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.
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