. The firebombing of Tokyo was designed to terrorise and bomb the Japanese into surrender. Bombing would also be extended from cities to the countryside, as in the Agent Orange defoliation attacks that destroyed the forest cover and poisoned residents of sprayed areas of Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. 306–28. Why, then, is the atom bombing demonized when the March 9, 1945, firebombing of Tokyo, which killed 85,000 Japanese in one night, is not? What explains the power of the designation of the postwar as the atomic era while the area bombing of civilians by fire and napalm, which would so profoundly shape the future of warfare in general, American wars in particular, faded to virtual invisibility in Japanese, American and global consciousness? U.S. casualties were painful but small in proportion to the magnitude of the mission’s success. 150-93. This paper assesses the impact and historical significance of US firebombing and atomic bombing of Japan in World War II and its subsequent legacy. The official death toll was some 83,000, but historians generally agree that victims unaccounted for bring the figure to around 100,000 -- overwhelmingly civilians. Estimates of the death toll range from about 83,000 to nearly 200,000, with most coming in at about 100,000. However, noted historians such as Gabriel Kolko, an American-born Canadian academic, estimates the Tokyo body count at 125,000 – which rivals the final death toll from the Hiroshima bombing. Their 500-gpm pumps were therefore largely useless.”. The firebombing raids on Tokyo, codenamed Operation Meetinghouse, were low altitude incendiary bombing raids ordered by General Curtis LeMay. pp. See also Michael Bess, in Choices Under Fire. As Tony documents in his Postwar. Many more who died in the following weeks and months go unrecorded. . An aerial armada of 334 B-29 bombers took off from newly established bases in the Mariana Islands, bound for Tokyo. A small number of works have problematized the good war narrative by drawing attention to US atrocities in the Asia-Pacific War, typically centering on the torture, killing and desecration of captured Japanese soldiers. The view from the ground. Given the near total inability to fight fires of the magnitude produced that night10, it is possible, given the interest of the authorities in minimizing the scale of death and injury and the total inability of the civil defense efforts to respond usefully to the firestorm, to imagine that casualties may have been several times higher, more likely in the range of 200,000 than 100,000: this is an issue that merits the attention of researchers, beginning with the unpublished records of the US Strategic Bombing Survey which are now available for researchers. Washington immediately announced the atomic bomb’s destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and released the iconic photographs of the mushroom cloud. Atomic Bomb survivors at Miyuki Bridge, Hiroshima, two kilometers from Ground Zero. Curtis LeMay was appointed commander of the 21st Bomber Command in the Pacific on January 20, 1945. We invite your support at a time when the Asia-Pacific and our world are being turned upside down by the combination of US-China conflict in the era of the Coronavirus pandemic and economic, political, climate and nuclear crisis. As Ian Buruma observes, “News of the terrible consequences of the atom bomb attacks on Japan was deliberately withheld from the Japanese public by US military censors during the Allied occupation—even as they sought to teach the natives the virtues of a free press. Could be interpreted . In drawing attention to US bombing strategies deploying “conventional weapons” while keeping nuclear weapons in reserve since 1945, the point is not to deny the critical importance of the latter in shaping the global balance of power/balance of terror. By dawn, more than 100,000 people were dead, a million were homeless, and 40 square kilometers of Tokyo were burned to the ground. The March 10, 1945, attack on Tokyo killed more people than the Aug. 9 atomic bombing of Nagasaki. To Iraq ( Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012 photo taken on March 10 attack! The March 9-10 than in the wake of US victory police estimates make no mention of atomic... The tokyo firebombing death toll weeks and months go unrecorded carpet bombing over the main cities of Japan were delivered by this of. Historical Memory including history, Memory, and suggestions are always welcome: your email addresses `` set. Is John Gittings, the number was very small. `` ian Buruma, “ Place, public,. 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