Breaking 60 Years of Hiroshima, Nagasaki Censorship

Hiroshima in America author Greg Mitchell (Editor & Publisher, 8/6/09) has taken a hard look at “the suppression of film and photographic evidence of the atomic attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki” that “would play a key role as America embarked on a nuclear era with severe impact still with us today.”

He gives us a history of how, “in the weeks following the atomic attacks on Japan 64 years ago and then for decades afterward, the United States engaged in airtight suppression of all film shot in Hiroshima and Nagasaki after the bombings”:

This included footage shot by U.S. military crews and Japanese newsreel teams. In addition, for many years, all but a handful of newspaper photographs were seized or prohibited.

The public did not see any of the newsreel footage for 25 years, and the U.S. military film remained hidden for nearly four decades….

More recently, [compiler of the U.S. films Lt. Col. (Ret.) Daniel] McGovern declared that Americans should have seen the damage wrought by the bomb. “The main reason it was classified was…because of the horror, the devastation,” he said. Because the footage shot in Hiroshima and Nagasaki was hidden for so long, the atomic bombings quickly sank, unconfronted and unresolved, into the deeper recesses of American awareness, as a costly nuclear arms race, and nuclear proliferation, accelerated.

Bringing us up to date with the fact that “after 60 years at least a small portion of that footage reached part of the American public in the unflinching and powerful” Original Child Bomb documentary, Mitchell says that “Americans who saw were finally able to fully judge for themselves” exactly “why the authorities felt they had to suppress it, and what impact their footage, if widely aired, might have had on the nuclear arms race–and the nuclear proliferation that plagues, and endangers, us today.”

Listen to FAIR’s radio show CounterSpin: “Greg Mitchell on Hiroshima” (8/5/05). And see Extra! Update: “Media to Smithsonian: History Is Bunk” (4/95)