6: Video clip, "President Harry S. Truman reads prepared speech after dropping of atomic bomb...", 1945.
In this video excerpt from 1945, President Harry S. Truman addresses the people of the United States and of the world, letting them know that an atomic bomb has just been dropped on Hiroshima, Japan.
Suggested Activity: Have students listen to the speech and share initial reactions. How is Truman's speech different from the way world leaders talk about war today? How is it similar? Do people today feel differently about nuclear weapons than they did when Truman's speech first aired?
Then read "The Fruit of the Land" together, focusing on the first ten lines. Note that these lines are made up of a list of weapons supposedly in the possession of the poet's country, Israel. The list, and the descriptors used, give a sense of abundance, plenty, and indulgence. She calls the stockpile a "feast" and "cornucopias," words usually used to describe an abundance of delicious food. At the end of the excerpt, Ravikovitch adds one last item onto the table: "that secret weapon, / the one we can’t talk about." She seems to be referring here to Israel's nuclear capability.
Ask students to think about why Ravikovitch, writing this poem in the early 2000s, referred to nuclear weapons as a secret, as something that couldn't be talked about. Why might there be a sense of secrecy or silence around Israel’s nuclear capability? What other connections can students make between Ravikovitch's poem and Truman's speech?
Sources: Critical Past, “President Harry S. Truman reads prepared speech after dropping of atomic bomb on Hiroshima Japan during World War 2” California, August 6, 1945. Posted April 8, 2014. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e3Ib4wTq0jY