Monday 16 August 2021


 Reasons for the human species to be concerned:

  • We are facing global extinction as a result of man-made climate warming
  • We are battling against a coronavirus pandemic across our planet - and most of the world appears to be losing
  • We have lived for 76 years in the shadow of nuclear war that would lead to the end of civilization and the destruction of most human populations

The nuclear explosion over Nagasaki on 9 August 1945  

Reasons to be cheerful:

  • where there's life, there's hope  
I am reading two biographies of Clement Attlee at the moment: 'Attlee - A Life in Politics' by Nicklaus Thomas-Symonds (2010) and 'Clement Attlee' by Michael Jago (2014). The former is more scholarly but Jago's work has some passages that catch the eye. Here is Jago's fascinating account of how Clement Attlee responded at the time, as Britain's socialist PM, to the brutal reality of this new weapon:  

'The tenacity with which he (Attlee) continued to press on Truman (the US president) the urgency of avoiding the future use of the bomb by, if necessary sharing nuclear secrets was emblematic of his approach to creating a more morally sound society. ... Since future wars would almost certainly involve the use of atomic bombs ... it was incumbent on the United States and Britain to cede to the United Nations the means to ensure that war was itself made obsolete. ... This involved the sacrifice of national independence, and Attlee's subsequent frustration in his dealings with Washington can be traced to his belief that ... Truman could not be counted on to act in accordance with principles greater than national interest.' (pp.174/5)

Attlee's socialist vision was centred on the need to avoid mutually assured destruction. 

Attlee, Truman, and Stalin at the Potsdam conference in 1945  

However, as Brian Mitchell in the Morning Star (Friday 6 August 2021) notes, the American president was deeply afraid of communist influence in Asia, as elsewhere, and did not want the USSR to enter the war in the east against Japan. The use of atomic bombs at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was a political warning to the Soviet Union and the rest of the world. 

Here are the words of US General Leslie Groves, director of the 1945Manhatten nuclear bomb testing project:

'There was never, from about two weeks from the time I took charge of this project, any illusions on my part, but that Russia was our enemy, and that the project was carried out on that basis. I didn't go along with the attitude of the whole country that Russia was our gallant ally.' 

And here the words of US president Nixon, decades later:

'US General Douglas MacArthur [1880-1964] thought it a tragedy that the bomb was ever exploded. MacArthur believed that the same restrictions ought to apply to atomic weapons as to conventional weapons, that the military objective should always be limited damage to noncombatants. MacArthur, you see, was a soldier. He believed in using force only against military targets, and that is why the nuclear thing turned him off.' 

Finally, the words of Leo Szilard, a leading Manhatten atom bomb project US scientist:

'If the Germans had dropped atomic bombs on cities instead of us, can anyone doubt that we would then have defined the dropping of atomic bombs on cities as a war crime, and that we would have sentenced the Germans who were guilty of this crime to death at Nuremburg and hanged them.' 

The Nuremburg trials of German war criminals after WW2

Szilard had a point, didn't he? What kind of madness burrowed its way into the minds of American politicians in 1945? 

How many times since 1945 have we been on the edge of nuclear annihilation by design or accident? 

When will our luck run out?

Here is a link to my blogpost on 29 July, last month, which also has a nuclear holocaust focus - press here for the link.  It reveals the fact that the Johnson misgovernment in the UK is now intent on increasing the number of  nuclear warheads in the UK armoury by 40 per cent to 260. Each of those 260 warheads has an explosive force 10 times that of the Hiroshima explosion. Just think about that for a few seconds. 

CND membership is a link away - press here for sanity's sake. 

Part of Nagasaki after the explosion on 9 August 1945