Tokyo Marks WWII Firebombing Anniversary

#1
Tokyo Marks WWII Firebombing Anniversary

March 10, 2005 3:32 PM EST

TOKYO - Marking an attack that brought the full force of total war to Tokyo, the Japanese bowed their heads in prayer Thursday in remembrance of the massive 1945 U.S. air raid that incinerated wide swaths of the capital and killed 100,000 in a single night.

Hundreds crowded a memorial hall in the center of the former damage zone in eastern Tokyo to honor those who died on March 9-10, 1945, and some 2,000 gathered at an afternoon assembly at a service attended by Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara, who called the raid "a massacre."

Amid calls for Japan to hew to its postwar pacifist ideals, survivors recalled the horror of that night, when 334 B-29 Superfortress bombers saturated the city's crowded downtown residential district with tons of incendiaries.

"We had buckets of sand to put the fires out, but instead of fighting the flames, we just ran for our lives," remembered survivor Heiyo Majima, 75, as dozens of people put burning incense in a large urn in front of a memorial hall Thursday.

The raid on Tokyo, which followed a similar attack on Dresden, Germany, in February 1945, brought open warfare by the Allies on civilian targets to a new height.

U.S. military planners at the time said the assault was needed to break Japanese morale and wear away resistance to surrender. Bombers also hoped to wipe out small urban factories keeping the economy alive. Less than six months later - and days after the United States dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki - Japan finally surrendered on Aug. 15, 1945, bringing World War II to a close.

The devastation of the assault on the capital encouraged the Allies to apply the same methods - nighttime, low-altitude incendiary attacks - to dozens of other Japanese cities. By the end of the war, much of urban Japan had been reduced to smoldering ruins.

The commemorations of the destruction of war come as Japan is slowly taking on a larger military role in the world. Japan dispatched hundreds of non-combat troops to Iraq last year on a humanitarian mission, in the country's first deployment in a combat zone since 1945, and top officials are considering changing the pacifist constitution to give the country's soldiers greater leeway to join international military operations.

While the Allies generally viewed the Tokyo attack as an unsavory necessity to push the Japanese toward unconditional surrender, critics decry the outrageous loss of civilian life. Nearly all the estimated 100,000 killed were civilians. With fighting-age men mostly at the war front, the attack wiped out whole neighborhoods of women, children and elderly.

Many in Japan view the air raid as a war crime on par with atrocities carried out by Japanese troops in Asia during the war, and the firebombing has often been pointed to by nationalists as one of the great forgotten injustices of history.

"That firebombing is unforgivable," Ishihara, Tokyo's outspoken governor, said at a news conference Thursday. "One hundred thousand people died in one night. That's a massacre isn't it? We have to say this. But Japanese politicians these days, and the Foreign Ministry, don't."

Survivors paint vivid depictions of the horror of that night: women fleeing the fires with flaming babies on their backs; thousands who sheltered in presumably safe schools or parks who were eventually incinerated; the indelible scenes of the sun dawning on streets piled with charred bodies.

Many of the survivors still alive 60 years after the air raid were children at the time, and their recollections are often expressed in phantasmagoric paintings or apocalyptic accounts. Many of those memories remained bottled in their hearts for decades before they were confronted as the survivors entered old age.

Majima remembers that night in vivid detail.

He was hiding with his sister in a rudimentary underground shelter near his Tokyo home that night when approaching flames prompted them to flee.

With terrifyingly huge B-29s roaring closely overhead, he raced ahead of the fires to a clearing around a nearby train terminal. On Thursday he described the planes as "monster birds."

"The flames were so high, it looked like they reached the planes," he said. "The B-29s were flying so low, I felt like I could reach up and touch them."
Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved
 
#2
ooooh ! i bricketh myself big time !
i can see their concern for Allied POWs very touching NOT! :evil:
they started the war, reap what you sow and shut the fuk up!
that would be my response since they were so reluctant to pay compensation to ex-POWs and acknowledge their own war crimes
 
#3
my grand father never lived long enough for me to know him having been a gueast of the empireor . i have to say it was terrible but you lot started it ditto for dresden
 
#5
I wonder just how many of those who died in Dresden, Tokyo or London, Coventry etc. etc. were actually guilty of any crime at all or started anything at all?


How many of us i wonder would accept having our homes destroyed and our families killed as being justified because of what Blair and his government do?


Or are we saying that a national of any country shares the guilt of it's leaders and government, even it's military and must thus accept the consequences including death?

I'd be interested to know how exactly one becomes guilty of a crime by being born in a particular place?
 
B

Biscuits_AB

Guest
#6
"That firebombing was unforgiveable.............100,000 dead.........that's a massacre isn't it?"

Yeah, it's a f*cking shame, but you seem to have forgotten the 'Rape of Nanking' and how you treat prisoners of war. Next time you start a fight, you slant eyed c*nt........get with the winning team.

Tony'll be offering an apology soon...........on behalf of us all.
 
#7
cdo_gunner said:
How many of us i wonder would accept having our homes destroyed and our families killed as being justified because of what Blair and his government do?

Or are we saying that a national of any country shares the guilt of it's leaders and government, even it's military and must thus accept the consequences including death?

I'd be interested to know how exactly one becomes guilty of a crime by being born in a particular place?
Good point; well brought out!

Now apply the above to the civilian population of Iraq.
 
#8
[quote="Biscuits_AB Yeah, it's a f*cking shame, but you seem to have forgotten the 'Rape of Nanking' and how you treat prisoners of war. .[/quote]

You are right on with that.

Hey, you want to play with the big boys, you are gonna get hurt.
 
#9
If you forget the mistakes of the past you are doomed to repeat them in the future.

Lives are lost in war regardless of who is right and who is wrong, remembering them should help to bring perspective to future generations.
 
B

Biscuits_AB

Guest
#10
Yeah, but remembering everyone else's mistakes whilst 'airbrushing' out your own, isn't quite what it's all about is it?
 
#11
True AB, but the above article is in reference to a certain event in Japan (world) history and not the overall picture.

Like the article said it brought the full force of war to Japan, they paid a very large price at the hands of the Allies becuase of their Emperor who proclaimed to be a God.

60 years on and still we cannot let go becuase in one way shape or form we still have ties to family and national losses.

The real problem is not so much the reflection on past events (this is important, and time should be taken to remember all who died) but the way these events are glorified by and jumped all over by the media (on all fronts) who paint false images and stories just to sell airtime, joined by sicophantic politicians and media darlings who align themselves with such events just to further their own publicity and self gratification )Mr Blair for example).
 

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