Blogs > Liberty and Power > Geoffrey Wheatcroft on the Significance of Hiroshima

Aug 5, 2005 1:35 pm

Geoffrey Wheatcroft on the Significance of Hiroshima

I always enjoy reading the British journalist Geoffrey Wheatcroft even when I disagree with him. He is exceptionally well read and is consistently one of the most thoughtful and interesting commentators in Britain today. His new essay The Birth of ‘Mere Terror’ is no exception.

“Hiroshima wasn't uniquely wicked. It was part of a policy for the mass killing of civilians.”

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Anthony Gregory - 8/7/2005

I tend to think that the firebombings were just as bad, but the atomic bombings were still worse. I know this is a paradox, but contradictions arise sometimes when trying to compare atrocities for their evil.

David T. Beito - 8/6/2005

I have never conviced by this argument. I think that the destructiveness of a single atomic bomb was indeed unique. Is this "presentist" thinking? I don't think so. Even in 1945, it was generally agreed that chemical weapons, the first WMD's, were illegitimate. It wasn't much of a leap for policymakers at the time to conclude that the atomic bomb was in the same category.