What Does It Mean?

I was working on my homework for my history class (I’m in the 11th grade). We are covering the Second World War, and I noticed something missing I always look for when I read about WWII history.

Little Boy and Fat Man. Their names were missing.

In my AP US History class a few years back, their names were prominently displayed. In my own reading about history, Fat Man and Little Boy are the lynchpins of the age, keeping everything in perspective.

However, in my school, in both the docu…

  1. Fred Cole

    Well, tell us why you think it’s important to know the names of those two bombs.

  2. Eric Wallace

    My wife thinks it’s because both names are male, indicating the inherent sexism of history which must be cleansed!

  3. Schrodinger

    Is there an intention to distance ourselves from the bomb?

     

    Yes, I think giving them names undermines the left’s desire to portray them as the “ultimate evil”.

    Welcome to the world of

    seenoevil.jpg

    If you close your eyes and ears, it doesn’t exist.

    Here’s a reality check.

    littleboy.jpg

    Little Boy

     

    fatman.jpg

    Fat Man

  4. KCRob

    “Who controls the past controls the future; who controls the present controls the past.” – INGSOC slogan, 1984

    That’s an interesting question. An attempt to change the past? Or because the writers find fault with cute names assigned to weapons?

  5. Barkha Herman

    Distancing from a person allows people to better vilify them.  Names lead to familiarity.  Ubiquitous evil is better represented by nameless groups.  Hence, Hitler was against “Jews”, not your neighbor. Obama is against the “Rich”, not your immigrant grandfather who worked his rear off to accumulate wealth.

    I am only guessing here, but if I were to venture a guess, this would be my explanation.

  6. DocJay

    I think you mean weren’t there. The question has to be whether it was an intentional omission and if so may well be worth an essay topic if one is required. There are a certain percentage of folks who loathe the US use of the bomb and expect others to self mutilate and cry over the awful country that we clearly must be. The fact that ten million or so Japanese were saved by the bomb is irrelevant to them as are the 500-800, 000 US soldiers who would have died in the invasion. What is important to the liberal are emotions not reality. Big bombs feel bad so big bombs don’t get cute names. The plane can be now called Enola Awesome Lifestyle. What I like is that you are paying attention though. Is the rest of the book liberally slanted or short on facts?

  7. Donald Todd

    You’ve run into Political Correctness.  Perhaps whoever left the names of the bombs out of the text could tell you why the names of the bombs were left out of the text.

    There has been a movement to vilify the US for having used the bombs to end the war against Japan.  If the text is slanted in that direction, perhaps there is a clue there.  

  8. ctlaw

    Naming the bombs is relevant to differentiate them from each other. Little Boy was a uranium gun-type device. Fat Man was a plutonium implosion device. Different considerations attended the production of the fissile material and then the devices.

    If the revised curriculum was simply a dumbing down, then eliminating the names would be a natural part of eliminating the discussion of the differences (without political motive).

    Of course, the dumbing down may have political origins.

  9. Fred Cole
    ctlaw: Naming the bombs is relevant to differentiate them from each other. Little Boy was a uranium gun-type device. Fat Man was a plutonium implosion device. Different considerations attended the production of the fissile material and then the devices.

    If the revised curriculum was simply a dumbing down, then eliminating the names would be a natural part of eliminating the discussion of the differences (without political motive).

    Of course, the dumbing down may have political origins. · 5 minutes ago

    Not for nothing, but what difference does it make that they were two different designs?

    Is that classroom time well spent?  Is it space well used in the text book?

  10. Mama Toad

    Or perhaps it is akin to the interesting-yet-sickening phenomenon of stamps being made from photographs of Jackson Pollack (the painter) and Robert Johnson (blues guitarist) without their cigarettes, or removing a cigarette from a picture of Clement Hurd, children’s book illustrator, or the London Museum taking away Winston Churchill’s cigar from a photo in an exhibit. !!!

    We don’t want to encourage hate speech by calling someone Fat or speaking derisively of size in derogatory terms like Little… Plus, don’t get me started on the oppressive nature of such gender-laden words as Man or Boy…

  11. ctlaw

    In three years with early 1940′s technology we got two very different bombs to work on the first try (one was such a sure thing they did not test it). That undercuts all the people who say how hard it is to make a bomb now.

    Fred Cole

    ctlaw: Naming the bombs is relevant to differentiate them from each other. Little Boy was a uranium gun-type device. Fat Man was a plutonium implosion device. Different considerations attended the production of the fissile material and then the devices.

    If the revised curriculum was simply a dumbing down, then eliminating the names would be a natural part of eliminating the discussion of the differences (without political motive).

    Of course, the dumbing down may have political origins. · 5 minutes ago

    Not for nothing, but what difference does it make that they were two different designs?

    Is that classroom time well spent?  Is it space well used in the text book? · 5 minutes ago

  12. Eric Wallace

    Barkha, I was thinking along the same lines. However, Alinsky says the enemy has to be “personalized.” In keeping with that commandment, I would expect the names to be kept and then crude jokes made or the names altered – but not eliminated altogether.

    Or should enemies in the present be personalized but history should be depersonalized, to emphasize our new history starting with Year 0?

  13. kidCoder

    The differences make a difference in a science class, perhaps. They operate under essentially the same basic principle, good enough for a history class. Even without names, you could pass the same information to a class “The first one worked like thus…”, etc.

    Nothing is gained or lost in removing the names, if the names only function to delineate the different types of mechanisms. So it follows that the reason must be something else.

    ctlaw: Naming the bombs is relevant to differentiate them from each other. Little Boy was a uranium gun-type device. Fat Man was a plutonium implosion device. Different considerations attended the production of the fissile material and then the devices.

    If the revised curriculum was simply a dumbing down, then eliminating the names would be a natural part of eliminating the discussion of the differences (without political motive).

    Of course, the dumbing down may have political origins. · 17 minutes ago

  14. Fred Cole
    ctlaw: In three years with early 1940′s technology we got two very different bombs to work on the first try (one was such a sure thing they did not test it). That undercuts all the people who say how hard it is to make a bomb now.

    So that’s your point?  That’s the end game?  That’s why those two names should be studied an explained in history classes?

  15. Mama Toad
    Fred Cole: Well, tell us why you think it’s important to know the names of those two bombs. · 1 hour ago

    I believe kidCoder’s point is that they were part of his history lessons before, and now the names are being left out. I think it is more instructive to ask why those names were left out. If they have been part of history books and documentaries in the past, and now history is washing them out, it raises the question of Why?

    I like (of course) my answer in #10.

  16. Fred Cole

    May I suggest a non malevolent explanation?

    The details of history that matter change over time.  As time passes, people are born and die, subsequent events occur  the details of history change.  Some matter, some matter less, with the values and perspective that come later on.

    Consider the Lindbergh Baby Kidnapping.   Charles Lindbergh  was the most famous man in the world.  The kidnapping was the crime of the century.  It didn’t matter as much to Baby Boomers.  For my mother, it’s probably the Manson Trial.  Charles Manson still terrifies my mother.  But to her the Lindbergh Kidnapping, the biggest story in the world, is a distant dusty non-event.  She caught faint echoes, but it didn’t matter.

    Those two names, which all of us here know, mattered to the “Greatest Generation” that lived through the war.  They mattered to the children of that generation, the Baby Boomers, who grew up in the shadow of that war.

  17. Fred Cole

    There are two generations between then and now, Gen Xers and Millennials.  The children of Millennials are in some cases 4 generations removed from the WW2 generation.

    Why do they need to know the name of two bombs that ended a war that ended 55 years before they were born?  It is a historical event in the far distant past.  It’s as remote to them as the Civil War.  Why do they need to know the names of those bombs?  Why does that matter to them?  What larger truth to they draw from it?

    At a certain point, more important things need to become separated from less important things.  We keep teaching the more important things and the less important things become footnotes, trivia.  Frankly, I’d rather have students taught the larger events, to understand their context and be able to use the information than to have them taught trivia.

    That the United States dropped two atomic bombs on Japan to end WW2 matter.  The names of those bombs, while once important, don’t.

  18. ctlaw
    kidCoder: …

    Nothing is gained or lost in removing the names, if the names only function to delineate the different types of mechanisms. So it follows that the reason must be something else.

    The whole point of names is to provide a shorthand. Once you are going to explain that the two are distinct (and if they have names) you should use those names. This applies to everything.

  19. Olive

    @ kidCoder: I was working on my homework for my history class (I’m in the 11th grade).

    You go, kidCoder! Way to join the conversation at an early age, and way to pay attention to what you’re seeing and hearing in class. 

    A very warm welcome to Ricochet. 

  20. 10 cents

    My guess in that for the writers the important thing is not the study of  history but the correct perspective of history. You are at such an impressionable age they fear these facts may give birth to bad ideas. 

    When I was younger hurricanes were named after women. Now they alternate between men’s names and women’s names. Somehow this was important to someone. Why, I will never know.   Little minds worry about such insignificant things. We live in an age where knowledge is considered more important than wisdom. This makes history not the facts from the past but propaganda for the future. 

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