I knew the job was dangerous when I took it ...
- Jul 19, 2004
- Reaction score
- Out of Bounds
... I was unaware of the actual extent and tonnage of conventional US bombing, in the itemised detail outlined in the article, especially the fact (presumably true?) that neither the Hiroshima nor Nagasaki raids resulted in the highest death-toll or devastation....extended conventional bombing on other targets significantly-exceeded their thresholds. And yet I am unaware of having ever seen a picture of any bombed Japanese target other than the two 'nuclear cities'. ...
The biggest Tokyo bombing event was the Operation Meetinghouse raid (March 1945) that burned much of the urban area. I've seen claims the incendiary approach was inspired by the Dresden fire bombing circa 1 month earlier. Japanese urban areas were far more susceptible to fire owing to the extensive wood (and even 'paper') materials used in smaller business / residential neighborhoods. Compared to Dresden, Tokyo and other Japanese cities of the era were virtual tinderboxes.
Neither the Japanese nor the Americans went out of their way to publicize the incident, and aftermath photos were rarely seen until the last couple of decades. For more, see:
For a list of Japanese cities subjected to conventional 'fire bombing' prior to Hiroshima, see:
NOTE: This latter link goes to a webpage specifically focused on napalm, war crimes, and the Fog of War documentary on Robert McNamara. I'm not sure all the listed attacks were quite as deliberately planned with a focus on starting fires as Operation Meetinghouse, but they all certainly had that effect. Traditional Japanese wood and paper architecture arguably made such areas the most flammable targets in the world.