Q: What did you think about the fire bombing raids that General Curtis LeMay
organized over Japanese cities during the last months of the Second World War?
How did you feel about being involved in them?
JE: I had no compunction about participating in the fire bombing raids...we
announced ahead of time...when the fire bombing was coming in. Not for the
first ones, but farther down in the program. It would be broadcast to Japan,
for instance, that "tonight we are going to bomb five of these ten cities," and
[General LeMay} would name ten cities, to give people a chance to get out of
So I think that even by so doing, there were a lot of-- a lot of lives were
saved, Japanese lives as well as American lives. Because had we been required
to make assault-- beachhead assault landings in the home islands of the
Japanese, much as we did in Europe and on D-Day, we'd have lost millions of
Americans, and probably even more Japanese would have been killed in such an
operation...But the Japanese quit without ever having to make a beachhead
landing. And this saved countless lives.
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