrs later, acc. to Wickipedia, about 13% of the American public interviewed in a survey expressed the opinion that all Japanese civilians, including the aged, the women & children should have been wiped out then.Why this hatred ? They were not invaded in their homeland.We Indians know what it was like to be invaded & oppressed by the British for centuries, and are ever so often at war with Pakistan. Still we do not hate the common man of either country like this. And as for those bombings acting as deterrents for future use of nuclear armaments, now it is more subtle, like DU , killing & maiming generations of innocent children in Iraq and Afghanistan even as we argue here. Even Iraq war veterans in the US are suffering from radiation injury, more having been a casualty of radioactive uranium particles inhaled, than those actually killed on the battlefield. We humans are slow to learn, it seems .

    • Christopher-trier

      The issue came down to one thing: the US demanded unconditional surrender, something highly unusual for any defeated country to accept. Had the US followed a more normal course the war would have been over months earlier. The tragic irony is that Korea was to be treated like a part of the Japanese mainland — despite the fact that Koreans wanted little more than to be free of the Japanese, and the Taiwanese were to be immediately handed over to the Chinese — even if the Taiwanese were broadly content under Japanese rule and had long started to identify more strongly with Japan than with China.

      I do take issue with your assessment of British rule in South Asia. It left much to be desired and India was run for the benefit of the British, not for the Indians — but the British were not generally oppressive. There were acts of brutality and Indians were never treated as equals, but Indians were not denied the rights to their religions, languages, customs, properties, etcetera. Aurungzab was far more oppressive than the British ever were, and inter-community bigotry in India has a long tradition. (Hindus against Hindus, Hindus and Muslims against each other, Muslims against Sikhs, Hindus against Sikhs, Hindus against Jains, Hindus against Buddhists) The British also only directly ruled half of India — the princely states comprised vast tracts of the Subcontinent. They were co-opted, but nominally autonomous. The British were also only able to hold India because of Indian troops, the assistance of India’s elites, and general apathy. When most Indians decided that they had had enough of the British the British were gone within a few years. It seems as if even the most bigoted Britisher, in moments of intellectual honesty, realised just how transient the Raj truly was.

  • Yamatosenkan

    The bottom line is that deliberately killing civilians in all forms was (also by the standards at the time) a clear war crime. It does not matter whether Japan would have surrendered with or without
    the A-bomb, or what other could have been. We’ll never know.

    Consider the following: Was the Japanese bombing of Chongqing a war crime? The Nazi bombing of Guernica, and London? If yes, why not the bombing of Tokyo, or Hiroshima? And if you want to go hypothetical: what if Iraq had nuked Teheran in the 1980′s to force it to surrender? And they would have argued it was “to save lives”? Would you buy the argument?

    Kudos to Eisenhower, who opposed the use of the A-bomb on Japan (a nation on its knees), and rejected the use of nukes when the Join Chiefs of Staff recommended the use of these, twice (Indochina, and Taiwan straits crisis).

    • Steve Gregg

      Actually, we do know that Japan would have surrendered when we dropped the atom bombs on it. It did.

      The difference was that the Japanese and German bombings were were unprovoked acts of aggression that kept the war going, while the American bombings of Germany and Japan were provoked acts which stopped the war. That made them moral.

      When the President asks the military for options, they present all the options, their benefits and drawbacks, including the atomic option. The President picks the best option.

      • Shaco

        There are many ways to wage a war. One costly way to wage the war against Japan would’ve been to surround the Japanese mainland with ships, cutting off any supplies from going in or out of Japan. Then use infantry and direct fire weaponry (as opposed to artillery and high altitude bombing) to accurately attack and destroy Japanese soldiers in Asia. This would’ve kept the Japanese civilian death toll a tiny fraction of what it ended up being, at the expense of more American soldier deaths and more resources. To me this would’ve been a far morally superior way of ending the war with Japan than what ended up happening. Remember, the typical Japanese civilian had little idea about what the war was even about. Japanese military propaganda and media control was so strong that most Japanese civilians thought they were supplying a war effort of liberation against white colonial empires that had already invaded and taken over most of the non-white world. This is one of the main reasons why I find the mass murder of Japanese civilians to be extremely immoral. Had the typical Japanese civilian been aware of the atrocities their military was committing, killing them would’ve been far more justifiable and even considered a form of self defense. But as it was, it seems like the Japanese population were themselves held hostage and deceived by their leaders.

        The really sad thing is that the US basically pardoned the leader of Japan, Emperor Hirohito, in order to create an anti-Communist ally out of Japan. So the guy who arguably had the most to do with all the mass atrocities Japan committed ended up suffering the least, while the Japanese people themselves, who had the least to do with the atrocities, were themselves mass murdered by America’s military.

        The Japanese civilian death toll was so extreme and lopsided. I don’t believe Japanese forces killed more than 100 US civilians in WW2. But the US killed about 1 million Japanese civilians (Source: John Dower). You’ve repeatedly argued that killing Japanese civilians en masse was a necessary evil to save lives in Asia, but I find it hard to believe that American leaders and military men particularly cared about such lives, especially considering that many countries that Japan had invaded would soon be Communist. I think it unlikely the US killed 1 million Japanese civilians (and tens of thousands of Korean forced laborers in Japan) because they were avenging Chinese peasants that the Japanese military had killed.

        Heck, the mass murder of Chinese civilians by the Japanese in WW2 arguably saved American lives in the Korean war.

  • Will Chamberlin

    Meanwhile, Oliver Stone’s criticism of the nationalist, right-wing, militant Abe government has been totally blacked out by the Japanese media.

  • Glen Douglas Brügge

    The Russian argument is a very valid one. I believe the atomic bombings merely coincided with the surrender, and where not the cause of it. As has often been claimed, bombing cities has never defeated a nation. Germany was flattened and had to be psychically invaded before it submitted. As long as the means of production can be moved, the war can continue until invasion or starvation. Tokyo lost enough people during its firebombing to be comparable in scale to both Nagasaki and Hiroshima, but this did nothing to hasten the end of the war. Once Russia declared war, the reality of Japan possibly becoming a communist state set in. Even if Russia was months away from invading, it would have eventually made it. The Russian war machine had flattened Eastern Germany, and was well and truly geared up. As far as saying “it couldn’t be helped,” that truly is a sad, and fatalistic approach to the facts. But then again, the benevolent leaders always know best and it is never the people’s right to stand up to them.

  • Catherine Simmions

    What the article has forgotten to investigate was that one of the first US groups to visit Nagasaki and Hiroshima after the surrender were the US Medical Doctors. Not to help per say but to take medical accounts of the radiation effects on the populations.

    A previous comment hit the nail on the head: “The U.S could have dropped a nuke in a more isolated place, and it`s power would have still been demonstrated”.

    In truth, Nagasaki and Hiroshima was only the start of these US tests. From late 1946 to 1958, the US detonated the equivalent of 7,000 Hiroshima bombs in The Marshall Islands in the Pacific. They lied to the local populations and again the doctors were on-hand to measure the people’s condition.

    At that time, everything hidden from public view…
    Times have not really changed though – like the murder of the reuters journalist by the apache machinegun and the whistleblower gets all the coverage.
    Links to the above Nuclear tests:

    http://vimeo.com/53384058

    http://www.nuclearclaimstribunal.com/testing.htm

    http://consortiumnews.com/2013/07/23/the-fallout-from-nuclear-secrecy/

    http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/02/15-9