Episode 157: Radiance, Darkness and The Atomic Bomb

Most Americans have been taught that using atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945 was justified because the bombings ended the war in the Pacific, thereby averting a costly U.S. invasion of Japan. This erroneous contention finds its way into high school history texts still today. More dangerously, it shapes the thinking of government officials and military planners working in a world that still contains more than 15,000 nuclear weapons.
— Oliver Stone and Peter Kuznick, The L.A. Times, May 26, 2016.

As one of the most pivotal moments in history, the construction and deployment of the atomic bomb is worthy of many discussions. The bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki are responsible for killing hundreds of thousands of Japanese (primarily civilians) and changing the face of modern warfare and international politics forever. This week we welcome Richard Pera to explore the moment in history, what choices and factors preceded it and what we can take away from the decision in the context of the 21st century. How might this devastating power be connected to later peace? What are the ethical entanglements surrounding the issue? How does the use of nuclear weaponry reflect deeper elements of human nature?