Not surrendering was even worse

Regarding the March 16 editorial, “Legacy of the Great Tokyo Air Raid“: Of course, the bombing of Tokyo was terrible. But wasn’t it worse that, following the tragedy, the Japanese authorities did not immediately sue for peace?

The Japan Times has run several articles about the fire bombing in the last 12 months or so. Clearly it is an important issue, but I can’t help feeling that there is a lack of context.

For example, by 1945, given Japan’s intransigence, what options did America have? A blockade? An amphibious landing on Honshu?

The landing on Honshu was planned, but the loss of life, especially civilian, would have been horrendous. So, what should the Americans have done? The firebombing seems to have been be the lesser of evils. The fact that this action did not bring an end to the war was counterintuitive.

I find it interesting that despite the devastation wrought by American Gen. Curtis LeMay’s policy, the Japanese government in 1964 conferred upon LeMay the First Order of Merit with the Grand Cordon of the Rising Sun. [The editorial refers to this.] Was LeMay also perhaps being thanked for not bombing the Imperial palace?

There is much coverage of Japanese suffering and very little about Japanese accountability. As the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II approaches, Japan is still hobbled by amnesia. Whatever the rights, the wrongs or the morality of American actions, there can be no denial of what the war did, and Japan can learn much from this.

Perhaps German historians could help Japan write its textbooks.

allan murphy
tokyo

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.