August 6 2015, marked the 70th anniversary of the very first atomic bomb being dropped on Hiroshima, Japan by the American bomber plane, the Enola Gay.
The word ‘anniversary’ was completely out of place indeed, for the fact still remains the act of war that is the most eligible for condemnation as a war crime by the Allied Forces.
Yet the observation that one single bomb could wreak such havoc blinds us from what happened on multiple occasions, both in Germany as in Japan, in the years preceding Hiroshima.
Civilian targets had become more and more acceptable ever since the Royal Air Force managed to bomb some Arab tribes back into submission during the heydays of the British Empire.
At the start of World War II, area bombing at night was believed to be more efficient and effective than targeted bombing in daylight. As it turned out, this really was only a belief, a hunch that was proved wrong at the end of the war when the Americans demonstrated it with targeted daylight bombing with bombers that were protected by fighter planes.
The firestorms after the heavy bombing that killed so many civilians in Germany was sometimes dubbed with ‘Jewish Revenge’, but the bombing practise existed long before the first Holocaust camps where found. With this kind of post-rationalisation, the Allied Forces only tried to justify their area bombing of civilian areas. The argument was also not valid in the case of Japan.
For Britain, the extremely high casualties tally for the RAF bomber squad further showed how wasteful the chosen strategy was.
Yet the British and especially the Americans came out of the war as victors, and as one German expression claims: “Der Sieger wird immer richtig und der Besiegte immer falsch sein.”.
What now would be regarded as a war crime was sold to the public and the history books for many years to come as the best strategy to save lives on the whole. Strangely enough, most people bought this crap. Hopefully the time for some corrective, positive ‘revisionism’ now, seventy years later, finally has come.