Truman on Trial: Not Guilty
Mr. Schweikart is a professor of history at the University of Dayton and author of The Entrepreneurial Adventure: A History of American Business.It is a good thing I am called a judge, because if I were a juror, regardless of how the judge ruled, I would engage in"jury nullification." On purely hypothetical grounds, I reject the entire concept of"war crimes" as being separate and distinct acts of violence, the same way I reject"hate crimes" as being different from acts.
But as to the specifics: Not only did Nobile fail to prove that the dropping of the bombs were not required by"military necessity," even the evidence he offered---the expected"lower" casualty rates of American soldiers, etc.---only CONFIRMED that in fact this was a military necessity. In my book, during a war, if saving a single one of my soldiers can be achieved by any means, I'll take it. That is the nature of war. Wars are not clean. In this context, though, the civilians who still supported the war; who took no steps to end the war (i.e., civil disobedience); who continued to make guns and planes---they indeed were hardly true"noncombatants."
But beyond that, the evidence now is so overwhelmingly on Truman's (and Radosh's) side that there is no question in my mind that the Allied estimates of expected casualty rates were WAY low, and that probably upwards of a million Japanese would have been killed too.
Finally, the portrayal of an Imperial Japan"trying to surrender, and we bombed them anyway," is lunacy. Surrendering is quite simple. You stop shooting and say,"we surrender." Instead, the Imperial leaders threatened to KILL anyone who even mentioned the word. Recently the revisionists have cloaked this in a"genuine" concern about"saving the Emperor." But they know better. The Japanese warlords were playing the same game in 1945 that they played at Pearl Harbor---striking the United States in hopes that we would just be lazy or stupid and go away. And they reaped the whirlwind for it.
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