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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Hiroshima: The Photos

On August 6, 1945, an American B-29 bomber, the Enola Gay, dropped a uranium bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima. 130,000 people blew up instantaneously or were incinerated within seconds. It was the wrath of God, unlocked by science. Harry Truman, our President at the time, agonized over the decision and truly never put it to rest. The debate over the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the city we bombed three days later (at a cost of 80, 000 lives), will most likely never end. I myself am torn over the topic. A dear family friend may have had his life saved by the bombs. On the other hand, why bring total war to a country where defeat was fact except in the mind of its military leaders? Since those two bombs, no one else has used a nuclear explosive in combat. The possession of nuclear arms has become a goal of nearly every developing country. On August 6, 1945, the nuclear genie left its bottle. No amount of earnest wishes, prayers, and hard work have since contained it.

The American government banned photos of post-atomic Japan from publication. The only images I remember were done by American photographers years later photographing the terrible disfigurements of survivors. Eight years ago, a Massachusetts man was walking his dog and doing a bit of garbage picking. He spied a beat-up suitcase, and unlatched it. Inside he found about 700 b & w military photos of post-bombing destruction. has the man's story, as well as the story of the man who originally owned the photos, and many more photos of Little Boy's (the bomb's name) impact. Consider it a must-see.

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