Posted: 8/2/11 09:29 AM ET
In the weeks following the atomic attacks on Japan 66 years ago this week, and then for decades afterward, the United States engaged in airtight suppression of all film shot in Hiroshima and Nagasaki after the bombings. This included vivid color footage shot by U.S. military crews and black-and-white Japanese newsreel film.
The public did not see any of the newsreel footage for 25 years, and the shocking U.S. military film remained hidden for nearly four decades. While the suppression of nuclear truths stretched over decades, Hiroshima sank into “a hole in human history,” as the writer Mary McCarthy observed. The U.S. engaged in a costly and dangerous nuclear arms race. Thousands of nuclear warheads remain in the world, often under loose control; the U.S. retains its “first-strike” nuclear policy; and much of the world is partly or largely dependent on nuclear power plants, which pose their own hazards.
Our nuclear entrapment continues to this day–you might call it “From Hiroshima to Fukushima.”
The color U.S. military footage would remain hidden until the early 1980s, and has never been fully aired. It rests today at the National Archives in College Park, Md., in the form of 90,000 feet of raw footage labeled #342 USAF.