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The Obama Legacy on Nuclear Weapons at the 70th Anniversary of the Atomic Bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki

The Obama Legacy on Nuclear Weapons at the 70th Anniversary of the Atomic Bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki

by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

If you grew up in the US, you learned in school that President Truman near the end of World War 2 was forced by the diehard Japanese government to nuke the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki to prevent a seaborne US invasion that might have cost hundreds of thousands of American lives. Like many things we learned in school this is a complete fabrication.

As a US Senator Harry Truman had declared the US should help the Nazis of the Soviets were winning and the Soviets if the Nazis were winning, so as to kill as many of both as possible. The Soviets faced more than 80% of the Nazi armies, and suffered more than 20 million dead absorbing and rolling back the Nazi invasion forces to Berlin. Despite early assurances, the US and Britain delayed entering the land war against Nazi Germany from 1942 to 43 and finally to the summer of 1944.

By the summer of 1945 the US had sunk the Japanese navy, defeated its isolated forces from the Philippines to Okinawa, blockaded Japan into near starvation and bombed most if its wooden cities to burnt matchsticks. US officials were pointedly ignoring Japanese surrender overtures. The Japanese badly wanted to surrender before the Soviet Red Armies could invade their Chinese and Korean colonies, where the bulk of their intact forces still were. But the eyes of US policy makers were fixed upon the next war, and the next enemy, the Soviet Union.

The US bombed the undefended cities of Hiroshima on August 6 and Nagasaki on August 9 not to end the war with Japan but in the hopes of intimidating the Soviet Union, which that same week rolled up most Japanese forces in China and Korea.

So the atomic bombing of Japanese cities, and the firey immolation of hundreds of thousands of Japanese civilians and the slow killing of an equal number over the next few decades wasn't even about Japan. It was US imperial bluster to set the stage for more than forty years of the Cold War against the Soviet Union and eventually China as well, to establish the US as the sole and only global superpower.

It didn't work. The Soviets tested their own nukes in four years and a global arms race was on. In the late 1980s before the fall of the USSR, its leaders proposed major mutual cutbacks of all nuclear weapons, but President Reagan said no.

The Russian state that succeeded the Soviet Union was assured at birth that the US and its Eurasian military arm NATO would never threaten Russia, but that was almost immediately proven a lie. President Obama early in his first term made hopeful noises about curtailing nuclear weapons, but was careful not to move on this intention till the Congress was safely in the hands of Republicans. Under President Obama, NATO bases, some with nuclear arms now ring the western and southern rims of Russia. The US funded the overthrow of the Ukrainian government, US warships are now in the Black Sea and America has long forsaken its commitments to nuclear nonproliferation, disarmament and peace with Russia. Nuclear armed US aircraft carriers are parked in the Philippines and Southeast Asia, allegedly to deter Chinese expansion.

President Obama inherited a bloodstained, radioactive, murderous legacy on nuclear weapons, and managed to make it all a little bit worse than he found it. Not bad for a Nobel Peace Prize winner whose acceptance speech justified preventive war.

For Black Agenda Radio, I'm Bruce Dixon. Find us on the web at, where you can subscribe to our free weekly email newsletter.

Bruce A. Dixon is managing editor at Black Agenda Report. He lives in Marietta GA where is a member of the state committee of the Georgia Green Party. Contact him via email at bruce.dixon(at)
Direct download: 20150805_bd-hiroshima-nagasaki-70th-anniv.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:33pm EDT