Points of View
The decision 60 years ago to drop the atomic bomb on Japan and end World War II will doubtless be debated as long as there are thinking human beings in existence. And while no one should discount the various opinions of brilliant minds who have looked at the matter from many angles and have come to their conclusions on the basis of careful study and analysis, it might be useful to consider-perhaps with an extra measure of credibility-the testimony of a young man who arguably had a bit more of a vested interested in the matter.
Alvin Kernan joined the Navy in 1941 and served for the duration. Rated as an aviation ordnanceman, he flew countless missions as a tail gunner in Navy torpedo planes, serving at the battles of Midway and Okinawa, among others, and earning a Navy Cross along the way.
In Alvin Kernan's exquisitely written memoir, Crossing the Line: A Bluejacket's World War II Odyssey, this young sailor described what he felt late in the war as the planned invasion of Japan drew near: