Wednesday, 1 January 2020

Locked Up: ‘Patients’ and their Gaolers. 15. Claude Eatherly. Hiroshima Pilot. Anthony Stadlen conducts Inner Circle Seminar 261 (9 August 2020)

Locked Up: ‘Patients’ and their Gaolers
15. Claude Eatherly
Repentant Hiroshima Pilot
An investigation into his alleged insanity
75 years after Nagasaki (9 August 1945)

Anthony Stadlen
Inner Circle Seminar No. 261
Sunday 9 August 2020
10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Gunther Anders
Claude Eatherly
Bertrand Russell
Today is the 75th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki. Major Claude Eatherly, Commander of the bomber group responsible for the Hiroshima and Nagasaki attacks on 6 and 9 August 1945 respectively, personally guided the aircraft carrying the Hiroshima bomb. In striking contrast to the other servicemen involved, who were feted as heroes, he could not reconcile his conscience with what he had done. He was, as a result, certified and incarcerated as ‘mentally ill’. The philosopher Gunther Anders, a former student of Martin Heidegger, initiated a correspondence with Eatherly in his asylum, published in 1961 as a book, Burning Conscience, with a Preface by Bertrand Russell, who wrote:

No unbiased person, after reading Eatherly’s letters, can honestly doubt his sanity. [...] The world was prepared to honour him for his part in the massacre, but, when he repented, it turned against him, seeing in his act of repentance its own condemnation.

We shall explore this as a paradigm case of a procedure of locking up ‘inconvenient people that is still prevalent in our society today.

Venue: Durrants Hotel, 26–32 George Street, Marylebone, London W1H 5BJ
Cost: Psychotherapy trainees £140, others £175, some bursaries; coffee, tea, Durrants rock, mineral water included; payable in advance; no refunds or transfers unless seminar cancelled
Apply to: Anthony Stadlen, ‘Oakleigh’, 2A Alexandra Avenue, London N22 7XE
Tel: +44 (0) 208 888 6857 or: +44 (0) 7809 433250
E-mail: or:
For further information on seminars, visit:

The Inner Circle Seminars were founded by Anthony Stadlen in 1996 as an ethical, existential, phenomenological search for truth in psychotherapy. They have been kindly described by Thomas Szasz as ‘Institute for Advanced Studies in the Moral Foundations of Human Decency and Helpfulness’. But they are independent of all institutes, schools and universities.

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