Topic: World War II
On July 30, Hiroshima mayor Tadatoshi Akiba dedicated the "Gates of Peace" memorial to the destruction of the city by Atomic Bomb on August 6, 1945. The monument consists of a walkway with ten 30-foot arches. Artist Clara Halter, along with architect Jean-Michel Wilmotte, intended the arches to "symboliz[e] Dante's nine circles of Hell plus one more" for Hiroshima.
Halter said, "After the world commemorated the 60th anniversary of the liberation of the concentration camps, I found it impossible to do nothing to pay tribute to Hiroshima's dead and remind people what barbarism men are capable of."
If the French similarly complained about barbarism in 1944-45, during heavy Allied bombing of German industrial cities, it has not been widely reported.
Halter must be unaware or ignoring the Japanese invasions of Manchuria, China, Indochina, Korea, Singapore, and the Phillipines. To remind people of barbarism, she should visit Pearl Harbor or erect monuments at Nanking, the Burma Railway, Corregidor, or the site of the Bataan Death March.
As the U.S. Navy approached Japanese waters in 1945, they were attacked daily by kamikazes. The invasions of Iwo Jima, Okinawa, and Saipan made it clear that the Japanese were heavily entrenched and willing if not eager to fight to the death. Told that the Americans would eat their children, hundreds of women on Saipan threw their babies over a cliff and jumped after them as U.S. troops watched helplessly below. Japanese women were being armed with pointed sticks and taught hand-to-hand combat. The U.S. military estimated that a conventional invasion of Japan would cost about one million American lives with equal losses on the other side.
Do the math: 210,000 killed at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Two million lives spared. That nets 1,790,000 lives saved.
[Source: Agence France Presse]
Copyright 2005 Paul A. Hughes