Foreign Policy: The Bomb Didn’t Beat Japan… Stalin Did
Have 70 years of nuclear policy been based on a lie?
The orthodox view is that because the United States bombed Hiroshima on Aug. 6 and Nagasaki on Aug. 9, the Japanese finally succumbed to the threat of further nuclear bombardment and surrendered.
“Hiroshima and Nagasaki is at the heart of everything we think about nuclear weapons. This event is the bedrock of the case for the importance of nuclear weapons. It is crucial to their unique status, the notion that the normal rules do not apply to nuclear weapons. It is an important measure of nuclear threats: Truman’s threat to visit a “rain of ruin” on Japan was the first explicit nuclear threat. It is key to the aura of enormous power that surrounds the weapons and makes them so important in international relations.”
This article gives good grounds for questioning the orthodox view of what brought the war with Japan to an end. What it does demonstrate, however, is the potency of the sublime in maintaining order and peace. As Edmund Burke wrote on power:
“the ideas of pain, and, above all, of death, are so very affecting, that whilst we remain in the presence of whatever is supposed to have the power of inflicting either, it is impossible to be perfectly free from terror.”
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