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First response: unofficial reactions to the atom bomb from around the world in 1945


GEDDES, WENDT &c. The Atomic Age Opens, prepared by the editors of Pocket Books. NY, Pocket Books August 1945. Octavo publisher's illustrated wrapper; 256pp, photo illustrations and diagrams. A touch rubbed but a very good copy. Au$60

First printing of the first book on the atomic bomb; the published edition of the Smyth Report did not appear until September. There was a hardcover edition of this but it didn't appear for another couple of months. Pocket Books have gathered every scrap of available information and canvassed opinion, rabid and reasonable both for and against, coming to the conclusion that the ownership of the bomb belongs to mankind and that the "only answer to this kind of world power is a new kind of world society".


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Takeo Takei. 原子爆彈 [Genshi Bakudan (ie: Atomic Bomb)]. Tokyo, Domei Tsushinsha September 1945. Octavo printed wrapper; 32pp including wrapper. Expected browning of the paper; still a very good copy. A small owner's seal on page three. sold

Published as Domei Sosho No.1 by Domei - the national news agency - on 20th September 1945, apparently the day before the US occupation censorship had time to be fully implemented.* Domei Sosho no.2 was on the Potsdam declaration and there, I think, the series ended. I have read that 200,000 copies of this were printed. Worldcat locates one copy outside Japan - in Australia - and it doesn't appear in the catalogue of the Prange collection - the world's largest collection of occupation era documents, collected by the official historian to the occupation.
There is nothing much to be found in English on Takeo or his pamphlet. As I can best figure, the story is that Takeo was a scientific and/or political correspondent for Domei and spoke English. He and a colleague listened in to allied broadcasts, translated Truman's statement on the bombing of Hiroshima and were the first to tell the Japanese government that the "new bomb" was an atomic bomb. Takeo's widow and son published a memorial book in 1995 with background and contemporary papers which doesn't seem to have worked its way to writers in English. From my stumbling through a review of that book I get the impression that Takeo was seen as an apologist for the US and their use of the bomb which was unfair. He was attempting to give as objectively as possible as much information as he could and what information he had came only from what could he could scrape together from radio broadcasts. How much of this view of him was long after the fact I don't know. He had been or became - I'm not clear on this - a communist journalist which can't have endeared him to any authorities.
There is a modern facsimile of this which may or may not be related to the book published by Mrs Takeo - it seems likely. That should not be mistaken for this. Neither should Takeo Takei the journalist be confused with Takeo Takei the illustrator.
*Nuclear physicist Sagane Ryokichi's 'Genshi Bakudan' published in October had two sections removed by the censor from every copy.


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Sagane Ryokichi. 原子爆彈 [Genshi Bakudan (ie: Atomic Bomb)]. Tokyo, Asahi Shinbunsha October 1945 (Showa 20). Octavo, publisher's printed wrapper (a short tear in a bottom edge and a tape repair in one corner); [6],58pp including wrapper,* photo illustrations and diagrams. Expected browning of the paper; quite a good copy. *Pages 37-40 were neatly removed before the crude side stapling, deleted from all copies. These are the sections, "Genshi bakudan to Nihon" and "Genshi bakudan no koka" - the atomic bomb and Japan, and the effect of atomic bombs. Au$1500

Only edition I believe and some years in the finding, let me tell you. About a hundred years ago I decided that collecting the pamphlets and ephemera published round the world in 1945 on the atom bomb - first response so to speak - would be more fun and profitable than raising chickens. It took me a while to discover there was anything published in Japan. For some time I found nothing in any library catalogue and that, I thought, made sense. The one people unable or unwilling to rush into print would be the Japanese after August the 6th. Then I came across a mention of this pamphlet by nuclear physicist Sagane Ryokichi.
Now, finally, here it is. Exactly as it should be: unassuming, printed on cheap newsprint stock with diagrams, blurry and uninformative photographs and, best of all, censored after printing.
Sagane was the recipient of the letter from physicist Luis Alvarez and two other former colleagues that was dropped in a canister over Nagasaki a minute before the bomb. The letter in part reads, "We implore you to confirm these facts to your leaders, and to do your utmost to stop the destruction and waste of life which can only result in the total annihilation of all your cities, if continued. As scientists, we deplore the use to which a beautiful discovery has been put, but we can assure you that unless Japan surrenders at once, this rain of atomic bombs will increase manyfold in fury."
Worldcat finds one copy outside Japan - in the Prange collection. That copy is marked 'Deleted' in English and Japanese on the cover with the page numbers. The twist that the US occupation censors added that made Japanese writers and publishers wish for the good days of home made tyranny was that censorship itself was forbidden. That is, a publisher could not just blot out any offensive passages; signs of censorship had to be removed which often meant a complete rewrite and reset.


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CLARK, C.H. Douglas. The Story of the Atomic Bomb. A popular review of the principle discoveries which have led up to its production. London, The Machinery Publishing Co. [1945]. octavo publisher's printed wrapper and outer wrapper (this shabby with old tape repairs to the spine and front fold); 52pp, ills & diagrams through the text. Au$75

Not so easy to find with the explosive outer wrapper. An early Englishman into print on the bomb: his preface is dated 20.9.45 and his "ms. was framed before the official British and American reports were available". Clark was at Leeds University, not a lightweight in the world of atoms, and claimed a history of warnings about the "impending release of atomic energy". Warnings seem forgotten in his now gung-ho enthusiasm for this "wonderful messenger of peace" given an international "new growth of of moral sense".


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Another copy without the outer wrapper. Au$30


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RICHTER, W. Franz. The Atom Bomb! What it Really Means for Human Society. London, Social Science Association, August 1945. Octavo publisher's printed wrapper; 16pp. sold


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RICHTER, W. Franz. The Atom Bomb! What it Really Means for Human Society. London, Social Science Association, October 1945. Octavo publisher's printed wrapper; 16pp. A nice copy. Au$75

Third edition, the first came out in August.


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MARALDI, Ugo (Detector). Questa e la Bomba Atomica. Rome, Magi-Spinetti, August 1945. Octavo publisher's illustrated wrapper printed in black and red; 80pp. A nice copy. Au$175

A speedy entry into atom bomb literature by the writer of popular science and speculation. He ends with a chapter on a favourite subject - interplanetary travel - and a postscript on the announcement by 'eminent physicist' Luigi Bulgarini that the ancient Egyptians understood atomic energy and used a death ray to protect the tombs of pharaohs. Worldcat finds two copies, both in the US. SBN finds three copies in Italy but I can't find it in either national library.


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HALDANE, J.B.S., S. Lilley & William Rust. Daily Worker on the Atom Bomb. Reprint of three articles ... London, Daily Worker, [August 1945]. Octavo, eight pages including the cover. Piece from the bottom of the first leaf. Au$60

Three articles which appeared on the 11th (Lilley), the 13th (Haldane) and the 14th (Rust) of August.


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QUARTAROLI, A. La Bomba Atomica. Nozioni divulgate sull'energia atomica. Pisa, Arti Grafiche Tornar [1945]. Largish octavo publisher's printed wrapper (a bit used, a splodge on the back cover); 22pp. Au$60

The author's preface is dated August 18 - pretty quick.


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UGARTECHE, C. & S. BERTRAN. Historia y Principios de la Bomba Atomica. Buenos Aires, Editorial Nova 1945. Octavo publisher's printed wrapper and dustwrapper (this with a largish piece from the back and smaller chips at top and bottom); 150pp, photo illustrations and diagrams. With label of the Buenos Aires Harrods bookstore and a cryptic inscription in English on the front fly dated September 1945. Au$450

Published in September. Worldcat finds only the national library of Mexico copy.


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PESSION, Giuseppe. La Bomba Atomica. Milan, Jandi Sapi 1945. Octavo publisher's printed wrapper; 116pp; four illustrations. A bit used and browned. Au$50

First edition, dated September 1945.


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LEVY, Hyman. Peace and the Atom. London, MuseArts 1945. Octavo publisher's illustrated wrapper; 32pp, illustrations through the text. Au$75

Third impression; all three impressions appeared in September 1945.


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KELLAWAY, F.W. Splitting the Atom. London, Crowther 1945. Octavo publisher's printed wrapper; 32pp, a few illustrations. sold


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CLARK, Robert E.D. The Atomic Bomb: What of the Future? London, Paternoster Press 1945. Octavo publisher's printed wrapper; 48pp, some diagrams through the text. Au$80


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PIGNEDOLI, Antonio. La Bomba Atomica - Emmecidue. Modena, Berben 1945. Small octavo publisher's printed wrapper; 108,[4]pp, a few illustrations. Au$50


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REY, A. Bravo. Atomos Disintegrados - Hiroshima. Madrid, Perman 1945. Octavo publisher's illustrated wrapper; 200pp, illustrations through the text. sold


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Uranus. [R.E. Strittmotter?] Atom-Bomben - Erschuttern die Welt! Zurich, Gropengiesser 1945. Octavo publisher's illustrated wrapper; 72pp & 8pp publisher's list, illustrations through the text. sold


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HERRSTROM, W.D. The Atomic Bomb and the End of the World. Minneapolis, Bible News Flashes [1945]. Octavo publisher's illustrated wrapper; 48pp. sold

Herrstrom comes with credentials: World Traveler, Prophetic Analyst.


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MOERKERK, J.J. Atoomkrachten, hun ontdekking en beteekenis. Rotterdam, Wyt 1945. Octavo publisher's printed wrapper and fragmented but mostly complete illustrated outer wrapper; 92pp, photo plates and illustrations through the text. Natural browning of the paper. Au$100

Almost extinct with the outer wrapper.


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Atomic bomb. La Bomba Atomica e l'Aviazione. Rome, Associazione Culturale Aeronautica 1945. Octavo publisher's illustrated wrapper (used with some fraying); 40pp, five illustrations. Au$100

Rather scarce. OCLC finds only two copies, both in the US and I couldn't find it in the Italian national library catalogues.


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Atomic bomb. La Bomba Atomica e l'Aviazione. Rome, Associazione Culturale Aeronautica 1945. Octavo publisher's illustrated wrapper; 40pp, five illustrations. A nice copy. Au$250


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JABLOW, Bernard & Robert DE MEXICO. The Atom Bomb. A Study of Atom Power. NY, Independent Book Associates 1945. Quarto publisher's illustrated wrapper; 32pp, illustrations. Rather a good copy. Au$300

The authors come to the world government conclusion.


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de ROOS, J.L. De Atoombom, de bom net atoomsplitsende werking. Haarlem, Stam [1945]. Octavo publisher's illustrated wrapper; 102pp, photo illustrations and diagrams through the text. Signs of use but pretty good. Au$100


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MALCUZYNSKI, K. Od Atomu do Bomby. Warsaw, Czytelnik 1945. Octavo publisher's printed wrapper; 32pp. Mildy used, natural browning of the paper; a pretty good copy. Biblioteka Blekitna Nr.1. Au$200

Worldcat finds three copies outside Poland.


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PIEROTTI, Giuseppe. Misteri e Storia dell'Atomo. Come si e giunti "Bomba Atomica". Firenze, Nerbini 1945. Large octavo publisher's colour illustrated wrapper; 48pp, diagrams through the text. Au$300

That's not Florence being blown apart on the cover, neither is it anywhere in Japan. Is it a generic non-Firenze or is it somewhere in particular being annihilated?


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ZAPATER, Jose Manuel Vidal. El Secreto de la Fuerza Atomica. Madrid, Gemas 1945. Octavo publisher's printed wrapper; 159pp. Unopened. sold

Second edition, soon after the first (October).


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SMITH, Wilbur M. The Atomic Bomb and the Word of God. Chicago, Moody Press [1945]. Octavo publisher's illustrated wrapper; 32pp. sold

Apparently the second edition with a "supplementary note to the second edition" added at the end regarding a declaration by the Archbishop of York reported on October 27, ten days after the first edition was published.


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BUCK, Tim. 'Atomic Diplomacy'. A Threat to World Peace. Toronto, Labor-Progressive Party [1945]. Octavo; 32pp including cover (a bit marked). Au$50

A speech delivered on November 8 1945.


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WOODWARD, E.L. Some Political Consequences of the Atomic Bomb. Oxford University Press 1945. Octavo publisher's printed wrapper; 24pp. Au$40

A lecture given by the Professor of International Relations in early November - almost two months to ponder the consequences. A gloomy rumination, stressing the need to choose between good and evil, but with no clear answers. Woodward does not see world government as practical or desirable, nor the alternatives of laissez-faire, the domination of the USA or international agreement through the United Nations.


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HUTCHINS, Robert M. The Atomic Bomb Versus Civilization. Washington & Chicago, Human Events Inc 1945. Octavo publisher's printed wrapper; 14pp. Au$65

The Human Events Pamphlets Number 1 - for December 1945. Hutchins was the Chancellor of the University of Chicago so this is ostensibly an authoritive voice of reason. Hutchins outlines choices and prospects that are bleak at best: other countries will soon have the bomb no matter what and there is no defense - disperse the cities, move deep underground, increase scientific, industrial and military strength? Won't work. The only hope for survival is to let loose the secrets of the atom bomb and form a world community. American education is a failure and America holds no moral high ground in these pages: 'we ... shall never be able to appeal to the moral sense of mankind to protect us against the atomic bomb, because we used it, and we used it when we did not need to do so.' This last, damning, phrase is the most intriguing of all and nowhere does Hutchins enlarge on it.


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