Letter To The Editor: Dropping Atomic Bombs Saved Millions Of Lives

By Dr. T. Douglas Reilly
Los Alamos

Today, Aug. 9, 2018 is the anniversary of the bombing of Nagasaki with Fat Man. War is always hell and civilians are now the majority of the victims.

Consider that over 50 million lives were lost during WWII; over 25 million were Russian, roughly 400,000 were from the USA. Sec’y of War Henry Stimson once said that the estimated deaths from the planned assault on mainland Japan, Operation Downfall, was half to one million Americans and eight to 10 million Japanese.

As a Los Alamos History Museum docent, I’ve had several visitors who’ve told me stories like this:

“I was on a troop ship off the coast of Japan; we’d been told the assault would be long and deadly. One day I’m on deck and the captain comes on the Intercom and says, ‘gentlemen, please go to the port side of the ship and watch our shadow as it turns 180 degrees and we head home. Two new bombs have been dropped on Japan and they have surrendered. This terrible war is over’. I’ve always wanted to visit Lois Alamos because some folks here may have saved my life.”

As most readers know, Aug. 15 marks the 73rd anniversary of Japan’s surrender that ended World War II. Almost 50 million lives were lost during the war. The saturation- and fire-bombing of Tokyo and Dresden involved so-called conventional weapons but killed more than the two atom bombs. I am certain that the dead do not differentiate between nuclear and conventional weapons.

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