Remember August 6th for Lives Saved and Lessons Learned

Americans and Japanese should celebrate August 6th because American action on this date seventy years ago helped save at least 500,000 American and 6 million Japanese lives during World War II.

Before the first atomic bomb was dropped on Japan, Americans were planning the invasion of Japan.  The Japanese were expected to fight even more fiercely for their homeland than they fought elsewhere.  Typically they fought to the death, often only about 1 percent of the soldiers were captured.  Japanese women and children on Japanese controlled islands committed suicide rather than surrender.

Japanese preparations for the invasion were being made.  Every man and woman was being trained and armed.  Fighting in Japan itself might have continued until nearly every Japanese man, woman, and youth was dead.

The American military had ordered the first of multiple planned orders for 500,000 purple hearts to award to American casualties.  Fighting was expected to be as fierce as at Iwo Jima where about 850 Americans died for every square mile of land captured. 

Our WWII enemies were developing an atomic bomb which they would not have hesitated to use on our country or our allies to conquer us and end freedom on earth.   Fortunately the United States beat our enemies in creating and using the atomic bomb to quickly end WWII.

As a result of dropping the atomic bombs on Japan, at least one million American sons, brothers, and fathers returned home alive and uninjured.

The quick Japanese surrender saved many millions of Japanese lives, prevented the utter destruction of Japan, and perhaps the very existence of the Japanese culture.

Although far deadlier bombs than those used in WWII have been developed, the horror that those WWII bombs demonstrated has kept the civilized world from their use.

We should remember and celebrate August 6 as the first of the two events that saved so many lives, saved a culture, and taught the world the horror of the use of such weapons.

by Don

Don is a local New Hampshire resident