Hiroshima

Hiroshima

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August 6, 1945 at 8:15 a.m. the Enola Gay, an Air Force B-29 bomber flew over the city of Hiroshima, Japan. On board was a nuclear bomb that the US called Little Boy, ironically the Little Boy meant big trouble for Hiroshima. This Bomb was made up of 20,000 tons of TNT and 64 kg of uranium. This was the first time that a weapon of this magnitude was used by military forces. At this time the city of Hiroshima had a population of about 245,000 citizens, nearly 100,000 of them died as a result of the bombing; and about another 100,000 were wounded. The city was never the same to those who survived this horrific event, and it was something they wouldn't soon forget.

John Hersey recorded the memories and stories of the residents who survived in his book Hiroshima, published one year after the bombing. He tells his story through the words of six survivors; Miss Sasaki, Dr. Fujii, Mrs. Nakamara, Father Kleinsorg, Dr. Sasaki, and the Reverend Tanimoto; each remembering exactly what they were doing when the bomb hit. Hersey wanted to give the rest of the world a first-hand look at what it was like for the citizens of Hiroshima leading up to the bombing as well as the events following.

The people of Hiroshima were nervously anticipating an attack on their city. They were aware of the mass raids on Kure, Iwakuni, Tokuyama as well as other small cities that were nearby. They were all sick with worry and anxiety that one day Mr. B, a US B-29 bomber plan would fly over their city and cause mass destruction. They were constantly on edge each time an air-raid warning sounded, which seemed to be every night for weeks. There had been a rumor going around, that the reason the US had not attacked Hiroshima yet was because they had something special saved for that city.

Although there were constant threats of an air-raid from the US, the citizens of Hiroshima treated August 6, 1945 like any other day. Despite the lack of sleep, Mr. Tanimoto fixed some breakfast and prepared himself for the day. He described the morning as, "perfectly clear and so warm that the day promised to be uncomfortable" (pg4). Throughout the week he had began moving all portable items from his church where he ministered, to a house in Nagaragawa owned by a man named Mr.

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Matsui for safe keeping. Mr. Tanimoto was very uneasy the days leading up to the attack, the only comfort he had was knowing that his wife and small child were safe at a friends house in Ushida, a small suburb north of Hiroshima.

After leaving his home he met up with his friend Mr. Matsuo, the two men had planed on moving more items to Mr. Matsui home. As they were on their way they, the air-raid sirens went off for about a minute, but the men disregarded the alarm because it went off every morning. As they approached Mr. Matsui house a light flashed across the sky. Both men began to run for cover, Mr. Tanimoto hid between two rocks. He said he never heard a sound, he just felt pressure from the blast.

Mrs. Nakamura was awakened by the sirens that morning, she got dressed and rushed to Mr. Nakamoto's, the head of the Neighborhood Association, to ask if her and her three children should evacuate. He told her that it was best if she stayed home unless there is an urgent warning. As she looked out her kitchen window, she saw her neighbors working franticly to prepare themselves for the unknown, and she began to feel pity; not for herself but for her community. While she stood watching her neighbors she saw a flash of light, and her first instinct was to go to her children, but she was thrown across the room and was covered with debris. As she dug herself out from under the rubble she heard the cry of her youngest child, she found him buried up to his chest. At first she did not her nor see her other children, so she continued to dig until she found them safe and unharmed.

Dr Fujii owned his own medical clinic, and because he was self employed he could make his own hours. He had planned on sleeping in the morning the bomb was dropped but he had to get up early to walk his house guest to the train station. After seeing his friend off, he retuned home ate breakfast and sat on the porch to the read the paper. While sitting on his porch he saw the flash as he rose to his feet, the building began topple into the river and he thrown off the porch into the water. Everything happened so fast he didn't remember much, but he did remember thinking he was dying.
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