There is no question a lot of ink and airtime this week will be invested discussing the death and destruction which took place as a result of this event in 1941. Undoubtedly much ink and airtime will also be given to the death and destruction which ultimately crushed an empire, forcing Japan to surrender a little over four and a half years later.
Japan unconditionally surrendered on August 14th, 1945 following a second atomic bomb deployed by the U.S. on Nagasaki. The first atomic bomb was deployed three days earlier on Hiroshima. The Japanese formal surrender was on September 2, 1945, aboard the battleship USS Missouri.
Over 60 million people worldwide were killed as a result of both theaters of warfare during World War Two. That equaled 3 % of the world’s 1940 total population. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_War_II_casualties. I believe that perspective is important, when reflecting on these three war instances and the performance of our two cultures, Japanese and American today, 75 years later.
I frequently write about issues I label “non-respecter of person issues.” There are many issues around these historical dates and the war itself in which I consider “non-respecter of person issues.” This week I mention two.
First, in the study of civilizations, the quest for power clearly is a non-respecter of person issue. It doesn’t matter which culture you study: the races, faiths and socio-economic status which exist within those cultures, there is always a quest for power.
Second, also in the study of civilizations, a culture’s ability to be resilient, to prosper or perhaps come back from tragedy is also a non-respecter of person issue. Stated differently, a people groups desire to be resilient and ensure future generations prosper at a higher level than the existing generation is not unique to one culture. Generally speaking, all cultures want to ensure the next generation out performs, or has a better quality of life than the existing generation.
Historically speaking, the citizens within the culture of the United States of America, the victor in World War Two, have produced a better quality of life in every generation since the first brutal years of the Plymouth Rock and Jamestown settlements all the way through the generation immediately following World War Two, the generation known as “the baby-boomers.”
The span of centuries, of which today’s anniversary is three quarters of a century, is a better indicator of a civilizations result as is it relates to those who control the levers of power and the impact they have had in promoting resilience into future generations.
I would submit that studying the infrastructure and the cultures of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, compared to the jewel of our republic in the 1940’s, Detroit, that our culture is severely lacking in promoting resilience.
Next week will be part two of my reflections on Pearl Harbor. I hope you have a blessed week!