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Borat and me the other day at school.


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Good Shoes


I've liked this band for a long time. I hate people telling me how amazing bands are and how you should really like them, because they are going to be the next big thing. The Good Shoes are ace, they're not going to be the next big thing, but you should at least give them a listen, to me they are the sound of London.

Banana Phone


Why not sing along ...

Ring ring ring ring ring ring ring - Banana phone
Ring ring ring ring ring ring ring - Banana phone
I've got this feeling, so appealing
For us to get together, and sing, sing!
Ring ring ring ring ring ring ring - Banana phone
Ding dong ding dong ding - Danana phone
It grows in bunches, I've got my hunches
It's the best, beats the rest,
cellular, modular, interactive-odular
Ring ring ring ring ring ring ring - Banana phone
Ping pong ping pong ping pong ping - panana phone
It's no baloney, it ain't a phony
My cellular, bananular phone
Don't need quarters, don't need dimes,
to call a friend of mine.
Don't need computer or TV to have a real good time.
I'll call for pizza, I'll call my cat, I'll call the White House,
have a chat, I'll place a call around the world,
operator get me Beijing 'jing 'jing 'jing
Play that thing!
Yooo hoo!
Ring ring ring rign ring ring ring - Banana phone
Ying yang ying yang ying - Yanana phone
It's real live momma-and-poppa-phone,
a brother and sister and a dog-o-phone,
a grandpa phone and a gramophone,
My cellular, bananular phone!
Banana phone - Ring, ring ring.
It's a phone with a peel!
Banana phone - Ring, ring ring.
Now you can have your phone and eat it too!
Banana phone!

With thanks to

Thought this essay I wrote maybe of interest to you...

Truman’s decision to use the bomb was not a profound one, nor a decision that at the time, Truman himself had a lot of agency in. The Manhattan Project was a benign monster, conceived in a time when the mindset was that of destroy or be destroyed, a fight for survival. The bomb was used against Japan in 1945 in cooler blood, used because it had been created and because it was a more efficient method of bombing; a tool to end the war quickly and on America’s terms. Motives such as saving half a million American lives, gaining diplomatic leverage and impressing the Russians were benefits to a very straight forward decision. The biggest mistake a scholar can make in assessing Truman’s motives for the dropping of the bomb is to impose the values of today on a decision made in the past; and assuming the decision makers of the day understood that their decisions would change the world in the way it did.

It was Truman’s motive in using the bomb to end the Second World War quickly and on his own terms; literature supporting this position has, however, been subverted by the consideration of moral justification. The divide lies between those who would argue that Truman’s decision to use the bomb was morally repressible, presenting alternatives such as acting Secretary of State Joseph Grew’s council for a negotiated surrender, and those, like the author, who see Truman as someone having little reason to alter a course of action that had been set in motion by President Roosevelt years before.

A strong argument can be made that Truman’s decision to drop the bomb was not directly influenced by the motive of saving the half a million lives which be lost in the invasion of Japan, beginning in Honshu. Truman’s autobiography cites a figure of ‘half a million lives of American sailors, solders and marines and prevent numerous British fatalities’[1]. This figure is hard to substantiate[2] and was not used during the weeks immediately after sixth of August 1945[3]. The alternative to the bombing was invasion of Honshu, estimated by General Marshal to cost between 50,000 and 250,000 American lives. However, the plan to invade Honshu, viewed by almost all military planners as highly improbable, was based on several extremely pessimistic assessments characterised by R. E. Miles[4] Junior in seven points. Firstly, after a preliminary invasion of the southern peninsular of Kyushu, Japan would still carry on fighting. It was also assumed that the Japanese armed forces and supporting industries would survive after the America intensified bombing raids. It was also assumed that despite both the America and the Soviet’s being poised to invade, Japan would still not surrender; on top of this it was assumed that the people of Japan, who were staving would not revolt against a suicidal government.

It is ironic when examining Truman’s motives for dropping the bomb, his own published motives are down played. This is understandable when consideration of the ten years that passed between the decision and publication of Truman’s autobiography is taken into account. In those ten years, the moral context of decision changed; from a ‘public [that] overwhelmingly supported the action’[5] to a more sceptical position on the use of atomic weapons that we are left with today. Truman was left to justify his wartime actions of ten years hence with an argument that would stand in a peacetime reality. He chose to present an argument of moralistic primacy in his memoirs even though they had minimal bearing on his decision he had at the time.

Much light is made of the selection of the target for the dropping of the atomic bomb, Truman’s decision to drop the bomb on Hiroshima showed that he wanted to demonstrate the power of the bomb to the Japanese, and therefore end that war quickly. Hiroshima was chosen as a target because it had not suffered damage from previous bombing raids, allowing an ideal environment to measure the damage caused by the atomic bomb. This was the practical point. Unfortunately, for Truman’s moral argument his noting ‘I have told Sec. of War… Stimson to use it [the bomb] so that military objectives… are the target Even if the Jap’s are savages, ruthless, merciless, and fanatic…[t]he target will be a purely military one.’[6] Hiroshima was not a city of considerable industrial and military significance. It appears that the selection was for pragmatic reasons and with no humanitarian considerations. The selection of Nagasaki was not given so much weight because Kokura, the primary target was obscured by clouds. After three runs over the city and having fuel running low due to a fuel-transfer problem, they headed for their secondary target, Nagasaki.

Truman’s pragmatic selection of targets degrades any argument that asserts the dropping of the atomic bombs were for humanitarian moralistic reasons, but demonstrate that the dropping of the bomb was purely to demonstrate the power of the USA and end the war. Moralistic justifications for Truman’s use of the bomb are just that, ad hoc justifications not motives per se. On the night of March 29th 1945 more than 83,000 people were killed in the fire bombing of Tokyo; the USA was in the business of bombing the Japanese civilian population. The atomic bombings in Hiroshima killed fewer people than other conventional air raids. It appears that the Truman administration did not have any qualms about civilians. The nuclear weapon was just another weapon in the arsenal, a more efficient method of continuing a policy for which Britain’s bombing of Dresden had set the precedent.

Truman had little agency in the decision to drop the bomb, he inherited a very straightforward plan from Roosevelt; win the war quickly. When Harry S. Truman took office on the 12th of April 1945 upon the death of President Roosevelt, he inherited not only all of Roosevelt’s cabinet and staff, but also all of Roosevelt’s policies, including the two billion dollar Manhattan Project. Truman had little experience of foreign policy, indeed he suggested in 1941"If we see that Germany is winning we ought to help Russia and if Russia is winning we ought to help Germany, and that way let them kill as many as possible…."[7]. With lack of personal experience and experienced advisors, it is easy to draw conclusions about Truman’s level of involvement in the decision to drop the bomb. Consider the alternative for Truman: not to drop the bomb, or to continue fighting a war that was rapidly becoming unpopular. Truman biographer David McCullough asserts: ‘How could a president... answer to the American people if... after the bloodbath of an invasion of Japan, it became known that a weapon sufficient to end the war had been available by midsummer and was not used?[8]

The arguments above places Truman’s motives for decision to drop the bomb, as part of the broader picture that describes the end of the Second World War. If the context is conceived differently and Truman’s decision is seen as part of a broader picture that describes the beginning of the cold war, Truman’s motives would need to be redrawn to account for this different mode of thinking. To understand Truman’s motives as preliminary moves in the Cold War, places primacy on the motives professing the bomb was used to gain diplomatic leverage against the Soviets.

The orthodox analysis that the bomb was needed to end the Second World war was opposed by some very soon after the incident. The Committee for the Compilation of Materials on Damage caused by the Atomic Bomb in Hiroshima and Nagasaki reported that:

‘the A-Bomb attacks were needed not so much against Japan – already on the brink of surrender and no longer capable of mounting an effective counter offensive – as to establish clearly Americas post-war position and strategic supremacy in the anticipated cold war settings.’[9]

This quotation represents a stand of thinking in the literature that understands Truman’s motive for dropping the bomb as the first move in the Cold War rather than ending the Second World War. Gar Alperovitz argues that this characterises the analysis of modern scholars. ‘The consensus amounts scholars is that the bomb was not needed to avoid an invasion of Japan and to end the war within a reasonably short time. It is clear that alternatives existed and that Truman and his advisors knew it.’[10] This is a sweeping statement but one that may not be unfounded. It is important to note however, the difference between giving primacy to the motive that the bomb was used to gain diplomatic leverage against the Soviets; and historians who don’t think believe it was necessary to drop the bomb on Japan to end the Second world war.

It would have been important to Truman, already aware of communist governments flourishing in the wake of the Red Army to stop the same thing happening in Asia. Dropping the atomic bomb on Japan would stop the Soviet sphere of influence before it could start creeping across Manchuria and gaining a foothold in Asia. Gar Alperovitz and R. L. Messer put forward J M Blum’s interpretation of the modification of the demand for unconditional surrender after the Nagasaki bombing so as to stop the soviet advance.[11] The changing of the long held ‘unconditional surrender’ terms of peace shows the focus of Truman’s administration was primarily on the Soviets rather than on the Japanese plight. The argument could further be extended as the Japanese did not surrender after the Hiroshima bomb or immediately after Nagasaki as it was thought should happen. Japan did not fold as quickly as America expected; the Japanese had unknowingly called the American’s bluff. The only thing left to Truman to stop the Russians gaining ground in Manchuria was to modify the unconditional surrender demands.

If Truman was prepared to drop the atomic bombs on Japan to prevent the spreading tide of communism in Asia, he would defiantly be prepared to do the same the if he thought he would have share Japan with Russia in the event of a Japan’s refusal to surrender and an American-Soviet invasion. Walter Brown personal assistant to Secretary of State Byrnes recorded that his employer was ‘hoping for time, believing [that] after [the] atomic bomb Japan would surrender and Russia would not get so much in the kill…’[12]. The diary of Navy secretary James Forrestal reinforces this; he wrote that by July 28th 1945 Byrnes was ‘most anxious to get the Japanese affair over with before the Russians got in’.[13] It is clear from the two sources that a senior member of Truman’s cabinet placed great importance in stopping the Russians getting a share of Japan, by using the atomic bomb to end the war quickly and send the Russians a message.

The first two arguments that place Truman’s motives as centred on gaining leverage on Russian diplomacy are somewhat hybrid. They recognise that Truman wanted to gain leverage over the Russians, but only through ending the war quickly. Two motives are evident here, gaining diplomatic leverage on the Russians and wanting to ending the war quickly, these motives are not mutually exclusive. This strengthens the simplistic argument that Truman wanted to end the war quickly with the dropping of the bombs, and all the consequences were positive consiquences.

Some argue however that there was no complexity of hybrid motives, that dropping the atomic bombs on Japan was purely an act of hostility towards the Soviets intended to place America in a diplomatically advantageous position in the European political theatre. Secretary of State Byrnes arguments for use of the atomic bomb were reported to be ‘that it was not necessary to use the bomb against the cities of Japan in order to win the war…Mr. Byrnes’s… view [was] that our processing and demonstrating the bomb would make Russia more manageable in Europe.’[14] Secretary for War Stimson referred to the bomb as a ‘master card’ of diplomacy[15]. Key members of Truman’s cabinet see the atomic bomb as a way to bargain with Russia, although it is likely that these ideas found there way to the President, they cannot be seen as Truman’s own motives. Furthermore viewed independently or with ‘master card’ diplomacy placed in primacy, the reality seems too Machiavellian and hostile for a period where the Russians and Americans were allies.

Truman’s actions viewed in context of this dark picture look very sinister. If the primary motivation for dropping the bomb was to demonstrate it’s power to the Russians, it could be argued that the only reason the Second World War dragged on as long as it did with an almost defeated Japan was so as to allow sufficient time for the development of the bomb. In the months spent fighting a war that was continued beyond the first opportunity for peace, thousands of American service men lost there lives. The lunacy of logic behind this the ‘master card diplomacy’ argument is exposed when extrapolated to its full extent. The political pressure at the time to end the war quickly seems to nullify this argument.

So far, this essay has paid little attention to the differences between the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The thrust of the argument put forward in this essay is Truman’s decision to drop the bomb was motivated primarily by a desire to end the war quickly. The motives for dropping the second bomb were much the same as the first, to facilitate ending the war quickly. The question is then why not a third bomb or a fourth. Logistics played a role in preventing mass nuclear bombing; the ordinance did simply not exist. A third bomb did exist but was not dropped. This was because Truman was aware that the Japanese wanted to surrender. Truman’s hand written journals of July 18th set forth his understanding of the latest intercepted MAGIC signal, ‘Telegram from Jap [sic]Emperor asking for peace’[16]. However when it became apparent that the Japanese were still not accepting an unconditional surrender, even when under nuclear attack, and with the Soviets advancing, Truman decided that if all of those factors were not enough to stipulate surrender, nothing would, the clarification of the peace terms would be most likely to end to the war quickly.

Gar Alperovitz asserts that a divide exists between scholarly understanding of the decision to drop the bomb and an opposing understanding held by the public[17]. Truman’s motives for dropping the bomb are presented as orthodox decades after the event through the mass media. This is the divide that Gar Alperovitz is referring to. However to be distracted by this moralistic debate is miss the significant historical argument. Those who would see the dropping of the bomb as anything other than an attempt to win the war as quickly and to as much advantage to America as possible share a common fault with the moralistic argument school. Both stands of thinking commit an elemental error in analysing Truman’s motives - they interpret events with the benefit of hindsight and assume that results achieved were those intended. Inconstancies that arise in Truman’s policy that when viewed in retrospect challenge the premise that Truman’s aims were to end the war as quickly as possible. Not changing the peace terms earlier is an example of this. It is entirely possible that Truman’s objectives and motives were constant; however, mistakes were made in the implementation of the policy. Could the war have been ended sooner and on such favourable terms without the use of the atomic bombs? It is interesting to conceive of a version of the events where Truman made mistakes such as dropping the second bomb before modifying the terms of the surrender. Evaluating Truman’s motives for dropping the atomic bombs on Japan provide a prime example of the folly of historians; the bombs were dropped, no matter what the motives were, events unfolded as they did. The post-mortem is inconclusive, apart from the firm conclusion that the Manhattan Project was conceived in a time when the mindset was that of destroy or be destroyed, a fight for survival.

[1] H. S. Truman, ‘Memoirs’ Vol. 1 ‘Year of Decisions’ 1955 p.471 in R. E. Miles, Jr. ‘Hiroshima the Strange Myth of Half a Million American Lives Saved.’ International Security Vol. 10 No.2 (Autumn, 1985), p.121

[2] R. E. Miles, Jr. ‘Hiroshima the Strange Myth of Half a Million American Lives Saved.’ International Security Vol. 10 No.2 (Autumn, 1985), p.121-124 and p.135-136

[3] Ibid, p.121

[4] Ibid p.135-136

[5] Ibid, p.121

[6] B.J. Bernstein ‘The Atomic Bombings Reconsidered’ Foreign Affairs 74 1 1995 P.147

[7] New York Times, June 24 1941 on


[9] The Committee for the Compilation of Materials on Damage caused by the Atomic Bomb in Hiroshima and Nagasaki ‘Hiroshima and Nagasaki: The Physical, Medical, and Social Effects of the Atomic Bombings’ London 1981 in L. Freedman and S. Dockrill ‘Hiroshima: A Strategy of Shock’ ‘Pearl Harbour to Hiroshima: The Second World War in Asia and the Pacific, 1941-1945’

[10] Samuel Walker of the US Nuclear regulatory in G. Alperovitz ‘Hiroshima: Historians Reassess’ Foreign Policy (Summer 1995) No. 99: p.15

[11] J.M. Blum ed. ‘The Prince of Vision: The Diary of Henry A Wallace, 1942-1946’ (Boston: Houghton Mifflin 1973) p.474 in G. Alperovitz, R.L. Messer, B. J. Bernstein ‘Marshal Truman and the Decision to Drop the Bomb’ International Security, Vol. 16 (Winter 1991-1992) p.212

[12] W. Brown Private Diary Entry for July 26th, 1945 Private papers of Walter Brown, Spartanburg. S.C. in G. Alperovitz, R.L. Messer, B. J. Bernstein ‘Marshal Truman and the Decision to Drop the Bomb’ International Security, Vol. 16 (Winter 1991-1992) p.213

[13] G. Alperovitz, ‘Hiroshima: Historians Reassess’ Foreign Policy (Summer 1995) No. 99: p.26

[14] L. Szilard ‘Reminiscences’, Perspectives in American History, Vol. 2 (1968) p.127 in G. Alperovitz, R.L. Messer, B. J. Bernstein ‘Marshal Truman and the Decision to Drop the Bomb’ International Security, Vol. 16 (Winter 1991-1992) p.212-213.

[15] Ibid. p.213

[16] G. Alperovitz; R. L. Messer; B. J. Bernstein ‘Marshal, Truman, and the decision to drop the Bomb’ International Security, Vol. 16 (Winter 1991-1992) p.208

[17] G. Alperovitz, ‘Hiroshima: Historians Reassess’ Foreign Policy No. 99 (Summer 1995) p.15


If you see George give him a slap ... The man's a fool.


George, stop posting videos of yourself, and stop supporting youtube ... It's full of enough imbeciles as it is. Apologies for the last show; George only had one job- Pushing the buttons. Quality podcasting from our studio in the depths of South London.

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This was recored about a year ago... finally George Swithinbank, Nick Day and Spencer Cryder are on YouTube... great, better to be thought a fool than to put yourself on youtube and prove it.

Yeah i play a bit of ping pong...


The Exam


Dan, the co-author of this crap blog forgot about an exam he is taking tomorrow. Will he remember in time? Find out next time on the London Village Show podcast.

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