“Little Boy”, the world’s first nuclear weapon was dropped on this date in 1945. It killed 40,000 people in Hiroshima instantly, another 40,000 in the next month and then another 100,000 in the following six years. In both Nagasaki and Hiroshima, the overwhelming majority of the dead were civilians.
It was thought that Herman Goering the head of Hitler’s Luftwaffe created strategic bombing. Later it was credited to Curtis LeMay the head of the Air Force. Whatever you call it, strategic bombing is meant to attack the enemy’s ability to create commerce and fund their war effort.
That means that the people who build the war machines become targets. In other words Civilians. That’s what was meant by total war. If you sided with the combatants then you can be legally targeted.
My only point here is that it seems as horrific as war is, we all seem to forget the hardest part and concentrate on the strategic value of the action or the technical prowess. We forget the lives snuffed out in a moment. The memories, the friendships, the loves, the people with incredible talents, all of them become numbers in Wikipedia.
On June 22nd 1941, Germany invaded Russian. The operation was named after the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick Barbarossa who had a minor success leading the third Crusaders into the Mid East until he died on the way. Operation Barbarossa began with 3.2 million German soldiers and 1.4 million Axis Allies and 600,000 slaves, 600,000 vehicles, 300,000 horses. That battle ended at the German Chancellery on April 30th 1945, when Russians overran Berlin.
In between those two dates, 21 million people died in Barbarossa. One author says that when Barbarossa began, 11 people died a minute. 11 million people die a minute and the world forgets. 40,000 people died in an instant, and the entire affair is reduced to a square on a calendar and fluff piece on CNN.
The thing about war is that it doesn’t just kill people. It causes amnesia.