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Wednesday, August 10, 2005

re: atomic sowell

My co-blogger A.W. View, discussing Thomas Sowell's attack on those questioning the necessity of dropping atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, quite rightly points out that at least Mr. Sowell brings up a new line of reasoning, namely, that the unconditional surrender of Japan led to, in Sowell's words, "the relief of hundreds of millions of their neighbors, who had suffered horribly at the hands of their Japanese conquerors". My only disagreement is with A.W.'s final comment, where he suggests that still, a negotiated surrender might have been better than a total surrender, if only because it might have somehow left Japan strong enough to prevent the rise of a communist China:
It's tough to really know what might have happened under a negotiated surrender, but if there was any chance that the Japanese could have prevented the rise of the communists in China, that would have been an enormous plus, one that Sowell does not address.
I'm not convinced that a Japanese-dominated China would have been an enormous plus. The Chinese people at the time certainly didn't see it that way. China suffered immensely at the hands of the unbelievably brutal Japanese army, the Rape of Nanjing being the most famous of the atrocities. The Japanese wanted not to annex China but mainly to set up friendly puppets to dominate business and trade. However, if they really wanted to win the hearts and minds of the Chinese people, they could have started by not bayoneting pregnant women in the belly, throwing babies in the air and catching them on bayonets, gang raping and then mutilating young girls, slicing off women's breasts, hanging men by their tongues, and otherwise raping, murdering and pillaging Chinese villagers. See this Wikipedia entry on the Rape of Nanjing.

Between the CCP, the KMT, and the Japanese, the CCP treated the commoners with the most respect. As Joseph Stromberg points out: "The outbreak of war between the US and Japan in late 1941 added to Japanese overstretch. The KMT pretended to fight the Japanese, absorbed large quantities of US aid and money, and occasionally fought the communists. The communists fought the Japanese and the KMT, while building up good will with mild rule and hard money at a time when the KMT landlord regime set off hyperinflation and looted and abused everyone in its path." See link.

I too would have preferred a non-Communist China, and I don't believe the mass death of civilians caused by the atomic bombs dropping on Hiroshima and Nagasaki was justified, but a swift end to the mass death and suffering caused by the barbaric Japanese invaders can only be considered a good thing, even though it sprang from an evil thing.


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