John Berger's 1981 essay "Hiroshima" is a look at the consequences of the 1945 nuclear bombing of the Japanese city during World War II. His argument about Hiroshima really affected me when I was reading it. The way he used the real life examples, really touched my emotions. When I was reading about the child trying to put water into her dead mother's mouth, I could picture it in my head, and I couldn't believe it. The horror, terror, and lessons of the Atomic Bomb are never ending, but what Justifies it is beyond me.
Many would say that the A-Bomb was the absolute solution to ending the war with the Japanese. The Japanese were a courageous and formidable opponent and even thought surrender would have been unlikely they knew that victory was no longer in sight with defeat around the corner. With no clear opposition between the United States Navy and the Japanese homeland the U.S would land troops on the Japanese coast. Unfortunately based on the past of “island hopping”, what the U.S had to do to get there, such an invasion would have cost so many American and Japanese lives that it wouldn’t even be worth it. This results in many people saying that the Atomic bomb rather saved more lives than it took.
This brings up my first point, yes it is true that the A-Bomb saved more lives than it took but I feel that the way the A-Bomb brought death and destroyed the area for decades to come is almost just as bad as a U.S. invasion of japan. This is seen in the countless stories that are told in Berger’s “Hiroshima.” As you read this passage by a survivor I want you to see through his eyes, try to imagine what he must be feeling. “Suddenly, one man who was stark naked came up to me and said in a quavering voice, “please help me!” He was burned and swollen all over from the effects of the A-Bomb. Since I did not recognize him as my neighbor, I asked who he was. He answered that he was Mr. Sasaki, the son of Mr. Ennosuke Sasaki, who had a lumber shop in Funari town. That morning he had been doing volunteer labor service, evacuating the houses near prefectural office in Kato town. He had been burned black all over and had started back to his home in Funari. He looked miserable-burned and sore, and naked with only pieces of his gaiters trailing behind as he walked. Only the part of his hair covered by his soldier’s hat was left, as if he was wearing a bowl. When I touched him, his burned skin slipped off. I did not know what to do, so I asked a passing driver to take him to Eba hospital.” These are civilians, people just like you and I who are witnessing things that no human being should ever have to see in their life. These people are no longer living on earth, they are living in a literal hell, and all they see is destruction and death. What gives us the right to bring hell among civilians, living breathing human beings who believe that what their country is doing is right? We don’t have the right, no one ever has that right. Such an act against humanity could be declared as in-humane.
My second point is mainly what I believe is the sole purpose for the Atomic Bomb, to scare the Japanese people into submission. It worked of course but what is it called to scare the public, to put them into so much fear that they will succumb to any force? Terrorism. Plain and simple, the American government used the A-Bomb to force the Japanese government to fold because they knew that a land invasion of Japan was basically impossible. It’s kind of ironic really, that we are currently fighting a war against terrorism when, we were once ourselves, terrorist. What makes September 11th any different from the A-Bomb that was released on Hiroshima, not much but their motives were very similar. Plus the fact that September 11th really only pissed us off rather than submit us into fear. But what makes Hiroshima so fundamentally…