On August 6, 1945 at 2:45 A.M., the Enola Gay took off for Hiroshima, escorted by two other B-29 bombers. One, The Great Artiste, was carrying instruments for measuring the intensity of the atomic blast. The other had no name on the day of the historic flight; on board, it carried photographic equipment to immortalize the event on film. The day after the second nuclear bombing, back from Nagasaki, the anonymous bomber was christened by its crew. Two words were painted on the front of the repainted aircraft: Necessary Evil.
A “necessary evil”: the expression has been used systematically ever since 1945 by those who defend having resorted to dropping atomic bombs on the civilian populations of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. For nearly 65 years, it has summarized the dominant discourse about this turning point in 20th-century history. On the one hand, the poignant testimony of irradiated survivors, the hibakusha. On the other, a historical interpretation that insists that the atomic bomb was the only way to end the war.
Yet the accounts of the bombs’ inventors, emerging from the latest research, paint a whole other picture. The consensus over the necessity of Hiroshima is a fiction that was meticulously constructed even from prior to August 1945. There was no general agreement on the use of the new weapon between Washington’s decision-makers. Top-ranking military officials vigorously expressed their opposition to the targeting of civilians.
By tying Hiroshima into a military strategy, the radical revolution that using the bomb represented was veiled. The black sun of Hiroshima’s terrifying apocalyptic glow obscured the true nucleus of atomic power: an un-holy coalition of scientists and military leaders, censorship of the threat atomic
weapons represent, and the creation of tenacious myths that have deformed History.
This film exposes the myth constructed post-1945 about Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Sixty-five years after the bombings, the controversy over their necessity continues to rage. Almost 800 films have been devoted to the bombings, essentially in the USA and Japan. The unease is persistent; the subject seems inexhaustible. Perhaps because neither one nor the other has ever been fully addressed.
Using the most recent research, this historical investigation proposes a radical change of perspective on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It will place the scientists on the Manhattan Project back at the heart of the story and will show how their choices and scientific ambitions have lead, step after step, to the first atomic bombings in history.
Over a background montage of American and Japanese archive footage converted into HD, some of which has never been shown before, we will have key “players” reenact their own roles, in their own words, drawn from public and private writing and statements. Oppenheimer, Truman, Byrnes, Stimson, Groves, Szilard and Vannevar Bush are some of the Americans who will guide us through the unseen aspects of the history of the bomb in their own words.
This film will also explore for the first time the aftermath of August 1945 from the point of view of scientific research. Thanks to the creation of an innovative research center in Hiroshima, the Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission (ABCC), extensive studies were carried out on the effects of radiation on the population. The results were a valuable source for civilian protection in the context of the Cold War, the threat of atomic attacks between the superpowers, and the rapid development of nuclear energy worldwide.
« Ce remarquable travail d’investigation distille des révélations effarantes sur l’industrie de l’atome et ses dangers. »
« Le minutieux décryptage du projet Manhattan, qui fit violemment entrer l’humanité dans l’ère nucléaire, justifie à lui seul que vous lui consacriez la soirée. »
« Sombre et complexe, un sujet évoqué ici avec beaucoup de clarté. »
Télé Câble Sat
« L’examen de documents ultrasecrets et les recherches de nombreux historiens montrent (…) une réalité historique terrifiante. »
« Rigoureusement documenté, ce récit passionnant dévoile l’énormité de la propagande mise en œuvre par le complexe militaro-industriel US. »
« A partir d’images d’archives, un excellent documentaire. Édifiant et inquiétant. »
« Un remarquable travail d’investigation sur les dangers du nucléaire. »
TV Grandes Chaînes
Audience record for “The Black Sun of Hiroshima”
Rerun by France 3 on January 21 at 11pm, Kenichi Watanabe’s documentary gathered 700 000 viewers, the 2nd best audience in the “Docs interdits” selection since september 2012, with a rate of 6,6%, constantly growing during broadcasting (Médiamétrie numbers).