Letter published in the Greenfield Recorder, September 1, 2020
When I stated in a recent Recorder article that dropping the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki was a racist act against non-white people, described as “vermin” and “rodents” that should be exterminated, Kathe Geist described the history underlying my statement as “sketchy.” The atomic bomb was intended for use on Germany, she states, but Germany surrendered before it was ready.
However, there is critical historical evidence underlying my statement. According to historian Richard Rhodes, author of Pulitzer Prize-winning “The Making of the Atomic Bomb,” President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill met in September 1944 while we were still at war with Germany and Japan. In this meeting, they considered the bomb’s first use should be on Japanese cities. The significance of this recorded meeting is that it contradicts the common historical opinion that Germany would have been bombed first, if the atomic bomb had been ready to use before that country surrendered in June 1945.
There are further amplifying examples of the racist attitude that Japanese were subhuman and expendable, which would make using the atomic bomb on them more acceptable. Among these are the internment camps, where more than 110,000 Japanese Americans were imprisoned from 1942-1945. Yet, other “enemy” citizens, including Germans and Italians who happened to be white, were not. Polls at the time indicated that the majority of Americans approved.