News Release

77 Years After Hiroshima, Public “Shockingly Oblivious” to Threat of Nuclear War

Early August marks the 77th year since the U.S. dropped nuclear bombs on Japan.
Numerous notable analysts are warning of the threat of nuclear war now between the U.S. and Russia. The trailer for Christopher Nolan’s next film, the story of J. Robert Oppenheimer, who helped invent the atomic bomb, was just released. TCM just aired the uncut version of “Godzilla” — which is a metaphor for the nuclear bombings — for the first time in the U.S., nearly 50 years after its release.

JOHN STEINBACH,  johnsteinbach1@verizon.net Steinbach is co-founder of the Hiroshima/Nagasaki Peace Committee of the National Capital Area, which is organizing a series of events on the east coast with the survivors of U.S. nuclear bombings in Japan as well as the Marshall Islands.He said today: “The public is shockingly oblivious to the threat of global nuclear war. This is the most dangerous period, even exceeding the Cuban missile crisis. The proximate cause is the crisis in Ukraine, but the stage was largely set by the U.S. government killing a series of treaties. The Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, signed in 1972, was a bedrock. It made clear that ABM systems could only work in the context of a massive first strike. George W. Bush terminated the treaty in 2002 despite Russian objections.

“Largely as a result of public revulsion at the possibility of nuclear war and massive protests in the U.S. and Europe in the 1980s, Reagan and Gorbachev signed the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty in 1987 — this made nuclear war less likely. But Trump ended that Treaty in 2019, provoking Russia.

“Biden now should re-enter those treaties. Instead, we saw the increased militarization of Ukraine and even President Zelensky indicating his desire for nuclear weapons in Munich in January. This further provoked Russia. “Nuclear war generally is more likely because of increased interventions and because of increased resource wars and conflicts.

“If it’s one thing the survivors of nuclear bombings — hibakusha — keep reminding us of, it’s that a nuclear war now will not be limited and will not be survivable. Because of SALT and START Treaties, the number of nuclear weapons has gone down — from 70,000 to less than 15,000 today. But today’s weapons are more accurate and larger — and more usable. Recent ads from NYC Emergency Management are jaw dropping. The concept that anyone in a metropolitan area is going to be able to survive a nuclear bomb is a deadly dangerous delusion.”

The Committee is holding a series of events including an online Hiroshima commemoration on Aug. 5, 2022 and an in-person Nagasaki candlelight vigil at the White House on Aug. 8 at 9:45 p.m. There are also events in Baltimore and New York City.

Leaders of the survivors group Hidankyo participating in these commemorations include Sueichi Kido, secretary general of the group in Nagasaki and Jiro Hamasumi, a leader in the Hiroshima group.