No to threat of nuclear war

LAST WEEK millions in Japan and throughout the world paused to remember those who died in the nuclear attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki during the last days of the Second World War. On 6th August 1945 the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city of Hiroshima, Japan, and three days later another one on Nagasaki. Some 200,000 people, mostly civilians, were killed instantly in the atomic blasts. Many more would later perish from flash burns and radiation sickness.

The Americans claim it brought a speedy end to the global conflict. But that was always a lie. Hitler was already dead in his bunker when Berlin fell in May 1945. Japan’s oil supplies were cut, its ports blockaded and its main industrial centres were being hammered by day and night aerial bombings. The communist-led resistance in China, Korea and Vietnam had liberated vast tracts of those countries. Finally the Red Army broke the back of the Japanese army when they smashed through Manchuria and Emperor Hirohito was on his knees begging for an armistice when the terrible atomic massacre began.

Dropping the atom bombs was a monstrous war-crime. Two Japanese cities were wiped out to show the world, and the Soviet Union in particular, what the might of US imperialism was capable of doing. The American imperialists believed they had a new weapon that would guarantee their hegemony over the post-war world for decades to come. What they didn’t know and least suspected was that Soviet scientists were also unravelling the secrets of the atom and that the USSR would soon develop atomic weapons to match anything in the imperialist arsenal.

The Soviet nuclear deterrent preserved world peace for over three decades while the fear of nuclear destruction spurred on millions to campaign for an end to nuclear testing and for unilateral and universal nuclear disarmament. The peace campaign succeeded in forcing the imperialist powers to reach agreement with the Soviets to end atom tests. But it failed to win the central demand for universal nuclear disarmament.

During the Cold War the imperialists used the bogus “Soviet threat” to justify their immense nuclear arsenals. When the Cold War ended with the collapse of the USSR all these arguments went out of the window. Now they keep their nukes simply because they can and use their immense conventional armaments to bring death and destruction on those who did not possess the “weapons of mass destruction” that the imperialists think should only be possessed by themselves.

The imperialists would have us believe that the major threat to world peace is nuclear proliferation. They wailed when Democratic Korea manufactured and tested its own atomic bomb but never explained why the DPR Korea felt obliged to develop these weapons in the first place. They tried to stop the Islamic Republic of Iran developing its own peaceful nuclear programme through sanctions, covert sabotage and the threat of all-out war. But the steadfastness of the Iranians forced the Americans to recognise Iran’s legitimate demands at the negotiating table and end the sanctions regime.

At the United Nations nuclear China actively supports proposals for multilateral and universal nuclear disarmament and the complete prohibition and total destruction of all nuclear weapons.

Russia, still a nuclear power, is also constantly calling for further limitations and reductions of nuclear weapons stockpiles, along with strengthening international regimes of arms control and non-proliferation. But the Putin government argues, quite rightly, that further dialogue on nuclear disarmament, held both bilaterally and internationally, can only be successful if the core principle of international security is observed — that the security of one country should not be strengthened at the expense of another. That, however, is a principle the imperialists are not willing to accept.

The imperialists rave about the fear of the atomic weapons of “rogue states” and the “war against terror”. But the purpose is to justify the vast nuclear arsenals still held by the imperialist powers years after the end of the Soviet Union that they were supposed to “deter”. In fact the real “rogue states” are the United States, Britain and France. That’s why we support the efforts of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament for unilateral British nuclear disarmament. The NCP calls for the abolition of all biological, chemical and radioactive weapons and our immediate focus is the demand to scrap the Trident missile system and use the money saved to refund the National Health Service and other state welfare projects.