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The Hiroshima cover-up: How US hide American, Japanese footage from Hiroshima and Nagasaki

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#1 PzJgr


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Posted 10 August 2009 - 12:43 PM

After the atomic attacks on Japan - and then for decades afterwards - the United States suppressed all film shot in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. This included footage shot by American military crews and Japanese newsreel teams - and all but a handful of newspaper pictures were seized. The public did not see any of the newsreel footage for 25 years, and the American military film stayed hidden for 4 decades. Newsreels might have disappeared forever if the Japanese filmmakers had not hidden one print from the Americans. The color U.S. footage remained hidden until the 1980s, and has never been fully aired - so Americans have not seen the damage wreaked by the bombs.

Atomic Anniversary: The Great 'Hiroshima Cover-up' -- and Fallout for Us Today


#2 DocCasualty



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Posted 10 August 2009 - 01:37 PM

Interesting article. Seems speculative to me as far as the motivation for keeping it classified for so long. I've seen so many things that were classified for long periods of time that left me scratching my head wondering why anyone would have ever cared.

I think it's important to remember that no one really knew when these bombs were dropped what they really were capable of; they were "big" bombs. I think the US initially was trying to keep as much from Stalin as possible too, unaware that he already knew quite a bit.

As we've all seen this footage or at least significant portions of it, I'm not sure what effect it would have had on the population 5 or 6 decades ago.

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#3 LRusso216



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Posted 10 August 2009 - 01:54 PM

Quite an interesting article. My only question surrounds this statement:

"I always had the sense," McGovern answered, "that people in the AEC were sorry they had dropped the bomb. The Air Force -- it was also sorry. I was told by people in the Pentagon that they didn't want those images out because they showed effects on man, woman and child. But the AEC, they were the ones that stopped it from coming out. They had power of God over everybody," he declared. "If it had anything to do with nukes, they had to see it. They were the ones who destroyed a lot of film and pictures of the first U.S. nuclear tests after the war."

I'd like to see some evidence that people were sorry the bomb was dropped. Most articles I've read indicate that, at least in the military, the consensus was that it was necessary.

As far as the secrecy goes, who knows why the government and the military leadership decide to classify anything. The obvious answer is "because they can".

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#4 brndirt1


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Posted 10 August 2009 - 03:44 PM

In addition to taking into account that this was the beginning of the "Cold War" period, and America didn’t want to give the Soviets any more ammunition to fire at the "heartless capitalist running dogs", there was also the change over from a purely military controlled atomic program to one of complete civilian control.

This was when it went from the MED (Manhattan Engineering District) control, with General Groves in charge of production, to the new and unknown quantity of the AEC (Atomic Energy Commission). There was quite possibly a general reluctance to view and categorize each and every piece of film and movie footage. Not because they didn’t want to see it, or have it seen, but simply because of the enormity of the task. Just a guess on my part, since they were really on a "fast track" to make nuclear power an accepted mode of civilian power production.

"During the early post-World War II period, there was considerable apprehension and indecision about the future of America's nuclear weapons program. 'Throughout late 1945 and most of 1946 the MED adopted essentially a caretaker position ... instituted cost-saving measures that reduced the output of fissionable materials at HEW (Hanford) ... (which) resulted in the closure of B Reactor and in the decrease of power levels at D and F Reactors" (Gerber 1991: 4). With the shifting of control of America's atomic facilities from the Manhattan Engineering District (MED) to the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) in 1947, and the deterioration of relations between the United States and the Soviet Union, the AEC's General Advisory Committee recommended an increase in weapons research and production. This new policy meant the expansion of plutonium production facilities at Hanford'."


Section 5

I posted that to show the "timeline" of the change from MED to AEC, and their motives are only a guess on my part.

Edited by brndirt1, 10 August 2009 - 03:44 PM.

Happy Trails,

#5 Sloniksp



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Posted 10 August 2009 - 04:27 PM

Very interesting. Thank you PzJgr.
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#6 marc780



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Posted 17 August 2009 - 04:29 PM

In the nuclear program everything is secret. I was involved in USAF Titan II missile program with hydraulic and we were told what we needed to know and not much else, which was fine by me. In the book "Fulcrum" by the late Alexander Zuyev, the author was a russian pilot who defected to the west in 1986 with his Mig 29 to Turkey. The turks returned the plane but the US granted him asylum. Anyway he took part in an exercise where his squadron's planes flew with real nukes. It was a simulation of a nuclear attack and he describes the elaborate process by which t he weapons were unlocked for use before take off. He claims that the Russians copied the American procedure for same, and also claims that they got it from US Air Force or Navy pilots shot down during the Vietnam war. He does not elaborate how, although one cant help but shudder a bit to imagine.

#7 Gromit801



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Posted 17 August 2009 - 04:34 PM

Look how long the British kept the "Dambuster" mines secret. Even when the movie was made, they didn't know what the thing looked like.

Nuke tech was kept secret for a long, long time. Just the way of things. From someone who live through the "duck and cover" days, it was something you took for granted.
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#8 brndirt1


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Posted 17 August 2009 - 06:01 PM

And don't forget the secrecy which surrounded the American WW2 code machines/system! It was never broken (SIGABA), and continued in use until 1959 when it lacked the speed necessary in the new world of communications. It's patent wasn't released from TOP SECRET classification until the late 1990s, forty + years after it was removed from sevice.
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