Wednesday, 10 March 2010

10 March 1945

Today is the 65th anniversary of the most devastating night of firebombing in Tokyo during World War II.  On this day 65 years ago, at the very least 100,000 people in Tokyo died in one night of US firebombing. Japan was an aggressor in the war and an argument can be made that the bombings were  justifiable in the course of ending the war;  the Japanese military were showing no willingness to end the war, despite their untenable position.  It doesn't take from the human tragedy though.  Like London, the worst affected areas were in the city's East in the working class areas.   Houses were mostly built of wood and the fires spread quickly.  Many more people were killed from the fires than from direct hits of the bombs,  though the massive death toll was entirely forseeable.

It's occassions like this that the words on almost all Buddhist temples here 'May Peace Prevail on Earth' seem particularly poignant.

A map of the bombed areas of Tokyo, giving the dates.  I have  a picture of a map at the Edo-Tokyo museum that shows the areas in a lit up display, but it's not digital.
This link has several descriptions, photos and videos.

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