Voices from Russia

Monday, 17 August 2015

Alaska’s Unangax Work to Preserve Culture Quashed by World War II Internment

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Harriet Hope’s family was last together in one place at the dawn of World War II, when she was five-years-old. In 1942, Hope was one of nearly 900 indigenous Unangax that were given only hours of notice to pack one suitcase and leave their homes in Alaska’s Aleutian and Pribilof islands. Without any choice or sign of where they were going, American soldiers put them onto crowded ships, who sent them to squalid internment camps in the then-territory’s southeastern rainforests. Hope, now in her late 70s, said, “Our whole lives were just a total upside down wreck. It was a huge tragedy that the US government pushed on us”. In 1945, the USA resettled the last interned Unangax. According to the National Parks Service, at least 74 people died in the camps, many from the unsanitary conditions. Many elders, who would’ve passed on traditions and customs to younger generations, succumbed to disease in the camps, along with the very young. Seven decades later, the cultural damage of the internment is still clear and many of the remaining survivors are hesitant to talk about the experience. However, even as the number of survivors dwindles, Unangax communities peppered along hundreds of miles of volcanic islands are working to preserve and restore their culture through educational programmes geared towards their youngest members.

Restoring a Culture

Sharon Svarny-Livingston’s mother, Harriet Hope’s older sister, was 12 when the family had to leave Unalaska. She went to a boarding school with other school-aged Unangax kids. She said, “The boarding school was the first place they learned that they would be beaten for speaking their language. So, a whole generation of these kids never taught their kids to speak their language. Our mother never taught us. When you lose those languages, you lose so much”. In the 1990s, for a short time, the school in Unalaska was able to hire a teacher who was fluent in the native language. As a result, they passed on the language, Unungam Tunuu, to a few young people, including the man who is now the Russian Orthodox priest in Unalaska. Svarny-Livingston noted, “To be able to keep that language in the church and be able to have the kids hear it is so important”. Svarny-Livingston also mentioned how important it is to teach subsistence to the next generation, the traditional way of living off the land and sea still practised by many Alaska Native communities, “It’s not necessary to survive, it’s necessary to sustain spirit”. Harriet Hope recalled, “None of the men were able to bring any kind of subsistence gear when they were interned. We couldn’t go out on our own and subsist. It’s sad. They just disconnected us from our whole culture”.

In the decades following the internment, Alaska’s Unangax community mobilised to preserve its cultural traditions; it’s created programs to pass them onto the next generation. Crystal Dushkin of Atka, who is involved in one of several Alaska summer camps that promote Unangax culture, said, “I’ve always wanted us to keep everything we’ve had and make sure that future generations know about it and learn about it, because it’s who we are, we aren’t the immigrants that make up the rest of this country. We actually originated here. This is where we belong”. The camps focus on traditional foods and other activities, such as basket weaving and carpentry. Dushkin observed, “So much has been lost as a result of World War II, and just all the changes that have come around since then”.

Rachel Mason, senior anthropologist with the National Park Service’s Alaska Regional Office, said, “The internment really hastened the erosion of some of the old customs. The deaths of many elders and the forgetting the language, and being outside of their ordinary environment, hastened the loss of the traditional way of life”. Mason was part of an effort that facilitated a trip to several Unangax villages never resettled after the internment. In 2010, a handful of former residents and their families visited three such settlements. She added, “It’s painful thing, and the trauma continues”.

Dark Years

The Japanese invaded Alaska in 1942, capturing the 44 inhabitants of the Unangax village on Attu in the Aleutian Islands. They eventually took them to Japan as POWs, where many would die, including Brenda Maly’s great-grandfather. Maly, 39, whose grandfather Nick Golodoff was six when the Japanese captured Attu, said, “They were strong at the time. My grandfather’s mother, I think she was the strongest of them all, because she remained strong after her husband disappeared in Japan”. Eventually released, the US government didn’t allow the surviving people of Attu to return to their village, as the battle to take back the islands destroyed its remnants. Maly, who has never been to Attu, said, “The war robbed them and future generations of their island and their sense of place. It’s history. If there’s no history, there’s no today”.

The Japanese also bombed the port of Dutch Harbor near Unalaska, prompting the quick evacuation of the Unangax to camps near Juneau in 1942. The government only forced the native people of the Aleutians to leave their homes and villages… they allowed the region’s white residents to stay, sometimes, breaking up mixed families like Hope’s. Even though they were still in Alaska, the camps were in a different world. They dropped the Unangax in the damp forested panhandle in southeastern Alaska, more than a thousand miles across the Gulf of Alaska, far from the treeless, wind-swept islands in the North Pacific and Bering Sea they’d called home for thousands of years. Hope said, “It just broke up the whole family, and it broke up other families. When it came time to come home, a lot of them couldn’t come home for whatever reason, and a lot of them got back home and their homes were just wrecked by the military. It’s just sad”. 88-year-old Nicholai Lekanoff said of Unalaska’s historic Russian Orthodox church, recalling when he first saw it after the war, “They’d thrown rocks and everything at it. [They’d] broken the windows”.

There were as many as 20,000 Unangax living in the Aleutian Islands when Russian explorers arrived in the late 1700s. There were less than 1,000 in the islands by the time of the internment after waves of violence, disease, and famine took its toll on the population over the centuries. Near Juneau, the government put the Unangax in inadequate living quarters, sometimes, dozens of people in one structure, with a few days’ clothes. There was no electricity or running water. Tuberculosis and other diseases persisted with little or no medical services available in most of the camps. Survivors reported facing discrimination in nearby towns where many sought work. Hope recalled, As I grew into the age that my mother was at the time [of the internment], I thought, ‘My gosh, how did they manage this?’ I started getting angrier and angrier because of what they’d done not to me, but to my parents and family”. Congress passed the Aleut Restitution Act in 1988, giving a one-time payment to the surviving Unangax evacuees, months after granting Japanese-American internment survivors similar compensation. The act also provided funds to restore damaged Russian Orthodox churches in Unangax villages. Hope remembered getting her restitution check, reportedly about half the amount given to Japanese-Americans, in the mail, and thinking it was too little too late, “This shouldn’t ever happen to another group of people again. How they got away with it last time is beyond me”.

16 August 2015

Ryan Schuessler

al-Jazeera America


Sunday, 9 August 2015

Nagasaki Remembers 1945 American A-Bomb Attack Victims

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On Sunday, Nagasaki Mayor Tomihisa Taue as he read out the Declaration of Peace at a remembrance ceremony for the victims of the American A-bomb attack of Nagasaki in 1945 called on US President Barrack Obama and the leaders of other nuclear powers to visit American A-bomb attack sites in Japan. “I call on the US President and the leaders of other countries to visit Hiroshima and Nagasaki to see personally what happened there 70 years ago. It’s necessary to exert every effort to free the world from nuclear weapons. We have the strength to safeguard peace without nuclear weapons and war”. Taue also voiced concern over a new Japanese law expanding the scope of the Japanese Self-Defence Forces, “After the war, Japan embarked on a peaceful path, but today more and more people have the impression that the ideology of peace fixed in the Japanese constitution is now wobbly”.

A minute of silence was held in Nagasaki at 11.02 local time (18.02 PDT. 21.02 EDT. 02.02 9 August BST. 05.02 MSK. 22.02 AEST), exactly the time when a USAAF B-29 strategic bomber dropped the “Fat Man” atomic bomb on the city on 9 August 1945. Prior to that, Nagasaki Mayor Tomihisa Taue, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and public figures laid wreaths of white and yellow crown daisies at the memorial in the Peace Park located in the city centre. Prior to the commemorations, a Japanese choir sang a song urging the world not to repeat the tragedies of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Prime Minister Abe said in a statement circulated by his office prior to the ceremony, “I visited Hiroshima on 6 August, where I swore that we’d firmly espouse the three non-nuclear principles, with an aim to avert the recurrence of the horrors of nuclear weapons use. We’ll continue to lead the world community to a nuclear-free world”.

Nagasaki became the second Japanese city after Hiroshima to be subject to American A-bomb attack in August 1945. For years, the death toll continued in Nagasaki. The number of victims grew from year to year. The list expands constantly as more people die of atomic disease. Japan updates the figures annually on 9 August. In 2014, the number of A-bombing victims reached 165,409. The USA dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki towards the end of World War II; the official excuse is that it sped up Japan’s capitulation. Those attacks are the only examples of combat use of nuclear weapons in history. The USA still refuses to admit its moral responsibility for its atomic bombings of the two Japanese cities; it keeps justifying them by citing military necessity.

Earlier this week, RF Gosduma Chairman Sergei Naryshkin criticised the USA for its attempts to minimise the tragedies of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. He told a round table meeting devoted to the 70th anniversary of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki A-bombings at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO), “I have no doubt that the barbarity and inappropriateness of what they did is obvious to American sources, but instead of having a right understanding of history, they want to bury it in oblivion. Interests of peace and security weren’t the factors behind the American behaviour. It was a matter of national prestige. The incumbent US authorities aren’t trying to conceal the tragedies of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which is impossible, but they’re trying to hide the hypocrisy and cynicism of the leaders who ruled the USA at that time. Their behaviour casts a shadow over modern American policy, which has certainly inherited an ideology of exclusiveness, immunity from error, and arrogance of power. No international war tribunal has examined the A-bombings of Japan so far. However, crimes against humanity have no statute of limitation. In my view, one thing is certain, the actions chosen by the USA back in 1945 didn’t rest on considerations of humanity nor did any military need dictate it. Japanese militarists committed many atrocities against civilians in China, Korea, and throughout Asia during World War II. The verdicts passed by the Tokyo and Khabarovsk tribunals gave a civilised reply to their conduct, but the civilian victims in Hiroshima and Nagasaki weren’t responsible for that and had nothing to do with those crimes”.



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On Sunday, in Japan, commemorations of the 70th anniversary of the American A-bomb attack of the Japanese port city of Nagasaki will take place in Japan. A memorial ceremony will start at the Peace Park in Nagasaki at 11.02 local time (18.02 PDT. 21.02 EDT. 02.02 9 August BST. 05.02 MSK. 22.02 AEST) exactly the time when a USAAF B-29 strategic bomber dropped the “Fat Man” atomic bomb on the city on 9 August 1945. All Japan will observe a minute of silence. Nagasaki Mayor Tomihisa Taue will read out a Declaration of Peace, calling for total nuclear disarmament and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will address the people of Nagasaki. By tradition, people will release a flock of white doves… symbols of peace… into the sky over the city. The Nagasaki city administration said representatives of more than 80 countries would attend the memorial events this year. Rose Gottemoeller, US Under-Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security, as well as US Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy will represent the United States. Britain and France also sent delegations to Nagasaki. Russian embassy employees will represent Russia. An Iranian delegation is attending the commemorations for the first time. Nagasaki became the second Japanese city after Hiroshima subjected to American A-bomb attack in August 1945.



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On this day 70 years ago, on 9 August 1945, an A-bomb attack targeted the Japanese city of Nagasaki. The city of Nagasaki is located in western Kyushu, and is the capital of Nagasaki Prefecture. It started as a local fishermen’s town that eventually grew into a sprawling city. During the self-imposed isolation of Japan, Nagasaki was the only port to handle limited trade with the Netherlands and China. After World War II broke out, Nagasaki retained its status as a major seaport and became a very important military installation with many production facilities, primarily shipyards, weapons factories, and steel-smelting plants.

Nagasaki is located in two valleys through which two rivers flow. A mountain range divides the residential and industrial districts, which resulted in the city’s chaotic development. Its buildings were located on an area of less than four square miles at a time when the entire city covered 35 square miles. For many years, Nagasaki expanded without an urban development plan. That’s why residential and factory buildings were located as close as possible to each other throughout the entire industrial valley. The Mitsubishi Steel and Arms Works, the Mitsubishi Electric Shipyards, and the Mitsubishi-Urakami Ordnance Works were located on the south and north sides of the same street. The city’s main business and residential districts were in a small valley near the edge of the harbour. Nagasaki had never suffered a large-scale airstrike prior to the atomic bombing. On 1 August 1945, bombers dropped several high explosive bombs on the city. Some of them hit the shipyard and docks in the city’s southwestern district. Several more bombs damaged the Mitsubishi Steel and Arms Works, the local medical school and hospital. Although the air raid caused insignificant damage, it worried many people in the city, so, the authorities evacuated some of them, mostly students, to rural areas. The overall population decreased somewhat prior to the dropping of the atomic bomb.

The Fat Man atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki had a plutonium core (using plutonium-239), weighed 4.5 tonnes, with an explosive yield of 20 kilotons. The USA had planned to drop the bomb on 11 August, but it moved the deadline up to 9 August. At 11.02 local time on 9 August, the crew of the bomber Bock’s Car dropped the Fat Man bomb on Nagasaki. The bomb exploded high above the city’s industrial valley, almost halfway between the two main targets… the Mitsubishi Steel and Arms Works to the south and the Mitsubishi-Urakami Ordnance Works to the north. The blast killed over 73,000 people, and 35,000 more died later from radiation disease and from wounds. Over 50 percent of atomic-blast victims suffered from burns, and the blast wave affected up to 30 percent. An additional 20 percent had radiation exposure. Fires destroyed most of the residential buildings. The atomic explosion over Nagasaki affected an area of about 43 square miles, including 8.5 square miles of water surface and 9.8 square miles covered by buildings. The remaining areas were sparsely populated; this helped avoid even greater casualties. The second nuclear strike in history proved just as devastating as the first one. An official Japanese report assessing the results of the attack in Nagasaki described the city as a cemetery where no gravestone remained intact.

Today, Ground Zero is in a prosperous Nagasaki suburb. Hypocentre at the Nagasaki Peace Park is the only reminder of the tragedy. A black stone column in the centre of the park marks the location above which the bomb detonated. The central section of the Nagasaki Peace Park features a colossal figure of a sitting half-naked man called the Peace Statue. His right hand points to the sky, as if showing the falling bomb, and the left hand extends horizontally, symbolising peace and forgiveness. The Atomic Bomb Museum has been in the Peace Park’s south sector since 1996. The museum’s exhibits make a poignant impression on visitors. A clock with its hands frozen at 11.02, the exact time of the 9 August 1945 atomic blast, has become a symbol of Nagasaki.



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Earlier in the day on Sunday, Nagasaki held a ceremony to mark the 70th anniversary of the dropping of an atomic bomb on the city by the USA. Nagasaki Mayor Tomihisa Taue called on the heads of the world nuclear powers, including US President Barack Obama, to come to Nagasaki and Hiroshima and to see at first-hand the results of the 1945 US nuclear bombing. He said during the memorial ceremony, “I appeal from Nagasaki; I address President Obama and heads of states, including heads of the nuclear powers, and all the people of the world… please, come to Nagasaki and Hiroshima and see for yourself exactly what happened under those mushroom clouds 70 years ago”. In 1945, the USA dropped two atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, on 6 and 9 August respectively. The bombing in Hiroshima killed about 140,000, and the raid on Nagasaki claimed the lives of some 70,000. The atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki remain the only use of nuclear weapons in warfare in history. The bombings caused Japan to surrender on 15 August 1945, ending World War II. On 6 August, Hiroshima held a Peace Memorial Ceremony. US Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy, as well as Undersecretary for Arms Control and International Security Affairs Rose Gottemoeller attended the commemorative event, but US President Barack Obama wasn’t present. Earlier this week, White House said Obama could potentially participate in a ceremony in Hiroshima.


9 August 2015


Sputnik International

Why America Has to Deny Its Greatest Crime

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The absence of justice over Hiroshima and Nagasaki is due to America’s refusal to admit the truth about its nuclear holocaust. That denial is necessary because otherwise it’d reveal the criminal nature of US governments and their continuing criminal prerogative to persist in using the threat of nuclear weapons to maintain global hegemony. Nagasaki, the second atomic bombing of Japan by the USA on 9 August 1945, was in many ways an even bigger crime. The US government had three days to assess the devastating human horror of the first bomb dropped on Hiroshima on the morning of 6 August, which incinerated some 70,000 civilians. Hardly a building stood in the southern Japanese port city amidst people vaporised or turned into charred jelly, yet the American leaders went ahead with the second atomic bombing on the western city of Nagasaki in which they annihilated another 40,000 people. In total over the following year, the death toll would reach at least 200,000, and many more again over subsequent decades from cancers and other malignancies.

One can adjudge both attacks as premeditated mass murder… indeed, acts of genocide by any legal definition… that had little to do with compelling Imperial Japan to surrender towards the end of the Pacific War. Historians document that American and British wartime leaders were well aware that Japan was seeking to surrender in early 1945… not least because of the merciless firebombing by the Western powers of the capital, Tokyo, and other Japanese cities, whose death tolls would match those later incurred at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. With the USSR about to enter the Pacific War in mid-August 1945, as agreed upon at the Potsdam conference held in July, it seems unequivocal that the Americans rushed to deploy their new nuclear weapon as a way of demarcating the postwar order in the East Asia-Pacific region.

Only three weeks prior, on 16 July, the Americans tested the first atomic explosion in the desert of New Mexico. The Americans and the British didn’t want their then wartime Soviet ally to make territorial gains in Asia, as it’d done in Europe when it alone had largely rolled back and defeated Nazi Germany. To prevent Stalin’s Red Army also taking Japan and other Asian territories as it was poised to do on entering the Pacific War, US President Harry Truman went ahead with the A-bombing of Japan. The Americans weren’t planning a land invasion of Japan’s mainland until November 1945. Therefore, official US claims that they dropped the atomic bombs in order to end the Pacific War promptly are partially true. However, the objective wasn’t to save up to one million American troop lives, as Truman claimed. Rather, the real objective was to forestall the geopolitical advance of the USSR and the “dread of communism”. Thus, the atomic bombing of Japan by the USA wasn’t the last act of the Pacific War, but rather was the opening act of the soon-to-be Cold War between the American-led Western world and the USSR.

Since the USSR wouldn’t obtain its own nuclear weapons until 1949, the dropping of the A-bombs on Japan certainly would have served as blood-curdling check on Moscow and any ambitions it may have had in expanding into Asia following the defeat of Japan. However, the salient point here is that the USA deployed weapons of mass destruction on civilian populations not for any supposed military or moral imperative… the defeat of Japan and saving of American lives. No, the objective was primarily political, that is, the prevention of perceived Soviet geopolitical advance in the postwar global order. That makes the twin bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki nothing less than acts of state terrorism… on a scale that puts the American government in a barbarous class of its own.

The myth of military necessity to defeat Japan to save American lives has proven to be an enduring one. A recent public opinion survey by the Pew Institute found that a majority of Americans (56 percent) believe that it was right to drop the A-bombs on Japan. However, if we strip away that myth, then, that leaves us with a most chilling conclusion… that American leaders viewed it as their right to obliterate 200,000 civilians for geopolitical objectives. That genocidal ideology… to use weapons of mass destruction… still resides in Washington. At the close of World War II, American and British leaders weighed up a secret plan, Operation Unthinkable, in which they contemplated dropping atomic weapons on their then Soviet wartime ally. They eventually shelved this treacherous plan.

However, in July 1961, the head of the American CIA, Allen Dulles, and the US Joint Chiefs of Staff presented a plan to President John F Kennedy for a pre-emptive nuclear strike on the USSR. To his credit, Kennedy quashed the proposal in disgust, reportedly saying to one of his aides, “And we call ourselves the human race”. Just this year, in June, the Associated Press reported on a Pentagon plan under Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey for “pre-emptive nuclear strikes to take out Russian military sites”. According to AP, “The options go as far as one implied… but not stated explicitly… that’d improve the ability of US nuclear weapons to destroy military targets on Russian territory”. Seventy years ago, the world witnessed the cold-blooded destruction of entire human populations with nuclear weapons. Today, the world has some 16,000 such weapons, each many times more powerful than those dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The USA and Russia possess 90 percent of the world’s stockpile of nuclear weapons.

However, the USA has doggedly prevented moves towards full-scale nuclear disarmament… despite incumbent US President Barack Obama won a Nobel Peace Prize in 2009. Under Obama, the USA is planning to spend some 355 billion USD (22.72 trillion Roubles. 2.2 trillion Renminbi. 22.63 trillion INR. 467 billion CAD. 479 billion AUD. 324 billion Euros. 230 billion UK Pounds) over the next decade in upgrading its nuclear arsenal. In May 2015,, the USA blocked a global nuclear disarmament initiative signed by 107 nations, including Russia and Iran, which called for the immediate implementation of the 40-year-old Non-Proliferation Treaty. In addition, the USA also unilaterally withdrew in 2002 from the Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty between Washington and Moscow. Ironically, in the same week that the world commemorates the horror of the American atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, President Obama delivered a major speech in which he hailed the recent Geneva nuclear accord with Iran because it “would prevent Iran from obtaining the bomb”… a bomb that the Iranian leadership has repeatedly said that it isn’t seeking nor desires. The monstrous American arrogance in Obama’s words is breath taking.

What the world has to contend with is this… the only country to have ever used nuclear weapons with cold-blooded criminality, still presumes the right to use those weapons for its own twisted political objectives. American “Exceptionalism” and propaganda still contaminate the USA’s mindset, so, the world remains perilously under the pall of horror that the USA visited upon on Japan 70 years ago. Until we disarm that American genocidal ideology, then, the threat to world peace will persist.

7 August 2015

Finian Cunningham

Sputnik International


Friday, 7 August 2015

“Foreign Policy’s” Shameful Attempt at Spinning Hiroshima Bombing as Beneficial for Japan

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Foreign Policy magazine ran a provocative article makes it seem like the nuclear bombings were a godsend, and that the USA humanely intended to save Japan from communism. In the month of August, we sombrely commemorated the only time in the world when a country used nuclear weapons in warfare, when the USA dropped two bombs that killed over 200,000 people in two fatal moments… one on 6 August over Hiroshima, and again three days later over Nagasaki. For 70 years, people marked this occasion with respect for the many victims who tragically lost their lives during these attacks, but now an influential American international affairs outlet, Foreign Policy, decided to spin the event, blaming the USSR for what happened. In the article “Did Hiroshima Save Japan From Soviet Occupation?”, Sergei Radchenko questioned whether the nuclear bombings were actually good for the country, in that they may have saved it from Western bogeyman I V Stalin. The article’s own conclusion contradicted this callous inference, but nonetheless, it’s worthwhile to look at why the magazine would find it fitting to denigrate the victims’ memory in the first place with such a misleading and politically self-serving angle.

Misleading the Masses

The USA isn’t known for issuing international apologies, and in the exceptionally rare instance that it does (like during Obama’s 2009 trip to Egypt), it often does so to further the goal of strategically disarming a target population before an asymmetrical offensive against their country (such as the Arab Spring Colour Revolutions). As a general rule of thumb, no matter what it does, the USA always seeks to promote its own interests, be it by hard or soft means. Things get a bit more complicated when it comes to non-state American actors such as Foreign Policy, but here, they have a lot more flexibility in honing the USA’s strategic message whilst retaining plausible deniability that such an attempt is free from ulterior motives.

Nevertheless, it’s clear what Foreign Policy is trying to express on behalf of the US State Department… the nuclear bombings may have been justified to “save Japan from Soviet occupation”. Sure, they ultimately (and correctly) conclude that Stalin’s decision to refrain from attacking Imperial Japan in Hokkaido had nothing whatsoever to do with Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but in today’s non-stop media-driven environment, the average information consumer probably didn’t get to that point since they likely only read the headline and maybe the two-sentence lead-in. Supposing that’s the case with most people, the simple message they understood was that there was a connection between the two, and that maybe, as the article intimates, the nuclear bombings were perhaps justified after all, and they and all other Americans could feel absolved of any guilt for the tragedy.

Victim Shaming and Historical Revisionism

However, what’s worse is the lingering thought suggested by the headline and lead-in that the nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki actually helped Japan in some perverse type of way. A democratic-proselytizing USA saying that “I nuked you to save you” to Imperial Japan is almost like a religiously oriented sexual predator saying, “I raped you to change you” to a lesbian. One side sees the other as existentially incompatible with its beliefs and in need of forced salvation, and horribly takes it upon itself to commit a gruesomely horrendous crime to “save” the victim. Don’t read too deep into the analogy, but do understand that in both cases, criminal moralistic paternalism is the driving force behind each outrageous wrongdoing, except in the case of Japan’s nuclear victimhood, over 200,000 people were immediately violated and perished within an instant, unable to ever face their attacker and demand justice. Moreover, as Foreign Policy would have its readers believe, this might have been in the name of the greater good.

Another takeaway from the article is the overarching anti-Soviet fearmongering that the author is peddling. If one weren’t all that educated about the last days of World War II and only had the Foreign Policy article in question to guide their understanding, you could forgive them for thinking that the USA was essentially at war with the Soviets and nuked Japan as a final and “successful” measure to stem the “Red Tide” from flowing further eastward. It makes it seem like the USSR was the one on the cusp of an unforgettable war crime and not the USA, and that the latter simply acted to save Japan from whatever the former was plotting. This kind of conspiracy circulation is pure and simple historical revisionism, and it serves mostly to deflect attention away from the USA’s nuclear bombings and more towards the stereotypical intrigue that surrounds Stalin, their new World War II scapegoat, in the carefully cultivated imagination of the Western public.

Timing Is Everything

Typically, people remember every fifth and tenth commemoration of a certain major event with extra pomp and circumstance, and the 70th anniversary of the American nuclear attacks on Japan is no different. However, what changed in the past 14 five-year cycles is that the USA is now engaged in a New Cold War with Russia, one that, unlike its predecessor, has no established limits and even incorporates historical revisionism. Be it the ridiculous talk by some voices that the USSR “occupied” the Ukraine after World War II or the presently discussed insinuation that the USA “saved Japan from Soviet occupation” by nuking it twice, such uncomfortable changes in the historical discourse have become ever more common over nearly the past two years. However, what really disturbs us is how readily the West accepted them, which frighteningly opens up the possibility for a full-scale historical revisionism of the post-World War II era and the fact that the pursuit of political subjectivity will lay waste to unquestioned objectivity. That in and of itself is bad enough, but we should also mention that this particular stunt is part of the USA’s Pivot to Asia. As Washington shifts its strategic focus more to East and Southeast Asia, it’s not only bringing its military, but also its journalistic interpretation of history.

One of the effects that this may have is a long-term transformation of the Japanese consciousness to the point where the country’s citizens no longer understand the proper and objective context in which the USA committed these atrocious actions. Instead, Japanese students might one day be indoctrinated with the false idea that the USA nuked their country to “save Japan from Soviet occupation”, thus making the bombings a historical “godsend” and the USA its accompanying “saviour”. After all, the USA is prepping for a prolonged global rivalry with Russia, and in this context, rest assured that they’ll resort to whatever means necessary to sully Russia’s reputation and stave off a Russian-Japanese resolution of the Kuril Islands dispute to offset Russia’s redirection to the east. However, despite whatever the US government or its friendly media outlets allege, there’s no taking away from the fact that the USA’s nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki are the main reason Japan is still occupied to this day, albeit by the Pentagon and not the Kremlin.

7 August 2015

Andrew Korybko

Sputnik International


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