Sixty-six years ago this week, US policymakers and President Truman made fateful decisions that meant the use of two atomic bombs against Japanese cities was almost inevitable—virtually unstoppable. Then film footage and other evidence of the true effects of the bomb were suppressed for decades. We’ve been living with the nuclear after-effects ever since, from Hiroshima to Fukushima.
Starting yesterday, and related to publication of my new book and e-book Atomic Cover-up, on that film suppression, I began offering a daily record of what transpired leading up the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, starting with Truman in his diary claiming that atomic bombs would only be dropped on military targets and not against “women and children.” Yesterday: The order to drop the bombs and the Potsdam Declaration calling for Japan’s surrender. (For more, including video, see my personal blog)
On this day in 1945:
—Truman continued to meet with Allied leaders in Germany, the Soviets got ready to declare war on Japan (“fini Japs” when that happened, Truman had written in his diary), and preparations to get the first A-bomb ready for use were finalized. The Japanese government released an edited version of the “unconditonal surrender” Potsdam declaration to their press and citizens, but had not yet rejected it. The Domei news agency had already predicted that the surrender demand “would be ignored.”
—Eleven days after the first, and quite secret, atomic test at Trinity, which spread wide clouds of radioactive fallout over residents downwind—livestock had been sickened or killed—radiation monitors had become concerned about the exposure for one family, the shpe of things to come. (J. Robert Oppenheimer and Gen. Leslie Groves, the heads of the project, at left.)
—Several more B-29s to be used in the first A-bomb mission landed at Kirtland Army Air Field in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The Indianapolis delivers Little Boy bomb units, and the U-235 projectile, to Tinian in the Pacfiic
—“A Petition to the President of the United States” organized by famed nuclear scientist Leo Szilard, and signed by sixty-eight of his Los Alamos colleagues, urgently urging caution on the use of the new weapon against Japan, continued to be held in some sort of limbo while Truman remained abroad.l .
—Incendiary raids on Japanese cities continued.
Greg Mitchell’s new book (also out as an e-book) is Atomic Cover-Up: Two US Soldiers, Hiroshima & Nagasaki, and The Greatest Movie Never Made. He also co-authored, with Robert Jay Lifton, Hiroshima in America.