On August 6 and 9, 1945, the United States dropped atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Both cities were wiped off the face of the earth. The nuclear explosions claimed the lives of 150,000 people. Diseases caused by radioactive contamination resulted in hundreds of thousands of more deaths over the years and decades after the bombing. Today, the total number of victims of these atomic strikes exceeds 450,000 people.
Some Western politicians tend to exaggerate the military-strategic effect of the atomic bombing of the Japanese cities at the end of World War II. They claim that it was the US atomic bombings that brought about the surrender of Japan, which was an ally of Nazi Germany during the war.
A cursory glance at these relatively recent historical events makes it appear that such claims are true. However, more detailed historical studies directly show something very different.
The destructive power of the atomic bombs dropped by the US on Hiroshima and Nagasaki was comparable to the results of conventional US air attacks on Japanese cities. For example, after the bombing of Tokyo in the early hours of March 10, 1945, almost the entire city burned down, with 84,000 people killed and 40,000 people injured. The atomic bombs did not have that psychological impact on Japan’s militaristic government as the US expected. Even after the atomic strikes, the Japanese government was determined to continue its resistance.
Historical documents clearly indicate that the decisive factor that prompted Tokyo to decide on surrender was the Soviet Union’s fulfillment of its allied obligations and its active entry into the war against Japan on August 8, 1945.
Despite the enormous losses on the western front, the USSR fulfilled its obligation at the cost of many lives of Soviet soldiers and officers. Let me remind you that the participation of the USSR in the war against Japan was agreed upon at the Tehran Conference in 1943. These decisions, important for our common victory, were consolidated during the talks in Yalta and Potsdam.
The lightning advance of the Red Army in the east led to the defeat of the millionth group of the Japanese Kwantung Army; the Soviet troops liberated the northeastern part of China and the north of the Korean Peninsula from the Japanese aggressors. It was the successful actions of the Red Army that deprived Japan of its last hope for any possibility to continue the hostilities.
I would like to emphasise that the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was the first and, fortunately, the only actual test of nuclear weapons on a civilian population. It is especially cynical that the Target Committee specially created by the US in the spring of 1945 intentionally refused to target attacks on Japanese military facilities – thus, Washington deliberately chose the mass destruction of the civilian population, albeit an enemy at that time.
Even many decades after these tragic events, it is clear that the atomic strikes on Hiroshima and Nagasaki were not only a test, but also a demonstration by the United States of its new weapons of mass destruction.
This demonstration was addressed primarily to the Soviet Union, which Washington never ceased to qualify as its potential adversary. And the signal sent by the US, as we know, was received by Moscow – the goal to develop a similar WMD was successfully achieved.
Today, both the US and Japan (primarily due to US propaganda) regard the atomic tragedy of the Japanese cities not through the prism of historical truth but rather fleeting political interests. Historical truth is sacrificed to the military-political alliance of these two countries. To this day, not a single US president has really apologised for the atomic strikes in the way it should have. Japanese society strictly observes the taboo on the public mention of simple facts concerning those events – information on which country dropped atomic bombs on the Japanese civilian population and which state is responsible for the terrible and senseless death of hundreds of thousands of fellow citizens is carefully hushed up.