In the past 10 days I’ve written several articles for The Nation, marking the 65th anniversary of the atomic bombings of Japan, all of them detailingwith some form of suppression or "cover-up" of certain facts, truths or images about the attacks and the aftermath. Two of those articles are explored in separate but connected segments of NPR’s popular weekly "On the Media" program.
The segments, with Brooke Gladstone as narrator and interviewer, have been posted online, even as they begin to air on public radio stations all over the country this weekend. You can listen now.
The first segment concerns the outright censorship of the first articles written from Nagasaki by an American reporter, carried out by the U.S. military, under the direction of Douglas MacArthur. The articles, warning of "Disease X," by a well-regarded war correspondent George Weller, did not see the light of day for 60 years. And see my article here.
The second segment probes the little-known story of the first Hollywood movie about the making, and using, of the first bomb, The Beginning or The End — and how it started as a cautionery tale about a future arms race and other dangers and ended up as a glorification of The Bomb and its use against Japanese civilians. President Truman himself played a key role in editing the final script. The actor who played the president in the early takes was bounced after writing a critical letter to Truman. See article here.
Much more about all of this can be found in the book I wrote with fellow Nation veteran Robert Jay Lifton, Hiroshima in America.