Jus in bello

The aerial view

The Knife has always taken the view that in wartime, the means of death is not that important. I do not see how it is worse to die by an atomic explosion, or chemical weapons than by conventional bombing. Likewise, it is only realistic to accept that in war, civilian deaths will always occur, even in a Just War.

If you read an authoritative history of the war with Japan, like Max Hastings’ superb Nemesis, then the case for the use of atomic bombs in the summer of 1945 becomes pretty clear.

But the reality is still unbearable. Personal accounts make essential reading, and one of the very best is by Bernardine Goulter, a nun in Nagasaki, which has just been published. Her description of those final days, and the beginning of the peace, is riveting. It is a sort of companion piece to Dr Tatzuichiro Akizuki’s own eyewitness, the out of print Nagasaki 1945.  Neither of them particularly attempts to argue against the American bombing, but both tell it like it is, and it is horrific.

Ground zero in Nagasaki

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