W. E. B. Du Bois to Malcolm X: The Untold History of the Movement to Ban the Bomb

August 4, 2015
Published on

Coretta Scott King (R) with Women Strike for Peace founder Dagmar Wilson (L) in a march on the United Nations Plaza, New York City, Nov. 1, 1963. (Image: Bettmann/CORBIS)

When the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. announced his strong opposition to the war in Vietnam, the media attacked him for straying outside of his civil rights mandate. In so many words, powerful interests told him: “Mind your own business.” In fact, African American leaders have long been concerned with broad issues of peace and justice—and have especially opposed nuclear weapons. Unfortunately, this activism is left out of mainstream corporate-produced history textbooks.

On June 6, 1964, three Japanese writers and a group of hibakusha (atomic bomb survivors) arrived in Harlem as part of the Hiroshima/Nagasaki World Peace Study Mission. Their mission: to speak out against nuclear proliferation.

Yuri Kochiyama, a Japanese American activist, organized a reception for the hibakusha at her home in the Harlem Manhattanville Housing Projects, with her friend Malcolm X. Malcolm said, “You have been scarred by the atom bomb. You just saw that we have also been scarred. The bomb that hit us was racism.” He went on to discuss his years in prison, education, and Asian history. Turning to Vietnam, Malcolm said, “If America sends troops to Vietnam, you progressives should protest.” He argued that “the struggle of Vietnam is the struggle of the whole Third World: the struggle against colonialism, neocolonialism, and imperialism.” Malcolm X, like so many before him, consistently connected colonialism, peace, and the Black freedom struggle. Yet, students have rarely heard this story.

With the recent developments in Charleston surrounding the Confederate flag, there is a renewed focus on what should be included in U.S. history textbooks and who should determine the content. Focusing on African American history, too often textbooks reduce the Black freedom movement to the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the March on Washington. Rosa Parks and Dr. King are put in their neat categorical boxes and students are never taught the Black freedom struggle’s international dimensions, viewing slavery, Jim Crow, and the Civil Rights Movement as purely domestic phenomena unrelated to foreign affairs. However, Malcolm X joined a long list of African Americans who, from 1945 onward, actively supported nuclear disarmament. W. E. B. Du Bois, Bayard Rustin, Coretta Scott King, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and the Black Panther Party were just a few of the many African Americans who combined civil rights with peace, and thus broadened the Black freedom movement and helped define it in terms of global human rights.

If students learn about Du Bois at all, it is usually that he helped found the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) or that he received a PhD from Harvard. However, a few weeks after the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Du Bois likened President Truman to Adolph Hitler, calling him “one of the greatest killers of our day.” He had traveled to Japan and consistently criticized the use of nuclear weapons. In the 1950s, fearing another Hiroshima in Korea, Du Bois led the effort in the Black community to eliminate nuclear weapons with the “Ban the Bomb” petition. Many students go through their entire academic careers and learn nothing of Du Bois’ work in the international arena.

If students ever hear the name Bayard Rustin, it is usually related to his work with theMarch on Washington. He has been tragically marginalized in U.S. history textbooks, in large part because of his homosexuality. However, Rustin’s body of work in civil rights and peace activism dates back to the 1930s. In 1959, during the Civil Rights Movement, Rustin not only fought institutional racism in the United States, but also traveled to Ghana to try to prevent France from testing its first nuclear weapon in Africa.

These days, some textbooks acknowledge Dr. King’s critique of the Vietnam War. However, King’s actions against nuclear weapons began a full decade earlier in the late 1950s. From 1957 until his death, through speeches, sermons, interviews, and marches, King consistently protested the use of nuclear weapons and war. King called for an end to nuclear testing asking, “What will be the ultimate value of having established social justice in a context where all people, Negro and White, are merely free to face destruction by Strontium-90 or atomic war?” Following the Cuban Missile Crisis in October 1962, King called on the government to take some of the billions of dollars spent on nuclear weapons and use those funds to increase teachers’ salaries and build much needed schools in impoverished communities. Two years later, receiving the Nobel Peace Prize, King argued the spiritual and moral lag in our society was due to three problems: racial injustice, poverty, and war. He warned that in the nuclear age, society must eliminate racism or risk annihilation.

Dr. King’s wife largely inspired his antinuclear stance. Coretta Scott King began her activism as a student at Antioch College. Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, King worked with various peace organizations, and along with a group of female activists, began pressuring President Kennedy for a nuclear test ban. In 1962, Coretta King served as a delegate for Women Strike for Peace at a disarmament conference in Geneva that was part of a worldwide effort to push for a nuclear test ban treaty between the United States and the Soviet Union. Upon her return, King spoke at AME church in Chicago, saying: “We are on the brink of destroying ourselves through nuclear warfare . . . . The Civil Rights Movement and the Peace Movement must work together ultimately because peace and civil rights are part of the same problem.”

Soon, we will commemorate the 70th anniversaries of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Not long after comes the anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington. Students will then return to school and to their history textbooks. However, most will not learn how these issues are connected. They will not learn of all those in the Civil Rights Movement who simultaneously fought for peace. But this must change, and soon. The scarring of war and poverty and racism that Malcolm X spoke of continues. It’s time that students learn about the long history of activism that has challenged these deadly triplets.

Vincent J. Intondi is an associate professor of history at Montgomery College and director of research for American University’s Nuclear Studies Institute. He is the author ofAfrican Americans Against the Bomb: Nuclear Weapons, Colonialism, and the Black Freedom Movement (Stanford University Press, 2015).

The Revolt Against the Ruling Class

August 4, 2015

Robert Reich. (photo: Richard Morgenstein)
Robert Reich. (photo: Richard Morgenstein)

By Robert Reich, Robert Reich’s Blog

03 August 15


e can’t possibly win the nomination,” is the phrase heard most often when Washington insiders mention either Donald Trump or Bernie Sanders.

Yet as enthusiasm for the bombastic billionaire and the socialist senior continues to build within each party, the political establishment is mystified.

Political insiders don’t see that the biggest political phenomenon in America today is a revolt against the “ruling class” of insiders that have dominated Washington for more than three decades.

In two very different ways, Trump and Sanders are agents of this revolt. I’ll explain the two ways in a moment.

Don’t confuse this for the public’s typical attraction to candidates posing as political outsiders who’ll clean up the mess, even when they’re really insiders who contributed to the mess.

What’s new is the degree of anger now focused on those who have had power over our economic and political system since the start of the 1980s.

Included are presidents and congressional leaders from both parties, along with their retinues of policy advisors, political strategists, and spin-doctors.

Most have remained in Washington even when not in power, as lobbyists, campaign consultants, go-to lawyers, financial bundlers, and power brokers.

The other half of the ruling class comprises the corporate executives, Wall Street chiefs, and multi-millionaires who have assisted and enabled these political leaders – and for whom the politicians have provided political favors in return.

America has long had a ruling class but the public was willing to tolerate it during the three decades after World War II, when prosperity was widely shared and when the Soviet Union posed a palpable threat. Then, the ruling class seemed benevolent and wise.

Yet in the last three decades – when almost all the nation’s economic gains have gone to the top while the wages of most people have gone nowhere – the ruling class has seemed to pad its own pockets at the expense of the rest of America.

We’ve witnessed self-dealing on a monumental scale – starting with the junk-bond takeovers of the 1980s, followed by the Savings and Loan crisis, the corporate scandals of the early 2000s (Enron, Adelphia, Global Crossing, Tyco, Worldcom), and culminating in the near meltdown of Wall Street in 2008 and the taxpayer-financed bailout.

Along the way, millions of Americans lost their jobs their savings, and their homes.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court has opened the floodgates to big money in politics wider than ever.  Taxes have been cut on top incomes, tax loopholes widened, government debt has grown, public services have been cut. And not a single Wall Street executive has gone to jail.

The game seems rigged – riddled with abuses of power, crony capitalism, and corporate welfare.

In 1964, Americans agreed by 64% to 29% that government was run for the benefit of all the people. By 2012, the response had reversed, with voters saying by 79% to 19% that government was “run by a few big interests looking after themselves.”

Which has made it harder for ordinary people to get ahead. In 2001 a Gallup poll found 77 percent of Americans satisfied with opportunities to get ahead by working hard and 22 percent dissatisfied. By 2014, only 54 percent were satisfied and 45 percent dissatisfied.

The resulting fury at ruling class has taken two quite different forms.

On the right are the wreckers. The Tea Party, which emerged soon after the Wall Street bailout, has been intent on stopping government in its tracks and overthrowing a ruling class it sees as rotten to the core.

Its Republican protégés in Congress and state legislatures have attacked the Republican establishment. And they’ve wielded the wrecking balls of government shutdowns, threats to default on public debt, gerrymandering, voter suppression through strict ID laws, and outright appeals to racism.

Donald Trump is their human wrecking ball. The more outrageous his rants and putdowns of other politicians, the more popular he becomes among this segment of the public that’s thrilled by a bombastic, racist, billionaire who sticks it to the ruling class.

On the left are the rebuilders. The Occupy movement, which also emerged from the Wall Street bailout, was intent on displacing the ruling class and rebuilding our political-economic system from the ground up.

Occupy didn’t last but it put inequality on map. And the sentiments that fueled Occupy are still boiling.

Bernie Sanders personifies them. The more he advocates a fundamental retooling of our economy and democracy in favor of average working people, the more popular he becomes among those who no longer trust the ruling class to bring about necessary change.

Yet despite the growing revolt against the ruling class, it seems likely that the nominees in 2016 will be Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton. After all, the ruling class still controls America.

But the revolt against the ruling class won’t end with the 2016 election, regardless.

Which means the ruling class will have to change the way it rules America. Or it won’t rule too much longer.


TV: “Can’t believe it’s happened again” on San Francisco coast

August 4, 2015


— Mysterious whale deaths baffling scientists — Officials: An “inexplicable” trend — Dolphins wash up dead on beach nearby, “heartbreaking to hear the dying baby calling out” (VIDEO)

Posted: 03 Aug 2015 05:34 PM PDT

Japan A-bomb survivors speak out against nuclear power, decry Abe’s view of war

August 4, 2015

Japan A-bomb survivors speak out against nuclear power, decry Abe's view of warYoshiteru Kohata, a 86-year-old Nagasaki atomic bombing survivor and retired school teacher, who returned to his home region of Fukushima after World War Two, prays at the Haranomachi Airfield Monument in Minamisoma, Fukushima Prefecture, Japan, July 31, 2015. Haranomachi Airfield Monument is a memorial for those who trained during the war at the airfield as pilots, including ‘kamikaze’ who flew on suicide missions, and for those from the Haranomachi area who died in the war. Kohata said he, too, might have flown to his death had not an army colonel told him not to quit school and train as a pilot. “There were many who died at the age of 16,” he said. Survivors of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki attacks, 70 years ago this month, figure among a majority of Japanese opposing a plan to reboot reactors taken offline after the Fukushima nuclear disaster. On March 11, 2011, a massive tsunami devastated the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in northeast Japan, triggering meltdowns, spewing radiation and forcing tens of thousands of residents to flee their homes, making it the world’s worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl. The Sendai nuclear power station is expected to resume operations on August 10, the first to do so since Japan’s nuclear plants were shuttered following the Fukushima disaster. Picture taken July 31, 2015. REUTERS/Toru HanaiPICTURE 6 OF 12 FOR WIDER IMAGE STORY “A-BOMB SURVIVORS’ FUKUSHIMA DOUBTS”SEARCH “HANAI ATOMIC” FOR ALL PICTURES – RTX1MXGB

FUKUSHIMA CITY, Japan (Reuters) – —

When Atsushi Hoshino set out to revive a group representing atomic bomb survivors in the rural northeast Japanese prefecture of Fukushima 30 years ago, one topic was taboo — criticizing the nuclear power industry upon which many relied for jobs.

That changed dramatically after March 11, 2011, when a massive tsunami devastated the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, triggering meltdowns, spewing radiation and forcing tens of thousands of residents to flee their homes.

“Until then… I felt somewhat uncomfortable about nuclear power, but not enough to oppose it. Rather, I was in a situation where it wasn’t possible to oppose it,” Hoshino, 87, told Reuters at his home in Fukushima City, about 60 kilometers (37 miles) from the wrecked Fukushima Daiichi plant, the country’s first commercial nuclear plant when it went online in 1971.

Now, Hoshino, a survivor of the Aug. 6, 1945, U.S. atomic bombing of Hiroshima, is among the majority of Japanese who oppose Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s plan to reboot reactors taken offline after the Fukushima disaster. Kyushu Electric Power Co’s Sendai plant in southwestern Japan is expected to resume operations on Aug. 10, the first to do so in nearly two years.

“I think that since the risk of nuclear power and the fact that human beings cannot control it has become clear, none of the reactors should be restarted,” Hoshino said.

Akira Yamada, chairman of Fukushima’s atomic bomb survivors group, says he reached a similar conclusion. Still, both men are wary of comparing the risks of nuclear power to the horror of atomic weapons.

“There is a difference between military use and peaceful use,” Yamada, who like Hoshino became a professor at Fukushima University after the war and later served as its president, told Reuters.


Seventy years after the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings, the experiences of the elderly survivors remain seared in their memories.

Hoshino was a high school student deployed to a munitions factory when a U.S. bomber dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, killing nearly 140,000 people by the end of the year. Three days later, a second atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki.

On Aug. 15, Japan surrendered.

For Hoshino, who had been out of the city but returned to search for missing classmates, one of his starkest memories is of finding two friends, one seemingly unhurt but unconscious, the other barely alive with his entire body — including nose, lips, and eyes — burnt and blackened like charcoal.

The first died in a truck en route to their dorm. The other was alive, but his body was already infested with maggots, which Hoshino removed with tweezers, until that friend died, too.

“Even now, I cannot forget the appearance of those friends who were victims of the atomic bombing,” he said.

Nagasaki survivor Yoshiteru Kohata, 86, who returned to his birthplace in Fukushima a few years after the war’s end, says he long tried to forget the days after the bombing, when he helped injured and carried corpses up to the mountains for burial.

Recounting his experiences, such as hearing a young woman screaming “Please stop, please stop,” as an army doctor operated on her wounds without anesthetic, still distresses him.

“Even now, when I tell the story, tears well up and my chest gets tight,” added Kohata, a retired schoolteacher.


Yamada, 89, who was at home 2.5 kilometers from the center of the explosion when the bomb fell on Hiroshima, filling the sky with black clouds and red flames, says he knew early on that Japan was doomed to lose the war.

While Yamada was in middle school, his cousin, one year older, decided to apply to Yokaren, an Imperial Navy pilot school that ultimately trained many of the kamikazepilots who flew suicide missions in the final months of the conflict.

“I told him, ‘Give it up. Japan cannot win this war’.”

His cousin joined anyway and in February 1945 came to say farewell. “‘We have no gasoline. We have no planes. All I can do is die’. You stay alive and work for Japan’,” Yamada quoted his cousin as saying.

Two months after Japan’s surrender, the family was notified that his cousin had died in the bloody battle of Iwo Jima.

Kohata said he, too, might have flown to his death had not an army colonel told him not to quit school and train as a pilot. “There were many who died at the age of 16,” he said.

Like many hibakusha (atomic bomb survivors), Yamada, Hoshino and Kohata are harsh critics of Abe, whose conservative agenda includes easing the constraints of Japan’s pacifist, post-war constitution on the military and adopting a less apologetic tone over the war.

Abe is set to mark the 70th anniversary of the war’s end with a statement that some fear will dilute past apologies.

“If you delve into the atomic bombings, which had such inhumane results, it was because we fought that … war of aggression,” Yamada said, calling Japan’s wartime leaders “murderers.” “But Mr. Abe is not delving deeply.”

Hoshino was even blunter. “I don’t think Shinzo Abe … truly recognizes that the war was a criminal war of aggression.”

(c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2015. Click For Restrictions – http://about.reuters.com/fulllegal.asp

U.S. drops atomic bombs on Japan in 1945: How AP reported it

August 4, 2015

U.S. drops atomic bombs on Japan in 1945: How AP reported itFILE – In this Aug. 9, 1945 file photo, a mushroom cloud rises moments after the atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki, southern Japan. On two days in August 1945, U.S. planes dropped two atomic bombs, one on Hiroshima, one on Nagasaki, the first and only time nuclear weapons have been used. Their destructive power was unprecedented, incinerating buildings and people, and leaving lifelong scars on survivors, not just physical but also psychological, and on the cities themselves. Days later, World War II was over. (AP Photo/File)

One on Hiroshima, one on Nagasaki, the first and only time nuclear weapons have been used. Their unprecedented destructive power incinerated buildings and people and left lifelong physical and psychological scars on survivors and on the cities themselves. “Practically all living things, human and animal, were literally seared to death,” an AP story reported. A few days later, Japan announced its unconditional surrender. World War II was effectively over.

Seventy years later, the AP is making stories about the bombings and surrender available, along with photos.


WASHINGTON, AUG. 6. — An atomic bomb, hailed as the most terrible destructive force in history and as the greatest achievement of organized science, has been loosed upon Japan.

President (Harry) Truman disclosed in a White House statement at 11 a.m. Eastern War Time, today that the first use of the bomb — containing more power than 20,000 tons of TNT and producing more than 2,000 times the blast of the most powerful bomb ever dropped before — was made 16 hours earlier on Hiroshima, a Japanese army base.

(Tokyo Radio announced that Hiroshima was raided at 8:20 a.m. Monday  or 7:20 p.m. Sunday, United States Eastern War Time. That is about the time the bomb was dropped, but the Tokyo broadcast, recorded by the FCC, made no mention of any unusual destruction. It reported only that “a small number” of American B-29s attacked the city on southwestern Honshu with incendiary and explosive bombs.)

The raid on Hiroshima, located on Honshu Island on the shores of the Inland Sea, had not been disclosed previously although the 25th Air Force on Guam announced that 580 Superforts raided four Japanese cities at about the same time.

The atomic bomb is the answer, President Truman said, to Japan’s refusal to surrender. Secretary of War (Henry) Stimson predicted the bomb will prove a tremendous aid in shortening the Japanese war. Mr. Truman grimly warned that “even more powerful forms (of the bomb) are in development.”

“If they do not now accept our terms, they may expect a rain of ruin from the air the like of which has never been seen on this earth,” he said.

The War Department reported that “an impenetrable cloud of dust and smoke” cloaked Hiroshima after the bomb exploded. It was impossible to make an immediate assessment of the damage.

President Truman said he would recommend that Congress consider establishing a commission to control production of atomic power within the United States.

“I shall make recommendations to Congress as to how atomic power can become a powerful and forceful influence towards the maintenance of world peace,” he said. Both Mr. Truman and Stimson, while emphasizing the peace-time potentiality of the new force, made clear that much research must be undertaken to effect full peacetime application of its principles.

The product of $2,000,000,000 spent in research and production, the atomic bomb has been one of the most closely guarded secrets of the war. Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill gave the signal to start work on harnessing the forces of the atom. Mr. Truman said the Germans worked feverishly, but failed to solve the problem.

Meantime, American and British scientists studied the problem and developed two principal plants and some lesser factories for the production of atomic power.

The president disclosed that more than 65,000 persons now are working in great secrecy in these plants, adding: “We have spent $2,000,000,000 on the greatest scientific gamble in history — and won. We are now prepared to obliterate more rapidly and completely every productive enterprise the Japs have above ground in any city. We shall completely destroy Japan’s power to make war.”

The President noted that the Big Three ultimatum issued on July 26 at Potsdam was intended “to spare the Japanese people from utter destruction,” and the Japanese leaders rejected it. The atomic bomb now is the answer to that rejection, and the President said: ‘They may expect a rain of ruin from the air, the like of which has never been seen on this earth.”

Mr. Truman forecast that sea and land forces will follow up this air attack in such numbers and power as the Japanese never have witnessed. The President said that this discovery may open the way for an entirely new concept of force and power. The actual harnessing of atomic energy may in the future supplement the power that now comes from coal, oil and the great dams, he said.

“It has never been the habit of the scientists of this country or the policy of this government to withhold from the world scientific knowledge,” Mr. Truman said. “Normally, therefore, everything about the work with atomic energy would be made public.”

That will have to wait, however, he said, until the war emergency is over.


GUAM, AUG. 9 — The world’s second atomic bomb, most destructive explosive invented by man, was dropped on strategically important Nagasaki on western Kyushu Island at noon today.

Crew members radioed that results were good, but Gen. Carl A. Spaatz said additional details would not be disclosed until the mission returns.

Gen. Spaatz’s communique reporting the bombing did not say whether only one or more than one “mighty atom” was dropped.

The first atomic bomb destroyed more than 60 percent — 4.1 square miles — of Hiroshima, city of 343,000 population, Monday, and Radio Tokyo reported “practically every living thing” there was annihilated.

Although the second A-bomb was dropped on the day Russia went to war with Japan, it was not believed there had been any plan to make the two simultaneous.

Nagasaki, which had 211,000 population 10 years ago, is an important shipping and railway center. It was hit first by China-based B-29s a year ago this month and was heavily attacked by Far East Air Force bombers and fighters only last July 31 and on the following day.

Nagasaki, although only two-thirds as large as Hiroshima in population, is considered more important industrially. With a population now estimated at 255,000, its 12 square miles are packed with eave-to-eave buildings, which won it the name “sea of roofs.”

It was vitally important as a port for transshipment of military supplies and the embarkation of troops in support of Japan’s operation in China, Formosa, Southeast Asia and the southwest Pacific. It was highly important as a major shipbuilding and repair center for both naval and merchantmen. The city also included industrial suburbs of Inase and Akunoua on the western side of the harbor and Urakami. The bombing area is nearly double Hiroshima’s.

Japanese perished by uncounted thousands from the searing, crushing atomic blast that smashed Hiroshima, photographic and other evidence indicated today.

The Tokyo radio, which said that “practically all living things, human and animal, were literally seared to death,” reported that authorities were still unable to check the total casualties.

Following is the complete text of the Tokyo English-language broadcast as recorded by the Federal Communications Commission:

“With the gradual restoration of order following the disastrous ruin that struck the city of Hiroshima in the wake of the enemy’s new-type bomb on Monday morning, the authorities are still unable to obtain a definite check-up on the extent of the casualties sustained by the civilian population.

“Medical relief agencies that were rushed from the neighboring districts were unable to distinguish, much less identify, the dead from the injured.

“The impact of the bomb was so terrific that practically all living things, human and animals, were literally seared to death by the tremendous heat and pressure engendered by the blast. All of the dead and injured were burned beyond recognition.

“With houses and buildings crushed, including the emergency medical facilities, the authorities are having their hands full in giving every available relief possible under the circumstances.

“The effect of the bomb was widespread. Those outdoors burned to death, while those indoors were killed by the indescribable pressure and heat.”


WASHINGTON, AUG. 14 — The second world war, history’s greatest flood of death and destruction, ended tonight with Japan’s unconditional surrender.

Formalities still remained — the official signing of surrender terms and a proclamation of V-J Day.

But from the moment President Truman announced at 7 p.m. (EWT) that the enemy of the Pacific had agreed to Allied terms, the world put aside for a time woeful thoughts of the cost in dead and dollars and celebrated in wild frenzy. Formalities meant nothing to people freed at last of war.

To reporters crammed into his office, shoving now-useless war maps against a marble mantle, the president disclosed that:

Japan, without ever being invaded, had accepted completely and without reservation an Allied declaration of Potsdam, dictating unconditional surrender.

There is to be no power for the Japanese emperor — although Allies will let him remain their tool. No longer will the warlords reign, through him. Hirohito — or any successor — will take orders from MacArthur.

(From Tokyo just before midnight EWT came a broadcast saying Emperor Hirohito had told the Japanese people by radio that the Allies had begun “to employ a new and most cruel bomb” — the atomic bomb — and that to continue to fight “would lead to the total extinction of human civilization.”

(Hirohito said “this is the reason” the Japanese decided to get out of the war.)

Allied forces were forced to “suspend offensive action” everywhere.

From now on, only men under 26 will be drafted. Army draft calls will be cut from 80,000 a month to 50,000. Mr. Truman forecast that 5 million to 5.5 million soldiers may be released within 12 to 18 months.

The surrender announcement set in motion a whole chain of events. Among them:

To a Japanese government which once had boasted it would dictate peace terms to the White House, Mr. Truman dispatched orders to “direct prompt cessation of hostilities, tell MacArthur of the effective date, and hour, and send emissaries to the general to arrange formal surrender.

The War Manpower Commission terminated all manpower controls.

The Navy piled a $6,000,000,000 cancellation of contracts on top of a previous $1,300,000,000 cut in its shipbuilding program.

Congress was summoned back to work on Sept. 5, more than a month ahead of schedule, to get busy on unemployment compensation, surplus property disposal, full employment, government reorganization and the continuation or abolition of war agencies.

The Office of Censorship said it was getting ready to fold up. News, radio, and mail censorship are due to end on V-J Day.

Director Elmer Davis declared the life of the Office of War Information “soon will be over.”

A War Production Board official predicted that agency would go out of business once industry is on a solid footing.

Those were developments which on any other night would have commanded smash headlines. Those developments and surrender capped a week packed with some of history’s most stunning news:

The first atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Russia’s declaration of war, another atomic bomb on Nagasaki, Japan’s offer to surrender if she could have her emperor and his sovereign prerogatives, an Allied declaration that he would become merely their instrument.

Surrender followed — at an instant when carrier planes of the mighty Pacific fleet were a few seconds from their targets in the Tokyo area. Pilots eager for a last lick at a weakening foe were reported to have gotten this word from Adm. William F. Halsey, who wants to ride Hirohito’s white horse through Tokyo streets:

“It looks like the war is over. Cease fighting, but if you see any enemy planes in the air shoot them down in friendly fashion.”

So tonight there was reason for rejoicing. A war-wracked world made the most of it. Three times President Truman had to come out on the White House porch to greet the tremendous crowds — 75,000 people by official estimate — who jammed the streets and parks around the executive mansion.

They jammed so tightly against the iron fence around the White House grounds it looked as if they were coming right on through, despite military police stationed at four foot intervals.

The chief executive spent half an hour dining with his staff. For him there was no personal celebrating, even with close friends.

For days, the national capital had taken surrender reports with complete calm and a generous portion of salt. At 7 p.m., not a minute before or a minute earlier, it gave way to utter abandon.

But across the Potomac in the Pentagon building, nerve center of the Army’s winning war, there wasn’t any jubilation. There was no one left except a couple of bored public relations officers answering phones.

As the great news became known, hundreds of Washingtonians raced to the White House to join hundreds already massed around the grounds.

Mr. Truman, accompanied by his wife, walked out on the porch and stepped up to a hastily erected microphone. He waved and smiled. Then he spoke:

“Ladies and gentlemen, this is the great day. This is the day we have been looking for since Dec. 7, 1941.

“This is the day when fascism and police government ceases in the world.

“This is the day for the democracies.

“This is the day when we can start up our real task of implementation of free government in the world.

“We are faced with the greatest task we ever have been faced with. The emergency is as great as it was on Dec. 7, 1941.

“It is going to take the help of all of us to do it. I know we are going to do it.”

For millions of Americans, for hundreds of millions of Allied people, his surrender announcement signified victory, peace and the eventual return of loved ones from war. To millions who sleep beneath stark white crosses, it meant their sacrifices had not been vain.


The AP Corporate Archives contributed to this report.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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August 3, 2015
















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Nuclear War’s Unlearned Lessons

August 2, 2015


It has been 70 years since the U.S. nuclear destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the dangers of nuclear arsenals still exist today. The nuclear deal with Iran is extremely important for future generations who deserve to live in a nuclear weapon-free world.

This week the world remembers the events of 70 years ago in Japan, on Aug. 6 and 9, when the U.S. dropped the first atomic bombs on two cities – Hiroshima and Nagasaki. We are reminded that these bombs instantly killed more than 100,000 human beings and that in the days and weeks that followed, tens of thousands more died from injuries suffered during the bombing and from the effects of nuclear radiation afterward.

This year, on Aug. 6, the day the atomic bomb was dropped over Hiroshima, there will be worldwide vigils to remind humanity of the beginning events of our world’s nuclear history – tragedies of death and destruction.

To ensure these events are never repeated, we must educate those among us who are unaware or are uninformed about the real threats nuclear weapons pose. People need to know that in the seven decades that have followed the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, some of the world’s governments have done little to move away from the use of nuclear weapons. Inexplicably, many governments have even chosen to move closer to the brink of destroying civilization and the probability of causing the extinction of our species.

After witnessing the horrific reality caused by these weapons 70 years ago, mankind has always had two options. The first is to rid the planet of these weapons and the second is to build more. To the detriment of the world, governments like U.S. and Russia have consistently chosen the latter option.

The insane doctrine throughout the Cold War, appropriately called Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD), was based on guarantees of the annihilation of an adversary in retaliation for a first-strike. The MAD doctrine has resulted in an incorrect notion of nuclear war deterrence and has provided a false sense of security for most civilians who hope their governments are wise enough to not attack another nuclear power. The ill-advised faith in MAD has been the major driver of the arms race, which has so far encouraged governments to build another 15,685 nuclear weapons.

Following the bombings of Japan and subsequent nuclear testing by numerous governments, the world has proof of how destructive nuclear weapons really are. We have also recently learned that these weapons have the potential to be much more dangerous than most had ever imagined.

We now know that even a unilateral attack using the nuclear arsenals of either the U.S. or Russia, even without retaliation, would ultimately result in such catastrophic global climate change that billions would die from starvation and disease, including the people of the attacking nation. In effect, the MAD doctrine of the Cold War has become a doctrine of Self Assured Destruction which ultimately turns any nation that would unleash its nuclear arsenal into suicide bombers and the destroyers of their own civilization. SAD indeed.

Even a limited regional nuclear war using “only” 100 Hiroshima-size bombs, possibly between India and Pakistan, a vulnerable nuclear hot spot on the planet, would cause immense injury, death, and destruction. It is estimated that a nuclear strike of this size would kill 20 million people outright and the after effects resulting from global climate change in the days that follow would be catastrophic, killing more than two billion people around the world. The effects of a regional nuclear war like this would continue for more than 10 years. Remarkably, this scenario uses less than half of one percent of the global arsenals.

On this 70th anniversary of the nuclear age, we have an opportunity and responsibility to act. Knowing what we now know, we can no longer make the choice to sit idly. Ultimately the longer we adhere to the MAD doctrine, the more probable that our luck will run out and we will experience nuclear war either by accident or intent.

Citizens of the world must demand that our governments work together with the majority of nations, now numbering 113, who have signed the “Humanitarian Pledge” to ban nuclear weapons by convention. Every other weapon of mass destruction has been banned and nuclear weapons need to be banned as well.

All attempts at nonproliferation and diplomacy must be supported including the nuclear deal with Iran. America’s citizens must demand that our nation join the non-nuclear nations of the world and work together to abolish these weapons. We owe this to the survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings, to our children and to the future generations who deserve a nuclear weapon-free world.

USA Today: Millions of fish dead in Pacific Northwest — Ocean conditions have ‘gone to hell’

August 2, 2015


— Salmon covered in fungus, red lesions all over, big gaping sores — Extinction concerns, “it could be the end” — Experts: It’s crazy… Unprecedented… Catastrophic… Worst they’ve ever seen (VIDEO & PHOTOS)

Posted: 01 Aug 2015 02:43 PM PDT

Iranian Foreign Minister: Time for US, Other Nuclear Powers to Disarm

August 1, 2015
Published on

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif calls on US, Israel, and other atomic weapons nations to begin ‘new era’ of non-proliferation

"I sincerely believe that the nuclear agreement between my country—a non-nuclear-weapon state—and the P5+1 (which control almost all nuclear warheads on Earth) is symbolically significant enough to kickstart this paradigm shift and mark the beginning of a new era for the non-proliferation regime," said Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. (Photo: Marc Muller/Wikimedia/cc)

“I sincerely believe that the nuclear agreement between my country—a non-nuclear-weapon state—and the P5+1 (which control almost all nuclear warheads on Earth) is symbolically significant enough to kickstart this paradigm shift and mark the beginning of a new era for the non-proliferation regime,” said Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. (Photo: Marc Muller/Wikimedia/cc)

In the wake of the historic agreement between Iran and world powers, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Friday called on known nuclear weapons states, including the United States and Israel, to walk the walk and begin disarming their own atomic arsenals.

Writing in the Guardian, Zarif declared: “I sincerely believe that the nuclear agreement between my country—a non-nuclear-weapon state—and the P5+1 (which control almost all nuclear warheads on Earth) is symbolically significant enough to kickstart this paradigm shift and mark the beginning of a new era for the non-proliferation regime.”

“One of the many ironies of history is that non-nuclear-weapon states, like Iran, have actually done far more for the cause of non-proliferation in practice than nuclear-weapon states have done on paper,” Zarif noted.

There is no public evidence that Iran has a nuclear weapons program, and assessments by multiple U.S. government agencies have concluded the country has no plans to develop one.

“Meanwhile, states actually possessing these destructive weapons have hardly even ‘talked the talk,’ while completely brushing off their disarmament obligations under the non-proliferation treaty (NPT) and customary international law,” Zarif declared, referring to theTreaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.

“That is to say nothing of countries outside the NPT, or Israel, with an undeclared nuclear arsenal and a declared disdain towards non-proliferation, notwithstanding its absurd and alarmist campaign against the Iranian nuclear deal,” Zarif added.

All of the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council—the U.S., Russia, France, the U.K., and China—are known to possess nuclear weapons. Israel, India, Pakistan, and North Korea also posses nuclear arsenals but have not signed onto the NPT treaty.

However, in the U.S., opponents of the Iran deal, and even some supporters, have stoked fear about the alleged threat that Iran poses to the world.

“One step in the right direction,” Zarif urged, “would be to start negotiations for a weapons elimination treaty, backed by a robust monitoring and compliance-verification mechanism.”

Our 70th Anniversary Homework: Confronting the Myths and Learning the Lessons of Hiroshima and Nagasaki

August 1, 2015
Published on

In March of 1946, eight months after the atomic bomb was dropped, the city of Hiroshima stood in ruins. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)


Seventy years ago, two nuclear weapons targeted against cities which met the criteria of having “densely packed workers’ homes,”  killed more than 200,000 people in the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In the years that have followed, many more have suffered and died from cancers, radiation disease, genetic damage and other fallout from the atom bombings.

The myths that the A-bombings were necessary to end the war against Japan and that they saved the lives of half a million US troops remain widely believed. The myths serve as the ideological foundation for continuing U.S. preparations for nuclear war, which in turn has served as the primary driver of nuclear weapons proliferation and the creation of deterrent nuclear arsenals

It is no accident that this wartime propaganda took on a life of its own.  Japanese and other journalists’ film footage and photos of the devastation wrought by the A-bombs taken within days of the A-bombings, were seized by U.S. Occupation forces and were locked away in Pentagon vaults for more than two decades. In 1995, the Smithsonian Museum’s initially excellent 50th anniversary exhibition was censored beyond recognition to prevent people from seeing what the A-bombs inflicted on human beings. Also removed were the facts that U.S. Secretary of War Stimson had advised Truman that Japan’s surrender “could be arranged on terms acceptable to the United States” without the atom bombings. (That arrangement was later deemed acceptable – even necessary – by U.S. military occupation authorities.)  Indeed, before it was sterilized, the exhibit included quotations from senior US wartime military leaders including Admiral Leahy and General (later President) Eisenhower who thought, “It wasn’t necessary to hit [Japanese] with that awful thing.”

Scholars now know that numerous factors contributed to Truman’s decision to destroy Hiroshima and Nagasaki and their civilian populations. These include Truman’s political calculations as he looked to the 1948 presidential election, vengeance, racism, institutional inertia, and the callousness that came with already having burned more than sixty Japanese cities to the ground.

But, as General Leslie Groves, the commander of the Manhattan Project, told senior scientist Joseph Rotblat, the bombs came to be designed for the Soviet Union. The determinative reasons for the A-bombings were to bring the war to an immediate end so that the US could avoid sharing influence with the USSR in Northern China, Manchuria and Korea and to intimidate Stalin and other Soviet leaders by demonstrating the apocalyptic power of nuclear weapons and Washington’s willingness to use them – even against civilians. Little Boy and Fat Man, as the bombs were named, announced the beginning of the Cold War.

Americans also continue to suffer from the misconception that nuclear weapons have not been used since the Nagasaki A-bombing on August 9, 1945. In fact, the US, and to a lesser degree the other nuclear powers, have repeatedly used their nuclear arsenals. Long ago, Daniel Ellsberg, a senior Pentagon nuclear war planner for Presidents Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon, explained that the US has repeatedly used nuclear weapons “in the way that you use a gun when you point it at someone’s head in a confrontation….whether or not you pull the trigger…[and] You’re also using it when you have it on your hip ostentatiously.”  During wars and international crises, the US has prepared and/or threatened to initiate nuclear war on at least thirty occasions – at least 15 times during the Korean and Vietnam Wars and crises with China,  and at least 10 times to reinforce US Middle East hegemony.  And each of the other eight nuclear powers has made such threats or preparations at least once.

Eric Schlosser, author of Command and Control, reported last December to the  International Conference on the Consequences of Nuclear Weapons, attended by representatives of 158 governments that luck, not state policies and regulations, best explains why humanity has survived nuclear blackmail, reckless dependence on deterrence, miscalculations and nuclear accidents.

Still more sobering are the recent scientific studies demonstrating that even a “small” exchange of 50-100 nuclear weapons targeted against cities would result in fires, smoke that would cause global cooling,  and up to two billion deaths from famine.

All of which lead to a series of existential questions: As we race against time to save our civilizations from the impending ravages of climate change, why are our governments preparing to inflict nuclear annihilation?  Why do we tolerate the continued deployment and stockpiling of nearly 16,000 nuclear weapons, 90% of them in U.S. and Russian arsenals?  Why have the P-5 nuclear powers (US, Russia, Britain, France and China) refused to implement their 45 year-old Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) obligation to begin negotiations for the complete elimination of their nuclear arsenals? And why did the US condemn this past spring’s NPT Review Conference to failure by refusing to honor its long-standing commitment to co-convene a conference to lay the foundations for a nuclear weapons and weapons of mass destruction-free zone in the Middle East?

There are high costs to denying history and reality. In a worst case scenario, the failure of the US and the other nuclear powers to heed the warning of A-bomb survivors that human beings and nuclear weapons cannot coexist is the end to life on earth as we know it.

The majority of the world’s governments are not in similar denial.  The NPT Review Conference’s one achievement was the commitment of the vast majority of the world’s governments the Humanitarian Pledge. Initiated by Austria, 113 governments pledged “to cooperate with all relevant stakeholders, states, international organizations, the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, parliamentarians and civil society, in efforts to stigmatize, prohibit and eliminate nuclear weapons in light of their unacceptable humanitarian consequences and associated risks.” The gulf between the non-nuclear weapons states and the nuclear powers has widened, and in time the former may use their economic, political and other power in the struggle to secure humanity’s future.

On August 6, many in Japan will appreciate the silent presence of U.S. Ambassador Caroline Kennedy at Hiroshima’s official 70th anniversary commemoration, but there will be no apology. And, even as we celebrate and work for the implementation of the nuclear deal with Iran,  the sorry truth is that the US is now on track to spend one trillion dollars to “modernize” its nuclear arsenal and delivery systems, with the other nuclear powers following the U.S. lead. And, despite his pledge in Prague, President Obama has retired fewer nuclear weapons that any other US post-Cold War President.

As the US-Russian confrontation, marked by implicit and explicit nuclear threats remids us,  we are living on borrowed time.  Seventy years after the Hiroshima and Nagasaki A-bombings, human survival still hanging in the balance. Midst the carnival of the 2016 presidential election, let us insist that those who seek to rule us and the world finally learn the lessons of Hiroshima and Nagasaki: Never again to anyone! No more Hiroshimas! No More Nagasakis! No more nuclear weapons!  



Dr. Joseph Gerson is Director of Programs of the American Friends Service Committee in New England. His most recent book is Empire and the Bomb: How the US Uses Nuclear Weapons to Dominate the World. His previous books includeThe Sun Never Sets and With Hiroshima Eyes.


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