To the editor:
Joe Douglas’ letter of Aug. 2 (“Nuclear madness”) lumps the World War II nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki with the subsequent proliferation of nuclear weapons. It seems that as time moves farther from the two bombings, many wish to depict them as a misdeed by our nation, as evidenced by the planned vigil to commemorate those who died. While use of these weapons was horrific, they were used against a determined foe that did not fight the same kind of war as any of its other combatants.
In April 1945, the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff estimated at least 456,000 Allied casualties for an invasion of the Japanese home island of Kyushu. Other invasion casualty estimates ranged from 30,000 to 1,000,000 (source: ww2db.com). Operation Downfall, the overall Allied plan for invading Japan, noted that “operations in this area will be opposed not only by the available organized military forces of the Empire, but also by a fanatically hostile population.” While revisionist historians have tried to discredit the use of atomic weapons on Japan, invasion would have carried a very steep price.
My father served in the U.S. Army’s 25th Infantry Division in the Pacific in WWII. I am grateful for how President Truman chose to end the war. I understand the Coalition’s protest, but their choice of Aug. 6 confuses two issues: the current proliferation of nuclear weapons, and their use in WWII. That use brought an end to the war and saved countless American lives.