Letters to the Editor

George S. Baroff: Atomic bombs saved lives

Regarding the Aug. 9 Point of View “A long-needed apology for evil”: The most significant justification offered by Patrick O’Neill for an American apology for the use of the atomic bomb lay in Dwight Eisenhower’s assertion that Japan was already defeated and such a bombing was unnecessary.

In fact, the justification lay in the expectation that the planned invasion of Japan would lead to at least a half a million American casualties.

Japanese fanaticism was well-established and epitomized in public statements to the effect that they were prepared to suffer 20 million casualties in their defense of the homeland. The losses at Hiroshima (75,000) and Nagasaki (39,000), all due to an intransigent military that would fight to the death, should be compared with the 500,000 allied casualties anticipated in the invasion. The bomb was dropped because a Japanese refusal to accept defeat meant that America, already bleeding from almost four years of war, faced what author D.M. Giangreco termed “Hell to Pay.”

As one of the soldiers whose unit, the 10th Mountain Division, was scheduled to participate in a 1946 assault on the Japanese mainland, I experienced only relief and joy at the Japanese surrender after the Nagasaki bombing.

We owe no apology to Japan; it is they who need to apologize for the devastation they caused in their unprovoked war in the Pacific.

George S. Baroff

Chapel Hill

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