Seeds of Peace

Note From The President

August 2022

Many top military leaders opposed atomic bombings.

Every year the four-day period August 6 – 9 brings to mind the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombings. This Saturday marks the 77th anniversary of those horrific acts. Given recent U.S. withdrawal from 3 nuclear treaties and U.S. boasting about spending a trillion dollars to upgrade our nuclear stockpile, the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists moved the Doomsday Clock to 100 seconds to midnight. That’s the symbolic closest we’ve come to nuclear winter in the entire nuclear age.

I learned of the atomic bombings 71 years ago at age 6 and have been haunted by them ever since. For the first decade afterward I swallowed whole the US fairytale that the military and political elite were unified in dropping the bombs to prevent a U.S. invasion and its estimate of a million U.S. casualties.

Few if any reputable historians buy that version today. They point to a number of top military leaders who opposed the nuclear attacks, for good reasons. Most prominent was U.S. Army Chief of Staff General George C. Marshall who argued not using the Bomb would strengthen America’s prestige and position in post war Asia. He even advocated for inviting the Russians to view its July 16, 1945 test. Navy Secretary and later Defense Secretary James Forrestal argued the bombings would impede our post WWII relations with the Soviet Union. Fleet Admiral William Leahy, senior US military officer on active duty in WWII, called the proposed bombings “barbaric”. Assistant Secretary of War John McCloy told Truman that neither invasion nor atomic bombings were necessary. Japan would surrender if we avoided terminology ‘Unconditional Surrender’ since any surrender would amount to that without saying so. McCloy even advocated telling Japanese leaders we had the Bomb as additional incentive to quit the war.

Tho not involved in the Bomb decision process, Gen. Dwight Eisenhower was furious we dropped them, telling Secretary of War Harry Stimson shortly after the attacks “I voiced my grave misgivings, first on the basis of my belief that Japan was already defeated and that dropping the bomb was completely unnecessary, and secondly because I thought that our country should avoid shocking world opinion by the use of a weapon whose employment was, I thought, no longer mandatory as a measure to save American lives. It was my belief that Japan was, at that very moment, seeking some way to surrender with a minimum loss of “face.”

Ike, McCloy, Leahy, Forestall, Marshall and others were right; Truman and his supporters were wrong. Seventy-seven years on America is still the only country to explode nukes in anger. Current belligerency against maintaining nuclear agreements, routinely threatening imagined enemies with “all military options are on the table”, spending a trillion dollars to upgrade our nukes, bode ill we’ll make another 77 years nuclear attack free.

Walt Zlotow 

Questions and comments regarding this note are welcome and appreciated. Send to wsfpc.peace@gmail.com


Peace Coalition announces 2022 Peace Essay Contest winners

The West Suburban Peace Coalition (WSPC) has announced the winners of the 2022 Peace Essay Contest. Contestants submitted essays answering the question ‘How can we foster a more peaceful nation and world?’ 

Ist Place   –   Charles Johnson of Chicago, IL           

2nd Place  –  Christopher Carroll of Speedway, IN    

3rd Place  –   Maria Agnes Battaglia of Quincy, MA   

Mr. Johnson received $1,000 for his winning entry. Mr. Carroll and Ms. Battaglia received $200 and $100, respectively. 

Mr. Johnson’s essay proposed expansion of Unarmed Civilian Protection (UCP) which for the past 3 decades has been entering conflict zones to de-escalate conflicts with non violent methods. Johnson is co-founder of the Chicago chapter of Nonviolent Peaceforce, an organization dedicated to the Unarmed Civilian Protection program.    

West Suburban Peace Coalition (www.faithpeace.org), based in Glen Ellyn, IL, has been holding its annual peace essay contest since 2013 as part of its continuing mission to promote peace in Chicago’s western suburbs and beyond. For further information contact Walt Zlotow, zlotow@hotmail.com


Iran Nuclear Agreement focus of August 16th Educational Forum

US negotiations to re-enter the Iran nuclear deal (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) are ongoing. Join us Tuesday, Aug. 16 at 7:00 PM for our Educational Forum:

US Iran Relations: Will Diplomacy Win Over War?

Our speaker, Dr. Assal Rad, is research Director at the National Iranian American Council, working on research and writing related to Iran policy issues and U.S.-Iran relations. Her writing can be seen in Newsweek, The National Interest, The Independent, Foreign Policy and more. She has appeared as a commentator on BBC World, Al Jazeera, NPR, and others. She received a PhD in Middle Eastern History fron the University of California, Irvine in 2018. Her forthcoming book, ‘The State of Resistance: Politics, culture, and Identity in Modern Iran’ is being published by Cambridge University Press this year.


WSPC 2022 Membership Dues Schedule 

Individual             $15 per year 

Organization        $30 per year

Send check payable to “WSPC” to WSPC, 340 Greenfield, Glen Ellyn, IL 60137

Dues and additional donations are tax deductible.  

Peace, if not now….when? 

WSPC is a non-profit peace organization based in Chicago’s western suburbs. WSPC promotes peace through public witness, peace education, an annual peace essay contest and lobbying for peaceful legislative initiatives and a sane foreign policy.        

West Suburban Peace Coalition
340 Greenfield Ave
Glen Ellyn, IL 60137
(630) 442-3045

wsfpc.peace@gmail.com
faithpeace.org