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tv   American Artifacts Hiroshima- Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Exhibit  CSPAN  August 7, 2020 5:43pm-6:16pm EDT

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very simply, she said, i think peace, the basic idea of peace is to have some understanding of other people's pain. i think that's very true. >> well, clifton truman daniel, it has been a pleasure to have you share time with us on this 75th anniversary of hiroshima. thank you so much for being here. >> thank you, a appreciate the opportunity. weeknights this month we're featuring american history television programs. tonight at 8:00 eastern a look at hiroshima and nagasaki and the end of world war ii for the 75th anniversary of nagasaki. the stories of several survivors. the film also features a young family in hiroshima born after the bombing who were trying to make sense of the bombing during the 50th anniversary.
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enjoy american history tv tonight and every weekend. next, we visit a hiroshima nagasaki atomic bomb exhibit at american university in washington, d.c. this american artifacts program was recorded in 2015. >> hi, i'm peter kuznick. i'm professor of history at american university and director of the nuclear studies institute. and i began our institute back in 1995. and the institute was born in the midst of the controversy around the inola gay exhibit which was going to be held at the smithsonian institution and it got cancelled. this was an attempt to do an honest and balanced decision about the decision to drop the bomb. this was in the 1995, so this was the 50th anniversary. and in the midst of that, i decided with one of my students
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whose mother and grandmother survived the atomic bombing in hiroshima, she and i decided we were going to do something special to commemorate the 50th anniversary. so, with goerg to teach two courses on campus plus bring students to kyoto and hiroshima. so, while we were planning this, the exhibit got cancelled. so, the museums asked if we would bring some of those artifacts to american university and do the exhibit here on the 50 agent anniversary. that was the first time that the museums ever did an exhibit outside of japan. they've been doing one every year since and this is the 20th anniversary of our exhibit and the 70th anniversary of the original bombing so we decided to do it here at american university. we combined artifacts with six of the fabulous hiroshima panels. these are historic panels. they can be compared to picasso
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or other classic paintings of that sort. so, it's the first time they've been to the united states, anywhere, since 1995. so, now we brought them here skput it together with these artifacts. and with children's drawings from the elementary school in hiroshima, which i'll explain later. so, that was the origin of our exhibit in 1995 nouchlt, 20 years later we've got a more elaborate exhibit i'm pretty sure is the most elaborate exhibit on the atomic bombings that's ever been held in the united states. it is overwhelming. i can't tell you how many people have written to me who have seen it and said that it left them in tears. this is one of the most famous images out of nagasaki. this is a young girl, and she
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looked, as the caption sayed, dazed. she's holding a rice ball. she's got a forlorn distant gaze. she didn't know what had happened to her. she didn't know what had occurred. sma people who lived through the bombing said they were sure the bomb had landed on their house and they figured that's what had happened. they went outside and saw that all of hiroshima or all of nagasaki was ablaze and the fires were coming toward them. you'll see one of maruki panels called fire, what it was like for the survivors engulfed in flames. next to this we've got a crucifix, and there are a lot of crucifixes that are considered to be symbolic, especially in nagasaki because in nagasaki, the bomb missed the original target by almost two miles and
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landed above the cathedral. nagasaki had not been bombed before, small bombing in 1944, but it had been preserved in pristine condition along with hiroshima and a few other cities because the americans wanted it to have a pristine target to show the affects of the atomic bomb. people in nagasaki thought they had not been bombed because it was the christian capital of japan ask approximate the christian capital of east asia. the bomb dropped right above the cathedral, the biggest cathedral in east asian. and there's a crucifix. you also see the stopwatch there, the pocket watch showing 8:15. that's a very popular image inside hiroshima. the bomb dropped at 8:15 a.m. on hiroshima. so, time stops there. clocks stopped. watches stopped. and also it dropped at 11:02 on nagasaki so the a lot of the
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images are going to show that. when we did our first exhibit in 1995, many of those that are now replicas were the original artifacts but some of them are so flajal that the museums have decided not to let them outside of japan anymore. so, for that reason, some of these we've got the replicas instead of the originals but almost everything is the original artifact. what we've got here are the famous mushroom cloud photos in hiroshima on august 6th, 1945 and nagasaki on august 9th, 1945. the description to them, especially from people who are on the plane, was that it was like a pillar of flames just shot up into the air, this cloud, and it kept expanding from the top of the column, the pillar, you see this additional bursts and they just keep going up. estimates from 40,000 feet into the sky. enormous. the crew of the enola gay said
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she could see the cloud from four away. she could still see the cloud looking back it was so high. there was a lot of radioactive debris swept up into the crowd. some ofcomes down as black rain on the victims of the balmy. here we have got the view of hiroshima city. the target for the bomb was here. the t shaped you know a bridge. we thought the pilots could see that very clearly from the sky. the bomb drifted and missed the target and landed over here above shimon hospital. this is probably the most famous symbol. this is the old industrial prefix building. it is now called the atomic bomb dome. this has been preserved. there was debates years ago on how to preserve it. if you go back now, this has all been buildup.
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this part here and here has been preserved as a peace park. you can see that everything is devastated. the estimate is that almost two miles in this direction was totally destroyed. if you are two miles away, you would be badly burned, your house could've been destroyed. you have to remember that this was, by modern standards, a tiny primitive little bomb. the bomb dropped on hiroshima, we estimate now to have been 16 killer times in destructive capability. that drawn that popped on nagasaki we have to make to be 22 killer tons of destructive capability. we later developed bombs that are going to be so much bigger. we actually, by 1954, we're holding congressional hearings in which the scientific leaders were laying out plans to build a bomb 700,000 times as powerful than the hiroshima bomb.
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it seems insane but that was they were holding out. this is what we knew and walked in with our eyes wide open. this is what this little bomb did to hiroshima. let us take a look at what the bomb did on nagasaki. this bomb was a little bit bigger but the casualties were actually smaller. nagasaki was surrounded by this mountain on both sides so the effect of the bomb was contained. the effect of the blast was contained by the mountains. nagasaki was in the valley, in between the mountains, so the nagasaki bomb is 22 killer times. they hiroshima bomb, the estimates are 150,000 dead by the end of 1945, 200,000 dead by 1950. the estimates on nagasaki are 70,000 dead by end of 1945, under 40,000 dead by 1950. the hiroshima bomb was a uranium bomb.
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the nagasaki bomb was a plutonium bomb. there were different kinds of bombs. now here we have got some more of the human artifacts, in a way. we've got the shoe of a young student. 13 year old boy who was killed in the bombing. we've got the hat of a junior high school student who was killed. we have got the water bottle of another young boy. 13 year old who was killed when the bomb exploded. but here we've got one of the replicas. it is the replica of the launch box from that 12-year-old girl who totally disappeared. no trace, never found her. inside you've got the carbon eyes rights and peace. her mother was able to identify that and can find a trace of her daughter.
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back in 1995, a few of us suggested that if they wanted to cancel the exhibit and they wanted to limit it, they were shown to artifacts. one was the enormous plane of the enola gay. the other was a lunch box of the 12-year-old girl. we thought that that was sending a message about what the atomic bomb was really about. of course that was the last thing in the world that they were ever going to display. they wanted none of the artifacts about the victims, they did not want the photographs of the victims, they did not want the statements by american military leaders condemning the bombing. they did not want that controversy. here is a more historical panel. as a historian i would like the whole exhibit about the contacts would've made a more boring exhibit probably. this has some important
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information about the manhattan project that was started to build a bomb that the germans would get a bomb. the american scientists were terrified at the prospect of hitler getting an atomic bomb so they built a bomb against germany. they did not anticipate that the bomb would be used against japan. japan did not have the industrial or scientific capability of building a bomb during the war. this is a survey of the bombing targets. these are potential targets. you have to remember that the united states had been firebombing japanese cities since the night of march 9th through tenth when they bombed the city of tokyo. by the end of the war, bombs were scenario to bring down japanese cities. overall, we bombed over 100 japanese cities and when we ran out of important major cities, we decided to bomb the secondary cities that had no
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military significance. the destruction reached 99.5% of the city of toyota. some of the american leaders were appalled. secretary of war simpson said to president truman, i do not want the united states to get the reputation for outdoing hitler atrocities. another top general was one of the most ruthless and barbaric killing of non combatants but that was the policy in order to target burned down the cities to kill civilians. this is about the decision to drop the bomb. there are reasons for using the bomb. the official narrative says the united states drop the bomb in order to expedite the end of the war without having to invade. truman says that an american invasion would cost half 1 million lives. the numbers keep going up. this is where truman saved thousands of lives and a quarter of 1 million lives. it is 1955 memoir says half 1
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million lives. there is no record there. there would've been many lives lost in the invasion. that was the official narrative, that we drop the bomb to envoy -- avoid an invasion. there is no truth to that. maybe a little truth to that in terms of truman's mind, but no basic truth to that. the reality was the japanese, from the battle of -- in 19 nine -- 1944 onwards would not work. they hope to get a better victory and surrendered to better terms. the big obstacle to them was the emperor. they want to make sure they could keep the emperor. mcarthur issued a report of a background briefing and says hanging of the emperor to them would be like the crucifixion of christ to us, all would fight to die like ants. that was mccarthy. almost every advisor of trumans urged him to change the surrender terms. let the japanese know they
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could keep the emperor. america planned all along to let them keep the emperor, we refused to signal that. we were quoted for unconditional surrender. what else could possibly on the war? a yalta, in february 1945, roosevelt finally got a promise from stalin. three months after the end of the war in europe, the big massive red army was going to come into the war for japan. truman said he wants to potsdam in july to meet with churchill and stalin to make sure that the soviets were coming in. he gets the agreement from the soviets, first day of conference, right in the journal that night, stalin would be in the japanese war by august 15th. truman knew that. he writes home to his wife the next day he says the russians are coming in, the war will end the year sooner now. think of all the boys will not be killed. truman also knew the japanese were trying to surrender. he describes the interceptive
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july teen telegram as a telegram from the japanese emperor asking for peace. we knew that. they all knew the japanese were finished. american intelligence reported repeatedly that the entry of the soviet union into the war will convince all japanese that defeat is inevitable. it will be to the end of the war. the question is, the confusing thing is why truman, who is not bloodthirsty, who is not a hitler, he did not take pleasure in killing people, why would truman use the atomic bombs knowing that the japanese were defeating and trying to surrender, knowing that they were not necessary? what we assume, as historians, is that a big part of his motivation was that he was sending a message to the soviets and if the soviets interfered with american plans in europe or in asia, this is the fate that they were going to get. the astounding thing about the soviets interpreted that way.
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suddenly the day entitlement was tomorrow and has been ever since. that is the reality we have been confronted with. that is what the a time bomb makes it so important. not just that hundreds of thousands of innocent women and children were killed unnecessarily but the fact that the human species have lived with this sort of -- hanging over our heads ever since and that possibility, still today, we have got 16,300 nuclear weapons in the world. we have had this conflict with the russians over ukraine. u.s. and russia still have thousands of nuclear weapons on hair trigger alert pointed at each other. we are not playing games here. that is still real which is why we want to do this exhibit. there were, apparently, several people carrying cameras in hiroshima on august 6th but only one is known to have taken
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any photos and that is what -- he was a photographer which was hiroshima's newspaper. he had enough film to take 24 photos. he said it was too horrible and so he ended up taking seven photos and developed five of them have been preserved when. he was very respectful. you don't want to show close of. he did want to show horrible burns. he did not want to show horrible sufferings. he shows the people at the relief stations who had escaped from the fire downtown. you can see some of the fire in the background, see the destruction everywhere. this was one and a half miles from the center. this was what was occurring. he says it was like walking through hell. he says he couldn't take photos. it was just too horrific and too intrusive on people's privacy and they're suffering. this shows the people with no
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medical supplies, almost all the doctors were killed, the hospitals were destroyed, the nurses were killed. what you see here are just people in these relief stations. there was no medicine, nothing to treat them. they sometimes put oil on the burns to try to help when. people were reporting maggots coming out of the wounds. it was just awful there. the shots from from nagasaki. people lying there. dying on the ground. on the mattresses. a woman breastfeeding her baby. there's lots of stories about women carrying dead babies on their backs trying to nurse their dead babies. we also have these images of the courses of some of the victims. what they said was that people who were near the center, their internal organs foiled aware
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and they quickly turned into charcoal and became carbon iced. you see the bodies. some of the people who wear their kimonos had the patterns burned into their skin. the shadow of somebody and disappeared on the steps of a bank. i am pretty sure that is a steps on the back of hiroshima. he was sitting there. i have no one friend in nagasaki who speaks to our group. he survived obviously and right down the names of all of the family members and how far they were. not a single one was affected by the bomb, was scarred by the bomb, was injured or burned by the bomb. he's gotten the names of them and how far from the center. one by one he crosses them out. this is over the next couple of
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weeks. one by one they die of radiation poisoning. they would get these purple spots all over the body. terrible diarrhea. your hair would start to fall out. you become sick. in most cases, many cases in which family members or friends came into hiroshima after the bombing looking for their relatives or their friends and several days after and they were dying of radiation sickness. even though some of the experts say that the effects of radiation were gone very quickly, there is a lot of evidence that suggest that that was not the case. this is the shima hospital. it was at the shima hospital where the bomb detonated. this is the elementary school and nagasaki. all the teachers and students were killed. it was a mile from the center.
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i take my students now every year on the morning of august 9th prior to the official nagasaki ceremony to go to a private ceremony at their elementary school. the children who attend the remedy school come there and they have a special piece commemoration ceremony. it's a very, very moving ceremony with the school full of elementary school students. you realize that that is the victims of the atomic bomb. after the war, congregants of church, unitarian church here in washington, d.c., sent art supplies to students at an elementary school in hiroshima. the students there used the arts supply to prepare a little supplies of any sort in hiroshima or nagasaki after the bombing. you see so many reports of the
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students living a street urchins basically. they were orphans, they don't have shelter, had put up shelters that they lived in. the fact that just getting arts supplies was a huge thing for these kids. in gratitude, they sent back drawings of paintings to the congregation at the church. i understand that these were lost for a long time than we discovered. now -- some of them went back to hiroshima recently and met with some of the kids. there is a very nice documentary about this i thought it would add a nice
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touch the exhibit. more of a human side the children who receive those gifts. i decided to do a series of panels that would depict the horrors of hiroshima. the first one was called ghosts and what it shows is the image of your scheme afterwards said that they were walking through hell. there was fires everywhere. people naked. walking usually with their arms held in front of them to lessen the pain a little bit.
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often the skin hanging down. people's clothes were blown off by the glass and the fire and people were mostly walking in a procession of naked people. so people said you can intel men from women as they were walking. you see this image here, the shock, the horror, the suffering in hiroshima after the bombings. the second panel we have here is called fire. reality was defy was everywhere. spreading rapidly. people try to escape the fire. what escaping the fire meant, this was the reality for so many other survivors. it meant that they would have to leave others behind. they would have to ignore the cries for help. the pleas from people who were trapped in their houses, people who were trapped under beams,
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people who were injured in order to escape. there were so many tragic stories about how children leaving their parents behind or parents leaving their children behind in order to escape as the flames were in crouching. people would stay with relatives and friends rather than leave. the folks at the gallery said i could choose any six of the 15 panels that i want. i decided i don't want to complicate the narrative not just portrayed the japanese as victims of the atomic bomb the. to put it in a different context and to show victims of the atomic bombs but also victimizes at the same time. i want the two panels to show that. the first one here is called close. this one you have to realize in hiroshima, that day, august 6th, there were 3000 --
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300,000 citizens. 43,000 japanese soldiers and 45,000 korean slave laborers. the koreans were badly treated by the japanese and have been for decades. they were discriminated against in japan. they were also discriminated against after the atomic bombing. they got almost no medical treatment, no aid at all and many of them just died in the streets. what this shows is the crows. this one is called crows and it shows the crows coming down and plucking at the eyeballs of the dead korean victims here. it is very controversial inside japan still. right now the prime minister and his administration is doing everything they can to cover up the history of japanese atrocities for the korean comfort women, citizens of china, the other victims across asia of japanese colonialism
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and japanese oppression. i wanted to show that part of it to. i also wanted this one to complicate it further. this was about the american people double use. there were p.o.w.'s in the camp in hiroshima 23 of them were at least in the bombing. many of them survived the atomic bombing. only to be beaten to death by enraged japanese citizens. this shows the americans who were beaten to death by the japanese after the bomb was dropped. i am not sure exactly why but they depicted several women among the american p.o.w.'s. there are actually no women there. this, to me, is somewhat baffling, why they chose to do so. but we are seeing here a progression in the thinking. in the beginning they focused just on japanese victims in here shamima then they consciousness began expanding. they started to show the
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japanese as also victimizes they have one on the rape of now using. they have one on onto its. they are trying to make this a broader human story. this was done later in 1968. the title is " floating lantern ". if you go to hiroshima, as i do with my students, we participate in the evening of august 6th, we participate every year in what is called the flooding lantern ceremony. the river there, the river is very symbolic, important because so many of the people jumped in the river in order to try to escape the flames or the cool their bodies as they have been badly burned. many of them died. all of these descriptions of the river that night is just a sea of floating corpse is. what the people did in hiroshima to commemorate is they hold the lantern ceremony every year and are now able to
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participate. it is no longer restricted to the families of the victims. what you do is you make a paper lantern, you put a candle inside and on the lantern you write a message of peace or anything you would like to write and you go down and take your turn. it's a long line that winds around the peace park and you put your lantern into the water there. it is very, very beautiful at night. one year when i went there, you'll mall was playing. that made it even more special. this is a depiction of the lanterns as they are floating in the river. ♪ ♪ >> weeknights this month we are featuring american history tv programs as a preview of what is available every weekend on c-span three.
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tonight at eight eastern, a look at hiroshima, nagasaki and the end of world war ii for the 75th anniversary of hiroshima. we will show you a documentary examining the august 6th, 1945 atomic bombing of hiroshima, japan. through the stories of several survivors. we will also feature a young family of hiroshima born after the bombing. we are trying to make sense of the tragedy during the 50th anniversary. enjoy american history tv tonight and every weekend on c-span three. >> american history tv on c-span three exploring the people and events to tell the american story. every weekend. coming up this weekend, sunday march six the 75th anniversary of the atomic bombing of nagasaki, japan, three days after the bombing of hiroshima. on american history tv in washington general live at 9 am eastern, a look at the back and how the bombings ended world war ii in the aftermath and the decades ahead with richard
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frank author of " downfall: the end of the imperial japanese empire " and peter kusnick will take your calls, facebook questions and tweets. at 4 pm eastern on real america, the 1946 film, " effects of the atomic bombs on here she might nagasaki " and " 1000 cranes: documenting the origins of hiroshima's peoples park " on 8 pm eastern -- the 75th anniversary of the potsdam conference where the new president, harry truman, informed winston churchill of england and joseph stalin of the soviet union about the new u.s. superweapon. exploring the american story. watch american history tv this weekend on c-span three. >> up next on history bookshelf from 2005 filmmaker an author steven walker talks about his book " shock wife: countdown here she month " the story begins with their


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