August 6 and
August 9 will mark the 60th anniversaries of the US
atomic-bomb attacks on the Japanese cities
of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In
Hiroshima, an estimated 80,000 people were killed in a split second.
Some 13 square kilometers of the city was obliterated. By December, at
70,000 people had died from radiation and injuries.
Three days after Hiroshima's destruction,
the US dropped an A-bomb on
Nagasaki, resulting in the deaths of at least 70,000 people before the
year was out.
Since 1945, tens of thousands more residents of the two cities have
continued to suffer and die from radiation-induced cancers, birth
A tiny group of US rulers met secretly in Washington and callously
ordered this indiscriminate annihilation of civilian populations. They
explicit warnings. They rejected all alternatives, preferring to
inflict the most extreme human carnage
possible. They ordered and had
carried out the two worst terror acts in human history.
The 60th anniversaries will inevitably be marked by countless mass media
and speeches repeating the 60-year-old mantra that there
was no other choice but to use A-bombs
in order to avoid a bitter,
prolonged invasion of Japan.
July 21, the British New Scientist magazine undermined this chorus
when it reported that
two historians had uncovered evidence revealing
that ``the US decision to drop atomic bombs
on Hiroshima and Nagasaki
... was meant to kick-start the Cold War [against the Soviet Union,
Washington's war-time ally] rather than end the Second World War''.
director of the Nuclear Studies Institute at the American
University in Washington stated that
US President Harry Truman's
decision to blast the cities “was not just a war crime, it was a
With Mark Selden, a historian
from Cornell University in New York,
Kuznick studied the diplomatic archives of the US, Japan and the USSR.
They found that three days before Hiroshima, Truman agreed at a meeting
Japan was ``looking for peace''. His senior generals and political
advisers told him there
was no need to use the A-bomb. But the bombs
were dropped anyway. ``Impressing Russia was
more important than ending
the war'', Selden told the New Scientist.
the capitalist media immediately dubbed the historians' ``theory''
accords with the testimony of many central US
political and military players at the time,
including General Dwight
Eisenhower, who stated bluntly in a 1963 Newsweek interview that ``the
Japanese were ready to surrender and it wasn't necessary to hit them
Truman's chief of staff, Admiral William Leahy, stated in his memoirs
that ``the use of this barbarous weapon at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of
material assistance in our war against Japan. The Japanese were
already defeated and ready to surrender.''
At the time though, Washington cold-bloodedly decided to sweep away the
of hundreds of thousands of men, women and children to show off
the terrible power of its new super
weapon and underline the US rulers'
ruthless preparedness to use it.
terrible acts were intended to warn the leaders of the Soviet
Union that their cities would suffer
the same fate if the USSR attempted
to stand in the way of Washington's plans to create an ``American
Century'' of US global domination. Nuclear scientist Leo Szilard
recounted to his
biographers how Truman's secretary of state, James
Byrnes, told him before the Hiroshima attack
that ``Russia might be more
manageable if impressed by American military might and that a
demonstration of the bomb may impress Russia''.
Drunk from the success of its
nuclear bloodletting in Japan, Washington
planned and threatened the use of nuclear weapons on at least 20
occasions in the 1950s and 1960s, only being restrained when the USSR
enough nuclear-armed rockets to usher in the era of ``mutually
assured destruction'', and the US
rulers' fear that their use again of
nuclear weapons would led to a massive anti-US political revolt by
ordinary people around the world.
Washington's policy of nuclear terror remains
intact. The US refuses to
rule out the first use of nuclear weapons in a conflict. Its latest
Nuclear Posture Review envisages the use of nuclear weapons against
``rogue states'' and it is developing a new generation of
``battlefield'' nuclear weapons.
Fear of the political backlash that would be caused in the US and around
globe by the use of nuclear weapons remains the main restraint upon
the atomaniacs in Washington.
On this 60th anniversary year of history's
worst acts of terror, the most effective thing that people around the
world can do to keep that fear alive in the minds of the US rulers is to
ourselves to defeating Washington's current ``local’ wars of
terror in Afghanistan
From Green Left Weekly, August 3, 2005.
This article stress that: A) Japan was ready to surrender, B) the
bombs were used as a demonstration of U.S. power for the Soviet Union. The below
commentary misses 4 things: 1) The oft repeated in U.S. history books and
history programming that there would be the loss of 100s of thousands of U.S. soldiers if Japan was invaded is incorrect. 2) Japan had approached the King of Sweden for to notify the U.S. that they were ready
to negotiate. 3) U.S. wanted an unconditional surrender which would allow U.S.
corporations to open up Japanese markets. 4) Russia was about to enter the war
against Japan now that German was defeated, and the U.S. didn’t want Russia to be part of the repartition of the orient.
A second, and related issue, once an embarrassment, now conveniently forgotten, is that the Soviet Union had
repeatedly offered very attractive proposals for nuclear disarmament. The U.S.,
which had the overwhelming advantage for most of the cold war, would not set aside this advantage. In our patriotic press, the typical reason for US refusal of their offers was the issue of trust.--jk
For a list of lest links: http://www.greenleft.org.au/web_links/links_other_collections.htm