How do you justify dropping history’s most lethal bomb on a civilian population in a country you know is ready to surrender? From Peter Kuznick at consortiumnews.com:
In this introduction to the memoir of a Nagasaki bombing victim, historian Peter Kuznick shows why the bombs were dropped and how some victims’ anger propelled the Japanese anti-nuclear movement
Sumiteru Taniguchi was one of the “lucky” ones. He lived a long and productive life. He married and fathered two healthy children who gave him four grandchildren and two great grandchildren. He had a long career in Japan’s postal and telegraph services. As a leader in Japan’s anti-nuclear movement, he addressed thousands of audiences and hundreds of thousands of people. He traveled to at least 23 countries. The organizations in which he played a prominent role were nominated several times for the Nobel Peace Prize.
Many of the more than 250,000 who lived in Nagasaki on August 9, 1945 were not so lucky. Tens of thousands were killed instantly by the plutonium core atomic bomb the U.S. dropped that day from the B29 Bockscar, captained by Major Charles Sweeney.
The bomb, nicknamed “Fat Man,” exploded with a force equivalent to 21 kilotons of TNT and wiped out an area that covered three square miles, shattering windows eleven miles away. Some 74,000 were dead by the end of the year. The death toll reached 140,000 by 1950. Included among the victims were thousands of Korean slave laborers, who toiled in Japanese mines, fields, and factories. Since then, atomic bomb-related injuries and illnesses have claimed thousands more victims and caused immense suffering to many of the survivors.