Mad Myths in History that Just Won't Go Away
Mad Myths in History that Just Won’t Go Away

Mad Myths in History that Just Won’t Go Away

Khalid Elhassan - March 24, 2022

Mad Myths in History that Just Won’t Go Away
Japanese schoolgirls training to fight off expected Allied invasion soldiers with pointy sticks. Flickr

1. The Untrue Narrative That Racism is Why Japan Was Nuked While Germany Was Not

It is untrue that racism had anything to do with why Japan was nuked bombed while Germany was not. Germany was not atomically bombed for a simple reason: it surrendered before the atomic bomb was ready to drop on anybody. Germany surrendered unconditionally on May 8th, 1945. The first atomic bomb was successfully tested on July 16th, 1945, more than two months after Germany’s surrender. The US atomic program began with a letter from Albert Einstein to FDR advising him of German research into atomic weapons and the danger should Hitler get an atomic bomb first. Nuclear research was viewed and pursued as a life and death race to beat Germany to the atomic punch. The entire goal of the Manhattan Project was to develop atomic bombs to drop on Germany before Germany developed atomic bombs to drop on America and its allies.

The Germans were fortunate in that they surrendered before the Manhattan Project bore the fruits that had been intended all along for Germany. Also, nuclear weapons were not viewed at the time with the same repugnance with which they are viewed today. Far from horrific last resort weapons whose use would be unthinkable except in the direst emergency, atomic bombs in August of 1945 were new weapons whose potential and impact had not yet been thought through. They were simply seen as another bomb, albeit a big and exceptionally devastating one. Modern abhorrence of nuclear weapons did not exist to the same extent when Hiroshima and Nagasaki were bombed. Thus, if the US had atomic weapons before Germany’s surrender, there would have been little reason to refrain from dropping them on German cities.

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Where Did We Find This Stuff? Some Sources and Further Reading

Alston, David – Slaves and Highlanders: Silenced Histories of Scotland and the Caribbean (2021)

Atkinson, Rick – An Army at Dawn: The War in North Africa, 1342-1943 (2003)

British Psychological Society – The True Colours of the Middle Ages

Christman, Al – Target Hiroshima: Deak Parsons and the Creation of the Atomic Bomb (2014)

Christofferson, Thomas Randy and Michael Scott – France During World War II: From Defeat to Liberation (2006)

Chun, Clayton – Japan 1945: From Operation Downfall to Hiroshima and Nagasaki (2008)

Clark, Alan – Barbarossa: The Russian-German Conflict, 1941-1945 (1985)

Devine, Tom M. – Recovering Scotland’s Slavery Past: The Caribbean Connection (2015)

Drea, Edward J. – MacArthur’s ULTRA: Codebreaking and the War Against Japan, 1942-1945 (1991)

Fest, Joachim C. – Hitler (1974)

Gogun, Alexander – Stalin’s Commandos: Ukrainian Partisan Forces on the Eastern Front (2015)

Groves, Leslie R. – Now It Can Be Told: The Story of the Manhattan Project (1983)

History Collection – A Closer Look at 10 of History’s Most Pervasive Myths

Hoyt, Edwin Palmer – Japan’s War: The Great Pacific Conflict (2001)

Ireland Calling – St Patrick Myths and Legends

Lefebvre, Georges – The Great Fear of 1789: Rural Panic in Revolutionary France (1973 English Translation)

Medievalists – Did People Drink Water in the Middle Ages?

Moorhouse, Roger – The Devil’s Alliance: Hitler’s Pact With Stalin (2014)

Newman, Robert P. – Truman and the Hiroshima Cult (1995)

New York Times, March 17th, 2017 – Debunking a Myth: The Irish Were Not Slaves, Too

North American Review, Vol. 137, No. 323 (Oct. 1883) – The Saint Patrick Myth

Ranker – Were Medieval People Really Drunk on Beer and Wine All the Time?

Rhodes, Richard – The Making of the Atomic Bomb (1986)

Roberts, Walter R. – Tito, Mihailovic, and the Allies 1941-1945 ­(1987)

Sceptical Scot – The Myth of Scottish Slaves

Schama, Simon – Citizens: A Chronicle of the French Revolution (1989)

Slate – What Was the Drink of Choice in Medieval Europe?

Southern Poverty Law Center – How the Myth of Irish Slaves Became a Favorite Meme of Racists Online

Tradition in Action – A World of Brilliant Colors

WWII Commemoration – Mediterranean Operations

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