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Why Oliver Stone Will Not Be a Happy Man this Weekend

There is much I said to Goldman that he left out, obviously because of space concerns from his editors at the magazine. I recommended to him in particular two books on the dropping of the atomic bombs that answer in detail the rehashed revisionist view Stone and Kuznick argue as if nothing has appeared to answer them since Gar Alperovitz’s first statement of the “atomic diplomacy” theory in the 1960s. I told Goldman to consult Wilson D. Miscamble’s new book The Most Controversial Decision:Truman, the Atomic Bombs, and the Defeat of Japan, and Robert James Maddox’s earlier collection, Hiroshima in History: The Myths of Revisionism.

If he did, there is no indication of it in the article. Both of these books would present chapter and verse on the kind of real evidence that Stone and Kuznick completely ignore. The evidence shows, for example -- contrary to the assertion made in the film series -- that dropping of the atomic bombs, as horrible as it was, saved not only thousands of American lives that would have been lost, but more Japanese lives than were lost as a result of the atomic bombs being dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. They also show that contrary to the film’s argument, the Japanese government was not ready to surrender and end the war until after both bombs were used.

Finally, I must note that as pleased as I am that Goldman went to me to counter Stone, and then to Wilentz, he colored (or his editors did) his account by referring to The Weekly Standard as a “right-wing” publication. One could more accurately refer to it as a conservative magazine. The term used is one of opprobrium, meant obviously by the editors of the Times to undercut the possibility that anyone reading it could learn the truth in its pages. And of course, after reading that I a “red-diaper baby” who subsequently turned away from the ideology I once adhered to decades ago, many readers will suspect that a turn-coat like myself can hardly be judged to have anything worthwhile to say about Stone and Kuznick’s film.

Goldman ends his article by referring to Stone and Kuznick’s appearance at a forum at the 92nd Street Y in New York City, where Kuznick again bragged about the “glowing” reviews they were getting and actually said that “nobody’s challenging anything we’re saying.” Stone gestured and said, “Well, it’s early.”

On that point, Oliver Stone is right. Now he has been hit first by me, next by Michael Moynihan, and now by Andrew Goldman. So I publicly challenge Stone and Kuznick. I will gladly appear with both of them in a public forum, along with another historian, such as Miscamble, Maddox, or Wilentz, where we could in detail expose and challenge all the shibboleths they offer as unvarnished truth.

I’m waiting for their answer!


Cross-posted from Ron Radosh's blog