HIROSHIMA

Tell us what you thought about the December 2008 issue!
Post Reply
Megawatts
Master Critic
Posts: 948
Joined: December 31, 1969, 08:00:00 PM
Location: Johnstown, Pa.

Post by Megawatts »

Interesting story and a hell of a theme. Time travel, time shifts, and out of time stories always fascinated me and some day---in the distant future ----time travel will happen!

Hiroshima is a re-invented time-phenomenon story with religious overtones that fit into the narrative very nicely. The war took husbands and civilian lives and caused injuries both physiological and physical that remained with most for life. The Japanese are the only people to suffer Nuclear attacks, and this story very poignantly lets us visit some plain people who are enduring the Tsunamis of war. An the largest and by far the most deadly Tsunami is on the immediate horizon, compliments of a B-29. I don’t believe that the US needed to use Nuclear Weapons to end the war. A demonstration or two in sparsely populated areas of Japan or off the shores would have convinced the Japanese military to surrender!

The writing and dialogue very good!
Tesla Lives!!!
User avatar
Robert_Moriyama
Editor Emeritus
Posts: 2379
Joined: December 31, 1969, 08:00:00 PM
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Contact:

Hiroshima vs., say, Dresden

Post by Robert_Moriyama »

Bill omitted the firebombing of Dresden from his list of nastiness... (Of course, I only remember it because of the part it played in Billy Pilgrim's life in Vonnegut's "Slaughterhouse Five".)

I would be tempted to speculate that the atomic bomb was used on Japan rather than, say, Germany, because "yellow" lives were viewed as less valuable than "white" lives, even ignoring the question of religion. Of course, I may have the chronology wrong -- I'm not sure what the state of the war in Europe was when the targets were chosen. Certainly civilians of German descent received better treatment in the U.S. and Canada than those of Japanese descent (including my own parents, uncles, aunts, etc.)...

(Incidentally, while Americans as a whole still have difficulty distinguishing between Chinese, Koreans, Japanese, etc., etc., the Japanese view(ed?) Koreans *and* Chinese as inferior, and Chinese and Koreans accordingly (and especially after the events of World War II) tend(ed?) to hate the Japanese... so please don't think that I believe racism is limited to those of European descent. And unlike Spike Lee, I think a black man (or a "yellow" or "red" or "brown") man can be just as racist as any neoNazi or Klan member.)

Thus endeth MY digression from the author's intended themes.

RM
You can't wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.

Jack London (1876-1916)
User avatar
Robert_Moriyama
Editor Emeritus
Posts: 2379
Joined: December 31, 1969, 08:00:00 PM
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Contact:

So killing tens of thousands of Japanese was okay?

Post by Robert_Moriyama »

Bill

Your argument seems to be based on the theory that killing (definitely) tens of thousands of Japanese men, women, and children to save (maybe) tens of thousands of American soldiers (and some thousands of Japanese troops) is a Good Thing. This is really not much better than the Dubya claim that tens of thousands of Iraqi and Afghani lives lost PLUS more American troops lost than civilian deaths on 9/11 PLUS increased terrorism in other places around the world is preferable to any more losses on American soil...

Suppose the Americans had demonstrated an A-bomb with invited German and Japanese observers on hand, instead of staging all the tests in secrecy... Or suppose they had waited LONGER than three days after the first blast for the full extent of the damage from the first one to sink in (including the deaths of those who SEEMED to have survived the blast itself, but who had received lethal doses of radiation). You say that this MIGHT have cost many more lives (and you keep emphasizing American lives).

Once again, the premise seems to be that definitely killing "them" (especially non-white "them") is better than risking any of "us". Of course, this is the basis of most war-time propaganda and military indoctrination -- the Other is less than human, eats babies for breakfast and worst of all, looks funny and doesn't talk American (or German, or, for that matter, Japanese (to whom gaijin are 'barbarians') or Chinese (who call Europeans and other whites gwailoh)) so Other lives are worth less (or worthless). This is kind of the point I made in "The Final Lesson" -- we need to learn to see that the Other's life is as valuable as our own.

(http://www.aphelion-webzine.com/shorts/ ... Lesson.htm)

RM
You can't wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.

Jack London (1876-1916)
User avatar
kailhofer
Editor Emeritus
Posts: 3245
Joined: December 31, 1969, 08:00:00 PM
Location: Kaukauna, Wisconsin (USA)
Contact:

Hm...

Post by kailhofer »

I'm coming quite late into this discussion.

I am no expert on this, but I think Bill's assertion that it worked is essentially correct. Right or wrong, the war stopped.

The Japanese used plague and gas bombs on China with Unit 731, killing hundreds of thousands. I recall a story about documents uncovered that said the Japanese were planning to drop one on San Diego in what would have been three weeks after Hiroshima. I can't find any links to it now. I dunno, maybe city for city, civilian population for civilian population was correct for the logic of the day. It's easy for us now to point fingers, but would we still think the same if we were on this planet, native, not visiting, at the same time as the woman in the story?

I've only read the story once, but to me, the logic of the story's time travel is very, very flawed. If your goal was to study the people without destroying the time stream, why on earth live there for 2 years?? Can you imagine the ripple effect of all the people you would interact with, that then changed how they interacted with others beyond that? And her husband was a Zero pilot? In combat?? Did he never shoot anyone down? What pilot was supposed to be in that plane instead of him? If it was a plane without a pilot, who would have used that fuel or those bullets? What about the pilot or gunner who shot him down? What else would that person have done instead?

These people would have horribly mucked history up, IMO.

Sending the "sisters" into the future, fine. That mucks up the future's history, not the project's future. Change the future all you want. You didn't get there yet, but don't muck up the past, please.

She didn't seem to have to do anything to the necklaces to make them work, so what difference did it make if she had her husband's pendant? It would have returned, regardless.

From a human standpoint, I liked that she chose to save two people that she cared for, sacrificing herself, but all in all, I'd have to give thumbs down on this tale.

Nate
Hardcover, paperback, pdf, eBook, iBook, Nook, and now Kindle & Kobo!
Image
A cooperative effort between 17 Aphelion authors. No part of any sales go to Aphelion.
User avatar
kailhofer
Editor Emeritus
Posts: 3245
Joined: December 31, 1969, 08:00:00 PM
Location: Kaukauna, Wisconsin (USA)
Contact:

Re: HIROSHIMA

Post by kailhofer »

rick tornello wrote:Answer me this:

If there were no more Japanese air force, the navy was all but sunk, the American citizens of Japanese descent were in concentration camps, how do you propose your assertions could have been carried out?

We as a country supplied Sadam with the chemicals and possibly the technology needed to attack the Iran. Where does that put us?

RT
I really wish I could find the link about bombing. The internet has so much stuff on it, you almost have to know what it was called and where it was published to find it amongst all the chaff. Obviously, they would have had their own plan on how they were going to do it. People of the day had no idea, it was only uncovered a few years ago as I remember.

I think everyone at the time was amazed at the tenacity of the Japanese nation. Soldiers who as a group fought to the death scared the bejesus out of the western world. (And, it should be noted, there were still soldiers being found hiding in the hills 40-50 years later.) That may have been a factor. I don't know, I wasn't there.

However, I think you've transcended into another discussion. My grandparents firmly believed Roosevelt was the root cause of the war when he put the squeeze on Japanese oil. (My grandfather was a WW2 veteran, BTW.) I think we as an American nation cause many of our own troubles with shortsightedness.

Would the Taliban/Terrorist-supporters have attacked us on 9/11 if they knew we were the ones who supplied all the weapons to drive the Soviets out of Afghanistan? (Most didn't know. I love the movie Charlie Wilson's War about that.) Likewise, since Pakistan was the broker for all that weaponry, it made a lot of money on the deal. Would it be a safe haven for terrorists if there wasn't all that money or weapons around? Would Germany have risen again in such a militaristic way if it hadn't been so under the thumb from the Allied nations after WWI?

We're dumb, or maybe just lazy.

We like quick fixes. We like easy and popular answers. And high-tech, complicated devices. We like those, too.

The A-Bomb was all of those things, as far as the American people were concerned.

Nate
Hardcover, paperback, pdf, eBook, iBook, Nook, and now Kindle & Kobo!
Image
A cooperative effort between 17 Aphelion authors. No part of any sales go to Aphelion.
Megawatts
Master Critic
Posts: 948
Joined: December 31, 1969, 08:00:00 PM
Location: Johnstown, Pa.

Post by Megawatts »

Quite a discussion! Hiroshima and the effects of Nuclear War. Were the two bombs dropped on Japan to end the war, or something else. I believe it was an opportunity for America to stop the war, show the Russians the bomb’s power, and, probably the most important part, study the effects of radiation on Humans.

In the 1950’s I often went with my grandfather. Often we stopped in neighborhood saloons so he could have a shot and a beer. Back then the bars were full of many veterans from WWII and the Koran War, and now worked in the steel-mills and coal-mines that once dominated Western Pennsylvania. With my grandfather I listened to many combat stories while I had a Seven-up with potato chips.

By the time I was eleven, I figured out that the Japanese were Humans and not some offshoot of the animal world. What I heard in those bars about the Japanese---I can’t recall any stories about the Koran war--- and how evil and sinister the Japanese were, gave me a nightmare once, and one that I still vividly remember to this day. The Japanese in the nightmare took on the appearance of a giant spider that talked and ate little boys while it smiled with slanted eyes at its next victim.

Remember, I was about six at time and didn’t have the least notion on how the Japanese looked!

In Johnstown, we had a Chinese laundry and I would go into it with my mother. I didn’t have any fear of the Chinese! Because the stories I heard about the Japanese with my grandfather did in fact carve an image of two legged monsters carrying rifles with a spider’s head. I had no idea that the Chinese and the Japanese were so close!

With the bombing of Pearl Harbor, then the stories about Japanese ruthlessness with the Chinese, English and American and Australian prisoners that surfaced towards the end of the war, I can understand that the average American had absolutely no sympathy for the Japanese.

Before the war, we thought of Asians as beneath us! Couple to that mindset Pearl Harbor and the atrocities the Japanese did. So it is easy to understand that the Japanese were viewed as Garbage without any rights that other peoples, even Germany, enjoyed!!

The dropping of the two bombs fulfilled the need to give Nuclear Weapons battlefield testing, and Japan was a perfect target especially from a political view!
Tesla Lives!!!
User avatar
Robert_Moriyama
Editor Emeritus
Posts: 2379
Joined: December 31, 1969, 08:00:00 PM
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Contact:

Megawatts's point...

Post by Robert_Moriyama »

Is probably that AT THE TIME, racism was not only acceptable, but practically mandatory when it came to those dastardly, subhuman, bucktoothed, weak-eyed sneak-attacking Japs/Nips. And AT THE TIME, taking revenge and putting on a show of force by killing thousands of civilians with a single bomb seemed downright upright.

Now, people would not have had the same attitude about using A-bombs on Germany. After all, a good many Americans had friends and neighbors of German ancestry, and they were "like us" (European-looking, I mean). What bothers me is that there still seems to be a little "better them (non-whites) than us" attitude at work even now. (Clint Eastwood's "Letters From Iwo Jima" and "Gran Torino" both do a good job of showing Asians in a humane light, emphasizing the similarities between the values and emotions of the Japanese and Hmong and traditional "American" attitudes.)

RM
You can't wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.

Jack London (1876-1916)
Megawatts
Master Critic
Posts: 948
Joined: December 31, 1969, 08:00:00 PM
Location: Johnstown, Pa.

Post by Megawatts »

I’ll clear up any ambiguities, however I really don’t see any.

We wanted to test the Atom Bomb on a real enemy target to evaluate its destructive potential. U.S. citizens hated the Japanese, thought of them as slant eyed devils, and our leaders knew the attitude of the American people towards the Japanese. And they knew if an atrocity were initiated against the Japanese, the U.S. public would just say, “Good for them---look at that sneak attack on Pearl Harbor!”

The bomb test was more important than defeating the Japanese since Germany had already surrendered and Japan at this late date was absolutely no threat to the United States. We could have just isolated Japan if we didn’t want any more American soldiers killed, and eventually the military leaders would have had to give up. Remember, Japan has very little natural resources, and with our air dominance we could have stopped all coastal fishing, continued to harass, use Napalm on their rice-fields, and literally starve them into submission.

No, the two Atomic Bombs dropped on Japan were test drops, and the American people didn’t care one way or the other!!!
Tesla Lives!!!
Post Reply

Return to “December 2008”