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I was taught that the U.S. dropped nuclear bombs on Hiroshima
And Nagasaki in order to end WWII
and save both American and Japanese lives.
But most of the top American military officials at the time said
to End the War
to Save Lives
The U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey Group,
assigned by President Truman to study the air attacks on Japan,
produced a report in July of 1946 that concluded (52-56):
Paul Nitze - Vice Chairman US Stategic Bombing Survey reported:
“Based on a detailed investigation of all the facts and supported by the
testimony of the surviving Japanese leaders involved,
it is the Survey’s opinion that certainly prior to 31 December 1945 and
in all probability prior to 1 November 1945,
Japan would have surrendered - even if the atomic bombs
had not been dropped, even if Russia had not entered the war,
and even if no invasion had been planned or contemplated.”
to End the War
or to Save Lives
General (and later president)
– then Supreme Commander
of all Allied Forces,
and the officer who created
most of America’s
WWII military plans
for Europe and Japan
“The Japanese were ready to surrender and it wasn’t necessary
to hit them with that awful thing.”
“In [July] 1945… Secretary of
War Stimson, visiting my
headquarters in Germany,
informed me that
our government was
preparing to drop
an atomic bomb
Newsweek, 11/11/63, on Ike
Eisenhower also noted
I was one of those
who felt that there
were a number of
cogent reasons to
question the wisdom
of such an act. …
the Secretary, upon giving me the news of the successful bomb test in
New Mexico, and of the plan for using it, asked for my reaction,
apparently expecting a vigorous assent.
During his recitation of the relevant facts, I had been conscious of a
feeling of depression and so I voiced to him my grave misgivings,
first on the basis of my
and secondly because I thought that our country should avoid shocking
world opinion by the use of a weapon whose employment was,
I thought, no longer mandatory as a measure to save American lives.
It was my belief that
Japan was, at
with a minimum
loss of ‘face’.
The Secretary was
deeply perturbed by
Admiral William Leahy
– the highest ranking member
of the U.S. military
from 1942 until retiring in
was the first de facto
of the Joint Chiefs of Staff,
and who was at the center
of all major American military
decisions in World War II
“It is my opinion that the use of this barbarous
weapon at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of no
material assistance in our war against Japan.
The Japanese were
because of the
The lethal possibilities of atomic warfare in the future are
frightening. My own feeling was that, in being the first to use
it, we had adopted an ethical standard common to the
barbarians of the Dark Ages.
I was not taught to make war in that
fashion, and wars cannot be won by
destroying women and children”.
When the Potsdam Declaration in July, demanded that Japan surrender
unconditionally or face ‘prompt and utter destruction,’
MacArthur was appalled.
He knew that the
Japanese would never
renounce their emperor,
and that without him
an orderly transition
to peace would be
because his people
would never submit to
unless the emperor
Ironically, when the surrender did come, it was conditional,
and the condition was a continuation of the imperial reign.
Assistant Secretary of War
John McLoy noted:
“I have always felt
in our ultimatum
to the Japanese
[in July 1945],
we had referred to the
retention of the emperor
as a constitutional monarch
had made some reference to
the reasonable accessibility
of raw materials to the
future Japanese government,
it would have been
Indeed, I believe that even in the form it was delivered, there was some
disposition on the part of the Japanese to give it favourable
When the war was over
I arrived at this conclusion
after talking with a number
of Japanese officials
who had been closely
the decision of the then
to reject the ultimatum,
as it was presented.
I believe we
“I think that the Japanese were ready for peace, and they already had
approached the Swiss.
Under Secretary of the Navy Ralph Bird said:
In my opinion, the Japanese war was really won
before we ever used the atom bomb.
Thus, it wouldn’t have been necessary for us to disclose our nuclear
capability and stimulate the Russians to develop the same thing much
more rapidly than they would have if we had not dropped the bomb”.
War Was Really Won Before We Used A-Bomb,
U.S. News and World Report, 8/15/60, pg. 73-75.
He also noted
It definitely seemed to me that the Japanese were becoming weaker
and weaker. They were surrounded by the Navy.
They couldn’t get any imports and they couldn’t export anything.
Naturally, as time went on and the war developed in our
favour it was quite logical to hope and expect that with the
proper kind of a warning the Japanese would then be in a
position to make peace,
which would have made it unnecessary for us to
drop the bomb and have had to bring Russia in”.
The Vice Chairman of the U.S. Bombing Survey Paul Nitze wrote
(pg. 36-37, 44-45):
[I] concluded that even without the atomic bomb, Japan was likely to
surrender in a matter of months. My own view was that Japan would
capitulate by November 1945.
Even without the attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, it seemed highly
unlikely, given what we found to have been the mood of the Japanese
government, that a U.S. invasion of the islands [scheduled for
November 1, 1945] would have been necessary.”
Deputy Director of the Office of Naval Intelligence Ellis Zacharias wrote:
“Just when the
ready to capitulate,
we went ahead and
introduced to the
world the most
it had ever seen
and, in effect, gave
the go-ahead to
Russia to swarm
over Eastern Asia.
On 6 August 1945, an American B-29 bomber dropped
an atomic bomb on the city of Hiroshima.
In a split second, 100,000 people ceased to exist ...
“I submit that
it was the
It was wrong
And it was
How We Bungled
the Japanese Surrender,
Look, 6/6/50, pg. 19-21.
Brigadier General Carter Clarke – the military intelligence officer in
charge of preparing summaries of intercepted Japanese cables for
President Truman and his advisors – said (pg. 359):
“When we didn’t need to do it, and we knew we didn’t need to do it,
and they knew that we knew we didn’t need to do it,
we used them as an experiment for two atomic bombs.
The commander in chief of
the U.S. Fleet and
Chief of Naval Operations,
Ernest J. King,
the naval blockade
and prior bombing of Japan in
March of 1945,
had rendered the Japanese
helpless and that
the use of the atomic bomb
was both unnecessary
Also, the opinion of Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz was reported to
have said in a press conference on September 22, 1945, that
“The Admiral took the opportunity
of adding his voice to those insisting
Japan had been defeated
the atomic bombing
and Russia’s entry
into the war.”
In a subsequent speech at the
Washington Monument on
October 5, 1945,
Admiral Nimitz stated
“The Japanese had, in
sued for peace before
the atomic age was
announced to the
world with the
Hiroshima and before
the Russian entry into
Why Were Bombs Dropped
on Populated Cities
Without Military Value?
Eisenhower’s assessment was “It wasn’t necessary to hit them with that
awful thing . . . to use the atomic bomb, to kill and terrorize civilians,
without even attempting [negotiations], was a double crime.”
“ the Japanese would probably wish to get out on almost any terms
short of the dethronement of the Emperor.”
For example, Special Assistant to the Secretary of the Navy Lewis Strauss
proposed to Secretary of the Navy James Forrestal that a non-lethal
demonstration of atomic weapons would be enough to convince the
Japanese to surrender … and the Navy Secretary agreed (pg. 145, 325):
I proposed to Secretary Forrestal that the weapon should be
demonstrated before it was used.
Primarily it was because it was clear to a number of people,
myself among them, that the war was very nearly over.
The Japanese were nearly ready to capitulate…
My proposal to the Secretary was that the weapon should be
demonstrated over some area accessible to Japanese observers and
where its effects would be dramatic.
suggesting that a
for such a
would be a large
not far from
The cryptomeria tree is the Japanese version of our redwood…
I anticipated that a bomb detonated at a suitable height above such a
would lay the trees out in windrows from the center of the explosion in
all directions as though they were matchsticks, and, of course, set them
afire in the center.
It seemed to me that a
demonstration of this
sort would prove to the
Japanese that we could
destroy any of their
cities at will…
It seemed to me that such a weapon was not necessary to bring the war
to a successful conclusion, that once used it would find its way into the
armaments of the world…
Historians agree that nuclear weapons did not need to be used to
stop the war or save lives.
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission historian J. Samuel Walker has
studied the history of research on the decision to use nuclear weapons
As historian Doug Long notes:
In his conclusion he writes, “The consensus among scholars is that the
bomb was not needed to avoid an invasion of Japan and to end the war
within a relatively short time.
It is clear that alternatives to the
bomb existed and that Truman
and his advisors knew it.”
(J. Samuel Walker, The Decision to
Use the Bomb: A Historiographical
Update, Diplomatic History,
Winter 1990, pg. 110).
Politicians Agreed that Atomic Bombs
Were Not Needed
Many high-level politicians agreed.
For example, ex-US President
Herbert Hoover said:
The Japanese were
prepared to negotiate
all the way
from February 1945…
up to and before the time
the atomic bombs
…if such leads had been
there would have been
no occasion to drop the
Douglas MacArthur and Hoover in Tokyo, Japan, May 7 1946
Under Secretary of State Joseph
Grew noted (pg. 29-32):
In the light of available evidence I myself and others felt that if such a
categorical statement about the [retention of the] dynasty had been
issued in May, 1945,
the surrender-minded elements in the [Japanese] Government might
well have been afforded by such a statement a valid reason and the
necessary strength to come to an early clear-cut decision.
If surrender could have been brought about in May, 1945, or even in
June or July, before the entrance of Soviet Russia into the [Pacific] war
and the use of the atomic bomb, the world would have been the gainer.
“A great majority of scientists were opposed to the sudden employment
of the atom bomb.”
In Einstein’s judgment, the dropping of the bomb was a political –
diplomatic decision rather than a military or scientific decision.
Indeed, some of the Manhattan Project scientists wrote directly to the
secretary of defence in 1945 to try to dissuade him from dropping the
We believe that these considerations make the use of nuclear bombs for
an early, unannounced attack against Japan inadvisable.
If the United States
would be the first
to release this new means
she would sacrifice
throughout the world,
precipitate the race of
armaments, and prejudice the
possibility of reaching an
international agreement on the
future control of such weapons.
Political and Social Problems,
Manhattan Engineer District
Records, Harrison-Bundy files,
folder # 76, National Archives
(also contained in: Martin
Sherwin, A World Destroyed,
1987 edition, pg. 323-333).
The scientists questioned the ability of destroying Japanese cities with
atomic bombs to bring surrender when destroying Japanese cities with
conventional bombs had not done so, and –
like some of the military officers quoted above – recommended a
demonstration of the atomic bomb for Japan in an unpopulated area.
The Potsdam Conference between U.S. President Harry S. Truman,
Russian leader Joseph Stalin, and Winston Churchill (before being
replaced by Clement Attlee) ended just four days before
the bombing of Hiroshima.
The US decision to drop
atomic bombs on
Hiroshima and Nagasaki
in 1945 was meant to
kick-start the Cold War
rather than end
the Second World War,
according to two
who say they have
new evidence backing
the controversial theory.
New Scientist reported
Causing a fission reaction
in several kilograms of
uranium and plutonium
over 200,000 people
60 years ago was done
more to impress
the Soviet Union than to
cow Japan, they say.
And the US President who took the decision, Harry Truman,
was culpable, they add.
“He knew he was beginning the process of annihilation of the species,”
says Peter Kuznick, director of the Nuclear Studies Institute at American
University in Washington DC, US. “It was not just a war crime; it was a
crime against humanity.”
[The conventional explanation of using the bombs to end the war and
save lives] is disputed by Kuznick and Mark Selden, a historian from
Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, US.
According to an account by Walter Brown, assistant to then-
US secretary of state James Byrnes, Truman agreed at a
meeting three days before the bomb was dropped on
Hiroshima that Japan was “looking for peace ”.
Truman was told by his army generals, Douglas Macarthur
and Dwight Eisenhower, and his naval chief of staff, William Leahy, that
there was no military need to use the bomb.
“Impressing Russia was more important than ending the war in Japan,”
The US secretary of war,
Henry Stimson, told
he was “fearful” that the
US air force would have
Japan so “bombed out”
that the new weapon
would not be able
“to show its strength”.
John Pilger points out:
He later admitted that “no effort was made,
and none was seriously considered, to achieve surrender
merely in order not to have to use the bomb”.
General Leslie Groves, director of the Manhattan Project that made the
bomb, testified: “There was never any illusion on my part that Russia
was our enemy, and that the project was conducted on that basis.”
The day after Hiroshima was obliterated, President Truman voiced his
satisfaction with the “overwhelming success” of “the experiment”.
Conservatives Opposed the Atom Bomb
Though most Americans
are unaware of the fact,
increasing numbers of
historians now recognize
the United States did not
need to use the atomic
bomb to end the war
against Japan in 1945.
We’ll give the last word to
University of Maryland
professor of political economy
– and former Legislative
Director in the U.S. House of
Representatives and the U.S.
Senate, and Special Assistant
in the Department of State –
Moreover, this essential judgment was expressed by the vast majority
of top American military leaders in all three services in the years after
the war ended: Army, Navy and Army Air Force.
Nor was this the judgment of “liberals,” as is
sometimes thought today.
In fact, leading conservatives were far more outspoken in challenging
the decision as unjustified and immoral than American liberals
in the years following World War II.
Instead [of allowing other options to end the war, such as letting the
Soviets attack Japan with ground forces],
the United States rushed to use
two atomic bombs at almost
exactly the time that an
August 8 Soviet attack had
originally been scheduled:
Hiroshima on August 6
and Nagasaki on August 9.
The timing itself has obviously
among many historians.
The available evidence,
though not conclusive, strongly
suggests that the atomic bombs
may well have been used in part
because American leaders
—as Pulitzer Prize–winning
historian Martin Sherwin
has put it
—to end the war with the bombs
rather than the Soviet attack.
Impressing the Soviets
during the early
that ultimately became
the Cold War
also appears likely
to have been
a significant factor.
The most illuminating
World War II
American military leaders.
The conventional wisdom that the
atomic bomb saved a million lives
is so widespread that …
most Americans haven’t paused to
ponder something rather striking
to anyone seriously concerned with
Not only did most top U.S. military leaders think the bombings were
unnecessary and unjustified, many were morally offended by what they
regarded as the unnecessary destruction of Japanese cities and what
were essentially noncombat populations.
Moreover, they spoke about it quite openly and publicly.
Shortly before his death General George C. Marshall quietly defended
the decision, but for the most part he is on record as repeatedly saying
that it was not a military decision, but rather a political one.
On 11 August 1945, the Japanese government filed an official protest
over the atomic bombing to the U.S. State Department through the
Swiss Legation in Tokyo, observing:
“Combatant and non-combatant men and women, old and young, are
massacred without discrimination by the atmospheric pressure of the
explosion, as well as by the radiating heat which result therefrom.
Consequently there is involved a bomb having the most cruel effects
humanity has ever known …
The bombs in question, used by the Americans, by their cruelty and by
their terrorizing effects, surpass by far gas or any other arm,
the use of which is prohibited.
Japanese protests against U.S. desecration of international principles of
war paired the use of the atomic bomb with the earlier firebombing,
which massacred old people, women and children,
destroying and burning down Shinto and Buddhist temples, schools,
hospitals, living quarters, etc...
They now use this new bomb, having an uncontrollable and cruel effect
much greater than any other arms or projectiles ever used to date.
This constitutes a new crime against humanity
Survivors of the first atomic bomb.
Awaiting emergency medical
treatment, on August 6, 1945.
In 1963, the bombings were the subject of a
The District Court of Tokyo found, "the attacks upon Hiroshima and
Nagasaki caused such severe and indiscriminate suffering that they did
violate the most basic legal principles governing the conduct of war."
In the opinion of the court, the act of dropping an atomic
bomb on cities was at the time governed by international law
found in the Hague Regulations on Land Warfare of 1907
and the Hague Draft Rules of Air Warfare of 1922–1923
and was therefore illegal.
Takashi Hiraoka, mayor of
Hiroshima, said in a hearing
to The Hague International
Court of Justice (ICJ):
"It is clear that the use of nuclear weapons, which cause indiscriminate
mass murder that leaves effects on survivors for decades, is a violation
of international law".
Iccho Itoh, the mayor of
Nagasaki, declared in the
“It is said that the descendants of the atomic bomb survivors will have
to be monitored for several generations to clarify the genetic impact,
which means that the descendants will live in anxiety for [decades] to
with their colossal power and capacity for slaughter and destruction,
nuclear weapons make no distinction between combatants and non-
combatants or between military installations and civilian communities...
The use of nuclear weapons... therefore is a manifest
infraction of international law.”
The Hague Conventions stated that religious buildings, art
and science centres, charities, hospitals,
and historic monuments,
were to be spared as far as possible in a bombardment,
unless they were being used for military purposes.
The bomb exploded approximately 1900 feet directly above this
hospital, emitting heat greater than 5,000°F.
Torii of Sanno Shrine in Nagasaki after the atomic bomb was dropped on
August 9, 1945. It was the only thing that withstood the explosion
in the area.
The Hague Conventions also prohibited the employment of "arms,
projectiles, or material calculated to cause unnecessary suffering".
Indiscriminate bombing was internationally outlawed.
The Washington Treaty of 1922 expressly forbade the use of bombing
against civilian populations.
Japanese Empire for
bombing of cities,
such as Shanghai.
Yet upon America’s entry into the war, US General, H. H. Arnold,
advocated the policy of strategic bombing of cities
as the only way that Germany could be beaten.
Winston Churchill commented: The air opened paths along which death
and terror could be carried far behind the lines of the actual enemy;
to women, children, the aged, the sick, who in earlier struggles
would perforce have been left untouched.
As he faces the Atomic Bomb Dome in Hiroshima, Emperor Hirohito
waves his hat as he looks out over the crowd during a visit to the city on
Dec. 7, 1947
Hiroshima today – with the memorial dome on the left
Mitsuo Fuchida (1902-1976) is best known for leading the
devastating air attack on Pearl Harbour, 7 December 1941.
After the war, Fuchida became a Christian Evangelist, who conducted Evangelistic
outreaches throughout Japan, the United States and Europe.
Fuchida was the son of the Master of the Primary School in Kashihara.
His grandfather was a Samurai.
Japanese Naval Aviator
Mitsuo Fuchida entered the Imperial Japanese Naval Academy in 1921,
graduated as a mid-shipman in 1924,
was promoted to Ensign in 1925,
and sub-Lieutenant in 1927.
He specialised in horizontal bombing and
gained combat experience
during the Sino-Japanese War,
when he was assigned
to the aircraft carrier, Kaga, in 1929.
Promoted to Lieutenant Commander in 1936,
he was accepted into the Naval Staff College
and joined the aircraft carrier Akagi in 1939,
as Commander of the Air Group.
In October 1941,
with 6 aircraft
ordination of the
aerial attack on
the US Pacific Fleet.
Attack on Pearl Harbour
He was in the first wave of 183 dive-bombers, torpedo-bombers, level-
bombers and fighters, which took off from carriers 370 km North of
Oahu and targeted the US Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbour.
At 07:40 (Hawaiian Standard Time), Fuchida ordered
"Tenkai!" ("Take attack position!"),
slid back the canopy of his Nakajima Kate torpedo bomber
and fired a green flare to signal attack.
He then instructed his radio operator to send the coded signal
"To, to, to" ("strike!").
At 7:53, Fuchida sent the code words "Tora! Tora! Tora!" back to the
carrier Akagi, the flagship, to report that complete surprise had been
Tora! Tora! Tora!
Tora was the acronym for
and in Japanese Tora
When the attack on Pearl Harbour hit, at 7:55am,
many American sailors, or soldiers, were on leave, or sleeping late.
Attack at Dawn
7 Battleships were lined up on battleship row.
The Oklahoma capsized. The West Virginia and California was sunk. The
Nevada was damaged and beached near the mouth of Pearl Harbour.
Tennessee, Maryland and Pennsylvania were damaged.
10 Other ships were sunk or seriously damaged.
The Arizona sank with over 1,000 sailors on board,
after a stupendous explosion of its forward magazine.
(Just 8 days earlier, the American's had published a picture of the
Arizona with the words: "It is significant that despite the claims of
air enthusiasts, no battleship has yet been sunk by bombs." )
As the first wave returned to the carriers, Fuchida remained over the
target to access damage and to observe the second wave attack.
He returned to his carrier only after the second wave
had completed its mission.
21 large flack holes were found
in his aircraft, the main control
wires were barely holding together
and it is incredible that he survived
so many hits to his aircraft.
The Japanese lost 29 aircraft in the attack on Pearl Harbour. The US
Pacific Fleet lost 21 ships – including almost every battleship - 188
aircraft destroyed, another 159 damaged and 2,403 lives lost.
In Fuchida's Memoirs, he remarks being upset by the Admiral's
cancelling of the third wave attack, which would have destroyed Pearl
Harbour's fuel tanks and dry dock facilities. "I was upset and thought,
'What stupidity!' But the decision belonged to the Commander.
It would not do any good if I complained.".
Years later, Fuchida said that while he mourned those who died aboard
the USS Arizona and other ships, he did not regret his role in the Pearl
It was war, he said.
After the successful Pearl
Fuchida was granted an
audience with the Emperor.
On 19 February 1942, Fuchida led the first of two waves of 188 aircraft
in an air raid on Darwin, Australia. On 5 April, he led another series of
air attacks against the Royal Navy bases in Ceylon.
Wounded at Midway
In June 1942, Fuchida was recovering from an emergency shipboard
appendectomy, when he was wounded at the Battle of Midway.
He was on the ship's bridge during the morning attacks by US aircraft. As
Akagi was hit, a chain reaction from the burning fuel and live bombs
began the destruction of the ship.
An explosion threw him to the deck and he broke his ankle.
After recuperation Fuchida
spent the rest of the war
as a staff officer.
Two weeks before
the American invasion of Guam,
Fuchida was ordered to Tokyo.
A Hand of
When the Japanese failed to repel the invasion, Vice Admiral Kakuta and
his staff chose Seppuku, the Samurai suicide ritual of disembowelment.
"Again the sword of death had missed me only by inches." Fuchida
declared. "What did it mean?"
The day before the first atom bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, he was
in that city to attend a conference. A long distance call from naval
headquarters required him to return to Tokyo.
As he ate breakfast
he had been working with
in the atomic explosion.
The day after the atomic bombing, he returned to Hiroshima to access
the damage. All of the members of Fuchida's party died of radiation
poisoning, but Fuchida exhibited no symptoms.
Each of the Officers who had accompanied Fuchida, to investigate the
devastation in Hiroshima, showed strange signs of illness.
One by one they died through radiation poisoning.
As Fuchida returned to Kashirhara, to help his wife raise their children,
he was depressed: "Life had no taste, or meaning… I had missed death
so many times and for what. What did it all mean?"
After the war, Fuchida was called to testify at the trials of Japanese
War Crimes Trials
When General Douglas McArthur
summoned Fuchida to testify in the
Tokyo War Crimes trials, Captain
Fuchida was disgusted and
declared that everyone should
know that "War was war" and that
cruel acts occurred on both sides.
The petty vindictiveness of the Allies infuriated him and he denounced
the "victor's justice."
In 1947, he met his former flight engineer, Kazuo Kanegasaki,
who he thought had died in the Battle of Midway.
Love For One’s Enemies
However Kanegasaki reported that
a young Christian woman,
Peggy Covell, had cared for them,
in the prison camps, despite her
Missionary parents having been
killed by Japanese soldiers on the
Island of Panay, in the Philippines.
Peggy Covell's parents were Missionary teachers in Japan until 1939.
They then relocated to the Philippines. The Japanese conquered the
Philippines in 1941. They beheaded both of Peggy's parents on Sunday
morning, 19 December 1943.
To Fuchida, this love for one's enemies was inexplicable as the Bushido
code required revenge against the murder of one's parents to restore
honour. He became obsessed with trying to understand why anyone
would treat their enemies with kindness and forgiveness.
The extraordinary example of Peggy Covell and Jacob De Shazer inspired
Fuchida to know more about the God of the Christians.
When Japanese Prisoners of War asked the young 18-year old Peggy
Covell why she volunteered to help them, her reply was:
"Because Japanese soldiers killed my parents."
When Peggy considered her parent's sacrificial service for the Kingdom
of God, and their love for the Japanese people, she was convinced that
she must continue their Mission, reaching Japanese for Christ.
As Fuchida researched from every source in the Philippines that knew
the Covells, he learned that they had been forced to their knees by their
captives and they had prayed together as they were about to be
beheaded. They had prayed for the Japanese!
In 1948, as Fuchida was passing by the bronze statue of Hachiko at the
Shibuya station, he was handed a pamphlet about the life of Jacob De
Shazer, a member of the Doolittle Raid, who was captured when his
B-25 bomber ran out of fuel in occupied China.
In the pamphlet: "I was a Prisoner of Japan", De Shazer, a former US
Army Air Force staff sergeant and bombardier, related his testimony of
imprisonment, torture and awakening to God.
Jacob De Shazer was the bombardier of B-25 No.16. After taking off
from USS Hornet and dropping bombs on Nagoya, Japan, they flew to
China, but ran out of fuel over Japanese controlled China.
Doolittle Raid Bombers
They were captured after parachuting to the ground.
De Shazer was imprisoned for 40 months,
34 of these months in solitary confinement. He was beaten,
malnourished and 3 of his crew were executed by firing squad.
The fourth member, Lt. Bob Meder died of starvation.
After 25 months of hating his captives,
a Bible came into his hands,
for only three weeks,
but it changed his life completely.
He began to learn Japanese and to treat his captives with respect. He
resolved to bring the Message of Christ to Japan. After returning to the
USA, De Shazer attended Seattle Pacific College and returned to Japan
to preach the Gospel.
After 40 months as
captives, three of the
— noticeably emaciated
— arrived at Chungking,
in late August 1945.
From left - Jake DeShazer,
and Chase Nielsen.
He established a church in
Nagoya, the very city he had
bombed years before.
Fuchida became intrigued with
the Christian Faith.
The shocking examples of Christians
able to forgive their enemies
"That’s when I met
Jesus. Looking back
I can see now that the
Lord had laid His hand
upon me so that
I might serve Him."
Fuchida read the tract on the spot and on the train he saw an
advertisement for a book with the same title. When he disembarked,
he headed for a book store and purchased it.
The Power of the Printed Page
De Shazer's story engrossed
Determined to understand what
had motivated De Shazer,
Fuchida bought a Bible
from a Japanese man
on the street.
When he read "Father, forgive them, for they do not know
what they are doing." (Luke 23:24), Fuchida realised that this
was what the Covells had been praying before their
In 1949, Fuchida purchased a Bible at the same Shibuyu station where
he had received a pamphlet.
Faith Comes From Hearing the
Word of God
As he read the Gospels he came to understand the reason for the life of
forgiveness and mercy that motivated Peggy and Jacob.
It was the crucifixion of Jesus and His Words in the Gospel:
"Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing." On
14th April 1950, he surrendered to Jesus Christ as his Lord and Saviour.
By the time he had completed reading the Gospel of Luke,
Fuchida had become a Christian. He knew no Christians,
but now he began to declare himself to be a Christian.
The Power of God
As Christianity was considered the "occupation religion" in Japan,
this brought him much reproach from his former friends and family.
Pietsch and Glenn Wagner,
of the Pocket Testament
League of Japan met with
Fuchida and encouraged him
to join them
in open air outreach.
In the business section of Osaka, as the Americans stood to speak, fewer
than 40 Japanese would stop to listen.
Open Air Preaching
But when Fuchida, Hero of Pearl Harbour, was introduced,
the crowd swelled rapidly. Rush hour traffic stopped.
Hundreds gathered, even the police listened in.
This was the beginning of Fuchida's
new career as an Evangelist.
Soon he filled an auditorium in
Osaka, 500 Japanese came forward
at that rally.
Japan for Christ
Almost every newspaper in Japan
reported on it:
He described his conversion as
"It was like having the sun rise."
He preached against Japanese-
egocentrism and xenophobia.
Like Paul on Mars Hill
he used Japanese cultural examples
the Gospel of Christ.
Captain Fuchida went from being a vital part of Japan's military attack
on the United States, to being a vital part of God's Missionary offensive
into the hearts, minds and souls of Japanese, and later Americans and
In May 1950, Fuchida and De Shazer met for the first time.
Fuchida and De Shazer
In May he visited De Shazer,
knocked on his door and said:
"I have desired to meet you, Mr
De Shazer. My name is Mitsuo
De Shazer recognised the name
and said: "Come in! Come in!"
The former enemies embraced
as brothers in Christ.
In 1951, Fuchida published an
account of the Battle of Midway
and in 1952 he toured
the United States
as a member of the
of Sky Pilots.
In February 1954, Readers Digest published Fuchida's story
of the attack on Pearl Harbour.
Fuchida wrote - From Pearl Harbour to Golgotha
(later renamed - From Pearl Harbour to Calvary
and a 1955 expansion of his book:
Midway – The Battle that Doomed
Japan, the Japanese Navy Story.
His autobiography - For That One Day, The Memoirs of Mitsuo Fuchida,
Commander of the Attack on Pearl Harbour, was published in Japan
2007 and translated into English and published in 2011.
In Midway: The Battle that
"Five minutes! Who
would have believed that
the tide of battle would
shift in that brief interval
The Turning Point
...We have been caught flat-footed in the most vulnerable position
possible, decks loaded with planes armed and fuelled for attack."
Fuchida turned down an offer from the Japanese government to
organise their new Air Force, he faced down an angry pilot who pulled a
knife and threatened to kill him. This man later came to Christ.
Courage and Self-Sacrifice
Mitsuo Fuchida, at Pearl Harbor in 1966,
points to where he led Japanese planes
Fuchida ministered in prisons and led people to Christ, even in the cells
of condemned murderers. He formed Calvary Clubs in prisons.
Mitsuo Fuchida related
the testimony of Peggy Covell
and her brave parents all over Japan.
of the Martyrs
He quoted her testimony:
"But the Holy
Spirit has washed
away my hatred
and has replaced
it with love."
The Covells had gone to
their death singing
for the conversion of
The Blood of the martyrs
is the seed
of the Church.
Mitsuo Fuchida was one
of the fruit of their Faith.
Fuchida spent the rest of his
life as an Evangelist,
taking the Gospel of Christ
United States of America
Of the 2 Million Christians, barely 600,000 would identify
themselves as Evangelical. Only 10% of the Japanese
population believe in the existence of a personal God.
The concept of a Creator-God is foreign to most.
Strong pressure to conform to the social norms and the
shame/honour mentality held by many Japanese, makes
conversion to Christ very difficult.
A pervasive nationalistic Shintoism makes Missionary work
extremely difficult in Japan. Japan is the largest unevangelised
Missionfield that is completely open to Missionaries.
There are 15,575 congregations in Japan, consisting of
1,291,021 church members and 2 Million adherents. 3% of
Japanese would identify themselves as Christians.
Christians in Japan
Christians are a small minority in a society where consensus
and conformity are important. House Churches have been
effective in reaching Japanese.
70% of all churches in Japan have an average attendance of
less than 30. On average, woman attenders outnumber men,
7 to 1.
Yet there are approximately 300 Japanese Missionaries
serving in 34 countries.
Japan has a 100% literacy rate. This highly literate, reading,
commuting society offers an excellent market for publishing
and distributing high quality Christian literature.
Strategic Literature Ministry
Yet, there are only 100 Christian
book stores in the whole country.
Pray for the impact
Japanese Church on the
The churches in Japan
and Spiritual Revival.
They need to turn from their insular bunker mentality to
engage with the society and effectively Evangelise their
"For I am not ashamed of the Gospel
of Christ, for it is the power of God to
Salvation for everyone who believes."