Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Thanks again, Gen. Tibbetts


I let the 67th anniversary of Hiroshima get past me this week, so I’m catching up with this post.

This is me shaking the hand that piloted the Enola Gay on Aug. 6, 1945. Gen. Paul Tibbetts was at a militaria show in Louisville, Ky., about 10 years ago and Maria, Austin and I drove down to meet him and take in the show.

I thanked him for what he did that day. Had it not been for President Harry S. Truman’s decision to use atomic weapons on Japan, it’s entirely possible that my two sons and my granddaughter would not be here today. My ex-wife’s father was a captain in the U.S. Army’s 144th Field Artillery Group. Following V-E Day on May 8, 1945, he and the rest of the troops in Europe were expecting orders to continue the fight against Japan. The planned invasion of the Japanese home islands would have cost an estimated 100,000 casualties since the Japanese were expected to put up a fanatical resistance.

The atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki broke the Japanese will to continue the fight, saving countless lives on both sides.

It makes me sad to hear revisionist historians and bleeding hearts who have no sense of the zeitgeist of 1945 second-guess Truman’s decision. Had he chosen not the nuclear option, those same people would revile him today for letting the bloodbath continue for months, or years with the invasion and eventual defeat of the Japanese on their home soil.

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