Aug 022012

By Andrew Battista

This week is the 67th anniversary of the first nuclear bomb attack in human history.  On August 6, 1945, a U.S. Air Force pilot named Paul Tibbets flew a plane nicknamed Enola Gay over Hiroshima, Japan and dropped an atomic bomb that instantly killed about 80,000 people, almost all of them civilians.  They were burned alive by a fireball estimated to be 1200 feet in diameter, with a temperature as hot as 7200 ºF at its core.  In the subsequent months, many more people suffered a slow death, either because of burn injuries or because of the lingering damage caused by radiation exposure.  A retrospective report by the U.S. Department of Energy in the 1960s guessed that within five years, over 200,000 people had died from the Hiroshima bomb.  Three days after the attack, another 70,000 people would be killed when the U.S. dropped a second nuclear weapon on Nagasaki.  The casualties from that attack would also eventually surpass 200,000. Continue reading »

Jun 222011

By Beth Connors-Manke

In June 1940, George Orwell (of Animal Farm and 1984 fame) wrote in “War-time Diary”:

“It is impossible even yet to decide what to do in the case of German conquest of England. The one thing I will not do is to clear out, at any rate not further than Ireland, supposing that to be feasible. If the fleet is intact and it appears that the war is to be continued from America and the Dominions, then one must remain alive if possible, if necessary in the concentration camp. If the U.S.A. is going to submit to conquest as well, there is nothing for it but to die fighting, but one must above all die fighting and have the satisfaction of killing somebody first.”

Having served in the Indian Imperial Police in Burma and fought in the Spanish Civil War, Orwell was a thoroughly political writer. During World War II, he was a member of the British Home Guard and wrote for the BBC. His “War-time Diary” shows that he was paying close attention to the war and the information released — or not released — in the daily papers. Like other political thinkers in his circle, he was trying to figure out the war, as it was happening. Continue reading »