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Archive for the ‘19. The Atomic Cafe – Part 1’ Category

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Part I

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Trinity Test Site, Alamogordo, New Mexico

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Scientists preparing the first A-bomb,

nicknamed “The Gadget,” before the Trinity Test

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Trinity Test, July 16, 1945,

the first atomic bomb explosion in history

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Colonel Paul W. Tibbets, Jr., (February 23, 1915 – November 1, 2007) commander of the Enola Gay, the Boeing B-29 Superfortress that was used to drop the atomic bomb “Little Man” on Hiroshima. (Later promoted to Brigadier General)

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 • TELEVISION INTERVIEW WITH PAUL TIBBETS:

PAUL TIBBETS:

“The Trinity test had been executed in New Mexico. The people from Trinity had arrived in the Marianas, and they had with them, at that particular time, colored photographs of the Trinity explosion.

“So, we got the gang together, and we showed them. We didn’t use the word ‘atomic bomb.’ We did not use that, but we said, ‘Okay, now, this is the bomb. This is what will happen when we make our flight tomorrow and release it. This is what we’re going to see.’ So, with this preliminary indoctrination, we got into the airplane and took off.”

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The crew of the Enola Gay

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PAUL TIBBETS:

“Once we were airborne and in the air, I then left the pilot’s seat of the airplane, and I crawled back into the back where the enlisted men were. I got them all together back there, and we poured some coffee out of the thermos jug, and I told them actually what we were doing and what we were carrying at that time. And the weather being clear at our primary, which was Hiroshima, there was no decision left. I mean, we were on our way to the primary. So that part of it was perfectly routine. As we came in from our initial point to the bomb release point, it was again routine. We were bothered not in the least by any kind of fighter opposition, no flak. We didn’t see anything to cause us any concern so that we were able to concentrate strictly on the bombing problem.”

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The Bombing of Hiroshima, August 6, 1945

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PAUL TIBBETS:

“The bomb was released. We executed our turn away as we had been directed. The bomb blast hit us. It hit us in two different shock waves, the first being the stronger. This, as I say, was a perfectly unexciting and routine thing up until the point of taking a look at the damage that had been done, and then it was kind of — it was a little bit hard to realize. It was kind of inconceivable as to what we were looking at there. We passed comments back and forth in the airplane. We took pictures, and by the time we had done that, I became concerned that we better quit being sightseers and get out of there, and we were gone and off to the coast in a matter of about 20 minutes from the time that the bomb was released.”

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Harry S. Truman (May 8, 1884 – December 26, 1972), 33rd President of the United States (1945–1953), made the decision to bomb Hiroshima and Nagasaki

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• HARRY S. TRUMAN ADDRESSING THE AMERICAN PUBLIC:

“We have spent more than two billion dollars on the greatest scientific gamble in history. And we have won.”

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• NEWS ANNOUNCER DESCRIBING THE EFFECT OF THE A-BOMB:

“The Navy department says that it’s too early yet to tell what effect the atomic bomb will have on Japanese morale and that we may have to destroy four or five cities until they actually believe we have such a bomb.”

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The “Fat Man” bomb that used on Nagasaki, an implosion-type atomic weapon with a plutonium core 

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• HARRY S. TRUMAN ADDRESSING THE AMERICAN PUBLIC:

“Having found the atomic bomb we have used it. We shall continue to use it until we completely destroy Japan’s power to make war. Only a Japanese surrender will stop us. It is an awful responsibility that has come to us. We thank God that it has come to us instead of to our enemies, and we pray that He may guide us to use it in His ways and for His purposes.”

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The bombing of Nagasaki, August 9, 1945

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Captain Kermit K. Beahan (August 9, 1918 – March 10, 1989), the bombardier on the crew flying the Boeing B-29 Superfortress Bockscar on August 9, 1945, that dropped the second atomic bomb on Nagasaki

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• INTERVIEW WITH KERMIT BEAHAN:

REPORTER:

“Captain Beahan, what was your most outstanding experience on this historic flight?”

KERMIT BEAHAN:

“I suppose it was when the clouds opened up over the target at Nagasaki. The target was there, pretty as a picture. I made the run, let the bomb go. That was my greatest thrill.”

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World War II ends

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V-J Day (Victory Over Japan Day) celebration in Times Square, New York City, August 14, 1946

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• “WHEN THE ATOM BOMB FELL” (Song by Karl and Harty [1946])

“There was no atheist in a foxhole

And men who never prayed before

Lifted tired and bloodshot eyes to heaven

And begged the Lord to end this awful war.

They told them of their homes and loved ones

They told them that they’d like to be there

I believe the bomb that struck Hiroshima

Was the answer to a fighting boy’s prayer.”

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Famous photograph by Alfred Eisenstaedt of an anonymous sailor kissing a girl in Times Square on V-J Day.

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•  COMEDIANS JOKING ABOUT HIROSHIMA (1945 Radio Program)   

FIRST SPEAKER:

“Hey, did you see that city where the first atomic bomb was dropped?”

SECOND SPEAKER:

“Yes, Fred, we flew over Hiroshima for about half an hour.”

FIRST SPEAKER:

“It was a shambles, huh?”

SECOND SPEAKER:

“A shambles? It looked like Ebbets Field after a double header with the Giants!”

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View of Hiroshima after the bombing

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• TELEVISION INTERVIEW WITH PAUL TIBBETS (CONTINUED):

PAUL TIBBETS:

“The group had been told to select some targets in Japan that had not been bombed, in other words, they wanted virgin targets. And the reason behind it, even though not given to the group at that time, the reason behind it was that they wanted to be able to make bomb blast studies or bomb damage studies on virgin targets once the bombs were used.”

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U.S. Military personnel surveying the damage from Hiroshima, 1945

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PAUL TIBBETS:

“They were definitely military targets, there was no question about that, and they offered such a, well you could almost say a classroom experiment as far as being able to determine later the bomb damage.”

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Radiation burn victim from Nagasaki

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PAUL TIBBETS:

“I have been subjected many times to criticism. I have been accused of being insane, being a drunkard, being everything that you could imagine a derelict to be as a result of a guilty conscience for doing this, and as I say, no one’s ever come to my defense in that regard. I look at it this way, that my part in this thing may well have been something that later or now that the U.S. government might be looking at somewhat with a guilt complex. And the feeling could be that the less said about it by the United States government, the better.”

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Survivor of the Hiroshima bombing

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American troops returning home after the war

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World War II Victory Parade in Tennessee

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Listening to radio news, 1940s

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• NEWS ANNOUNCER REPORTING ON THE BIKINI A-BOMB TEST:

“June 30, 1946. Almost time. Another five seconds, two…5:30. (bomb blast is heard) A spewing column of smoke nine miles into the sky. Blinding light stronger than the sun. Bikini Atoll. Present site of Operation Crossroads and a fourth atomic bomb explosion. Bikini Atoll, where 200 warships will be anchored, 140 planes, 200 goats, 200 pigs, 4,000 rats. How will this fourth bomb affect you? What do you know about this atomic bomb?”

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Vice Admiral William Henry Purnell Blandy (28 June 1890 – 12 January 1954), commander of the atomic bomb test at Bikini Atoll. (Later promoted to Admiral.)

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• W.H.P. BLANDY EXPLAINING THE BIKINI TEST:

“The bomb will not start a chain reaction in the water, converting it all to gas and letting all the ships on all the oceans drop down to the bottom. It will not blow out the bottom of the sea and let all the water run down the hole. It will not destroy gravity. I am not an atomic playboy, as one of my critics has labeled me, exploding these bombs to satisfy my personal whim.”

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Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands, North Pacific,

with bomb target indicated

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 • THE EVACUATION OF BIKINI (U.S. Government propaganda film)

NARRATOR:

“And thus the natives express to the people of the United States their welcome, despite the fact that the atoll of Bikini may be utterly destroyed come July the First.”

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Bikinians waving to the newsreel cameras

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NARRATOR:

“But to the natives in their simplicity and their pleasantness and their courtesy, they’re more than willing to cooperate, although they don’t understand the world of nuclear energy any more than we do. And although they have no way of understanding what the test is about.”

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U.S. Military personnel meeting with

Bikini natives ahead of the atomic bomb test

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U.S. MILITARY REPRESENTATIVE

 “Go ahead, James. Tell them about the…explain the atomic bomb to them.”

JAMES (Bikini Islander) :

(addresses Bikini Islanders in their native language)

U.S. MILITARY REPRESENTATIVE

“All right now, James, will you tell them the United States Government now wants to turn this great destructive force into something good for mankind, and that these experiments at Bikini are the first step in that direction.”

JAMES:

(translating into native language)

 U.S. MILITARY REPRESENTATIVE

“Now they have heard of our plan for evacuation. Will you ask King Juda to get up and tell us now what his people think, and if they are willing to go.”

JAMES :

(translating into native language)

KING JUDA (Chief of the Bikini Islanders) :

(speaking in native language)

JAMES :

(translating) “Him say, very good. And willing to go, and everything in God’s hands.”

U.S. MILITARY REPRESENTATIVE

“Well you tell them and King Juda that everything being in God’s hands it cannot be other than good.”

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Bikini natives

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NARRATOR:

“American officials discuss plans with the Bikini natives for the evacuation of the atoll. The islanders are a nomadic group and are well pleased that the Yanks are going to add a little variety to their lives. And here, by the way, you hear them singing their Marshallese version of “You Are My Sunshine.”

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Natives being evacuated from Bikini Atoll ahead of the June 30, 1946 atomic bomb test

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Navy personnel observing the first atomic bomb test at Bikini Atoll

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• COUNTDOWN TO THE BIKINI TEST (Radio Communications)

“Firing time, 20 seconds.”

“The final switches have been thrown.”

“We do not know how it’s going to sound but 42,000 men are watching.”

“All of the observer ships are in position in the open sea. We’re about 10 miles away.”

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The fourth nuclear explosion in history; A-bomb test at Bikini Atoll, June 30, 1946

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• “1947, YEAR OF DIVISION” (Paramount Newsreel Special)

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“Day by day news reports in1947

headlined the global struggle of

East versus West, in a clash of

ideologies. The ruthless expansionism

of the total state – challenging the basic

ideals of individual and national freedoms.”

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NARRATOR:

“In the background was the growing struggle between two great powers to shape the post-war world. Soviet Russia was expansively stabbing westward, knifing into nations left empty by war.”

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1950s graphic illustrating Soviet expansion into Europe and Asia

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Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin (18 December 1878 – 5 March 1953) was the Premier of the Soviet Union from 6 May 1941 until his death on 5 March 1953.

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 NARRATOR:

“On orders from the Kremlin, Russia had launched one of history’s most drastic political, economic, and moral wars. A Cold War.”

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 Soviet parade in Red Square, Moscow, 1945

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NARRATOR:

“The United States was obliged to help Europe safeguard its traditional freedoms and the independence of its nations. Gone was the spirit of wartime unity that reached its peak on that historic afternoon in April ’45 at the Elbe River in Germany. Here two worlds actually met, but this coalition was to be torn asunder.”

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American and Soviet soldiers posing at the site where the two armies met at the Elbe River near Torgau, Germany, April 25, 1945, marking the defeat of Nazi Germany

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NARRATOR:

“Already an iron curtain had dropped around Poland, Hungary, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria…

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Map showing the “Iron Curtain” or the post-war dividing line between Soviet East (the Warsaw Pact nations) and Allied West (the NATO alliance)

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NARRATOR:

“Ah, but this is Europe, you say. But let’s see what can happen elsewhere in, say, the small town of Mosinee, Wisconsin. Peaceful, isn’t it? But the red truncheon falls and the chief of police is hauled off to jail. Next, public utilities are seized by Fifth Columnists. Watch carefully what happens to an editor who operates under a free press.”

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 Mosinee citizen being arrested by “communist invaders”

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NARRATOR:

“He goes to jail, too, and his newspaper is confiscated. Exit freedom of thought. Yes, this is life under the Soviet form of government.”

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NARRATOR:

“The little town of Mosinee made this experiment for 24 hours as a public service to all America. It can’t happen here? Well, this is what it looks like if it should.”

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Magazine account of staged “communist invasion” of Mosinee

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• TV SHOW HOST: 

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“Fortunately, we can move the clock back.  The time is not yet. Let us pray that it never happens in our country.”

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The Doomsday Clock has been perpetually maintained by the board of directors at the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists since 1947 and the beginnings of the Cold War as a means of monitoring how close we are to thermonuclear disaster.

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“Before we meet the members of the American Legion Post 279 who helped make this picture possible,  I’d just like to say that it gives me a great deal of satisfaction to represent two outstanding shopping centers in California: The Shopping Hub of the San Gabriel Valley in West Arcadia and the Whittier Quad Shopping Center in Whittier, California, because they are the concrete expressions of the practical idealism that built America. When you visit these two fine shopping centers you’ll find more than four score beautiful stores with sparkling assortments, an attractive atmosphere, and of course, plenty of free parking for all the cars we capitalists seem to acquire.

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Parking lot, Columbus, Ohio, 1964

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“Who can help but contrast the beautiful, the practical settings of the Arcadia Shopping Hub and the Whittier Quad with what you’d find under communism?”

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• OUR TEAM FOR SECURITY (U.S. Propaganda Newsreel)

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“Team for Security”

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 NARRATOR:

“It’s not safe to hope for the best without preparing for the worst.  Our object is not aggression. We need not become militaristic. But we must keep our Army, our Navy, our Air Force at ready strength. We must back up our Team for Security!”

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• FILM CLIP OF TWO MEN DISCUSSING WORLD CRISES

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FIRST MAN:

“Well, there’s nothing for us to worry about. We’re the ones who have the bomb.”

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First Soviet atomic bomb test, August 29, 1949

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• THE SOVIET UNION EXPLODES AN ATOMIC BOMB (Newsreel)

NARRATOR:

“The atom bomb explodes again in the headlines of the world. In Washington, the Chairman of the Joint Congressional Committee on Atomic Energy, Senator Brien McMahon, gives his reaction to Russia’s possession of the bomb.”

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Senator Brien McMahon, born James O’Brien McMahon (October 6, 1903 – July 28, 1952) was a major figure in the establishment of the Atomic Energy Commission through his authorship of the Atomic Energy Act of 1946 (the McMahon Act). He served as both as chairman of the Senate Special Committee on Atomic Energy, and the first chairman of the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy.

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 BRIEN McMAHON:

“This is no time for hysteria. This is no time for panic. This is a time for a calm reflection on the political and military implications on this transcendent event.”

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School children practicing “duck and cover” a technique that was supposed to protect them in the event of a nuclear attack

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Another idea for supposed protection from an atomic blast

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“JESUS HITS LIKE AN ATOM BOMB” (Song by Lowell Blanchard with the Valley Trio [1950])

           “Everybody’s worried

            About the atomic bomb.

            But nobody’s worried

            About the day my Lord will come.

            When he hits (Great God Almighty!)

            Like an atom bomb.

            When He comes, when He comes.”

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• FILM CLIP ABOUT AN “ATOMIC RAY” SUIT (Newsreel)

LEO PAUWELA:

“Well the suit is made from this material. Inside this layer is shredded lead – a resistance against atomic rays. (turns to son) Okay, Richard, on your way to the air raid shelter.”

RICHARD PAUWELA:

“Whoa!” (almost falling off bicycle due to the weight of the suit)

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• TIGHTENING SECURITY AT NUCLEAR FACILITIES (Newsreel)

NARRATOR:

“One of the immediate effects of Russia’s atom bomb blast is the announcement of tightened security regulations at all atom installations. At Hanford, Washington, where $200 million is being spent in the ever-expanding atomic government empire, the door is being locked – but tight.”

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The Hanford Site on the Columbia River in Washington was established in 1943 as part of the Manhattan Project. It was home to the world’s first full-scale plutonium production reactor. 

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“Twelve guards are kept on their toes by constant target practice. And they have orders to shoot to kill at any suspicious strangers.”

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Guards at the Hanford site doing target practice

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• “WAR OR PEACE?” (Universal International Newsreel)

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WAR OR PEACE

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1950

 FATEFUL YEAR 

NEWS HIGHLIGHTS SHOW

OMINOUS MARCH OF EVENTS

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 KOREA INVADED

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NARRATOR:

“A heavily-trained and well-equipped North Korean army swarmed across the 38th parallel to attack unprepared South Korean defenders. Caught off guard, they were overwhelmed until the United Nations took its historic vote to intervene.”

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DPRK (North Korean) Army advancing into South Korea

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NARRATOR:

“The end of the war seemed in sight as the Allies pushed north toward the North Korean capital of Pyonyang.”

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Allied planes bombing North Korean positions

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NARRATOR:

“Then it happened. The Chinese Red Army, numbering hundreds of thousands, swarmed over the frontier against thinly-held United Nations positions.”

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Chinese troops attacking Allied positions

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NARRATOR:

“Confronted by overwhelming numbers, UN armies were forced into inevitable retreat, while men wondered if China would touch off World War III.”

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United Nations troops retreating in the face of the Chinese onslaught

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• TRUMAN ON USING THE A-BOMB IN KOREA (Newsreel)

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NARRATOR:

“Would the atom bomb be the answer to the Chinese hordes? President Truman said it was under consideration.”

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HARRY S. TRUMAN:

“If the United States yields to the forces of aggression. No nation will be safe or secure. If aggression is successful in Korea, we can expect it to spread throughout Asia and Europe and this hemisphere.”

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HARRY S. TRUMAN:

“We are fighting in Korea for our own national security and survival.”

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• LONGINES CHRONOSCOPE WITH JAMES E. VAN ZANDT (TV broadcast – May 8, 1953 interviewed by William Bradford Huie and William H. Peterson.)

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Longines Chronoscope was a 15-minute interview television program, broadcast on CBS-affiliated television stations from 1951 to 1955.

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NARRATOR:

“It’s time for the Longines Chronoscope. Our distinguished guest for this evening is the Honorable James E. Van Zandt, United States Congressman from Pennsylvania.”

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James Edward Van Zandt (December 18, 1898 – January 6, 1986) was a Republican member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Pennsylvania and a member of the House Armed Services Committee.

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JAMES VAN ZANDT:

“It’s my opinion that we should fight this war to win in Korea, rather than try to settle at the diplomatic table, which is impossible when you’re dealing with the Russians.”

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WILLIAM PETERSON:

“Would you extend your will to win so far as to include the atomic bomb?”

JAMES VAN ZANDT:

“Very definitely, Dr. Peterson. I’ve always been a firm believer that we should use the atomic bomb, not only in Korea, but north of the Yalu River in Manchuria.”

WILLIAM HUIE:

“Does that mean you believe it can be effectively used as a weapon in the Korean theater?”

JAMES VAN ZANDT:

“Yes, I think that there are several targets in northern Korea we could use that we could destroy with the atomic bomb. We can destroy them and contaminate them. And then of course there are targets in Manchuria that should be destroyed.”

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• U.S. AIR FORCE PROAGANDA FILM ON ATOMIC WEAPONS

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 NARRATOR:

“This is the destructive power we pray God we will never be called upon to use. But should it become necessary let us not hesitate because it is foreign to our nature to use the power which He has given us.”

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• REP. LLOYD BENTSEN ON NORTH KOREA (Newsreel)

Lloyd Millard Bentsen, Jr. (February 11, 1921 – May 23, 2006) was a four-term United States senator (1971–1993) from Texas and the Democratic Party nominee for Vice President in 1988. He also served in the House Of Representatives from 1949 to 1955, and while there advocated the use of atomic weapons against North Korean cities.

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LLOYD BENTSEN:

“I propose the President of the United States advise the commander of the North Korean troops to withdraw his forces beyond the 38th parallel within one week or use that time to evacuate civilians from a specified list of North Korean cities that will be subjected to atomic attack by the United States Air Force.”

Douglas MacArthur (26 January 1880 – 5 April 1964) was a United States General who led the United Nations Command in the Korean War. He was removed from command by President Harry S. Truman on 11 April 1951 due to insubordination concerning MacArthur’s plans to expand the Korean War to the Yalu River, which Truman felt could lead to a nuclear war.

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• WHEN THEY DROP THE ATOMIC BOMB

            (Song by Jackie Doll and His Pickled Peppers [1951])

            “There will soon be an end

            To this cold and wicked war

            When those hard-headed communists

            Get what they’re lookin’ for.

            Only one thing that will stop them

            And their ferocious fun

            If General MacArthur

            Drops the atomic bomb.

            There’ll be fire, dust and metal

            Flyin’ all around

            And the radioactivity

            Will burn them to the ground

            If there’s any commies left

            They’ll be all on the run

            If General MacArthur

            Drops the atomic bomb.”

North Korean prisoners of war

Animation of an atomic bomb blast, circa 1950

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• REP. LLOYD BENTSEN ON NORTH KOREA [CONTINUED] (Newsreel)

LLYOD BENTSEN:

“I ask you, the American people, to let your congressman know how you feel about this proposal.”

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• INTERVIEW WITH WOMAN ON THE STRTEET (Newsreel)

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WOMAN:

“Well, I really don’t know what to do.”

INTERVIEWER:

“But you do feel the Korean situation affects us more than anything else?”

WOMAN:

“Yes, I feel that our boys…that we should get our boys home. They’ve been over there long enough and there doesn’t seem to be any end to the situation.”

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DOWNLOAD A PDF VERSION OF THE ATOMIC CAFE TRANSCRIPT (PART I) HERE:

1. The Atomic Café (Pt.I)

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