Fasting for Peace, Remembering Hiroshima, increasing our Killpower

Having just finished a four day fast, I return to the normal world of delusion and lunacy with a perverse relief. Nothing has changed. It’s the same old story.

Mike Blackshaw, Janet Fenton, Iona Soper, Margery Toller and myself here in Scotland had joined the international groups to mark the anniversary of the greatest single-act war crime in history, and the origin of our present nuclear nightmare – the obliteration of Hiroshima.

The same, because there is no repentance. The comfort blanket is clutched even more tightly. But the justification for this atrocity (that it shortened the war and saved allied lives) doesn’t bear serious analysis; in fact it is historical nonsense. For a start the dates don’t add up. The bomb was dropped on August 6th, but Japan did not surrender till the 15th. Why the 10 days delay?

The event must be placed in its context. After the surrender of Germany on May 8th ‘45, Japan was isolated and doomed. She did not have one single plane left, and American pilots could fly and bomb at will. Millions of civilians had been evacuated to the countryside, including all but 200,000 of the population of Tokyo.

Japan was facing certain defeat. The Japanese Prime minister Fumimaro sent a cable to Stalin expressing a desire to end the war quickly. The only condition asked was that the Emperor system (Tennoism) should remain intact. This happened two days after Truman had received the news that the first atomic bomb tests at Alamogordo had been successful.

The USSR and Japan had a non-aggression pact all during the war against Hitler (neither wanted a simultaneous war on two fronts). As agreed at Yalta, three months after the surrender of Germany in May, the Soviet Union broke this and declared war on Japan. Vast amounts of military equipment were trundled half way round the world from Europe (where they were no longer needed) to Manchuria which had been occupied by Japan since 1933. There, Marshal Aleksandr Vasilievsky inflicted a series of crushing defeats on the Japanese army. The USSR now occupied Japanese territory, and was poised to invade mainland Japan itself by August 10 – note the date.

This put the gun to Hirohito’s head. He had to do a deal with the Americans – and quickly – or face a Soviet occupation which would undoubtedly have meant his own execution as a war criminal. The Americans did not want to share an occupied Japan with Russia, so they accepted the continuation of the Emperor (the one condition the Japanese had been asking for since May) and Japan surrendered.

Prime Minister Suzuki himself explained this frankly, “The Soviet Union will take not only Manchuria, Korea, Karafuto, but also Hokkaido. This would destroy the foundation of Japan. We must end the war when we can deal with the United States.” It was fear of Stalin and his own imminent execution that motivated Emperor Hirohito, not Hiroshima.

But these facts have been white-washed out of popular history. How many people have even heard of Aleksandr Vasilievsky?

I had the privilege of meeting Prof. Joseph Rotblat the last living survivor of the Manhattan Project and a pupil of Albert Einstein’s. He quoted General Leslie Groves, head of the Project, who said “From two weeks after taking up the post, there was never any illusion on my part that the main purpose of the project was to subdue the Russians”. This throws a very different light on the whole demonology of “deterrence”.

This word is a self vindicating euphemism that evades the ethical considerations that should underpin all human relationships.

During his historic visit to Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 2019, Pope Francis declared that “the use of atomic energy for purposes of war is immoral, just as the possessing of nuclear weapons is immoral.” The pontiff said the world “must never grow weary of working to support the principal international legal instruments of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, including the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.”
Francis’ pronouncement was clear: The very possession of nuclear weapons is immoral.Therefore, if it is wrong for followers of Jesus to possess nuclear weapons, then it is equally wrong to build and modernize them.

The Biden administration is requesting $43 billion for nuclear weapons in its budget for fiscal year 2022. Should not all Catholics, including President Joe Biden and all other Catholic politicians, be following the lead of Francis in advocating for total nuclear disarmament? But the UK is increasing killpower of the Trident system by 40%.

The Jesuit Fr. Richard McSorley stated: “It’s a sin to build a nuclear weapon. We cannot seriously imagine Jesus pushing the button to launch a nuclear bomb, or registering for the draft, or wearing the uniform of any national state, or paying taxes for nuclear weapons, or working in a plant that manufactures weapons of death.”

And the late Seattle Archbishop Raymond Hunthausen asserted: “I say with deep sorrow that our nuclear war preparations are the global crucifixion of Jesus. … Our nuclear weapons are the final crucifixion of Jesus, in the extermination of the human family with whom he is one”. And that is why we were fasting.

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Comments (10)

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  1. papko says:

    Thanks for the fascinating information, that I had certainly never heard about.

  2. Colin Robinson says:

    Yep, Hiroshima was the final nail in God’s coffin, and its commemoration reminds us just how urgent the need for the transvaluation of all values has become.

  3. Sean Clerkin says:

    I have to say that Brian Quail is a great human being doing a 4 day fast against nuclear weapons and also writing a superb article. Well done Brian.

    1. Colin Robinson says:

      Yes, martyrdom (witness) is a curious phenomenon.

  4. Tom Ultuous says:

    Thanks for that information Brian.

  5. J Galt says:

    It is unlikely that the USSR could have invaded the Japanese home islands without the approval and indeed the co-operation of the US.

    US Naval and particularly US Naval Air power had reached enormous proportions by this time and vastly outweighed the Soviet equivalent in the vicinity of Japan and this was well known by both the Soviets and the Japanese.

    The atomic attacks as a demonstration of “western” power aimed at the Soviets is plausible – they had done the same to Dresden in February in front of the Red Army’s face. The attack on Dresden albeit with conventional air power had resulted in similar or even worse levels of destruction and slaughter and had little or no justification in terms of weakening the German war effort.

    1. Colin Robinson says:

      The thesis that the US invaded Europe in order to counter the expansion of communism is very plausible.

      By July 1943, the Germans were in retreat from Russia and, in August 1943, the US President’s Societ Protocol Committee was advising him that ‘Russia’s post-war position in Europe will be a dominant one. With Germany crushed, there is no power in Europe to oppose her tremendous military forces.’ The desire to stem the advance of communism across Europe seems to have been a major motive for the invasion of Normandy by the US and its allies.

      If the indiscriminate bombing of Dresden and other German cities was aimed at weakening the morale of the German people, thereby hastening their government’s surrender, and thereby halting the Red Army’s irresistible advance across the continent, then the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were a more direct message of intent from the US to the USSR.

      1. Colin Robinson says:

        ‘Soviet Protocol Committee’, even!

      2. J Galt says:

        The “area bombing” of other German cities from 1942 onwards was indeed aimed at demoralising German workers not primarily by killing them and their families but by de-housing them. Air Marshal Harris was quite open about this.

        You can argue whether this was justified or not when the German war effort was still potent.

        However by February 1945 this could not have been a true reason for the destruction of Dresden, the oil was gone and the Ruhr was utterly devastated and about to drop into Allied hands – German war production was over – in any case Dresden was insignificant as a production centre, it’s destruction was a demonstration of allied air power to the Soviets who were almost at it’s gates. Either that or it was killing for killing’s sake.

        1. Colin Robinson says:

          As a major centre for Germany’s rail and road network, Dresden’s destruction was intended to overwhelm German authorities and services and clog all transportation routes with throngs of refugees. The Allied assault came less than a month after some 19,000 U.S. troops were killed in Germany’s last-ditch offensive at the Battle of the Bulge, and three weeks after the grim discovery of the atrocities committed by the Germans at Auschwitz.

          In an effort to force a surrender, the Dresden bombing was intended to terrorise the civilian population locally and nationwide.

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