Oliver Stone on Hollywood myth making, Henry Wallace, the end of WW-II, "The Untold History of the United States", and drones

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Oliver Stone and historian Peter Kuznick appeared on the Up with Chris Hayes show today. Stone talked about some of his earlier projects, and commented on some of the "myth making" movies that Hollywood has produced over the years (including, to a point, some of Stone's own work in which he does some "counter myth making"). Stone and Hayes talked about the anti-communist period that harmed or ended the careers of many in the film industry. The people impacted included some of those involved with Frank Capra, including the writer of "Mr. Smith Goes To Washington".

They also addressed the process of researching and writing big Hollywood "history" movies like two currently in theatres, "Lincoln" and "Zero Dark Thirty", that sometimes result in the myths or inaccuracies. One interesting item Stone brought up was how the first film about the atomic bomb was turned from an anti-bomb movie into a pro-bomb movie called The Beginning or the End.

Stone states that "Zero Dark Thirty" is "bothersome" on many levels. He expresses his dislike of the portrayal of torture as being useful in finding Bin Laden, and that the film does not rightfully address the possibility of taking Bin Laden alive and bringing him to trial.

Stone and Kuznick discussed the series "The Untold History of the United States", and how the series counters many of the myths that we have grown up thinking are facts. Stone states that the material for the series was heavily fact checked. One of the myths Stone counters is the belief the US dropped the atom bombs on Japan to save American lives that would have been lost if the Japanese mainland had been invaded. In reality, Stone says, the bombs were dropped as a warning to Stalin. Very interesting.

The interview went into some detail about Henry Wallace, who served as FDR's vice president during the term that began in 1941, preceeding Truman as VP. I've seen some mention of Wallace on the message board and in other places, but have not read those items in detail yet; after this interview, I now know I have some reading to do.

Another aspect of the end of World War II the series covers is how our history over states the role the US played in the ending of the war, and the Russian's role is under stated. And Churchill's primary goal was to get the British Empires overseas colonies back.

The first link is to the introduction of today's show topics and the guest list. Note the current events comments by "Dorothea from Germany" (which were added to the page after it was placed on the web the day before the show) dealing with recent events, some of which came up in the discussion.

Saturday’s Guests (January 5): The big lessons from the fiscal curb deal, what’s next in the fight over spending, an interview with Oliver Stone

Hollywood’s role in historical myth-making

Oliver Stone: ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ is ‘bothersome’ on many levels

The real story behind the atomic bomb

Inside ‘The Untold History of the United States’

The closing segment, which begins with a review of the airline safety record for year 2012, and later has some more talk on Stone's "United States" series, on drones, on the New York Times being denied information it sought in FOIA requests, and related events from this weeks news:

2012 the safest year for air travel

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

earlier item on the message board about the series "The Untold History of the United States":

About the Untold History of the United States... series beginning tonight

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

more on the film "The Beginning or The End":

film THE BEGINNING OR THE END - buried 1946,... | Gather

The Beginning or the End: Information from Answers.com

The Beginning or The End: Introduction (Press Kit from 1947)

The Beginning or the End (Wikipedia)

miksilvr
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Comments

In reality, Stone says, the bombs were dropped as a warning to Stalin.

Not exactly.

The bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were weapons tests against live targets. Scaring Stalin couldn't have been the main objective because the U.S. military really didn't know what the bombs would do. Once it found out, the results remained top secret for decades; some of the results are top secret to this day.

Plus, if the Americans really wanted to scare Stalin, they wouldn't have kept the results secret and could have allowed the Soviets to visit Hiroshima and see things with their own eyes. They didn't.

Some members of the "Targeting Committee" suggested that, instead of Hiroshima, a Pacific island could be demolished, with the Soviets invited as eyewitnesses. The idea was rejected because a test failure would backfire on the Americans and such a test would not yield the data required by the military (i.e., effects on a human population).

The Americans stalled the Japanese, who wanted to surrender as early as June 1945, until the bombs were ready. G-d forbid the war end before the tests were conducted against inhabited cities; the military might not yet know today what the actual consequences would be. That is the real crime committed by the Americans.

stuff's picture
stuff
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Nov. 24, 2012 4:59 pm

I've been watching Stone's series and it has been great. There are some areas where I think he could have dug deeper. My understanding is most of it was produced two years ago and had trouble finding any network that would take it. The style is as if he wanted to pitch it to PBS ala Ken Burns.

Stuff, what is the source of your claim?

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captbebops
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Stuff, what is the source of your claim?

25 years of research on the matter.

Don't take my word for it; read the voluminous records and decide for yourself. Start here:

The National Security Archive

stuff's picture
stuff
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Nov. 24, 2012 4:59 pm

Miksilvr, thanks for the post, this "mind opening" series will do what Michael Moore "9/11" movie did, it open the world to good human side of USA and the "Evil Side". The good USA use the power of the vote to overcome the evil of money this past election, can we the good USA use the "spend power" to overcome the "evil money"? Stuff, you believe the National Security Archive, "I have more than one bridge to sell you". There have been big lies from day one in USA history, nobody can imagine all the stuff that`s hiding. Just look at the treatment of "Wikileaks"?

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tayl44
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Stuff, you believe the National Security Archive?

They post original documents that have been released as a result of Freedom of Information requests. If you don't accept those documents, find original documents on your own.

You need not take my word for anything.

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stuff
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Nov. 24, 2012 4:59 pm

Interesting and informative critique of Stone's (Untold Story)... My sense is that it has been weak in certain areas... but for those who are not strong in actual US and world history, the series has been exceptional so far...

The Untold Story: How America Became a Dangerous Empire

http://www.alternet.org/untold-story-how-america-became-dangerous-empire

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norske
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

History.com notes:

In the years since the two atomic bombs were dropped on Japan, a number of historians have suggested that the weapons had a two-pronged objective …. It has been suggested that the second objective was to demonstrate the new weapon of mass destruction to the Soviet Union. By August 1945, relations between the Soviet Union and the United States had deteriorated badly. The Potsdam Conference between U.S. President Harry S. Truman, Russian leader Joseph Stalin, and Winston Churchill (before being replaced by Clement Attlee) ended just four days before the bombing of Hiroshima. The meeting was marked by recriminations and suspicion between the Americans and Soviets. Russian armies were occupying most of Eastern Europe. Truman and many of his advisers hoped that the U.S. atomic monopoly might offer diplomatic leverage with the Soviets. In this fashion, the dropping of the atomic bomb on Japan can be seen as the first shot of the Cold War.

World War II: Soviet and Japanese Forces Battle at Khalkhin Gol

The REAL Reason America Used Nuclear Weapons Against Japan

(It Was Not To End the War Or Save Lives)

Admiral William Leahy – the highest ranking member of the U.S. military from 1942 until retiring in 1949, who was the first de facto Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and who was at the center of all major American military decisions in World War II – wrote (pg. 441):
It is my opinion that the use of this barbarous weapon at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of no material assistance in our war against Japan. The Japanese were already defeated and ready to surrender because of the effective sea blockade and the successful bombing with conventional weapons.

When I asked General MacArthur about the decision to drop the bomb, I was surprised to learn he had not even been consulted. What, I asked, would his advice have been? He replied that he saw no military justification for the dropping of the bomb.

In my opinion, the Japanese war was really won before we ever used the atom bomb. Thus, it wouldn’t have been necessary for us to disclose our nuclear position and stimulate the Russians to develop the same thing much more rapidly than they would have if we had not dropped the bomb.
Under Secretary of the Navy Ralph Bird

The war would have been over in two weeks. . . . The atomic bomb had nothing to do with the end of the war at all.
General Curtis LeMay

When we didn’t need to do it, and we knew we didn’t need to do it, and they knew that we knew we didn’t need to do it, we used them as an experiment for two atomic bombs.
Brigadier General Carter Clarke

Why Were Bombs Dropped on Populated Cities Without Military Value?

Why Then Were Atom Bombs Dropped on Japan?

One theory is that scientists like to play with their toys:
On September 9, 1945, Admiral William F. Halsey, commander of the Third Fleet, was publicly quoted extensively as stating that the atomic bomb was used because the scientists had a “toy and they wanted to try it out . . . .” He further stated, “The first atomic bomb was an unnecessary experiment . . . . It was a mistake to ever drop it.”

However, most of the Manhattan Project scientists who developed the atom bomb were opposed to using it on Japan.

Albert Einstein – an important catalyst for the development of the atom bomb (but not directly connected with the Manhattan Project) – said differently:

“A great majority of scientists were opposed to the sudden employment of the atom bomb.” In Einstein’s judgment, the dropping of the bomb was a political – diplomatic decision rather than a military or scientific decision.

Sen. Joseph McCarthy: Unrepentant Junkie

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DdC
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Quote norske:

Interesting and informative critique of Stone's (Untold Story)... My sense is that it has been weak in certain areas... but for those who are not strong in actual US and world history, the series has been exceptional so far...

The Untold Story: How America Became a Dangerous Empire

http://www.alternet.org/untold-story-how-america-became-dangerous-empire

Thanks for the article.

I don't get Showtime, and noticed in your link that some of the series is on Youtube.

I'll check it out.

miksilvr
Joined:
Jul. 7, 2011 12:13 pm

“The illusion of freedom will continue as long as it's profitable to continue the illusion. At the point where the illusion becomes too expensive to maintain, they will just take down the scenery, they will pull back the curtains, they will move the tables and chairs out of the way and you will see the brick wall at the back of the theater.”
― Frank Zappa

Al Capone and Watergate were red herrings
to divert the countries attention from the
Fascist acts of eliminating competition.
Booze/Ethanol or Ganja//Hemp.

TOJO OUT:
The Mysterious Japanese Cabinet Shuffle of July, 1944

First he had sent Vice-President Henry Wallace (whom the Far Right in the U.S. already regarded as a "socialist" or a "communist") to China to pressure Chiang to open up a "dialog" with Chinese Communist leader Mao tse Tung. Then, in July, according to R. Harris Smith the "Dixie Mission" of U.S. military personnel was sent directly to Mao Tse Tung to assist him against the Japanese. That visit resulted in the first U.S. arms and ammunition being air dropped to Mao that same July. That set off a fire storm among the Far Right in the U.S., not to mention Chungking (Smith 263-5).

An additional piece must be added to the puzzle. On May 2, 1944, the Roosevelt Administration had caved in to pressure from the Big Oil lobby and once again was allowing Standard Oil to sell oil to Fascist Spain (Higham 35-6). Prescott Bush was an active partner in Standard's affiliates (Bowen 2-11).

This city in Germany was familiar to Prescott Bush, former owner and manager of the "Hamburg-Amerika" Shipping Line (Tarpley and Chaitkin 32-40). Hamburg-Amerika itself engaged in "the most serious acts of treason in this century," including giving free rides to Nazi ideologues to US meetings of eugenics "racial purification" groups of which Prescott was a member (Tarpley and Chaitkin 32-40). Dulles was an attorney for Standard Oil (Loftus and Aarons, 63-80). He also must have been aware of this useful new development in the oil trade. It was very conveniently timed. This same bending in the rules now allowed Standard to not only ship oil to Spain but to Thailand, as well.

Blum tells us that Vice-President Henry Wallace visited Siberia and northern China from May 23, 1944 until June 17, 1944. On June 20, 1944 Wallace arrived in Chungking to communicate with Chiang Kai Shek about improving relations with Mao. At almost exactly the same time, another "courier" (George Bush) seems to have been out of pocket off Japanese-held Guam.

The inbedwith dis-infotainment: Gaza

"If the people were to ever find out what we have done,
we would be chased down the streets and lynched."
-- George Bush,
cited in the June, 1992 Sarah McClendon Newsletter

The Secret War Against The Jews excerpts
☛Despite the obvious conflict of interests, in April 1945 Truman appointed Pauley as the U.S. representative to the Allied Reparations Committee, with the rank of ambassador. Simultaneously, he was made industrial and commercial adviser to the Potsdam Conference, "where his chief task was to renegotiate the reparations agreements formulated at Yalta." As one historian noted, the "oil industry has always watched repa rations activities carefully." There was a lot of money involved, and much of it belonged to the Dulles brothers' clients.

☛Pauley had a significant influence on George Bush's business career in Texas. In 1958 he founded Pauley Petroleum, which: ... teamed up with Howard Hughes to expand oil production in the Gulf of Mexico.

☛At one point CIA agents used Pemex, the Mexican government's oil monopoly, as a business cover at the same time Pemex was being used as a money laundry for Pauley's campaign contributions;[58] As we shall see, the Mexican-CIA connection played an important part in the development of George Bush's political and intelligence career.

☛There was a substantial CIA presence in Mexico since at least the 1950s. Pemex was a perfect place to recruit agents of influence inside the Mexican government. Mexico became part of the "revolving door" between the oil industry and the intelligence community. One of the famous oil men-turned-agents was William F. Buckley, Jr., like Bush, a Skull and Bones alumnus, whose boss in Mexico was Howard Hunt, later of Watergate fame.

☛Pemex was listed as employer for another Bill Buckley, before he returned to the Middle East as CIA station chief. This Bill Buckley was to play a major role with George Bush in the Iran-Contra scandal and became a key figure in money laundering through the Bank of Commerce and Credit International, which played an important part in the anti-Israeli intelligence operations of the 1980s.

☛Pauley, say the "old spies," was the man who brought all the threads of the Mexican connection together. He was Bush's business associate, a front man for Dulles's CIA, and originator of the use of Mexican oil fronts to create a slush fund for Richard Nixon's various campaigns.

CIA Sued Over 1950s 'Murder' of Scientist Plied With LSD
The Iran-Contra Affair 25 Years On
Why Do You Think They Call it DOPE?

The Elkhorn Manifesto By R. William Davis
An Open Letter to All Americans

Over the past fifty years, it is now documented, these Americanized fugitive Nazi war criminals have been involved in, and in many cases in charge of, many U.S. government covert operations -- international weapons smuggling, drug cartels, Central American death squads, right wing anti-communist dictatorships, LSD mind control experiments -- the Republican National Committee's Ethnic Heritage Councils, and the Presidential campaigns of Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, and George Bush.

"In 1968 Nixon promised that if he won the presidential election, he would create a permanent ethnic council within the Republican party. Previously the Ethnic Division was allowed to surface only during presidential campaigns. Nixon's promise was carried out after the 1972 election, during [George] Bush's tenure as chairman of the Republican National Committee. The Croatian Ustashis became an integral part of the campaign structure of Republican politics, along with several other Fascist organizations."

The authors describe Nixon's pro-Nazi activities in no uncertain terms: "Nixon himself personally recruited ex-Nazis for his 1968 presidential campaign. Moreover, Vice President Nixon became the point man for the Eisenhower administration on covert operations and personally supervised Allen Dulles's projects while Ike was ill in 1956 and 1957."

Nixon's Treason
Busht: Timeline of Treason

GEORGE HERBERT WALKER BUSH

Like Richard Nixon, George Bush was a strong anti-marijuana/hemp president, escalating the so-called "war on drugs" begun by Nixon. And, like Nixon, George Bush was deeply involved with supporting the Nazis in the Republican's closet. In fact, support for the Nazis was a Bush family tradition which goes back more than six decades and, once again, to Allen Dulles.

Loftus and Aarons write: "The real story of George Bush starts well before he launched his own career. It goes back to the 1920s, when the Dulles brothers and the other pirates of Wall Street were making their deals with the Nazis. . . ."

THE BUSH-DULLES-NAZI CONNECTION

"In 1926 Bert Walker did a favor for his new son-in-law, Prescott Bush. It was the sort of favor families do to help their children make a start in life, but Prescott came to regret it bitterly. Walker made Prescott vice president of W. A. Harriman. The problem was that Walker's specialty was companies that traded with Germany. As Thyssen and the other German industrialists consolidated Hitler's political power in the 1930s, an American financial connection was needed. According to our sources, Union Banking became an out-and-out Nazi money-laundering machine. . . .

"One of Allen Dulles's secret spies inside the Democratic party later became George Bush's partner in the Mexican oil business. Edwin Pauley, a California oil man, was . . . one of Dulles's covert agents in the Roosevelt and Truman administrations . . . a 'big business' Democrat. . . ."

☛"As discussed in Chapter 3, Standard Oil of New Jersey had completed a major stock transaction with Dulles's Nazi client, I.G. Farben. By the end of January 1937 Dulles had merged all his cloaking activities into one client account: 'Brown Brothers Harriman-Schroeder Rock.' Schroeder, of course, was the Nazi bank on whose board Dulles sat. The 'Rock' were the Rockefellers of Standard Oil, who were already coming under scrutiny for their Nazi deals. By May 1939 Dulles handled another problem for Brown Brothers, Harriman, their 'Securities Custodian Accounts.'

In 1988, Project Censored, a news media censorship research organization, awarded the honor of "Top Censored story" to the subject of George Bush. The article revealed "how the major mass media ignored, overlooked or undercovered at least ten critical stories reported in America's alternative press that raised serious questions about the Republican candidate, George Bush, dating from his reported role as a CIA 'asset' in 1963 to his Presidential campaign's connection with a network of anti-Semites with Nazi and fascist affiliations in 1988."

☛In 1988, George HW Bush's 25 years of "Dirty Big Secrets" was PC's top story followed by "How the EPA Pollutes the News and the Dioxin Cover-Up."

☛In 1991, "CBS and NBC Spiking Iraq Bombing Carnage Footage" ranked first. Number two was "Operation Censored War" about the secretive GHW Bush administration and an obliging cheerleading media.

☛In 2006, the Bush administration's obsession with secrecy ranked first followed by the media's failure to cover the Fallujah and overall Iraqi civilian death toll.

Project Censored

Top 25 Archive from 1976 through 1995
☛Bush Family’s Conflicts Of Interest
☛George Bush: Was He Ou
☛George Bush: A Litany Of Dirty Big Secrets 1963-1988
☛George Bush Role In Iran Arms Deal

Censored! By Camille T. Taiara
Project Censored presents the 10 biggest stories the mainstream media ignored over the past year.

"We are grateful to the Washington Post, the NY Times, Time Magazine, and other great publications whose directors have attended our meetings, and respected their promises of discretion for almost 40 years. It would have been impossible for us to develop OUR PLAN for the world if we had been subjected to the lights of publicity during those years. But, the world is now more sophisticated and prepared to march towards a World Government. The supranational sovereignty of an intellectual ELITE and World Bankers is surely preferable to the national auto - determination practiced in past centuries."
- David Rockefeller CFR Kingpin,
Founder of the Trilateral Commission,
NOW Godfather / June 1991

Shame on the Drug Worrier Profiteers

"We have spent over a trillion dollars trying to eradicate the world's most beneficial plant off the face of the earth. Imagine what a better world this would be if that money had been spent on treatment, education and studying the medical benefits of marijuana."
-- Steve Hager
High Times Editor (1988 - 2003)

"The anti-marijuana campaign is a cancerous tissue of lies, undermining law enforcement, aggravating the drug problem, depriving the sick of needed help, and suckering well-intentioned conservatives and countless frightened parents.

Narcotics police are an enormous, corrupt international bureaucracy ... and now fund a coterie of researchers who provide them with 'scientific support' ... fanatics who distort the legitimate research of others."
~ William F. Buckley, Jr. Requiescat In Pace
Commentary in The National Review,
April 29, 1983, p. 495

Taking Down the Drug Lords? thomhartmann
☛Exporting DEAmocracy
☛Freak Trade * Free Raids
☛Collaterally Damaged Guatemala

"For more than a century, ideological extremists at either end of the political spectrum have seized upon well-publicized incidents to attack the Rockefeller family for the inordinate influence they claim we wield over American political and economic institutions. Some even believe we are part of a secret cabal working against the best interests of the United States, characterizing my family and me as 'internationalists' and of conspiring with others around the world to build a more integrated global political and economic structure - one world, if you will. If that's the charge, I stand guilty, and I am proud of it."
- David Rockefeller, Memoirs , 2002

DdC's picture
DdC
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Mar. 22, 2012 1:39 am

Odds are that if FDR had been able to hang on to Wallace as VP... no Atom Bombs would have been dropped on Japan and the US would have joined with the USSR (whose actions actually ended the war more than anything the US did).... As it was, the wealthy capitalists of the Democratic Party pushed through Truman with the end result being what has been taking place today...

The USSR was fighting 200 German divisions at the same time the US and Britain were fighting 10 divisions. It was much more profitable for US capitalists to fight non essential, peripheral battles than to begin a second front and join the USSR in ending the war quickly...

Expanding US imperialism and making the world safe for corrupt, predatory, crony, monopolistic capitalism was job #1 at the time and has become the US CEO raison d'etre since...

How different the world may have been if Wallace became President instead of Truman and his man Byrnes.... though odds are he would have been assassinated in due time....

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norske
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Odds are that if FDR had been able to hang on to Wallace as VP... no Atom Bombs would have been dropped on Japan and the US would have joined with the USSR

This is ahistorical speculation, precisely the sort of gunk that Stone is often accused.

Truman expressed the opinion that, after spending $2 billion on the bomb (and $3 billion on the plane to deliver it, the B-29), he would have a hard time explaining to the families of deceased servicemen why he refused to use every weapon at his disposal to save American lives. President Wallace would have faced the same dilemma.

stuff's picture
stuff
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Nov. 24, 2012 4:59 pm
Quote stuff:
Odds are that if FDR had been able to hang on to Wallace as VP... no Atom Bombs would have been dropped on Japan and the US would have joined with the USSR

This is ahistorical speculation, precisely the sort of gunk that Stone is often accused.

What makes you think I derived such from Stone?

Quote stuff:Truman expressed the opinion that, after spending $2 billion on the bomb (and $3 billion on the plane to deliver it, the B-29), he would have a hard time explaining to the families of deceased servicemen why he refused to use every weapon at his disposal to save American lives. President Wallace would have faced the same dilemma.

Truman rarely had an original thought of his own, and was constantly revising his own history.... the war was over prior to the dropping of the bombs and would have been over earlier if not for war profiteering from US corporations....

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norske
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote norske:What makes you think I derived such from Stone?

I didn't say you did; I said that historical speculation is typical of Stone and the source of much criticism against him.

Truman rarely had an original thought of his own, and was constantly revising his own history.... the war was over prior to the dropping of the bombs and would have been over earlier if not for war profiteering from US corporations....

You underestimate Truman, I think, and I don't dispute that Japan was effectively defeated in March 1945. FDR died in April, after Yalta. President Wallace would have been bound by the agreements in the Crimea, including the promise of a Soviet declaration of war on Japan 90 days after the end of the war in Europe. In return, Roosevelt promised Stalin that he could have the Kurile Islands and return to Sakhalin.

So, when would President Wallace have accepted a Japanese surrender? The Soviets would have considered an early end to the war in the Pacific a violation of American concessions to the Russians at Yalta with respect to the Far East. How would President Wallace react to a Soviet refusal to permit an American presence in Berlin at the Potsdam Summit in retaliation? And how would President Wallace have convinced Congress and the American taxpayer that MANHATTAN wasn't a complete waste of money on a huge boondoggle that wasn't even proved to work? Talk about war profiteers.

Your ahistorical speculation presents a number of problems for your argument.

stuff's picture
stuff
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Nov. 24, 2012 4:59 pm

Exactly, and while you may be right about the inevitable assassination, the story we would be dealing with would not be the justification for the use of the bomb to 'save American lives.' It is also more like generals and warmongers playing with their toys than the idea that the scientists who developed nuclear weapons really wanted them used. They were mostly under the Nobel Delusion that a terrible weapon of "doomsday" proportions would make war unthinkable. Thinking that the unthinkable will go away because of better thinking does not quite get to the sick heart of the matter.

What Wallace represented was the last gasp of anti-Imperial Americanism as the Cold War drowns all else. Getting him off the ticket was the agenda of those who had long seen Marxism as a threat to their Market Corporationism, but who had also deluded themselves into believing that this economic crap was freedom and democracy v. totalitarianism. The revolt of the workers echoed of the revolt of the slaves and other indentured and exploited masses in their own economic kingdoms, and they say alll these Southern Europeans with Communist labor experience entering America.

Sidelight on the 1925 Immigration exclusion acts. What a coincidence and how wonderful for all those who followed the Mayflower up until then and got in on being able to breathe. Close the doors, here come all those less White people!

I am very glad that Stone is doing this series. I wish more were bringing our real history to the screen so we could purge the hagiography and narcissism and have some sense of the good, the bad and the ugly. We might even find spots of beauty, but we would be set free from crippling narratives of delusion.

When asked "when does all this imperial nonsense begin," however, Stone has not gone back far enough to see that it has always been there and just morphs as America "succeeds" and gains world power. The New World is a meme that evokes pristine, unspoiled laboratories for theories to be applied in social experimentation. Getting out of the old corruptions and compromises with feudalism and royalty in Europe was what Americans and those who came here saw as the opportunity, and as Americans worked out our New World myths in practice, these blinders caused a lot of piety to be added to the amazing rise of thirteen colonies of marginal value to world power.

Manifest Destiny begins on Day One in America. But, the idea that the destiny was going to be this manifest, this fast, certainly caught on in the wake of the Civil War victory of the North and its own sense of moral triumphalism over both slavery (as opposed to racism) and feudalism in the agricultural model of masters and slaves. The Battle Hymn of the Republic is repete with tasty little morsels of providential confidence in America as the vessel for God's Will in the world.

A good theology of Providence interprets history as the leading and work of God with which human beings try to keep up and not go astray. The kind our nationalist cult has locked into is of being God's favorite and Chosen One's who do His Will by wanting to as we actually do what we want to do but cannot admit, like dominating the world. We can only do so in the Name of God because that is what God wants. Failure to follow that mission vision is an insult to God.

Substitute the Armageddon Myths of the Right, and you can see how being the defenders of the fetus and against the destruction of heterosexual family order is part of being there when Jesus comes back to kick ass. Throw in the New Rome, and you have the banksters and the MIC warmongers selling peace through strength applied and demonstrated as we blaspheme any possible integrity to God Bless America.

For a good read in American Providential thought in a primary source, Josiah Strong's Our Country and Our World are two excellent examples of a good Providentialist caught up in a national evangelize the world frenzy who tried to see both the best and the worst ends to this opportunity. His prediction of a "hell on earth" should we get it wrong is right on. His prescriptions for what would get us on the right course and keep us there, much more mixed, but Greed is there among the dangers.

The big point Stone is making is one where he could just invoke the spirit of the late Chalmers Johnson and read from his works like lectionary texts of Scripture. There is not Good Empire, only Evil Ones. There are no democratic or republican Empires, only autocratic ones. The decisions made by many people to go Cold War instead of UN (and a very different UN than the one the Cold War screwed up) was lost with Wallace if it had any chance at all. The only other light in this darkness might be Stevenson, and Humphrey was too hopelessy mired in Vietnam to have been able to do much. But it would have been nice to see, and I wish I had voted for him instead of my protest vote.

Stone is a storyteller and he has a good historian to help him keep his facts straighter than might be. The story he wants us to get is Bully America, not the "leader of the free world" and "builder of democracy." He wants us to know who we are and what we do so we can decide if that is going to be who we will be and keep on doing. He is actually a pretty sweet guy with a big heart and hopes.

drc2
Joined:
Apr. 26, 2012 12:15 pm
Quote stuff:

You underestimate Truman, I think, and I don't dispute that Japan was effectively defeated in March 1945.

I respectively disagree. My sense is that Truman was a manufactured and intellectually incurious candidate chosen to represent certain interests from day one... My reading of the research on Truman, Wallace, FDR, as well as US and world history from WWI to the present brings me to different conclusions than you apparently arrive at... which is fine with me...

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norske
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
I respectively [sic] disagree.

Respectful disagreement is what makes this Board so interesting.

On display at the Truman Library in Independence, Mo., is a letter from an angry parent who blamed his child's death in Korea on the president. The writer dared the president to acknowledge publicly his condemnation.

When the library was under construction, Harry S Truman insisted that the letter be diplayed prominently. I think that says quite a bit about the man and the president.

stuff's picture
stuff
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Nov. 24, 2012 4:59 pm

What does showing the letter say about Truman?

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tayl44
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
What does showing the letter say about Truman?

It says that he was a man of integrity, who was not afraid of accepting personal responsibility for his decisions. He could accept criticism and respond with dignity and humility.

If only today's leaders would take personal responsibility for their decisions....

Letter of William Banning to President Truman

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stuff
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Nov. 24, 2012 4:59 pm

Truman and many of his advisers hoped that the U.S. atomic monopoly might offer diplomatic leverage with the Soviets. In this fashion, the dropping of the atomic bomb on Japan can be seen as the first shot of the Cold War.

No spectator speculations required...

(It Was Not To End the War Or Save Lives)

Admiral William Leahy – the highest ranking member of the U.S. military from 1942 until retiring in 1949, who was the first de facto Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and who was at the center of all major American military decisions in World War II – wrote (pg. 441):
It is my opinion that the use of this barbarous weapon at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of no material assistance in our war against Japan. The Japanese were already defeated and ready to surrender because of the effective sea blockade and the successful bombing with conventional weapons.

When I asked General MacArthur about the decision to drop the bomb, I was surprised to learn he had not even been consulted. What, I asked, would his advice have been? He replied that he saw no military justification for the dropping of the bomb.

In my opinion, the Japanese war was really won before we ever used the atom bomb. Thus, it wouldn’t have been necessary for us to disclose our nuclear position and stimulate the Russians to develop the same thing much more rapidly than they would have if we had not dropped the bomb.
Under Secretary of the Navy Ralph Bird

The war would have been over in two weeks. . . . The atomic bomb had nothing to do with the end of the war at all.
General Curtis LeMay

When we didn’t need to do it, and we knew we didn’t need to do it, and they knew that we knew we didn’t need to do it, we used them as an experiment for two atomic bombs.
Brigadier General Carter Clarke

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DdC
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Mar. 22, 2012 1:39 am
Quote drc2:For a good read in American Providential thought in a primary source, Josiah Strong's Our Country and Our World are two excellent examples of a good Providentialist caught up in a national evangelize the world frenzy who tried to see both the best and the worst ends to this opportunity. His prediction of a "hell on earth" should we get it wrong is right on. His prescriptions for what would get us on the right course and keep us there, much more mixed, but Greed is there among the dangers.

Back during my Christian period when I was teaching comparative religion at a Christian college, I used Strong as an example of how certain people use religion for evil and nefarious purposes...

On the other hand, if more students in the US read more Johnson, Wolin, Zinn, et al... they may have a chance at keeping pace with US history as it is taught in the more civilized and enlightened nations.... More than a little disconcerting that the average student in Scandinavia has a better grasp of US history than their peers in the US... When I last checked, only 12% of US high school seniors showed a proficiency in US history.... even worse than their pitiful math scores.... US students grasp of world history is even worse... thank you Texas...

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norske
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Can someone explain why if the war with Japan was already over, and we wanted to drop bombs on them for cruelties sake, why didn't the Emperor surrender after the first bomb? Or surrender before Hiroshima when the Emperor and Tojo saw the war was over?

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Phaedrus76
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Sep. 14, 2010 8:21 pm

With all due respect, posting that letter wouldn`t be acceptable to most people for playing politics with human life. How many people would accept "collateral damage" with going after a real target, much less a political one? In some cultures, personal responsibility is suffering the same effects your decision cause. You think Wall st could get away with a "Truman letter"?

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tayl44
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote Phaedrus76:Can someone explain why if the war with Japan was already over, and we wanted to drop bombs on them for cruelties sake, why didn't the Emperor surrender after the first bomb? Or surrender before Hiroshima when the Emperor and Tojo saw the war was over?

I don't think the Americans dropped the bomb to inflict cruelty, although the notion was very popular with the American public. As I have written elsewhere, the only explanation that fits all the facts is that the attacks were weapons tests against live targets.

A better question is, "If the emperor cared about the suffering of his people, why did he not surrender in March 1945, after the firebombing of Tokyo?"

More people died in one night in Tokyo (100,000) than died in one day in Hiroshima (70,000). Moreover, the emperor saw with his own eyes the destruction in Tokyo, unlike Hiroshima, where neither he nor his successor ever visited after the bombing.

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stuff
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Nov. 24, 2012 4:59 pm

Tay, and others, this is the point about us that Stone is making, we accepted the use of these bombs as justified by the construct put forward. We still do today. If I wanted to really piss off my navy chaplain dad who was at Okinawa next to a ship where the chaplain was killed by a kamikazee. He would not hear anything negative about the mission or innocence of that war, nor would he allow any weight to the Cold War v. saving American lives meme. It was the trauma of war forever. It took me a long time to figure it out.

In our American Story, we are the agents of light and progress going out into the world to help those ready to shake off their historical and cultural shackles and embrace Pax Americana Corporatus Magnus. We now even allow them to have their own ethnic versions of the American Way of Democracy, which is to say the rule of the 'stable elements.' Helping them get over their old and ineffective ways of life, we need to help them "liberate the forces of progress" from retrograde forces.

To do this, we employ drones to kill terrorists in the course of the liberation of the forces of progress." The New Rome provides legions for its provinces to assist the local forces in preserving order from such brigand bands.

Tell me that a public deluded into thinking that the bombs saved Americans from a terrible invasion campaign would see Truman's 'courageous' taking responsibility for his decision as 'confessional!' Not a chance! This was Give 'em Hell Harry, and he relished the tough decision, buck stops here, pr image. Not bad for an obscure back bencher from nowhere who had done nothing of note to gain the VP slot. Which was the maleable point. Truman would "decide" and be bold, but in the Right direction. So his shrine has the letter displayed to bolster this "stop the Red Menace" image.

Please don't be sidetracked by the Bomb as if our reputation as a Bully State depends upon this one big crime. What Stone is pointing out to us with us is that WE are a brutish and imperial dominator country who have not stopped doing what we say we are sorry about doing domestically, abroad. The story of our heroic Destiny has not been questioned or countered by our own experience and behavior. This is a real intervention in our narcotic delusion and addiction to Messianic Empire, but it is only an introduction to a much deeper and more complex appreciation of how this stuff has made us who we are today. So we can do something useful about us.

The naivete of your question about Wall St. is stunning! Don't you think they get away with the same crimes as Truman's letter reveals everyday? If you want to look away from Afghanistan, try Africa and the corporations working with Rwanda to loot the Congo. Who funds this shit? Of course. Who supports this? Our 'bipartisan' foreign policy.

drc2
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Apr. 26, 2012 12:15 pm
You think Wall st could get away with a "Truman letter"?

An odd way of looking at it, but I respectfully accept your opinion.

I'm not quite sure I understand your Wall Street reference and what you mean by "getting away" with it. Do you mean would Wall Street post a letter that accused financial markets of homicide and wishing the same on its progeny?.If so, I have no way to answer such a hypothetical situation. All we know for certain is that Truman received a letter and instructed that it be displayed prominently in his personal library.

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stuff
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Nov. 24, 2012 4:59 pm
Tay, and others, this is the point about us that Stone is making, we accepted the use of these bombs as justified by the construct put forward. We still do today.

Speak for yourself, drc. I didn't "accept the justifications" used for the attacks and I consider the bombings to be war crimes today.

Tell me that a public deluded into thinking that the bombs saved Americans from a terrible invasion campaign would see Truman's 'courageous' taking responsibility for his decision as 'confessional!' Not a chance! This was Give 'em Hell Harry, and he relished the tough decision, buck stops here, pr image. Not bad for an obscure back bencher from nowhere who had done nothing of note to gain the VP slot.

The historical record suggests that Truman had a vague appreciation at best of the implications of the bombs. Once he understood, he made sure that the United States never used them again, particularly under severe pressure from MacArthur to use them in Korea. Give the guy a break.

Lincoln was an "obscure backbencher from nowhere," too, and who, as president, was responsible for more American combat deaths than FDR and Truman put together.

In fact, Truman was better known in 1944 than Lincoln was in 1860. Truman gained national recognition and respect for his chairmanship of the Senate Special Committee to Investigate the National Defense Program during World War II.

The naivete of your question about Wall St. is stunning! Don't you think they get away with the same crimes as Truman's letter reveals everyday? If you want to look away from Afghanistan, try Africa and the corporations working with Rwanda to loot the Congo. Who funds this shit? Of course. Who supports this? Our 'bipartisan' foreign policy.

What "crimes" are "revealed" in the Banning letter to Truman?

With respect to Africa, I cannot justify nor do I condone U.S. foreign policy on the continent.

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Nov. 24, 2012 4:59 pm

I would give Truman a break had he not had his image inflated by the cover story we were discussing leading back to why that letter was bragging, not confessing.

OK, we saw that the bomb was too big to use. That was the point, of course, but as Dr. Strangelove told us, MADDness nonetheless. Doomsday is more prophetic as future telling than warning if we don't stop this insanity. Americans, if asked, will still give the saving our troops line about the A Bomb in Japan. They might accept the threatening the Ruskies line as well. There certainly was a large part of the US foreign policy trade who came from the Anti-Communist ideologues going back to the White Russian supporters. The move to "block Soviet expansionism" solidified very quickly at the end of the War.

In the context of history, both the beginning and the end of the War in the Pacific are controversial. FDR also ignored serious peace efforts going on before Pearl Harbor and can be seen condoning some attack in order to mobilize the nation for Europe. How one sees getting involved in stopping Hitler in Europe, it does make the ruthless and racist treatment of the Japs worth a serious evaluation in terms of American attitudes and policies. Dropping the Bomb on the "Japs" included killing domestic support for the war, and we had done that in Germany fire-bombing Dresden, etc. We had also demonized the Huns again, and no question that both the Nazis and the Japanese Empire gave lots of useful anecdotal material for the war pr. The context of the decision made it unlikely that there would be any significant domestic negative reaction, so Harry was not exactly bucking the tide to stand up against much of any pressure.

We did not, in reaction and horror to what we had done, begin a serious campaign to destroy our monopoly and form a world compact against them. Nope, we went the other way and led the Ruskies into a very nasty and expensive piece of shit that we now must fear can fall into terrorist hands. Save your tears for Harry. He gave us all Hell. But, he was just a tool of Power. He was not a great President, not even close. Another American tragedy.

drc2
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Apr. 26, 2012 12:15 pm
FDR also ignored serious peace efforts going on before Pearl Harbor and can be seen condoning some attack in order to mobilize the nation for Europe.

Far from "ignoring" peace efforts, FDR provoked the Pacific War. He wanted war with the Japanese and he got it.

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stuff
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Nov. 24, 2012 4:59 pm

Stuff, you have it right and i would imagine no bank would post a letter like that.(bad for business) Most politicians have no shame when they sold their soul to "money".

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tayl44
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Drc2, when use i, "with all due respect" that wasn`t for Truman, that was for soldiers/people who die in the war. Thanks for your personal story, my father was in the war too, i respect what they went through. But i due not repect Truman or any politician that play politics with people lives. I agree with your view of Stone series. Yes, Wall st get away with crimes and they are starting to see "blowback" (9/11 & OWS-99%) That was the point of a "Truman letter" not being acceptable. That letter remind me of GWB looking for WMD under his desk, "THESE PEOPLE DON`T CARE"!

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tayl44
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Last night's episode was especially good because Stone filled in some of the areas I felt he left out in earlier episodes. These areas were the "people behind the curtain" he seemed to leave out such as the corporations and wealthy families. He did a good report on the US corporations and industrialists who thought Hitler was a good thing (mainly because they were terrified of communism stealing their little honey pot).

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captbebops
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Here is a link to"Oliver Stone's Untold History of the US" playing now.

http://veetle.com/index.php/channel/view#508fe0fc955a2

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Antifascist
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

tay, my point was that Truman was proud of making the "tough" decisions and the Bomb was 'justified' and his letter was not a confession. "War is a Racket," and civilian politicians send people to die for a lot of bad reasons even when they are not venal and corrupt. War is the failure of the politics of peace, the tough politics we avoid to get the much worse politics of war. But, the venal and corrupt are just that much more disgusting for their abuse of "the troops."

I have another story of that. We lived for two years at Pearl Harbor where our next door neighbor was the family of Capt. L. Patrick Grey. I played with his kids and got to go out on the sub he commanded, a big kick for a kid. Pat was a Ninja of Integrity, as a sub captain, he had to have the absolute trust of his crew including life and death. If you could not get to the hatch and the boat had to go under, you died. The decisions Pat made had to be top drawer.

Nixon appointed him to replace John MItchell as AG, then told him to destroy some tape recordings. Pat gave his Commander in Chief the same respect his crew would have given him, a point of honor, and was left "twisting in the wind." Yep. He was that guy. And it broke him. It took away everything he had ever believed in and lived for in one cynical swipe. My contempt for the Cheneys of this world goes as deep as possible.

drc2
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Apr. 26, 2012 12:15 pm

Stuff, I agree. I just put it in the passive to point out that there was active diplomatic negotiations going on, as there were before the Bomb was dropped. The larger context of my argument was that the "Japs" could be used to get America into the "important" war. Europe was where the focus was, and even if the Japanese Empire needed a kick in the ass, it would have been fairly easy to avoid the war in the Pacific had we wanted to.

drc2
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Apr. 26, 2012 12:15 pm

Drc2, i had an idea where you and Stuff was coming from, especially when you told the story of your father. We all can agree the world was a "real mess" then and learn some very important lessons? The point i was trying to make was a lesson learn and you make it even stronger with the story of Capt L Patrick Gray,(thanks for story) playing politics with people lives is shameless. Anybody try to cover a "bad" decision by saying it`s political is a "criminal". It`s our duty to our fathers and all that die and history to avoid these present political criminals(Cheneys) from repeating the past. We couldn`t stop the BS wars in the middle east but, at least the criminals are down to using soldiers of fortune. They cannot cover their ass with a "Truman letter"! Stone series should open even more eyes/minds and give courage to others to do the same. What`s that old saying, "you don`t know where you`re going if, you don`t know where you`re coming from"? Thanks Antifascist for link. Stone try to tell so much in an hour,it`s not enough time, but it`s really need now with free press becoming a "slave". Drc2, my father took me & brother to see the first N-sub at Brooklyn Navy Yard, you have to be a special person to be a commander of a sub.

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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

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