Bridge in Shadow (1930) by Louis Lozowick
On the night of 9 March 1945, more than 300 U.S. B-29 bombers launched one of the most devastating air raids in history, named Operation Meetinghouse. By dawn, more than 100,000 people were dead, a million were homeless, 267,000 buildings were destroyed and 16 square miles of Tokyo were reduced to ash. Tokyo was the most densely populated city in the world at the time. There were no military targets on the mission and casualties were all civilians, women, children and the elderly.
Following the attack on Tokyo, the Japanese government ordered the evacuation of all schoolchildren (totaling more than 400,000) in the third to sixth grades from the main cities.
More people were killed in the Tokyo firebombing of March 9-10 than in the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki five months later. By the end of the war, 67 Japanese cities were firebombed, Tokyo 65 times.
Asked later about the morality of the firebombings, General Curtis LeMay replied: “I suppose if I had lost the war, I would have been tried as a war criminal…. Every soldier thinks something of the moral aspects of what he is doing. But all war is immoral and if you let that bother you, you’re not a good soldier.”
"You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet."
Rue des Grands-Augustins
Paris circa 1955