Saturday, June 18, 2005

Lost History Escapes the Sensor's Grasp

This should be an interesting story to follow.
SPECIAL REPORT: A Great Nuclear-Age Mystery Solved:

One of the great mysteries of the Nuclear Age was solved today: What was in the censored, and then lost to the ages, newspaper articles filed by the first reporter to reach Nagasaki following the atomic attack on that city on Aug. 9, 1945?

The reporter was George Weller, the distinguished correspondent for the now-defunct Chicago Daily News. His startling dispatches from Nagasaki, which could have affected public opinion on the future of the bomb, never emerged from General Douglas MacArthur's censorship office in Tokyo. Carbon copies were found just two years ago when his son, who talked to E&P from Italy today, discovered them after the reporter's death.


Anthony Weller, a novelist who lives near Gloucester, Mass., told E&P that it was one of great disappointments of his father's life that these stories, "a real coup," were killed by MacArthur who, George Weller felt, "wanted all the credit for winning the war, not some scientists back in New Mexico." Others have suggested that the real reason for the censorship was the United States did not want the world to learn about the morally troubling radiation effects for two reasons: It did not want questions raised about the use of the weapon in 1945, or its wide scale development in the coming years.

My son did a report for his 5th grade class this year on the Manhattan Project, so my ears have been tuned into stories from that time. And sure enough, a number of stories have been breaking. Some of the most reknowned scientists from the project have passed away recently, and its been interesting to read about the ethical and moral struggles that these scientists grappled with both during and after the project and the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Its a fascinating story that we and our kids need to hear more about lest we relax our guard and begin to accept nuclear weapons as just another implement of war.

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