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Hibakusha and Hope in the Nuclear Age


Hibakusha and Hope in the Nuclear Age

Robert Dodge

This week marks 73 years since the U.S. atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on August 6th and 9th , ultimately resulting in the deaths of more than 200,000 people. With the dawn of the nuclear age, the term “hibakusha” formally entered our lexicon. Atomic bomb survivors are referred to in Japanese as hibakusha, which translates literally as “bomb-affected-people”. The bombings and aftermath changed the world forever and threaten the very future of mankind to this day.


Oppenheimer’s reaction to the Trinity Test: “I have become Death, destroyer of worlds”, quoting from the Bhagavad Gita, wasn’t enough for the (yet to be named) Military Industrial Complex. Little Boy and Fat Man, deployed on August 6th and 9th of 1945, on an already defeated nation of Japan just had to be used to provide data on the human effects of humankind’s largest insanity. To those who reflexively bask in the glory of American Power, I suggest they do so in such a bright light has to have their shadows stain the earth (along with all of its inhabitants) they so clearly do not venerate.


I am one of the many thousands of Americans who were guinea pigs, exposed to Atomic and thermonuclear bombs. There is only a relative handful of us still alive, many who have spent their lives fighting cancers and other illnesses from that exposure. Many of us have had children born with genetic defects due to our exposure. Some of this has been passed along for multiple generations.
*We are probably not Hibakusha, but we certainly have a lot in common and have sympathy and understanding of their plight, and their fight to end the nuclear threat in particular and war in general.
*We the survivors have a pretty good idea of the result of the insanity currently going on, for greed and power, by boosting the nuclear threat and making still more billions by building and deploying yet more weapons and delivery systems. It will take but one mistake, or attack in a fit of pique by an insane would be dictator, to end all life on earth. There is no such thing as a “limited” nuclear war. Any nuclear armed nation whose systems detect an incoming missile is going to respond with a counter attack, which will be responded to. There will be few left to say, “Oops, I’m sorry” to.
*We the People of the World have got to band together to end this madness before it ends us. The trillions of dollars spent each year on military power and war could end poverty and want, could make renewable energy abundant, could rebuild and nurture good, non GMO crops and improve the health of the world, could build housing for people rather than destroy it.
*Please, We the People outnumber the greedy handful that worship the accumulation of wealth and power beyond all things, by hundreds of millions to one. All they have is vaults of money.
*There is an old Cree Indian prophecy, : “When the last tree is cut down, the last fish eaten and the last stream poisoned, you will realize that you cannot eat money.”
*Let we who care, work to turn this madness around so those misguided souls don’t have to learn from personal experience.
*Blessings on all the peacemakers.


Thank You for telling the story of Atomic Veterans.


I’ve often wondered why Oppenheimer and his fellow scientists didn’t figure this out before they built them.
Thanks for bringing up the fact that Japan was done before we dropped the dam bombs, I’ve had many arguments through the years about this subject.


This is a quote of the end of the last chapter of a book on Naval Intelligence work in WW-II. The book ends with the surrender of Japan.

Capt. Zacharias, who was heading a very secret psychological warfare group in the Office of Naval Intelligence, worked very hard with the Japanese government to settle surrender terms.
*They had Forestal’s wholehearted support. The secretary asked Zacharias to venture an opinion as to the date by which the surrender would become an accomplished fact. Zacharias answered without the slightest hesitation: “September 1." The date was exactly one month away but we felt confident that we could deliver the goods.
*On August 6, the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. It was followed by the dropping of a second bomb on Nagasaki on August 9. In between, the Red Army sneaked into the Far Eastern war by attacking the Japanese in Manchuria and scoring a few pro forma victories in great haste.
*Zacharias was bitterly disappointed when his efforts blew up in the poisonous mushroom of two atomic bombs. “The stunning effect of the atomic bombs’ on worldwide popular imagination,” he wrote in his autobiography, “caused an instant belief that the Japanese surrender was solely the result of the atomic bombing. And that erroneous belief still persists very widely…Japan would have accepted our surrender terms even without the prodding which the two atomic bombs provided.
*“Aside from its stunning and horrifying impact on human imagination and its production of a spectacular war climax,” he wrote, “the atomic bombs’ effect on the Japanese war was only to hasten, by a very short time, the Japanese expression of the decision already made.”
*Japan surrendered on August 14 and her capitulation was formalized on September 2 on board the battleship Missouri.
*To save two weeks (and to demonstrate to Russia and the world at large, the power of the United States [my comment]) the United States introduced history’s most savage weapon into human conflict, and thus endowed war with an unprecedented horror. The United States did this at a time when a small band of dedicated men was ready to demonstrate that conflicts could be ended in an intellectual sphere by non–military means.