What Do the Japanese Teach About Nukes?

I was curious if anybody knew what the Japanese history curriculum taught about the nukes dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki during WWII?

Does it teach that the U.S. was justified in dropping the bombs?

Were we justified?

I doubt they would say it’s justified.

Besides, it’s still not even justified to the US. We just did it because it seemed right at the time–we may or may not take it back even to this day.

How come Hiroshima and Nagasaki aren’t radioactive? People live there, don’t they?

There is a higher incidence of cancer in those areas.

And the Japanese, last I checked, were still white-washing their WWII history and the dropping of the bombs is generally regarded as an abomination there.

I couldn’t imagine it being any other way, but I’m very curious as to what their actual school texts say, and unfortunately I can’t find anything on google about it. :-k

I can tell you what they think of the Rape of Nanjing: Nothing.

My google-fu is weak today, but check around to see what the Japanese Society for Textbook Reform says on the topic. That should be easier to find.

Perhaps, equally important is what do Americans teach about Hiroshima and Nagasaki?

Do they give any credibility to the theory that they were unnecessary as the war was pretty much won anyway?

my history class bareley even covered that incident (Canadian)

They teach Americans that it is neither justified nor unjustified. It was deplorable, but it had to be done to prevent the deaths of untold amounts of American soldiers who would have to invade mainland Japan. An invasion of Japan would basically mean exterminating every last Japanese citizen, since they were fanatically loyal to their empire.

In fact, America fire bombed Tokyo before the nuclear bombs, but that somehow slips through the crosshairs of these kinds of discussions…

This statement is hugely debatable. Obviously we can never know, but moral amongst both Japanese citizens and military was extremely low. The Empower himself also at this point favour negotiation. It is also debatable as to just how many US deaths would have occurred in a large scale invasion. Certainly you had the man power for such an operation. Not to be a cynic, but the bomb was a cheaper option than continuation of the war.

Not to mention the US’s racial attitudes towards the Japanese that influenced the decision. It’s a hell of a lot easier to nuke a nation that you view as racially inferior to yourself. It’s telling that even though the invasion of Germany cost American lives, no serious weight was given to dropping the bomb on Berlin, because no matter how much in the wrong the Nazi’s were, there were still on the same racial level as America. I always think that America’s involvement in WWII is the biggest hypocrisy in history. German POW’s were treated better than black American soldiers. In fact many black soldiers joined up purely to escape the racial barriers of the American south. The amount that never returned to America is startling.

It’s interesting to note that there was an attempt to seize the Imperial palace and the emperor just before the Emperor’s broadcast that signalled Japan’s surrender. Even with the two nukes, some Japanese officers preferred annhilation to dishonor. But I do agree and have talked about this with several people, the nukes were unnecessary (The US navy had the islands surrounded, Japan would’ve starved with no industry, constant bombing and no trade) and were nothing other than weapons being tested in a real life scenario, as is with all new weapons in war, but then I think maybe it makes sense in the big picture: they were, with all the death and destruction they caused, the weakest and earliest bombs of their type (relative to the cold war era) and the lesson learned from them perhaps prevented the cold war’s temperature going up, though not to say that Truman could foresee any of this.

My point was that the bombs were neither right nor wrong. I was merely saying how it is taught in the US as I learned it in my rural school–I imagine many US students learn the same.

It is an American hypocrisy to teach half-truths. I’m aware of that.

A full-scale invasion of Japan was not preferable, because literally every Japanese citizen would be a potential soldier. They would give their lives to kill American soldiers rather than wave the white flag and let American soldiers capture their cities… It’s a far-fetched notion to say that America would have not suffered huge casualties invading mainland Japan.

I’ve heard things like this, and that we would’ve lost a million men had we not nuked them. Then I think that the only news source that this could’ve possibly come from is the military…who else would have the knowledge for such an estimate?

Then I think of all the times throughout history that the military has told little white lies, or big fat stinking white lies, to get the American public behind military action (cough Iraq cough). I’m not sure how much I trust the military’s information.

On the documentary, “Why We Fight,” which is mentioned in another thread I created, they talk about America dropping the nuke to rise as the sole world power ahead of the Soviet Union, to invoke worldwide fear, and to show that we are crazy bastards that are willing to obliterate any nation if we perceive a need, real or not. This makes more sense to me than the actual threat of Japan.

That’s a good point, but so is wanting to spare millions of your soldiers from death.

I think the real reason we dropped the atomic bombs was to end the war before Russia could join in against Japan. The Japanese were greatly fearful of this, too- in several clashes with Russia they were humiliated. And as much as there was genuine hatred involved in our war, neither Japanese nor the Americans wanted to Stalin to gain a foothold in Japan. Can you imagine how different the world would be today if Japan would have been divided into communist & non-communist states?