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Screening of ‘The War Game’ in Sutton on 27 November

Docu-drama about the effects of nuclear war – BBC TV 1965

The film they tried to ban!

By late1964 Harold Wilson’s newly elected Labour Government had already broken its election manifesto to unilaterally disarm Britain, and was in fact developing a full-scale nuclear weapons programme, in spite of wide-spread protest.  The public had little information about the effects of nuclear weapons and British TV was reluctant to discuss the arms race.

The War Game portrays the possible effects of a nuclear strike on Britain following the outbreak of war between NATO and the USSR – the millions of victims, the ridiculous protective measures for civilians and the return to barbarism – and lays bare how ill-prepared citizens and the authorities were. Its newsreal style interweaves scenes of ’reality’ with stylized ’interviews’ based on genuine quotations, and uses Nagasaki and Hiroshima as models of the effects of such events. It was filmed in black and white by Peter Watkins in 1965, in a corner of Kent with a cast made up mostly of non-actors.

Having seen the film and consulted government officials the BBC announced that they would not broadcast it on TV.  In 1966 the BBC organised private screenings for invited members of the British Establishment and defence correspondents – but not film journalists. The majority of the British press backed the suppression of the film.

The War Game was shown abroad and it won the 1966 Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. It was eventually broadcast in the UK on BBC2 on 31 July 1985, as part of the commemoration of the 40th anniversary of Nagasaki and Hiroshima – with critics saying the BBC had suppressed one of the greatest dramas ever made.

‘A warning masterpiece. It may be the most important film ever made.’  The Observer.

‘Brilliant. But it must stay banned’. Daily Sketch.

‘The only possible effect of showing it to the British public would be … to raise more unilateral disarmament recruits.’ Evening News.

On Friday 27 November at Friends House, Cedar Road, Sutton, SM2 5DA.

Doors open 7.00pm, film starts at 7.30.

There is no advance entry charge.

Please reserve your place by email to sutton4peace@yahoo.co.uk or by text message to 07740 594496.

The Atomic Bombing of Hiroshima

By Mike McLoughlin

At 2:45 a.m. on Monday, August 6, 1945, a B-29 bomber, the Enola Gay, took off from a North Pacific island 1,500 miles south of Japan.

A twelve-man crew was on board to make sure this secret mission went smoothly. Just before take-off, the plane’s nickname was painted on its side. The pilot, nicknamed the B-29 the “Enola Gay” after his mother.

The chief of the Ordnance Division in the “Manhattan Project” was the Enola Gay’s weaponeer. Since he had been instrumental in the development of the bomb, he was now responsible for arming it while in flight. About fifteen minutes into the flight he began to arm the atomic bomb; taking him another fifteen minutes. Parsons thought while arming the bomb nicknamed “Little Boy”: “I knew the Japs were in for it, but I felt no particular emotion about it.”

“Little Boy”, using radioactive uranium-235, was a product of $2 billion of research, had never been tested, nor been dropped from a plane. Some politicians pushed for not warning Japan of the bombing in order to save face in case the bomb malfunctioned.

Four cities were chosen as possible targets: Hiroshima, Kokura, Nagasaki, and Niigata. The cities were chosen because they had been relatively untouched during the war. The Target Committee wanted the first bomb to be “sufficiently spectacular for the importance of the weapon to be internationally recognized when publicity on it was released.”

On August 6, 1945, the first choice target, Hiroshima, had clear weather. At 8:15 a.m. (local time), the Enola Gay’s door sprang open and “Little Boy” Was dropped. The bomb exploded 1,900 feet above the city

The tail-gunner, described what he saw: “The mushroom cloud itself was a spectacular sight, a bubbling mass of purple-gray smoke and you could see it had a red core in it and everything was burning inside. . . . It looked like lava or molasses covering a whole city. . .

The co-pilot, said, “Where we had seen a clear city two minutes before, we could no longer see the city. We could see smoke and fires creeping up the sides of the mountains.” Two-thirds of Hiroshima was destroyed. Within three miles of the explosion, 60,000 of the 90,000 buildings were demolished.

Clay roof tiles melted together. Shadows had imprinted on buildings and other hard surfaces. Metal and stone had melted.

The aim of this raid had not been a military installation but rather an entire city. The atomic bomb that exploded over Hiroshima killed civilians, women, men and children. Hiroshima’s population has been estimated at 350,000; approximately 70,000 died immediately from the explosion and another 70,000 died from radiation within five years.

A survivor described the damage to people:

The appearance of people was . . . well, they all had skin blackened by burns. . . . They had no hair because their hair was burned, and at a glance you couldn’t tell whether you were looking at them from in front or in back. . . . They held their arms bent [forward] like this . . . and their skin – not only on their hands, but on their faces and bodies too – hung down. . . . If there had been only one or two such people . . . perhaps I would not have had such a strong impression. But wherever I walked I met these people. . . . Many of them died along the road – I can still picture them in my mind — like walking ghosts.

6th August 2015 photos

Hiroshima comem 3 (DM) aHiroshima comem 4 (DM) aHiroshima day 2015 reading ahiroshima day candles 4 ahiroshima day 2015 candles 1 ahiroshima day 2015 candles 2 ahiroshima day 2015 candles 3 ahiroshima day candles + church

6th August 2015 Carshalton Ponds

6th August 1945 – 6th August 2015.

Remembering Hiroshima – saying ‘never again’.

hiroshima day 2015 candles 1 b

The 70th Anniversary of Hiroshima

At dusk on 6th August 2015, Sutton for Peace and Justice will remember the victims of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombs and show our determination to ensure that such barbarity is never repeated, by launching floating lights on the water of Carshalton Ponds.

We remember with deep sorrow the 6th August, 1945, when the United States dropped nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and, three days later, on Nagasaki. The bombs and consequent firestorms raised temperatures to 4000 degrees C, obliterating the cities and killing everything within one kilometre – 150,000 to 246,000 people in total. Those closest to the explosion died instantly, their bodies turned to black char, and within minutes 9 out of 10 people half a mile or less from ground zero were dead. By 1950 over 340,000 had died, more than half the cities’ populations, and generations have been poisoned by radiation.

We reaffirm that we must do all we can to ensure nuclear weapons are not used again. The British Government should honour its signing of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, under which the UK has no right to possess nuclear weapons, but is legally bound to disarm.

We urge the UK government to scrap its Trident nuclear weapons system, and not to waste money that would be better used for peaceful purposes such as hospitals, schools and affordable homes.

The commemoration will take place at the War Memorial, Carshalton Ponds, Honeywood Walk, Carshalton, SM5 2QJ, at 8.30pm on Thursday 6 August. You are welcome to join us – we will be meeting by Honeywood from 8pm. If you will be attending please let us know by email to sutton4peace@yahoo.co.uk or text to 07740 594496. Please note that the road adjacent to the war memorial is being dug up. If coming by car please park in the High Street car park – free after 7pm.