Hiroshima, Nagasaki, VJ Day

Nguyen Chi Thien
Nguyen Chi Thien
Nguyen Chi Thien by Jon Hill

On August 6 1945 we detonated Little Boy over Hiroshima.   We used the other bomb on Nagasaki on August 9.

On August 15 Japan surrendered.   In 1960 poet Nguyen Chi Thien substituted for a friend’s history class and found that the Communist textbook credits the Soviet Union with ending that war by invading Manchuria.

He pointed out that this was nonsense.  One thing led to another and he spent nearly thirty years in jail.

To reflect and debate on Fat Man and Little Boy is a lifetime’s education.     We dropped them to hasten the end of the war when British allies would have preferred a drawn-out process to re-establish Empire.

The Soviet Union was gaining ground.  But we did not follow our generals who wanted to push into Russia, we recognized the Soviet need for half of Europe, and we let Communist parties compete in our half.

The lethality of the new weapons was less than the novel fire-bombing of Germany as well as Japan which may not have hastened the end of the war.  We did not listen to one of the bombers, Curtis LeMay, when he advocated the same for Ha Noi.

You really need to learn this stuff and live with it through current events to grope toward peace.  But you can’t do that in Viet Nam and still not in Russia because you can’t point to the facts as teacher Nguyen Chi Thien did one day.

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