Letters to the Editor

President Barack Obama should have apologized to Japan

President Barack Obama lay wreaths at the cenotaph at Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima, western Japan, Friday, May 27, 2016.
President Barack Obama lay wreaths at the cenotaph at Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima, western Japan, Friday, May 27, 2016. AP

Regarding the discussion whether the president should apologize to the Japanese for the dropping of the atomic bomb: It should be noted that most scholars agree the U.S. knew Japan was militarily defeated by spring 1945. We fire-bombed their cities virtually at will and unopposed. Because we had broken the Japanese diplomatic as well as military codes, we knew Japan was making overtures of peace with the Russians, Swedes and Swiss in the spring of 1945.

We knew the only stipulation the Japanese required was that we not execute their emperor. We knew that as soon as Russia entered the war with Japan, the Japanese would almost certainly surrender.

When the Japanese did surrender with stipulation that we spare the emperor, the day after the bombing of Nagasaki, we immediately agreed to the stipulation. The Potsdam Declaration in July 1945 is said to originally have had the stipulation regarding the emperor in it, but it was removed prior to it being sent to the Japanese.

It was unnecessary to drop the bomb on nonmilitary targets (civilian cities), and it was an act of barbarism. It’s an act that deserves at least an apology.

John Zinke, Cambria

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