Hiroshima, 67th anniversary

Today, August 6, is the 67th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima, followed three days later by Nagasaki. Everyone knows the consequences of that attacks, hundreds of thousands dead, the effects of the radiation, illnesses affecting hundreds of thousands people during years, malformations in newborns during decades.

Hiroshima afternath
Hiroshima, after bombing (chinfo.navy.mil)

In this post, I want to put the focus on the words of two characters: the killer and one of the victims.


USA president Harry Truman announced the bombing of Hiroshima in a radio speech. The complete report can be read here, Radio Report to the American People

Harry S. Truman

The world will note that the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, a military base. That was because we wished in this first attack to avoid, insofar as possible, the killing of civilians. But that attack is only a warning of things to come. If Japan does not surrender, bombs will have to be dropped on her war industries and, unfortunately, thousands of civilian lives will be lost. I urge Japanese civilians to leave industrial cities immediately, and save themselves from destruction.

Notice his words: “the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, a military base. That was because we wished in this first attack to avoid, insofar as possible, the killing of civilians.” I had to read it twice to be sure I hadn’t misread.

At this point, Truman knew perfectly he was lying. Obviously he knew Hiroshima was a city since many months before to the bombing, and he chose this city because he wanted a target where the atomic bomb would cause the most damage. Tokio was rejected because it had been bombarded thousands of times and kept just a few buildings standing. Hiroshima was a good choice for Truman because it was well preserved yet, there was about 255.000 inhabitants, and it was on flat ground that would increase the effects of the bomb. So, he wanted as deads as possible, contrary to what he said in his infamous speech, to check the effects of his toy and to show it to Stalin.

The bombing was three days before, on August 6, so he knew already its effects, probably worse (from a human being point of view) or better (from Truman’s point of view) than he expected. So, he lied trying to hide the enormity of his killing to USA people.


After the killer, one of the victims. Michiko Yamaoka is a survivor of Hiroshima bombing, she was a 15 years old girl that day. Years later she described what she saw that day after the bombing, when she woke up after some minutes of unconsciousness:

a mother and her baby

I looked around me then gasped. The scenes before me were not of this Earth. They could only be called a living hell. Shattered heads. A dazed mother covered with blood, still clutching her dead baby. A child with skin peeling from his entire body, shrieking from inside a collapsed building. Internal organs spilling out of the bodies. Lines of completely naked people…. Images of inconceivable carnage burned themselves into my mind, and every time I recalled them, the tears begin falling before I realize them. To this day, I cannot eat sausages because they remind me so much of those horribly visible internal organs.

I got that extract from the next link, where it is the complete story and others: Kyoto Journal Selections

The most incredible is that, at this point, still there are people claiming that Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombing were good and needed, and/or that Japanese deserved it. Damn them.