NOTE -- I wrote the following  Crosscurrents article in 1983. It was adopted by the Toronto Board of Education as a resource for understanding the arms race, and distributed to all its secondary schools. Sources are included in the article and can be checked. It was also published in The Sheaf  (Univ. of Sask.); the Daily Star-Phoenix; Briar Patch magazine, and elsewhere. -- Bob Fink

 
 Extra 1983     Greenwich Publ. Saskatoon, Sask.     FAX: 306-244-0795 / TEL: 244-0679     ISSN 0704-6588

 
THE DECISION TO BOMB HIROSHIMA & NAGASAKI
 
I.
 
"It should be used as soon as possible;
 
"It should be used on a military installation surrounded by houses or other buildings most susceptible to damage;
 
"It should be used without explicit warning of the nature of the bomb."
 


Those were the words of the "Interim Committee of the Manhattan Project" in May, 1945. This was the group in charge of building the first atomic bomb.
The Target Committee of the Manhattan project believed it was desirable that the first use of the bomb be (according to notes, memos and documents formerly classified top secret for a generation) "sufficiently spectacular for the importance of the weapon to be internationally recognized when publicity on it was released."
At the same time, conscience-stricken scientists (from the Project`s laboratory in Chicago) petitioned the Interim Committee's Scientific Panel (Oppenheimer, Fermi, Lawrence and Compton) and Secretary of War Henry Stimson, asking them to limit the use of the bomb. This was the "Franck Report."
It asked that Japan be warned: that a non-military demonstration (for example in Tokyo Bay or before observers from many countries) be held in an uninhabited place, and that this would serve the purposes stated by Truman's administration.

"COVER STORIES"

However, cover stories within cover stories existed like Shakespeare's "play within a play." Truman had earlier written, after Yalta and Potsdam, in his Year of Decisions: "On July 24th, I casually mentioned to Stalin that we had a new weapon of special destructive force. The Russian Premier showed no unusual interest. All he said was that he was glad to hear it and hoped we would make 'good use of it' against the Japanese. Truman was annoyed that the Russians, having pushed the Nazis from the USSR al the way back to Germany, were now in Berlin; that their influence from the war would grow in Europe. He wanted a Sword of Damocles to hang over Russia's head. It was too late to show them the bomb in use against Germany.
 
 
THE JAPANESE SURRENDER
PRIOR TO THE DROPPING OF THE A-BOMBS
 
Really, it was also too late to use it against Japan, too. Already the Japanese were looking for terms of surrender, but these approaches for peace from Japan, not made public, even to members of the Manhattan Project, were ignored. The U.S. wanted no terms, no conditions; not even the safety of the Emperor could be guaranteed (although that request was granted, after the two atom bombs were dropped). Japan had to surrender immediately and unconditionally - the U.S. knowing full well that Japan could never go for that. (Add'l evidence, in square brackets, added 1999):
[That there really were surrender overtures by the Japanese was confirmed by a man who ought to know, CIA chief Allen Dulles. In an interview with Clifford Evans (1/19/63 (NY) WOR-TV), Dulles said: "I had been in touch with certain Japanese.... They...were ready to surrender provided the Emperor could be saved so as to have unity in Japan. I took that word to Secretary (of State) Stimson at Potsdam July 20, 1945...."
[Just weeks later, August 6 and August 9, Hiroshima and Nagasaki were bombed.]
The cover story for the public - and for dissenting scientists of the Franck Report - was that "a tremendous shock" was needed to end the war in Asia. But it had actually ended for all intents and purposes, considering the even greater decimation of Tokyo already from conventional bombing. In addition, most of Japan's navy had been destroyed, all its Axis allies were defeated, and its hold on the Pacific had been broken. For Truman, the real issue was that only a show of actual destruction from the bomb's use would serve to warn the USSR of the new formidable military power of the U.S. No harmless academic "demonstration" far from life would do. The Franck report was dismissed in just 4 days. A real city would be made a target.
[Additional, added in 1999: Dr. Joseph Rotblat, 1996 Nobel prize winner, was worried then that Germany would develop an atom bomb first, but after Germany's defeat, he no longer saw the need to work on the bomb, not even as a "deterrent." The original assurances given to the scientists, including Rotblat, to keep the scientists working on the horrendous bomb, was that its development would be a "deterrent" against its ever actually being dropped.
[But, as the deterrent idea began to lose credibility with Rotblat and others, General Groves, military administrator of the project, told Rotblat the bomb had to be used "to subdue the Russians." (From: Rotblat on CBC, 8/7/96)
[Groves did not inform the members of the Manhattan Project that Japan was suing for surrender.
[Another scientist, Hans Bethe, was given a similar message from Edward Teller, a leading project scientist. For this USSR-oriented goal, no mere "demonstration" would do. A real city -- indeed, two cities -- would have to be destroyed.]
The U.S. Congress (which is supposed to run the show) had been kept in total ignorance of the Manhattan Project, even though the War Department, by trying to disguise it in various budgets, spent $2 billion on it. (Indeed, few had any grasp of the whole of the project they were working on. Many working on it were ex-cons, murderers on the "lam " and they were told their criminal files would be burned if they 'played ball' with the project and Col. Paul Tibbet, who later piloted the bomber that flew the mission over Hiroshima.)
As time wore on, Congress grew aggressive and suspicious. What's it all for? came the demands. On August 6th and 9th, as Einstein bitterly noted then, Truman showed Congress that it got its money's worth; At the expense of nearly a quarter-million lives (including U.S. prisoners of war in Japanese target areas), Truman's overkill took the Congressional heat off himself.
 
 
TARGETING INSTANT HOLOCAUST
 
On the list of possible targets were Kokura, Hiroshima, Niigata and Kyoto. The documents read that Hiroshima "has the advantage of being such a size and with possible focusing from nearby mountains that a large fraction of the city may be destroyed."
All targets on the list I were then "reserved," and no conventional bombing was to be permitted there. The desire was that there be little or no prior bomb damage. For example, the damage already done to Tokyo by regular bombing would detract from the "spectacular" effect and measurement of the bomb's true power. Tokyo was thus excluded from the target list..
Other targets were debated, without conscience, on how "flat" they were so as to show the full ability of the bomb's blast to spread through a city of residential houses!!
Planners were finally "rewarded," as on August 6 Tibbet reported "success in all respects," after bombing Hiroshima.
What happened after was unbelievable, unearthly and for most of us today, unimaginable. This is based on official health & statistical reports analyzing the event:
In a microsecond, huge stone pillars were rammed deep into the ground. For those distant enough not to be vaporized by the 50 million degree core temperature, eyes were liquefied, pouring out of sockets; clothing was fused to skin, which hung in runny tatters and shreds. Trapped people were burning alive and many were covered from head to foot, stuck with splintered glass which the shock wave fired like a whirlwind of needle-shaped bullets through the air. Others, blinded by the flash, staggered into jagged debris. Children cried and whimpered, completely lost. Others wandered like a funeral procession of the living dead, while the mushroom cloud overhead blotted out the sun and brought on night. 180 of 200 doctors in Hiroshima were killed. Only 130 nurses were left from 1,800. 3 of 55 hospitals were all that remained, and 70,000 water-main breaks hampered the few remaining (16) fire trucks.
It should be pointed out that a Cruise missile will carry fifteen times the power of the Hiroshima death.
The barbaric and fascist regime of the Japanese military government and Emperor deserved any fate. But it was their oppressed subjects who paid, at U.S. hands, for their overlords' brutality. The documents all show the reasons for the bomb's use weren't military, nor to "save lives," but political.
 
HUMAN GUINEA PIGS
 
There were only two bombs available for the Project: "Little Boy," a uranium bomb dropped on Hiroshima (and almost lost when the U.S.S. Indianapolis was knocked out of the war just after delivering it to the Mariana Islands), and "Fat Man," a plutonium bomb, dropped on Nagasaki later.
Two types of prototype test bombs: Two cities bombed to "test" them.
Between bombs, a U.S. demand to surrender ("unconditionally" as always) came as if to appear that Truman was interested in saving lives.
But in the three days interim, not even a full report of the impact of this strange new bomb could be fully digested in Japan. The government in Tokyo, unwarned, had not seen the blast and could not react in three days and Truman knew it. (The Manhattan Project gave itself a full 4 days to reject the Franck Report.) Truman "made the record," and then ordered bomb number two dropped.
The test of the Plutonium type bomb obliterated 50,000 more people in Nagasaki on August 9,1945.
[Additional: added 1999: Only three days after the bombings, it was impossible for the Japanese government in Tokyo to know or digest what happened at Hiroshima.
[Imagine, if you had never even conceived in your mind the power of an atomic bomb, and suddenly all communications, travel simply end. Just total silence comes from a nearby city.
[How could you know that the cause of it was the utter destruction of the city? Who would tell you? Walking stragglers and a few drivers, with limited ability to know what strange horrendous new vision they had even seen (survivors would have to be fairly distant in order to survive), would take hours, perhaps days to reach a phone or nearby city, or Tokyo. Few would have believed their rantings.
[Even an official call from the USA's leaders to the government sitting in Tokyo that one of their cities was destroyed would be greeted with disbelief at first, as a strange trick or bluff. The Japanese would necessarily have taken time, likely days, just to check it out.
[But the scant 3 days allowed Truman to demand total unconditional immediate surrender on August 7th; and then, without waiting a reasonable time for the Japanese to regroup, meet, and to conference among their staff in order to draft a reply, Truman would claim he had an excuse to test the second bomb on Nagasaki.
[After that 2nd bomb killed hundreds of thousands more defenceless men, women and children, the U.S. demand for unconditional surrender (clearly designed to be ignored or rejected anyway) was no longer necessary to demand. Now it was OK for the U.S. to give a guarantee for the Emperor's safety!]
Truman had also been afraid that many might think the first bomb was a fluke "firestorm" such as had melted in one night hundreds of thousands of people huddled in Dresden's underground, Germany, from conventional bombs. While a "demonstration" of the bomb for international observers would have solved that problem, Truman wanted the world to believe the U.S. nuclear arsenal was actually larger than it was, that there were many bombs - as it was, there were only two bombs produced, both dropped...and the arms race began.
  
II.
 
Stalin was finally impressed by the effect of Truman's new weapon at Hiroshima. He very much wanted the bomb for Russia. When U.S. proposals to limit the bomb to America alone were uncompromising, Stalin's scientists accelerated their work.
Britain did the same. Britain's Clement Atlee explained: "We had to hold up our position vis-a-vis the Americans. We couldn't allow ourselves to be wholly in their hands...We had worked from the start for international control of the . bomb...we could not agree that only America should have atomic energy..."
In 1945, U.S. scientist Vannevar Bush prophetically proposed that an exchange of scientific information "would open the door to international collaboration...and eventually to effective control, the alternative being an atomic bomb race (as proved to be true)...this...would announce to the world that we wish to proceed down the path of international goodwill..." However, the keep-the-secret (even from the allies) view of the U.S. defence chiefs won the day.
 
BARUCH PLAN
(to "limit" atomic weapons)
 
Speaking for the U.S., Baruch said (NY Tribune, April 17, 1947): "The gains of our scientists, our engineers, our industrialists, produced the supreme weapon of all time - - the atomic bomb. That we shall never give away, until and unless security for us, for the world, is established. Until that time comes, the U.S. will remain the guardian of safety.. We can be trusted...."
Baruch offered a treaty:
The "Baruch Plan" called for international on-site inspection by a "control organ" and "swift and sure punishment" for violators of any treaty. The Baruch Plan was virtually designed to be rejected. Gromyko of the USSR stated at the United Nation s. on March 5, 1947: "The Soviet Union is aware that there will be a majority on the (Baruch control organ...on whose benevolence toward the Soviet Union the Soviet people cannot count. Therefore, the Soviet Union...cannot allow the fate of its national economy to be handed over to this organ...."
Instead, the USSR demanded that all bombs be destroyed before international controls be set up, and accused the U.S. of wanting to freeze and preserve a monopoly on nuclear knowledge, technology and existing weapons. In "Present At The Creation," Dean Acheson of the US records his view that the Baruch Plan contained provisions that "meant the certain defeat of the (atomic arms control) treaty by Soviet veto...."
Faced with the Truman Doctrine (i.e., 'stop the commies who are out for conquest of the world') and faced with the very rapid global spread of U.S. and English military bases ringing the USSR, the USSR built the oppressive Berlin Wall in self-defense. This served to keep out hostile Western activity in Soviet Buffer countries -- a hostility that is no secret to anyone. (And the wall, incidentally, keeps the West "safe" from the ideas of pacifists, socialists & so-called security risks, even those who may be dissenters against the Soviet Stalinist dictators. In fact, another recent example shows this Cold War "Iron Curtain" anti-communist mindset even kept Canadian peace organizers from crossing the U.S. border to attend the million strong New York anti-war rally. Few refugees from any right-wing terror in Latin America or elsewhere, are allowed into Canada and especially not into the U.S.)
The USSR felt threatened and prepared for possible attack from the West. They were therefore not ready for a treaty to limit bombs that they did not even have. The Baruch Plan was rejected.
 
FROM "ALLY" TO ENEMY
 
At Yalta & Potsdam, there was, from recorded evidence, no territorial aims by Stalin, then our ally. The (then secret) division of war spoils agreed among the Allies & the USSR caused no worry in the West. Russia was to get the Kurile Islands, half of Sakhalim and privileges in the Port of Darien. The West wanted the USSR to declare war on Japan, and there was no alarm then about USSR "world domination."
Only when the bomb proved a success did the U.S. see their chance to once again challenge the "ideological imperialism" of Russia through atomic intimidation. What the U.S. had resigned itself to as a fact - Soviet existence - was now an open issue again for the hawks and arms dealers and profiteers. When the Russians developed their a-bomb in 1949, then followed the U.S. military-arms economy (60-70% of the economy .now compared to 10-20% in the 40's and 50's). Also followed was the anti-Communist McCarthyite hysteria and the further debasement of U.S. political life.
 
 "DETERRENT" THEORY
 
 Rather than deter the coming of war and providing for safety, the present world scene underscores the failure of a policy based on U.S. anti-communist paranoia. The current proliferation of nuclear weapons and the numerous wars at this writing show that the only hope remaining to humanity is to step upon the stage of history themselves in their masses and end the arms race. It can't be "won!" Except by arms profiteers.
Just a quick look at recent history shows the "deterrent" theory - that is, the rationalization given for the arms race - isn't effective: The greatest naval Armada of Britain didn't deter the Argentines; Soviet war games and threats didn't (and still doesn't) deter Polish Solidarnosc; U.S. aid and weapons do not deter Central American revolutions against poverty and oppression; death and prison did not deter Irish hunger strikers, nor will Israel's merciless and genocidal policies (Sabra & Shatila) reminiscent of the slaughter of Jews by Nazis in the Warsaw Ghetto in WWII) deter the cause of Palestinian grievances, which must be recognized politically for peace to prevail.
Disarmament does not invite any greater danger today than being armed, because no armament can save us anyway. As Canada stated officially in 1945, along with the U.S. and the U.K. in a joint declaration November 15,1945:
"...the methods and practice of war has placed at the disposal of mankind means of destruction hitherto unknown, against which there can be no adequate military defence...
"We are aware that the only complete protection...lies in the prevention of war. No system of safeguards that can be devised will of itself provide an effective guarantee.."
--Bob Fink
  
SOME BIBLIOGRAPHY AND SOURCES
 
The Cold War As History, Louis J . Halle ( 1967, Harper Row)
Enola Gay, Gordon Thomas & Max M. Witts ( 1977 , Stein & Day) [Based on numerous Freedom-of-Information documents.]
The Manhattan Project, Stephane Groueff (1967, Little, Brown)
A Documentary History of Arms Control & Disarmament, J. E. Johnson (1973, R.R. Bowker)
The Cold War & Its Origin, F. D. Fleming, 2 vols. (1961, Doubleday)
The Cold War, Elizabeth Barker (1972, G. P. Putnam's Sons)
 
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