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Thursday, November 12, 2009

For Veterans Day: The Great Atomic Film Cover-Up

Among the most memorable vets I have encountered were two from World War II, Herb Sussan and Dan McGovern. They shot the official military footage in the ruins of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and then struggled to have it released so the world could be warned of the true dimensions of what the bomb could do. But they could not break through an incredibly harmful "coverup."

Since meeting Sussan, I have covered this and related stories, journeyed to the atomic cities, written dozens of major articles, was adviser to an award-winning 2005 doc film (Original Child Bomb) and co-authored with Robert Jay Lifton the book Hiroshima in America (click on book cover at left for more about it). You can read a long take on all of this at Huff Post today. Below: some of the suppressed footage, now released.

27 comments:

Bo Jacobs said...

Thanks Greg for posting this and for writing about it.

Mike said...

This is wonderful. It got us out of an awful war.

We should have used nuclear weapons in Afghanistan after 9/11.

Anonymous said...

You did not mention a book that to the extent I am aware was banned in the US for some time; Hiroshima-Nagasaki, a pictorial record of the atomic destruction, first printed may 5, 1978 as a gift to the world. leveraging the famous '10 dollars a foot' campaign to recover and copy all photos and film, it also has prints of artwork made by children and adults shortly after the bombs were dropped. It would be worth mentioning the 'I saw it!' comic series produced in Japan around that time. Greg if you have not seen the book, arrangements can be made for a loan. It is very well printed. - Steven

Anonymous said...

My father was in what would have been the first wave of troops in the invasion of Japan. He was also one of the many troops on the ground shortly after the bombs were dropped. My father felt that the United States did the right thing in dropping the bombs because of the lives it saved. He was also of the opinion that those photos of the massive destruction should be manditory viewing for all humanity. His statement "If every politician could just see what atomic weapons could do, they would be too scared to even think about using them." So, yes we should have used them and no, we should, as humanity, never think of using them again.

Anonymous said...

I think the soundtrack is either SPK or Graham Revell.

Steve Magruder said...

Mike, certainly you are saying what you're saying to get angry responses. You can't honestly believe what you just said, as that kind of sentiment is subhuman.

Anonymous said...

For the sake of the dead please remember the truth of these two dreadful days. The deployment of the bomb was less about avoiding an invasion, and more about preventing the Soviets from entering the Eastern theatre.

The Soviets were scheduled to enter three months after victory in Europe, which turned out to be August 4th or 5th or something like that... as it was they took N. Korea. Given time, the U.S. could have procured an unconditional surrender without actual deployment of the weapon on civilians. The horrific human cost is all the more sickening when one knows that it's primary purpose was saber-rattling at a supposed ally.

Anonymous said...

Oh yes the cover up was very real and planned from an early stage, starting with the willful stalling of surrender negotiations, when four cities were spared the daylight firebombings while the devices were readied, Hiroshima and Nagasaki on that list of course. Truman himself said Kyoto (on that list) was not to be a first target for the reason that it was a religious center. The comment about bullying russia is spot on and well known as is the reason for one explosion being a human experiment in uranium poisoning and the other Plutonium. So many people now know. The truth has actually been out for some time. Greg you could have published this story in the mid eighties but no matter, it's good to bring it out and be rational. We can do a lot for our image by apologizing for the nuclear bombings, and start building new creds by just recalling the nuclear sub fleet alone asking for nothing in return. We'd still have lots of nukes to go around. It's hard to come to grips with our image and history post WWII and it hurts, but the world economy is crashing in part because we just cant keep up the killing any more, and it's scary to think of so many nations now able to fight back on a national scale. The number of people that actually believe the 'millions of lives saved' line is fading quickly, but the need to face the facts and be rational and humble about what we've done and what we can do cannot fade or be swept aside. Oddly enough the nation that stands to suffer greatly from the bombing of Japan is us. Take one look at the horrendous ecological disaster looming in Washingtons states Hanford Reach reservation and think of what priorities are really important. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

The Freemasons named their bomb trinity and they bombed two cities where most of the inhabitants were catholics. Strange, but true. By the way, the Freemasons still call their idea NWO (New World Order.

ramedia said...

A larger discussion would be the decision to drop the bombs in the first place. We were told as children that the decision was made in order to hasten the end of the war, thus saving countless American and Japanese lives by reducing the need for invasion. In reality, the Japanese had already made an offer of conditional surrender and overtures towards unconditional surrender (before the bombs were dropped.) Communist Russia was massing troops on their Southern boarder as a show of force against the United State's intentions with China, Japan, and Southeast Asia. We dropped the bomb to back them off, and show proof of concept, i.e. show the Russians we had it and were crazy enough to use it.

Anonymous, your logic doesn't fly. How is you are able to assert that we "we should have used them" while simultaneously suggesting we never use them again. If you approve of their use in certain circumstances, then you give tacit approval of their use under similar circumstances in the future.

Dredd said...

Hopefully the species of humanity have evolved since then so we can focus on our survival.

Science 101 tells us that the Sun will go all Hiroshima & Nakasaki on us.

All the planets out to Mars will be vaporized in the future.

Technology must be used to save not to destroy if we want to avoid extinction.

Siobahn said...

Thank you for all of your work in bringing this to light. How easily we continue to wage war and manufacture weapons becuse the effects are hidden from us. Hiroshima and Nagasaki should have been a great impetus to work for peace.

Anonymous said...

you said in huff post that this needs to get out great then post the copy of the film on your blog shouldn't be any copyright since its government film

Anonymous said...

Mike's sentiment that this was good is completely human. We need to live up to the reality that humanity includes shameful and positive aspects, just like the bomb. Humans dropped this bomb, and humans like Mike still support it. Calling it "subhuman" is simply dishonest. Humans can be that bad, and we can also be good. The point is to recognize that we all inherently have such capabilities, and that's why we have to work hard to be good. If you dismiss bad views as "subhuman" then you are telling normal people that they have no reason to be wary about having such feelings.

devnet said...

Thanks for posting this...it was the single largest terrorist attack in the history of the world and it needed to be covered.

Anonymous said...

I am so glad we are not bombing women and children anymore. errrr. Nevermind.

Anonymous said...

This is NOT suppressed footage, they have been showing these same clips for at least the last 20 years, they even play a version at the Hiroshima memorial in Japan. Catch up and quit looking for a plot where there is none. You may want to take a closer look at how the current administration is taking us down a road to socialism and we are merrily following along....

chuckupd said...

I visited Nagasaki this past April. I was very offended by the presentations at the museum there which made over and over the argument that, basically, 'we never did anything to deserve such an awful thing happening to us'. And I kept thinking, 'Well, actually you did A LOT to deserve this happening to you.'

Thousands of innocent Koreans died in the bombing at Nagasaki. And how did they happen to be there? Japan had made them slave laborers.

I hate the way the Japanese have come to feel that their countless many war crimes have somehow sort of been washed away by their having been nuked. Now they feel their own war crimes don't count against them anymore because an even worse war crime was committed against them.

But, in fact, among their crimes against humanity is that their appalling behavior forced us to take this action to put a stop to them.

Anonymous said...

I cannot believe people are still so stupid. They desrved this? No, it was just an experiment, just to see if it worked.
Not only did they U.S. drop these bombs on innocent unarmed people, they poisoned the children and grandchildren of these people. Babies are STILL born with birth defects from those bombs.
Still..yeah defend that.

Anonymous said...

It may be worth mentioning that Japan has formally apologized to each country where war crimes occured in country, formally and openly.

rachael said...

My husband is in the military so I do believe in and understand that freedom is not free. However after seeing the effects of radiation on children and other innocent people, you could never convience me this was the only way.. When I see the pictures of children affected by the radiation it is so heart breaking, all I can think of is what if that were my kid or my mother...

Anonymous said...

Wonderful eh? You are proud of one of the greatest atrocities ever committed? I would send your sorry ass to Afghanistan.

FactOfLife said...

My god, I'm cold all over.

I remember being taught in high school that the Japanese were in some kind of national denial regarding WWII, and how their textbooks' treatment of it are all skewed and untrue. We should talk!
I'm astonished and disgusted that upon its declassification, nobody felt the film was newsy enough to air?! (Riiight. More like, nobody had the balls to even get near maybe kinda possibly looking like they were criticizing the military. Which is ridiculous. It's documentary footage. It's not like we didn't know the bombs had been dropped. It's not like we didn't know our soldiers had killed people.) Even now, it's never really come out. And I assume it won't until everyone who can actually remember it is conveniently dead. How different would today be if the world had seen it right away?

Anonymous said...

Get real. I saw these clips and more in grammar school, and more, after WWII. Picture of the devastation, as well as the Holocost, were in the Encyclopedia's up to about 1950, before they were pulled. Don't worry, A Dim Witted John will soon have nuclear weapons and future generations will say the pictures of Tel Aviv were suppressed after the nuclear holocost.

Anonymous said...

The footage needs to be shown... thanks for doing so.

War is disgusting, brutal, stupid, inhuman, and indefensible.

Too bad it is also unavoidable. All I can think is.... ``Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman's two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said "the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether."'

Just replace the words about the bondsman with words about the women and men of Nanjing, or Hiroshima, or Pearl Harbor, or the WTC, or Iraq, Israel, or Palestine...

QuestRepublic said...

There was only one peace overture authorized by the "Big Six" running the Japanese Government. That one peace feeler was rebuffed by the USSR. The planned invasion would have likely resulted in much greater loss of life than the A-bombs, for both Allies and Japanese. The Japanese could not win the war, but the “Big Six” were absolutely committed to a last “Decisive Battle” (Ketsu-Go). They believed that the war-weary Americans would agree to (unreasonable) demands by the “Big-Six” that the militarists remain in charge in Japan and that they be allowed to retain some possessions, such as Korea and Formosa and they be allowed to try their own war criminals. Not all senior officers would have chosen the bomb, but none of them thought we should have allowed the militarists to stay in power.

So what else to do? By 10-01-1945 the occupation authorities declared that 10 million Japanese were near starvation. No surprise since the Japanese Cabinet knew of the starvation probability in the Spring of 1945. Therefore continuing the very effective Naval Blockade would likely have resulted in many more civilian deaths. Or Truman could have let the Russians invade. The Japanese Cabinet never discussed surrendered to anyone, except with these unreasonable demands to stay in power.

Truman Administration knew this because they were reading not only the Japanese secret messages, but also those of thirty foreign nations, some of whom were our allies. In 1995 the rest of these secret Japanese intercepts of military and diplomatic traffic were finally declassified.

I suggest viewers here read "Downfall" by Richard B. Frank. The detailed assessment of these important questions is very even-handed. If you are a busy person, at least do yourself a favor and read the reviews at Amazon.

Anonymous said...

video was pulled from youtube... anybody know where they can be found?