by Jerald Ross and Joseph Gerson
This August marks the 76th anniversary of the dropping of the first atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki Japan. Despite broad recognition today that these attacks created a humanitarian catastrophe, as would any future use of nuclear weapons, we now know that even a limited nuclear exchange would have disastrous consequences for the global environment and human survival. The world thus continues to stand at the precipice of Armageddon. Presidents Biden and Putin, representing the two nations whose arsenals contain the vast majority of these weapons, provided a modicum of hope in stating that “A nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought”, and agreed to pursue arms control negotiations.
Yet the United States and Russia today are locked in a new nuclear arms race, spending hundreds of billions of dollars to upgrade their genocidal and omnicidal nuclear warheads and delivery systems. The danger of nuclear war, triggered by an accident or miscalculation, remains as the two sides joust for influence in Ukraine or midst provocative military exercises along the Russian border and the Black and Baltic Seas. Similarly, the U.S. and China have precipitated a new and dangerous Cold War, with the Biden Administration encouraging Taiwanese independence forces contrary to the agreed One China policy, and with both powers engaged in provocative military actions in and around Taiwan, in the South China/West Philippine and East China Seas.
These arms races and provocations are occurring on the eve of the Biden Administration’s Nuclear Posture Review (NPR), which will determine U.S. nuclear War planning and preparations for years to come and at the very same time the that the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) has entered into force and is gaining additional support. Although the NPR marginalizes civil society inputs, popular demands and calls from Congress can influence administration debates over reducing (ultimately eliminating) the country’s reliance on nuclear weapons, adopting a No First Use policy, and halting the $1.2 trillion nuclear weapons upgrade, especially banning spending for first strike land-based “Money Pit” ICBM missiles.
The TPNW, building from the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty has entered into force after being negotiated by 122 and ratified by 54 nations. It outlaws and calls for the total elimination of all nuclear weapons. Citizens and leaders of our own country seem blithely unaware of the extreme contradiction between the existential urgency that led to the Treaty’s negotiation and our government’s suicidal reliance on the threat of inflicting nuclear annihilation as the foundation for U.S. global military domination. Our public support for the Treaty will encourage disarmament forces in Europe, Japan and elsewhere in the world to ratify the Treaty and add pressure to the nuclear powers to finally fulfill their NPT obligation to engaged in “good faith” negotiations for the complete elimination of their nuclear arsenals.
Mass Peace Action calls on people and organizations to initiate or join Hiroshima/Nagasaki commemorative events to build support for nuclear disarmament. Our events will be held in conjunction with global “Peace Wave 2021” initiated by Japan Council against A and H Bombs (Gensuikyo) in memory of the lives lost in the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It renews the call for the complete elimination of nuclear weapons and urges all nations, including our own, to join the TPNW. For the United States, this means for vital steps need to be taken right now:
- Bring to a halt the current expansion and “modernization” of US nuclear weapons, with a special focus on defunding the ICBM Money Pit Missile
- Adopt “No First Use” doctrine, eliminate the president’s “sole authority” to initiate nuclear war, remove U.S. nuclear forces from “hair trigger” alert, and other risk reduction measures.
- Negotiate with other nuclear armed nations a path to common security arrangements, with agreements related to Taiwan, the South China/West Philippine Sea, Ukraine, and the climate emergency given the highest priority.
- Support for the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons
There are many ways to recognize this solemn anniversary and support the goal of a world without nuclear weapons. In the past, we have floated lanterns on nearby waterways, gathered for songs and speeches, tolled the bells at our churches, convened book reads and efforts to learn about nuclear weapons, listened to testimonies by Hibakusha (atom bomb survivors), commented in the media, written to elected officials, protested outside weapons manufacturers, made art together, and more. Your initiative might be an individual effort, or one undertaken with loved ones, your faith community or civic organization. And whatever you plan, share what you are doing on social media. Check out our events from past years³ for ideas and resources.
Schedule your event to occur between August 2nd and August 9th.
Mass Peace Action will help publicize and promote participation in your events. Schedule your event using this form (ASAP, please!) with your basic information and we will post your event on our “Peace Wave 2021 Web Page” Then, SEND PICTURES! We will post those too.
- Rallies Across State Celebrate Nuclear Ban Treaty’s Entry into Force
- Back From the Brink: Renounce the Option of Using Nuclear Weapons First
- Stop the New Nuclear Weapons Money Pit Missile
- Gensuikyo “Peace Wave 2021”
August 2-9, 2021
Remembrance and Hope – the Journey from Hiroshima to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW)