A view of Hiroshima in the aftermath of the bombing
Fierce debates have ensued ever since the bombing of Hiroshima, and Nagasaki several days later. Japan capitulated and got to keep their emperor after all. The United States occupied and rebuilt Japan, but the controversy over using nuclear weapons has never dissipated. Critics have argued that Japan was ready to surrender and the United States government ignored them. Others denied that an actual invasion would not have been necessary, so arguing that the bombing saved lives in the long run just confuses the issue. Many of the arguments supporting the use of nuclear weapons are based on the pragmatic view that a million American lives were preserved, not having to invade. Others suggest that nuclear weapons are just another weapon, with more power than the rest, and did not kill nearly as many as conventional fire-bombing.
Hiroshima two months after the bombing
That comment hints at the basic question, did bombing from the air, whether conventional or nuclear, killing millions of non-combatant civilians, violate any biblical principles regarding warfare? The answer to that question touches on several biblical principles laid down in the Law of God regarding rules for warfare. When you throw in civilian slave-laborers working in war-related industries, the indiscriminate slaughter of non-combatants gets even stickier. If you ask a Second World War veteran if he is glad for the atomic bomb, odds are he will bless the day Hiroshima got destroyed and brought the Empire of Japan to its knees.
Ruins of the Hiroshima Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall (left) now form part of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial