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Thursday, August 9, 2012

67 Years Ago: Truman Continues the 'Big Lie' About Hiroshima

On this day in 1945, the U.S. detonated it was second A-bomb above another Japanese city, killing at least 75,000 in Nagasaki, nearly all of them civilians (plus at least a dozen Dutch POWs).  See my post from earlier today.  That night, President Truman addressed the nation about the new weapon, and continued the lie embedded in his announcement of the Hiroshima bombing three days earlier.  This is what he said:  "The world will note that the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, a military base. That was because we wished in this first attack to avoid, insofar as possible, the killing of civilians."

Was there ever a bigger lie by a president--at least until Nixon's "I am not a crook"? Truman knew that while there was a military base at Hiroshima it was actually a major city of more than 250,000, the vast majority (with most of the men away at war) women and children.  (If the bomb had exploded on target, in fact, many more would had died.)  But Truman had to uphold the lie because there were now rumblings of protest against the atomic missions, notably from the National Council of Churches--and that had to be forestalled. 

But the cover-up had barely begun. Much more in my book and more here tomorrow.

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