Carol Gluck, the George Sansom Professor of History and Chair of the Committee on Global Thought at Columbia University, spoke about President Obama’s visit to Hiroshima with WNYC Radio’s “On the Media” and Wisconsin Public Radio’s “Kathleen Dunn Show.” She also discussed the different ways that Japanese and Americans remember World War II with PRI’s “The World.”
With President Obama becoming the first American president to visit Hiroshima, “On the Media” asked Professor Gluck to discuss the different historical narratives surrounding Hiroshima’s bombing. “For most Japanese, Obama’s visit actually fits with the Japanese story about the bomb, that the atomic bomb gave Japan its postwar mission for peace,” Professor Gluck said. “Now, the story in the United States is very different, that the atomic bomb ended the war and saved American lives. So the Japanese bomb story begins in 1945 and goes forward in the mission for peace. The American bomb story ends in ’45. Those are two separate stories. They will not cross. And the President’s position that the lesson of the past is for a nonnuclear future, it’s almost like a third story.”
On the May 25, 2016 “Kathleen Dunn Show,” Professor Gluck noted that President Obama’s visit to Hiroshima is “not going to revise the history and it’s not going to inform subsequent generations on both sides of the Pacific who don’t know that history … but (it is important because) of symbolic value and meaning.”
Also on May 25, 2016, Professor Gluck told PRI’s “The World” that “The story on the Japanese side is that the atomic bomb gave postwar Japan a mission for peace, and so the story of the bomb begins at the end of the war. In the United States, the story of the bomb is that the bomb ended the war and saved American lives, so the American story ends with the war … [ignoring] everything after Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and that would be the effects of radiation and the nuclear arms race.”
Read or listen to the full “On the Media” interview with Professor Gluck here.
Read or listen to Professor Gluck’s appearance on the “Kathleen Dunn Show” here.
Read or listen to Professor Gluck’s appearance on “The World” here.