Hiroshima-Nagasaki Remembrance, AUGUST 14, 2016
Compiled by Dick Bennett for a Culture of Peace, Justice, and Ecology
(1521 NEWSLETTERS as of 8-8-15 on Peace, Justice, and Ecology)
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Contents Hiroshima-Nagasaki Remembrance and Global
Nuclear Zero (Abolition) Newsletter 2016
Nuclear Zero (Abolition) Newsletter 2016
Hiroshima August 6, Nagasaki August 9, 1945
OMNI’S 2016 Hiroshima and Nagasaki Remembrance and Nuclear Abolition Program, August 14, “Morality & War: A New Future For All”
Dick’s Article on the Program in Free Weekly, http://www.freeweekly.com/2016/08/03/morality-and-war-a-new-future-for-all-the-annual-omni-remembrance-of-hiroshima-and-nagasaki-and-hope-of-abolishing-nuclear-weapons/
TAKE ACTION: Global Zero, World Beyond War, Peace and Planet, Win Without War, WAND
Global Zero: http://www.globalzero.org/our-movement; www.globalzero.org; firstname.lastname@example.org; Development Director, Mary Meredith at email@example.com .
David Swanson, World Beyond War, New UN Initiative: Treaty Proposed to Ban
Nuclear Weapons; Conference and Action in September
Nuclear Weapons; Conference and Action in September
Stephen Miles, Win Without War: Write Now
WAND, Contact Your Congressmen
President Obama Visits Hiroshima: 7 Responses
Greg Mitchell, Hollywood’s Whitewash of the Bombings
Joseph Gerson, H-N Events Around the World; Gerson on the Meaning of
Hiroshima and Problems of Deterrence
Hiroshima and Problems of Deterrence
Hastie, Condemn Air War Too
President John F. Kennedy, Jr.’s Speech for Peace His
OMNI PROGRAM 2016, U OF ARKANSAS, FULBRIGHT PEACE FOUNTAIN, SUNDAY, AUGUST 14, 7PM
“Morality & War: A New Future For All”
Program Master of Ceremonies – Kelly Mulhollan ·
Opening music – “Peace Prayer” – Kelly & Donna Mulhollan ·
Opening– Taiki Shibamoto - President Japanese Student Association ·
Proclamation from Mayor Lioneld Jordan ·
Poem – Shane White, OMNI UA Vice President ·
Music - “I Come and Stand By Every Door” (Pete Seeger / Nazim Hikmet) – Still on the Hill, Kelly & Donna Mulhollan ·
Obon Ceremony, floating of candles for ancestors.·
Reading of Names – Kenichi Serizawa and Analeigh Ulrich, Japanese Students Association ·
Poem - Christopher Balos, Marshallese Climate Change Activist ·
Keynote Speaker – Maria Santelli, Executive Director Center on Conscience and War “Witnessing and Mobilizing the Power of Conscience” ·
“Global Zero” – Matt Miller, OMNI UA President ·
Music – “Join Hands Together” Ginny & Ansel Ogle
Thank you for attending this year’s Remembrance. This evening’s program is being filmed by Richard Tiffany for archival and educational purposes. Please stay and visit while we share cold Arkansas watermelon together, from Ozark Natural Foods. Thanks to Lauren Hawkins for the posters and flyers; to Karen Takemoto for the Obon Ceremony.
Dick’s Article on the Program in Free Weekly, http://www.freeweekly.com/2016/08/03/morality-and-war-a-new-future-for-all-the-annual-omni-remembrance-of-hiroshima-and-nagasaki-and-hope-of-abolishing-nuclear-weapons/
TAKE ACTION: SUPPORT UN INITIATIVE, SIGN PETITION
TREATY TO BAN NUCLEAR WEAPONS, WRITE CONGRESSMEN
Global Zero Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Global Zero is an international non-partisan group of 300 world leaders dedicated to achieving the elimination of nuclear weapons. The initiative, launched in December 2008, promotes a phased withdrawal and verification for the destruction of all devices held by official and unofficial members of the nuclear club. The Global Zero campaign works toward building an international consensus and a sustained global movement of leaders and citizens for the elimination of nuclear weapons.
Goals include the initiation of United States-Russia bilateral negotiations for reductions to 1,000 total warheads each and commitments from the other key nuclear weapons countries to participate in multilateral negotiations for phased reductions of nuclear arsenals. Global Zero works to expand the diplomatic dialogue with key governments and continue to develop policy proposals on the critical issues related to the elimination of nuclear weapons.
The Global Zero plan for the phased, verified elimination of all nuclear weapons is a four-phased strategy to reach a global zero accord over 14 years (2010–2023) and to complete the dismantlement of all remaining nuclear warheads over the following seven years (2024–2030).
Phase 1 (2010–2013) Following conclusion of a START replacement accord, negotiate a bilateral accord for the United States and Russia to reduce to 1,000 total warheads each.
Phase 2 (2014–2018) In a multilateral framework, the U.S. and Russia reach agreement to reduce to 500 total warheads each (to be implemented by 2021) as long as all other nuclear weapons countries agree to freeze their stockpiles until 2018, followed by proportional reductions until 2021. Establish a comprehensive verification and enforcement system, and strengthen safeguards on the civilian nuclear fuel cycle to prevent diversion of materials to build weapons.
Phase 3 (2019–2023) Negotiate a global zero accord, signed by all nuclear capable countries, for the phased, verified, proportional reduction of all nuclear arsenals to zero total warheads by 2030.
Phase 4 (2024–2030) Complete the phased, verified, proportional reduction of all nuclear arsenals to zero total warheads by 2030 and continue the verification and enforcement system.
In releasing the plan, the Commission noted that over the past twenty years (1989–2009), the United States and Russia retired and destroyed twice as many nuclear warheads (40,000+) as this action plan proposes (20,000+) over the next twenty years (2009–2030).
Global Zero was launched in Paris in December 2008 by more than 100 political, civic, and military leaders. There, they announced a framework plan for the elimination of nuclear weapons, starting with deep reductions to the U.S. and Russian arsenals. Global Zero gave letters signed by more than 90 Global Zero leaders to President of the United States Barack Obama and President of the Russian Federation Dmitry Medvedev, urging them to commit to the elimination of nuclear weapons. Global Zero Commissioners Senator Chuck Hagel and Ambassador Richard Burt met with President Medvedev in Moscow and discussed the agenda.
On April 1, 2009 the two presidents met in London and issued a historic joint statement committing their “two countries to achieving a nuclear free world” and three days later in a speech in Prague, President Obama declared his intention to “seek to include all nuclear weapons states in this endeavor.” On the day of the meeting, the Times (of London) published an op-ed authored by six Global Zero leaders. Negotiations began between the two countries for a New START nuclear arms reduction treaty.
Prior to the July 6–8, 2009 Obama-Medvedev Summit, the international Global Zero Commission of 23 political and military leaders released a comprehensive, end-to-end plan for the elimination of nuclear weapons over the next 20 years. At their Summit, Presidents Obama and Medvedev announced a framework agreement for new reductions to U.S. and Russian arsenals– a critical first step toward multilateral negotiations for the elimination of all nuclear weapons as called for in the Global Zero Action Plan (GZAP).
At the 35th G8 summit in July 2009, world leaders announced their support of the Obama-Medvedev commitment to eliminate all nuclear weapons and called on all countries to “undertake further steps in nuclear disarmament.” Global Zero leaders believe the international consensus for the elimination of nuclear weapons is reaching a critical mass, especially given the declarations of political leaders during the special U.N. Security Council session on proliferation and disarmament convened by President Obama (September 24, 2009). President Obama received the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize in acknowledgment to his efforts for nuclear disarmament.
During 2010, the initiative has continued with the Global Zero Summit (February 2–4, 2010), signing of the New STARTtreaty (April 8, 2010), the Nuclear Security Summit (April 12–13, 2010) and the Non Proliferation Treaty Review Conference (May 3–28, 2010).
A Path Toward Abolishing Nuclear Weapons
9:02 AM (11 hours ago)
World Beyond War Conference and Action in September
Thank you for signing the petition to move toward abolishing nuclear weapons. You can also help build a movement to abolish all war by adding your name here: http://worldbeyondwar.org/individual You can get more involved in working for a nuclear weapons ban by participating in the No War 2016 conference in September in Washington. Register here: http://worldbeyondwar.org/nowar2016
Letter to the Editor Now
The lessons of Hiroshima
5:11 PM (3 hours ago)
Love Trumps Hate on Nagasaki DAY
11:01 AM (2 hours ago)
OBAMA TO HIROSHIMA : Seven Responses
Rpt. in AD-G 5-11-16
Horowski, Global Zero
Swanson, Win Without War
Gerson, Peace and Planet
Amy Goodman, Democracy Now
Veterans for Peace
Boardman, Historic Empty Suit
Obama to visit city hit by A-bomb
70 years after blast, he’ll see Hiroshima, won’t offer apology
Compiled by Democrat-Gazette staff from wire reports
This article was originally published May 11, 2016 at 3:50 a.m. Updated May 11, 2016 at 3:50 a.m.
PHOTO BY AP / STANLEY TROUTMAN
In this Sept. 8, 1945, file photo, an allied correspondent stands in front of a building that once was a movie theater in Hiroshima, Japan, a month after the first atomic bomb ever used in warfare was dropped by the U.S. on Aug. 6, 1945.
· aAFont Size
WASHINGTON -- On May 27, President Barack Obama will become the first sitting U.S. president to visit Hiroshima, where seven decades ago the U.S. dropped the devastating atomic bomb that ushered in the nuclear age.
By visiting the peace park near the epicenter of the 1945 attack, the president hopes to reinvigorate efforts worldwide to eliminate nuclear weapons, the White House said, while emphasizing that Obama will not go bearing an apology.
Deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes said: "He will not revisit the decision to use the atomic bomb at the end of World War II." Instead, Rhodes said in a statement, Obama will spotlight the toll of war and offer a "forward-looking vision" of a non-nuclear world.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who will accompany Obama on the visit, said no apology is expected or necessary.
"The prime minister of the world's only nation to have suffered atomic attacks, and the leader of the world's only nation to have used the atomic weapons at war will together pay respects for the victims," Abe told reporters. "I believe that would be a way to respond to the victims of the atomic bombings and the survivors who are still in pain."
The visit to Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park will occur after Obama attends a previously announced meeting of the Group of Seven leaders in Ise-Shima.
The U.S. attack on Hiroshima on Aug. 6, 1945, killed 140,000 people. A second bomb, dropped on Nagasaki three days later, killed 70,000. The bombings scarred generations of Japanese, both physically and mentally, but many Americans believe the bombings hastened the end of World War II and saved countless other lives. Japan announced its surrender on Aug. 15.
As for Obama's visit, the Japanese people are ready for this moment, seven decades in the making.
Survivors, especially, have long been waiting. The number of survivors who are recognized as "hibakusha" and entitled to medical assistance from the Japanese government was more than 183,000 as of March. Their average age is now older than 80.
"The day has finally come," said 91-year-old Sunao Tsuboi, a survivor of the bombing and head of a survivors group in the western Japanese city.
"We are not asking for an apology," Tsuboi told Japan's NHK television. "All we want is to see him lay flowers at the peace park and lower his head in silence. This would be a first step toward abolishing nuclear weapons."
The president's visit follows one by John Kerry, who in April became the first U.S. secretary of state to visit the memorial.
Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui praised Obama's plan as a "bold decision based on conscience and rationality" and said he hopes the president will listen to survivors' stories. Nagasaki Mayor Tomihisa Taue said the president would "send a powerful message, in his own words, toward achieving a world without nuclear weapons."
White House spokesman Josh Earnest said it was "entirely legitimate" for historians and the U.S. public to debate whether President Harry Truman's decision to drop the bomb was the right thing to do.
"But that's not what President Obama will do when he visits Hiroshima," Earnest said. "What President Obama will do is make note of the fact that the relationship between the United States and Japan has emerged stronger than anybody could have imagined back in 1945."
no-nukes activists leery
Anti-nuclear groups said a powerful presidential message was not enough: The president who delivered a stirring call for a nuclear-free world in a Prague address during the first year of his presidency needs to use his last year to take more specific steps, they said.
The president should "use the opportunity to map out concrete actions the United States and other countries can and will pursue to move closer to a world free of nuclear weapons," said Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association, a Washington-based nonprofit.
The Congressional Budget Office estimated in January 2015 that the administration's plans for nuclear forces would cost $348 billion over the next decade. Others have said it could approach $1 trillion over three decades.
"The plan to rebuild and refurbish every weapon that we have basically sort of throws the gauntlet down, and Russia and China feel like they have to match it," said Lisbeth Gronlund, co-director of the Union of Concerned Scientists' Global Security Program. "He has said really great things but his actions have not really been consistent with his words."
Gronlund's group has called for Obama to scale back the overhaul and reduce the U.S arsenal. Ellen Tauscher, Obama's former undersecretary of state for arms control, said she was "disappointed" that the president didn't push back against Pentagon plans to refurbish components of the U.S. nuclear arsenal in ways that could make it more potent.
Tauscher said she hasn't been persuaded by Pentagon arguments that all of the refurbished nuclear weapons are necessary and that conventional weapons can't achieve some of the same strategies.
"I'm not sold yet," she said in an interview. "Actually, I'm far from sold."
There are about 1,900 warheads in the U.S. nuclear arsenal, and under the modernization plan they would be refurbished or replaced, along with the bombers, missiles and submarines that can launch them, to last for the next 30 to 50 years, according to the Arms Control Association.
Earnest told reporters that Obama has "worked aggressively" to sign agreements with Russia to reduce nuclear stockpiles, and that the deal his administration negotiated last year with Iran to unwind the country's nuclear program would "block proliferation."
"The president has made this issue, nuclear security, a top priority," Earnest said. "Much of our work to refurbish our nuclear weapons stockpile has been conducted with the goal of ensuring the safety of those nuclear weapons but also enhancing their readiness. None of that detracts from the top-line goal the president has set out, which is to rid the world of nuclear weapons."
Information for this article was contributed by Nancy Benac, Mari Yamaguchi and Monika Mathur of The Associated Press and by Toluse Olorunnipa, Kenzo Taniai and Andy Sharp of Bloomberg News.
A Section on 05/11/2016
President Obama has two choices
Victory! Obama to visit Hiroshima
Obama to Hiroshima: Kevin Martin on Democracy Now & Send a Message
As you have no doubt heard or read, it has been confirmed President Obama will visit Hiroshima later this month following the G-7 summit in Japan.
Kevin Martin, President of Peace Action and a Peace and Planet Co-Convener was interviewed yesterday by on Democracy Now. It’s worth taking a few minutes to tune in to Kevin’s responses to the announcement, to the words of Nobel Laureate Oe Kenzaburo and Hosokawa Koji a Hiroshima Hibakusha.
It’s also not too late to send a message urging President Obama not to go to Hiroshima empty handed. We’re told that he wasn’t to “send a forward looking signal.” That signal could be
• Announcing the end of the $1 trillion triad
• Calling for commencement of the good faith negotiations for the complete elimination of nuclear weapons as required by the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty
• Ending the U.S. first-strike nuclear war-fighting strategy, or
• Announcing a significant unilateral reduction in the U.S. nuclear arsenal.
You can also express your solidarity with the Hibakusha(witness/survivors of the A-bombs) by signing their petition.
For Peace, Planet and a Nuclear-Free World,
Joseph Gerson is the author of Empire and the Bomb: How the US Uses Nuclear Weapons to Dominate the World.
PRESIDENT OBAMA VISITS HIROSHIMA CONTINUED
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Friday, June 3, 2016
President Obama’s visit to Hiroshima has been the subject of much commentary and debate. Peace activists, scientists and even the The New York Times called on Obama to use the occasion to announce meaningful steps toward worldwide nuclear disarmament, as he famously promised before receiving his premature Nobel Peace Prize.
At Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, Barack Obama delivered the kind of eloquent speech he is known for – some say his most eloquent yet. He called for an end to nuclear weapons. He said that the nuclear powers “…must have the courage to escape the logic of fear, and pursue a world without them.” Incisively, Obama added “We must change our mindset about war itself.”
President Obama announced no new steps, however, to achieve nuclear disarmament. Disappointingly, he stated, “We may not realize this goal in my lifetime.” <Full VFP Statement>
President Obama lays a wreath at Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park. (photo: AP)
"Historic" Empty Suit Visits Hiroshima
By William Boardman, Reader Supported News
05 June 16
[I read the version in Z Magazine July/August 2016. https://zcomm.org/zmagazine/historic-empty-suit-visits-hiroshima/ “The vision of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial is the complete international abolition of all nuclear weapons and the promotion of world peace. It’s where officials go to engage in lip service.”
END 7 ITEMS ON OBAMA’S VISIT TO HIROSHIMA
HOLLYWOOD’S VERSION OF THE DECISION TO DROP THE BOMBs ON HIROSHIMA AND NAGASAKI: Censorship, Cover-up, Whitewash http://whowhatwhy.org/2016/05/25/classic-hiroshima-bombing-gets-hollywood-makeover/ from Bill Orton
MAY 25, 2016 | GREG MITCHELL
CLASSIC WHO: HIROSHIMA BOMBING GETS HOLLYWOOD MAKEOVER
[Photo deleted --D] General Leslie Groves, middle, with lab director Robert Oppenheimer, left, receiving the E-Flag. Photo credit: Los Alamos National Lab / Flickr
President Barack Obama will finish up his current Asia trip by becoming the first sitting US president to visit Hiroshima, Japan, site of the fateful atomic bombing attack on Aug. 6, 1945, that killed tens of thousands of Japanese citizens.
The people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki suffered unspeakable horrors that day, and in the months and years that followed. Some in the US government didn’t want Americans to see what really happened. For perspective — and revelations — on that paradigm-changing event, in concurrence with Obama’s visit, WhoWhatWhy revisits past coverage of a painful final chapter to World War II.
What follows is author Greg Mitchell’s piece (which originally ran in 2014), examining Hollywood’s role in sanitizing the devastation and suffering at Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
You might wonder why most Americans, after Hiroshima, accepted the new nuclear dangers so readily, even as atomic bombs led to hydrogen bombs and the world’s stockpile of warheads mounted on intercontinental ballistic missiles expanded from mere dozens to thousands.
An important factor was the active suppression, by the Pentagon and other US agencies, of vital information about radiation effects and other nuclear dangers. I have documented this in two books, Hiroshima in America (with Robert Jay Lifton) and Atomic Cover-up: Two U.S. Soldiers, Hiroshima & Nagasaki, and The Greatest Movie Never Made. The cover-up extended even to Hollywood.
This is a cautionary tale, one that has only recently seen the light after being buried for decades. It exposes the official censorship—by the Truman White House—of a major Hollywood film on the bombing of Hiroshima. And the tale goes beyond censorship: it involves the outright falsification of major historical facts.1
A Propaganda Film is Born
The MGM drama, The Beginning or the End emerged in 1947, after many revisions, as a Hollywood version of America’s official nuclear narrative: The bomb was clearly necessary to end the war with Japan and save American lives—and we needed to build new and bigger weapons to protect us from the Soviets.
Just weeks after the Hiroshima attack in August 1945, Sam Marx, a producer at MGM, received a call from agent Tony Owen, who said his wife, actress Donna Reed, had received some fascinating letters from her high school chemistry teacher. That teacher, Dr. Edward Tomkins, who was then at the Oak Ridge nuclear site, wrote to ask if Hollywood had a feature on the atomic bomb in the works, one that would warn the world about the dangers of a nuclear arms race. He was surprised to learn they did not. But this would soon change.
Tompkins’ letter set in motion what MGM boss Louis B. Mayer, a conservative Republican, called “the most important story” he would ever film. MGM hired Norman Taurog to direct the film, and Hume Cronyn to star as physicist Robert Oppenheimer, who headed the scientific effort to create the bomb.
President Truman himself provided the title, The Beginning or the End. Within weeks, as I learned through archival research, MGM writers were meeting with the atomic scientists at Oak Ridge and elsewhere.
My fascination with the making, and unmaking, of this seminal film about the dawn of the Atomic Age took me to the Truman Library, where I was the first to consult key documents, White House letters and scripts. The story of the derailing of the movie, and why it was important, is told in my book, “Hollywood Bomb.”
The Bombing Gets a Hollywood Makeover
The early scripts, which I discovered at the library, raised doubts about President Truman’s decision to drop the bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima—and portrayed the effects of the bombing with a stark realism that would have shocked many viewers.
The script called for shots of a bombed-out Hiroshima as ghostlike ruins, with close-ups of a baby with a burned face. The underlying message reflected the regrets of many of the scientists who had worked to create the bomb: It would have been better to continue the war—even if it meant a full-scale invasion of Japan—“than release atomic energy in the world.”
But then something happened, and the “message” of The Beginning or the End shifted radically.
The reason for the shift was clear: General Leslie Groves, the director of the Manhattan Project who was back at the Pentagon, had secured the all-important right of script approval—along with a then-hefty $10,000 fee—and was playing an active role in reshaping the film.
Unlike Groves and Truman, nearly all of the scientists impersonated in the film—even Albert Einstein—were not given script approval (although they signed releases). The Hollywoodization of the bomb had begun.
Facts were suppressed, and events were completely fabricated:
Suppression of fact:
In revised scripts, the decision to use the bomb was presented as justifiable, even admirable. The doubts raised earlier just disappeared. And now, after scenes depicting the bombing of Hiroshima, no victims were shown, just a charred landscape filmed from the air.
Suppression of fact:
Under General Groves’ guidance, the revised script made light of nuclear fallout.
The B-29s flying over Hiroshima were pelted with heavy flak, a detail that made the attack seem more courageous. In fact, there was no anti-aircraft fire over Hiroshima.
One scene depicted fictional German scientists visiting a fabricated Japanese nuclear facility in—Hiroshima!
In another entirely false episode, Matt Cochran, a young scientist arming the bomb, prevents a chain reaction from blowing up 40,000 people on a Pacific island—and thereby exposes himself to a fatal dose of radiation. But before he dies, Matt concludes,
“God has not shown us a new way to destroy ourselves. Atomic energy is the hand he has extended to lift us from the ruins of war and lighten the burdens of peace.”
Harry Truman’s Behavior Gets a Hollywood Makeover
After screening the film, Walter Lippmann, the famed columnist, said he still found one scene “shocking.” It pictured Truman deciding, rather cavalierly, after only a brief reflection, that the United States would use the weapon against Japan. President Truman felt uncomfortable with the scene, as well.
Following protests from the White House, the rightwing MGM screenwriter James K. McGuinness deleted the offending scene and wrote a new one:
In the revised scene, Truman “reveals” that the United States would drop leaflets over Hiroshima warning of the coming attack with a new weapon as a means to “save lives.” There were no such leaflets.
The fictional Truman also says there was a “consensus” that dropping the bomb would shorten the war by a year. No such consensus existed.
And in the film the President predicts this “will mean life for…from 300,000 to half a million of America’s finest youth.” This was a highly inflated figure.
President Truman says that both Hiroshima and Nagasaki had been picked as targets for their military value. In fact, they were selected because they had not been bombed previously and so would demonstrate the power of this new weapon. In any case, the aiming points for release of the bombs was the center of the cities, not military bases.
The new scene also had Truman claiming he had spent “sleepless nights” making the decision. But in real life he proudly insisted he had never lost any sleep over it.
Suppression of fact:
The Truman White House demanded further changes. Among them, deleting a reference to morally concerned scientists who favored setting off a demonstration bomb for Japanese leaders in a remote area, to give them a chance to surrender before we dropped an atomic bomb on a city.
The claim that the bombing would shorten the war by “approximately” a year was ordered changed to “at least” a year.
Truman even wrote a letter to the actor who had portrayed him in the original scene, complaining that he made it seem as if the president had come to a “snap judgment” in deciding to use the bomb. As indicated above, the offending scene was rewritten. This prompted the actor, Roman Bohnen, to write a sarcastic letter to the President, informing him that people would be debating the decision to drop the bomb for 100 years “and posterity is quite apt to be a little rough.” He went on to suggest that Truman should play himself in the movie. Truman, who normally ignored critical letters, took the trouble to reply and defend the atomic bomb decision, revealing, “I have no qualms about it whatever.”
Soon—likely on orders from the White House—Bohnen was replaced by another actor.
A Manufactured “Aura of Authenticity”
The drama that emerged in 1947, after many revisions, was a Hollywood version of what became America’s official nuclear narrative: The bomb was clearly necessary to end the war with Japan and save American lives—and we needed to build new and bigger weapons to protect us from the Soviets. The movie was seen by hundreds of thousands of Americans. Because of its quasi-documentary form, most viewers probably accepted its depiction of events as accurate.
The Beginning or the End, which billed itself as “basically a true story,” opened across the country in March 1947 to mixed reviews. Time laughed at the film’s “cheery imbecility,” but Variety praised its “aura of authenticity and special historical significance.” Bosley Crowther, the New York Times critic, applauded its handling of the moral issues in portraying the “necessary evil” of the atomic attacks.
On the other hand, Harrison Brown, who had worked on the bomb, exposed some of the film’s factual errors in The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists. He called the claim that warning leaflets had been showered on Hiroshima the “most horrible falsification of history.”
Physicist Leo Szilard knew what violence had been done to the truth. He summed it up this way: “If our sin as scientists was to make and use the bomb, then our punishment was to watch The Beginning or the End.”
Life Magazine photo.
Mutual Assured Destruction
Mankind’s punishment would be the era of MAD, or Mutual Assured Destruction—the Cold War doctrine that pitted the locked-and-loaded nuclear arsenals of the United States and the Soviet Union against each other in a 50-year standoff. Those nuclear weapons, still on hair-trigger fuses—as well as those possessed by China, Pakistan, North Korea, Israel and other nations—continue to threaten the existence of life on earth whenever political leaders play “chicken” with one another for “strategic” advantage. And the nuclear arms race fed the vast nuclear power industry, marked by its own unprecedented dangers and accidents from Three Mile Island to Chernobyl and Fukushima.
Greg Mitchell is the author of more than a dozen books, including “Hiroshima in America” (with Robert Jay Lifton) and “Atomic Cover-up” and “Hollywood Bomb.” He is the former editor of Nuclear Times and Editor & Publisher and writes a daily column at The Nation.
Finding/Listing Hiroshima Nagasaki Events - Plus Background Info (3 questions answered)
With the Hiroshima and Nagasaki commemorations approaching, I thought it would be helpful to remind you that you can find and/or list events on both the Chain Reaction and United For Peace and Justice web sites.
Also, against the chance that it might prove helpful, following are my responses to an inquiry for the International Peace Bureau’s newsletter. It addresses three questions: the meaning of Hiroshima, the growing great power tensions in the Asia-Pacific, and the problems with “deterrence.”
For Peace & Justice,
For the International Peace Bureau Newsletter
1.) What does Hiroshima mean today?
The A-bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, among the world’s worst war crimes, marked the most fundamentally important turning point in human history. Humans now possessed the capacity to exterminate all life as we know it. Einstein was right that everything changed except our thinking. The A-bombs, killed more than 200,000 people by year’s end– many in most painful and horrible ways. Hundreds of thousands more died over time and to this day with a host of radiation inflicted diseases. As the surviving Hibakusha (A-bomb witness/survivors) teach us as urgently as they can that the meaning of Hiroshima and Nagasaki is that human beings and nuclear weapons cannot coexist.
Joseph Rotblat, the sole senior Manhattan Project scientist to quit for moral reasons and founder of the Pugwash Conference explained that after Hiroshima, our species faced the stark choice of either completely eliminating the world’s nuclear weapons, or they would eliminate us.
The A-bombs illustrated the degree of brutality that ostensibly rational people can inflict in the drive for power, domination and as a consequence of “othering” and racism. The determinative reasons for the A-bombings were to bring the war against Japan to an immediate end and to send an early Cold War message to Moscow. One goal was to win Japan’s surrender before the U.S. had to share power and influence with the Soviet Union in northern China, Manchuria and Korea. The A-bombings were also designed to intimidate Stalin and his coterie, demonstrating the power of the United States’ new super weapons, and the will to use them, even against innocent civilians. As Truman wrote, with the A-bomb, he would have “a hammer over those boys.”. These actions were reinforced by the widespread wartime racist propaganda that Japanese were “vermin to be exterminated.”
The outrageous propaganda myth that the A-bombings were necessary to end the war with Japan, and that it saved hundreds of thousands of U.S. and Japanese lives continues to serve, in the U.S., as the ideological foundation for the ostensibly “legitimate” preparations and threats to initiate nuclear war. In fact, Japan was attempting to surrender on the terms ultimately accepted by President Truman. And his Secretary of War had advised that Japan’s surrender could be arranged on terms acceptable to the United States. Senior generals and admirals, from Eisenhower and Leahy, to (firebomber) to Le May and Nimitz advised that Japan was already defeated, that its surrender was merely a matter of time, and that the A-bombings were unnecessary. This and much more information has been systemically kept from the majority of U.S. people.
2.) How do you assess the danger of a nuclear war in South Asia?
We need to heed the warning of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists whose Doomsday Clock remains set at three minutes to midnight. As in Europe, the dangers of catastrophic nuclear wars in South Asia are serious, and they emanate from more than the traditional great powers. With both the United States and China upgrading their nuclear arsenals and delivery systems, there is a nuclear dimension to the world’s most intensive arms race. With growing tensions, military buildups, operations and exercises in the South China Sea (now the geopolitical center of the struggle for world power) and the East China Sea (Japan and China) there is the danger that an accident or unanticipated incident (for example a panicked soldier shooting down an adversary’s plane) could lead to escalation that cannot be contained. To a lesser degree, the same applies to continuing tensions over Taiwn, which is again ruled by a pro-independence party and – as in 1996 when the U.S. and China both engaged in nuclear “signaling” – remains backed by the United States.
India and Pakistan are also engaged in a nuclear arms race. During the 1999 Kargil War they each threatened the other with nuclear attack, and tensions ranging from Pakistani-backed acts of terrorism to the struggle for control of Kashmir could trigger yet another Indo-Pakistani war. Worse, a study initiated by Physicians for Social Responsibility informs us that fires from a nuclear exchange of 50-100 Indian and Pakistani nuclear weapons could lead to global cooling, famine, and the deaths of up to two billion people.
With simulated U.S. nuclear attacks against North Korea and North Korea’s nuclear weapons program, the dangers of nuclear weapons accidents, miscalculation and even intentional nuclear warfighting remain.
3.) In your opinion, does nuclear deterrence contribute to global peacekeeping and international security?
The concept of nuclear deterrence is misleading and extremely dangerous. Since they were first deployed, these weapons have been used for more than what most people understand as deterrence: preventing nuclear attack by other nuclear powers. As Bush the Lesser’s Pentagon informed the world, their primary purpose is to prevent other nations from taking actions that are inimical to U.S. interests, for example ensuring U.S. hegemony over the oil-rich Middle East or defending successive South Korea dictatorships. Former Secretary of War Harold Brown testified that they serve another purpose. With nuclear weapons, he testified, U.S. conventional forces became "meaningful instruments of military and political power." Noam Chomsky explained that this means "we have succeeded in sufficiently intimidating anyone who might help protect people who we are determined to attack." Thus, as I detail in my book Empire and the Bomb, on more than thirty occasions during international crises and wars, the U.S. has prepared and/’or threatened to initiate nuclear war.
In analogous circumstances, every other nuclear power – even those whose policies seem to be more rooted in classical nuclear deterrence than those of the United States - has prepared and/or threatened to initiate nuclear war at least once.
Classical deterrence needs to fail just once – with incalculable human consequences – to demonstrate its fallibility. As we learned during the Cuban Missile Crisis, the unexpected happens, and things can go wrong. When the odds that the United States would initiate nuclear war were already estimated to be 50-50, the danger of nuclear cataclysm was heightened by the actions of rogue U.S. military officers and by orders to fire nuclear armed missiles that were mistakenly conveyed to U.S. troops in Okinawa. Eric Schlosser’s definitive study in Command and Control demonstrates that such mistakes, miscalculations and accidents didn’t end in 1962.
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INCLUDE AIR WAR IN THE GENOCIDAL DANGER
Mike Hastie. “Patriotic Genocide.” Peace In Our Times (Winter 2016). 21. http://vietnamfulldisclosure.org/index.php/patriotic-genocide-by-mike-hastie/
Powerful, original argument that US continued Hiroshimas in its even more destructive post-nuclear wars. For example, “In Indo-china at least 8,000,000 tons [of bombs] were dropped,” 6 million more than during WWII. “This was equivalent to 640 Hiroshimas.”
www.rollingstone.com/.../john-f-kennedys-vision-of-peace... Rolling Stone
Nov 20, 2013 - On November 22nd, 1963, my uncle, president John F. Kennedy, went to ... ground troops, with some officials advocating for nuclear weapons. ... Clay railedagainst JFK's unwillingness to "face the risk of nuclear war" ..... On June 10th, 1963, at American University, Kennedy gave his greatest speech ever, ...
www.jfklibrary.org/JF... John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum
Access audio and video of JFK's most important speeches. ... Anti-Catholic prejudice, the fear that a Catholic president would "take orders" ... In the speech, which would later become known as “The City Upon a Hill” ... began conducting above ground nuclear tests, detonating perhaps 15 bombs during September 1961.
John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum
John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum ... In his speech the President asks the graduates to re-examine their attitudes towards peace, the ... atmospheric nuclear tests on the condition that other countries uphold this same promise. ... Not a Pax Americana enforced on the world by American weapons of war.
June 10 marks the 50th anniversary of one of JFK's most important speeches and ... new face of war...when a single nuclear weapons contains almost ten times ... President Obama would echo these sentiments in his own speech in Prague in ...
END OMNI’S HIROSHIMA NAGASAKI 2016 NEWSLETTER (August 14, 2016)