"The only way to prevent the use of nuclear weapons is their complete destruction!"
Greg Mitchell´s Atomic Cover-up shows the effort of Japanese film-makers to document the human tragedy in Hiroshima and Nagasaki immediately after the atomic bombing of August 1945. Most of the original material was confiscated by the American military authorities and is now lost. However, some footage was preserved thanks to the tenacity and courage of a few of the participants. In the following months, American Army officers Daniel McGovern and Herberts Sussan, with the help of Japanese cameramen, embarked in a meticulous work to document the devastation and particularly the appalling effects of the bomb on the civilian population of both cities. All films were classified as “Top Secret” and kept away from the public eye. They are still little known both in the U.S. and in the rest of the world. The images of Atomic Cover-Up are more impactful than the Hiroshima Museum itself.
McGovern and Sussan nurtured the hope that that the material could have been exhibited immediately in order to awaken the conscience of the world to the effects of nuclear weapons on people and generate measures to prevent a similar tragedy. We do not know what would have been the reaction of public opinion at the time, but all efforts undertaken in the 77 years since by the international community to ban nuclear armament have been frustrated. Several international instruments prohibit nuclar weapons, but not where they exist. Nine countries still possess them and continue to improve their destructive potential and their lethal effectiveness. All nine refuse to accept any commitment to disarm under international law – on the contrary, they affirm their willingess to keep their weapons as long as they consider necessary and to use them as they see fit.
Even a “limited” nuclear war could mean the complete destruction of human civilization as we know it. It is up to the international community as whole, including civil society organizations, to make every effort to avert such an environmental and human catástrophe. The only way to prevent the use of nuclear weapons is their complete destruction.
Sérgio de Queiroz Duarte, former Brazilian ambassador and former UN High Representative for Nuclear Disarmament Affairs, currently President of the non-governmental organization Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs founded by philosopher Bertrand Russell and physicist Joseph Rotblat in 1957, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1995.
Sérgio Duarte watched "Atomic Cover-up" during the 11th International Uranium Film Festival at Rio de Janeiro´s Modern Art Museum (MAM Rio), May 2022. The film will be shown again at the Uranium Film Festival in Norway, Bergen, Wednesday 24th of August, 2022.
Top photo shows Duarte with Uranium Film Festival director Márcia Gomes de Oliveira at the Museum of Modern Art in Rio.