As people around the world commemorate the seventy-fifth anniversary of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, on August 6 and 9, 1945, the Communist Party of Canada calls for renewed campaigns for disarmament and abolition of nuclear arms.
The use of nuclear weapons by the United States – the first and, so far, only time these weapons of mass destruction have been used in combat – was a criminal act of imperialist aggression. It marked the beginning of humanity’s existential threat by its own actions.
The two bombs killed a quarter of a million people and levelled the two cities. It created lasting genetic effects which were passed on to subsequent generations.
Despite repeated assertions by the US government and military, that the bombings were necessary to end the war and prevent countless more deaths, it is now well established that Japan was already militarily and economically defeated and had been trying for months to sue for peace. These overtures were ignored by a US leadership, which was determined to demonstrate the terrible destructive capacity of the new weapon as a threat to the Soviet Union. The US Secretary of State at the time, James Byrnes, stated openly that the nuclear bomb’s biggest impact was not on Japan but in making the USSR “more manageable” in Europe. Britain’s Winston Churchill and other Western imperialist leaders echoed this view.
In addition to being a crime against humanity, the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki represent the opening salvoes of the Cold War. The development, use and proliferation of nuclear weapons by the US and its imperialist allies – particularly those in NATO – provoked a global arms race whose social, economic and environmental costs are incalculable.
The Canadian government has participated willingly in this ultra-aggressive militarism in many ways – including NATO’s nuclear-weapons cost sharing pact, the installation of US Bomarc nuclear missiles in Canada from 1963-1971, and consistent support of and submission to NATO’s nuclear first-use policy. The Canadian government has also spent over \100 million toward the development of the F-35 joint strike fighter jet, which is specifically designed to carry a redesigned B-61 nuclear bomb. The Liberal government, like its Conservative predecessor, continues to pursue a massive F-35 procurement program, which commits the Canadian military to becoming part of a multi-national delivery mechanism for US nuclear weaponry.
Shamefully, Canada continues to become a signatory to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), holding up its global ratification. This treaty prohibits the development, testing, production, stockpiling, use and threat of use of nuclear weapons, and it provides for a framework leading toward the elimination of existing nuclear weapons programs.
Currently, the US and its allies have pursued a “renewed Cold War” policy, primarily targeting China and Russia. This policy is used as a pretext for massive military buildup, which includes renewed development and proliferation of nuclear weapons. The US is specifically developing advanced delivery systems that allow smaller “tactical” nuclear weapons to reach greater distances and cause greater concentrated damage. The F-35 is part and parcel of this new type of nuclear weapons development, as are the militarization of space and the Ballistic Missile Defence shield.
The renewed Cold War has sparked a new arms race and increase in military spending worldwide. Last year global military spending reached $1.917 trillion, with 55 percent coming from NATO’s 28 member countries. Alongside this, the already limited international instruments governing nuclear weapons proliferation have been severely weakened by unilateral US withdrawal. Among these are the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM), the Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) treaties and the so-called Iranian nuclear deal (JCPOA).
The people of the world face devastation through economic ruin and environmental disaster, yet the military policies of western imperialism require the massive diversion of resources desperately required for the needs of the planet and its peoples. Furthermore, those policies ensure that nuclear annihilation is maintained as an existential threat to humanity.
On this 75th anniversary of the terror perpetrated against the Japanese people, the Communist Party of Canada reiterates our call for abolition of nuclear weapons and their complete disarmament, beginning by dismantling the stockpiles of the United States and its allies. We call on all labour and progressive organizations in Canada to renew the campaign for disarmament and nuclear weapons abolition, including the demand for a 75 percent reduction in Canada’s military budget and this country’s immediate and unilateral withdrawal from the NATO and NORAD military alliances. The working class and people must also force the Canadian government to sign and ratify the TPNW and adopt an independent foreign policy of peace and disarmament.
Central Executive Committee, Communist Party of Canada