Kirstein Cites Dr Zinn’s Postwar America: 1945-1971 in Article on Nuclear Genocide in World War II

While authors are asked not to display journal articles for a year, I thought it appropriate to cite one page in which Dr Howard Zinn’s underutilized work, Postwar America: 1945-1971 is referenced. The book covers in surprising detail much of the machinations behind the decision to use atomic weaponry against a defeated and virtually defenceless adversary, Japan, that was nearing a decision to surrender. The citation is in footnote 16. Henry Stimson was secretary of war. Major General Leslie Groves was the director of the Manhattan Project and was obsessed with censorship and control of information related to this evil, monstrous project to develop weapons of mass destruction. The article is “Hiroshima and Spinning the Atom: America, Britain, and Canada Proclaim the Nuclear Age,  August 6, 1945,” The Historian, Winter, 2009:


…worried that scientists claiming proprietary rights of discovery might disseminate information that would eviscerate government efforts to monopolize all aspects of the nuclear enterprise. While Bush and Conant recommended that the Roose­velt administration disclose many details of the Manhattan Project, Groves was alarmed “that the president might decide that it was wise to release certain facts; the follow up stories and comments to such a release could well be ruinous.”13

Stimson established the Interim Committee on 4 May 1945 in order to “survey and make recommendations on postwar research, development and controls, as well as legislation necessary to effectuate them.”14 Besides Stimson, Bush, and Conant, the Interim Committee’s membership consisted of Secretary of State James F. Byrnes, Assistant Secretary of State William L. Clayton, former Undersecretary of the Navy Ralph Bard as of July 1945, Karl T. Compton of the Office of Scientific Research and Development (and president of the Massachusetts Institute of Tech­nology), and Stimson’s Special Assistant George L. Harrison (who was president of New York Life Insurance Company).15 The Interim Committee also provided recommendations on the use of the atomic bomb, suggesting options on how (rather than whether) the atomic bomb should be introduced into the Pacific.16

Groves recognized that the Interim Committee must approve any presidential or secretary of war statement but did not want it micromanaging subsequent publicity after the president’s planned broadcast. Groves told Harrison that the committee should not be “burdened with preparing or correcting” subsequent “publicity releases,” despite their importance to the nation and world.17 His real intent was maintaining as tight a loop as possible in the dissemination of the Manhattan Project information. While no evidence has surfaced that any Interim Committee member actually wrote an A-bomb draft announcement, Groves

13.  Leslie R. Groves to the Chief of Staff (George C. Marshall), 26 March 1945; Roll 1, File 5, Subfile 5b, Correspondence (“Top Secret”) of the Manhattan Engineer District, 1942–1946, Records of the Office of the Chief of Engineers, Record Group 77; National Archives—Great Lakes Region (hereafter referred to as “Top Secret Files”).

14.  Bush–Conant File, 6.

15.  Correspondence (“Top Secret”) of the Manhattan Engineer District, 1942–1946, National Archives Microfilm Publications Pamphlet M1109 (Washington, DC: National Archives and Records Service, 1982), 3; Walter Millis, ed., The Forrestal Diaries (New York: Viking Press, 1951), 54, 560.

16.  Notes of the Interim Committee Meeting(s), 31 May 1945 and 1 June 1945, cited from Michael B. Stoff, Jonathan F. Fanton, and R. Hal Williams, eds., The Manhattan Project: A Documentary Introduction to the Atomic Age (New York: McGraw-Hill, Inc., 1991), 117, 127–28; Howard Zinn, Postwar America: 1945–1971 (Indianapolis, IN: Bobbs-Merrill, 1973), 9–10.

17.  Groves to George Harrison, 21 June 1945; Roll 6, File 75, H–B Files.

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