This morning I was flipping through channels aimlessly when I happened across a movie called Hiroshima: Out of the Ashes. I have seen and enjoyed many movies about World War II, as a matter of fact it is one of my favorite genres. Movies like Patton, Midway, Tora!Tora!Tora! and the numerous John Wayne WWII movies all top my favorite list. This movie though hit deeper than any other I have seen in a long time. It wasn't the acting, it wasn't the writing; both were average fair for a TV movie. What hit me so hard was it simple desire to tell the story of several people and familes affected by the first use of an atomic weapon as a tool of war. Although the event is most assuredly a true story, I don't know if the people portrayed were all real. From what I know of history, some were; but most were probably tools to tell an effective story that would hit home with it's American audience. It was effective.
If you ever get a chance I deffinetly reccomend watching this movie; especially if your knowledge of the effects of the Enola Gay's cargo are only that the war would end shortly there after. I warn you first, this movie is graphic; especially graphic when you realize it was a TV movie. The graphicness of the movie is as necessary as it is stomach turning. "Little Boy," the Army Aircorps nickname for the bigger of the two bombs they built, did more than just devestate an entire city and bring the Empire of Japan to its knees. That one bomb best symbolized "war" as stated in the movie by a Japanese officer, "You are not my enemy. War is our enemy."
One of the characters followed by the movie was a little boy, probably only 8 or 9 years old. In a twist of fate I felt a weird connection to that little boy. In college I turtored a retired Japanese man who was from Hiroshima and lost part of his family in the blast. He was about the age of that boy in August of 1945. He told me a few stories of the aftermath and how it took everyone a while to see America, not as an enemy that destoyed their city in a bast of fire and light, but as a friend and ally. Eventually though they did.
What the Empire of Japan did during their reign of Aisa was horrible and tragic. I lived for four years in a natoin raveged by the Empire for so many years. Atrocities so horrible that even today the people of Korea don't trust Japan fully; even as they partner to make Asia better and stronger part of the world. War though is horrible, even when it must be fought. As much as I love War Movies, there is nothing heroic about war, nothing heroic about obliterating a city; whether it be with an atomic weapon or a deluge of conventional weapons like the fire bombing of Tokyo, London and Berlin.
For over 40 years there has been debate on whether the dropping of the atomic bombs on Japan was necessary. For over 40 years nearly every nation on Earth has publically or privately chastized the United States for being the only nation to ever use an atomic weapon as an instrument of war and been angered by the US stance on non-proliferation. The use of the bomb though is part of history and it did bring an early end to the war, of that there can be little question. Our reasons for using the bomb when we did and how we did will always be questioned; but I would like to think that most of our actions as a nation in the years directly after the war showed we are more a nation of a peace and less a nation of war. The bombs of Hiroshima and Nagasaki had a lives of their own, created history of their own and changed the world in way that won't be fully understood for centuries to come.
What can be said is that every person on Earth should do whatever they can as a person and as a group to make sure the events of August 7th, 1945 are never repeated; either as an act of war or an act of terrorism. That everyone understand that as terrible as war can be, the use of atomic weapons, the use of any weapon of mass destruction, is 1000 times more horrible. I believe that war is form of diplomacy, but atom weapons are not tools of war. They are tools of evil, tools of pure hell.
Maybe in the end such a tool had to be used just once. Had to be used so that everyone would understand that by using a weapon like this not just the target is destoyed, but a part of humanity. The last line of the movie was a haiku. The haiku read as such:
has burned down
I have a better view of the moon.