August 06, 2015

How “Little Boy” Affected the People In Hiroshima – Eyewitness Testimonials

On August 6, 1945, the United States dropped its first atomic bomb on the city of Hiroshima. The bomb was known a “Little Boy”, a uranium gun-type bomb that exploded with about thirteen kilotons of force. At the time of the bombing, Hiroshima was home to 280,000-290,000 civilians as well as 43,000 soldiers. Between 90,000 and 166,000 people are believed to have died from the bomb in the four-month period following the explosion. [via]

Below you can check eyewitness accounts of the first atomic bomb dropped on Japan.
 Medical doctor Michihiko Hachiya: “Nothing remained except a few buildings of reinforced concrete… For acres and acres, the city was like a desert except for scattered piles of brick and roof tile. I had to revise my meaning of the word destruction or choose some other word to describe what I saw. The devastation may be a better word, but really, I know of no word or words to describe the view.”
A Protestant minister: “The feeling I had was that everyone was dead. The whole city was destroyed… I thought this was the end of Hiroshima—of Japan—of humankind… This was God’s judgment on man.”
A six-year-old boy: “Near the bridge there were a whole lot of dead people… Sometimes there were ones who came to us asking for a drink of water. They were bleeding from their faces and from their mouths and they had glass sticking in their bodies. And the bridge itself was burning furiously… The details and the scenes were just like Hell.”

 A sixth-grade girl: “Bloated corpses were drifting in those seven formerly beautiful rivers; smashing cruelly into bits the childish pleasure of the little girl, the peculiar odor of burning human flesh rose everywhere in the Delta City, which had changed to a waste of scorched earth.”
A fourteen-year-old boy: “Night came and I could hear many voices crying and groaning with pain and begging for water. Someone cried, Damn it! War tortures so many people who are innocent! Another said, I hurt! Give me water! This person was so burned that we couldn’t tell if it was a man or a woman. The sky was red with flames. It was burning as if scorching heaven.”
A boy in fifth grade: “I had the feeling that all the human beings on the face of the earth had been killed off, and only the five of us (his family) were left behind in an uncanny world of the dead.”
 Pilot Paul Tibbets: “We turned back to look at Hiroshima. The city was hidden by that awful cloud… boiling up, mushrooming, terrible and incredibly tall. No one spoke for a moment; then everyone was talking. I remember (copilot Robert) Lewis pounding my shoulder, saying Look at that! Look at that! Look at that!’ (Bombardier) Tom Ferebee wondered about whether radioactivity would make us all sterile. Lewis said he could taste atomic fission. He said it tasted like lead.”
 Navigator Theodore Van Kirk recalls the shockwaves from the explosion: “(It was) very much as if you’ve ever sat on an ash can and had somebody hit it with a baseball bat… The plane bounced, it jumped and there was a noise like a piece of sheet metal snapping. Those of us who had flown quite a bit over Europe thought that it was the anti-aircraft fire that had exploded very close to the plane.” On viewing the atomic fireball: “I don’t believe anyone ever expected to look at a sight quite like that. Where we had seen a clear city two minutes before, we could now no longer see the city. We could see smoke and fires creeping up the sides of the mountains.”
Tail gunner Robert Caron: “The mushroom itself was a spectacular sight, a bubbling mass of purple-gray smoke and you could see it had a red core in it and everything was burning inside. As we got farther away, we could see the base of the mushroom and below we could see what looked like a few-hundred-foot layer of debris and smoke and what have you… I saw fires springing up in different places, like flames shooting up on a bed of coals.”
A college history professor: “I climbed Hikiyama Hill and looked down. I saw that Hiroshima had disappeared… I was shocked by the sight… What I felt then and still feel now I just can’t explain with words. Of course, I saw many dreadful scenes after that—but that experience, looking down and finding nothing left of Hiroshima—was so shocking that I simply can’t express what I felt… Hiroshima didn’t exist—that was mainly what I saw—Hiroshima just didn’t exist.”
A sociologist: “My immediate thought was that this was like the hell I had always read about… I had never seen anything which resembled it before, but I thought that should there be a hell, this was it—the Buddhist hell, where we were thought that people who could not attain salvation always went… And I imagined that all of these people I was seeing were in the hell I had read about.”

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