News Release

Nagasaki and the Second Bomb


August 9 is the 62nd anniversary of the dropping of the atomic bomb on Nagasaki.

Hartung is the director of the Arms and Security Project at the New America Foundation. He said today: “Even more so than Hiroshima, the U.S. decision drop a second atomic bomb — this time on Nagasaki — is still viewed as an act of incredible cruelty in much of the world. Amazingly enough it is still U.S. policy to keep the nuclear option ‘on the table’ in dealings with actual and potential adversaries like Iran.”

Hartung added: “Not only does this immoral policy risk pushing Tehran towards getting the bomb itself, but it runs counter to international law, as evidenced by an historic World Court opinion that asserts that the only legitimate use of nuclear weapons is against another nuclear weapons state threatening to use it against one’s country.”
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Cabasso is executive director of the Western States Legal Foundation and contributor to the just-released book Nuclear Disorder or Cooperative Security? U.S. Weapons of Terror, the Global Proliferation Crisis and Paths to Peace. She said today: “As carried out against Iraq and threatened against Iran, the specter of nuclear weapons in the hands of ‘rogue’ states has become the United States’ number one excuse for waging war. Sixty-two years after the U.S. dropped the first atomic bombs on two densely populated cities, killing more than 200,000 civilians, the threatened first use of nuclear weapons remains the ‘cornerstone’ of U.S. national security policy. Today, the U.S. retains some 10,000 nuclear weapons, is designing new ones, and is pouring billions of dollars into its nuclear weapons complex, while warning Iran that ‘all options are on the table.’ Who is threatening whom?”
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Ong is Iran Policy Analyst at the Center for Arms Control and Nonproliferation. She said today: “The Non-Proliferation Treaty was built on a basic bargain: the non-nuclear weapons states agreed to forego developing or otherwise acquiring nuclear weapons in exchange for a commitment on the part of the nuclear weapons states to end the nuclear arms race at an early date and to engage in ‘good faith’ negotiations to achieve nuclear disarmament. For the treaty to succeed in its purpose, both sides of the bargain must be fulfilled. With a few notable exceptions, the non-nuclear weapons states have kept their end of the bargain. On the other hand, the nuclear weapons states have shown scant inclination to fulfill their disarmament commitments.”
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Wilson is the author of the article “The Winning Weapon? Rethinking Nuclear Weapons in Light of Hiroshima,” published in the journal International Security, which is edited at Harvard University. He said today: “[My] historical research shows that the nuclear bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki had apparently little or no impact on the Japanese decision to surrender. … In the spring of 1945, Japan was already largely defeated and Japan’s leaders knew it. … [It was] the Soviet declaration of war on August 9, 1945, the same day as Nagasaki, that forced the Japanese to surrender. Many of the Japanese cities bombed that summer (there were 66 others) suffered similar damage to Hiroshima and Nagasaki. … Historians often point to Japanese statements made after the war as proof that the U.S. nuclear attack on Hiroshima was decisive. … However, Japanese leaders had motives for concealing the truth. … The bomb offered a convenient explanation to soothe wounded Japanese pride: the defeat of Japan was not the result of leadership mistakes or lack of valor; it was the result of an unexpected advance in science by Japan’s enemy.”
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For more information, contact the Institute for Public Accuracy at (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan at (541) 484-9167.