On this day many will recall the fate of Hiroshima, when up to 140,000 were killed and 69 per cent of the city was destroyed. It may be useful to put Hiroshima’s destruction into its sad context.
The Japanese Empire is responsible for starting the conflict by its attempt to conquer and annex China and other parts of Asia. It killed millions of people in China (most notoriously, the Rape of Nanking in 1937-38, when at least 200,000 civilians were slaughtered). Later, Japan attacked the United States at Pearl Harbor because of economic sanctions the U.S. leveled in response to Japanese aggression in China. In all, the Imperial Empire of Japan was responsible for the deaths of 15.5 million people between 1937 and 1945. Far more Japanese died from conventional bombings by the United States over the course of the war. For instance, a single raid by 334 B-29s on Tokyo on March 10, 1945 resulted in the destruction of 25 percent of the city and the deaths of 100,000.
The Empire of Japan was militeristic and bent on conquest. It took two atomic bombs to barely convince the Emperor to surrender–and his military commanders then attempted a military coup to overthrow him so they could continue the war.
For those who fear atomic weapons, remember that they’ve only been used twice since their invention more than 60 years ago. Far more people have died–and continue to die–from conventional weapons. Eliminating atomic weapons will not bring about peace. We had war before they were invented and we’ve had wars since, without using them.