Blogs > Liberty and Power > George S. Schuyler and the Atomic Bomb in 1945

Jan 10, 2005 10:07 am

George S. Schuyler and the Atomic Bomb in 1945

I have already discussed George S. Schuyler’s opposition to the internment of Japanese-Americans. Schuyler was a key figure in the Harlem Renaissance who later became one of the pioneers of post-war conservatism. He wrote Black and Conservative and contributed to such journals as The Freeman and National Review.

Conservatives please note: Schuyler was also an unforgiving opponent of Truman's decision to drop the atomic bombs on Japan. In his column for the Pittsburgh Courier on August 18, 1945, he had the following reaction to the news:

The atomic bomb has opened new fields of speculation on the future of war, peace and the progress of what we laughingly call civilization. Its effect will be even greater than was the use of firearms in a world of spears, swords, shields and arrows, or the introduction of the steam engine in a world of wagons and sailing ships. It is the characteristic of humanity that the atom's tremendous energy should have been used first in warfare. Not satisfied with being able to kill people by the thousand, we have now achieved the supreme triumph of being able to slaughter whole cities at a time. In this connection it is interesting to note that there is no longer any pretense that only military installations are targets. Skimming through in the skies over Hiroshima, one of our bombing planes dropped the fearsome atomic bomb to murder 200,000 or Japanese mothers, fathers and children indiscriminately. It seems that just yesterday we were bemoaning German barbarism in bombing Warsaw, Rotterdam, London and other industrial centers, and citing as evidence of the Japanese savagery the slaughter of a few thousand innocents in Shanghai. There was also much Christian head-wagging over the mistreatment of some American soldiers by Nipponese gorillas but there is little except praise for the exploits of our airmen in wiping out 200,000 human beings in one blow......

This means the Anglo-Saxons led by the U.S.A will have their way in the world until other people discover and perfect a weapon more devastating that the uranium bomb. That way it must be admitted is that way of white imperialism which firearms enabled them to establish two centuries ago. Controlling this tremendous power for evil are second-rate and small-minded men filled with racial arrogance such as Truman, Tom Connally, Jimmy Byrnes, Stimson, Bilbo and our military-naval officer cliques, who believe in racial segregation and color discrimination with religious fanaticism and have not the slightest intention of lowering the color barriers their forefathers established."

In an earlier blog, I commented on the upcoming movie about Schuyler's daughter , Philippa Schuyler, starring Alicia Keys and produced by Halle Berry. I am pleased to hear from Charles Johnson that Berry may star in a television-made version of Their Eyes Were Watching God, a novel by Zora Neale Hurston.

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Kenneth R Gregg - 1/10/2005

The title of his anti-A-Bomb essay was "Manifesto for the Atomic Age" (Rutgers University Press; 1946). Was also read by Rand:


Kenneth R Gregg - 1/10/2005

Virgil Jordan, then President of the (National Industrial) Conference Board, wrote one of the best essays attacking the use of the A-Bomb and "National Defense" policies in the same year. This was also when Jordan brought Leonard Read in as Executive Vice President of the Conference Board (leaving later to form FEE). He promoted laiseez-faire economic policies and was critical of both FDR (or "Franklinstein," in the words of E.C. Reigal, a libertarian activist of the time) and Truman. (I don't recall that this was Jordan's better-known essay of the time, "Freedom in America." and would have to look in my files for the title--sorry). James J. Martin addressed Jordan's earlier views (, but I think it was the A-Bomb which brought Jordan into a more strident libertarian stance.

It was a wake-up call for many people, in all areas of life.

I suspect Chris Sciabarra would appreciate Jordan's writings. He was, in many respects, a major economist using a dialectical approach to American foreign and domestic policy. Very smart person.

Just a thought.
Just Ken

Robert L. Campbell - 1/10/2005

Uh huh.

Roderick T. Long - 1/10/2005

Perhaps even ... record-breaking.

Robert L. Campbell - 1/10/2005

I'll confess I had this mental image of Aristocrat 1101 getting heaved. Since it's a 78 rpm record made of shellac and ground limestone, the image was, well, shattering :-)


David T. Beito - 1/10/2005

Caught me again!

Roderick T. Long - 1/10/2005

You'd love to heave it? Keeping it mighty for us? Dave, I fear my invocation of Emily Lintilla has infected you.


David T. Beito - 1/10/2005

Do you have a copy of the recording? I'd love to heave it.

The fellow I am writing about, T.R.M. Howard, often told the same joke in the 1950s about Bilbo. He said that Bilbo had a sent a message to the governor of Mississippi. In this message, Bilbo urged the governor to treat blacks more fairly.

Naturally, the governor expressed great surprise because this went contrary to all Bilbo had stood for. Bilbo answered. "We need some relief and this might help. We have a negro fireman down here and he is keeping it mighty for us."

Robert L. Campbell - 1/10/2005

Uhh, Emily, that would be the Bilbo who was the subject of this ironic lamentation:

Medium-tempo blues:

Well, I've been down to Dallas, Texas
Even went to San Antone
But when I got to Mississippi, my best friend was dead and gone
Yes, Bilbo is gone
Well, he had to put it down
Well, I feel like a lonesome stranger, yes, a stranger in my home town

I was a playboy and a devil
I had times I was really wild
Since Mr. Bilbo is dead, it makes me feel like a fatherless child
Yes, Bilbo is gone
Yes, he had to put it down
I feel like a lonesome stranger in my own home town

Well, you've been living in the big city
Broke and had to get a loan
But you can hurry back to Mississippi
Cause Bilbo is dead and gone
Yes, he's gone
Well, he had to put it down
I feel like a lonesome stranger in my own home town

--"Bilbo Is Dead"

Written by Andrew Tibbs and Tom Archia, sung by Andrew Tibbs with Dave Young's Orchestra, recorded late August or early September 1947 in Chicago, and released on Aristocrat 1101

Roderick T. Long - 1/10/2005

> Controlling this tremendous power
> for evil are second-rate and small-
> minded men filled with racial arrogance
> such as Truman, Tom Connally, Jimmy
> Byrnes, Stimson, Bilbo and our
> military-naval officer cliques

"I'm sorry to hear such harsh words about poor inoffensive Mr. Baggins," said Emily Lintilla.