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DPChallenge Forums >> Individual Photograph Discussion >> Hiroshima
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07/19/2004 06:16:43 PM · #1
At 8:15 am on August 6th, 1945 America dropped the atomic bomb on the city of Hiroshima. The results were catacylsmic, devistating- an appropriate adjective perhaps doesn't exist. The destruction was such that Japan may rationally claim to be the only post-apocalypic country on earth.

I went to Nagasaki this winter, but it wasn't quite the same. That trip was a lesson in how life goes on. I wandered that museum amazed that I could see the things I was seeing and still have such incredibly mundane thoughts. Like, "Wow, this is really horrible. People can be so evil. I'm hungry, wonder where we should go for lunch....". It wasn't that it didn't feel real, it just felt... exterior. I could intellectually understand what it should mean to me, but the feeling wasn't there. It was sad and horrible, but at some point detached.

Not so in Hiroshima. Perhaps it has something to do with the level of destruction. The city of Hiroshima was flattened for a 3km radius from the drop site. Flattened. They have preserved one of the few buildings left standing, and it is an awesome sight:

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There are thousands of stories of those that survived and those who did not. People burned away until only their shadow remained, korean prisoners of war, junior high school students brought in to work in the factories... too many stories. And it didn't feel sensationalistic or tear-jerking. Instead it was amazing to know that these were more, so many more stories that weren't told.

One of the most famous stories is that of Sadako. She contracted leukimia at 12, having survived the bomb blast at age 2. She heard that if she could fold 1,000 paper cranes, her greatest wish, to survive her cancer, would come true. She completed the 1,000 paper cranes, but her cancer was too advanced and she died. Still many school children in Japan, and all over the world, fold paper cranes and wish for peace.

This is her monument, and some of the paper cranes school children are still sending her:

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I'm sure I've depressed you all thoroughly now, but I really felt strongly about all this after coming back from Hiroshima. It concerns me that places like this exist, places that truly show the horrors of humanity and our kindnesses, and yet war and injustice continues. I know it's more complicated than all that, but in the end, is peace really that naive a thing to wish for?
07/19/2004 06:28:07 PM · #2
Wow, depressing it is. But it ended WWII, could it have been done without the bomb...maybe...we'll never know.
07/19/2004 06:28:10 PM · #3
powerful post
07/19/2004 06:29:52 PM · #4
So true.
07/19/2004 06:37:53 PM · #5
Great pictures. How lucky of you to be able to visit there. I'm not sure if it was Hiroshima or Nagasaki (sp?) but about 700m from ground zero there was an American made (imagine that?) bank vault which survived the blast intact. American ingenuity that defied American ingenuity. Just a little worthless trivia thanks to the History Channel.
07/19/2004 06:37:58 PM · #6
August 6th is my birthday :-/
07/19/2004 06:42:26 PM · #7
Originally posted by dhare:

August 6th is my birthday :-/


Hope you have a blast!

Sorry, couldn't resist.
07/19/2004 06:44:06 PM · #8
Originally posted by dhare:

August 6th is my birthday :-/


Which only proves that good still exists... that hope still exists. :)

Thank you for sharing the photos and story of Hiroshima. My daughter read the story of Sadako in school this year - she is now 11 yrs old. She was deeply and truly effected by her story, and sometimes still mentions it. I will show her this post. I am sure it will move her. It moved me.
07/19/2004 06:50:15 PM · #9
Take a look : //www.aracnet.com/~pdxavets/hiroshim.htm

No comments...
07/19/2004 07:24:04 PM · #10
If the Americans had dropped the bomb three miles away from the centre of these cities thousands of people would have been saved and Japan would have still surrendered???
07/19/2004 07:27:52 PM · #11
Originally posted by aidenmahoney:

If the Americans had dropped the bomb three miles away from the centre of these cities thousands of people would have been saved and Japan would have still surrendered???


Is that a question?
07/19/2004 07:40:58 PM · #12
Originally posted by doctornick:

Wow, depressing it is. But it ended WWII, could it have been done without the bomb...maybe...we'll never know.

I can`t be sure that two wrongs make a right. Targeting civilians seems a little wacko to me!Lets hope nobody ever uses one on innocent people again!Peace

Message edited by author 2004-07-19 19:43:31.
07/19/2004 08:56:32 PM · #13
Originally posted by aidenmahoney:

If the Americans had dropped the bomb three miles away from the centre of these cities thousands of people would have been saved and Japan would have still surrendered???


As far as I could tell from the museum (various minutes from various american meetings on display) the cities were chosen for a number of reasons, one of them being a significant, uninterrupted urban area in which the destruction of the bomb could be most visably seen. They had spent a lot of money developing this technology, and they wanted to show American citizens that they had gotten value for their dollar. That's why Nagasaki was not an original target- it's slightly more protected than Hiroshima by a series of deep river gorges.

Would Japan have surrendered without dropping the bomb? Maybe. They were already extremely weak by that time, but death in battle was far more valued than surrender, and the government wasn't telling the people anything like the truth about their situation. An invasion of Japan might have meant asking Russia for help, something the US would have rather done with out...

All these little pieces, small decisions, adding up so easily to something so huge...
07/19/2004 11:04:43 PM · #14
Japan would not have surrendered. Their culture was to fight to the last man, women, and child, until death. We had to drop "the bomb" on them to end the war. They didn't even surrender until after the 2nd was dropped on Nagasaki.

Comes down to this: If we didn't drop the bombs the war would have continued and would have given Germany the time to complete development on their own bomb, and they WOULD have dropped it on Great Britain or some other country. We did the right thing, however you hate seeing civilians annihilated like that. But they should blame their own government for starting the war with the USA in the first place.

Message edited by author 2004-07-19 23:05:52.
07/19/2004 11:21:24 PM · #15
Originally posted by ChrisW123:

Japan would not have surrendered. Their culture was to fight to the last man, women, and child, until death. We had to drop "the bomb" on them to end the war. They didn't even surrender until after the 2nd was dropped on Nagasaki.

Comes down to this: If we didn't drop the bombs the war would have continued and would have given Germany the time to complete development on their own bomb, and they WOULD have dropped it on Great Britain or some other country. We did the right thing, however you hate seeing civilians annihilated like that. But they should blame their own government for starting the war with the USA in the first place.


Germany had already surrendered 3 months before we dropped the atomic bombs on Japan so they were already out of the picture.
07/19/2004 11:41:34 PM · #16
Absoutely Nobody should be subject to the BOMB this is a very sore point across the world and I am sure that even the most hardened of Americans are ashamed of what happened to Japan but it is HISTORY now and hopefully we will never see the day when another BOMB of such magnitude is presented to another culture. IF war has to happen then we have the ability to decide the outcome without these weapons of mass destruction, it's a cowardly move to do such a thing, even to create a weapon that gives you the advantage of victory without leaving your chair.. the very thought of war sickens my stomach as it should do. BUT, the human race is the most destructive animal ever to walk the face of this plannet we take everything and put back nothing, we care not about the future that is out of our own lives and we certainly do not see the result of our money making progress, its the Doller, the Pound, the YEN, the whatever CASH first in this world, but do you want to know the really sad thing about it all...

THESE THINGS ARE DONE BY A HANDFUL OF MEN/WOMEN AND WE ALL PAY THE PRICE. A WAR IS STARTED BY THE RANTINGS OF A FEW AND THEN OUR CHILDREN HAVE TO GO AND DIE TO DEFEND THEIR HONOUR...

Personally i think it is all a load of b*llocks. This world is run by a handfull of people and the masses die for their sh*t, I have had many friends killed by this stupidness as Im sure a lot of you have too.

My 2c's worth no offense intended
07/19/2004 11:46:51 PM · #17
The pictures are nice, good work.
07/20/2004 12:23:19 AM · #18
One of the reasons that Hiroshima was chosen was that the regiment that was responsible for the "rape of Nanjing" was from Hiroshima. Any population that enjoys beheading contests are difficult to understand.

My father's regiment had suffered a 66% casualty rate in fighting the Nazis from Normandy to Dauchau and he was due to board a boat to take the land war to the Japanese mainland when the bomb was dropped and Japan surrendered. I probably owe my existence to the fact that he did not have to fight in Japan, his luck had been pretty much used up.

A few weeks ago I folded Cranes with a man named Takashi who was six when his home in Hiroshima was blown away along with all of his family but one aunt. He is learning to get along with a new guide dog because the radiation is now at this late age taking his sight.

Sometimes I have trouble figuring out who the bad guys are, victims are easy to spot.
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Message edited by author 2004-07-20 00:58:34.
07/20/2004 01:43:07 AM · #19
Just a couple of thoughts.

Originally posted by alionic:

...I am sure that even the most hardened of Americans are ashamed of what happened to Japan...


Not me, I don't feel there is any reason to be ashamed.

Originally posted by alionic:

...even to create a weapon that gives you the advantage of victory without leaving your chair...


Ya know they flew it there right? Do you mean the pilot seat? I know you're against war but war is going to happen, on whatever scale, should it be fought with clubs? Fists? All it would take is one person to pick up and throw a rock (which they will, possibly from this chair you mentioned) and we're right back where we started from.
07/20/2004 11:31:39 AM · #20
Originally posted by TechnoShroom:

Just a couple of thoughts.

Originally posted by alionic:

...I am sure that even the most hardened of Americans are ashamed of what happened to Japan...


Not me, I don't feel there is any reason to be ashamed.

Originally posted by alionic:

...even to create a weapon that gives you the advantage of victory without leaving your chair...


Ya know they flew it there right? Do you mean the pilot seat? I know you're against war but war is going to happen, on whatever scale, should it be fought with clubs? Fists? All it would take is one person to pick up and throw a rock (which they will, possibly from this chair you mentioned) and we're right back where we started from.


I think your profile says it all, but everyone to their own opinion. I believe you are entitled to yours as much as I am to mine. but this is a photography site and I think you take great photographs so let's leave the politics out of it.

Peace
06/07/2005 09:56:30 PM · #21
Maybe this should be moved to rant?
06/07/2005 10:02:49 PM · #22
my my such misinformed youngsters. Ya rant would be appropriate for a real discussion.
06/07/2005 10:19:15 PM · #23
I've removed the inflammatory post and am PMing the author. IMO it would be a shame to move the whole thread to Rant because of one person.
06/07/2005 10:22:56 PM · #24
Touched up one of the photos, after all this is a photo site :-).... Many bad things happened in the past and many more will happen in the future.

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06/07/2005 10:58:56 PM · #25
I think you can be a pacifist, historian and objective decision maker. Unfortunately, we are all human, and that includes making proper and improper choices. One can always see things (hopefully) from your neighbor's perspective and can point out absolute right or wrongs. But when dealing with human decisions affecting other human beings, our biases come into play.

For example, I can feel awful for the innocents lost in all war, but I feel no worse for them than an innocent lost because of cancer or car accident. But do you see there really is no distinction. Death and tragedy come to us all, but so do hope and life. These temporal and nationalistic concerns really do not transcend the real important matters. What is important is what you can control. What you choose to do, act and say everyday. No one is innocent. We all are ultimately at war with ourselves and with God. Unless of course, you bridge that gap.

I am from America and have five seemingly conflicting emotions about this subject: 1)I do not like war. 2)Things happen for a reason 3)I do not feel ashamed for a war that has nothing to do with me or my decisions. 4)History is simply a record of things that were to come. 5)We all wish peace and freedom.

Lastly, everyone keep up the good work on the photographs, and especially those who travel the world or bring their special part of it to our eyes. thanks.
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