NBC Weapons: May 14, 2002


When A Democracy Chose Genocide -June 18, 1945 - The United States government decided on June 18, 1945, to commit genocide on Japan with poison gas if its government did not surrender after the nuclear attacks approved in the same June 18 meeting. This was discovered by military historians Norman Polmar and Thomas Allen while researching a book on the end of the war in the Pacific. Their discovery came too late for inclusion in the book, so they published it instead in the Autumn 1997 issue of Military History Quarterly.

Polmar & Allen ran across references to this meeting in their research and put in a Freedom of Information Act request for related documents. Eventually they received, too late for use in their book, a copy of a document labeled "A Study of the Possible Use of Toxic Gas in Operation Olympic." The word "retaliatory" was PENCILED in between the words "possible" and "use".

Apparently there were only five of these documents circulated during World War Two. The document was requested by the Chemical Corps for historical study in 1947. In an attempt to "redact" history, another document was issued to change all the copies to emphasize retaliatory use rather than the reality of the US planning to use it offensively in support of the invasion of Japan.

The plan called for US heavy bombers to drop 56,583 tons of poison gas on Japanese cities in the 15 days before the invasion of Kyushu, then another 23,935 tons every 30 days thereafter. Tactical air support would drop more on troop concentrations.

The targets of the strategic bombing campaign were Japanese civilians in cities. Chemical Corps casualty estimates for this attack plan were five million dead with another five million injured. This was our backup to nuking Japan into surrender. If the A-bombs didn't work, we were going to gas the Japanese people from the air like bugs, and keep doing so until Japanese resistance ended or all the Japanese were dead.

Genocide is defined by treaty as the murder of a large number of people of an identifiable group, generally a nationality or religion, which number comprises an appreciable percentage of the total group. Five million dead is 6.4 percent of the then 78 million people in the Japanese Home Islands, so this proposed gas attack would certainly have qualified as genocide.

What brought the United States government to that decision was the prospective casualties of a prolonged ground conquest of Japan against suicidal resistance, after Japanese Kamikaze attacks and suicidal ground resistance elsewhere had thoroughly dehumanized them to us.

The American people certainly would have supported such tactics at the time, especially as Japanese Imperial General Headquarters issued orders a month later, provided to us courtesy of code-breaking (MAGIC), to murder all Allied prisoners of war, all interned Allied civilians, and all other Allied civilians Japanese forces could catch in occupied China, the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia), Malaya, etc., starting with the impending British invasion of Malaya in late September 1945. The Imperial Japanese Army was every bit as evil as the Nazi SS, and more lethal. They'd probably have killed at least an additional 50 million people, more than had died in all of World War Two to that point, before Allied armies could eliminate Japanese forces overseas.

The horror would not have stopped there. An estimated ONE THIRD of the Japanese people (25-30 million) would have died of starvation, disease, poison gas and conventional weapons during a prolonged ground conquest of Japan. The Japanese Army planned on locking up the Emperor, seizing power and fighting to the bitter end once the US invasion started. Thank God for the atom bomb - killing 150,000 - 200,000 Japanese at Hiroshima and Nagasaki saved 75-80 million lives. One of whom would have been the writer's father, an infantry lieutenant who survived Okinawa.

So the United States has within living memory made a decision to commit genocide on a whole people as a matter of state policy. We didn't have to do it because the Japanese Emperor knew we'd do it.

The relative power of America's armed forces vis a vis the rest of the world has grown to the point where genocide is unlikely to be necessary to impose our will on any possible combination of enemies lacking the ability to seriously menace the American homeland. The American people might support genocide as policy if further attacked at home, but the American government will act based on its perception of American interests, and keep that demon in the bottle, absent overwhelming public demand. Nuclear weapons use is another matter - the American government has used nuclear weapons to avert greater evils and recently indicated some willingness to do so again, albeit with non-genocidal force.

Our enemies considering further attacks on us should keep these history lessons in mind.

So should our erstwhile "friends".

There is one American enemy in the war on terror who might have the capability to seriously menace our homeland - Iraq's Saddam Hussein. A genocidal US nuclear attack on Iraq is definitely a possibility if Saddam has the capability to conduct a mass biological weapons attack on America (anthrax is the most likely possibility) and uses it. These matters and their implications will be discussed in another article. - Thomas M. Holsinger




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