Truman Lied, Hiroshima Fried: An Atomic Transfiguration

Truman Lied, Hiroshima Fried: An Atomic Transfiguration August 6, 2016


If our gospel does not penetrate the veil, then the veil is on those who are not on the way to salvation; the unbelievers whose minds the god of this world has blinded, to stop them seeing the light shed by the Good News of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For it is not ourselves that we are preaching, but Christ Jesus as the Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. It is the same God that said, ‘Let there be light shining out of darkness’, who has shone in our minds to radiate the light of the knowledge of God’s glory, the glory on the face of Christ.
–2 Cor. 4, 6 August 2016 Office of Readings

There is something deeply ironic about the Feast of the Transfiguration falling on the same day as the bombing of Hiroshima.

51CBol+yVVL._SX321_BO1,204,203,200_Both events feature light prominently. Rarely is the contrast between how the world (humanity’s structures of sin, rather than all the physical world) gives and how God gives in more stark contrast than here.

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid (Mat. 14:27)

Truman’s decision to transfigure a city into rubble was based upon the tried and failed strategy of making peace through war. It was based upon stoking fears, troubling hearts, all to wrench out support for mass murder after the fact.

The details of the case, documented in The Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb, are rarely mentioned whenever wannabe philosophers want to remake the incineration of civilians into a massive trolley problem, a boring and inconsequential analytical philosophy puzzle:

“What did the president know; and when did he know it?”–the famous question of the 1970s and 1980s–could not be answered definitively for most of the postwar years. Only in 1960, when the official Potsdam Papers were published, did the public learn that Truman had been aware of the key intercepts (something he had privately confirmed to the State Department interviewers four years earlier, in January 1956).

However, it was almost another decade and a half before the “discovery” in 1979–34 years after the fact–of the president’s handwritten journal. This provided researchers with Truman’s personal characterization of the cable intercepted while he crossed the Atlantic. On July 18th, and handwritten entry shows the president referring to the intercept after a conversation with Church as the “telegram from Jap Emperor asking for peace.”

Words fail. All of it was Harry Truman’s lie. The bombings had little to do with saving American lives….

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