67 years ago today we made the first step in ending the war with Japan. We dropped the bomb on Hiroshima.
It didn't work (neither had the Tokyo Bombing) and it took a second bomb a few days later on Nagasaki to bring a surrender.
Most people do not realize how strong Japan still was in August 1945. We had planned an invasion and expected hundreds of thousands of American military casualties. Soldiers wounded in Afghanistan today are still getting their Purple Heart medals from the inventory built up in preparation for the invasion.
Japanese casualties were expected to exceed a million, most of them dead.
It would have been horrific for both sides.
Absent the atom bomb the war would probably have gone on until 1947 or so.
William Manchester, in his war memoirs "Goodbye Darkness" had fought his way as a grunt through several island campaigns including Okinawa where he was on August 6, 1945.
He and all his fellow troops knew that they were going to invade Japan, they knew that they probably would not survive. His reaction was "Thank God for the Atom Bomb"
Paul Fussell, who had fought his way through Europe in the Army was badly injured but in August was still considered fit for duty. He fully expected to die in Japan in the coming months.
Back in the 90's he wrote a book of essays, one of which was titled "Thank God for the atom bomb", also the title of the book.
It is online here http://croker.harpethhall.org/Must%20Kn ... ussell.pdf
Everyone should read it from time to time.
While about it, Fussell's books are pretty good too. One of my favorites is his book on language in wartime.