|This article appears in the October 31, 2003 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.
`Shock and Awe': Terror Bombing,
by Edward Spannaus
From Wells and Russell to Cheney
1. Shock and Awe Today
In the run-up to last March's attack on Iraq, there was much talk in the news media of "shock and awe," combined with pre-war propaganda leaks predicting that Iraq would be hit with many hundreds of cruise-missile strikes in the first hours of the war. The intention of this propaganda was to obtain a specified psychological effectto terrify the Iraqis, and everyone else, into the conviction that resistance to the U.S. imperial war machine was futile, and that they should capitulate at the first missile, if not before.
The term "shock and awe" began to be used so loosely, that it even became a staple of jokes on late-night TV. Obviously, few of those bandying the term about, understood how evil, and how un-American, the actual "shock and awe" strategic doctrine actually is.
Listen to Harlan K. Ullman and James P. Wade, Jr., the authors of the 1996 book Shock and Awe: Achieving Rapid Dominance: "One recalls from old photographs and movie or television screens, the comatose and glazed expressions of survivors of the great bombardments of World War I and the attendant horrors and death of trench warfare." The authors are blunt, and repeatedly so: what they aim to achieve, is "a level of national shock akin to the effect that dropping nuclear weapons on Hiroshima and Nagasaki had on the Japanese."
"The military posture and capability of the United States of America are, today, dominant," they write. "Simply put, there is no external adversary in the world that can successfully challenge the extraordinary power of the American military in either regional conflict or in 'conventional' war as we know it, once the United States makes the commitment to take whatever action may be needed."
In traditional military doctrine, the objective is not pure destruction, but to eliminate the adversary's ability to fight by disabling or destroying his military capability, while laying the groundwork to "win the peace."
The "shock and awe" authors are explicit that their objective is psychologicalto destroy an adversary's will to resist the power of the United States; not simply to destroy his military capability. They pose as one of the questions undergirding their study, "can Rapid Dominance lead to a form of political deterrence in which the capacity to make impotent, or 'shut down' an adversary, can actually control behavior?"
The authors view their project as taking the so-called "Revolution in Military Affairs"i.e., using technology as a substitute for conventional military forcesto achieve what they call "dominant battlefield awareness."
One of the explicit motivations for this, is that defense budgets and the ability to maintain large standing forces are being diminished with the passing of the Cold War; they explain that the old model"combining massive industrial might and manpower"ended in 1989.
Since a lot of people talk about "shock and awe," but few have actually read the book which brought the concept into prominence, it is worth the reader's time to review the ideas presented in the book at some length, to lay the groundwork for what follows. We will see, that "shock and awe" is nothing but a sanitized version of the mass terror tactics used in World War II. The authors state:
The aim of Rapid Dominance is to affect the will, perception, and understanding of the adversary, to fit or respond to our strategic policy ends through imposing a regime of Shock and Awe. Clearly, the traditional military aim of destroying, defeating, or neutralizing the adversary's military capability is a fundamental and necessary component of Rapid Dominance. Our intent, however, is to field a range of capabilities to induce sufficient Shock and Awe to render the adversary impotent. This means that physical and psychological effects must be obtained.
"Dominance" means the ability to affect and dominate an adversary's will, both physically and psychologically. Physical dominance includes the ability to destroy, disarm, disrupt, neutralize, and to render impotent. Psychological dominance means the ability to destroy, defeat, and neuter the will of an adversary to resist; or convince the adversary to accept our terms and aims short of using force. The target is the adversary's will, perception, and understanding. The principal mechanism for achieving this dominance is through imposing sufficient conditions of "Shock and Awe" on the adversary to convince or compel it to accept our strategic aims and military objectives. Clearly, deception, confusion, misinformation, and disinformation, perhaps in massive amounts, must be employed.
The key objective of Rapid Dominance is to impose this overwhelming level of Shock and Awe against an adversary on an immediate or sufficiently timely basis to paralyze its will to carry on....
Theoretically, the magnitude of Shock and Awe Rapid Dominance seeks to impose (in extreme cases), is the non-nuclear equivalent of the impact that the atomic weapons dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki had on the Japanese. The Japanese were prepared for suicidal resistance until both nuclear bombs were used. The impact of those weapons was sufficient to transform both the mindset of the average Japanese citizen and the outlook of the leadership, through this condition of Shock and Awe. The Japanese simply could not comprehend the destructive power carried by a single airplane. This incomprehension produced a state of awe.
We believe that, in a parallel manner, revolutionary potential in combining new doctrine and existing technology can produce systems capable of yielding this level of "Shock and Awe"without necessarily using nuclear weapons, but always being prepared to do so. [emphasis added]
How many of those loosely throwing around the term "Shock and Awe" from their septic think-tanks or military classrooms, have any comprehension of the unspeakable horror and destruction that was visited upon the civilian populations of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by atomic weapons, or upon the civilian populations of Dresden and Tokyo by the "non-nuclear equivalent" of fire-bombing?
The Cheney Doctrine
The proper context in which to examine the "Shock and Awe" policy/strategy paper, is as an implementation of the "Cheney Doctrine"so-called for its elaboration in the draft "Defense Policy Guidance" produced in 1990-92 Under the supervision of then-Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney. The draft was leaked to the press by opponents within the Bush "41" Administration in February 1992, and created such an uproar, that it was considerably toned down for its official release in May 1992.
Nonetheless, its authors did not abandon their imperial obsession; they just waited out the Clinton years, and then regrouped in the new Bush-Cheney Administration at the beginning of 2001. They seized the Sept. 11, 2001 attackswhich could not have taken place without complicity inside the U.S. military-security establishmentas the opportunity to dust off their 1990-92 policy and put it into effect. The principal authors of that policy were Paul Wolfowitz (now Deputy Secretary of Defense), Lewis Libby (now Vice President Cheney's chief of staff), Eric Edelman (now a senior foreign policy aide to Cheney, about to become U.S. Ambassador to Turkey), and RAND operative Zalmay Khalilzad, now the U.S. "Ambassador" to occupied Afghanistan.
The premise of the 1992 draft was that the United States was then, and must remain, the only world superpower, and that it must prevent the emergence of any rival power, or combination of powers, by any means necessaryincluding the use of nuclear weapons. Following are excerpts from the leaked draft published in the New York Times and the Washington Post at the time:
This Defense Planning Guidance addresses the fundamentally new situation which has been created by the collapse of the Soviet Union, the disintegration of the internal as well as the external empire, and the discrediting of communism as an ideology with global pretensions and influence. The new international environment has also been shaped by the victory of the United States and its coalition allies over Iraqi aggressionthe first post-Cold War conflict and a defining event in U.S. global leadership....
Our first objective is to prevent the re-emergence of a new rival, either on the territory of the former Soviet Union or elsewhere, that poses a threat on the order of that posed formerly by the Soviet Union. This is a dominant consideration underlying the new regional defense strategy, and requires that we endeavor to prevent any hostile power from dominating a region whose resources would, under consolidated control, be sufficient to generate global power. These regions include Western Europe, East Asia, the territory of the former Soviet Union, and Southwest Asia.
There are three additional aspects to this objective: First, the U.S. must show the leadership necessary to establish and protect a new order that holds the promise of convincing potential competitors that they need not aspire to a greater role or pursue a more aggressive posture to protect their legitimate interests. Second, in the non-defense areas, we must account sufficiently for the interests of the advanced industrial nations to discourage them from challenging our leadership or seeking to overturn the established political and economic order. Finally, we must maintain the mechanisms for deterring potential competitors from even aspiring to a larger regional or global role....
While the U.S. cannot become the world's "policeman" by assuming responsibility for righting every wrong, we will retain the pre-eminent responsibility for addressing selectively those wrongs which threaten not only our interests, but those of our allies or friends, or which could seriously unsettle international relations. Various types of U.S. interests may be involved in such instances: access to vital raw materials, primarily Persian Gulf oil.
The draft Guidance scenario assumed that no matter what type of government evolved in Russia, it could not pose an immediate threat to Europe without the Warsaw Pact. But, the draft continued: "There are other potential nations or coalitions that could, in the further future, develop strategic aims and defense posture of region-wide or global domination. Our strategy must now refocus on precluding the emergence of any potential future global competitor."
Cheney's parting shot, when leaving as Secretary of Defense in January 1993, was to issue the policy paper Defense Strategy for the 1990s: The Regional Defense Strategy, which called for the development of a new generation of "usable" nuclear weapons, appropriate particularly for use against Third World countries.
The Cheney doctrine of preventing the emergence of any challenger, by nuclear means if necessary, was then perfected in the mid-1990s with the development of the doctrine of Shock and Awe.
2. World War IIEurope
To fully understand the bestial precedents for today's model of "shock and awe," we must review not only the cited examples of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but also, the non-nuclear terror bombing that paved the way for the use of the atomic bomb in 1945. With the governments of the United States and Great Britain today having launched a global "war on terrorism" supposedly aimed at eliminating "weapons of mass destruction," most Americans should be rightfully shocked at the true story of how Britain, with the United States following behind, used then-new and terrifying weapons of massive destruction to terrorize and slaughter the civilian populations of Germany and Japan in World War II. The numbers of civilians killed by terror bombing in World War II were officially estimated at 300,000-600,000 in Germany, and 330,000 in Japan.
Is it any wonder, then, that the eminent British military historian, Captain B.H. Liddell Hartonce an advocate of aerial bombardmentsaid in 1946 that victory by the Allies had been achieved "through practising the most uncivilized means of warfare that the world had known since the Mongol devastations"?
Terror from the Air
The road to Hiroshima and Nagasaki was prepared for many years. The idea of terror bombingthe use of airplanes to target civilian populations with weapons of increasing destructivenesswas a thoroughly British, indeed oligarchical notion of man as nothing but a beast. The policy of terror bombing was resisted by the United States military until the last few months of the war in the European theater. In Asia, it was different; in early 1945, the United States began ferociously imitating the British, with the calculated firebombing of Japanese citiescausing more death and destruction than that caused by the atomic bombs which hit Hiroshima and Nagasaki. We shall, in due course, suggest a number of reasons for this sharp variation in U.S. policy.
The Classical republican conception of warfare, is that war is fought to win the peace, to establish the conditions under which a defeated nation can be rehabilitated and reintegrated into the community of nations. The objective is the create the conditions under which sovereign nations can live together and cooperate in a community of principle.
The contrary Wellsian, Beast-Man conception of warfare is that war is fought for the purpose of sheer destruction and terror: To so terrify populations, that they will accept the rule of an imperial power, or a combination of imperial powers, operating as a one-world government. This is an expression of the Synarchist notion of perpetual warfare, in which populations are terrorized into submission, thereby creating the seeds of revenge to be sought in the inevitable next round of warfare, and so on and so on.
When Winston Churchill, in 1941, called for an "exterminating attack" by British bombers upon Germany, he was speaking from intimate, personal familiarity with the perverse ideas of warfare expressed by H.G. Wells.
With the advent of manned flight in 1903, circles in Britain immediately grasped the potential of this new technology as a means of creating terror among targetted populations, and as a means of breaking the will of the enemy to fight. H.G. Wells's War in the Airserialized in Britain in 1907, and then published in book form in 1908foretold world war and the destruction of civilization, caused by the introduction and application of this new technology into military planning. In Wells's scenario, the limitation of air power is already evident: When Germany attacks New York from the air, the psychological shock effect of having the sky blackened with airships, combined with their awesome destructive power, induces the Mayor of the city to surrender. But the ensuing cease-fire breaks down, and a wave of war cascades around the planet, necessitating a world government to restore some semblance of stability.
Wells understood at that point, what many of our more fanatical air-power utopians today still refuse to admit: that while an empire can be policed from the air, and while air power can temporarily subdue an enemy and compel a government to capitulate, it cannot actually occupy territory, or restore stability and security. Nor can it establish the conditions for peacesomething in which Wells, of course, was utterly uninterested.
It was the British who developed, during World War I, the first independent Air Force; they adopted a policy of strategic bombing while the Germans were abandoning it, and they carried out several crude bombing campaigns. The British and French also used air power tactically, to assist their forces fighting on the ground. Air power was not decisive in the first World War, but this did not stop its proponents from arguing that bombing from the air provided an answer to the indecisiveness and the grinding stalemate of trench warfare.
While tracing the contours and controversies around the emergence of air power in the United States is beyond our scope here, suffice it to say that there is clearly a proper role for air power in traditionally-grounded military doctrine. Air power used as an adjunct of ground and naval forces (basically as an airborne artillery platform), as part of a policy of strategic defense, is distinguished from the utopian idea of air power as an independent strategic force which could obviate the need for ground and naval forces.
Already in the 1920s, the "shock and awe" theorists foresaw fleets of aircraft hitting an enemy capital in the first hours of war, perhaps even before war had been declared, and dropping tons of explosives, or incendiary, chemical, or biological weapons, thus creating panic and and collapsing the enemy into capitulation within a matter of days. The influential Italian theorist of air power, Giulio Douhet, who found a ready audience in Mussolini, saw the object of war as destruction itself: "The purpose of war is to harm the enemy as much as possible; and all means which contribute to this end will be employed, no matter what they are."
Destruction of cities and civilian populations through bombardment from the air was openly discussed in Britain during the 1920s. There is no more efficient way, quickly to gain an understanding of the pre-World War II "Beast-Man" idea of air terror, than to view the 1933 film by the oligarchs' front-man, H.G. Wells, The Shape of Things to Come.
American Policy in the 1920s and 1930s
During the 1920s, Americans generally viewed air power as defensivea means for protecting their coasts from attack, while the British continued to develop the notion of its offensive, strategic use against the enemy's population. However, there were some in the United States who thought along British lines: Billy Mitchell, for example, already in the '20s and early '30s, pointed to the flammability of Japan's "paper and wood" cities as a vulnerability inviting destruction from the air.
There was extensive public debate in the United States during the 1930s on the use of air power, and public sentiment was predominately opposedon both practical and moral groundsto what was commonly called "air terrorism." Bombing of cities was seen by many commentators as counter-productive, and as morally repugnant. "War will not be waged against women and children," said an article in the Saturday Evening Post. "Terrorism was given its trial during the World War and only wasted military resources and brought on counter-terrorism."
Others argued from a traditional military standpoint. One military officer wrote that the trouble with air power, is that it "can take nothing. It can hold nothing. It cannot stand its ground and fight."
By the late 1930s, the use of air power and particularly the bombing of cities was associated in the minds of Americans with images of fascists bombing cities and civiliansthe Italians in Ethiopia, the Italians and Germans against Spanish Republican strongholds, and the Japanese against Chinese cities. Bombing from the air was viewed as terrorism against civilians, carried out by fascist dictators.
On Sept. 1, 1939when World War II officially began with the German invasion of PolandPresident Roosevelt appealed to those countries at war, to forego the "ruthless bombing" which had already caused the deaths of "thousands of defenseless men, women, and children ... and has profoundly shocked the conscience of humanity."
The Battle of Britain
But, before long, Britain was doing the same thing. It has been argued that the British bombing of German cities was simply retaliation-in-kind for the German bombing of English cities. But this argument deliberately overlooks the fact that the British bombed Germany first. On July 8, 1940, Winston Churchill called for "an absolutely devastating, exterminating attack by very heavy bombers" on Nazi Germany, and he approved the first raid against Germany, which was then carried out by bombing Berlin on Aug. 25. Germany's bombing of Britain began on about two weeks later, on Sept. 7, 1940.
(The question must be asked, whether Churchill intended to provoke a German attack on Britain, in order to bring the United States into the war. It was widely anticipated that a German attack on London would bring in the United States; this was expressed, among others, by Churchill himself, by King George VI, by the U.S. Ambassador Joseph Kennedy, and also by Walter Lippmann.)
The British replied to the Luftwaffe attacks with the nighttime bombing of German cities. Meanwhile, Americans were subjected to a propaganda barrage from the likes of Edward R. Murrow, extolling the courage of the British civilian population in the face of German bombs, while virtually ignoring the fact that the British were doing the same thing to the Germans.
During the 1940 Battle of Britain and into 1941, in addition to FDR's mobilization of U.S. industry ("50,000 planes a year"), a number of steps were taken in the United States to reorganize the War Department. In November 1940, Gen. Henry H. Arnold, the Chief of the Army Air Corps, was also appointed as Deputy Chief of Staff to Gen. George C. Marshall, the Army's top commander. In June 1941, the Air Corps was upgraded to become the Army Air Force (AAF). And in the meantime, the Wall Street banker (Brown Brothers Harriman) and one-time Fabian socialist Robert Lovett was appointed Assistant Secretary for Air, to Secretary of War Henry Stimson, a Wall Street lawyer.
British Air Policy: Area Bombing
Secret U.S.-British negotiations in Washington in February-March 1940 had included discussions of the role of strategic air power in waging the war against Germany, along with a hope by the British that air power might win the war without a large-scale invasion of the Continent. Additional talks in August highlighted the differences between the United States and the British over air power: The Brits emphasized the use of air power to destroy "general civil morale"; American planners urged attacks on "specific objectives which have an immediate relation to German military power."
In 1941, the British began switching to nighttime, area bombing, which impaired accuracy but provided some protection to pilots against German anti-aircraft defenses. Sir Arthur Harris (known as "Butcher" or "Bomber" Harris) explained the shift by noting that "the targets chosen were in congested industrial areas and were carefully picked so that bombs which overshot or undershot the actual railway centers [or other targets] under attack should fall on these areas, thereby affecting morale." Harris described this as "a halfway stage between area and precision bombing."
In early 1942, Prof. Frederick Lindemann (Lord Cherwell), Churchill's scientific advisor and a member of the Cabinet, circulated a Cabinet paper on the strategic bombing of Germany. Lindemann set out as policy, that the bombing must be directed against German working-class houses, because middle-class houses have too much space around them and would waste bombs. Lindemann proposed that if bombing were concentrated on working-class houses, and if factories and military objectives were forgotten, it would be possible to destroy 50% of all houses in the larger towns of Germany; i.e., towns of more than 50,000 inhabitants.
Upon taking over the entire U.K. Bomber Command in February 1942, Harris issued the following directive: "It has been decided that the primary objective of your operations should now be focussed on the morale of the enemy civil population and in particular, of industrial workers." Harris said that a sufficiently heavy bomber offensive would "be something that no country in the world could endure." Harris also believed that incendiaries would be far more effective in destroying a city, than high explosives.
To test this theory, an attack on the north German port city of Lübeck was carried out in March 1942, using incendiaries; the lesson drawn by Harris was that the most effective way to bomb cities was to start fires in a coordinated manner. In May 1942, Harris mobilized everything he could900 planesto firebomb Cologne, and destroyed eight square miles of that city. This was followed up with firebombing attacks on Essen and Bremen.
From the experience of German bombing in the Battle of Britain, Churchill and other British leaders already knew that civilian bombing would not break the will of the population, but that it tended to have the opposite effect. So why did he and his advisors insist on so-called "morale" bombing of civilians in the largest German cities? There is no way to understand this, except in terms of what LaRouche has identified as the "Beast-Man Syndrome"a policy intended to terrorize the German population into what Churchill and others hoped would be permanent subjugation to a British-dominated world empire. Roosevelt of course had other ideas, and repeatedly expressed his firm opposition to anything which would perpetuate British imperial policy; this was a constant conflict within the Anglo-American alliance throughout the war.
U.S. Air Policy: Precision Bombing
When American airmen arrived in Britain in 1942, they and their commanders brought with them a commitment to the policy and practice of precision bombingthe policy developed in the U.S. Army Air Corps in the mid-1930s. This was strategic: The aim was to incapacitate an adversary's economic infrastructure. But the bombing was to be conducted with surgical precision, not as indiscriminate terror.
The key to precision bombing was careful target selection, and this provided one of the openings for the disproportionate influence exercised over the U.S. air forces by civilians from the banking and business elite, and by their academic hirelings. As we shall elaborate below, this vulnerability of the air forces enabled the policy of terror bombing to be developed and carried out in Asia, whereas it was not done in Europe until the very end of the war. A second, major contributing factor to the policy difference between Europe and Asia, was that in Europe, the Army Air Force (AAF) was subject to control by the theater Army command; whereas in Asia the AAF operated independently of the Army and Navy in the Pacific theater and was subject to orders coming directly from Washington, where the civilians exerted much more influence.
U.S. pilots did not begin bombing runs over Germany until 1943. They and their commanders remained vehemently opposed to the Lindemann-Harris bombing policy used by the RAF. The division of labor worked out in the U.S.-British Combined Chiefs of Staff (CCS), therefore, was that the U.S. AAF would carry out daytime, precision raids on military and industrial targets, and the RAF would conduct nighttime, "area" bombinga euphemism for the bombing of civilians in population centers. It was a compromise, reflecting the uneasy nature of the overall Roosevelt-Churchill war-time alliance.
The much-vaunted "complementary" nature of U.S. precision bombing and British "area" bombing, was simply a cover story for the reality that the two countries' Air Forces were not coordinated, and in reality were working at cross-purposes. A coordinated policy would have been far more effective militarily; the Strategic Bombing Survey later found that repeated strikes against military and industrial targets were necessary, but were often not done, and also that the bombing of cities did not decisively affect German morale, as the British claimed it would.
When the Big Three met at Casablanca in January 1943, Churchill expressed his dismay at the "most obstinate perseverance" of the United States in insisting on daytime, precision bombing. The Casablanca Conference called for a joint bombing offensive against Germany, with the priority on military targets: first, U-boat construction yards; then, aircraft industry, transportation, oil plants; and finally, war industry in general.
Nevertheless, in May 1943, Harris ordered the Bomber Command to prepare to destroy Germany's second-largest city, Hamburg. His "Most Secret Operation Order No. 173" to his six group commanders, declared his objective as being "the total destruction of this city ... :"
OPERATION ORDER NO. 173
Copy No: 23
The importance of H A M B U R G, the second largest city in Germany with a population of one and a half millions, is well known and needs no further emphasis. The total destruction of this city would achieve immeasurable results in reducing the industrial capacity of the enemy's war machine. This, together with the effect on German morale, which would be felt throughout the country, would play a very important part in shortening and in winning the war.
Date: 27th May, 1943.
2. The "Battle of Hamburg" cannot be won in a single night. It is estimated that at least 10,000 tons of bombs will have to be dropped to complete the process of elimination. To achieve the maximum effect of air bombardment, this city should be subjected to sustained attack.
Forces to be Employed
3. Bomber Command forces will consist of all available heavies in operational squadrons until sufficient hours of darkness enable the medium bombers to take part. It is hoped that the night attacks will be preceded and/or followed by heavy daylight attacks by the United States VIIIth Bomber Command.
4. To destroy HAMBURG.
The first night of the bombing of HamburgJuly 24, 1943was relatively light, compared to that which was to follow: about 1,500 people were killed, and many thousands left homeless. Most significant was the disruption of communications, and the overwhelming of local firefighting forces. (Germany's firefighting was considered among the best in the world.) Over the next two days, U.S. bombers carried out precision raids on a submarine yard and an aircraft factoryalthough much of the "precision" was lost due to smoke which obscured visibility.
The maximum bombing was carried out by the British on the night of July 27, with the mix of munitions changed to incorporate a higher proportion of incendiariesincluding phosphorus and napalm. It was here that the use of the term Feuersturm was first recorded; for what was created was one gigantic fire, creating a column of swirling air heated to 1,400° Fahrenheit. Hurricane-force winds of 150 miles per hour collapsed buildings and pulled children out of their mothers' arms, sucking them into the firestorm.
At least 45,000 people were killed within hours by the British bombing that night, many in the most gruesome and horrifying manner imaginable. The precise British estimate, was 44,600 civilians, and 800 servicemen. Later reports showed massive psychological trauma among survivors, who were forced to forage for bare necessities.
A typical response in the United States was simple denial that any such terror bombing was taking place. The Fabian-allied New Republic deplored the idea of "bombing defenseless people merely to instill terror in them," but it suggested that there were no defenseless people in modern war, and it averred that "terror bombing" was not the policy of the RAF or the AAF.
The U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey (SBS) (overseen by Wall Street-linked private establishment figures such as George W. Ball, Paul Nitze, and John K. Galbraith) reported that the RAF raid on Hamburg was "perhaps the most devastating single-city attack of the warabout one-third of the houses of the city were destroyed and German estimates show 60,000 to 100,000 people killed." The SBS also reported: "The RAF proceeded to destroy one major urban center after another ... no subsequent attack had the shock effect of the Hamburg raid."
The SBS Summary Report for Europe, shows that the terror bombing had little effect on the morale or the output of the German population: "The mental reaction of the German people to air attack is significant. Under ruthless Nazi control, they showed surprising resistance to the terror and hardships of repeated air attack, to the destruction of their homes and belongings, and to the conditions under which they were reduced to live. Their morale, their belief in ultimate victory or satisfactory compromise, and their confidence in their leaders declined, but they continued to work efficiently as long as the physical means of production remained."
Dresden: Targetting the Refugees
The Strategic Bombing Survey glossed over what was probably the most criminal act of the war by the British air forces, carried out with the more limited participation of the United States: the February 1945 firebombing of Dresden, known as ElbflorenzFlorence on the Elbe.
The destruction of such a major historical-cultural center as Dresden was the clearest expression of the bestial British policy of mass destruction. In January 1945, "Bomber" Harris sent a letter to Sir Charles Portal, the Chief of the Air Staff, in which he advocated the destruction of "Magdeburg, Leipzig, Chemnitz, Dresden, Breslau, Posen, Halle, Erfurt, Gotha, Weimar, Eisenach, and the rest of Berlin"the heartland of German Classical culture, and including cities identified with Johann Sebastian Bach, Friedrich Schiller, and Johann Wolfgang Goethe.
It was Winston Churchill who personally instigated the Dresden raid. Churchill responded to a tactical proposal from the British Secretary of State for Air, by insisting that he was not simply concerned with "harrying the German retreat from Breslau"; Churchill went on to ask "whether Berlin, and no doubt other large cities in eastern Germany should not now be considered attractive targets."
Dresden was a city of little industrial significance, but was famed for its landmarks such as the Frauenkirche, the Semperoper opera house, and the Zwingerpalast. The strongest military justification for bombing it was to destroy its railroad facilitiesbut this was carried out by U.S. forces, and did not require the intensive destruction of civilian areas and cultural landmarks which was carried out by the British.
In addition to the targetting of civilians, a particularly bestial feature of the January 1945 British plan THUNDERCLAP was the targetting of refugees fleeing in front of the advance of the Red Army from the eastno doubt part of what Churchill referred to as "harrying the German retreat." Bomber Command was ordered to attack Berlin, Dresden, Leipzig, and other cities in order to "cause confusion in the evacuation from the east"referring not to retreating troops, but to civilian refugeesand to "hamper the movements of troops from the west." Refugees were considered legitimate targets by the British, on the rationale that the chaos caused by attacks on refugees might obstruct German troop movements to the Eastern Front.
The RAF bombing of Dresden on the night of Feb. 13, 1945, took place in phases. The first wave consisted of 1,478 tons of high explosives to open up buildings and to expose the timbers, and also to blow out water mains which could be used for fire-fighting. Then came 1,182 tons of incendiaries, to ignite the exposed timbers. Also used were delayed-action bombs and other high explosives, for the purpose of stopping fire crews from attempting to put out the fires.
The result was similar to Hamburg: a self-sustaining firestorm, with temperatures exceeding 1,500°F. As the air became heated and rose rapidly, cold air rushed in at ground level and sucked people into the firestorm.
The next day, Feb. 14, U.S. AAF bombers targetted the railroad marshalling yardsbut hit many civilian areas, poor visibility due to smoke being given as the reason for this.
There are disputed reports that, as civilians fled to the riverbanks to seek refuge from the heat and flames, they were strafed by British and U.S. planes.
Those who sought protection in underground shelters suffocated as the firestorm burned up all the oxygen. The American novelist Kurt Vonnegut, then a prisoner of war being held by the Germans in Dresden, said later in an interview with author Richard Rhodes, that 135,000 corpses were hidden underground; he and other prisoners were detailed to dig into basements and shelters to bring out the cadavers, which were then burned on funeral pyres as a sanitary measure.
Estimates of the total death toll in Dresden vary wildlyfrom the improbably low figure of 35,000, to as high as 200,000. (By comparison, an estimated 100,000 died in the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, and 50,000 in Nagasaki.) Determination of the exact death toll in Dresden was made more difficult by the intense heat and destructiveness of the firestorm, which often left no recognizable bodies, and by the hundreds of thousands of unaccounted-for refugees crowding in Dresden at the time.
What happened in Dresden was no secret. Associated Press reported that "the Allied air commanders have made the long-awaited decision to adopt deliberate terror bombing of the great German population centers." Off-the-record comments by an official at a SHAEF headquarters two days later, disclosed publicly that the objectives of the bombing and Operation THUNDERCLAP were to bomb large population centers, and to prevent relief supplies from getting through.
It is also generally acknowledged, that another objective was to send an intimidating message to the Soviets, to show the Russians "what Bomber Command can do," lest they get any ideas.
Even Churchill, who had initiated the Dresden raids, had second thoughts, at least privately. In a letter to Sir Charles Portal, he asked whether it were not time to review the question of bombing German cities "simply for the sake of increasing the terror," and he suggested that it was time to concentrate more on military objectives "rather than on mere acts of terror and wanton destruction, however impressive."
As to the role of the ailing FDRwho had only a few months to liveit is reported that the firebombing of Dresden was never even brought to his attention.
One stark exception to the general U.S. policy of avoiding area bombing, is identified by Kenneth Werrell, in his 1996 Blankets of Fireregarded by many as the leading history on the use of strategic air power against Japan in World War II. This was the February 1945 Operation CLARION, a massive attack on transportation targets in smaller German towns that hadn't already been hit. The operation was supported by Gen. Carl Spaatz, the commander of U.S. strategic air forces in Europe, who advocated hitting as many undefended German towns as possible on one day, and using strafing fighters "to spread the impact on the population." Gen. Ira Eaker, the former commander of the Eighth Air Force in Europe, strongly urged Spaatz not to carry out the attack, on both practical and moral grounds: "We should never allow the history of this war to convict us of throwing the strategic bomber at the man in the street." Writes Werrell: "Despite this strong and eloquent plea, the mission was launched on 22 February 1945 and produced the outcome Eaker had feared."
3. World War II in Asia
As we have already noted, while the United States was, and remained, opposed to the bombing of civilians in European cities, U.S. air policy in Asia stood in sharp contrast to that in Europe. Moreover, the firebombing of Japanese cities was on the agenda even before the declaration of war after Pearl Harbor. A number of institutional elements, in addition to a strong streak of racism toward the Japanese (just look at newspaper cartoons of the period, even those of the New York Times), contributed to this policy discrepancy.
The Civilian Factor in the Air Forces
Lacking a grounding in traditional military practice and theory, the air forces in the United States were, from the outset, the most susceptible to corrupting civilian/utopian influencesespecially from Wall Street financiers and lawyers and their kept academic and "think-tank" institutions, particularly those associated with the notions of "operations research" and "artificial intelligence." From the outset, the fledging Air Corps oriented toward the civilian sector, and away from the traditional military services, in its quest to become an independent branch of the armed forces. Reflecting this, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) was created in 1915, to mobilize universities, scientists, and private-sector corporations for the development of an air force.
In 1940, Vannevar Bush, the former MIT vice president who was now the head of the Carnegie Institution and also the chairman of the NACA, set up the National Defense Resource Council (NDRC), to coordinate technological research for the coming war. Among those recruited to this effort by Bush, were James Bryan Conant of Harvard, Frank Jewett of Bell Laboratories, and the National Academy of Sciences. MIT's Radiation Laboratory was involved in the development of radar and radar bombsights: The criminal state of mind of some involved was reflected in the acronym used for one such project begun in 1941EHIB, for "Every House in Berlin."
The NDRC quickly absorbed the groups working on uranium for a fission bomb, and also spearheaded work on chemical and incendiary weapons.
The effort to develop incendiary weapons, which made the firebombing of cities possible, was carried out jointly by the NRDC; by the Army's Chemical Warfare Service (established by the National Defense Act of 1920); and by the petrochemical industry. Louis Fieser, a Harvard chemist, oversaw the development of the jellied gasoline which became known as napalm, which was perfected by chemists at DuPont and Standard Oil. Napalm became infamous for its application in Vietnam, and it was also reportedly used by U.S. forces in the March-April attack on Iraq earlier this year.
Military historian Michael Sherry describes some of Fieser's more bizarre experiments. One involved a project to release captive bats carrying tiny incendiaries from American bombers over Japanese cities. The idea was that the bats would then roost in dark attics and cellars, and ignite thousands of fires in Japan's highly flammable cities. He imagined a "surprise attack" with fires breaking out all over Tokyo at 4:00 in the morning. Tests were conducted at the Carlsbad Army Air Field in New Mexico, and were only halted when "a number of bat bombs, blown out of the target area by high winds, burned down a theater, the officers' club, and a general's sedan."
Fieser's experiments aside, the obsession of American chemists working with the NRDC was to develop incendiary weapons that could be reliably effective when dropped on cities by American bombersfor example, weapons that would penetrate rooftops, and that would not be blown off course.
The Army Chemical Warfare Service constructed model enemy cities at Dugway Proving Grounds in Utah, with great efforts at achieving authenticity. Jewish architects were employed to design the German models, with great attention to detail down to "the curtains, children's toys and clothing hanging in the closet." In testing the Japanese models, teams of firefighters were brought in to try to stop the fires with methods that Japanese firefighters would employ. "The tests against these 'little Tokios' [sic] inspired confidence that 'fires would sweep an entire community' and cause 'tremendous casualties.' "
Chemical and biological warfare was also under active consideration by the civilian advisors and experts. An advisor to the 21st Air Force produced a report based on a study of disease rates following the Tokyo earthquake of 1923; the report concluded that "if an influenza epidemic is started as a result of a saturation attack upon the big cities, absenteeism on industrial plants can be expected to soar." Even better, "the casualty rate will be increased if the attacks are made during the cold season," when survivors of the attacks would be crowded into hospitals and public buildings, thus spreading "serious epidemics."
The U.S. Army Chemical Warfare Service took its incendiaries to Britain, made common cause with the RAF, and pressed their use upon the reluctant U.S. Air Force. Americans did significantly increase their use of incendiaries in Europe during 1944, but still largely against industrial targets.
Wall Street Does the Targetting
Targetting policy for the AAF was developed by the AAF's Committee of Operations Analysts (COA), a civilian policy advisory body and de facto intelligence arm, comprised of leading East Coast and Wall Street establishment bankers and lawyers such as J.P. Morgan's Thomas Lamont, and headed by Wall Street lawyer Elihu Root and Boston lawyer and banker Guido Perera.
There is no little irony in the positioning of such Wall Street luminaries in top positions in the War Department and the military; and also in the committees that guided war production in the United States, established targetting for strategic bombing in Germany and Japan, and then assessed the effects of this bombing. The firms from which these men were drawn, such as Brown Brothers Harriman, Dillon Reed, J.P. Morgan, Lazard Frères, and so on, had been in the center of financing the industrial cartels which re-armed Germany in the 1930sand in some cases withheld critical war materiel from the United States. example, Gen. William Draper was appointed head of the Economics Division of the post-war occupation government in Germany; charged with, among other things, dismantling the German cartels. Draper was well suited for this assignment, having started at Dillon Reed handling the Thyssen account, and subsequently, as chairman of Dillon, having helped to create the Thyssen steel trust (which helped to finance Hitler's rise to power). He had served as an officer of Thyssen's bank, the German Credit and Investment Corp.which he continued to serve until 1942! Dillon Reed also provided James Forrestal, who became Secretary of the Navy.
Robert Lovett's Brown Brothers Harriman was, if anything, even more deeply involved in the creation and financing of the German industrial cartels. And Guido Perera was a trustee of the Mellon-founded Massachusetts Investment Trust, a major holding of which was the Boston Insurance Co. A number of officers of Boston Insurance were identified as Nazi collaborators in OSS files.
Thomas Lamont intersects it alla promoter and defender of Mussolini from the early 1920s up until 1940, Lamont was also close friends with the British Ambassador, Lord Halifax, with Gen. Jan Smutsan early British/South African proponent of bombarding civiliansand even with H.G. Wells.
These same circles were drawn upon by Robert Lovett when he established the U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey (SBS) in 1944, to evaluate the physical and psychological effects of the bombing of Germany and Japan. Franklin D'Olier, chairman of Prudential Life Insurance, headed the Survey; day-to-day direction was assumed by J.P. Morgan partner and lawyer Henry C. Alexander. Perera was also tapped, as were Wall Street lawyer and banker George W. Ball and Dillon Read partner Paul Nitze.
In March of 1943, the Committee of Operations Analysts was ordered to study Japanese targets; and in late 1943, it produced a report, "Economic Objectives of the Far East," which analyzed the effect that "a few thousand tons" of incendiary bombs might have on Tokyo: 180 square miles potentially burned, 12 million people made homeless. A Joint Incendiary Committee was established by the COA in June of 1944, to study how to burn down six urban areas on Honshu.
At the urging of the COA operations analysts, General Arnold ordered test bombings of Nagasaki with incendiaries in August 1944; the COA's shameless recommendation was that targets be chosen "for their compactness and combustibility, rather than for their economic or strategic importance." A COA cost-benefit analysis of the effects of full-scale incendiary attacks on six major Japanese cities projected that such attacks would not significantly affect front-line strength, but that there would be significant economic losses as a side effect of the killing of 560,000 Japanese, and of the "de-housing" (the British terminology) of well over 7 million workers, and the evacuation of millions more.
In the Fall of 1944, Vannevar Bush sent to General Arnold the recommendations of one of Bush's staffers. The report argued that incendiary bombing of Japanese cities "may be the golden opportunity of strategic bombardment in this warand possibly one of the outstanding opportunities in all history to do the greatest damage ... for a minimum of effort." The report enthused that incendiary bombing of Japanese cities might be five times as effective in economic terms, ton for ton, as was precision bombing of strategic targets in the European theater. "However, the dry economic statistics, impressive as they may be, still do not take account of the further, and unpredictable effect on the Japanese war effort of a national catastrophe of such magnitudeentirely unprecedented in history."
The NDRC drafted a memo in October 1944 suggesting the amount of incendiary bombs (6,065 tons) that would be needed to incinerate the six largest Japanese cities, and the amount needed (only 3,000 tons) to incinerate a further 16 cities.
More recommendations were coming in from the Special Bombardment Group, a committee of experts set up by MIT's Edward L. Bowles, scientific advisor to Stimson and Arnold, who was soon to be part of the Strategic Bombing Survey, and then a founder of Project RAND. The Bowles group urged stripping the B-29 Superfortress of most of its defensive armor, to permit it to carry greater weight in bombs. The B-29s would then be used at night, RAF-style, and high explosives would be mixed with "Napalm incendiary clusters" to help in "dislocating workers."
Among the leading operations analysts involved in attempting to quantify the profitability of the air war was William B. Shockley, later infamous for his racist genetic theories in the 1970s.
In 1944, General Arnold developed a strategic bombing plan for Japan which stressed the ability to destroy cities through firestorms, with a secondary emphasis on military targets. In the Summer of 1944, Maj. Gen. Curtis LeMay took over the 20th Bomber Command (part of the 20th Air Force, but note the British nomenclature) in India and China. His philosophy of war was simple: "I'll tell you what war is about," he said after the war. "You've got to kill people, and when you've killed enough, they stop fighting." Nonetheless, LeMay seems to have maintained, for most of the war, the U.S. preference for precision bombing as against the British policy of area bombing; but he considered the U.S. bombing policy to be a failure in Japan when he arrived in that theater.
In December, LeMay's bombers carried out the first firebombing attack in the Asia theater, against Hankow in Japanese-occupied China, where fires raged out of control for three days.
Brig. Gen. Haywood Hansell, Arnold's chief of staff in the 21st Bomber Command based in the Mariannas Islands, believed strongly in precision bombing and its ability to destroy the enemy's key war industries. His crews had a partial success in their first daytime precision bombing of Japanese aircraft engine plants near Tokyo, on Nov. 24, 1944. Hansell strongly resisted demands to conduct a test firebombing of Nagoya, Japan's third-largest city, but was ordered to do so. His bombers hit Nagoya in January 1945 with 100 B-29s, setting many separate, smaller fires that failed to coalesce into one firestorm. Because of his opposition to firebombing of cities, Hansell was relieved of his command, and was replaced by LeMay.
Tokyo ... and Beyond
An incendiary test over Tokyo in February burned out a square mile of the city; but LeMay, under pressure from Arnold and Norstad, his commanders in Washington, decided to do more. In response to the demands being made on him, he developed a radical plan for firebombing a 12-square-mile area of workers' housing in Tokyo.
In an RAF-style midnight operation on the evening of March 9, 1945, three hundred low-flying B-29s systematically cut an X-shaped swath across the city, and then dropped various types of incendiaries, including a new napalm bomb. The Strategic Bombing Survey classified what happened there as more fierce than a firestorm, calling it a "conflagration"which could be seen by pilots for 150 miles. The pillar of fire was closer to the ground, and moving faster, than in a firestorm; temperatures reached 1,800°, and winds were 55 miles per hour at the perimeter, much greater toward the center. In the rivers, where people submerged themselves for protection, the water boiled.
Over 100,000 people were killed in Tokyo that night; since most men were in military service, and children had been evacuated, the deaths were concentrated among women and the elderly. Death came in a macabre variety of methods: through direct incineration, baking for many of those who took shelter in buildings, boiling for those who sought refuge in bodies of water, suffocation for many in buildings and in the open, as the oxygen was sucked out of the air. Pilots flying overhead reported that the smell of burning flesh permeated their aircraft. The Strategic Bombing Survey reported that more people were killed by fire in Tokyo in a six-hour period, than in any equivalent period in human history. A million more were injured. 267,000 buildings were burned down, and a million people were left homeless. In terms of the immediate mass death and destruction, Tokyo was the equivalent of Hiroshima.
LeMay didn't stop with Tokyo. From March 11 to March 18, he systematically firebombed the other three largest citiesNagoya, Osaka, and Kobeuntil he ran out of bombs. Resupplied after a few weeks, LeMay continued with a combination of daylight precision missions and nighttime incendiary raids. In May and June, the 21st Bomber Command firebombed the six largest cities, eliminating them as future profitable targets. Tokyo was hit again, twice, but casualties were lower because of mass evacuations to the countryside. Next, 58 medium-sized cities and towns were targetted.
One telling feature of the terror-bombing, was that high explosives were sometimes mixed in with the incendiaries, to inhibit the activity of Japanese firefighters and the rescue work of civil defense teams.
The U.S. government took great effort to deny the reality of what had taken place in Tokyo and other Japanese cities. The official mission report on the Tokyo firebombing lied that "these operations were not conceived as terror raids against the civilian population," and that their purpose "was not to bomb indiscriminately civilian populations." Arnold's chief of staff Gen. Lauris Norstad held a press conference in Washington to deny that Tokyo represented a change in policy in favor of area bombing. He presented a sort of cost-benefit analysis in terms of factory workers made homeless, and industrial sites devastated.
In the news media, some of the truth got through. The New York Times ran headlines that the center of Tokyo was "devastated by fire bombs"; it reported on the use of "jellied gasoline," and called the civilian death toll a "holocaust." But for the most part, the press followed the official Air Force line, and raised no questions as to whether this was a shift in policy.
Even after the atomic bombing of Hiroshima (Aug. 6) and Nagasaki (Aug. 9), LeMay continued with the firebombing, making his last raid on Aug. 15.
The firebombings of Japan, overshadowed by the atomic bombings and forgotten today, caused considerably more destruction than the two atomic bombsexcluding the long-term effects of radiation sickness. Twice as many civilians were killed by firebombing than by the atomic bombings. In terms of urban area destroyed, atomic bombs accounted only for 3.5%; over 96% was destroyed by firebombs.
Surrender Was Possible
Even without their knowing about the frantic effort under way to develop the atomic bomb, many U.S. military commanders were becoming increasing uneasy over the Spring and Summer of 1945, with the AAF's formula (coming directly from Washington, not from theater commanders) of more and more destruction, without any connection to a strategy for victory or for dealing with post-war Japan. They feared that the strategy of bombing Japan into destruction, combined with the demand for unconditional surrendereven without the atomic bombcould only back Japan into a corner, eliminating the potentials that were becoming evident for a negotiated settlement, and then saddle the military with the task of rebuilding and restructuring a devastated Japan.
Between the effects of the naval blockade and the bombing, military commanders such as Arnold and LeMay believed, by July 1945, that Japan might surrender without an Allied invasion. This belief was widespread at the timealthough forgotten now. After the May raid, Joseph C. Grew, the former U.S. Ambassador to Japan who was now Undersecretary of Stateprobably the American official most knowledgeable about Japantold President Truman that "The great single obstacle to unconditional surrender by the Japanese is their belief that this would entail the destruction or permanent removal of the Emperor and the institution of the Throne." Grew continued to believe, after the war, that had a categorical statement been issued at the time about the retention of the Emperor (as was done later), the Japanese would have been likely to surrender.
Also under way at the time were secret negotiations mediated by the Vatican, between Japan and the United States, run through the U.S. secret wartime intelligence service, the Office of Strategic Services (OSS). These negotiations were conducted with the full knowledge of FDR and the Japanese Emperor, but after FDR's death they were sabotaged by British assets Allen Dulleshead of the OSSand James Jesus Angleton.
In fact, the eventual terms of surrenderafter Hiroshimawere essentially those which had been under discussion for many months, including the preservation of the imperial dynasty. Which brings us up to the criminal decision to use the ultimate weapon of terror against Japan.
4. Why the Bomb?
There was absolutely no military necessity to use the atomic bomb against Japan in August 1945. Japan was, by the Summer of that year, a defeated nation. The only real question was to work out the terms of surrender. But there was a powerful faction which wanted to use the bomb, not to compel the surrender of Japan, but to "shock and awe" the world into submission to an Anglo-American-dominated, one-world government. The untimely death of Franklin Roosevelt on April 12, 1945 gave this grouping the opportunity to succeed with their evil schemes, which they never could have done had Roosevelt been alive.
The shallow, ill-informed Harry Truman became a dupe of this faction, which operated primarily through his Secretary of State Jimmy Byrnes, and Secretary of War Henry Stimson. It was these two men who briefed Truman on the bomb project immediately after FDR's death.
One of the steps that Stimson and Byrnes subsequently took, was to induce Truman to postpone the Potsdam summit with Stalin until the bomb's design had been completed and tested. And at Potsdam, the clause offering the Japanese the possibility of establishing "a constitutional monarchy under the present dynasty," was removed from the final Declaration.
The myth which grew up laterthat the use of the atomic bomb saved a million American liveshas no basis whatsoever in reality. The effects of the naval blockade were such that Japan's raw-materials dependent island economy was virtually shut down, and its military situation was hopeless. Surrender was only a matter of timewithin months, November or December at the latestso long as reasonable terms were offered.
The Strategic Bombing Survey, for example, concluded that "certainly prior to 31 December 1945, and in all probability prior to 1 November 1945, Japan would have surrendered even if the atomic bombs had not been dropped, even if Russia had not entered the war, and even if no invasion had been planned or contemplated."
The fable of the "million lives saved" was a concoction of Stimson and others, cooked up after the fact. An estimate of 500,000-1,000,000 deaths in an invasion, circulated before the bomb was used, by former President Herbert Hoover, who was urging a compromise on surrender terms, was dismissed as "entirely too high" by Gen. George Marshall. (Later declassified Army documents show that the estimate of American casualties in a planned November invasion ranged from 25,000 to 46,000 deaths.) Churchill, true to form, had gone even further, making the extravagant claim that 1 million American, plus half a million British troops would be killed during an invasion.
Much of the myth-making about projected casualties was derived from an extrapolation of the high rate of casualties at Iwo Jima and Okinawa, frontal assaults which were strongly opposed by Gen. Douglas MacArthur as being incompetent and unnecessary; MacArthur preferred outflanking the enemy, rather than throwing his troops into a meatgrinder.
We have recounted many times, the story of how Churchill and his American lackies induced Truman to authorize the use of the bomb, and we need not repeat all that here. But what cannot be emphasized too often, is that the decision to use the bomb was a civilian, not a military determination. It came primarily from pressure on Truman by Stimson and Jimmy Byrnesboth of whom were in regular contact with the British. Most U.S. military leaders either opposed the use of the bomb outright, or regarded it as unnecessary. In some cases, they weren't even asked: The Joint Chiefs of Staff had no recorded discussion of it; there is no record of the sort of staff work and policy development which normally goes into military decision-making.
The decision to employ the atomic bomb against Japan was opposed by the Supreme Allied Commander, Gen. Dwight Eisenhower; by the most important theater commander, General MacArthur; and by FDR's and then Truman's chief of staff, Adm. William Leahy. Some, such as AAF head Gen. Henry A. Arnold, and Gen. Curtis LeMay, thought it unnecessary, but did not come out and openly oppose it. The decision was also opposed by some of the top Pentagon civilians, such as Undersecretary of War John J. McCloy. Strategic Bombing Survey official Paul Nitze, later one of the foremost Cold Warriors, agreed with the SBS's conclusion that Japan would have surrendered without the use of the bomb.
Many military leaders, believing correctly that President Truman had already made the decision to use the bomb by the time it came to their attention, did not believe they could speak out against the Commander in Chief; and some only expressed their opposition to that decision in later years.
Admiral Leahy, who chaired meetings of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was indignant over the use of the bomb, rejecting it, as he had earlier rejected chemical and biological warfare, and area bombing of civilians, as a violation of "every Christian ethic I have ever heard of and all of the known laws of war." Leahy contended that the use of the atomic bomb against Hiroshima and Nagasaki "was of no material assistance in our war against Japan"; and he declared that, in being the first to use it, "we had adopted an ethical standard common to the barbarians of the Dark Ages. I was not taught to make war in that fashion, and wars cannot be won by destroying women and children."
In his memoirs, Leahy wrote that it was wrong to refer to the atomic weapon as a "bomb," explaining: "It is a poisonous thing that kills people by its deadly radioactive reaction, more than by the explosive force it develops."
General Marshall, the Army Chief of Staff, while not opposing the use of the atomic bomb, did oppose using it against civilians without warning. His recommendation was that it first be used against a military target, and then, if necessary, only against a city after warning was given to the civilian population.
General Eisenhower, in his memoir Mandate for Change, described his July 1945 meeting with Stimson at Potsdam, when the decision to use the bomb was being made. "During his recitation of the relevant facts, I had been conscious of a feeling of depression, and so I voiced to him my grave misgivings, first on the basis of my belief that Japan was already defeated and that dropping the bomb was completely unnecessary, and secondly because I thought that our country should avoid shocking world opinion by the use of a weapon whose employment was, I thought, no longer mandatory as a measure to save American lives. It was my belief that Japan was, at the very moment, seeking to surrender with a minimum of loss of 'face.' "
General MacArthur, the commander in the Pacific, was not consulted on the use of the bomb, but it is well known that he saw no military justification for its use, and he believed that had the United States agreed to the retention of the Emperor, as it later did, the war would have ended weeks, if not months, earlier.
Adm. Ernest King, Chief of Naval Operations, believed that the naval blockade would have forced the Japanese into submission; he did not believe that either dropping the bomb, or an invasion, was necessary.
Adm. Chester Nimitz, the Pacific Fleet Commander, stated his belief in September 1945 that Japan had been defeated before the use of the atomic bomb. Nimitz told his biographer that he considered the atomic bomb indecent, and not a legitimate form of warfare. He called it an "indiscriminate killer," in the same category as poison gas and bacteriological weapons. In a 1946 letter, Nimitz emphasized that the decision to use the bomb was not primarily a military decision, saying, "The decision to employ the atomic bomb on Japanese cities was made on a level higher than that of the Joint Chiefs of Staff."
General Arnold, the head of the air forces, said on Aug. 17, 1945, "The Japanese position was hopeless even before the first atomic bomb fell"; and he later stated that "it always appeared to us, atomic bomb or no atomic bomb, the Japanese were already on the verge of collapse."
Gen. Carl Spaatz, head of the Strategic Air Forces, along with Gen. George Kenney, commander of air forces in the southwest Pacific, believed at the time that Japan would surrender without the use of the bomb. In a 1965 interview, Spaatz stated: "That was purely a political decision, wasn't a military decision. The military man carries out the orders of his political bosses." (Spaatz had refused to carry out the bombing without an direct written order.)
Gen. Curtis LeMay, no shrinking violet when it came to the use of air power, said at a press conference on Sept. 20, 1945: "The war would have been over in two weeks without the Russians entering and without the atomic bomb.... The atomic bomb had nothing to do with it."
The Evil Bertrand Russell
If the consensus of top military officials was that the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was unnecessary, then why was it done?
The most common, "revisionist" explanation, is that it was done as a signal, or even a threat to Josef Stalin, to warn him not to get any ideas of taking on the Anglo-Americans; and even, it was hoped, to force the Japanese to surrender before the Soviets could enter the war against Japan, thereby preventing the Russians from gaining leverage in post-war arrangements in the Far East.
All of that may be true, but it obscures the more fundamental reality: that the bomb was dropped to blackmail Russia, and to terrorize the whole world, into acceptance of a British-shaped one-world government scheme.
The true author of Hiroshima was the one of the most evil men ever to walk the face of this earth, and one of the leading Beast-Men of the 20th Century: Bertrand Russell. It was Russell and his cronies who induced Albert Einstein to write the letter to FDR urging the United States to launch a crash effort to develop an atomic bomb, on the spurious grounds that the Nazi Germans would otherwise do it first. As both Russell and his co-conspirator H.G. Wells had insisted, the objective of developing such terrible new weapons, was to make war so horrifying, that nations would willingly give up their sovereignty to a world dictatorship. Neither Russell nor Wells intended to actually abolish war; what they wanted to abolish, was the republican United States grounded in the American Revolution.
As Lyndon LaRouche has stated, the key to understanding the bombing of Hiroshima is Russell's September 1946 essay, "The Atomic Bomb and the Prevention of War," published in The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. Here, Russell called for a world government with a monopoly on atomic weapons and on the use of force, adding a Cheney-like call for a right to declare war on any country that refuses to cooperate with international arms inspectors:
It is entirely clear that there is only one way in which great wars can be permanently prevented, and that is the establishment of an international government with a monopoly of serious armed force. When I speak of an international government, I mean one that really governs, not an amiable façade like the League of Nations, or a pretentious sham like the United Nations under its present constitution. An international government, if it is to be able to preserve peace, must have the only atomic bombs, the only plant for producing them, the only air force, the only battleships, and generally whatever is necessary to make it irresistible. Its atomic staff, its air squadrons, the crews of its battleships, and its infantry regiments must each severally be composed of men of many different nations; there must be no possibility of the development of national feeling in any unit larger than a company. Every member of the international armed force should be carefully trained in loyalty to the international government.
The international authority must have a monopoly of uranium, and of whatever other raw material may hereafter be found suitable for the manufacture of atomic bombs. It must have a large army of inspectors who must have the right to enter any factory without notice; any attempt to interfere with them or to obstruct their work must be treated as a casus belli. They must be provided with aeroplanes enabling them to discover whether secret plants are being established in empty regions near either Pole or in the middle of large deserts.
The monopoly of armed force is the most necessary attribute of the international government, but it will, of course, have to exercise various governmental functions. It will have to decide all disputes between different nations, and will have to possess the right to revise treaties. It will have to be bound by its constitution to intervene by force of arms against any nation that refuses to submit to the arbitration. Given its monopoly of armed force, such intervention will be seldom necessary and quickly successful.
Russell didn't stop there. Dick Cheney's 1990-92 doctrine of pre-emptive war was nothing more than a revival of Russell's post-war proposal for "preventive" nuclear war against the Soviet Union, if the Russians would not along with his one-world government scheme. Russell was asked, in a BBC interview, about his advocacy of a post-World War II "preventive" nuclear war:
Q: Is it true or untrue that in recent years you advocated that a preventive war might be made against communism, against Soviet Russia?
Russell: It's entirely true, and I don't repent of it now. It was not inconsistent with what I think now.... There was a time, just after the last war, when the Americans had a monopoly of nuclear weapons and offered to internationalize nuclear weapons by the Baruch proposal, and I thought this an extremely generous proposal on their part, one which it would be very desirable that the world should accept; not that I advocated a nuclear war, but I did think that great pressure should be put upon Russia to accept the Baruch proposal, and I did think that if they continued to refuse it it might be necessary actually to go to war. At that time, nuclear weapons existed only on one side, and therefore the odds were the Russians would have given way. I thought they would.
Q: Suppose they hadn't given way.
Russell: I thought and hoped that the Russians would give way, but of course you can't threaten unless you're prepared to have your bluff called.
Lest it be imagined that Russell was some just madman crouching in the attic, it must not be overlooked that Churchill also supported preventive war against Russia; or, to be more precise, he supported a U.S. preventive war against Russia. In 1946, Churchill declared to a friend: "We ought not to wait until Russia is ready."
An Unstable Alliance
The war-time alliance between the United States and Britain had always been an uneasy one. Churchill needed the United States against the potential alliance of Nazi sympathizers in Britain with Nazi Germany and with the fascists of Italy, France, and Spain. As soon it was clear that the Nazis would be defeatedthe turning point is the defeat of the Germans at Stalingrad and their withdrawal from the Caucasus in early 1943, and then the Allied invasion of the Continent in June 1944Churchill was preparing to change course, to drag the United States into a new conflict on behalf of those Synarchist financial interests in both countries, in order to restore Britain's colonial empire and blackmail the Russians into acquiescence.
This was as total an about-face from FDR's war-time and post-war policy as can be imagined. The last thing FDR wanted was that the Big Three wartime alliance be shattered. As Elliot Roosevelt told it, in late 1945, his father saw the United States as the referee, the intermediary between the "Empire-minded British" and the "Communist-minded Russians." FDR was determined not to allow the world to be divided after the war, with the British and Americans lined up against Russia.
As early as 1942, when FDR was contemplating a post-war system of international trusteeships for the colonies of Britain and the other colonial powers, he is reported to have told an advisor: "We will have more trouble with Great Britain after the war than we are having with Germany now." Churchill himself told FDR on a number of occasions, that he had not become His Majesty's Prime Minister, "for the purpose of presiding over the dissolution of the British Empire."
In late 1945, Elliot Roosevelt wrote, "At some point in the months since Franklin Roosevelt's death, his brave beginning has been prejudiced." FDR's son stressed the urgency of finding out "why it is that the peace is fast being lost; why it is that the knowledgeable gossip at Washington cocktail parties is of war with the Soviet Union 'preferably before 1948'which is to say, before the Soviets can perfect their version of an atomic weapon."
Elliot Roosevelt lamented the breaking of his father's promises to end colonial empires. For instance, Elliot describes how FDR had promised Chiang Kai-shek that the United States would back the Chinese in refusing extraterritorial rights to the British in Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Canton, and had promised that only American warships would enter Chinese ports, to the exclusion of the British. The younger Roosevelt also noted how the British had suppressed the struggle of the peoples of the Dutch East Indies for independence, while the United States stood by and did nothing; and how the British had taken French troops and administrators back into Indo-China, against FDR's insistence that this colony should never be given back to the French.
There was no conflict of security interests between the United States and Russia, Elliot Roosevelt said, but only between the security interests of Great Britain and the Soviet Union. "Rather than arbitrating those differences, as Father had always been careful to do, we chose sides; worse than that, we did not simply line up besides Britain, we lined up in back of her."
FDR understood that the United States and Britain were fundamentally different countries, that the United States was a constitutional republic committed to the principle of the general welfare at home and abroad, which necessitated decolonization and economic development of those newly-independent countries. Churchill, while finding it necessary to ally with Roosevelt against the Synarchist-fascist threat, was deeply committed to the perpetuation of the British Empire, and the continued subjugation of colonial populations viewed as little better than beasts.
With the help of his agents-of-influence around Truman, Churchill skillfully played on the alleged common ties of the United States and Britain to drag the United States into a post-war alliance against the Soviet Union. In his despicable Fulton, Missouri "Iron Curtain" speech in March 1946, Churchill fraudulently appealed to "the great principles of freedom and the rights of man which are the joint inheritance of the English-speaking world"; and he called for a "special relationship between the British Commonwealth and Empire and the United States." Churchill further demanded that the only way for the United Nations Organization to "achieve its full stature and strength" would be under the leadership of Great Britain and the United States joined in this "special relationship."
Truman's alignment with Churchill signified that the United States had been re-captured by the pro-British, Synarchist financier faction. Fearing what was to come, Elliot Roosevelt warned of those men "who have shrunk our foreign policy down to the size of the atom bomb," who "are prepared out-of-hand to condemn civilization to a heap of rubble."
With the treasonous betrayal of FDR's legacy, the world was now to live, for an extended period, in the age of nuclear terror.
 EIR, March 20, 1992; Washington Post, May 24, 1992.
 Quotes from Michael Sherry, The Rise of American Air Power (New York: Yale University Press, 1987).
 Sherry, pp. 226-227.
 Ibid, p. 232.
 Jeffrey Steinberg, "The Synarchist Threat Since 9/11: Why Cheney Must Go," EIR, Aug. 8, 2003, pp. 19-20.
 Years later, General Hansell wrote the following, in a 1980 study published by the Air War College: "It seems to me, in retrospect, that not only were the atomic bombs and invasion unnecessary, but the urban incendiary attacks, which were more devastating by far than the two atomic attacks, could almost certainly have been avoided, or their quantity greatly reduced, if primary reliance upon selective bombing had been pursued, even if the end of the war were slightly postponed."
In a similar study published in 1986, Hansell also noted: "The wholesale destruction of the Japanese cities entailed an unwelcome reconstruction burden after the war, and the excessive loss of life could not be compensated for at all."
 See, for example, the two articles on Hiroshima in EIR, Aug. 18, 1995; "How Henry Stimson Bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki Too," EIR, March 12, 1999; "How Harry Truman Defeated Himself," EIR, Aug. 29, 2003.
 Gar Alperowitz, The Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb (New York: Knopf, 1995), p. 322.
 Lyndon H. LaRouche, Jr., "How Bertrand Russell Became an Evil Man," Fidelio, Fall 1994.