THIS WEEK millions in Japan and throughout the world will pause to remember those who died in the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki during the last days of the Second World War. On 6th August 1945 Hiroshima was destroyed by an American atom bomb. Nagasaki was hit three days later. Some 200,000 people, mostly civilians, were killed instantly in the atomic blasts. Many more would later perish from flash burns and radiation sickness.

We are told that the Americans had to use the atom bomb to force Japan to surrender and bring the global conflict to an end. But we know this isn’t true. Japan was already on its last legs. Soviet forces had swept the Japanese out of Manchuria in a matter of days, the communist-led resistance in China and Korea had broken the back of the Japanese army and the Emperor was begging for a ceasefire. Dropping the bomb 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 decision to use the atom bomb was simply to overawe the Soviets. The first successful nuclear test in New Mexico in July 1945 convinced Churchill, Roosevelt and Truman that they had a secret weapon that would ensure imperialist domination of the post-war world. At the Allied Conference in Potsdam Truman told Stalin that the United States possessed “a new weapon of unusually destructive force”. But the Soviet leader already knew this from his own intelligence service. What the imperialists didn’t know and didn’t expect was that Soviet scientists were also unravelling the secrets of the atom and that the USSR would soon be able to develop atomic weapons as powerful as anything in the imperialist arsenal.

The threat of nuclear destruction hovered over the world throughout the Cold War. In Britain and throughout the world millions campaigned for an end to nuclear testing and for unilateral and universal nuclear disarmament. They achieved two things. First of all they raised public awareness of the real destructive power of nuclear weapons. Secondly they highlighted the danger of radioactive fallout as a result of nuclear weapons that forced the imperialist powers to reach agreement with the Soviet Union to end atom tests. What the peace campaign has failed to do is win its central demand — universal nuclear disarmament.

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 rave on about the fear of the atomic weapons of “rogue states” and draw up ludicrous scenarios of terror groups using pocket atom bombs to destroy American cities. But the purpose is to justify the immense nuclear arsenals still held by the imperialist powers 20 years after the end of the Soviet Union that they were supposed to “deter” and the real “rogue states” are the United States, Britain and France.

The only two socialist states that possess nuclear weapons are People’s China and Democratic Korea. At the United Nations People’s China actively supports proposals for multilateral and universal nuclear disarmament. China stands for the complete prohibition and total destruction of all nuclear weapons.

People’s China calls on all the major nuclear-weapon states to abandon their policy of nuclear deterrence. States with huge nuclear arsenals should continue to reduce their nuclear stockpiles. China calls on all nuclear powers to pledge not to be the first to use nuclear weapons at any time or under any circumstance, to commit themselves unconditionally not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear weapons states or nuclear-weapons free zones, and to conclude at an early date, international legal agreements to such effect.

China calls on all states with nuclear weapons deployed outside their frontiers to withdraw these weapons home. All nuclear powers should pledge their support to the establishment of nuclear-weapon-free zones, respect their status as such and undertake corresponding obligations.

China calls for the banning of the development and deployment of space weapons systems or missile defence systems and calls for an international convention on the complete prohibition and thorough destruction of nuclear weapons, concluded through negotiations with the participation of all countries.

These long-standing demands must be projected throughout the peace movement in Britain and throughout the world.

In Britain the NCP supports 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.