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[00:00:09]

A question was nagging me, who killed truth, this truth problem? It isn't just bad, it's deadly. I'm Jill Lepore and I'm a historian at Harvard and a staff writer at The New Yorker. I spent a lot of time trying to solve mysteries like this one, so I decided to start a podcast. It's called The Last Archive. I'll tell 10 stories from the last hundred years, A History of America and of our arguments about truth and evidence.

[00:00:35]

The last archive brought to you by Pushkin Industries. It's July nineteen sixty one, an official ceremony at the White House, President Kennedy stands at the microphone, dark suit, white shirt, thin black tie. Next to him is a second man, shorter, white to the chest, large square head, hair parted triumphantly just off the middle of a thicket of decorations on the left breast of his uniform.

[00:01:08]

I want to express our great pleasure at the assumption of this responsibility by General Tommy Curtis Emerson LeMay.

[00:01:20]

He was one of the most distinguished combat commanders in World War Two. He played a most instrumental role in developing back into its present IPIC as the great seal of the United States and the free world. So, General, we want to say that speaking personally and also as president, that it's a great pleasure to welcome you as the new chief of staff, the United States Air Force and member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The old cliche says that history is written by the victors and that line of Kennedys, he was one of the most distinguished combat commanders of Obata is Exhibit A.

[00:02:05]

Distinguished refers to the events of 1945 when LeMay ordered a bombing campaign that resulted in the deaths of half a million Japanese civilians.

[00:02:15]

In a candid moment, LeMay once told one of his subordinates, if we lose, this war will be tried as war criminals, which is almost certainly true.

[00:02:24]

But they didn't lose. They won. After the war, Lamay joined the Strategic Air Command SAC, where he was responsible for most of America's nuclear arsenal at a time when war with the Soviet Union seemed imminent. Then in 1961, he became head of the whole Air Force, standing next to Kennedy on the podium as the president.

[00:02:48]

I appreciate very much that taking a time out from your busy schedule to participate in a ceremony, I'm sure you realize that you're a member of the armed services are becoming chief of staff and the service is the highest honor that come time.

[00:03:06]

LeMay didn't get tried as a war criminal. He got promoted. My name is Malcolm Gladwell. You're listening to Revisionist History, my podcast about things overlooked and misunderstood. This is the fourth and final installment in my miniseries about Curtis Dumais and the superweapon Notis Napat. I never intended to devote four episodes to this story. I was originally going to do just one, then one episode became two and two became three, and then I was at four because I kept expecting the story to come to some kind of appropriate resolution.

[00:03:54]

And it didn't.

[00:03:56]

I mean, if you kill half a million civilians, something should happen, shouldn't it? And then in the middle of everything, I went to Tokyo for another reason entirely and decided to visit a little private museum off a side street, the only museum in the world dedicated entirely to the bombing campaign that burned Tokyo in 1945. And upstairs, in a plain room with linoleum floors that looks like a public school classroom, there's a long scroll on the wall, beautiful Japanese calligraphy that broke my heart.

[00:04:40]

No good deed in lieu of being an omega sun cure, Martini, say, also killed at the time, Monami Mohammed. The clear eyed military rationale for the firebombing of Tokyo goes something like this, the United States had no better option, nor did Japan.

[00:05:07]

There was only one alternative to LeMay's long summer of burning down the cities of Japan with napalm. That would have been a ground invasion of Japan by American troops that fall. And that would have been worse, far worse.

[00:05:20]

I actually gave a presentation in Tokyo about the incendiary bombing of Tokyo to a Japanese audience. And at the end of the presentation, one of the senior Japanese historians there stood up and said he said in the end, he said, we must thank you, Americans, for the firebombing and the atomic bombs.

[00:05:38]

This is the military historian, Conrad Crane, that kind of took me back.

[00:05:43]

And then he explained, he said we would have surrendered eventually anyway. But he said the impact of the massive firebombing campaign in atomic bombs was that we surrendered in August, no firebombs and no atomic bombs.

[00:05:57]

And the Japanese don't surrender. And if they don't surrender, the Soviets invade and then the Americans invade and Japan gets carved up, just like Germany and the Korean Peninsula, eventually war.

[00:06:08]

And the other thing that would have happened is there would have been millions of Japanese that would have starved to death in the winter, because what happens is when they surrender in August, that gives MacArthur time to come in with his occupation forces and actually feed Japan.

[00:06:24]

General Douglas MacArthur, the supreme allied commander in the Pacific, he was the one who accepted the Japanese empire's surrender.

[00:06:31]

I mean, that's one of MacArthur's great successes, is bringing in massive amount of foods to avoid starvation in the winter of nineteen forty five.

[00:06:39]

Much later in 1964, the Japanese government, according to one of its highest honors, the grand cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun for his help rebuilding their air force after the war, there was a debate in the Japanese parliament about whether the award was a good idea, but none of it centered on his campaign to burn Japanese cities with napalm. The Japanese government had moved on. Everyone moved on.

[00:07:07]

Remember Hardell from the second episode in this series? He's the MIT scientist Washington brought in to manage the bomb. Peikoff to find the very best possible firebomb to use against the Japanese hotto, put together a committee of the biggest names in chemistry to create the world's greatest incendiary. And after the war, they scattered.

[00:07:29]

It's amazing how fast people wanted to get out. They were fed up on war.

[00:07:38]

Fire was still Huddle's passion, but not burning things down. Not anymore. Now his passion became stopping things from burning down.

[00:07:47]

I was so saturated with fire as a weapon of destruction. When I was asked to be on a peacetime fire research committee by the army, I was happy to say yes.

[00:08:08]

The mandate of the Fire Research Committee was to prevent, and I'm quoting large urban fires and forest fires. Hodor ran the committee for 11 years until his retirement. And what about Louis Phizer? He was the winner of the Bake Off, the co inventor of napalm. He went back to Harvard and resumed his duties training the next generation of American chemists, wrote the definitive college chemistry textbook with his wife. As for his fellow inventor, E.B. Hershberg, the wizard of the laboratory, Hershberg went to work for the Shearing Corporation, a pharmaceutical company in New Jersey.

[00:08:48]

My father was not a violent person, is a pacifist. He didn't believe in war. I'm quite sure it was to be avoided.

[00:08:56]

Robert Hershberg, Ebbie son, also a scientist. He would call his father every evening and they would talk about their day in the laboratory.

[00:09:04]

What would your father have when he looked across his entire career? What would he have considered his finest accomplishment? Without doubt. I think it would be penicillin and penicillin, prednisone.

[00:09:18]

It's an anti inflammatory agent and immunosuppressant, one of the most widely prescribed drugs in the world. I don't know how to quantify how many lives have been saved by that drug. Hundreds of thousands. It was a crucial part of the very first breakthrough in drug therapy for cancer. Aimo Frerichs, defeat of childhood leukemia in the 1960s, a combination therapy using methotrexate successfully.

[00:09:43]

Then Christine and Prednisone Ebbie Hershberg led the team that developed it was prednisone, Herzberg's vitamin for napalm, like Hoyt Huddle's work on the Fire Research Committee, maybe. But no one seems to have discussed it or considered it. A few years ago, the historian Robert Near went searching for a definitive account of the birth of the world's most powerful incendiary.

[00:10:15]

So I started looking and it was with a kind of growing sense of disbelief that I discovered that actually there was no history of napalm. And the more research that I did on it, the more I discovered that actually really it was true. There was no not even an article that was there was no like even sort of academic journal article that was this is a comprehensive history of napalm.

[00:10:38]

Robert knew go to the wide new research library at Harvard, one of the great libraries in the world. He would see shelves of books on atomic weapons, the glamorous bomb built at great expense by the smartest people in the world.

[00:10:52]

But this particular weapon, there was no history background about it at all.

[00:10:58]

He would end up writing that history himself. It's called Napalm, an American biography. What's even stranger, of course, was that he was looking for a history of napalm in the Harvard Library and didn't find anything because Harvard was where napalm was invented.

[00:11:16]

Robert near took me to the place on campus where napalm was born.

[00:11:20]

We think this is the Converse laboratory right here, which is where they did the initial experiments in the basement window wells with Gerald incendiaries we're looking at.

[00:11:31]

I assume there would be some indication of which of the labs along the basement hallway had belonged to Louis Phizer. But no, we peered in one window after another and had to guess.

[00:11:44]

It's all very chemical lab here, like a zillion pipes in the ceiling. There aren't really window on this side. No. So it is this site. But assuming that it hasn't ever been, you know, dramatically changed. But I think we're quite close in the spiritual sense at least. Absolutely. Yeah.

[00:12:05]

There are long lists of things. Harvard is eager to take credit for the transgenic mouse, nuclear magnetic resonance imaging, the pacemaker defibrillators, all important, but on the weapon that played a decisive role in the biggest war of the 20th century that burned close to half a million Japanese alive in the summer of 1945. It's not on the list. There's not even a plaque. And at Harvard, I'll point out, they'll put a name on anything. There are multiple buildings at Harvard named in honor of the Sackler family whose drug company gave the world OxyContin.

[00:12:42]

So it's not like Harvard is squeamish, just about napalm.

[00:12:47]

Napalm has simply disappeared and that is the final of napalm, many crimes because it didn't actually disappear. Quite the opposite. Hello, Tim Harford here with news cautionary tales has returned with a special mini season as the world has found itself turned upside down. I've been searching for insight from the great crimes, catastrophes and fiascos of the past in the hope that they will teach us something about the challenges we face today. As always, there is tragedy, heroism and lessons to learn.

[00:13:30]

As I weave together history and the latest social science, you'll witness the scramble to evacuate as great waves wash away.

[00:13:37]

Whole cities sit in a crowded cabaret as flames creep closer and closer to the auditorium and visit the plague hit town, where people calmly await death so their neighbors will live. And behind it all, a question.

[00:13:54]

Should we have seen the pandemic coming?

[00:13:58]

Subscribe to cautionary tales in Apple podcasts or wherever you listen from Pushkin Industries. These days, it's harder than ever to lead a happier life, but I've found that if you really want to find happiness, you should look for answers in evidence based science.

[00:14:15]

I'm Dr. Lori Santo's, a professor at Yale University.

[00:14:19]

In my podcast, The Happiness Lab, I discussed how the latest research on the science of well-being can change the way you think about happiness. We tackle topics like how to deal with loneliness and how you two can get over your complaining.

[00:14:30]

You can find the happiness lab wherever you listen to your podcasts. Five years after the end of the Second World War, after the surrender of Japan, the communist backed government of North Korea invaded South Korea June 25th, 1950. The United Nations condemned the invasion and responded with a show of force led by the United States. And what was the strategy adopted by the US Air Force in Korea? Basically, the strategy pioneered by criticism over Japan firebomb the North Koreans with napalm until they surrender napalm again.

[00:15:13]

Hottest nonliving inches. This is a newsreel the Navy put out in the middle of the war called This is Korea, directed by the legendary John Ford out Bernama.

[00:15:29]

Fry them, burn them, cook them. Korea in three sentences. If you go through oral history archives, you'll find countless interviews with pilots who remember what that bombing campaign was like, a lot of a lot of napalm dropped, which it was supposed to be.

[00:15:47]

Top secret.

[00:15:49]

The flight crews came up with the idea of strapping canisters of napalm to wooden pallets, then pushing them out the back of the airplane on rollers. And then the parachutes would open up, the stock would descend to where you trying to drop it?

[00:16:04]

This is a pilot named Robert Billion interviewed in nineteen ninety five for the Rutgers Oral History Archive.

[00:16:11]

What they did is they went after personnel centers where they congregated the the troops in North Korea, and they come over and they would let go thirty six times 50 50 gallon drums and they figured they killed thousands of North Korean not burning. They suffocated because it burned all the oxygen up in the immediate area. Napalm was engineered to burn down Japanese houses, which had allowed for the pretense that it was intended to destroy buildings, not people in Korea, that pretense was dropped.

[00:16:46]

It turned out napalm was very good at destroying people.

[00:16:50]

The North Koreans were such vicious enemies and so brutal. But we took care of them and air power in that war was predominant.

[00:17:05]

This is Bill Sinclair, the Korean War pilot interviewed in 2004 by the Library of Congress Veterans History Project. I will warn you, the story he tells is not pleasant.

[00:17:17]

I remember a particular mission when we caught a. A China mixed Chinese and North Korean division in the open, and we just attacked them with napalm and we killed hundreds and hundreds of Chinese and North Korean soldiers. I couldn't see how they could possibly stand in the midst of all this conflagration. I remember distinctly one soldier standing under a little tree and around him was just devastation, bodies everywhere.

[00:17:59]

And here's an interview with a pilot named Leonard Laconia from the Korean War Legacy Foundation. But it worked. It worked well. People in the Chinese burning with that. Yeah, yeah. It'll just hit and then it just spreads. We were close enough that when we called, you could feel the heat from the from the napalm and if you get too close. You don't have to be right in it, but you got to close it burns the oxygen out of the air, you can't breathe.

[00:18:30]

These stories go on and on. This one so graphic, I'm not going to play it for you.

[00:18:36]

It's about a US pilot carrying a load of napalm who crashes before he can drop it on someone else. And his fellow airmen run up to the crash site and can only watch as he burns to death. In the end, the Air Force in Korea ran out of targets, literally. They had nothing left to bomb because they had burned down and bombed out virtually everything that could be burned down and bombed out. The destruction of a North Korean urban structure is is massive.

[00:19:13]

Historian Conrad Crane says the consequences of that bombing campaign were enormous.

[00:19:19]

And in some extent, that's, I think, a legacy we're dealing with today because part of the motivation for the North Korean pursuit of nuclear weapons is to have some kind of deterrent to make sure that never happens again.

[00:19:30]

We've heard a lot in the West about how the North Koreans are duplicitous, distrustful, irrational, secretive, not so much about how in three short years the United States reduced their country to an ash heap. But then again, we've never talked much about napalm in the Korean War, we've never talked much about the Korean War, period, it was all pushed aside. In fact, the most significant monument to that war was probably a television show, the sitcom MASH.

[00:20:06]

MASH ran for 11 seasons on CBS 1972 to 1983, it was about a mobile medical unit on the front lines of the Korean War. If you're old enough, you'll remember the names of the characters Hawkeye Pierce, Colonel Potter, Trapper. John Raider, O'Reilley. Hot Lips, Houlihan Klinger. It was one of the most remarkable television shows in history, funny, dark moving. So what does Masche have to say about napalm?

[00:20:37]

I wondered very little, it turns out, with one exception, the most famous MASH episode of all the series finale, Bouri 28, 1983, Goodbye, Farewell, and then was watched by one hundred and six million Americans, the highest rated non sports television event in history. The night the last episode was shown, we watched it on a big screen at the studio and then we went out to dinner to celebrate.

[00:21:09]

I talked to Alan Alda about it. He played Hawkeye, the show's central character, and on the way to the restaurant. Loretta Swit was in the car with me and I said, Loretta, look, the streets are empty. And it suddenly dawned on us that a lot of people were probably home watching the show at that time. And what I read in the paper the next day was that in New York, the waterworks were threatened because everybody went to the bathroom.

[00:21:40]

At the same time, during the commercial break, the final episode runs two hours. It is beautiful and moving. I remember where I was when I watched it packed into the basement TV room at my college in Toronto with what must have been 100 other people. So after all those years, I went back and watched it again because I remembered that this was the episode that finally dealt with napalm. It comes just after the halfway point in the show at the one hour and seven minute mark.

[00:22:15]

Colonel, look at that sunset. What a beautiful ending for a beautiful day.

[00:22:23]

Corporal Klinger is looking up at the sky when Colonel Potter, the MASH unit's commanding officer, walks by being nice son Saddam was setting over there.

[00:22:34]

I mean, ever since I've been around the sons, I always set in the West and watched that once that same kind of glow in the air forest forrest next day there wasn't any forest left. You better get on the phone to my car. That fire is headed this way. We're headed out.

[00:22:50]

Klinger runs back to the barracks. Potter stands and watches the sky. We see the fire start to rage. Rabbits running for safety. It was started by incendiary bombs.

[00:23:01]

It's coming straight across, but out all personnel. But out the MASH unit has to evacuate because of a nearby napalm attack. I asked Alan Alda about that plot point in the show. He directed the episode and was one of its writers.

[00:23:21]

I had a very specific question with that episode, and that is when you have to evacuate the camp because of the fire.

[00:23:32]

Yeah, from incendiary bombs, it's left unstated whose bombs they are. I got a call on a Saturday morning that a fire had raged through the canyon where we were shooting and the whole shedid burned down. So I put the phone down and calmly went about writing what we call the bug out. I think they called it a bug out in those days when the MASH unit had to move.

[00:24:00]

And we moved to another location. So I had to put a fire into the script to justify. The move, but I forgot what the justification was, was that a bomb had caused a fire in the area bombs.

[00:24:19]

Radar says there's a fire on the way from incendiary bombs.

[00:24:24]

So you wonder which side they're from.

[00:24:27]

Will that kind of doesn't matter?

[00:24:28]

Yeah, he's right. Absolutely right.

[00:24:35]

The great moral innovation of MASH was that it spoke out against war without taking sides. But all I could think about is that this show is what's left of America's memory of the Korean War. And when Masche finally comes around to mentioning napalm, the weapon that reduced North Korea to ashes, it gets history exactly backwards.

[00:24:57]

It has Americans as napalm victims, not the Koreans. And the show doesn't mention where the napalm came from, as if it could as easily have come from anywhere, when in truth, it could only have come from the US Air Force dropping their Halvard engineered payloads from high in the sky.

[00:25:19]

Later in the episode, Colonel Potter returns to the MASH camp after it's been destroyed by napalm, the MASH unit is packing up. The doctors and nurses are all going home.

[00:25:33]

It is now 2:00 p.m. In exactly eight hours, the Korean War will be officially over. It's a time for us summing up. And these are the most up to date figures we have. The cost of the war to the United States has been placed at twenty two billion dollars.

[00:25:49]

Look at me. I only get three hundred a month.

[00:25:52]

Potter goes one last time to the place they had lived for so many years and wanders among the ashes.

[00:26:00]

The wreckage is still smoking, Potter takes off his helmet and looks around in shock. He bends over, picks up a blackened bottle, stands up again. OK, let's get to work.

[00:26:18]

That's it. We're done. Let's move on. I was one of millions of viewers who choked up at that moment, but if I were North Korean, I would have thrown a brick at the television. Hey, Malcolm, here, I want to tell you what, the second season of Land of the Giants, a podcast about the most powerful tech companies of our time. The second season is called the Netflix Effect, and it's hosted by Recode editors Ron Imola and Peter Kafka.

[00:27:01]

They explore how a small DVD by mail service upended Hollywood and completely changed the way we watch TV.

[00:27:08]

It's a fascinating look at what really goes on behind the scenes at Netflix and how they continue to transform entertainment for you and me. New episodes are released every Tuesday morning. Go listen and subscribe to Land of the Giants, the Netflix effect for free on Apple podcast or in your favorite podcast app from Recode and the Vox Media Podcast Network. Hi there, I'm Michael Lewis, host of Against the Rules, and we're back for our second season, we're talking about coaches.

[00:27:40]

It wasn't that long ago that we only had coaches in sports, but now there are life coaches and coaches. You can even hire a coach to improve your online dating performance and your charisma. But coaching has become an odd source of unfairness to has access to these coaches.

[00:27:56]

And who doesn't find against the rules wherever you listen brought to you by Pushkin Industries. General Curtis LeMay disapproved of the way the Pentagon fought the war in Korea. He was in charge of the Strategic Air Command. By that point, a step removed from day to day control of the war, but they were using his tactics and his war horse to be 29, along with his incendiary weapon of choice, napalm. So he had opinions.

[00:28:29]

He thought the whole business on the Korean Peninsula dragged on for far too long, going end the war as a serious business, serious decision of U.S. responsibility for doing it better. By God, make some careful evaluation before you come to the conclusion that war is the only solution to the problem.

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This is LeMay in retirement, holding forth on how he thought the Korean War ought to have been handled and why should look so that you'd better be ready to go all the way.

[00:29:05]

It's immoral not to use too much if you have the capability of winning and winning rapidly because you save lives, property, destruction, suffering, and the quicker you can end the war.

[00:29:19]

Coldblooded, hyper rational, very courteous to me. And he thought the Pentagon botched it in Korea, dragged it out too long, didn't come in hard and fast enough.

[00:29:30]

So we kind of slipped a note under the door and the Pentagon and said, look, why don't we let them burn down four or five of those towns up North Korea? Maybe then stop this nonsense on my business. And the answer came back on the door as it's too horrible. You knock off a bunch of women and children, noncombatants to horrible the Pentagon couldn't stomach it.

[00:29:57]

Now, there are a hundred ways to tell the story of the Korean War. This is the Curtis LeMay version. The military ignored his suggestion. And so what should have been an intense summer fire bombing campaign stretched out over many years.

[00:30:11]

We burn down every town in North Korea and South Korea to. Every one of them now, during all of this time, what we do kill off 20 percent of the current population through direct casualties of war are in direct due to exposure, disease and malnutrition. So for now, over a period of four and a half years. All of these highly moral people are willing to kill off 20 percent of the Korean population over this period of time, but it's immoral to kill off a few people to start with the save life, property and suffering in the long run as immoral, killing people to forget that.

[00:30:58]

Curtis LeMay on his high horse. If you spend enough time with them, you start to see things his way. Yes, Japan was better off for being firebombed. It spared them starvation. And the Soviets. Yes. And maybe a summer of intense pain in Korea would have made more sense in dragging things out of four years. There's a reason, Lambros, as far and fast as he did in the US military, he could be awfully persuasive when he needed to be.

[00:31:28]

But then comes Vietnam. And what does the may want the Air Force to do? More napalm, more bombing.

[00:31:36]

Military police contain the crowd, but clashes soon break out. Federal marshals arrest several who attempt to break through the protective line.

[00:31:44]

There were anti-war protests in the streets about the Air Force's use of napalm in Vietnam. From his laboratory at Harvard, the chemistry freezer sent a horrified letter to President Nixon. It seems to me desirable. The co inventor of napalm wrote to try to promote an international agreement to outlaw further use of napalm or napalm type munitions.

[00:32:08]

LeMay would have none of it. In his memoirs published just before his retirement in 1965, he wrote this about how to defeat North Vietnam. Quote, My solution to the problem would be to tell them, frankly, that they've got to draw in their horns and stop their aggression or we're going to bomb them back into the Stone Age.

[00:32:32]

The mayor was saying the same thing in the 1960s about Vietnam that he did in the 1950s about Korea and the 1940s about Japan, heavy bombing could lead to unconditional surrender and unconditional surrender, save lives in the long run, even though, of course, the great lesson of Vietnam was that bombing didn't work, that airpower could not defeat a determined guerrilla force in an underdeveloped country. LeMay was a problem solver, but he could not conceive of solutions that did not involve bombs and airplanes.

[00:33:08]

Remember what Lamay wrote about seeing his first airplane as a little boy in Ohio? Suddenly, in the air above me appeared a flying machine, it came from nowhere, there it was, and I wanted to catch it.

[00:33:26]

And then he goes on, Children can muster enormous strength in ideal and idea in all their effort to grasp the trophy they desire. And nobody was holding me back. No one was standing close to say, look, you just a little child. That airplane is way up there in the air. And no matter how fast you run, you can't keep up with it. You can't reach high enough to seize it. Little Curtis ran across neighbors' backyards, vacant lots, down sidewalks.

[00:34:02]

Then it was gone. Its wonderful sound and force and the freakish illusion of the thing, a thing made of wood and metal piercing the air. That infatuation carried Lamay all the way from working class Columbus to the command of the US Air Force, but leaders need at a certain point to move beyond their infatuations. And the great tragedy of Curtis LeMay is that he could not. I hate this word strategy. That's the main 1971 base strategy. He meant all of those things that you do when you're not dropping bombs from a plane.

[00:34:49]

Sure, you should do some planning and you should do some thinking lots about what might happen when you get into a war, but anyone who thinks that they can sit down and with a few learned individuals plan a strategy for the country that's going to keep them out of trouble and win wars as well as Aleksic, not going to happen. So I don't plan on strategy and all of the Pentagon thinking a lot.

[00:35:26]

And then he says instead of strategy, instead of thinking what you really need is some hardware to back you up, a thing made of wood and metal piercing the air. I said way back in the first installment of this story that Curtis LeMay was a type a prototype of the modern problem solver, the unshakable belief in technology, the narrowness of focus, the iron clad self-confidence, you can find versions of Lamay everywhere these days, all equally well intentioned, all equally successful in their chosen field of battle, all equally applauded by the world around them.

[00:36:09]

I applaud them too sometimes and profit from their victories as much as you do. It's just that I would have thought that the events of March 9th and 10th, 1945 would have given us pause just a little.

[00:36:32]

Curtis LeMay died in 1990 of a heart attack. He's buried in the US Air Force Academy Cemetery in Colorado Springs, where he belongs alongside his fellow airman.

[00:36:46]

It will it will cost more. I shall be the exact photo of the salt. All right, this is the Asakusa.

[00:36:58]

And so here is the AM with the river.

[00:37:00]

And so this area of the Honjo and this area also here is in East Tokyo on the edge of the Fukagawa district. There's a small museum. It's called the center of the Tokyo Raids and War Damage. It's on a side street. Two stories, Brick looks like there should be a dentist's office in it. You walk in and there's a little gift shop to the side, Molik, a few bookshelves and what looks like a classroom with a bunch of folding chairs where an introductory video plays.

[00:37:33]

Your your name.

[00:37:39]

Don't you want people to appreciate the museum is the only permanent memorial that tells the story of the devastation of Tokyo on March 9th, 1945, one of the deadliest nights in human history. There's a scale model of a B twenty 29 hanging from the ceiling and an M sixty nine bomb casing open for display and maps, maps showing where the bombs fell and where people ran and which way the winds blew and where the bodies were found.

[00:38:10]

So many people escaped to the elementary school and the summer high school.

[00:38:17]

Our guide, Chiru Ito, talked about one of the spots on a map. There was an elementary school in the heart of the area bombed that night, one of the only concrete buildings in the district. So people ran there because they thought they would be safer than in the wooden buildings on fire all around them.

[00:38:35]

Did they skip to the concrete building that's inside of the building? So they also carried a sheet.

[00:38:44]

They were killed by the heat from the burning napalm outside a concrete structure in the midst of a fire, storm becomes an oven. Then Ito told us the story of one of the few survivors that night, he was a teacher at the school and he'd been manning the front gate, but so many people rushed in that he was knocked down, trampled. There were people on top of him, he heard screaming, he passed out, then hours later came to.

[00:39:16]

And so, you know, this many people thought that it was a cover on him, like a.

[00:39:27]

The people who had trampled him had turned to carbon. People on him so tight as a couple, so we associate and your.

[00:39:42]

And so on, Rehema, what's she survived under under a mound of carpet.

[00:39:58]

No good deed in being an omega son. All that was left were bricks. There is no greater sadness. The teacher later became an artist. He made a scroll to memorialize what happened that night. It hangs on the wall of the Tokyo Rates Museum. You're hearing a recitation of it. More damage than what the survivors were despondent, unable to find neither voiced nor oh, what reason can one have to kill innocent people?

[00:40:39]

If you are ever in Tokyo, you should go see the scroll, even if you haven't made up your mind about everything you've just heard about the things done in the name of problem solving. So, Conine, you take issue with Kodama, how could I have a wife from my memory Nush? The cries of agony of men, women and children. I had at that time. Revisionist history is produced by McLibel and Leming Guess with Jacob Smith, Alawi's Lennon and on a name.

[00:41:29]

Our editor is Julia Barton, original scoring by Lewis Guera, Mastering by Flon Williams. Fact Checking by Beth Johnson. Special thanks to the Pushkin crew. Heather Fain, Eric Sandler, Carly Migliore, Maya Canik, Maggie Taylor, Jason Gambril and of course, Jacob Weisberg.

[00:41:51]

Special thanks also to our voice actor Yoshimoto Jesse Moynihan for his help with Japanese translation, the Science History Institute, the oral history program collection at the University of North Texas Special Collections, the Air Force Historical Research Agency, the Air Force Academy Oral History Project at the Oral History Archives at Columbia University, McDermitt Library at the US Air Force Academy and the Rutgers Oral History Archive.

[00:42:25]

Thank you for listening. I'm Malcolm Gladwell.