Tokyo Fire Bombing in 1945: 100,000 People Died in a Single Night

Share

Hits: 1254

On the 70th anniversary of Tokyo’s fire bombing, relatives are asking for a real tribute to its victims.

It was just after midnight when the rumble of B-29 bombers was heard, jolting Tokyo awake. The incendiaries that fell from their bellies, full of jelly petroleum, were like nothing anyone had ever seen.

They turned canals and rivers into flame and if the jelly stuck to you, it kept burning till flesh turned to bone. “The planes filled the sky like dragonflies,” recalls Michiko Kiyoka. “Everywhere you looked there were charred bodies.”

Today, Ms Kiyoka, now 91, will join a small group of elderly Tokyoites and mark the death of her father and sister in the 1945 firebombing, which killed about 100,000 people in the single night of 10 March.

Because men of fighting age were away, most of the victims were women, the elderly and children. A US survey later concluded that probably more people lost their lives during the raid by 300 bombers than at any single moment in history.

The Tokyo bombing opened the curtain on an orgy of destruction in the final months of the Second World War that included dozens of similar raids on Japanese cities, and culminated in the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August. When the droning of bombers stopped on 15 August, almost 70 cities had been reduced to rubble and perhaps half a million people were dead.

Some thought that Imperial Japan, like Nazi Germany, deserved retribution for the bombing of Shanghai and Chongqing, the Rape of Nanjing and other war atrocities across Asia. But others asked where had the moral high ground gone since US President Franklin D Roosevelt described the 1940 Nazi blitzkrieg of British cities as “inhuman barbarism”?

If the bombing of Dresden a month earlier than Tokyo had produced a ripple of public debate in Europe, “no discernible wave of revulsion took place in the US or Europe in the wake of the far greater destruction of Japanese cities”, wrote Mark Selden, a historian at Cornell University.

Yet today, unlike Hiroshima or Nagasaki, there is no publicly funded museum in Japan’s capital to commemorate the night of 10 March. The Tokyo government, urged on by a small group of private citizens, began compiling an incomplete list of victims in 2010. A small memorial squeezed into a corner of Yokoamicho Park in the city contains their names, next to a charnel house with the mixed ashes of thousands who died.

© AP Survivors of the 1945 raids commuting to work through the rubble

German Chancellor Angela Merkel today reminded Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of the need to face up to the past. In a speech in Tokyo, Ms Merkel said those who close their eyes to history are “blind to the present”, a quote from a famous speech by the late German president Richard von Weizsacker.

Tokyo lacked the emotional or financial resources to properly mourn the victims after the war, says Bret Fisk, a Tokyo-based novelist who writes about the 1945 raids. Later, there was no appetite for a political fight with Washington, Japan’s new Cold War ally. Remarkably, Japan awarded the architect of the 1945 raids, US General Curtis LeMay, its highest prize in 1964 for helping to reconstruct Japan’s Self-Defence Forces after the war.

Plans for a museum became bogged down in controversy in the 1990s. Conservatives said the plans were “anti-Japanese and “self-masochistic”. The decision infuriated survivors. Tokyo had no stomach for reminding people of the horrors of war, said survivor Katsumoto Saotome, who was 12 when the bombers arrived. He set up a private fund to build the Centre of the Tokyo Raids and War Damage, and helped launch a lawsuit for compensation. The suit was dismissed in 2009; government lawyers said that since Japanese civilians had equally experienced severe hardship during a time of national emergency, no particular group could receive special treatment, says Cary Karacas, a specialist on aerial bombing at the City University of New York.

The dwindling band of survivors of the Great Tokyo Air Raid met at the weekend to demand the event is properly memorialised. Mr Saotome says he accepts they face an uphill fight. He says that after all these years, he still doesn’t even like to say the say the figure of 100,000 people out loud – it’s too impossibly large.

“They were all individuals,” he said. “They had all been talking to their families hours before they died.”


Originally published on 2015-03-10

Author: David McNeill

Source: The Independent, UK

Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement!

Donate to Support Us

We would like to ask you to consider a small donation to help our team keep working. We accept no advertising and rely only on you, our readers, to keep us digging the truth on history, global politics and international relations.

[wpedon id=”4696″ align=”left”]

READ MORE!
Ukraine could Learn from Kosovo’s Troubles
There was an interesting announcement recently that went almost entirely unnoticed in the Canadian media. On June 17, Peter Szijjarto, foreign minister of Hungary’s centre-right government, made the startling declaration that his national security forces will erect a four-metre wall along the entire 175 kilometres of shared border with Serbia. Szijjarto’s rationale for resorting to such a drastic measure results from a months-long flood of asylum seekers pouring into southern Hungary. While tens of thousands of these desperate illegal immigrants have been caught, detained and returned into Serbia, the vast majority have used the processing time for their asylum applications to simply ...
READ MORE
Saudi Arab Islamist beheading Serbs in Bosnia in 1992
More than 20 years after the Srebrenica massacre, Bosnian Serb General Ratko Mladić was found guilty of war crimes by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia this past November.Along with Mladić, the ICTY convicted the other so-called “Butcher of Bosnia”, the Bosnian Serb and former Republika Sprska leader Radovan Karadžić in 2016. Meanwhile, it fully exonerated the Bosnian Muslim army commander Naser Orić of similar charges which outraged the people of Serbia. Yet, it was the same court that posthumously exonerated former Serbian President Slobodan Milošević in 2016. If you weren’t aware of the latter, it’s because it ...
READ MORE
US-led Genocidal War and Destruction of Socialism: 20 Years after the NATO Bombing of Yugoslavia
The NATO war on Yugoslavia which culminated in the 78-days bombing of historic cities and infrastructures – as usual under atrocity propaganda and pretexts – is on its 20th anniversary.The grim anniversary is admirably recognized by Science for Peace members to remember and to prevent who-knows-what NATO war crime next as “humanitarian intervention”.From Yugoslavia to Iraq to Libya, where does it stop? Observe that Trump is now seeking a NATO alliance with Bolsonaro Brazil (see image below)  -to perhaps back the bombing of Venezuela, or any other society, including the Brazilian people, not bowing to US-led global corporate colonization. Socialist ...
READ MORE
Chomsky: NATO is a U.S.-Run Intervention Force
How did Russia and the West slip back into what seems like the Cold War all over again? How dangerous is the current confrontation? Should the world be ready to face a nuclear war? We ask somebody who’s renowned for his insights. World-famous academic, linguist, philosopher and political commentator Noam Chomsky is on Sophie&Co today. Follow @SophieCo_RT Sophie Shevardnadze: World-renowned academic Noam Chomsky, Professor Noam Chomsky, welcome to the show, it’s a great pleasure to have you with us today. Now, today U.S.-Russia relations are at a Cold War low. Rhetoric resembles what we heard in the 80-s. What is the worst-case ...
READ MORE
One Hundred Years Ago, in the Spring of 1917: Why Did America Go to War in 1917?
1917 was not a good year for any of the belligerent countries, but for the members of the Entente – France, Britain, and Russia – it was nothing less than catastrophic. The main reasons for that were the mutinies in the French army, which made the situation on the western front extremely precarious, as well as the revolution in Russia, which raised the spectre of Russia exiting the war, leaving Britain and France bereft of the ally that forced Germany to fight on two fronts. Add to this the fact that civilians as well as soldiers in France and Britain ...
READ MORE
Did You Know: 9/11 & Larry Silverstein
Origins of images: Facebook, Twitter, Wikimedia, Wikipedia, Flickr, Google, Imageinjection & Pinterest. Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement! Donate to Support Us We would like to ask you to consider a small donation to help our team keep working. We accept no advertising and rely only on you, our readers, to keep us digging the truth on history, global politics and international relations. [wpedon id="4696" align="left"]
READ MORE
North Korea vs the United States: Who are the Demons?
The American people should, in the words of Vietnam War Veteran Brian Willson  “place themselves in the position of people living in targeted countries. That North Korea, a nation of 24 million people, i.e., one-twentieth the population of the U.S., many of them poor, a land slightly larger in area than the U.S. state of Pennsylvania, continues to be one of the most demonized nations and least understood, totally perplexes the Korean people.” What most people in America do not know –and which is particularly relevant when assessing the “threats” of the DPRK to World peace– is that North Korea lost thirty percent ...
READ MORE
Albanian Drug Gangsters Taunt UK by Flaunting Wealth
Members of a notorious Albanian-run cocaine smuggling gang in London have outraged the UK mass media by flaunting their illegally obtained wealth on Instagram. The Daily Mail on Monday accused the Hellbanianz group of “brazenly flaunting their gangster lifestyle” by posting pictures of themselves draped over luxury cars, smoking drugs, sporting Gucci outfits and fielding a kind of cake made up of rolled-up 50 pound notes. A similar note of outrage was struck by the Sun and the Daily Mirror. One picture shows a gang member holding a golden “game-of-thrones” style knuckleduster, encrusted with gems and formed in the shape of the letters ...
READ MORE
Have You been Brainwashed about Gaza?
It’s frightening. Unprincipled psychologists, in the service of a malignant regime, use sophisticated techniques in order to control the mind of a person from afar. The term “brainwashing” was born in 1950. It is a Chinese word (“xinao”, literally wash brain). Originally it served to describe a technique used – so it was claimed – by Chinese masterminds to manipulate the minds of American prisoners in the Korean War. They changed their unconscious mental processes and turned them into agents of sinister forces. Many books and movies purported to show how this works. For example, the classic film “The Manchurian Candidate” shows ...
READ MORE
The Prosecution of Washington’s Kosovo Clients for War Crimes
The United States and its NATO allies launched a military intervention in 1999 that helped the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) win its secessionist campaign against Serbia. U.S. officials justified that intervention on the grounds that Serbian security forces were committing pervasive war crimes against the Kosovar insurgents. American supporters of the KLA also asserted that the secessionists were staunch Western‐​style democrats mounting a noble resistance against Slobodan Milosevic’s corrupt, brutal regime, and that America had a moral obligation to support them. Speaking at a pro‐​Kosovo march in Washington D. C., Sen. Joseph Lieberman (D-CT) stated that the “United States of America and the Kosovo ...
READ MORE
Documentary Movies about Kosovo-Metochia
What you can see here, as the example: Serbian shrine Bogorodica Ljeviška (Virgin Mary of Ljevishka) is a cathedral church in the city of Prizren in the western part of Kosovo & Metohija region. The city was a capital of medieval Serbia. This church is built by Serbian king Milutin between 1307-1309. This church belongs to one of four masterpieces of Serbian sacral architecture in the Middle Ages in Kosovo & Metohija that was a central part of Serbian medieval state. The video is in the Serbian language.Rachak Village in Kosovo 1999- Lies and the truth from Vladislav B. Sotirovic ...
READ MORE
Ukraine, America’s “Lebensraum”: Is Washington Preparing to Wage War on Russia?
Seeing through the Official Lies on Ukraine. “We can no longer find any willingness on the part of Poland to conduct serious negotiations with us. These proposals for mediation have failed because [of ] – – Polish mobilization.” (Adolph Hitler, 1939)  These are the words of Adolph Hitler just before invading Poland and then the Soviet Union. I have replaced Poland with Russia (see below) to show the analogy of US and Nazi pretexts. “We can no longer find any willingness on the part of Russia to conduct serious negotiations with us. These proposals for mediation have failed because [of ] – – ...
READ MORE
Kosovo for “Europe”: Serbia between “Holy Land” and Stepmother
The assassination of Kosovo’s Serb leader Oliver Ivanović on January 16th, 2018 in the northern (the Serb) part of the divided city of Kosovska Mitrovica once again put on the agenda both the issue of contested land of Kosovo and Serbia’s policy toward the West, in particular, the EU.The Western (the USA/EU) client Serbia’s government is a quite long time under the direct pressure from Brussels to recognize an independence of the narco-mafia Kosovo’s quasi-state for the exchange to join the EU but not before 2025. It is only a question of time that a Western colony of Serbia has ...
READ MORE
Raining on Trump’s Parade
Thankfully humanity is freed from the scourge of a third Hillary and Bill Clinton crime family co-presidency – she in the lead role with her finger on the nuclear trigger as US military commander-in-chief, perhaps eager to squeeze it.Newsweek magazine jumped the gun, printing a special edition, distributing it to outlets before November 8 – Hillary on the cover below the heading “MADAM PRESIDENT.”Shades of November 3, 1948, the Chicago Tribune headlining “DEWEY DEFEATS TRUMAN.” A beaming President HST held up a copy of the broadsheet, saying: “That ain’t the way I heard it!”Like polls predicted a Hillary victory this ...
READ MORE
Next Intifada?
The Deal of the Century proposed by acting US President Donald Trump once again opened a Pandora Box of the Israeli-Palestinian relations in the Middle East.[1] It is very rational to predict that the Palestinian answer to the Deal of the Century is going to be in the form of intifada’s uprisings which can return back the region for several decades back in the past. Therefore, it is worth to remind ourselves about the main causes and timeline of the Isreali-Palestinian conflict.   What is conflict about? The Zionist Israeli-Arab Palestinian conflict today is one of if not the most significant global ...
READ MORE
Forgotten “Anniversaries” of U.S. Sponsored Military Coups against Democracy
US-backed forces overthrow Goulart in Brazil (1964) Left-wing nationalist Joao Goulart became the democratically elected president of Brazil in September 1961, setting alarm bells clattering in the liberal Kennedy administration. Goulart began implementing structural reforms in the massive resource-rich South American country, that would help integrate the general population into society. (1) The United States was loathe to sit helplessly by as this movement came within “our hemisphere”, as President John F. Kennedy described it. Goulart, also known as “Jango”, was hostile toward US capitalist democracy that seeks to primarily serve elite powers.Shortly before his death, Kennedy had been preparing the groundwork to oust Goulart, ...
READ MORE
The True Cost of Israel: U.S. Support Goes Far Beyond the Official Numbers
The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) concluded its annual conference late last month, triggering the usual debate in various alternative media outlets. Why does so much U.S. taxpayer money go to a small and not particularly useful client state that has a vibrant European-level economy and is already a regional military colossus? Those who support the cash flow argue that Israel is threatened, most notably by Iran; they claim the assistance, which has been largely but not completely used to buy American-made weapons, is required to maintain a qualitative edge over the country's potential enemies. Those who oppose the aid ...
READ MORE
70 Years of Disinformation: How the CIA Funded Opinion Magazines in Europe
When an intelligence agency arranges to disseminated fake news it is called “disinformation” and it is a subset of what is referred to as covert action, basically secret operations run in a foreign country to influence opinion or to disrupt the functioning of a government or group that is considered to be hostile.During the Cold War, disinformation operations were run by many of the leading players in both the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and in the opposition Warsaw Pact. Sometimes the activity and the sponsorship were clearly visible, as when Radio Free Europe and Radio Moscow would exchange barbs about ...
READ MORE
The Operation Barbarossa II File: But Who will Prosecute?
As some of you may remember I am compiling a criminal dossier on the western powers concerning, among other things, their preparations for Operation Barbarossa II, the term that I use for NATO’s build-up of forces in Eastern Europe threatening the security of Russia.In June, the BALTOPS 2017 NATO naval and air exercises were conducted in the Baltic Sea near Kaliningrad and the approaches to St. Petersburg simultaneously with the Saber Strike military ground exercises in Latvia and Lithuania.On July 11th NATO’s Sea Breeze naval exercises began in the Black Sea, threatening Russia’s southern flank. The NATO exercises are conducted ...
READ MORE
The European Union, Moral Hypocrisy, and Stroking Tension in the Balkans
Over the past several years, analysts and commentators have noticed a rising tide of domestic support for the Croatian homegrown Nazi movement of the Second World War, the Ustashe, which actively exterminated Serbs, Jews, and Roma in the territory it controlled from 1941-45. Far from condemning this alarming development, the Croatian government, the European Union, and non-state actors within it have tacitly and actively supported the rising tide of sympathy towards the Ustashe.This disconnect between the ostensible “European values” of human rights and tolerance that the European Union claims to represent, and its tacit support of trends towards extremist politics ...
READ MORE
Ukraine could Learn from Kosovo’s Troubles
The Real “Butcher of the Balkans” is the NATO
US-led Genocidal War and Destruction of Socialism: 20 Years after the NATO Bombing of Yugoslavia
Chomsky: NATO is a U.S.-Run Intervention Force
One Hundred Years Ago, in the Spring of 1917: Why Did America Go to War in 1917?
Did You Know: 9/11 & Larry Silverstein
North Korea vs the United States: Who are the Demons?
Albanian Drug Gangsters Taunt UK by Flaunting Wealth
Have You been Brainwashed about Gaza?
The Prosecution of Washington’s Kosovo Clients for War Crimes
Documentary Movies about Kosovo-Metochia
Ukraine, America’s “Lebensraum”: Is Washington Preparing to Wage War on Russia?
Kosovo for “Europe”: Serbia between “Holy Land” and Stepmother
Raining on Trump’s Parade
Next Intifada?
Forgotten “Anniversaries” of U.S. Sponsored Military Coups against Democracy
The True Cost of Israel: U.S. Support Goes Far Beyond the Official Numbers
70 Years of Disinformation: How the CIA Funded Opinion Magazines in Europe
The Operation Barbarossa II File: But Who will Prosecute?
The European Union, Moral Hypocrisy, and Stroking Tension in the Balkans
FOLLOW US ON OUR SOCIAL PLATFORMS
Share
About Policraticus 1658 Articles
SHORT LEGAL DISCLAIMER: The website’s owner & editor-in-chief has no official position on any issue published at this website. The views of the authors presented at this website do not necessarily coincide with the opinion of the owner & editor-in-chief of the website. The contents of all material (articles, books, photos, videos…) are of sole responsibility of the authors. The owner & editor-in-chief of this website is not morally, scientifically or legally responsible for any inaccurate or incorrect statement in the contents of all material found on this website. The owner & editor-in-chief of this website is not responsible for the content of external internet sites. No advertising, government or corporate funding for the functioning of this website. The owner & editor-in-chief and authors are not morally, scientifically or legally responsible for any inaccurate or incorrect statement in the text and material found on the website www.global-politics.eu