tv American Citizens in Hiroshima and Nagasaki CSPAN September 1, 2015 3:26am-3:46am EDT
there's 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 saipan in july of 1944 onward knew they could not win. they hoped to get one more victory and sue for better surrender terms. the big obstacle was the emperor. macarthur's command issued a report in 1945 in the summer that said, hanging of the emperor to people would be like the crucifixion of christ to us, all with fight to die like ants. that was what macarthur understood. almost every adviser of truman urged him to change the surrender terms. that was in america's interest. america planned to let them keep the emperor. we didn't want to -- we were calling for unconditional surrender. what else was going to possibly ended war?
convince all japanese that complete defeat is inevitable. it will lead to the end of the war. the question is, the confusing thing is why truman, who is not blood thirsty, not a hitler. did he not take pleasure in killing people. why would truman use the atomic bombs knowing that the japanese were defeated and trying to surrender, knowing they were not militarily necessary? what we assume as historians was that a big part of his motivation was that he was sending a message to the soviets that if the soviets interfered with american plans in europe or in asia -- this was the fate they were going to get. the soviets interpreted it that way. suddenly, the day of judgement was tomorrow and has been ever since. that's the reality we have been confronted with. that's what makes the atomic bombing so important, not just that hundreds of thousands of
innocent women and children were killed unnecessarily. but the fact that the human species has lived with this over our heads ever since. that possibility still today -- we have 16,300 nuclear weapons in the world. we have this conflict with the russians over ukraine. the u.s. and russia still have thousands of nuclear weapons on hair trigger alert pointed at east other. we're not playing games here. the threat is real. which is why we wanted to do this exhibit. there were apparently several people carrying cameras in hiroshima on august 6. but only one is known to have taken any photos. that's this man. he was a photographer with hiroshima's newspaper. he had enough film to take 24
photos. he said it was too horrible. so he ended up taking seven photos and five of them have been preserved. he was very respectful. he didn't want to show close-ups. he didn't want to show horrible burns, suffering. he shows the people at the relief stations stations who ha from the fire downtown. you can see some of the fire in the background. see the destruction everywhere. this was 1 1/2 miles from the center from what was occurring. and he said it was like walking through hell. he said he couldn't take photos. it was just too intrusive on people's privacy and their suffering. this shows people, no medical supplies, almost all the doctors were killed, the hospitals were destroyed, the nurses were, you know -- so what you see here are just people in these relief stations. there was no medicine, there was nothing to treat them.
they would put oil on the burns to try to help within days people reporting maggots coming out of the wounds. it was just awful. the shots from nagasaki, people lying there, dying, clothes on the ground, on the mass ress, a woman breast-feeding her baby. there were lots of stories about women carrying around dead babies on their backs trying to nurse their babies. these images of the charred corpses of some of the victims. what they had was that people who were near the hypocenter, their internal organs boiled away and they quickly turned into charcoal. they became carbonized. you can see the bodies. the bodies lying there, charred
corpses. some of the people who wore their clothes would have the patterns burned into their skin and the shadow of somebody completely disappeared. the steps of a bank -- i'm pretty sure that was the steps of a bank in hiroshima. i have one friend in nagasaki who speaks to our group and he survived, obviously. and he writes down the names of all of his family members and how far they were and not a single one was affected by the bomb, was scarred by bomb, was injured, wounded or burned by the bomb. he has the name of them and how far from the hypocenter. and one by one, he crosses them out. this is over the next couple of weeks. one by one would die of radiation poisoning. you would get these purple spots all over your body. you would get terrible diarrhea. your hair would start to fall
out, become sick. i know of cases, many cases in which family members or friends came into hiroshima after the bombing looking for their relatives or their friends and coming several days after and they would die of raid age. some experts said the effects radiation was gone very quickly. a lot of experts said that wasn't the case. this is the hiroshima hospital. it was above the hospital that the bomb actually detonated when it missed its initial target. he actually -- and in the elementary school, almost all the teachers and students were killed. it's only 3/10 of a mile from the hypocenter. i take my students now, every year on the morning of august 9th, prior to the official nagasaki ceremony, we go to a private ceremony at the elementary school. and all the children who now attend the elementary school
come there and have a special peace commemoration ceremony. it's a very, very moving ceremony with this school filled with elementary school students. and you realize that that is who the victims of the atomic bomb were. after the war, congregants of the unitarian church here in washington, d.c. send art supplies to students at hunkowa elementary school in hiroshima. and the students there use the art supplies at a time when there were very little supplies of any sort in hiroshima or nagasaki after the bombing. you see so many reports of the students visiting street urchins, basically. they were or fans. they didn't have shelter, had to put up these makeshift shelters that they lived in. so the fact of just getting art supplies was a huge thing for these kids.
and so in gratitudes, they sent back drawings and paintings to the congregation and also the church. i understand these were lost for a long time and rediscovered. and now the members of the church, some of them went back to hiroshima recently and met with some of the kids. it was a very nice book and documentary by my friend about this. [ speaking foreign language ]. i thought it would add a nice touch to the exhibit, you know, more of -- a human side in a different way of americans who reached out to the people in hiroshima and of the gratitude
on the part of the children who received those gifts. the marukis were famous japanese art aists who came into the city of hiroshima three days after the atomic bombing and saw the horrors and decided to do a series of panels that would depict the horrors of hiroshima. the first one was called ghost and what it shows is the image of hiroshima afterwards. people who experienced it said that they felt as if they were walking through hell. with fires everywhere, people naked, walking usually with their arms held in front of them to lessen the pain a little bit. often their skin hanging down. people's clothes were blown off by the blast and the fire and people were mostly walking in this procession of naked people. some said you couldn't tell men from women as they were walking. and 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. it shows the reality is that the fire was everywhere and spreading rapidly and people tried to escape the fire. but escaping the fire meant -- this is the reality for so many of the survivors, it meant that they would have to leave others behind. they would have to ignore the cry, the help, the pleas from people who were trapped in their houses, people who were trapped under beams, 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 when
the flames were encroaching and many stories we know about people staying with relatives and friends rather than leave. and the folks at the gallery told me i could choose any six of the 15 panels that i wanted. and i decided i wanted to complicate the narrative. not just portray the japanese as victims of the atomic bomb, but to put it in a different context and show that it was possible for the japanese to be victims of the atomic bombs, but victimizers at the same time. so i wanted two panels that were going to show that. and the first one here is called crows. this one, you have to realize that in hiroshima that day, august 6th, there were 3 let you know,000 citizens, 43,000 japanese soldiers and 45,000 korean slave laborers. and the koreans were badly treated by the japanese and had been for decades.
and they were discriminated against in japan and they were also discriminate against after the atomic bombing. they got almost no medical treatment, no aid at all, and many of them just died in the streets. and what this shows is the crows. this one is called crows. and it shows the crows coming down and plucking out the eyeballs of the dead korean victims here. it's very controversial inside japan right now. shinzo abe and his administration is doing everything they can to cover up the japanese atrocities towards the citizens of korea, the citizens of china, the other victims across asia of japanese oppression, so i want to show that part of it, too. and i also wanted this one to complicate it further. this was about the inherent p.o.w.s. there were p.o.w.s in a 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. and this shows the americans who were beaten to death by the japanese after the bomb was dropped. there's something -- and i'm not sure exactly why, but maruki has depicted several women among the american p.o.w.s. there were actually no women there. so this to me is somewhat baffling, why they chose to do so. but what we're seeing here is the progression. in the beginning, they focus just on japanese victims in hiroshima. then they begin expanding and they start to show the japanese as victimizers and they show the -- they've got one panel on the ra pe of nanjing. they have one on auschwitz. they're trying to make this a
broader human story. this was done in 1968. the title is floating lanterns. 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's called the floating lantern ceremony in the river there. the river is very symbolically important because so many of the people jump in the river in order to try to escape the flames or to cool their bodies if they've been badly burned and many of them died. all of these descriptions of it is river that night was that it was just a sea of floating corpses. and what the people did in hiroshima to commemorate is they hold the lantern ceremony every year and were now able to participate. it's no longer restricted to the families of the victims. so what you do is you make a paper lantern. you put a candle inside. on the lantern, you write a mess aenl of peace or anything you'd like to write.
then you go down, you take the turn, you get the long line that runs around. and you put your floating lantern into the water there. it's very, very beautiful at night. one year when i went there, yoyo mott was playing. that made it even more special. this is a depiction of the lanterns as they're floating in the river. ♪ the c-span cities tour, this weekend we're joined by charter communications to learn more about the history and literary life of grand junction, colorado. the mining of a certain mineral had a long-term importance in this part of colorado. >> all over the colorado plateau, and especially here in mesa county, outside of grand
junction, we are surrounded by morrison rock. and within the morrison, we find a lot of dinosaur bones, we find a lot of fossils. that's intrigued scientists for a long time. but the other thing we also find in the morrison is a mineral, a rock called carnatite. it contains three different elements. it contains radium, which is radioactive and used by marie curry to help solve and fight cancer. it also contains venadium, which is used to strerchkten steal. so during the build up to world war ii and during world war ii, venadium was very valuable. it contains uranium. uranium is one of the best sources for atomic power and atomic weapons. >> colorado congressman wayne aspeno was largely responsible for this land development through its water legislation. >> he fought the battle to reserve water for western
colorado by making sure that we got our fair share. how did he do that? beginning in his state career and going on to his federal career, he climbed up the ladder of seniority and was able to a exercise, i think, more power than you might normally have. certainly in the united states congress, where he was able to make sure colorado and western colorado would be treated fairley in any divisions of water. his first major success was the passage of the colorado river storage project in 1956. >> see all of our programs from grand junction saturday at a 7:00 p.m. eastern on c-span2's book tv. and sunday afternoon at o'clock on american history tv on c-spa c-span3. recently, american history tv was at the organization of american historians' annual
meeting in st. louis, missouri. we spoke with professors, authors, and graduate students about their research. this interview is about 20 minutes. >> naoko wake, an assistant professor at michigan state university. please tell us about your research with japanese americans who were in hiroshima and nagasaki in 1945. >> sure. yes, i am doing the historical investigation of japanese american and a handful of korean-americans as well who were born in the states, but happen to be in either hiroshima or nagasaki in 1945 at the end of world war ii when the bomb was dropped on the cities of hiroshima and nagasaki. and their numbers are not huge, but substantial. there were somewhere between 20 to 30,000 asian americans, mostly japanese-americans of the second generations, but third