Thursday, August 06, 2015

70 years ago, this aircraft spoke for America

On August 6th, 1945, this Boeing B-29 sent a message to Japan, loud and clear.
The message was simple: "It stops now. You're done."
On this day, seventy years ago, a people whose leaders had started more trouble than the eastern world had ever seen before and who had ignored several warnings to surrender now and call it a day wound up reaping the whirlwind courtesy of this one bomber.
That plane was flown by these men:
(back row, left to right) Major Ferebee, Captain Van Kirk, Colonel Tibbets, Captain Lewis
(front row) Staff Sgt. Caron, Sgt. Stiborik, Staff Sgt. Duzenbury, Pvt. 1st Class Nelson, Sgt. Shumard

The call then went out to them again to surrender and put an end to the war this very day, seventy years ago. But sadly for the people of Nagasaki, that overture was rebuffed.

Three days later, this aircraft sent them another message:

This time, they got it. The war ended and people stopped killing and dying.

The second crew.
(back row, left to right) Captain Beahan, Captain Van Pelt, Jr., First Lt. Albury, Second Lt. Olivi, Major Sweeney
(front row) Staff Sgt. Buckley, Master Sgt. Kuharek, Sgt. Gallagher, Staff Sgt. DeHart, Sgt. Spitzer

All so young back then. They changed the world.


  1. Somebody tried to argue with me once that instead of dropping on Hiroshima they should have dropped the first on some uninhabited island as a demonstration. The trouble with that argument is that Hiroshima (not to mention firebombing of cities like Tokyo) wasn't enough. For all its horror, the second bomb had to be dropped in order to stop the perpetrators of such crimes as Nanking and Bataan because the first one apparently didn't get the message through.

  2. It was their job, and they did what they had to do. The alternative doesn't bear thinking about.

  3. When Admiral William Halsey took over the Pacific fleet early in the war, he made a speech in which he said, "When this war is over, the Japanese language will only be spoken in Hell." Without the bomb, that would have happened.
    A good book about the political and military decision making and planning on both sides is Downfall, by Richard B. Frank.

  4. That's the BEST I've ever seen it put!

  5. They did what was NECESSARY to save American lives. No version of revisionist history can change that...

    1. Like as not, they actually saved countless Japanese lives, too. If we'd had to invade and take their islands, I suspect that their casualty rate would have been much higher than it was as well.

      And the hand-wringers, professional victims and assorted apologists can kiss my ass on this one.

  6. Anonymous11:18 PM

    Hand Salute

  7. Anyone who doubts what Hell an invasion of the Japanese mainland would have been needs to read With the Old Breed and A Helmet For My Pillow.

  8. Based on the horrible battles on Okinawa, the US knew they would lose over 1 million troops invading Japan. That would have caused the death of millions of Japanese. These 2 bombs cost the Japanese about 200,000 lives and cost the US no lives. Those atomic bombs saved lives, millions of lives. Those who speak otherwise are speaking from ignorance, either accidental or willful.
    The two oldest members of my family both were in WWII and BOTH would have been sent to Japan after fighting had ended in Europe. Millions of American families would not have had the fathers/grandfathers that they now enjoy and are so proud of. My uncle John is 91 and was already training up for Japan after spending 3 years fighting in Europe. My Brother in Law Norman is 97 and was on the freaking train headed to the west coast when the bombs ended the war. We love these men very much are are forever grateful they are still with us and have raised families that we love.

  9. Too bad the current Appeaser-in-Chief has decided to follow the Neville Chamberlain School of Politics in dealing with Iran rather than the Truman Model.

  10. The crew photos didn't include the naval officers ("weaponeers") who armed the bombs in-flight.