Hiroshima and Nagasaki — together, these two cities bring to mind the damage done to them by the United States’ use of atomic bombs on Aug. 6 and 9, 1945, over 70 years ago.
The bombs devastated both cities, leaving behind the immediate deaths of hundreds of thousands of civilians and additional long-term civilian deaths from illness and injuries. Debate continues to rage over whether the use of atomic bombs was essential to ensuring Japan’s surrender.
Hiroshima and Nagasaki are the only cities in the world that have been bombed with nuclear weapons. However, the need to reduce and eliminate nuclear weapons becomes more urgent with each passing year. Recently, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists decided to keep the Doomsday Clock set at 2 minutes to midnight, “the closest it has ever been to apocalypse.” (https://thebulletin.org/doomsday-clock/current-time/) The major threats of nuclear weapons and climate change are cited as factors putting the future of civilization in extraordinary danger.
The threats noted by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists are well founded. A new nuclear arms race is on the horizon as the United States develops a new low-yield nuclear warhead for our Trident D5 submarine-launched ballistic missile while threatening to scrap the 31-year old Intermediate-Range Nuclear Force Treaty, while Russia develops an intercontinental ballistic missile that can carry a nuclear warhead that they claim zigzags in a way that makes all missile defenses useless. These two countries possess more than 90 percent of the world’s nuclear arsenal.
In 1983, a film about a nuclear attack on Kansas and its consequences, “The Day After,” was shown on nationwide television, bringing home what we could suffer should a nuclear bomb be dropped on our own country. This film sparked the Nuclear Freeze movement and made nuclear winter a widely understood consequence of a nuclear exchange. The lessons learned at that time need repeating today as the upcoming dates of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings cry out for recognition and action to reduce the threat of nuclear war.
In remembrance of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, “The Day After” will be shown in Davis at 6 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 8, at the Davis Friends Meetinghouse, 345 L St. This event is free and open to the public. Snacks will be provided. This film is presented by the newly formed Davis Committee Against Nuclear Weapons (Davis CAN), a committee that is devoted to abolishing nuclear weapons through education, advocacy and political action.
After the film’s showing, Dr. Harry Wang from the Sacramento branch of the Physicians for Social Responsibility and Liz Warner from the San Francisco-based Ploughshares Fund, both long time advocates for nuclear weapon reductions, will lead a discussion in what steps we can take to reduce and eliminate the dangers presented by these weapons. The meeting will conclude at 9 p.m. For information about Davis CAN, go to davisnonukes.org.
Supporters of this film are Davis College Democrats, Davis Democratic Club, Davis Friends Meeting (Quakers) FCNL Advocacy Team; Dolores Huerta Democratic Club; Progressive Business Exchange; Physicians for Social Responsibility, Sacramento Chapter; Yolo County Democratic Party, and Yolo Progressives. Join us on August 8 to discover what can be done to ensure that “The Day After” never in fact occurs
— Judy Reynolds, Bill Julian, Stephen Souza, Sarah Pattison, Bob Bockwinkel, Diane Colborn, Nancy Price, Jonathon Howard