© 2005 All Rights Reserved. Do not distribute or repurpose this work without written permission from the copyright holder(s).
Printed from https://www.damninteresting.com/retired/ww2-america-warned-hiroshima-and-nagasaki-citizens/
This article is marked as 'retired'. The information here may be out of date, incomplete, and/or incorrect.
Editor’s Note: Evidently in recent years historians have discredited the “old” official story about these leaflets (which this piece was based upon). It seems that leaflets were dropped on Hiroshima prior to the atomic bombing, but they were ordinary bomb warnings, they did not allude to the atomic bomb. Atomic warnings may have been dropped on Nagasaki before its destruction but after the Hiroshima event, sources conflict.
Shortly before the US dropped two atomic bombs on Japan, the United Stated showered the Japanese cities of Nagasaki, Hiroshima, and 33 other potential targets with over 5 million leaflets warning civilians of the impending attack. In Japanese, the back of the pictured leaflet read:
“Read this carefully as it may save your life or the life of a relative or friend. In the next few days, some or all of the cities named on the reverse side will be destroyed by American bombs. These cities contain military installations and workshops or factories which produce military goods. We are determined to destroy all of the tools of the military clique which they are using to prolong this useless war. But, unfortunately, bombs have no eyes. So, in accordance with America’s humanitarian policies, the American Air Force, which does not wish to injure innocent people, now gives you warning to evacuate the cities named and save your lives. America is not fighting the Japanese people but is fighting the military clique which has enslaved the Japanese people. The peace which America will bring will free the people from the oppression of the military clique and mean the emergence of a new and better Japan. You can restore peace by demanding new and good leaders who will end the war. We cannot promise that only these cities will be among those attacked but some or all of them will be, so heed this warning and evacuate these cities immediately.”
An American-controlled radio station on Saipan was broadcasting a similar message to the Japanese people every 15 minutes. Five days after the fliers were distributed, Hiroshima was destroyed by the “Little Boy” atomic device. Following the first attack, the U.S. air force dropped even more leaflets:
America asks that you take immediate heed of what we say on this leaflet. We are in possession of the most destructive explosive ever devised by man. A single one of our newly developed atomic bombs is actually the equivalent in explosive power to what 2000 of our giant B-29s can carry on a single mission. This awful fact is one for you to ponder and we solemnly assure you it is grimly accurate.
We have just begun to use this weapon against your homeland. If you still have any doubt, make inquiry as to what happened to Hiroshima when just one atomic bomb fell on that city.
Before using this bomb to destroy every resource of the military by which they are prolonging this useless war, we ask that you now petition the Emperor to end the war. Our president has outlined for you the thirteen consequences of an honorable surrender. We urge that you accept these consequences and begin the work of building a new, better and peace-loving Japan.
You should take steps now to cease military resistance. Otherwise, we shall resolutely employ this bomb and all our other superior weapons to promptly and forcefully end the war.
Three days after Hiroshima, the “Fat Man” bomb was dropped on Nagasaki.
The distribution of these leaflets, along with the radio broadcasts, does put a dent in the argument that America was unconcerned about the potential civilian deaths as a result of an atomic attack, but the debate over the bombs’ necessity in ending the war will never be truly resolved. Also interestingly, one of the original potential bomb sites was the Japanese Emperor’s Palace, but it was scratched from the list due to its cultural significance.
© 2005 All Rights Reserved. Do not distribute or repurpose this work without written permission from the copyright holder(s).
Printed from https://www.damninteresting.com/retired/ww2-america-warned-hiroshima-and-nagasaki-citizens/
Since you enjoyed our work enough to print it out, and read it clear to the end, would you consider donating a few dollars at https://www.damninteresting.com/donate ?
I wonder how much of it was true and how much could have been a forgery to protect the American public from… guilt?
Why does it have to be a conspiracy?
Victors write the history.
I grew up in that era and I never heard any of this before. And the eyewitness accounts of the japanese civilians Never mention leaflets. Maybe there were. I don’t know as I was not in those cities at the time. But it seems strange that the eyewitnesses who survived all expressed surprise. Also, it mentions that the japanese military paid no attention to the planes, thinking they were just scouts.
True indeed, I think this is perhaps a mockup.
Sure the US warned the Japs but I doubt they really said all that crap or the japanese would have been more protective of those regions skies at the time.
More first hand evidence is needed, NOT FROM THE US!
I couldn’t help but notice that the inscriptions above are in English. That explains all the confusion (hehe).
This is standard WW II history, that you should have learned in middle or high school.
I, for one, did not hear about these leaflets in school. Or rather, I do not remember hearing about them. This article was a good read, thanks for bringing this to my attention Alan. I found this pretty damn interesting indeed!
CauselessEffect said: “I couldn’t help but notice that the inscriptions above are in English. That explains all the confusion (hehe).”
Yes, you are jesting, however: “In Japanese, the back of the pictured leaflet read…”
froggy said: “I grew up in that era and I never heard any of this before. And the eyewitness accounts of the japanese civilians Never mention leaflets. Maybe there were. I don’t know as I was not in those cities at the time. But it seems strange that the eyewitnesses who survived all expressed surprise. Also, it mentions that the japanese military paid no attention to the planes, thinking they were just scouts.”
As a tastlessly joking observation:
Q: Why did none of the eyewitnesses mention leaflets?
A: Because anyone who saw the leaflets was either smart enough to get out of those cities (thereby not becoming eyewitnesses), or they realized how foolish they were not to leave and hence became “eyewitnesses” and never wanted to later on say “yeah, I was warned but was to stupid to leave”.
Nobody like to admit a mistake they knew was coming.
What I really find Damn Interesting is how little debate this article has sparked compared to the 150+ replies generated on the very similar Eyewitnesses to Hiroshima and Nagasaki thread.
Tempers are/were flaring over there about… well… everything. Not the least of which the debate regarding how true the “Japan will fight to the death of every last man, woman, and child” belief was. This article however, turns that idea complely on its head. Here you have apparent evidence that there was significant warning of the coming attack yet the cities were pack full of people the day of the bombings and there’s no well known documentation of any civilian evacuations of any of the cities.
That seems to leave only two basic possibilities:
1. The leaflets never reached the civilians en mass. Either this tale is a fabrication (as some have suggested). Or if the leaflets were real, they didn’t reach their targets – bad drops perhaps.
… or …
2. The leaflets did reach the civilians en mass. Did they think “lies, it’s just a bunch of lies”? Or maybe they really were ready to stand to the very last one.
Certainly it’s food for thought in the whole “should the bombs have been dropped or not” debate.
Aside from all this:
If I was ever walking around and found a leaflet on the ground that looked to have come from a foreing power saying they were preparing to massively damage several cities, one of them being where I presently was; what would I do? Even if I didn’t seriously think it was possible; what would I do?
“Um, hi boss, yeah, I’m going to be taking my vacation time off now… uh… family emergency… [whispers to self – like to keep them alive type emergency]… I’ll be back in a couple of weeks… can I get my next paycheck in advance… the next three actually… [picks up the phone] Hi honey… grab the kids… we’re going to go visit the family out in the farmland for a few weeks…”
My grandmother had told me that when she was in Japan in the years following the war her maid, a Japanese woman, had told her that they had been warned that the bomb was going to be dropped. Anyway, it’s too late to change anything now; everyone blames the U.S., so what use would it be to make something like this up now.
Im sorry but some of you people make me want to puke, there is nothing theoretical about this well documented piece of history. This was confirmed by Japanise civilians, so I dont know where some of you were hiding. If there are people here that find it so much more interesting if there is some government secret behind everything, perhaps you should do your homework before you make comments. In most cases you will find that half the souce of info in scenarios such as these comes from sources apart from our own gouvernment and even if we wanted to fake dropping 5 million leaflets we would have had no way of pulling that off. Its been long since admitted by the Japanise, as well as there gouvernment. As much as you would just love to be able to say that our gouvernment is out to get the world, and the U.S. is therfore trigger happy and full of nothing but thoughtles monsters, the history books do not back that ideology.
All I ask is that before you make suggestive coments read a book, or do some real research because you may just be surprised. By the way to the person not interested in fine details whom suggested that the Japs probably didnt understand the leaflets being typed in english, please reread the original post a little more thorouhly.
I’m sorry but whether it is true or not is not really an issue. How many people do you think could have avoided death at that time whether warned or not? But anyway, it still doesnt justify the US Government killing and maiming millions of innocent people, just as they are doing to this day.
And to mikenet2006, I’m not agreeing that all those involved in leading the US were thoughtless monsters, but you might want to concider that the history books tought to you in your schools might not read the same as what is taught to the rest of the world. Although not really related to this subject, I found this kinda interesting – http://www.accd.edu/pac/philosop/phil1301/lieshist.htm
The “humanitarian policies” mentioned are a nice smokescreen. The leaflets themselves would have had a powerful military application: if the cities listed were the parts of the Japanese industrial base, mass evacuation would have crippled the war effort. The US would have bloody well known there was no chance of people paying attention to foreign propaganda leaflets, so their purpose was twofold. 1) Enhance the social and industrial collateral damage of the weapon through demoralization. 2) Cover the collective American arse somewhat.
Not that I have any particular gripe with the atomic display of force, but if the leaflet campaign was sincere the first bomb could have been dropped somewhere visible away from a civilian center.
(Don’t get me wrong. The nuclear attack was an atrocity, but just possibly a justified one. I’m not one of those that thinks their opinion of something that happened so long ago is important. But the leaflets were never a real ‘warning’. If civilian lives were a factor, little boy would have been a warning shot somewhere safer.)
bobo said: “Victors write the history.”
Everyone writes their *own* history. The Japanese have completely written anything having to do with the war before the drop out of theirs.
Ironically the first thing the British bombed the Germans with in ww2 were only leaflets. But think on this too.
We run Miller Systems WW2 Campaign http://members.shaw.ca/millerww2/ww2/index.html
and have not only studied ww2 and war history quite a bit, but talked with many survivors on all sides.
A. Expectations: Any survivor of the Blitz in Britain will tell you that we didn’t evacuate cities when the Germans/enemies dropped similar leaflets.
B. Claim Accuracy: Correct me if I am wrong, but I am pretty sure neither Nagasaki nor Hiroshima were the primary targets of those 2 missions.
C. Predictability: The atom bombs were different and we knew that. Civilians on all sides got used to the idea that those bomber formations large enough to really threaten them as a whole would be detected with enough time to allow for them to at least get into the bomb shelters. We knew this all along. To expect them to evacuate their cities where we wouldn’t when the Germans/foes did the same in Western Europe is dismissive. And remember, these bombers didn’t go along with a few hundred others along for the ride. 1 or even 4 bombers were more of a curiousity at that point as opposed to true massed bomber formations or at least entire squadrons or air groups.
D. Patriotism: Your gov’t and people dissuade you from reading enemy ‘propaganda’, even possessing it.
F. Propaganda: Your own nation’s propaganda(and only fools believe their nation doesn’t use propaganda even today), will convince the populace that these leaflets are lies even if they know they might be true. You don’t admit to your people that even half of what the enemy leaflets say are true. You convince the people the leaflets are lies or at least always to be mistrusted.
G. Believability: All sides LIED in these leaflets too, either to deliberately divert enemy military attention from the real target or to create constant panic amongst the populace as terrorists try to today. By the end of the war, most of these leaflets were known to be just as likely to be deliberate lies as sincere truths. We supposedly dropped leaflets on Warsaw promising we would save them if they held out long enough when we ourselves knew that to be untrue. If our enemies believed every leaflet we dropped, we could end any war in a month.
G. Target Accuracy: Even if we did drop these leaflets, no guarantee the intended people read them. Our own efforts laughably(to us) often missed the target altogether, sometimes not only the wrong town but wrong country even. I’ve talked with many Japanese survivors who blame their own militarists for the war who have never admitted ever seeing such leaflets, and any that did said they were general propaganda and unspecific. Keep in mind that since we were outright missing entire cities in our high level daylight raids, that is why we switched to night raids at low level. I expect our leaflet accuracy was no better.
It is, and always was, known to be unrealistic to think that their civilians would abandon their cities because of our supposed leaflets, even if true and accurate, when we sure as hell didn’t when the Germans/enemies dropped the same on us.
And if anyone wants to say those leaflets explained the difference between the upcoming atomic and other bomber attacks, then I think they are really stretching it.
Sorry, even if true, we couldn’t expect them to behave any different than we did under similar conditions.
blad said: But anyway, it still doesnt justify the US Government killing and maiming millions of innocent people, just as they are doing to this day.
And to mikenet2006, I’m not agreeing that all those involved in leading the US were thoughtless monsters, but you might want to concider that the history books tought to you in your schools might not read the same as what is taught to the rest of the world. Although not really related to this subject, I found this kinda interesting – http://www.accd.edu/pac/philosop/phil1301/lieshist.htm“
Shariya controlled goverrnments do far worse all the time. They’re thoughtful monsters. By the way, when I “consider” what my history books “taught” me, I take it with a grain of salt, as should the “rest of the world.”
America should have put its efforts into dropping millions and millions of pigeons on the homes/work areas of the Emporer and military/industrial leaders. The ensuing doo-storm would have many positive effects: 1) They could not meet to plan further operations, as they would smell bad and be showering constantly. 2) Who is going to believe a poopie-head? 3) Who is going to follow the lead of someone constantly ensconced in pooping birds, who is also smelly and constantly showering. 4) Did I mention the birds would be pooping on them?
Now, I know some of you will whine “but kenfo, what about the civilians?!” 1) I really didn’t think that through and 2) Commoners need to shower more often anyway; god-less, stinky heathenry.
What America should have done is ironically what most of Truman’s advisors and General Staff insisted he do. First of all, recind the ‘unconditional surrender’ demands. One of the biggest mistakes of the war.
Then guarantee the Mikado, the Emperor’s position as we ended up doing anyways. That alone would take the wind out of the sails of the extremists and give wind to the moderates who had been looking for an out from the war, including leaving China, since 1943.
With ‘conditional withdrawal’ on a time-table, our Nationalist Chinese allies would have been handed back occupied China in such a way that Chiang could establish his authority in the rest of China he never had control of even before the Japanese interruption of the Chinese Civil War.
What happened instead was we stupidly demanded the Japanese just drop their weapons, leave their military stockpiles even industries and just start marching home while Mao’s communists rushed in to grab everything from rifles, machine guns, munitions, trucks, tanks, artillery even and airforce he never had before allowing him to inherit and compromise later Nationalist efforts to counter him. The first films of Red Chinese successes against the KMT, such as the parade into Beijing and Shanghai have the Communists riding and wielding Japanese tanks, armoured cars and weapons, not Russian. We made a huge mistake demanding unconditional surrender by Japan that cost us China to the communists and cost us trillions in Cold War spending and millions of lives lost and a hostile growing super-power to this very day.
Some of the American and British leaders even suggested peace with Japan as long as they pulled out of China(though not Manchuria), SE Asia and the East Indies, leaving them as a buffer between the Soviets and unstable China. At the very least, make it conditional so we didn’t lose all of China, North Korea and Vietnam in the end. Within weeks of the surrender, we were already asking Tokyo to allow us to re-mobilise their garrisons in SE Asia and Indonesia to fight the communists anyways. So don’t say we’d never consider letting them remain a military presence if not power. As soon as the Korea war started, we completely reversed our position and have never stopped asking them to re-arm and get rid of the ‘peace-constitution’ we actually wrote for them. But to them, it’s not only an atonement, but a great money-saver not to.
If Truman still felt he needed to use the bombs to intimidate Stalin(though he wasn’t intimidated by us using it on civilians anyways) then invite the world press and international observers, even Japanese through a truce, to observe the effects of the bombs on evacuated island targets as we’d do for decades afterward.
Even if the Japanese extremists still held control after conditional terms offered(which neither side felt likely) most American General Staff and Presidential advisors suggested targeting a true military-only target like Truk.
As it stood, all we did with unconditional surrender demands was hand over most of Asia to communism and place ourselves in decades of trillion dollar spending on an unnecessary Cold War and unfriendly super-power today.
We, not the dictators, went down in history as the first and only major power to use weapons of mass destructions on civilian centres. They didn’t end the war by themselves. They didn’t end the war before the Russians could get involved and claim rights to interfere in Asia. Nor did they intimidate either Stalin nor Mao, as evident by Korea. All they did was give up the morale high ground we worked so hard at presenting to the world. As much as the Chinse play the ww2 card in negotiations with Japan, I get so sick and tired of they and others sitting across the table in negotiations reminding us that it was America, a ‘democracy’, that was the first and only nation to start using atomic bombs(wmds) against civilians.
That’s what many even leaders of the time felt we should have done instead.
Renounce ‘unconditonal surrender’ demands. Guarantee the Emperor.
Proving that we were willing to use them on even a defeated nation’s cities to show we were more powerful and brutal than anyone, didn’t intimidate the dictators and only lessened our support internationally.
I agree that we absolutely used the atom bombs the wrong way, assuming we had to at all.
I don’t know if anyone has already highlighted this but I have included a link to a website which contains a report into the bombings, carried out by the “Manhattan Engineer District of the United States Army”.
It describes how a propaganda campaign was launcehed by the Americans AFTER the attacks which included dropping leaflets and organising radio broadcasts every 15mins!
It’s a large report but here’s a link to the relevant section;
Does anyone out there fear their nation/culture has become like 1930s Germany, Italy and Japan?
Convinced that ONLY the other guy is guilty of dangerous propaganda and hypocrisy?
The atomicarchive listing above, when read all 27 pages, is to my mind an extremely dangerous series.
Not because it admits that much of the propaganda topic here was in fact dropped after the bombs with a massive campaign to convince ‘history’ it was the other way around, but that it seems to try to ‘de-vilify’ the bombs.
Lobbing unsourced(that I can find) or one-sided/biased(that they use only pro-American sources as opinion)…the series of papers tries to sanitize not only the morality of the weapon, but it’s practical use as a tactical weapon for our troops even today. It tries to imply that after 6-8 weeks from detonation, all is hunky dory with the target area as far as radiation is concerned. That despite our own scientists warning against, our plan to use 3-5 bombs once we could build them, to clear the invasion beaches like D-Day Normandy bombardment for our own troops to occupy safely.
It reminds me of the Soviet justification for the neutron bombs back in the 70s, that there would be no long-term effects and the bombed area would be perfectly safe for occupation and re-settling.
This series even uses claims from Christian missionaries in the area to dismiss any Japanese civilian resentment over the atomic bomb.
The whole effort from the start here, to try to justify and moralize the use of the atomic bombs the way we did is the same reasoning spouted by the monsters threatening us with terrorism today.
‘You started atrocities against us.’
‘God is on our side.’
‘What we do now is justifiable if it saves lives in the long run.’
‘It’s ok as long as we warned you it was coming.’
‘Blame your leaders for what we do to you.’
‘What you call terrorists today, you used to call freedom fighters.’
‘We are only learning by example you set.’
‘You started this, you created these weapons of mass destruction, YOU were the first and only to use them on mass scale, we are only learning from your example.’
Whether it is a rogue nation like North Korea, a hostile ‘democracy’ like Iran, our ‘friends’ in Russia or China or the idiots one side calls freedom-fighters the others terrorists…this attitude sanctifying the use of such weapons for any reason is scary.
I think Wargamer is the only one here who voiced a valid opinion to this story. I for one had a biased opinion (you know what I mean) purely due to the one-sided “learnin” I received in High School on the subject. I have since sought out to learn about this on my own and found out that while America wasn’t the best boy on the block, those in the Japanese military “clique” were animals. I am not a historian (although I have grown to love history), but what I have read about the Pacific battles (from WWII), the Japanese civilians were “brainwashed” into believing that they were going to take over the world; and that it was an honor to die for their Emperor (hmmm, this sounds vaguely familiar these days).
The fact that we dropped two large friggin’ bombs, should give anyone with any significant quantity of grey matter a clue as to how much frustration there was at that time 4+ years of World War. Added to this frustration was the fact that Japan’s military “clique” made every Japanese citizen a “soldier”, to fight to the death – purely to “save the nation”. The war would not have concluded until the last civilian died (ahem…for the Emperor, of course). Here is an interesting analogy: Nowadays, when people feel “frustrated”, they get Divorced. Now multiply that “Divorce frustration” by whatever factor of your choosing – at least sufficient enough to drop an atomic weapon an a city. This was the amount of frustration the world felt in the months leading up to the bomb drop on Hiroshima. I have not come across what the political views were at the time, but I can imagine that what Wargamer mentioned is accurate.
Ok. Please allow me a few words to go off on a tangent: You filthly little people make me sick. You know who I’m talking about, you who take sides without even devoting one-Damn-minute to read up on history before you formulate your own opinions. You are the ones who are easily swayed by your peers and popular public opinion; You are the ones who idely stand by and “gossip” instead of taking “action”. You talk about how rotten your Government is, yet you still choose to live in this country??? What am I missing??? I am NOT defending our Government (especially those slime-ball DemoCraps). What I am going-off on are those of you who complain, yet DO NOTHING do change the situation.
Alan Bellows: I thoroughly enjoy reading the stories on your website. THANKS!!!
It seems the question of whether and when these leaflets were dropped is not as clear as some people think.
I searched a bit for information about the matter and most sources I could find are contradictory. The wikipedia article has no mention of any leaflets at all and the link to the CIA is no longer valid. Snopes has no article on the topic. So if anyone could provide a link that would be nice.
Of course Wargamer is correct when he says, that nobody could realistically expect the japanese to flee Hiroshima just because of some leaflets.
Honestly I don’t see the big debate here. The history books don’t really matter, the leaflets don’t really matter. For me, it’s simple. It should be for everyone else too I think. We were at war. Hitler declared war on us first, then his allies followed. Yes, there was Pearl Harbor, but I don’t see nuclear bombs as revenge for that. I mean, come on people! If I was the leader of a country and in the same position, hell I would use them in an instant. I would have started dropping every nuclear bomb I had on the enemy cities one at a time, and ask for a surrender after each one until the enemy finally gave up. Either my enemy would surrender or they would get their wish to die for their emporer, and I would have wiped an entire culture from existence. Either way, the war would be over. The planet was really up “sh*t creek” in WWII anyways, we had some serious trouble.
The Japanese were the final holdouts in WWII, we had defeated everyone else. We would have eventually defeated them too even without the nuclear bomb. Anyone who has studied history knows the Japanese war plans for the Allied invasion of their homeland. Suicide boats loaded with explosives to be driven into the allied ships, women and children taught how to kill the invaders, etc. People can argue if they want, but it was worth it. We dropped two bombs, killed lots of civilians, and gee, the Japanese government decided maybe they should surrender. Those civilians were cannon fodder, innocent people killed to convince their government to give up. That’s fine with me, I’d do it again in the same position. They had it coming for one reason, they agreed to join with Hitler and fight against us. And they did not surrender before we developed and used the bomb. Let’s be sure we spread the blame around to everyone who is guilty, not just the people who dropped the bombs. You may think my comments sound harsh, hateful, or evil, but war is harsh and full of death.
Here’s hoping we don’t need to use them again. But it’s in our nature to fight eachother, so it’s only a matter of time – only this time, both sides will probably have them, and it’s going to be a lot worse.
u guys r r-tards, teh Amerikan armie dropd teh leaveletz aftur they droped teh bom, teh leflet told them that they hade just bin bomed. teh leflet gose in2 detayl about hao they wer just bomd with teh “collective power of the universe” & wer vary proud abowt teh fakt that the bom waz moer powrfull then “20000 tonz” of TNT. teh bombz wer unjust & teh people hoo thnk it iz r just read nek hicz hoo wil belive n-e thingg thare corupt guverment telz them. thiz guy baysicly maed up wat the 1st leflet sed, and teh 2nd 1 waz dropd aftr the ferst bom hade allredie hit. so smrtn up cuz if u belive that teh bom was a coreckt reactun 2 perl harber, then u r just az poletikally blinded by al yer guvermentz properganda, & itz a bit sad :( becuz all teh factz & infermation iz rite in frunt ov u. n00bz
oh btw jwinner, u r a n00b cuz u dunno shit bout teh werld, itz peoplul liek u that mayke teh werld a bad playce :( if u had studeed up u wud hav realized that teh japenese wer planing on surrendering before teh 1st bomb even hit aftur teh Potsdam conference (if that ringz a bel, whtch i dout) and w/ teh comparasin of teh deth tol, u wud hav noticed that teh atomc bomz causd moer then 100000 moer casualtez thyen perl harber. so new rul… if u dunno wat ur talking bout, then stfu k? thx
ps. J Robert Oppenhiemer (hoo waz teh scintifik direkter ov teh Manhattan projkt stated ” the bomb on a assentially defeated enemy” so teh onle resun 4 dropin teh bom was so teh blud cravin american miltary cud c a big bang :D
“We cannot promise that only these cities will be among those attacked but some or all of them will be.” Way to go for being vague. And giving people only 3 days for action against their own government between Hiroshima and Nagasaki being bombed? Looks like the Yankees were determined to drop the bombs either way and any pamphlets would just be a token gesture
Enter your reply text here. OK
wiki always gives partial truth information.
from web site above: //////// myanus87 #21 April 28th, 2007 12:02 pm
The Atomic Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki
On August 11th, 1945, two days after the bombing of Nagasaki, a message was dispatched from Major General Leslie R. Groves to Brigadier General Thomas F. Farrell, who was his deputy in atomic bomb work and was representing him in operations in the Pacific, directing him to organize a special Manhattan Project Atomic Bomb Investigating Group.
On the day after the Hiroshima strike, General Farrell received instructions from the War Department to engage in a propaganda campaign against the Japanese Empire in connection with the new weapon and its use against Hiroshima. The campaign was to include leaflets and any other propaganda considered appropriate. With the fullest cooperation from CINCPAC of the Navy and the United States Strategic Air Forces, he initiated promptly a campaign which included the preparation and distribution of leaflets, broadcasting via short wave every 15 minutes over radio Saipan and the printing at Saipan and distribution over the Empire of a Japanese language newspaper which included the description and photographs of the Hiroshima strike.
The campaign proposed: }}}}}}}}
“America is not fighting the Japanese people but is fighting the military clique which has enslaved the Japanese people. The peace which America will bring will free the people from the oppression of the military clique and mean the emergence of a new and better Japan.”
Ah, that old chestnut.
“Thank God for the Atom Bomb”; Read the excerpt from Paul Fussell here:
Wait a second here, was there even an attempt at a “token gesture” during Pearl Harbor? A lot of you people here seem to have completely forgotten that Japan was the first to break the peace talks and begin bombing and killing Americans in Pearl Harbor simply because America would no longer supply Japan’s war machine which was invading China in less than humanitarian manners. Japan completely deceived the Americans trust by carrying on peace talks right up to the day of the surprise attacks on Pearl Harbor. Japan thought that their surprise attacks on Pearl Harbor would cripple the American people and demoralize their troops thus eliminating any threat of America getting involved in the war. What it did do in fact was “awake a sleeping giant” which Japan’s emperor realized he may have done after the tasteless attacks made on Pearl Harbor.
These leaflets are a well documented FACT. Perhaps if Japan had dropped leaflets over Pearl Harbor first before attacking and killing 3,000+ American troops, medical staff, etc. things would be different in the history books. I am not going to say that Japan got what they deserved because in my mind the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki are still questionable methods of relentless force BUT I will say this….they were NOT unprovoked attacks as many of you seem to think they were.
I think people are guilty of looking at this act with a mindset formed in the second half of the 20th century. When Atomic weapons were developed, there was not a distinction between conventional and nuclear weapons. That was to come later. Like the idea behind the Gatling gun before it, it was seen as simply a way of using one plane and one bomb to do the work of a thousand planes and thousands of bombs, thus putting fewer of our people at risk.
Think about it…suppose, instead of nuclear bombs, we had sent a thousand planes and dropped thousands of tons of explosives and had destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki in the ‘conventional’ way. Would we be talking about it now? Would the victims be any less dead? No and No. Just like we are not talking about the firebombing of Dresden or Tokyo, where the loss of life was comparable in numbers, and perhaps even more horrific.
The war in Europe ended with an occupied Berlin and the remaining German commanders being able to read the writing on the wall. If the war in the Pacific was to end the same way, one of two things had to happen…either an amphibious assault, or a Japanese surrender before American boots ever touched Japanese soil. Consider the political situation of the time…suppose an American invasion, with perhaps 100,000 or more (some estimates say it could have gone as high as one million) American casualties. Now suppose, after the dust settles, the American people find out that America’s military had in its possession a weapon that could have ended the war with two bombs over 3 days, and chose NOT to use it. Instead, they chose to sacrifice untold thousands of American service men to spare thousands of Japanese civilians. Remember, this was 1945, and American families had been hanging gold stars in their windows for three years. The Japanese were not the most popular people around at the time. You would have a debate that would be going a lot deeper than the issue of whether or not we dropped leaflets before hand.
Please don’t get me wrong. I am not a warmonger, or pleased that two cities went up in a mushroom cloud (myself, I probably would have opted for dropping it in Tokyo Harbor and given everyone a front row seat). I am just trying to get the point across that you have to place yourself in the time and place before you can thinking about whether America was right or wrong. For that, I think you can look at America’s post war reconstruction of both Japan and Germany and feel pretty good about our country being gracious in victory. Even after WW I, America had the sense and moral compass not to sign on to the vindictivness of the Versailles Treaty.
As for the leaflets…does it really matter? The dead are dead. Pearl Harbor wasn’t warned, London wasn’t warned, Berlin wasn’t warned, Tokyo wasn’t warned. The idea of giving the enemy a heads up as to your military plans to ease your conscience would have been a radical one to say the least. Can anyone think of a time in history when that was EVER done? The fact that anyone even thought of the idea is astounding.
And of course the leaflets were vague…as I recall, at least one (or perhaps both) of the targets were seconday targets, chosen due to weather conditions. Besides, anything less vague would have only invited a military response. These bombs were far from plentiful at the time, and the chance of losing one to anti-aircraft action would have been unacceptable.
That’s so true. And that’s why today World history = USA history… We live in a unipolar world
The japanese had it coming they attacked us
We lived in Sasebo, Japan in 1956-57 while my husband was in the Navy. We took a train to Nagasaki to see the city and visited the Atomic Bomb Museum. The leaflets were on display there telling about them being dropped. It also said the Japanese army would not let people leave the city when they tried to go and said it was all propoganda. We just returned from Nagasaki three days ago (May 2009). The leaflets were no longer displayed in the new museum.!!! They were dropped and we saw them.
“Fat man” and “Little Boy” bombs?
You Americans really have some epic names.
I wonder how much $ it took to make the bombs probly A LOT like 1,000,000
I cant beileve us americans could do that, wellit is to end a war
I imagine that during those times the people at war would be pretty used to enemy propoganda and accustomed to ignoring it.
As I recall it was July of 1941 when FDR froze Japenese assets in American banks and sanctioned the scrap metal exports to Japan(in response to Japanese invasion of China). How surprising is it that Japan attacked us? International theft is motivation for what?
For years we have been in the middle east (CIA assisted coup in Iran in the fifties). How is it surprising that we are attacked after decades of attempts at oil control?
The real surprise is the sequence of events prior to each “surprise attack” in context with our ?superiority? in the air, sea and business.
So many conundrums demand thorough research. Assuming a timely pamphlet drop is way too gullable.
August 6, 1945. August 6, 2010.
65 years later, are we finally growing up?
This story is a fraud, old propaganda presenting out-right lies.
Historians went public disproving these lies over 15 years ago now.
Back in July, 1995 the American-chaired ‘Historians’ Committee for Open Debate on Hiroshima’ itself, pages of historians signing the petition, had their letter ‘Enola Gay Exhibit: The Historians’ Letter to the Smithsonian’, disproving these claims, published for us all by the LA Times.
Each link is only a page long, no longer than the article you just read here, so why not read what the historians have concluded today instead?
The author of this article cites the CIA as his source for the leaflet and related lies, the CIA in return cites as source the ‘Office of Wartime Information’(OWI), the very agency tasked with dessiminating US propaganda.
Even the wikipedia link the author cites as a source updated their historical statements and actually says the opposite.
The Smithsonian and Enola Gay Exhibit itself were forced to retract and reverse their final draft positions on these lies.
It’s been over 15 years now, time for these people to catch up with the modern historical record.
I couldn’t find a way to edit my own post here on Damn Interesting,
Note: add ‘m’ to the end of the link to the Historians’ letter
So….if I kill someone, I can get off the hook by telling the judge that I warned the guy? That is good to know.
You people who are claiming this is an atrocity by the US government know nothing about the circumstances of WWII. If you want to talk about atrocities talk about what the Japanese did in Manchuria to the Chinese or in the Filipinos in the Phillipines, or the Americans during the Bataan Death March. I bet you’ve never heard of Unit 731, where Japanese scientists killed approximately half a million Chinese, Russians, British and Americans through chemical and biological experimentation. Let’s talk about what the Germans did in the Ukraine, or to the French and Italian resistance, not to mention of course the Holacaust. Or what the Russians did to the German POW’s or the women and children as they entered Berlin, or the German civilians trying to flee occupied Germany. Atrocities you say? America begged Hirohito and the war council of Japan to surrender, and they wouldn’t. In their arrogance and blind faith in Hirohito they disregarded the Pottsdam declaration as a bluff. Truman was faced with either using the weapons he had, or sending about a half million American and British forces to their sure deaths during an invasion of the Japanese mainlands. Not to mention the fact that the Japanese would have suffered probably 10x the dead and wounded they suffered during the dropping of the atomic bombs. But that’s what happens when your country is ruled by someone who the people see as “a living God” as the Japanese people did with Hirohito. Sure I feel horrible that so many people had to die in that awful fashion, but the cold hard truth is that the alternative would have been much worse and Japan in fact, brought that destruction upon themselves with their aggressive and barbaric actions.
The leaflet listed 35 Japanese cities. Where were the civilians who read the leaflets supposed to go? All the major population centers were also military targets, and you couldn’t just up and leave like you’re on a vacation in the middle of a war. The translated text seems to have a lot of words compared to the Japanese characters listed on the shown leaflet too.
That said, the Japanese were going to be very, very difficult to defeat on their own turf. Their air force had recently been upgraded with a very good fighter aircraft that could effectively battle our own too. Another point that people often forget is that if the world didn’t see what a nuke could do to a city before the close of WW2, then it would certainly not rest until it did. One thing that America knew it would be criticized for was the mass killing civilians who were not European and not Christian. In that regard, Hiroshima had one unique feature: it had the largest Christian population of any Japanese city.
The German/Japanese creed of racial superiority led them to commit genocide, politicide, and other war crimes like mistreatment of prisoners and human experimentation. It also caused them to attack and to fight on when they didn’t have the numbers or technology to ultimately win. Since WW2, both nations have been model world citizens, promoting peace and diplomatic solutions wherever possible.
That leaflet with the picture of bombing aircrafts which was dropped to warn residents does not have ‘Hiroshima’ printed in its list of cities.
My grandfather is a WWII veteran who flew in the Air Force. One day a Japanese woman approached him in a parking lot. She had noticed his veteran’s plates and assumed by his age that he had fought in WWII. She asked him if he had flown in the missions that had burned her city. He said he had and became uncomfortable not knowing the intent of her wanting to speak with him. Before continuing, she hugged him and expressed that she wanted to thank him. She said that she was young during this time and when the flyers were distributed, the Japanese military prevented the civilians from evacuating the city. She was fortunate to have found a way to escape. She thanked him again and told him she knew that nothing less than what America had done would have stopped the Japanese government. When I was young, a Japanese lady who went to my church also recounted stories of these flyers that she had been told by her parents and grandparents.
wow that story is amazing thank you for sharing
Yes, Froggy, you are correct. My daughter lives in Japan and has visited Hiroshima.. Everything that we were taught as Americans in school regarding Hiroshima and that Japan was the country that ‘started’ it is 1000% wrong.
They were NEVER given warnings, there was NO broadcast, and there were most definitely NO pamplets dropped in Japan.
The American government only said that to try to cover up their error.
You could argue either side when it comes to the humanity of dropping those bombs. No-one can truly know the extent of loss that would have been suffered if Japan had been invaded, but at the same time that can’t really excuse the use of such terrible weapons. But what can we expect now in this day and age? An apology from the US for fighting an enemy? How about an apology from the Germans to the Brits over the carpet bombing of London? Or even how about the other way round, us Brits apologizing to the Germans for destroying 80% of Hamburg, Bochum and Mainz? I seem to recall that current estimates put the amount of civilian casualties in WW2 at between 40-50 million. So taking the casualties of the 2 bombs at being around 400,000 people all in, that makes the percentage from the 2 atomic bomb blasts about 0.1% of total casualties at the most conservative of estimates…
And in terms of the effectiveness of the leaflets, it would be like dropping leaflets over Berlin in WW2 telling the Germans that they were going to be bombed. Most people would kind of know that already, and any concerned enough to try and flee I’m sure would have been ‘convinced’ otherwise by the authorities.
My father-in-law was a Captain and pilot in the Army Air Corps, during World War II. He was aware of the leaflets being dropped. At the time, civilians, enemy and ally alike, were instructed NOT to pick up leaflets of any kind, falling from the sky. There were reports of incendiary leaflets (whether true or not), being made on both sides. That and whatever was printed on them would almost surely be propaganda from the enemy. This may help explain why most leaflets were mostly ignored. While giving first-hand accounts of the World War to an elementary class, my father-in-law was asked whether he thought it was necessary to drop the atomic bomb. After a pause, emotionally, he said: “At the time, yes. We were planning a major invasion of Japan and the Japanese civilians had been instructed for every man, woman and child to fight to the death. The losses of American soldiers and Japanese soldiers and civilians nation-wide were spared the horror of a major invasion. I hope and pray no one ever has to use that kind of force, again.”
this is just not true, and I’ve been to Japan and am positive from many reputable sources that this did not happen, in any form. it also would seem to be counter productive for a force to announce their plan before hand. I am retired military so I might know a bit about how that would go.
My father went thru the Battle of the Bulge with the 99th Infantry Division of the US Army. He was a green soldier sent to the Ardennes forest to be trained by experienced troops who needed some rest. They got neither as the attack came upon them all, and he found himself BEHIND German lines. The Gracious Lord was with him, and somehow he survived all the way to Germany. He never would say much about the war, but I do remember him saying after the Germans surrendered, they were told to get ready to go to the Pacific to invade Japan. When they heard of the atomic bombs being dropped, everyone in his unit cheered, thinking this might end the fighting.
It is easy to condemn those that ordered and carried out those bombings, but to those doing the actual fighting and dying, the decision was met with a different attitude.
Those of us who have never experienced combat have no business critiquing their decisions.
Also, as afore mentioned
REGARDING THE DISCUSSION ABOUT LEAFLETS DROPPED OVER THE GENERAL AREA OF THE HIROSHIMA PREFECTURE IN JAPAN IN MYA, JUNE AND JULY OF 1945, I WILL BE PUBLISHING A MEMOIR COVERING THIS TIMEFRAME. THE BOOK DISCUSSES
THE EXPERIENCE OF CHILDREN SEEING THESE LEAFLETS, PICKING THEM UP, TAKING THEM TO PARENTS, HAVING THE MESSAGE DISCUSSED. THIS IS FOLLOWED BY THE ACCOUNT OF THE FAMILY HEEDING THE MESSAGE, MOVING OUT OF THE INDUSTRIAL AREA TO A RURAL AREA ABOUT 50 MILES AWAY AND WITNESSING THE BOMBING FROM A DISTANCE AS FLASHES IN THE SKY.
FURTHER THE FAMILY REVISITED THEIR OLD HOME TO FIND IT DESTROYED.
ONE EXPERIENCE OF RECEIVING THE AMERICAN BOMBER’S
A MESSAGE, “MOVE AWAY OR YOU MAY BE HARMED.” FOLLOWING THE ADVICE AND HAVING THE FAMILY PRESERVED.
The very fact it too TWO atomic bombs shows just how serious the Japanese were about resisting. Yes, the invasion of Japan would have been a bloodbath. It is very likely MORE Japanese civilians would have been killed that way, including hundreds of thousands of American soldiers.
Did Japan drop warnings before they bombed Pearl Harbor?
My Mother was traveling in Japan with the USO outside of Hiroshima. YES-She told me that the leaflets were dropped- and that the Japanese government warned people not to pick up the papers.
That is a fact of war. What is the big debate about. She saw one of the leaflets at that time.
My mother felt so sad about this. Since she was an artist with sketchbook always in hand, she drew images of the women and children that she saw streaming out of Hiroshima for days following. It was heartbreaking. in the 1980s, she used her experiences and artwork to bring attention to the growing use of nuclear warfare.
What is really interesting is that American personnel over there were not warned by their own US Govt or told anything about the possibility of them being exposed to radiation or side effects even thought they were not directly in Hiroshima. She ended up suffering from an obscure autoimmune disorder. She always wondered if there was a connection. I have done some research about other military personnel in the surrounding areas at that time and have come to learn that many of them also had questionable diagnosis. Very interesting.
“Oh, these leaflets, which have been dropped, in the best of scenarios by the enemy -a lier enemy, all are- say that one or all of the 34 cities named will be bombed! At war! I think we should obviously leave every major city in japan dessert and go somewhere and eat something and…well, we’ll see. On the other hand, this may be a good plan to dislocate all the social and warfare structure and comfortably invade the country…uhmm” Come on…!
War is important business.
“If you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles… if you do not know your enemies nor yourself, you will be imperiled in every single battle.”
This quote came from “The Art of War”, which was written hundreds of years ago.
Thutmose III, did NOT need to read it, He knew its wisdom…. before Sun Tzu wrote it.
“You don’t know what happened, you remember what you THINK happened.”
Who knows, the Mandela effect could have been instigated. In a parallel universe, we could have warned them or not, but we remember what happened from our individual universes.
FIrst, It is provable they the US DID warn all the cities on the list (about 5 cities, IIRC, including Hiroshima & Nagasaki). The warnings said that a terrible new bomb was about to be dropped on these cities, and told all the citizens to leave. One proof is here: the Atomic Bomb game of Go. http://senseis.xmp.net/?AtomicBombGame . A series was taking place between 2 of Japan’s greatest players in downtown Hiroshima, The leaflets told everyone to leave the city. They packed up the game and moved to the outskirts of the city. The bomb went off, causing damage to the house they were playing in. But the damage was moderate enough (& Go is important enough in Japan) that they finished the game that same day.
I happen to also have one of the leaflets. A friend’s father was part of the US occupation forces immediately after the war. He picked up several & kept them. My friend knew my interest in WW II, and gave me one. A tall, narrow piece of paper (about 7″ tall x 2″ wide), with Japanese writing & graphics on it. I don’t read the writing, but the graphics make the message clear.
For all the posters here who claim that this story is false, I will point out that the story of the Atomic Bomb game of Go is part of Japanese History, not American history.
Several of you spoke with grave certainty, that you KNEW the story above was false. You were wrong. You should think carefully about accepting testimony & eye-witness “interpretations” in the future. TRY to falsify stories. Especially the ones that you want to believe. The truth has nothing to fear from being challenged.
I’d also like to say that I’m not justifying anything. I wish that they had dropped a demonstration bomb off the coast. I wish that they had left a lot longer time between the 1st & 2nd bombs, to give the Japanese leaders time to assess the situation.
Nonetheless, it wasn’t my call. Or anyone else here’s call either. There is a right & wrong way to be a leader. Tyrannical, interested only in self preservation, unconcerned with the citizen’s well being is the wrong way.
There is a right & wrong way to be a follower, a citizen in a country that is at war, too. Playing Monday morning quarterback, especially with the morality convictions, is NOT the right way to do it.
Perhaps discussions SHOULD happen, while we are not at war, as to what the citizens of this country want to do if we ever get into that pickle again. This has happened twice: Korea & Vietnam. US Troops were hanging on by the slimmest of threads at certain times in both of those wars. There were powerful military leaders demanding that we unleash those weapons. Thank god that the US military takes its strategic orders from the citizen government. (& I want the civilian government out of the tactical part of prosecutiong any war. Tell the military what are the goals, & what are the constraints (i.e., “no nukes, no chemical, no biological weapons”) & let them do what they are trained to do.
For security reasons, this could NOT be made public. No vote could be taken on it. It was Truman’s decision. And the US citizens voted to make it (OK, FDR’s decision), but our constitution made it Truman’s when FDR died.
It was Truman’s call. He made it. I am prepared to say that I wish he had taken a different path. I am not prepared to condemn him for the choice that he made. It saved hundreds of thousands of US lives, and some millions of Japanese lives. That was the greater good.
These are not mock ups, fakes, or forgeries. Ignorance is one thing, willful ignorance and an insistence on denying what does not fit your preconceptions does not demonstrate moral superiority. It signals your foolishness. The fact of these warnings being provided is easily verifiable, but I’ll bet you who deny never bothered to try.
I am not going to say if it is true or not.but a while back some of the extra leaflets came up for sale.I purchased one of these,so all I need to know is if we dropped them.I think we did.
Keith Reust- Yes, the Japanese did warn the Americans before the Pearl Harbor attack, but the warning was ignored and not spread because the military thought that it would cause panic. It almost reminds me of the warnings by foreign intelligence agencies to the USA about an impending terrorist attack on 911.
I just found 3 of these pamphlets that my Dad saved from WW2..he served in the Army Air Force and was a navigator on one of the planes that dropped these pamphlets