The Little boy and The Fat man- Do these names ring a bell anymore?

17th July | Virtual Wire

One of the most devastating wars of the 20th century is undisputedly the 2nd world war. The nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki that put an end to this ruinous war were more catastrophic than the war itself, bringing unprecedented consequences and claiming casualties at an exponential rate for decades to come.

People who justify the bombings claim that nuclear bombing was the least bad option that was available at that time. It's worthy to note that these intentions were distorted after the bombings to put the war crimes under the rug, turning a blind eye to the collateral damage the bombings had brought upon the then obliterated cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Some military analysts have made strong counterclaims and insisted that Japan was already on its knees and the bombings were simply unnecessary. The second bomb, code-named the fat man, was dropped in Nagasaki and is considered to be politically motivated because the Soviet Union declared war on Japan two days after the first atomic bomb, code-named the little boy, landed in Hiroshima.

If the Russians had waged war on Japan then, their victory would’ve been a certain event and the Americans would’ve had to share the remnants of the war with the Russian and for this reason, the Americans had to drop the second bomb.

Another likely reason for an unsettling intonation is that the obliteration of the two cities was a scientific experiment and this stems from the evidence that the structure of the bombs that were dropped in the cities was different.

These counterclaims seemed to have had little to no effect on President Truman’s convictions. He stuck on to his decision and continued to build his justifications, even after the scientists who were involved in the bombings owned up to their mistakes. In 1959, long out of office, he declared (not for the last time) that "I never lost any sleep over my decision," perhaps the line most associated with Truman and the bomb.

He called it the "most terrible decision that any man in the history of the world had to make" but "I'd do it again" and "I would not hesitate." (Hess & Noguera, 2020). The initial intention of the bombings was to bring an end to an awful war that had claimed millions of lives.

After getting to know the aftermath of the bombings with grim statistics of mortality rate that contradicted his initial intention of ‘saving lives by ending the war, he resorted to patronizing the decision by telling fellow Americans that the atomic bomb represented "a harnessing of the basic power of the universe" and America had "won the greatest scientific gamble in history” (Hess & Noguera, 2020), to reduce the uneasiness caused by the lack of external validation and the insufficient justifications for his action.

It is baffling to see that this severe case of cognitive dissonance has had a lasting impact, even on the successors of Truman. For example, in 1995, Bill Clinton stated that the United States “owed no apology to Japan” for the atomic bombings and supporters his argument by saying that the atomic bombings had put an end to the war.

People in power seem to cling onto these desiccated claims that justify the bombings. In fact, all American presidents have refused to apologize for the bombings, which occurred 75 years ago (Diplomat, 2020). With the 76th anniversary of the bombings fast approaching, the question of issuing an apology rises again.

Is the new office ready to break the no-apology policy followed by the former offices in the white house? Or Is it high time that the families of the victims bury their expectations for an official apology?

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