As this troubled summer rolls along, and the world begins to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the creation, and use, of the first atomic bombs, many special, or especially tragic, days will draw special attention. They will include July 16 (first test of the weapon in New Mexico), August 6 (bomb dropped over Hiroshima) and August 9 (over Nagasaki). Surely far fewer in the media and elsewhere will mark another key date: July 3.
For most people, Daniel Ellsberg is known mainly for — or only for — the Pentagon Papers he leaked in 1971. And that’s plenty. It set in motion a landmark First Amendment case and led to shifts in public opinion that helped quicken the US withdrawal from Vietnam and the end to that war. Ellsberg was back in the public eye recently in relation to the epic 10-part PBS series on Vietnam, which included a lengthy segment on the Pentagon Papers — but his absence from the series as an interview subject drew criticism. Coming up: a movie drama on the Papers directed by Steven Spielberg.
Long before Election Day, Donald J. Trump, unhappy with media coverage of his campaign, alarmed many journalists and advocates of press freedoms with hostile remarks, promises and tweets.
Even as Donald Trump's dream of a 2,000-mile-long border wall fades with his election chances, heated debate continues over controversial barriers that stand elsewhere, such as the massive concrete barrier Israel has built along and inside the West Bank beginning in 2002. It is now nearly three times as long, and in some places twice as high, as the late, unlamented Berlin Wall (about which I wrote a book) and complete with its own checkpoints, guard towers and death strips to deter Palestinians bent on passage or revenge.
As this week's final presidential debate revealed once again, U.S. conflict with Vladimir Putin and the Soviets seems to be heightening nearly every day. Soon it might be dubbed "Cold War II" or "Superpower Showdown, the Sequel." While the global stakes may seem smaller than in the original confrontation, it's worth remembering that both sides retain thousands of nuclear warheads, and they are still targeted on the other side.
The Berlin Wall is back, at least for the duration of the presidential campaign. That was inevitable, I suppose, given Donald Trump's long and campaign-boosting promise to build a new wall along the entire U.S.-Mexico border. While Trump likely will never occupy the White House, his angry supporters' demand for a wall will no doubt remain, perhaps even grow.
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The following is an excerpt from Hollywood Bomb: Harry S. Truman and the Unmaking of ‘The Most Important’ Movie Ever Made (Sinclair Books).