Archive for August 6th, 2009

The Turtle Pond in New York City on a cloudy day

The Turtle Pond in New York City on a cloudy day

Last summer, here in the U.K., we had a heat wave towards the end of the summer term, followed by a lousy summer holiday and the year before that a lousy summer holiday followed by a heat wave at the beginning of the autumn term.

This year, there has been hardly a day without rain since we broke up four weeks ago, and I am increasingly beginning to wonder why I continue to live here, having lived in much nicer places, and what the precise point of this bloody country really is.

I derive little comfort from the fact that things are little better on the other side of the Big Pond, as I learnt after reading this article from last Friday’s Noo Yoik Times.

I quote:

Not one 99-degree day in Central Park. Not a single day that the temperature even approached 90. For just the second time in 140 years of record keeping, the temperature failed to reach 90 in either June or July.

And again:

This summer, 85 is the new 95.

The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore – The Walker Brothers — a band formed in Los Angeles that achieved greater success here in the UK (and Germany), than in their native USA, perhaps because they brought a little California sun into the dreary skyscape of the UK.


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Color footage of 1945 showing the horrors in the Japanese city of Hiroshima after the atomic bomb dropped by the American airplane “Enola Gaye”

My thanks are due to Sudhan (Dr Nasir Khan) for posting the excerpt from Ralph Raico’s “Harry S. Truman: Advancing the Revolution” in John V. Denson, ed., Reassessing the Presidency: The Rise of the Executive State and the Decline of Freedom on the dropping of the bomb on Hiroshima.

It was, of course, on this day, 64 years ago, that the bomb was dropped.

As a 14-year-old schoolboy, fascinated by History, I read Pulitzer prize-winning author, John Hersey’s, Hiroshima, which left me angry and deeply shocked and which led to a numer of heated arguments with fellow schoolboys at the boarding school I attended at the time.

Like many, my step-mother, who was 6 at the time, accepted at face value the story put about in 1945 that the dropping of the bomb was necessary to save the lives of hundreds of thousands of US and British soldiers who would perish in an invasion of the Japanese mainland, and it was from her that I imbibed this version of events, which I continued to accept for several years until I saw a TV interview with Denis Healey, former Minister of Defence and Chancellor of the Exchequor (UK counterpart to US Secretary of the Treasury), who said that the bomb had been used to bring the war to a swift end before the Russians muscled in and demanded their tid-bit of a supine Japan.

Then, a few years ago, I read the chapter, “Japanese Intentions in the Second World War”, in Gore Vidal’s, The Last Empire, which introduced me to the work of Gar Alperovitz, Cold War revisionist historian, whose book, The Decision to Use the Bomb, is frequently cited in the article posted by Sudhan.

(Vidal also reviews Robert Stinnett’s Day of Deceit, in which its author argues that President Roosevelt had advance knowledge of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and withheld intelligence of it from the US Navy commander in Hawaii in order to “bounce” American public opinion into entering the war against Japan, but that’s another story.)

Published on the 60th anniversary of the dropping of the bomb in 2005 in Commondreams.org, Alperovitz’s article, Hiroshima After Sixty Years: The Debate Continues, constitutes a fitting and thought-provoking way of marking today’s anniversary:

Hiroshima After Sixty Years: The Debate Continues

by Gar Alperovitz, published on Wednesday, August 3, 2005 by CommonDreams.org

This weekend marks the 60th anniversary of the August 6, 1945 bombing of Hiroshima. One might think that by now historians would agree on all the fundamental issues. The reality, however, is just the opposite: All the major issues involved in the decision are still very much a matter of dispute among experts. An obvious question is why this should be so after so many years.

Did the atomic bomb, in fact, cause Japan to surrender? Most Americans think the answer is self-evident. However, many historical studies–including new publications by two highly regarded scholars–challenge the conventional understanding. In a recently released Harvard University Press volume drawing upon the latest Japanese sources, for instance, Professor Tsuyohsi Hasegawa concludes that the traditional “myth cannot be supported by historical facts.” By far the most important factor forcing the decision, his research indicates, was the Soviet declaration of war against Japan on August 8, 1945, just after the Hiroshima bombing.

Similarly, Professor Herbert Bix–whose biography of Hirohito won the 2000 Pulitzer Prize for general nonfiction–also writes in a recent article that “the Soviet factor carried greater weight in the eyes of the emperor and most military leaders.”

Original article


  • Doctor Atomic: Wartime Decisions and the Atomic Age
  • The Decision to Drop the Bomb
  • Do Freedom of Information Act Files Prove FDR Had Foreknowledge of Pearl Harbor?
  • The Pearl Harbor Deception
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    William Blum, Counterpunch, Aug 6, 2009

    On the Fourth of July, Senator Patrick Leahy declared he was optimistic that, unlike the Soviet forces that were driven from Afghanistan 20 years ago, US forces could succeed there. The Democrat from Vermont stated:

    “The Russians were sent running as they should have been. We helped send them running. But they were there to conquer the country. We’ve made it very clear, and everybody I talk to within Afghanistan feels the same way: they know we’re there to help and we’re going to leave. We’ve made it very clear we are going to leave. And it’s going to be turned back to them. The ones that made the mistakes in the past are those that tried to conquer them.” (Vermont TV station WCAX, July 4, 2009, WCAX.com)

    Leahy is a long-time liberal on foreign-policy issues, a champion of withholding US counter-narcotics assistance to foreign military units guilty of serious human-rights violations, and an outspoken critic of robbing terrorist suspects of their human and legal rights. Yet he is willing to send countless young Americans to a living hell, or horrible death, or maimed survival.

    And for what? Every point he made in his statement is simply wrong.

    Continues >>

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    by Ralph Raico, Antiwar.com, August 06, 2009

    This excerpt from Ralph Raico’s “Harry S. Truman: Advancing the Revolution” in John V. Denson, ed., Reassessing the Presidency: The Rise of the Executive State and the Decline of Freedom (Auburn, Alabama: Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2001). (The notes are numbered as they are because this is an excerpt.

    The most spectacular episode of Truman’s presidency will never be forgotten, but will be forever linked to his name: the atomic bombings of Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, and of Nagasaki three days later. Probably around two hundred thousand persons were killed in the attacks and through radiation poisoning; the vast majority were civilians, including several thousand Korean workers. Twelve U.S. Navy fliers incarcerated in a Hiroshima jail were also among the dead.87

    Continues >>

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    I still remember being enthralled by “On the Waterfront”, for which Budd Schulberg wrote the screenplay, when I first saw it in my late teens on the small screen back in the 70s with its fine performances by Marlon Brando, Karl Malden, Rod Steiger and the delectable Eva Marie Saint.

    The dilemma which Terry Malloy, the role played by Brando, faces on screen echos that which Schulberg himself faced when called upon to testify before the House Committee on Unamerican activities, itself a most unAmerican institution, and which he was able to justify in the face of accusations of betrayal — or “rationalise”, according to your point of view.

    What makes Schulberg especially interesting for me is his relationship with the tragically doomed F. Scott Fitzgerald, whose “Tender is the Night” I am currently rereading, and the novel that that relationship engendered, “The Disenchanted”, which has been described as more Fitzgerald than Fitzgerald himself, and which is “the thinly disguised story of F. Scott Fitzgerald in his alcoholic decline, when life had overtaken him to the point that his genius could no longer be expressed in the only way he knew how: his writing”.

    As W. Kaplan writes in his review of this book on Amazon.com:

    Because of “The Disenchanted,” which I first read as a preteen, I turned to F. Scott Fitzgerald and read everything he had ever written. I believe that my understanding of his works and his life were and are rooted in Budd Schulberg’s moving and brilliant book, and if I could have thanked him in person, I would have done so, a thousand times over.

    Schulberg will not be remembered by younger readers, but his life with its choices and dilemmas encapsulates so much of 20th century American History that it is worth being reviewed.

    Budd Schulberg, Screenwriter, Dies at 95

    TIM WEINER | NYT | August 5, 2009

    Budd Schulberg, who wrote the award-winning screenplay for “On the Waterfront” and created a classic American archetype of naked ambition, Sammy Glick, in his novel “What Makes Sammy Run?,” died on Wednesday. He was 95 and lived in the Brookside section of Westhampton Beach, N.Y.

    His death was confirmed by his wife, Betsy.

    Mr. Schulberg also wrote journalism, short stories, novels and biographies. He collaborated with F. Scott Fitzgerald, arrested the Nazi filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl and named names before a Communist-hunting Congressional committee. But he was best known for writing some of the most famous lines in the history of the movies.

    Some were delivered by Marlon Brando playing the longshoreman Terry Malloy in the 1954 film “On the Waterfront.” Malloy had lost a shot at a prizefighting title by taking a fall for easy money.

    Click on link below to read rest of article and parts 2 and 3 of Hollywood Renegade

    Budd Schulberg – Hollywood Renegade – 1 of 3

    “I coulda been a contender,” Malloy tells his brother, Charley (Rod Steiger). “I coulda been somebody. Instead of a bum, which is what I am.”

    “Hollywood Renegade” is the life story of novelist/screenwriter Budd Schulberg, who at 94-years-old, still faces the controversy surrounding his conscience-driven decisions to write a novel, “What Makes Sammy Run?”, unearthing the moral corruption inside his hometown of Hollywood, and later denouncing the Communist Party in America, testifying at HUAC and naming names of people whom he once shared political ideals with. The son of film pioneer, B.P. Schulberg, Budd grew up a Hollywood prince, but was later branded a pariah for turning his back on his childhood home. He is the most prolific writer ever to come from Hollywood and this film will take you on his extraordinary journey, inextricably tied to the history of the 20th century.

    “I coulda been a contender.”


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