Aug 06 2010

Howard Zinn on the 65th Anniversary of the Bombing of Hiroshima

the bombSixty-five years ago today the U.S. military dropped an atomic bomb on the city of Hiroshima, in Japan. A hundred and forty thousand people, mostly civilians, were killed instantly. A second atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki three days later, instantly killing 70,000 people. At least 130,000 more Japanese died of radiation poisoning within 5 years. Before his death earlier this year, people’s historian Howard Zinn wrote about World War II and the events preceding the bombing of Hiroshima in a book being posthumously published by City Lights Books, entitled simply, The Bomb. In it Zinn dissects the idea of “a good war”, a war between good and evil. He details many instances of US bombings of civilian areas and grapples with the more philosophical question of when a people become culpable for the atrocities perpetrated by their governments. Zinn delves into the evolution of wartime psychology that allowed the United States public to support the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Putting the events of 65 years ago into context, Zinn writes, “If the word “terrorism” has a useful meaning (and I believe it does, because it marks off an act as intolerable, since it involves the indiscriminate use of violence against human beings for some political purpose), then it applies exactly to the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.”

Howard Zinn spoke about Hiroshima and Nagasaki near the end of his life, on November 11, 2009 at Boston University in a talk called Holy Wars. Howard Zinn was on the advisory board of Peace Action.

GUEST: Paul Kawika Martin, Organizing, Political and PAC Director Peace Action & Peace Action
Education Fund, speaking to us live from Japan

Find out more about The Bomb here

Find out more about Peace Action at

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