IN response to Alan Fitzpatrick’s letter (May 11) justifying the bombing of Hiroshima, I remember as a boy being told by my father that dropping the atom bomb on Hiroshima “saved lives in the long run”. Even at the time it seemed strange to me that you saved lives by killing 100,000 people, but that is what my parents’ generation accepted. Dr Goebbels would have been proud that such propaganda was swallowed.

The morality of “terror bombing” had been questioned in Britain in early 1944. The Rev George Bell, Bishop of Chichester, and probably the greatest Christian prophet to speak to the British people in the last 100 years, stood up in the House of Lords and said that if we allowed the RAF to continue carpet bombing German cities we were no better than the Nazis. Unfortunately Churchill and Bomber Harris ignored his entreaty and continued the programme of killing large numbers of German civilians. The date (early 1944) is significant because strategic planners knew that Germany was losing the war after the battle of Kursk in July 1943. The bombing of Dresden in January 1945 is particularly disgraceful because 25,000 people were killed for little strategic or tactical purpose.

The bombing of Japan continued this immoral form of warfare. The atomic bombs did not produce any result that conventional bombing could not have achieved. People talk of Hiroshima and Nagasaki but forget to mention Tokyo, which was fire-bombed on March 9, 1945 causing 100,000 deaths, the same as Hiroshima.

The only difference was that 300 planes were used to bomb Tokyo, only one for Hiroshima. Curtis Le May, the US head of strategic bombing, said that he would have nothing to do after September 1 as everything worth bombing would have been flattened by that time. The shock effect of this new bomb may have shortened the war by two weeks but it was still mass murder.

Dan McPhail,

Secretary, the Phoenix Friendship Club,

1 Rockmount Avenue, Thornliebank, Glasgow.