Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Hiroshima - 'those bombs were well placed, and they ended the war.'

70th Anniversary of Hiroshima.

History is being re-written.  Some are now portraying the dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki as an unforgivable crime committed by the is Americans, while the crimes of the Japanese are being glossed over. Instead of re-writing history, we should look at what was actually happening, and the best way is through the eyes of those who were suffering though it. 

'But Sir: the Autiobiography of a Twentieth Century Australian' 
Merv McRae
originally published 1987,  republished 2014.

This excerpt is from Chapter 14. The author was one of thousands of POWs, Australian, British, Dutch, and Americans. He and his brother Dunc, had survived the Death Railway, and were back in Changi prison.   
The Death Railway had a 50% death rate from starvation, over-work, disease and beatings.

We had been working on the aerodrome for some time;  it was a long walk,  and hard work when we got there,  with many bashings from the Japs.  One day two hundred of us were sent out on a last working party,  not far from Singapore city.  There was another party of two hundred working not far away.  Our task was to dig large holes,  twelve feet deep by twelve feet square,  and there were six men to dig each hole.  What were they for?  we wondered,  and I remember one man saying that if the Allies landed we would be shot and buried in these holes.  I didn’t like that idea at all,  and I well remember telling him not to be stupid,  but he was spot on.  It was found after the war that if the Allies had landed in Malaya we were all to be shot and disposed of.  There had also been a proposed date for a landing on Japan,  so it was the Bomb which saved us and untold thousands of others from extinction.  If the bombs hadn’t been dropped,  who knows how long the war might have lasted?  There wouldn’t have been one P.O.W. get home,  and thousands of soldiers,  and as many civilians again would have perished. 

   I have just read a book written by James Bradley called "Towards the Setting Sun,"  in which he quotes some figures.  As he had had access to official records which I haven’t,  I obtained permission from him to use some of his figures.  The two A-bombs killed about 170,000 people,  and as opposed to this over 102,300 Allied P.O.W.s and coolies died as a direct result of the dreadful treatment handed out by the Japs on the railway.  To this must be added all the others who died in the camps in Borneo and other places from the inhuman treatment, and also the mental and physical suffering of the survivors ever since.  How many more would have died had it not been for the bombs?

  James Bradley also confirms that had an Allied landing in fact taken place the big holes we were digging were for us and the civilian internees.  A landing date had been set for November 1945 on Japan,  and had it taken place the Japs were prepared to lose ten million men in opposing such a landing.  The Allies instead dropped those two bombs which ended the war,  thus liberating 14,400 Australian P.O.W.s,  37,500 British and Indian troops,  as well as 16,912 Americans. 

  I feel that if the present generation had more knowledge of this side of the story they may understand why we must go along with the advanced technology of the Americans,  but instead we find these very vocal minorities getting good coverage in the media.  If Australia doesn’t co-operate with the Americans now,  how will anyone have the hide to ask for their help next time?  Owing to nuclear weapons we have more or less had peace for forty years,  but I wonder how much longer we will be lucky.  Everyone wants peace,  but not at any price,  and the lesson that to stop a bully one must fight,  should be learned in the school yard. 

  If countries such as Germany and Japan are able to gather their powerful forces and go all out on aggression as they did (both used the "kinghit" tactic and bombed cities without a thought for the civilians)  then they must expect something back.  Japan had the chance to come to terms before both these bombs were dropped but refused,  so I blame the Japanese government entirely for the suffering their people had to endure.  The Japanese and German peoples were behind their governments to a certain extent,   and so could not be held entirely blameless for what happened in the finish.  The Italians,  on the other hand,  were never right behind Mussolini, and stopped as soon as they decently could.  Mussolini was never more looked up to than when he was dead, being murdered by a political faction and strung up by the heels.    He was really in disgrace with the Italian people,  who even destroyed all the statues of him he’d had placed all over Rome.  So to all the people who say the bomb should not have been dropped,  all I can say is they must have been well out of it somewhere where the war would not affect them.  Those bombs were well placed,  and they ended the war. 


'Those bombs were well placed,  and they ended the war.'
See the scroll to the left.
These are the men of one unit, who were ordered to surrender.  They were treated poorly from the start, but the worst was when they were marched off to work on the 'Death Railway.' Fewer than half survived.  The crosses next to the names are those who did not survive.

If the bomb had not been dropped,  none would have survived.

The unit

This book can be purchased from most online booksellers.   Use coupon code YD75A  to get it free.  (Expires: August 10, 2015)  

A few individuals mentioned in the book:

Jimmy Burr,  teacher,  Ch 4.

Curly Kirk from Ballarat,  Ch 11, and a mention of his death in Ch. 13.

Sunda Singh,  Indian trader,  Ch 9.

Major Kidd, Ch 12

Tom Chowns, and Nora Chowns,  spoken of  in Ch 12.

Lew Lemke and Ted Burrage,  a  mention in Ch 13. 

Major Hunt, Ch 13

Frank Lebas,  Allan Scott, two who died, Ch 13.  Also Jock, a Scotsman.

Horace Roberts,  a  mention in Chapters 13 & 16.

Jimmy Andrews,  Ch 16


Lance Basset,  a mention in Ch 16 in relation to sheep breeding.

Rob Jamieson,  Stony Point station, a mention in Ch 16


Significant events mentioned

The depression years, ch 7.

The Bomb was dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki,  Ch 14. 

The beginnings of the breed of sheep known as the Zenith.  Ch 16.