WW2 and Hiroshima
The Second World War & Hiroshima

the atomic bomb
The Atomic Bomb


WW2 censorship
Second World War Censorship

the nuclear world today
The Nuclear World Today

discussion notes
Discussion Notes

citizenship & the curriculum
Citizenship & the Curriculum

Second World War Censorship

After Japan surrendered and the second world war was over President Truman declared an end to war censorship on August 15th 1945.

General MacArthur General MacArthur - head of US occupying forces in Japan - arrived in Yokohama, Japan on August 28th and immediately told reporters that Hiroshima and Nagasaki were off limits. The Japanese press were also censored and not allowed to tell their readers that their reports were censored. Strict censoring of the atomic bomb pictures and information was in place until October 1949; scientific papers were censored for another two years.

The first images seen by US people of the effect of the bomb on people rather than just pictures of buildings turned to rubble, was in LIFE magazine in 1952. Film taken by Japanese cameramen was confiscated but then the team was asked to continue filming for the US Strategic Bombing Survey team. Many of these censored images are shown in the film.

The film remained in CIA vaults for over twenty years. Even the nicknames for the bombs - Little Boy and Fat Man - were kept secret for over twenty years. On the fiftieth anniversary of the dropping of the bomb on Hiroshima the Smithsonian Museum in Washington renovated the aeroplane that carried the bomb, the Enola Gay. Dr Harwit, the director of the Museum, wanted to display pictures of the Japanese victims of the bomb; he resigned over the subsequent furore that accused him of being unpatriotic. He is interviewed in the film.