This tragedy happened in August 1945. The terrible consequences after the nuclear explosion in Hiroshima and Nagasaki are not known to everyone. This decision will forever remain a bloodstain on the conscience of the Americans who made it.
Although former US President Barack Obama once even stood up for Harry Truman in an interview, explaining that leaders often have to make difficult decisions. But it was not just a difficult decision - thousands of innocent people died just because the authorities of both states were at war. How it was? And what are the consequences of the explosions in Hiroshima and Nagasaki? Today we will take a closer look at this topic and explain what reasons led Truman to make such a decision.
It should be noted that the Japanese "started first". In 1941, they delivered a surprise attack on the American military base, which is located on the island of Oahu. The base was called Pearl Harbor. As a result of the military attack, 1177 out of 1400 soldiers were killed.
In 1945, the only enemy of the United States in World War II was Japan, which also soon had to surrender.However, the emperor stubbornly refused to capitulate and did not accept the proposed conditions.
It was at this point that the US government decided to show its military might and probably avenge Pearl Harbor. On August 6 and 9, they dropped atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, after which Harry Truman made a speech in which he asked God to tell him how to properly use such a powerful weapon. In response, the emperor of Japan noted that he did not want more victims and was ready to accept unbearable conditions.
America explained its decision to drop nuclear bombs on Japan quite simply. "The Americans said that in the summer of 1945 it was necessary to start a war with Japan on the territory of the mother country itself. The Japanese, by resisting, could bring numerous losses to the American people. The authorities claimed that the atomic attack had saved many lives. If they had not done this, there would have been much more victims," one of the experts says. That is, to put it simply, the bombs were dropped for only one purpose: to show their own military power not only to Japan, but to the whole world. First of all, the American government sought to demonstrate its capabilities to the USSR.
Notably, Barack Obama became the first president to visit Hiroshima. Alas, Nagasaki was not in his program, which greatly upset the residents of the city, especially the relatives of the victims of the explosion. For the 74 years that have passed since the bombing of cities, the Japanese have not heard an apology from any US president.However, no one apologized for Pearl Harbor either.
A terrible decision
Initially, the government planned to target military installations only. However, they soon decided that the defeat of these objects would not give the desired psychological effect. Moreover, the government sought to test the destructive effect of a new toy - a nuclear bomb - in action. After all, it was not in vain that they spent about 25 million dollars on the manufacture of just one bomb.
In May 1945, Harry Truman received a list of victim cities and had to approve it. It included Kyoto (the main center of Japanese industry), Hiroshima (due to the largest ammunition depot in the country), Yokohama (due to the numerous defense factories located in the city) and Kokura (it was considered the country's largest military arsenal). As you can see, the long-suffering Nagasaki was not on the list. According to the Americans, the nuclear bombing was supposed to have not so much a military as a psychological effect. After it, the Japanese government was obliged to abandon further military struggle.
Kyoto was saved by a miracle. This city was also a center of culture and science and technology. Its destruction would set Japan back decades in terms of civilization. However, Kyoto was saved due to the sentimentality of US Secretary of War Henry Stimson. He spent his honeymoon there in his youth, and he has fond memories of it. As a result, Kyoto was replaced by Nagasaki. And Yokohama was deleted from the list, cynically considering that she had already suffered from military bombings.This did not allow a full assessment of the damage caused by nuclear weapons.
But why did only Nagasaki and Hiroshima suffer as a result? The fact is that Kokura was hidden by fog when the American pilots got to him. And they decided to fly to Nagasaki, which was marked as a fallback.
How was it?
The bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, codenamed "Kid", and on Nagasaki - "Fat Man". It is noteworthy that the "Kid" should have done less damage, but the city is located on a plain, which entailed destruction on a huge scale. Nagasaki suffered less, as it is located in the valleys that divide the city in half. The explosion in Hiroshima killed 135,000 people and Nagasaki killed 50,000.
It is noteworthy that the majority of Japanese people practice Shintoism, but it is in these cities that the number of Christians is greatest. Moreover, in Hiroshima, a nuclear bomb was dropped over the church.
Nagasaki and Hiroshima after the explosion
The people at the center of the explosion died instantly - their bodies turned to ashes. Survivors described a blinding flash of light followed by an incredible heat. And behind him - knocking down the blast wave that destroyed the people in the buildings. Within a few minutes, 90% of people who were at a distance of up to 800 meters from the epicenter of the explosion died. It is noteworthy that almost a quarter of all those killed in Hiroshima and Nagasaki were actually Koreans mobilized to participate in the war.
The photo below shows Hiroshima after the explosion.
Soon, the fires that broke out in different parts of the cities turned into a fiery tornado. He captured over 11 square kilometers of territory, killing everyone who did not have time to get out after the explosion from Hiroshima. Survivors were scarred by the explosion as the burned skin simply fell off the body.
The explosion incinerated the bodies of many victims in a matter of seconds. From the people who were close to the buildings, only black shadows remained. The epicenter of the explosion fell on the Ayoi bridge, on which the shadows of dozens of the dead remained. You can see photos of Hiroshima and Nagasaki after the explosion in this article.
Memories of victims
The photos of Hiroshima after the nuclear explosion remained in memory of this monstrous action.
In numerous interviews, residents shared their creepy stories. People in Hiroshima after the explosion did not understand what had happened. They saw a bright flash of light that seemed to them brighter than the sun. The flash blinded them, and then followed by a shock wave of terrible force, which threw the victims 5-10 meters. So, Shigeko, who survived a nuclear explosion, says that the memory of that terrible tragedy remained on her hand - traces of radiation burns. The woman recalls that after the explosion she saw bloodied people in torn clothes. Stunned by the explosion, they rose, but walked very slowly, forming ranks. It was like a zombie march. They flocked to the river, some died just in the water.
Shortly after the explosion, black rain began to fall. The force of the explosion caused a brief radioactive downpour,which hit the ground in sticky black water.
Experts say that people affected by radiation cannot think sensibly. They tend to follow the person in front. The victims claim to have heard nothing and felt nothing. They seemed to be in a cocoon. Photos of Hiroshima after the explosion are not for the faint of heart. This guy in the picture was lucky - most of his body was saved by clothes and a cap.
Moreover, after the explosion in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, people slowly died for several days, because there was nowhere to wait for help. The fact is that the Japanese government did not immediately react to what happened, as fragments of very confusing messages reached them. They were sent before the explosion by frightened residents of the city. As a result, many victims were delirious for several days, without water, food or medical care. After all, the hospitals, like most of their employees, were destroyed by the explosion. Those who were not immediately killed by the bomb died in agony from infections, bleeding, and burns. Perhaps they suffered more than those whose bodies were reduced to ashes by the explosion.
Keiko Ogura was only 8 years old in August 1945, but she did not forget how she saw people whose intestines protruded from the abdominal cavity, and they walked holding the insides with their hands. Others plodded on like ghosts, with their hands outstretched with burnt patches of skin, as it hurt them to put them down.
Eyewitnesses say that all the wounded were thirsty. They begged for water, but there was none. The survivors said thatfelt a sense of guilt: it seemed to many that they could help at least someone, save at least one life. But they wanted to live so much that they ignored the pleas of the victims buried under the rubble.
This is a Japanese military recollection: "There was a kindergarten near the military barracks. The kindergarten was engulfed in flames, and I saw seven or eight children running around looking for help. But I had a military assignment. I left that place without helping the children. And now I ask myself, how could I not help these little ones?"
Another eyewitness recalled that a charred tram was standing near the epicenter of the explosion. From a distance, it seemed that there were people inside. However, when approaching, one could see that they were dead. The beam of the bomb hit the transport along with the blast wave. Those who held on to the straps hung in them.
Many people after the explosion in Hiroshima (you can see it in the photo) suffered from radiation sickness. Alas, then people still did not know how to treat radiation administration. Hiroshima and Nagasaki after a nuclear explosion resembled a desert with a few surviving buildings.
Survivors mostly died from symptoms of radiation sickness. However, doctors considered vomiting and diarrhea a sign of dysentery. The first officially recognized victim of radiation was the actress Midori Naka, who, having survived the explosion in Hiroshima, died on August 24 of the same year. This became an incentive for physicians who began to look for ways to treat radiation sickness. Nearly 2,000 die of cancer after Hiroshima bombingpeople, but in the first days after the tragedy, tens of thousands died from the strongest exposure. Many survivors suffered from severe psychological trauma, because most saw the death of people with their own eyes, among which were often their loved ones.
Besides that, there was no such thing as radioactive contamination back then. The surviving people rebuilt their houses in the same places where they lived before. This explains the numerous diseases of the inhabitants of both cities and genetic mutations in children born a little later. Although French scientists who analyzed data from medical studies claim that everything is not so bad.
Exposure to radiation
The results showed that radiation does increase the risk of cancer. At the same time, there were no statistically significant cases of harm to he alth in children who survived the blow, the French assure.
Most survivors have been seen by doctors all their lives. In total, about 100,000 survivors took part in the studies. No matter how cynical it may sound, the information received was very useful, as it made it possible to assess the consequences of radiation exposure and even calculate the dose received by each depending on the distance from the epicenter of the explosion.
In victims who received moderate doses of radiation, cancer developed in 10% of cases. For those who were nearby, the risk of developing cancerous tumors increased by 44%. A high dose of radiation reduced life expectancy by an average of 1.3 years.
The most famous survivor afterbombing
The conclusion of scientists is confirmed by the stories of people who survived the tragedy. So, the young engineer Tsutomu Yamaguchi ended up in Hiroshima on the very day when the atomic bomb was thrown at her. With severe burns, the young man returned home with great difficulty - to Nagasaki. However, this city was also exposed to radioactive impact. However, Tsutomu survived the second explosion. Together with him, another 164 people survived two explosions.
Two days later, Tsutomu received another large dose of radiation when he almost approached the center of the explosion, unaware of the danger. Of course, these events could not but affect his he alth. He was treated for many years, but continued to work and support his family. Some of his children died of cancer. Tsutomu himself died of a tumor at the age of 93.
Hibakusha - who are they?
This is the name of the people who survived the nuclear bombing. Hibakusha is Japanese for "exposure-affected people". This word to some extent characterizes the outcasts, who today number about 193,000.
They were shunned by other members of society for many years after the explosions in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Often, hibakusha had to hide their past, as they were afraid to hire them, fearing that the radiation was contagious. Moreover, often the parents of young people who wanted to marry forbade the union of lovers if the chosen one or chosen one was a person who survived the atomic bombing. They believed that what happened could adversely affect the genes of thesepeople.
Hibakusha receive little financial assistance from the government, as do their children, but it is not able to compensate for the attitude of society. Fortunately, today the Japanese are massively changing their minds about the victims of the atomic bombing. Many of them are in favor of phasing out the use of nuclear energy.
Do you know why the oleander is the official symbol of Hiroshima? This is the first plant to bloom after a terrible tragedy. Also, 6 ginkgo biloba trees survived, which are still alive today. This suggests that, no matter how people strive to destroy each other and defile the climate, nature is still stronger than human cruelty.