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Program in British Studies

'Wilfred Burchett's "Warning to the world": an Australian war correspondent rewrites the atomic bomb narrative'

Michael Stoff HISTORY

Fri, February 21, 2014 | Tom Lea Rooms, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center 3.206

2:45 PM - 4:30 PM

On September 5, 1945, three days after the formal surrender of Japan, Daily Express readers across London shook open their newspapers and found a sensational, three-word headline awaiting them: "THE ATOMIC PLAGUE." The author, an Australian war correspondent, followed with a first-person subtitle in eye-catching italics: "I write this as a warning to the world." The dateline read, "HIROSHIMA, Tuesday" [September 4]. Wilfred Burchett was the first Allied journalist to report from what he called an "atomic bomb city." By exploring his encounter, we can begin to reconstruct the complex story of why "Hiroshima-Nagasaki" was destroyed and how Burchett's warning began to reshape the atomic bomb narrative already emerging.

Michael Stoff received his B.A. from Rutgers and his Ph.D. from Yale. He is the author of Oil, War, and American Security, co-author of Experience History: Interpreting America's Past, co-editor of The Manhattan Project: A Documentary Introduction to the Atomic Age, and series co-editor of the Oxford New Narratives in American History. He teaches modern US history at the University of Texas at Austin, where he also directs the Plan II Honors Program. He is currently at work on a book about the atomic bombing of Nagasaki, tentatively titled, "Pillar of Purple Fire": Nagasaki and the Meaning of the Atomic Bomb.

Sponsored by: Faculty Seminar on British Studies

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