Tuesday, March 8, 2016

This is What Happened in My American History Class When the Talk Turned to the Bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki

By: Luke Marshall

Nothing shows you just how effective the government's indoctrination of children is like your classmates justifying mass murder. And this is exactly the situation I found myself in not too long ago. I attend a small public school in a rural town where the people are pleasant and just about everyone knows one another. So when you think of people likely to justify the needless slaughter of over a hundred thousand people my classmates are probably not the first people who would come to mind. After all, only a complete psychopath could justify the murder of thousands upon thousands of people. Right?


The day was like  any school day. I showed up to school at 8 o'clock and mindlessly did what my teachers asked of me before the bell dismissed me to show up to my next class and repeat the process. After going through the same old song and dance three times I arrived at my American History class. We had been going over World War II for the past few days and as usual, I found myself disagreeing with just about every conclusion my textbook drew. I am used to being the voice of dissent and most always manage to keep my cool, but even the most veteran libertarian debater would be taken back by what happened when we reached the section on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

My history book stayed true to the formula it always sticks to: Justify the aggression of America and her allies at all cost. So it didn't surprise me when the history book said that Truman had Hiroshima and Nagasaki nuked to put an end to Japanese Imperialism and save the lives of countless Americans by putting an early end to the war. I mean what else would you expect from the government provided textbooks? What I wasn't prepared for was my classmates willingness to accept the senseless dogma of the curriculum.

My teacher opened the class up for discussion after assigning us to write a page on whether or not we thought the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was justified.  In my essay, I had mentioned that the Japanese were willing to surrender as long as they could keep their Emperor who they believed to be of divine lineage, but due to Truman sticking to FDR's policy of unconditional surrender this made any peace negotiations impossible. When the discussion began, nobody had anything to say so I began to reiterate some of the points I had made in my paper and went on to say that killing one innocent person is never justifiable never mind thousands of them.

The room went quiet before a young man we will call Stephen said something to the effect of, “I think they had it coming considering the attack on Pearl Harbor.” Initially, I began to try and tell Steve about how we had waged economic warfare on Japan who was reliant upon imports to sustain its economy by placing an embargo on them and that this among other things provoked Japan to attack the US. Since most of that seemed to go over his head, I just asked him if it is okay to kill tens of thousands of innocent people just because of the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Steve tried to explain to me how horrible Pearl Harbor was as if I had  not just explained that the American government provoked the Japanese. I then mentioned that even Dwight Eisenhower was against dropping the bomb when he said, “Japan was at that very moment seeking some way to surrender with minimum loss of face. It was not necessary to hit them with that awful thing.” But before I knew it people began to take Steve’s side. For a while, I continued to spout off every possible reason I could think of for the US bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki being unnecessary, but it wasn't long before I realized I would not be able to win over the minds of my fellow classmates.

As I briefly mentioned earlier, I am used to being opposed to the teachings of our class' history book, but I still found it hard to stomach that my peers were not the least bit repulsed by the mass murder that took place at both Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In fact, some of them seemed giddy to read about how the good ol US of A stopped those evil Japs. That is when I realized how deep the government's indoctrination of the youth is. Our history books not only make perpetual war and military aggression seem justified, but paint it as a heroic and noble feat. The education system and various other forms of government propaganda have not only made the loss of human life that occurs in war trivial, but has made it something to rejoice about. As I sat in my history class and looked at my classmates I saw humans, but I couldn't see the humanity.

Luke Marshall is a 17-year-old free market anarchist who enjoys reading, writing, and spending time outside.


  1. The same old same old from me. The 99.99% cannot fathom that the magical nanny Mary Poppins American state cannot cure all ills of the universe if only it just doubles down and tries hard enough. Those Japs were resisting our magical cure for humanity. They got what they deserved.

    There. It's all very simple.

  2. Couldn't the US just have sent a message to Japanese leaders to observe the awesome power on the bomb and drop it relatively harmlessly onto an unpopulated area of Japan or a close island? This would have been easy enough to do. Telegraph the time and location of the event and deliver the weapon. But, I've always believed the US wasn't dropping the bomb on Japan, it was dropping it on the Russians. A clear signal to them that the US not only has the bomb but has nothing in its moral code to prevent it from using it on civilian populations.

  3. Luke, it heartens me to know you're out there. Keep fighting the good fight.

  4. And then as if two devastating atomic bombs weren't enough, why not punish them for "forcing" the hand of the U.S. to use the bomb in the first place? http://archive.lewrockwell.com/vance/vance180.html. Oh, no, wait, to save American lives . . . that's right. A moment of amnesia. My bad.

    I don't know what the classroom is like today. It sounds neutral, an almost anything goes but I could be wrong. If the debate over force, given the classroom setting of today, will always be biased toward force, turn the discussion away from force and instead onto how the bombs affected the lives of individual Japanese men and women for decades, how it affected major decisions and events in their lives. In that scenario with details of very specific, very real effects, the psychopathic justification for mass murder runs aground. Anthony Gregory does a good job of this. The effect is unquestionable. [http://bit.ly/1U1KqBw] Perhaps even more frightening is the fact that a high percentage of American students have no knowledge of the bombing, "... a 1995 Gallup poll [found] that one fourth of Americans had no knowledge of the atomic bombings and that few understood their severity."

  5. I wish I had been as knowledgeable and eloquent when I was 17.

    1. No doubt Rick. It took me 10 years after I finished with public education before I had the same grasp of this 17 year old.

      Luke, all you can do is just keep trying to educate those that will listen. You can't waste your time trying to sway people who are on the other side. They have their views, and they felt like they came to them in a reasonable fashion. For most people hearing that you're wrong becomes a Freudian disaster.

      Those on the fence are another story. You have truth on your side. If someone is really interested in that search, you may prod them to find out the details for themselves. Those are the people that matter. They are the 1/3 of the population of The Milgram Experiment that will question throwing the switch.

    2. The big difference is the information is out there and accessible to kids today.

      As to the story: When someone says the regular people who live in a nation had it coming (because of something the government that rules them did) there is a logical counter argument I find effective. Remind them that is the argument of terrorists and/or ask if he wants to be held responsible in that manner for what the fedgov does. Ask him if someone who has lost a family member because of something the US federal government did has the right to bomb him, to kill him. Ask him if a country the US government attacked has the right to bomb his town in response.

      It's hardball, but it puts them in a very difficult spot.

  6. Sagacious self-assurance in a 17-year-old... as rare as it is wonderful.

  7. And the nuking of those cities came after the US firebombed 67 Japanese cities. Why? Because the Japanese military bombed a strictly military target of ships and planes for 2 hours, 2,500 miles from US shores, and then left. Japan actually wanted oil independence, via the oil from what had been the Dutch East Indies, and the US wasn't going to let them. 4 years after Japan was decimated and occupied by the US, China was ruled by Communists. How’s that for an unintended consequence?