A Comparison And Analysis Of Hiroshima. Essay, Research Paper
This documented discussion will address and include analysis, comparison, stylistic contrast, purposes, personae, and argumentative techniques of Michael Walzer’s Hiroshima: An Act of Terrorism and Paul Fussell’s Hiroshima: A Soldier’s View. Additionally, this author will include specific doctrine by President Harry S. Truman as relates to the content. During his term in office, Harry Truman addressed the Congress and paid homage to Franklin D. Roosevelt and pledged to follow his policies. Truman reaffirmed the allied military policy of unconditional surrender and held out a vision of future peace achieved through the United Nations and through continued cooperation among the allies. He held his first press conference on the 17th of April and again reaffirmed his commitment to Roosevelt’s policy. (Pemberton, William E., Harry S. Truman, Fair Dealer and Cold Warrier, p. 37). Truman’s doctrines and policies are reflected here and are seen to persist during a time where much devastation was wreaked in the name of a greater and longer lasting ideal. The military and moralistic implications are indeed far-reaching and reflected and expressed in various literary form, particularly poignant in Paul Fussell’s Hiroshima: A Soldier’s View. The scene takes place in New York City. The speaker states, “In life, experience is a great teacher. In Scotch, Teachers’ is the great experience.” This is a recollection of a whiskey ad, and brings to mind that experience is common to those in the military and particularly those who were taught to recall that, “To close with the enemy and destroy him.” The story, from a soldier’s perspective, illuminates the ugliness and banality of what war is all about. The story teller speaks of a certain expression of contempt and ridicule which pervaded the American climate amongst those who served and those who did not serve. Probably the most dramatic atrocity was the atomic bomb. The open-endedness of the question is perplexing indeed. It is true that, certainly in the opinions of many if not most military people, that the war would not have been terminated as quickly and as efficiently as it was without the use of the atomic bomb. It is also true that Harry Truman is prominently implicated in this, the most horrific of events during World War II, but was the use of the Atomic Bomb at Hiroshima a good thing? Many saw it is not because it killed so many people in one felled swoop. At the same time, it ironically and confoundedly accomplished exactly those ends which we, as warriors, were striving for with the very means that we were fighting against, and that is brutality and dominance by a foreign power. Fussell points to the clear existence of racism as a mediating factor wherein no Marine was fully persuaded of his many adequacy who didn’t have a well-washed Japanese skull to caress and who didn’t have a go at treating surrendering Japs as rifle targets. Why allow one American high school kid to see his intestines blown out of his body and spread before him in the dirt while he screams when he can end the whole thing just like that (Paul Fussell). There is a dichotomic parallel or view, from the perspective of the soldier and the civilian. J. Glenn Gray was an interrogator in the Counter-Intelligence Corps, and later a professor of philosophy at Colorado College. Gray addresses the shame that was felt by so many Americans and critical of the dropping of the bomb at Hiroshima. Fussell takes exception to Gray’s approach in that Gray maintains that we dropped the bomb without warning the enemy. At the same time, he ignores the fact that 720,000 leaflets were dropped on the city offering them advance notice and the opportunity to get out of there before we dropped the bomb. The author makes the point that the act was tragic, and the melodramatic accounts are indelibly imprinted within the memories of anyone who has either been there, lived during that time, or read accounts of the episode. Clearly the author leans toward the belief that the dropping of the bomb at Hiroshima was justified and useful, albeit, tragic, and with the passing of every year, the implications are magnified. He further speculates upon what would have been if the bomb had been dropped sooner. Graphic and vivid images are called into account as the author underscores the moral vagaries which pervade this story, and the soldier’s view is spotlighted when, “With the eyes coming at you firing, do you shoot him in the foot, hoping he’ll be hurt badly enough to drop or mis-aim the gun with which he’s going to kill you, or do you shoot him in the chest and make certain he stops being your mortal enemy?” It would be stupid to expect soldiers to be very sensitive humanitarians (Paul Fussell). The author regards Harry Truman as a democrat (not a Fascist) and had the experience of commanding a small unit of ground troops in the war. But is his argument short-sighted? Certainly, Michael Walzer indicates that it is in his essay on Hiroshima: An Act of Terrorism, who characterizes Hiroshima as exactly that (an act of terrorism) and nothing more. To a large extent, Walzer’s essay on Hiroshima is a reaction to Paul Fussell, who himself engaged in combat in the Pacific in 1945. Walzer writes of a “code” which military men live by as do honorable men, and in the case of Hiroshima, this code was broken and violated. Walzer says that Truman’s first responsibility was to American soldiers, but he himself was not without responsibility, and given the state of our political and moral order, with which Hiroshima probably has something to do, aren’t we all more likely to be the victims than the beneficiaries of terrorist attacks? (Michael Walzer) Clearly, we are witnessing two diametrically opposed positions toward the same act. Harry Truman spoke noblistically about the war effort and the actions, I.E. Hiroshima, which he condoned. The issue as espoused by Walzer and Fussell assume a somewhat different color when viewed from the perspective of the President of the U.S. with the various political, military and international (legal) considerations. Stylistically, there is a contrast between the two authors. In the case of Paul Fussell, I would characterize his discourse as more literary, although by comparison weaker philosophically. Walzer approaches the infamous event from a greater philosophical and moral perspective, in which he (in my opinion) succeeds in making his case. This is not to say that Hiroshima was necessarily a good thing or a bad thing, but from a philosophical and moralistic perspective, Walzer appears more erudite. However, erudition and literacy aside, there are serious implications and pronouncements in the writings of Paul Fussell within his more dramatic and figurative essay. He writes as a man who has known and seen battle and expresses himself from a vantage perspective which is both practical and moral.