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

Hits: 1359

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

Origins of images: Facebook, Twitter, Wikimedia, Wikipedia, Flickr, Google, Imageinjection, Public Domain & 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.

READ MORE!
Trump, Netanyahu and Israel’s Capital
When considering United States President Donald Trump’s decision to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, we learn many things about him:+ He is desperate to hold onto his base, which includes so-called Christian fundamentalists, who unquestioningly support Israel;+ His interest in ‘the ultimate deal’ between Palestine and Israel is non-existent;+ He has no regard for the opinions of the U.S.’s closest allies;+ His knowledge of international law is limited, at best;+ He holds the safety of U.S. personnel abroad in disdain;+ His understanding of the complexities of the Middle East are far beyond his interest or ability to ...
READ MORE
The Forgotten Postwar US-Nazi Alliance
As the Second World War advanced from its early stages, the United States was assessing which sections of the earth it would hold conquest over. American planners had to remain patient, however. A seemingly endless string of conquests for the Nazis had astonished the world – particularly those in the US – and led to Adolf Hitler being crowned as “the new Napoleon”.In the summer of 1942, under Hitler’s domineering command of the military, the Germans controlled vast swathes of Europe – from Warsaw to Oslo to Paris, and eastwards onto Athens, Kiev and Sevastopol. It was one major victory ...
READ MORE
Pearl Harbor Day and the Fantasy of US Victimhood
The United States is indisputably the world’s most frequent and extensive wager of aggressive war, largest occupier of foreign lands, and biggest weapons dealer to the world. But when the United States peeps out from under the blankets where it lies shivering with fear, it sees itself as an innocent victim. It has no holiday to keep any victorious battle in everyone’s mind. It has a holiday to remember the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor — and now also one, perhaps holier still, to recall, not the “shock and awe” destruction of Baghdad, but the crimes of September 11, 2001, ...
READ MORE
Conrad Von Hetzendorf: The General Who Demanded War on Serbia 25 Times in a Year
In time when (on the occasion of the 100th anniversary since WWI ended) we face almost daily attempts to reinterpret and revision the role of Serbia in the outbreak of the Great War, all in order to push aside well established facts of who and what for the war started, it is Her majesty history that reminds us of Chief of staff of the Austro-Hungarian army, who was obsessed with the idea that the Austro-Hungarian empire can be preserved only if it attacks and conquers Serbia .Relations between Serbia and Austro-Hungary were tense from the moment when the Congress of ...
READ MORE
The NATO – The Tool of European Neo-Fascism and Pope’s “Blessed Silence”
24 March 1999 was a day of gross shame and ignominy in the historical annals of Britain and America. It was the day when the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation became the North American Terrorist Organisation. NATO, for the first time since its founding in 1949, launched a vicious, unprovoked and illegal attack against the sovereign nation of Yugoslavia, in a preplanned act of aggression sponsored by US President Bill Clinton. The 78 days of NATO air strikes took place without the necessary UN Security Council authorisation. It is equally loathsome that Clinton’s violence against the Serbs, who were our gallant allies ...
READ MORE
“Je Suis CIA”
Note: This article was first published in January 2015.Since 9/11, the imperial playbook has consisted of a favorite and time-tested tactic: the false flag operation.Carry out or facilitate a spectacular atrocity. Blame it on the enemy of choice. Issue a lie-infested official narrative, and have the corporate media repeat the lie. Rile up ignorant militant crowds, stoke the hatred, and war-mongering imperial policy planners and their criminal functionaries get what they want: war with the public stamp of approval.Here we are again.The Charlie Hebdo incident is being sold as “the French 9/11”. It certainly is, in all of the most ...
READ MORE
Caught in a Lie, US & Allies Bomb Syria the Night Before International Inspectors Arrive
The US, Britain, and France trampled international law to launch missiles against Syria, claiming to have “evidence” of the government’s use of chemical weapons. That evidence is based on terrorist lies.After a week of outrageous tweets and proclamations by POTUS Trump, which included continued accusations that Syria’s president ordered a chemical weapons attack on civilians in Douma, east of Damascus, with Trump using grotesque and juvenile terminology, such as “animal Assad,” the very evening before chemical weapons inspectors of the OPCW were to visit Douma, America and allies launched illegal bombings against Syria. The illegal bombings included 103 missiles, 71 of ...
READ MORE
Lithuania: Stamped Out Truth
The contemporary Lithuania uses the official interpretation of bloody events that took place in Vilnius on January 13, 1991 as an ideological foundation for Russophobia-based confrontation with its eastern neighbor. It says “the Soviet soldiers committed an intentional murder of 13 unarmed people and one special operations serviceman”. The truth about what really happened, as well as the doubts over the official interpretation, are punishable crimes.The Lithuanian authorities have been trying to get Algirdas Paleckis condemned by court for some years. He is a young politician and a diplomat, the leader of Lithuanian Socialist People’s Front (SPF), a holder of ...
READ MORE
American Rape of Vietnamese Women was Considered “Standard Operating Procedure”
Comparing testimony from Vietnamese women and American soldiers, Gina Marie Weaver, in her book Ideologies of Forgetting: Rape in The Vietnam War, finds that rape of Vietnamese women by American troops during the US invasion of Vietnam was a “widespread”, “everyday occurrence” that was essentially “condoned”, even encouraged, by the military, and had its foundation in military training and US culture.  She explores why US rape in Vietnam was so common, and why this aspect of US behavior has been virtually “erased” from “narratives of the war”.  She stresses the issue is also important as rape in the US military continues ...
READ MORE
How to Combat Croatian Revisionists’ Culture of Lies
In early 1944, Mirjana Babunovic-Dimitrijevic, a 22-year-old middle-class woman living in Sarajevo, was arrested by the Ustasa police. After she was arrested along with her mother and aunt, they were all deported to the Jasenovac concentration camp, for refusing to convert to Catholicism. All three women died there in late 1944.These women were among more than 80,000 victims who perished at Jasenovac between 1941 and 1945. While we don’t know precisely how they died nor what happened during their short lives in the camp, two things are certain.First, their deaths were the direct result of deliberate political decisions. Second, they ...
READ MORE
NATO’s Destruction of Serbia and Where are Serbia, China and the West Today?
It was NATO’s first out-of-area operation, against its own Treaty and without a UN mandate. On March 24, 1999.Independent Kosovo was established – against UN SC resolution 1244. Thanks to the Clinton administration and Madeleine Albright. CNN’s Amanpour endorsed it generously on TV with her State Department husband, James Rubin, a chief operator in the non-negotiations at Rambouillet. And TIME of course knew the truth too.Serbia suffered tremendously from the 78 days of indiscriminate, hard bombing. I know because I was there.Finally, Serbia and its president Milosevic was threatened with total destruction of Belgrade. And gave in.Western hubris after the ...
READ MORE
Remembering Edward Herman: Explains the Role of Media Propaganda in Justifying War
On November 11, distinguished scholar, political economist, media analyst/critic, peace champion Ed Herman passed away at age 92.It was fittingly on the 99th anniversary of WW I’s end. Endless wars followed “the war to end all wars” – a legacy of mass slaughter and destruction Herman deplored, championing elusive world peace.Along with his friends and family, I mourn his passing, a valued friend and colleague, a contributor to my 2014 book, titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks World War III.”He and other distinguished contributors made the book successful, published in Russia and France.Ed Herman’s writing ...
READ MORE
America Celebrates Memorial Day
Wednesday, May 30th, was Memorial Day in the United States. The commemoration began in 1868 shortly after the American Civil War, when townsmen in several communities came together to decorate the graves of the fallen on the last Monday in May. The practice began in the northern states but soon spread to the south and the annual remembrance ceremony soon took on the name Decoration Day. As wars proliferated in the twentieth century the commemoration eventually lost its association with the Civil War and was increasingly referred to nationally as Memorial Day, eventually becoming a federal holiday. The American Civil war ...
READ MORE
Ukraine’s Complex Historical Background and The Contemporary Era
Ukraine has a complex historical background and most people have little knowledge of this. The western part of Ukraine known as Galicia has an especially complex history. Going back for more than a thousand years, this region had been settled by Slavic tribes who formed the western extension of the Kievan Rus. To the west it had Polish, Lithuanian, Hungarian and Austrian neighbours. And to its misfortune, these neighbours took turns attacking and subjugating these early Ukrainians. It was largely Poland and Austria that took turns suppressing and occupying the region, economically and culturally. Because of this, although Galicia’s population ...
READ MORE
The Simulation of Democracy
One of the most complicated and frustrating aspects of operating a global capitalist empire is maintaining the fiction that it doesn’t exist. Virtually every action you take has to be carefully recontextualized or otherwise spun for public consumption. Every time you want to bomb or invade some country to further your interests, you have to mount a whole PR campaign. You can’t even appoint a sadistic torture freak to run your own coup-fomenting agency, or shoot a few thousand unarmed people you’ve imprisoned in a de facto ghetto, without having to do a big song and dance about “defending democracy” ...
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
The US is Already an Authoritarian Regime
Or at the very least, an incipient monarchy: the only problem is that the monarch — while having plenty of clothes — has no head. The most famous twentieth century American journalist, Bob Woodward, who together with his buddy Carl Bernstein broke the Watergate story that forced President Richard Nixon to resign, has written a book that reveals White House palace intrigues worthy of any European king — although it is the French President, Emanuel Macron, who calls himself Jupiter. Under the ominous title Fear, Woodward quotes high-ranking members of the White House staff as well as the heads of crucial departments ...
READ MORE
America’s Culture War Mercenaries
USAID is spending $300,000 to fight traditional Christian morality in the Republic of Macedonia.A reader passes along a government document putting out bids for a contract. Here’s the top of the document:Apparently the (former Yugoslav) Republic of Macedonia, a small Balkan nation that emerged from the breakup of Yugoslavia, is insufficiently progressive on LGBT issues. So the American government is spending $300,000 to undermine the traditional Orthodox Christian culture of the country. Excerpts from the document (emphases mine):Macedonia has ratified the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the European Human Rights Convention. Through ratification of these human rights treaties, Macedonia has ...
READ MORE
Trump’s Fascism vs Obama’s Fascism
Barack Obama was the only U.S. President who at the United Nations defended nazism — racist fascism — and Holocaust-denial. It received almost no reporting by the press at the time (or subsequently). But his successor President Donald Trump could end up being removed from office because he said that racist fascists are just the same as are people who demonstrate publicly against them. Trump’s politically stupid (not to say callous) remark became viral, and apparently the press (which had ignored Obama’s defense of nazism at the U.N.) just won’t let go of Trump’s statement unless and until he becomes ...
READ MORE
Shield of the Union: How the Russian Navy Protected America in the Civil War
Strange things happen in civil wars: During the Russian Civil War in 1919, 13,000 U.S. troops were dispatched by President Woodrow Wilson to occupy the cities of Archangelsk in the Arctic and Vladivostok on the Pacific.Half a century earlier, thousands of Imperial Russian Navy sailors and their officers flooded the cities of San Francisco and New York. But the circumstances were very different. They were there to defend the United States from foreign invasion – not to threaten it and they brilliantly succeeded in their tasks.The incredible story is well told in “Friends in Peace and War: The Russian Navy’s ...
READ MORE
Trump, Netanyahu and Israel’s Capital
The Forgotten Postwar US-Nazi Alliance
Pearl Harbor Day and the Fantasy of US Victimhood
Conrad Von Hetzendorf: The General Who Demanded War on Serbia 25 Times in a Year
The NATO – The Tool of European Neo-Fascism and Pope’s “Blessed Silence”
“Je Suis CIA”
Caught in a Lie, US & Allies Bomb Syria the Night Before International Inspectors Arrive
Lithuania: Stamped Out Truth
American Rape of Vietnamese Women was Considered “Standard Operating Procedure”
How to Combat Croatian Revisionists’ Culture of Lies
NATO’s Destruction of Serbia and Where are Serbia, China and the West Today?
Remembering Edward Herman: Explains the Role of Media Propaganda in Justifying War
America Celebrates Memorial Day
Ukraine’s Complex Historical Background and The Contemporary Era
The Simulation of Democracy
US-led Genocidal War and Destruction of Socialism: 20 Years after the NATO Bombing of Yugoslavia
The US is Already an Authoritarian Regime
America’s Culture War Mercenaries
Trump’s Fascism vs Obama’s Fascism
Shield of the Union: How the Russian Navy Protected America in the Civil War
FOLLOW US ON OUR SOCIAL PLATFORMS
Share

About White Nettle

SHORT LEGAL DISCLAIMER: The website’s owner & editor-in-chief has no official position on any issue published on this website. The views of the authors presented on 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