Thursday, 8 August 2013

Atomic Atonement

This week  we  mark  the 68th  anniversary of the atomic immolation of the Japanese  cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

At the Hiroshima Commemoration in London  - which I attended -  Labour  MP Jeremy Corbyn called for Trident and  its planned replacement nuclear WMDs to be scrapped, and the   resources saved being re-directed to social expenditure (NHS, schools) and  improving our environment ( sustainable energy,  proper resource  management etc).

But one new issue was not  mentioned:  the revelation in the Japan Times that Britain supported the use of atomic bombs by the United States against Japan in World War II,  about a month before the first one was dropped on Hiroshima, according to documents recently declassified by the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration. ("Britain backed use of A-bomb against Japan: U.S. documents," 4 August),
The newspaper revealed that the British government officially expressed its support for using the new weapon against Japan at the Combined Policy Committee meeting in Washington on July 4, 1945, on the development and control of nuclear energy. Britain referred to atomic bombs as Tube Alloys (T.A.), a codename it used for wartime research on nuclear weapons.
According to the declassified minutes, British Field Marshal Sir Henry Wilson told the meeting chaired by U.S. Secretary of War, Henry Stimson, that the British government “concurred in the use of the T.A. weapon against Japan.”

“The Governments of the United Kingdom and the United States had agreed that T.A. weapons should be used by the United States against Japan, the agreement of the British Government having been communicated” by Wilson, the minutes said.

The committee was established based on the Quebec Agreement made in August 1943 by the United States, Britain and Canada on coordinated development of atomic weapons.

Britain’s official agreement on the use of atomic bombs came after U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill agreed at their September 1944 meeting in New York that an atomic bomb might be used against Japan when it was developed.
This is an additional reason  why the UK  needs to show  some atomic atonement,  and get on with nuclear disarmament.

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