Category Archives: History

NSA Top Secret History of Computer Security

A FOIA request made ten months ago (Case 60495C) has just released the 1998 “Unknown Author, draft history of COMPUSEC” from the NSA

Here’s an example of the kind of juicy details to be found:

ON THE POLITICAL FRONT… in 1966, a Democratic Congressman from New Jersey, Cornelius Gallagher, chaired a special subcommittee of the House of Representatives Government Operations on the invasion of privacy. The hearings were the first of their kind regarding computer technology and the need to establish ethical and legal protection as well as technological safeguards for certain computer applications. They would not be the last!

The purpose of the hearings were to establish a “climate of concern” in regard to the Bureau of the Budget proposal for establishment of a data bank. The bank would combine all personnel and business files that were maintained by different government agencies.

The document then makes reference to one such result of the “climate of concern”: a February 1970 publication by the Department of Defense called Security Controls for Computer Systems.

Gallagher’s Invasion of Privacy Subcommittee was meant to ensure “that the Government computers do not provide the means by which federal officials can intrude improperly into our lives.” He then tried in 1969 to create a Select Committee on Privacy, Human Values, and Democratic Institutions, which failed in a 1972 political power struggle.

House committees and their chairmen do not react lightly to potential incursions on their jurisdiction, Mr. Gallagher of New Jersey discovered last Tuesday when the House defeated his resolution that would have created a select committee on privacy, human values and democratic institutions to look into potential invasions of privacy by government and industry. Mr. Gallagher’s resolution drew the opposition of Representative Emanuel Celler, Democrat of Brooklyn and chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, who argued on the House floor that his committee already was dealing with the issues that would have been handled by the new committee. Mr. Celler’s view prevailed, and Mr. Gallagher’s proposed committee was rejected, 216 to 168, with 20 New York Representatives voting with Mr. Gallagher and 18 New Yorkers siding with Mr. Celer, the dean of their delegation, and voting against the proposed committee.

In reality the committee on privacy was torpedoed by the FBI. Equifax (then known as the Retail Credit Corporation) was a staunch ally of J. Edgar Hoover. The FBI mined the data bank for background checks on their agents.

More importantly, however, Hoover or the Treasury department blackmailed and destroyed political careers of anyone who dared attempt to investigate either commercial or political privacy problems in America.

Indeed, Gallagher faced a barrage of false allegations and fraudulent claims from Hoover to block any attempts to investigate government privacy abuses. In one infamous case Hoover tried to pressure Gallagher to frame the FBI’s illegal bugging of MLK as a Kennedy plot.

Mr. Gallagher said his troubles with the F.B.I. began in June, 1966, when as chairman of a House subcommittee on invasion of privacy, he refused to sign a letter to then Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbuch demanding copies of “the authorizations for the illegal bugging” of the late Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. “and of the casinos in Las Vegas.” He said Mr. Cohn, a personal friend, had dictated the letter for his signature and had urged that it be forwarded.

[…]

“He told me that Mr. Hoover was very upset about the statements being made by Mr. Kennedy about widespread illegal wiretapping, eavesdropping and bugging and that Mr. Hoover was sick and tired of being made the sole brunt of that kind of criticism. He stated that Robert Kennedy had authorized those two activities by the [F.B.I.] and that Mr. Hoover was furious with Senator Kennedy, who was blaming it on Mr. Hoover.”

The core of this debate really was civil rights when you look at who experiencing privacy violations by the FBI. Consider that Gallagher’s concerns were being aired just as FBI wiretaps and bugs targeting MLK were believed to have violated the privacy rights of over 6,000 people by 1968.

In case you haven’t heard the story, here’s a brief recap:

Hoping to prove the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was under the influence of Communists, the FBI kept the civil rights leader under constant surveillance. The agency’s hidden tape recorders turned up almost nothing about communism.

In fact, recordings turned bore the opposite truth, that MLK privately referred to communism as…

…an alien philosophy contrary to us.

It probably is important here to mention, therefore, that this very secret NSA history of Computer Security document made no mention anywhere of these core issues of American civil rights or the surveillance of black political leaders. And there’s only one mention of the FBI:

…the FBI file contained unsubstantiated gossip against many individuals…

Ok to be fair there are two mentions, but the other one is about the Soviets controlling an asset inside the NSA to expose intelligence information (an early Edward Snowden).

See also:

How to Win With Propaganda

An advertisement writer recently posted to LinkedIn his reflections on how to hire the best talent by using “the copy test“. It boils down to this:

… if you can get your readers to empathise with you, in a tone they resonate with, you’ve won.

Judging by comments I sometimes get here (e.g. a white woman angry about my Dambusters post because she thinks the n-word is a very fine name for a dog)… clearly I still have more copy tests to do before I’ve won.

In related news, a book by Thomas Kent is coming out now with advice on how to advance democratic values to combat dangerous Russian propaganda.

Significant attention has been given to Russian disinformation operations and their corrosive effect on the United States and other democratic governments. The Western responses have thus far been weak and uncoordinated, according to Thomas Kent, former president of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty who is currently a Jamestown Senior Fellow and adjunct associate professor at Columbia University. He proposes an energetic new strategy to confront this threat: aggressive messaging to combat Russian information operations, while promoting the values of democracy that too many in the West have lost faith in.

I look forward to seeing how to get Russian readers to empathize with American democracy.

And on that note, a very old book called “Techniques of Persuasion” looked into Communist indoctrination camps run by the Chinese during the Korean War and highlighted how important information gathering (“confession”) was to any propaganda method.

Source: Techniques of Persuasion From Propaganda to Brainwashing by J.A.C.Brown, p. 257

Similar methods are described in the film “The Luft Gangster: Memoirs of a Second Class Hero“. When black pilot Lt. Col. Alexander Jefferson, USAF (Ret) was shot down in Germany he was surprised to find Nazi prison camps working hard to get empathy out of him.

The Nazis demonstrated they already had access to every detail of every American’s life down to home street, even showing him high school photos. The real elephant in the room, and palpable in the film, is whether Jefferson fell for Nazi propaganda that they respected his life more than America.

That kind of propaganda gets right into the question of using tribalism to undermine morale and distract enemies from any kind of unified objective. It’s a whole other level of winning, as documented by the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS).

…conflict does not necessarily imply a pure contest of arms. It may center on an economic crisis, a sponsored pattern of betrayal and defection, or broad civil unrest. Whatever form it takes, it remains for the instigator a divide-and-exploit or divide-and-distract strategy that turns the enemy against himself, away from others, and exposes opportunities not otherwise available to an external State actor.

Allegedly it was this kind of strategic thinking that compelled Britain, France and America to operate heavy propaganda and even false flag operations in Africa through the 1980s intended to undermine black nationalism. More specifically, the racist apartheid government of South Africa wanted all its neighboring states to constantly be in a state of permanent improvisation and thus frame itself — an oppressive white police state — as the only stable regional partner for business deals.

Swarms of Decoys Disarmed Anti-Aircraft Defenses… in World War II

I probably should have put a spoiler alert in the title.

A brand new 2020 report from the British Royal Air Force (RAF) warns that they were able to use a swarm of “affordable off-the-shelf decoy to wreak havoc on enemy integrated air defense systems.”

“During the demonstration, a number of Callen Lenz drones were equipped with a modified Leonardo BriteCloud decoy, allowing each drone to individually deliver a highly-sophisticated jamming effect,” according to Leonardo’s press release. “They were tested against ground-based radar systems representing the enemy air defence emplacement. A powerful demonstration was given, with the swarm of BriteCloud-equipped drones overwhelming the threat radar systems with electronic noise.”

You may be wondering if this is the first successful test by an air force of affordable off-the-shelf decoys wreaking havoc on air defense systems.

To answer that quickly, I present to you an account of decoys in a 1946 report called “Paper Bullets” from the United States Office of War Information.

A Mitchell bomber crew, which had been bombing Italian rail communications carried a couple of bundles of leaflets and some wine bottles every time they went out to bomb. Questioned by a psychological warfare officer, who failed to find this particular plane on his schedule, one member of the crew replied: “This is psychological warfare, Mac. Before we hit the target we take a fake bomb run over the nearest flak crew and throw these bottles and the leaflets out. They whistle just like bombs and the flak crew takes cover. Then we go on and bomb as per schedule.”

Set aside the point that maybe the crew was joking and they came up with a funny story to hide the fact that they were alcoholics or at least drank a lot of wine while flying as some form of self-medication.

John Belushi stars in the movie “1941” directed by Steven Spielberg

The idea of dropping whistling bomb decoys over air defense units makes a lot of sense, and wine bottles might disintegrate or disappear enough to avoid suspicion of decoys.

Here’s the full report as a PDF on archive.org:

Another perspective from history on “drones” (human pilots seen as disposable) overwhelming air defenses is here:

RAND’s first attempt to model a nuclear strategy ignored so many key variables that it nonsensically called for deploying a fleet of aging turboprop bombers that carried no bombs because the United States did not have enough fissile material to arm them; the goal was simply to overwhelm Soviet air defenses, with no regard for the lives of the pilots.

In related news, DefenseOne asked readers earlier this year “Should the US Have a Secretary For Influence Operations” and Military.com has just published the headline “‘Data Is the Ammunition’: Inside the Pentagon’s New Strategy to Dominate Future Battlefields“.

Looking back again, the 1946 Paper Bullets view of the world ends with these questions:

We are very well aware that the right words properly put together, delivered at the right spot at the right moment, can capture and kill. Why not use words and ideas as an instrument of peace, rather than as an instrument of death? A longing for peace is deep in the hearts of all decent peoples everywhere. There are good arguments for those who insist the best way to maintain the peace is to maintain a war machine to police the world and to keep the peace by force. Why not, then, the establishment of a U.S. Department of Information on the same status as the War Department and the Navy Department? Why not a U.S. Department of Information to police the world with words of truth?

We’ve come a long way from swarms being empty wine bottles, yet it seems also we haven’t moved very far along at all.

And I have to wonder if veterans talking about dropping bottles from planes is the kind of story-telling that inspired the iconic opening scene in The Gods Must be Crazy…

New Broom vs Old Hand: Leadership for Threat Containment

The following “other considerations” are mentioned in a passage on how to choose a “containing force” leader for regions dealing with terrorism. It’s on page 9 of Readings in Counter-Guerrilla Operations, US Army Special Warfare School, April 1961:

The local commander may be overfamilar with his surroundings and somewhat contemptuous of the emergency. He may be reluctant to adopt “face-losing” precautions, and he will tend to underrate the terrorists. In company with some members of the administration and the police he may resent the emergency as a personal setback and the arrival of reinforcements as a slur on his own capabilities. So the appointment of commanders must be balanced between the qualities of the “new broom” and the “old hand,” and it is important that a right choice should be made.

Nazi Operation Masqueraded as Right-Wing News Station to Target Voters

An anti-semitic journalist named Paul Ferdonnet exiled himself in the late 1930s to Nazi Germany and was believed by French intelligence to be the broadcast voice of Radio-Stuttgart.

Ferdonnet had risen to fame by fraudulently boasting in French that Hitler was interested in peace and that Britain was no ally of France.

He typically tried to start propagandist campaigns with catchy fraudulent phrases like “Britain provides the machines, France provides the bodies”.

After WWII ended he was tried, convicted and executed by France as a war criminal. His allegiance was with personal power and hate, not his own country, population or its democratic institutions. Getty image from court:

Embed from Getty Images

I made reference to Radio-Stuttgart in my surprisingly popular earlier post about modern hidden symbols of racism.

A news story breaking today titled “Russian operation masqueraded as right-wing news site to target U.S. voters” reminded me of Ferdonnet:

NAEBC has been active since late June and built a small network of personas on Twitter and LinkedIn – some of which used computer-generated photographs of non-existent people – to solicit articles from followers and freelance journalists, according to the Graphika analysis here.

Nimmo said the accounts failed to attract any significant following with many posts only receiving a handful of shares, but got more traction on Gab and Parler – two social media platforms favoured by right-wing users for their lax approach to content moderation.

Paul Rockwell, head of trust and safety at LinkedIn, said his company had previously suspended three NAEBC accounts. “This is part of our regular work to actively seek out signs of state-sponsored activity on the platform and quickly take action against bad actors,” he said.

Facebook said it had stopped one attempt to create an NAEBC account and blocked the website from being shared on its platforms.

Twitter declined to comment. Before being contacted by Reuters, the company had already suspended NAEBC’s main account and an account in the name of Nora Berka, as well as blocking the NAEBC website address as a “potentially harmful” link.

A spokeswoman for Parler said the company was not aware of NAEBC and had not discussed the activity with law enforcement. Gab did not respond to a request for comment.

Ransomware “Officially” Kills a Person

There undoubtedly have been deaths in the past caused by computer attacks. I once made a list of physical impact from network and system attacks going back to 1992.

What has just changed is someone is willing to go on the record saying a death happened and was directly related to computer security.

We know, for example, that hospital outages and patient deaths have been in warnings posted to American mainstream news since at least 1983:

Time Magazine in 1983 with stern warning that network attacks on computers will kill someone.

By comparison, the latest news coming from Europe is that a delay in care due to ransomware has caused a particular patient’s death and that it should be treated as negligent homicide.

…ransomware attack crippled a nearby hospital in Düsseldorf, Germany, and forced her to obtain services from a more distant facility…

That’s is less news to me and more a chilling reminder of the talk I gave in 2017 in London about preventing ransomware attacks in healthcare.

Slide from my presentation at MongoDB Europe 2017

As someone who parachuted into the front-lines of solving this burning problem at massive scale (personally leading significant security enhancements for the database company most affected by ransomware attacks — infamously insecure MongoDB) I have many thoughts.

Many, many thoughts.

Suffice it to say here, however, when I was building and running hospital infrastructure in the 1990s my mindset about this risk wasn’t much different than it is today.

If anything, it seems to me we’re seeing healthcare industry becoming more honest with the public about its hidden operational risks.

Reading news that an arsonist burned a hospital down — forcing a fatal diversion of patients — should prompt people to ask if failing to install sprinklers is negligence.

And then people should ask if a hospital construction company was building them with sprinklers that were optional or even non-operational, and whether THAT was negligent.

Those are the deeper questions here.

While there are cases of people driving around in circles intentionally to kill the person they’re supposed to be taking to the hospital (e.g. assassination, even more than negligence), they seem a targeted exception risk rather than the pattern.

It is a hospital’s burden of high availability (let alone a region or network of hospitals like the NHS) to plan for intentional low capacity (and their vendors’ responsibility) that should remain the focus.


Update Sep 28: A reader has emailed me an important reference to the case United States v. Carroll Towing Co., 159 F.2d 169 (2d. Cir. 1947), which formed a test to determine negligence (Burden greater than Loss multiplied by Probability).

It appears from the foregoing review that there is no general rule to determine when the absence of a bargee or other attendant will make the owner of the barge liable for injuries to other vessels if she breaks away from her moorings. However, in any cases where he would be so liable for injuries to others, obviously he must reduce his damages proportionately, if the injury is to his own barge. It becomes apparent why there can be no such general rule, when we consider the grounds for such a liability. Since there are occasions when every vessel will break from her moorings, and since, if she does, she becomes a menace to those about her; the owner’s duty, as in other similar situations, to provide against resulting injuries is a function of three variables: (1) The probability that she will break away; (2) the gravity of the resulting injury, if she does; (3) the burden of adequate precautions. Possibly it serves to bring this notion into relief to state it in algebraic terms: if the probability be called P; the injury, L; and the burden, B; liability depends upon whether B is less than L multiplied by P: i. e., whether B > PL.


Update November 12, 2020: German police say their exhaustive investigation found no connection between attack on the hospital information systems and human death.

After a detailed investigation involving consultations with medical professionals, an autopsy, and a minute-by-minute breakdown of events, Hartmann believes that the severity of the victim’s medical diagnosis at the time she was picked up was such that she would have died regardless of which hospital she had been admitted to. “The delay was of no relevance to the final outcome,” Hartmann says. “The medical condition was the sole cause of the death, and this is entirely independent from the cyberattack.” He likens it to hitting a dead body while driving: while you might be breaking the speed limit, you’re not responsible for the death.

Hitting a dead body with a car is not the analogy I was expecting, but I suppose it makes the point.

Captain Morgan Hated Being Called a Pirate Because He Hated Democracy

Someone just suggested to me that the Spanish loved pirates while the British hated them.

This isn’t even remotely true and it reminded me how a Spanish city official (Don Juan Pérez de Guzmán, a decorated veteran of wars in Flanders) once called Britain’s Captain Morgan a pirate, using that term to insult him as those aspiring to monarchy hated pirates.

The story then goes Morgan indeed hated the exchange and was so enraged that he planned a devastatingly brutal siege of the Spanish city Guzmán defended, torturing residents and pillaging the area for weeks just to prove he was no pirate.

Here’s how one historian has referred to Morgan’s style of leadership:

Behind him were smoldering ruins, pestilence, poverty, misery and death.

A first-person’s account of Morgan’s battles was written by Alexandre Exquemelin, a doctor serving him, in a book called Buccaneers of America. Exqumelin wrote that Morgan lashed together Spanish nuns and priests to use as human shields while he attacked the Spanish military, and that he regularly imprisoned and raped women.

Painting that Morgan commissioned of himself, documenting his boyish and elitist clean-shaven look, while “under arrest” in London after 1672. Source: National Trust of the United Kingdom
Captain Morgan’s vicious retort to his critics — as in the violent argument he waged upon the Spanish, burning their cities to the ground — was that he was a proud privateer in service of the British monarchy during a war (Governor of Jamaica in 1667 gave Morgan a letter of marque to attack Spanish ships).

Morgan thus ran an autocratic and ruthless mercenary operation on behalf of a Crown authority. He was accused by his own men of “cheating” them of promised wages and benefits as he pillaged cities, a military campaign he wasn’t even authorized to do (again, just to be overly pedantic, his letter of marque was to attack ships only, nothing on land).

The privateer life meant public forms of immoral service to a monarchy of questionable values (ultimately atrocity crime charges against him were dismissed and instead he received a plush reward by appointment to government, which also is where Morgan proudly owned hundreds of slaves that operated Jamaican sugar plantations).

Thus, how dare anyone accuse him of being a liberal pirate or try to imply he was fair to his followers or a representative/elected leader?

He would surely have tortured and killed someone if they did accuse him of being so democratic.

In that sense, pirates seem to have been operating somewhat as entrepreneurs challenging the brutality of unjust political systems of monarchy.

Pirates fought against those who had expressly denied human rights and trafficked in human exploitation. They weren’t going to fight in wars that benefited only a few elites, because Pirates also were known to use a democratic system of leadership based on votes and qualifications (given nobody was born into office or summarily appointed by royalty).

Privateers functioned almost in the exact opposite way to pirates while appearing similar; business operators appointed by authority who served awful political systems to exploit high-risk and unregulated markets. Privateers like Morgan operated as ruthless mercenaries in privileged positions of milking their own corrupt system for large personal gain.

It’s a significant difference between an owner-operator business in highly distributed undefined territory (pirate) versus exploitative vigilantism (privateer).

Confusing? Somehow pirates have become associated with the latter when historically they have operated far more as the former.

The important difference perhaps is best explained in Chapter 8 of “The Invisible Hook: The Hidden Economics of Pirates” by Peter T. Leeson

The Captain Morgan brand of liquor thus has popularized a man who promulgated human trafficking, rape, theft, murder and authoritarianism. Don’t call him a pirate.

It reminds me of Hitler wine.

Does “Knowledge Wins” Mean Privacy Lost?

The U.S. Army JFK Special Warfare Center and School has released a video called “Knowledge Wins Episode 4 – Great Power Competition – Part 1

The video starts by asking for a definition of competition, and the answer is…open. There are many different and relative definitions of competition, although in my research so far I’ve found universally that knowledge competes with privacy.

The video starts with this war-time poster encouraging people to gain knowledge:

And that reminded me of these two posters that hinted at war-time issues of privacy, information and knowledge:

This Day in History: 1945 US Dropped Atomic Bomb on Hiroshima, Japan

Japanese cities destroyed by strategic bombing in World War II. Source: “Tokyo vs. Hiroshima,” Alex Wellerstein, September 22, 2014

The usual story told in American history classes is that dropping two atomic bombs on Japan saved American lives. This is mostly false.

Studies now show nearly as many Americans died from nuclear radiation and fallout during creation of these bombs, as died in Japan from the bombs being dropped.

Source: “Some Unintended Fallout from Defense Policy: Measuring the Effect of Atmospheric Nuclear Testing on American Mortality Patterns,” Keith Meyers, University of Arizona

One might still say American soldier lives were saved at the time these two bombs were dropped (instead of invasion), even if so many Americans were killed at shockingly high rates for decades afterwards.

The problem with this theory is the atomic bombs didn’t force surrender either.

Nonetheless a story told in American policy circles has been that dropping two bombs on Japan proved such a level of superiority in warfare (“assured destruction”), it somehow suddenly compelled the Japanese to immediately give up… not to mention a story also told that atomic bombs held the Soviets at bay afterwards. All this unfortunately is false history (see “Hidden Hot Battle Lessons of Cold War“, for additional perspective).

Here is Truman’s famous June 1st, 1945 speech calling on Japan to surrender, just to set the context of what the public was hearing at the time:

Take note that the warning was after massive bombing campaigns like March 9-10, 1945 where some 330 B-29 bombers burned 40 square miles of wood-built Tokyo to the ground killing over 100,000 civilians.

Source: “A Forgotten Horror: The Great Tokyo Air Raid,” Time, March 27, 2012

However Japan didn’t fear civilian casualty loads and couldn’t have really understood at the time why this new bomb mattered in August after a long summer of entire cities being destroyed. In a chillingly ironic manner US military leaders also didn’t fear civilian casualties.

Source: “Dar-win or Lose: the Anthropology of Security Evolution,” RSA Conference 2016

Japanese leaders instead greatly feared Soviet declaration of war on them. They thought Stalin’s shift to formal enemy would very negatively alter the terms of surrender (Soviets no longer would mediate a surrender that Japan had been asking about for weeks before the bombs were dropped).

I don’t write these things to be provocative, rather to help us better educate people about the past and also to plan for the future. Perpetuating a false narrative doesn’t do America any favors. And most of what I’m writing here is old news.

In 2013 for example Foreign Policy published “The Bomb Didn’t Beat Japan … Stalin Did

Japanese historians contended it was the USSR declaring war against Japan that convinced their Emperor and gov that surrender was the only option.

In fact American propaganda dropped into Japan at that time (translated here to English) emphasized the Red Army invading, a “ring of steel” approaching with no mention of bombs at all.

Source: “Paper Bullets: a Brief Story of Psychological Warfare in World War II” Leo J. Margolin, 1946

Japan referred to atomic bombs like a “single drop of rain in the midst of a hurricane”, given that they already had seen months-long fire-bomb raids of Tokyo that left it over 50% destroyed with 300,000 burned alive and 750,000 injured.

The reason Tokyo wasn’t targeted with atomic bombs was it was too destroyed already — atomic effect wouldn’t have been measurable (125,000 were killed in atomic attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which would mean it was similar in effect or even less than a single night of the fire bomb raids hitting Tokyo for months)

Two years before the Foreign Policy piece, a 2011 article in Boston papers offered the following insightful analysis in “Why did Japan surrender?

“Hasegawa has changed my mind,” says Richard Rhodes, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of “The Making of the Atomic Bomb.” “The Japanese decision to surrender was not driven by the two bombings.” […] “The bomb – horrific as it was – was not as special as Americans have always imagined. …more than 60 of Japan’s cities had been substantially destroyed by the time of the Hiroshima attack, according to a 2007 International Security article by Wilson, who is a senior fellow at the Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Monterey Institute of International Studies. In the three weeks before Hiroshima, Wilson writes, 25 cities were heavily bombed. To us, then, Hiroshima was unique, and the move to atomic weaponry was a great leap, military and moral. But Hasegawa argues the change was incremental. “Once we had accepted strategic bombing as an acceptable weapon of war, the atomic bomb was a very small step,” he says. To Japan’s leaders, Hiroshima was yet another population center leveled, albeit in a novel way. If they didn’t surrender after Tokyo, they weren’t going to after Hiroshima.

It’s very hard to argue with these common sense points. Massive civilian casualties were mounting and having little effect. Did novelty of a bomb that was a secret suddenly change minds? Even common sense would say no, and the historical record increasingly confirms this.

Or as DW puts it in their documentary, why did American drop a second bomb on Nagasaki if that Hiroshima one supposedly could send a message to surrender?

Video F18ODD8YyuE deleted from YouTube

Or here’s the BBC “accounts of American justification” for dropping a second bomb.

Civilian suffering had never coerced Tokyo to change tactics, and these bombs also failed in that sense. Hiroshima was the 69th city in Japan destroyed by bombing and Nagasaki wasn’t even the primary target (chosen after primary target had unfavorable weather) so it was destroyed just for the sake of bombing someplace at all.

In the end, America dropped these bombs most probably to see what the effects of dropping atomic bombs would be (expressed in the now deleted DW video above as “…my mother fell apart like dry sand when I touched her foot…”) and then the US Air Force created a supporting narrative to justify continuing the program.

Historians have been trying to explain the false stories away ever since.