White Supremacy and the Bombing of Hiroshima

Justifications for Nuclear War

Courtesy of the National Archives and Records Administration.

The conduct of the Pacific War is seen by many as reflect of the racism toward the Japanese prevalent in American society during World War II. Historian John Dower examines the documentary and propaganda record in War Without Mercy.5 Japanese and Japanese-Americans had been herded into internment camps in 1942. By mid-1945, most major Japanese cities were already rubble, making them poor targets to demonstrate the power of the new weapon. The fire-bombing of Tokyo on March 10 had killed some 80,000 to 100,000 civilians. U.S. propaganda portrayed the Japanese as monkeys or vermin that had to be exterminated. [The racism had to be specifically directed against Japanese, not all Asians, as the War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression was ongoing in China. Therefore, helpful instructions on “How to spot a Jap” (among other Asians).]

To read this article, log in here or subscribe here.
If you are logged in but can't read CP+ articles, check the status of your access here
In order to read CP+ articles, your web browser must be set to accept cookies.

Seiji Yamada, a native of Hiroshima, is a family physician practicing and teaching in Hawaii.

CounterPunch Magazine Archive

Read over 400 magazine and newsletter back issues here

Support CounterPunch

Make a tax-deductible monthly or one-time donation and enjoy access to CP+.  Donate Now

Support our evolving Subscribe Area and enjoy access to all Subscribers content.  Subscribe