Panoramic images of Hiroshima after the nuclear bomb

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24 Responses to “Panoramic images of Hiroshima after the nuclear bomb”

  1. Heartbreaking to see the few survivors, at least one baby carriage. A picket fence! I have often wondered if any who survived the bombing lived to old age,
    and if they did, how they recovered physically, mentally and
    emotionally. Although I was born long after this occurred, I feel intense shame for my country. Could we not have found another way?

    • Nadreck says:

      The debate has gone on since the day it happened.  I don’t think that there was any alternative that wasn’t worse.  For one thing, how many hundreds of thousands of Chinese are you willing to sacrifice to starvation and rape camps while you tinker around with slower solutions?  A non-military solution was a non-starter.  Japan had already been reduced to a smouldering rubbish heap by conventional bombing and death by starvation was starting to rear its head but morale was still at about 100%.  Even after the bombs were dropped the Emperor was almost deposed in a coup for being a quitter and suggesting that perhaps things on the War front weren’t going too well.  Given that what’s the relatively humane military option?  A conventional invasion force would have been forced to mow down waves of Boy Scouts and senior citizens attacking with whatever was at hand; be it only pointed sticks and then mass suicides to avoid capture.   Remember that every army talks big about “fighting to the last man” but the Japanese actually did exactly that throughout the whole war.

    • Lilah says:

      Yes, many survivors of the bombings (hibakusha) did survive to old age, and some 200,000 are still alive today. Many suffered discrimination and fear from their countrymen. Some struggled to receive recognition in order to get benefits because they didn’t meet exposure standards as decided by a flawed United States standard. There’s a lot of stuff out there about them if you want to know more.

  2. KBert says:

    Jesus was here ?!
    I know, I know; but, goes to show how twisted the military mind can be.
    Just sayin’.

  3. Nadreck says:

    Whether or not you agree with the decision to use the nukes *everyone* wishing to talk about war and its alternatives should be required to visit the Hiroshima Peace Museum.  A truly gut-wrenching and profound installation.  For one thing, it is part of the Mayor of Hiroshima’s job to write a “WTF are you thinking?” letter to anyone joining the Nuclear Powers Club.  These are all on display on a wall (with plenty of spare space for future recipients) and are by no means form letters.  The Mayors actually do quite a bit of research into each country’s situation and politics and make puissant arguments. 

    There are enough remarkable things there to fill several coffee table books but the things that caught my eye were: being greeted by a pair of Atomic Mutants with anti-proliferation petitions – these being the actual crippled mutants that bombs cause and not the handsome X-men types; the shrine to the hordes of Korean slaves that were vapourised had *finally*been moved inside the park around 2000 as racism had excluded it till then; and all the heartbreaking mementoes of all the children incinerated in this Adult squabble.

  4. tp1024 says:

    You are innocent as far as the past is concerned – but that is not true for the future. And when I look at the American excuses for their past atrocities, I see no hope that they won’t be repeated at least once a decade in the future – just as those atrocities happened in every single decade since WWII in the past.

  5. tp1024 says:

    Just to make that clear, there is plenty you could say about atrocities committed by just about every single country in Europe (or the rest of the world for that matter). In no particular order, out of the top of my hat, I know about atrocities committed by: Portugal, Spain, France, Belgium, England, Italy, Germany, Poland, Austria, various states of former Yugoslavia (including Yugoslavia), the same goes for the former Soviet Union (including Russia), Danemark, Sweden, Turkey.

    You could of course extend that list to the rest of the world (Japan, China, Cambodia, Australia, Uruguay, Paraguay, Rwanda etc.pp. again, just those countries that committed atrocities I know of, from the top of my hat, without thinking all that deeply) and with some research practially no country would be left in this world.

    But this article was about the USA and the USA is in denial about its history. Hence I’m discussing the history of the USA here and not that of another nation.

  6. Hey mods, there’s some ugly up in here. Also some Sino-racist bullshit and personal attacks. Didn’t take long did it.

    • tp1024 says:

      I apologize for the personal remark (no need to repeat it). I got carried away there, I’m sorry.

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      Amazing that people show up in a thread like this to scream, “They deserved it!” about people who lived and died before the commenters were even born. Unfortunately, now there are a bunch of orphaned comments.

      • Ubitigrine says:

        I don’t think people are saying “They (the civilians) deserved it!” but because this incident is singled out repeatedly and prolifically on Boing Boing for some unbeknownst reason (as other commentators have mentioned, US was involved with many wars/all wars are atrocities).

        I saw so many ‘we’ Americans did this, ‘we’ feel ashamed (by this logic, then ‘they’ were allied with Nazi Germany, ‘they’ attacked Pearl Harbor). Why reinforce nationalistic identities and stereotypical lumping of Americans/’insert nationality here’ when individual citizens make the choice to fight these wars for their governments. What is the means to an end here?

        • exile says:

          “What is the means to an end here?”
          What is your assumption here?
          I doubt the comments of contributors could be construed as BB policy. And you will note that the more extreme, jingoistic comments get deleted.

  7. jtegnell says:

    Why am I unable to see this? All I get is a black screen. I can’t imagine it’s because I’m in Japan.

  8. MertvayaRuka says:

    Sorry, but I still don’t find, “The military government of Japan tortured and raped people, plus we have some half-baked ideas about how their people would have fought an invasion based on one military engagement where civilians were ordered into combat at gunpoint. So it was necessary and just for us to incinerate and maim hundreds of thousands of their people in an instant.” to be a very compelling argument. When you start saying that civilians might become combatants during an invasion and it would cost you fewer soldiers’ lives to just eradicate those same civilians as if they were insects, you’re just as bad as those horrible Japanese military leaders and soldiers. I suppose that’s not the politically correct stance to take but I don’t rightly care.

    • Nadreck says:

      That’s not quite the argument.  The raping and the slow deaths of hundreds of thousands were not, as your use of the past tense implies, in the past but were ongoing at the time.  I’m not sure what “single incident” you’re talking about I can think of numerous occasions when mass suicides were chosen over surrender starting with Iwo Jima.  Any Japanese I’ve ever talked to has said that resistance to a conventional invasion would have been to the usual last man woman and child so it’s hardly a “half-baked” idea.

      But most of all, the argument is not that the A-bomb route would cost fewer of our soldiers lives but that it would cost fewer civilian lives – both Japanese and Chinese.  Under the military ethics that have been in place for the last few hundred years one of the most important duties of any military is to put an end to the war as soon as possible in order to stop the inevitable civilian casualties and the further breakdown of society.  (It’s true that, as a democracy, the US would have had to explain to the public just exactly what it was that their sons were dying for in greater numbers but that’s not the only consideration.)  In this regard one of the most telling arguments made by the anti-nuke people is that targets with fewer adjacent civilians could have been chosen and that the second bomb could have been delayed longer as the Japanese really didn’t have time to change their minds before it dropped.

      In any case, this is all Monday Morning Quarterbacking of a war between two of the most insular countries on the face of the earth 70 years ago.  Neither side had much of a clue about the other side so it’s hardly surprising if there were big miscalculations.  I have yet to hear about the perfect plan that was so obvious at the time and would have resulted in so many fewer civilian casualties: or of any proposed alternative course of action at all.  The nearest seems to be that it should have been assumed that, at a specific date, the Russians would have invaded Japan and that we should have just waited around for that.  The idea being that, based on our non-existent deep understanding of the Japanese, they would clearly surrender to us in apprehension of yet another Communist genocide and due to their deep and abiding respect for our ethics as occupying forces.  In the end that might have been one factor but I’m astounded as to how the lack of a magic crystal ball to see this future has been turned into an ethical lapse.  

      • tp1024 says:

        There was nothing to assume about a specific date when the Russians would invade Japan. It had been agreed upon in February 1945 at the conference in Yalta, that the Soviets would declare war on Japan three months after the end of the war in Europe. Germany capitulated on May 9th 1945. The Soviet Union duly declared war on Japan on August 9th 1945.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soviet_invasion_of_Manchuria

        None of this is a secret.

  9. If you think these pictures are incredible on your computer screen, make your way to the Survivor’s Memorial in the Peace Park in Hiroshima – they’ve got one of these panoramas engraved all the way around the stone walls of a large underground chamber. Perhaps the most amazing room I’ve ever been in.

  10. nikosal says:

    Those of you who are curious about Hiroshima survivors, you can read the heartbreaking “I SAW IT!” by Keiji Nakazawa (1982). I guess you can find it in various editions, I have it in The Mammoth Book of Best War Comics…

  11. tp1024 says:

    It is very easy to be a Monday morning quarterback today, but my grandfather was actually a part of WWII, in the infantry in Russia. He witnessed atrocities committed by his own people as well as the opponent. He had little choice but to go into the war where he lost a leg and the use of an elbow.

    In the years after he witnessed in disgust the wars in Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq. And he would have been just as disgusted to see the pointless and brutal invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq in the 2000′s. Wars in which the USA ruthlessly and inhumanly killed millions of innocent civilians.

    I do wonder if one day, some of those countries will share your ideas about how to stop countries from committing such atrocities – by sending nuclear bombs on Washington or New York, because otherwise, they would have to be a part of the invasion of the USA mainland and if the casualty estimates are anywhere near correct,
    probably wouldn’t survive. 

    [This and the following comments are orphaned and may not make much sense to you, since the comments I replied to have been deleted. This one in particular was a persiflage on a similarly phrased comment defending the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.]

  12. tp1024 says:

    Sure, that was one hell of a solution. (Pun absolutely intended.)

    I mean, didn’t that work wonders before that? Like when they turned Dresden or Hamburg (or all the other towns and cities) into cinders – or when they burned down Tokyo, seat of the Emperor, capital of country, several times larger than Hiroshima and Nagasaki combined?

    Or could it be that Japan surrendered after Stalin declared war on Japan on August 9th, when Russian troops overran the Japanese Manchuria and all Japan was left with being the rugged and resource-poor Japanese main islands?

    Try reading some actual history instead of mindlessly repeating American propaganda.

  13. Why is it always like this? You assume that because someone doesn’t agree with some of the things our country has done in the past, that they hate America? I believe you are the one incapable of an intelligent discussion.

  14. tp1024 says:

    No, it’s not just the US. But it is the US in this discussion, because it was the US who bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki and did all the other things without once stopping in their tracks to reconsider what it did. It is blind to the victims and wonders why they resent it.

    The USA has certainly not spread freedom across the globe.

    Just ask the Iraqis, the Afghanis, the Iranians (whom you betrayed by supporting the an Iraqi side in the brutal Iran-Iraq-war just to also invade Iraq twice afterwards to keep the oil flowing to the US) – or how about the Chilenians and people of all the other countries where legitimate, democratically elected governments were replaced by US-friendly dictatorships?

    I don’t care who you are, what you did or what you believe in.

    But I do care about what will happen in my life and my future. And believe it or not, those prospects have not improved in those last decades. And the USA will continue – out of ignorance – to commit atrocious acts in the name of freedom and democracy unless it finally comes to grip with those parts of American history, that are not taught in “American History” at American schools.

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