One word can change the world

I read an interesting passage in The Miracle of Language by Richard Lederer. Tomorrow will be the 66th anniversary of the Hiroshima bombing, and, according to Lederer, it could have been avoided.

The end of World War II began with Victory in Europe on May 8, 1945. Japanese resistance on Okinawa ended seven weeks later, and an end to the war seemed imminent. On July 26, 1945, through the Potsdam Declaration, Truman, Stalin and Churchill demanded that Japan should surrender unconditionally or accept the consequences.

The Japanese are a proud and tenacious people. While the Japanese cabinet appeared in favour of a settlement, they wanted more time to consider. They issued a statement saying that they were giving the offer mokusatsu. This word could mean two different things, depending on context. It could mean that the Japanese were considering the declaration, or that they were ignoring it.

While most Japanese assumed the first meaning—considering—the man who prepared the English translation used the second meaning—ignoring.

Thinking that the declaration was being ignored, on August 6, 1945, an atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima. In the first three weeks after the blast,  and the subsequent bombing at Nagasaki, 150,000 people died.

All because of one word.


About Arlene Somerton Smith

Writer, laughing thinker, miner of inspirational insights, sports fan, and community volunteer

Posted on August 5, 2011, in outreach, writing and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

and the words that echo..

a lot of words...

Hurry Up & Wait

Random thoughts and a collection of ideas, stories and photos

Alex on Faith

Growing in faith together!

Be Different "BUT" Be Yourself

Journey from severe depression - Self healing - Acceptance - Learning - Growth - Connecting - Understanding - learning


« me arrodillo por las noches ante tigres que no me dejarán ser. »

La Audacia de Aquiles

"El Mundo Visible es Sólo un Pretexto" / "The Visible World is Just a Pretext".-

Moral Fibre

Musings of She who Knits in Churches


comida italiana



The Godly Chic Diaries

Smiling • Writing • Dreaming

Be Blogger (Official)

Writing is all about finding the courage to write. And courage is all about realizing that some things are more important than fear.

Yellingrosa's Weblog

Poetry, Visual Arts, Music and IT Tech




Simple made easy! psychology love feeling emotion thought behaviour success strategy

Diary Of A Growing Black Man

Personal website sharing life experiences and vision

Jay Colby

Life, Inspiration & Motivation

Health Sources

Health , Beauty and Food

A Little Blog of Books

Book reviews and other literary-related musings

Reverend Erin

Thoughts on Ministry from a First-Time Minister

%d bloggers like this: