© 2022 South Carolina Public Radio
Radio Website Header-Waves 6 3.0.jpg
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
WEPR-FM, Greenville/Spartanburg, 90.1, will be periodically operating at low power while work on the transmission tower continues. This will cause reception problems in some areas.

Black snow: SC author chronicles desperate measures taken to end WWII fighting in the Pacific

Seven minutes past midnight on March 10, 1945, nearly 300 American B-29s thundered into the skies over Tokyo. Their payloads of incendiaries ignited a firestorm that reached up to 2,800 degrees, liquefying asphalt and vaporizing thousands; sixteen square miles of the city were flattened, and more than 100,000 men, women, and children were killed.

In his book, Black Snow - Curtis LeMay, the Firebombing of Tokyo, and the Road to the Atomic Bomb, Charleston author James M. Scott tells the story of this devastating operation, orchestrated by Major General Curtis LeMay, who famously remarked: “If we lose the war, we’ll be tried as war criminals.”

James Scott talks with Walter Edgar about the development of the B-29, the capture of the Marianas for use as airfields, and the change in strategy from high-altitude daylight “precision” bombing to low-altitude nighttime incendiary bombing. Most importantly, the raid represented a significant moral shift for America, marking the first-time commanders deliberately targeted civilians which helped pave the way for the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki five months later.

News and Music Stations: Fri, Aug 19, at 12 pm; Sat, Aug 20, at 7 am
News & Talk Stations: Fri, Aug 19, at 12 pm; Sun, Aug 21, at 4 pm

Stay Connected
Dr. Walter Edgar has two programs on South Carolina Public Radio: Walter Edgar's Journal, and South Carolina from A to Z. Dr. Edgar received his B.A. degree from Davidson College in 1965 and his Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina in 1969. After two years in the army (including a tour of duty in Vietnam), he returned to USC as a post-doctoral fellow of the National Archives, assigned to the Papers of Henry Laurens.