Should We Have Dropped the Bomb on Hiroshima?

“Every one talks about the weather, but no one does anything about it.” – Mark Twain?

Every one talks about history and a lot of folks like to do something about it. They spin fanciful theories saying, with a certainty anyone who deals with real life day in and out can never feel, that if only this or that had been done, the outcome would have been better, or at least not as bad.
A favorite subject of such fancies is Hiroshima.

The argument goes that if We had dropped the bomb offshore, the Japanese would have seen the awesome power of it and given up the fight without 100,000 people dying under the dreadful blast of the first Atomic Bomb.

Maybe so, maybe not.

Volumes have been written, Pro and Con on this idea. They explore and answer the question better than I can.

One fanciful work of fiction approaches the event from a unique angle.

Pierre Boulle, who wrote ‘La Planète des singes’, (Planet of the Apes)
penned a short story titled, “E=mc2”, in which physicists took a different approach to turning Einsteins formula into a weapon.
Instead of converting matter to energy in a nuclear explosion, they turned energy into matter, an act of benevolent creation, or so they thought. They created a weapon to be dropped high over Hiroshima, that would float down on a parachute, all the while converting energy to matter in the form of Cherry Blossoms. The blossoms, ancient symbol of Japan, showering down out of a clear sky would show our power to create anything at will, and our desire to be merciful, even to such a fierce enemy.
They expected this show of raw scientific mastery to so impress the scientists of Japan that they would bend their great influence; (scientist always believe they have more influence than they actually do); to end the war.
So, the weapon is built,  loaded on the plane, and soon, the air over Hiroshima is filled with beautiful Cherry Blossoms floating down like pink snow.
But, once started, the reaction can’t be stopped. Cherry blossoms rain down on the helpless people by the millions, billions, trillions. Uncountable megatons of them, untill every living soul in the city is suffocated under the awful, stifling crush of them.

It’s a childs fantasy to go back and change what has happened to some better outcome. All this talk of what might have been does nothing but keep the wounds ever green.
Leave it alone, let it heal.

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Posted on May 5, 2013, in Where This Road Goes and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Amazing article. I certainly understand the importance of putting dark chapters of history like this into a perspective from which to learn rather than holding onto its memory as a permanent nemesis. Still Pierre Boulle’s ‘E=MC2’ tale,even taken as it is here in synopsis, is of vital speculative merritt in regard to the consequences of a major world power using its technology even to create as opposed to destroy.

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    • I think it’s instructive to keep in mind that a “Global Superpower” as the U.S. has become is rather unique in history. There have been Empires, KIngdoms and Caliphates that exercised great power over large pieces of the earth. But there has never been a democratic republic such as The USA before, and never such a power that claimed no tribute, collected no taxes and exerted no direct rule over other countries.
      It is a new thing, and there aren’t any guidebooks to chart the way.
      If we are an ‘Empire’, as some accuse us of being, we aren’t very enthused about; we do not relish the office.

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  2. Reblogged this on kjmhoffman.

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