The Bomb: Daniel Ellsberg

Dandelion Salad

Daniel Ellsberg, the man responsible for leaking the Pentagon Papers to the press in 1971, imagines how nuclear weapons would be viewed today if Germany had used them in World War II. Because they would not have changed the outcome of the war, Ellsberg claims they would be branded “criminal, murderous” tools of Nazi desperation.

This excerpt is taken from a discussion on Howard Zinn’s “The Bomb,” featuring Daniel Ellsberg. This program was recorded in collaboration with City Lights Bookstore, on September 29, 2010.

As an active WWII bombardier returning from the end of the war in Europe and preparing for combat in Japan, Howard Zinn read the headline Atomic Bomb Dropped on Japan and was glad—the war would be over. “Like other Americans,” writes Zinn, “I had no idea what was going on at the higher levels, and had no idea what that ‘atomic bomb’ had done to men, women, children in Hiroshima, any more than I ever really understood what the bombs I dropped on European cities were doing to human flesh and blood.”

During the war, Zinn had taken part in the aerial bombing of Royan, France, and in 1966, he went to Hiroshima, where he was invited to a “house of rest” where survivors of the bombing gathered. In this short and powerful book, the backstory of the making and use of the bomb, Zinn offers his deep personal reflections and political analysis of these events, and the profound influence they had in transforming him from an order-taking combat soldier to one of our greatest anti-authoritarian, anti-war historians. – City Lights

Daniel Ellsberg is a former United States military analyst who, while employed by the RAND Corporation, precipitated a national political controversy in 1971 when he released the Pentagon Papers, a top-secret Pentagon study of US government decision-making about the Vietnam War, to The New York Times and other newspapers.

Full video:

From the archives:

John Pilger: The War You Don’t See (must-see)

10 thoughts on “The Bomb: Daniel Ellsberg

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  9. Absolutely! I agree with Daniel Ellsberg.I would like to give here a link to my Blog:PAX AMERICANA. WAS HIROSHIMA NECESSARY?

    It would be also relevant to quote Hermann Goering:

    “Naturally the common people don’t want war: Neither in Russia, nor in England, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, IT IS THE LEADERS of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is TELL THEM THEY ARE BEING ATTACKED, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. IT WORKS THE SAME IN ANY COUNTRY.”

    –Goering at the Nuremberg Trials

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