Letter to the Editor: Obama needs a history lesson before Hiroshima visit

Prior to his historical visit to Hiroshima, Japan, by President Obama, he should experience a remedial lesson, a brush-up of information, on this city’s historical background during World War II. He could gain a completely new perspective on his upcoming sojourn. Granted, no other American president has necessitated such a trip to this city. Of course, this unique visit will be included as one more notch on his “legacy” belt.

He should be reminded that Hiroshima was a city of great military importance. It was the headquarters of the 2nd Japanese Army that commanded the defense of southern Japan. It also was a communications center with storage facilities and an assembly area for Japanese troops embarking for battle destinations. The port was a critical launching base for the fanatical Japanese military to set sail on their missions of death to Americans. Candidly, not only were the Japanese military dedicated to destruction of Americans, but Hiroshima laymen would spiritedly cheer “Banzai!” heralding Japanese troops going forth to battle.

President Harry S. Truman inherited a most difficult and controversial presidency upon the death of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, but he soldiered on in his position and thoroughly analyzed, deeply scrutinized and, with in-depth courage, he correctly decided to drop the first atomic bomb. (Little Boy – the uranium projectile-type bomb over Hiroshima) on Aug. 6, 1945), with the follow-up dropping of another atom bomb (Fat Man – the plutonium implosion-type bomb on Nagasaki on Aug. 9, 1945).

It was not until Aug. 15, 1945, that Emperor Hirohito declared, and finally accepted, unconditional surrender. Thousands of Japanese lives were immediately lost in both cities, with many more in the following months and years due to radiation effects. The Japanese warrior lived by the code of the Samurai – Bushido (surrender is a form of dishonor). This unforgiving creed brought only disastrous, catastrophic conditions to the Empire of Japan.

President Truman knew that no matter how many Japanese casualties would result [from] his decision, that same decision would save approximately 250,000 American lives [compared to what would occur] if they were destined to pursue a Japanese invasion. Every Japanese man, woman and child was instructed to fight to the death to defend their homeland and the Emperor.

President Harry S. (the buck stops here) Truman was a true American patriot. His was the only action that would make Japan capitulate at that time. Death before dishonor was the acceptable Japanese recourse. There was no other way for America to end this horrific, brutal conflict.

So, President Obama should enter Japan with his head held high — no bowing and/or scraping required. Americans do not acknowledge or tolerate such actions. Least of all, the president of the United States of America must never acquiesce to this reprehensible conduct. Perhaps, with these thoughts in mind, some of Harry S. Truman may rub off on Barack Obama. He might try this unique mode of operation to his atypical political repertoire.

Just an added note of information: The Japanese, too, were working on their own atomic weapon and would, with fanatical rancor, never hesitate to use it against America. America beat them to the punch … it’s the American way.

May God bless the United States of America.

Beverly Monahan



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