August 06, 2009

The Enola Gay

Sixty four years ago the Enola Gay dropped the first atomic bomb used in warfare upon Japan. There is an interesting opinion piece in the WSJ that discusses the controversy that has developed over this.

It is worth reading and considering the positions of both sides. It is always easy to look back and critique the actions of the past. But we should remember that it is harder to try and truly understand the thoughts and sentiments of a particular time.

I have mixed emotions about it. Certainly you can point to the tremendous loss of life and say that many of those people were innocent. But, there are real questions about what would have happened had America been forced to invade Japan.


Soccer Dad said...

The navigator on the Enola Gay was a Jewish man from Baltimore named Jacob Beser. I don't know that I ever met him, but his wife was my art teacher.

There's a gentleman who went to parents' shul who was WWII aviator. He was rather grateful for the nuclear attack. The Americans were figuring that they'd lose a pretty high percentage of those planes if they had to invade the homeland.

Either way the casualties would have been huge.

shavuatov said...

Yes, much controversy over this action. There are some that say that the bombs were dropped solely to justify the spending that went into it's development. Who knows. All I know is that you can't unlearn knowledge like that once you have it. I have very mixed feelings - too much for here. But thank you for the reminder, Jack. I have been so hectic today that I forgot it was the anniversary, for the first time in years.


Jack said...


That is interesting, regarding your art teacher. Small world sometimes. In the end I lean toward supporting the bombing. It is really easy to look back and say we should have done XYZ.

Japan is very peaceful now, but they were as barbaric or more than the Nazis. So there are compelling reasons to support the bombing.


I hope that the hectic time is because you are involved in good things. You are correct, knowledge gained is not lost.

shavuatov said...

Hectic = work, but I'd rather be busy than not, in this climate right now!

One thing - my BH's grandfather was a prisoner of war in Upper Silesia (now Poland) after being captured at Dunquerque. Treatment of PoWs who weren't officers was as barbaric as the Japanese. He was put to work in a mine and some of his tough mining friends tried to kill themselves rather than cope with the treatment they received. They were all forced onto a death march in the same way as concentration camps inmates as the Russians advanced at the end of the war.

Not many people know about that.