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Autor: anton 18 November 2010
Words: 1019 | Pages: 5
The first operational atomic bomb was dropped on the Japanese city Hiroshima (situated at 8M km far from Tokyo) on 6 August 1945. The bomb nicknamed as 'Little Boy' was 3 m long, used uranium 235, had 12.5 kilotons of TNT power, and was 3,600 kg heavy. The cruel bomb demolished the city and turned it to dunghill. Majority of the city population was killed and lots were injured.
Many discussions and opinions came about selecting a suitable area for the bomb blast. The cities that were considered were Hiroshima, Kokura, Niigata, Tokyo, and Nagasaki. Kyoto was considered for the attack but was not selected because of its cultural heritage and astonishing beauty. Decision to make Hiroshima as the first target of the blast was made after much discussion by a Target committee. It was required to choose a city that was untouched by USAAF strategic air offensives in order to assess the damage caused, and to astonish the Japanese government with the extent of destruction it was supposed to cause. Enemies of Japan very well knew that bombing at Hiroshima will bring the maximum destruction to the city.
The bomb was launched by Enola Gay (nick name), a US B29 bomber Tinian (the Pacific island). The bomb exploded almost 580 m. above the ground, and during the power release, the temperature reached several million degrees centigrade. The sky exploded into flames and the land turned into a living hell. Powerful radiation, heat rays, and severe shock waves were generated out of the huge fire ball created out of the blast. The area was flat and congested with many commercial and administrative buildings. An area of 13 sq. km. (5 sq. mi.) was burned to ashes. Out of the 76,000 buildings in the area, almost 63% were destroyed and just 8% of the buildings escaped from the damages.
The entire issue of The New Yorker August 31 is covered by John Hersey's (Pulitzer Prize winner) report on the effects of the atomic bombing on six people. The article was published on the magazine on the first anniversary of Hiroshima bombing incident. The work reflected the author's experiences in World War II as a war correspondent. His works reflected various problems and grievances related to intolerance and inhumanity. The article was very much popular and appreciated and became a book soon. The author's account about the terrific consequences of the bombing was recognized as one of the best and influencing classics of the war. The article was completely based on those six individuals who were highly affected because of the bombing. The author went through the details of all these six individuals describing their feelings before and after the blast. Instead of giving a general account about Hiroshima incident, John Hersey specifically selected few people as the characters of the article.
Within an area of 1.2 km of the hypocenter, there was almost a 50% death rate in the total 350,000 people who were there in Hiroshima at that time. According to the estimates of Hiroshima City Survey Section, almost 118,661 civilian deaths happened till August 1946. Almost 20,000 military personnel lost their lives. And estimating the results and after effects (current figure), the count of people who are still immensely suffering from the destructive effects of the radiation will come around 140,000. Among those who escaped death and injuries, the effects (long-term consequences) of radiation resulted in various terrible sickness, and genetic and chromosome problems. The mental trauma was catastrophic; babies, who were born long after the incident also suffered from various deadly sicknesses, too stunted in growth and were sometimes mentally retarded even.
Survivors of the blast were in need of medical help, food and shelter. Surviving (few of them injured and few uninjured) doctors and nurses offered their help to injured people. People had their body burned, eyes melted and oozing. Children were separated from their parents. Elders had to help them find their parents. Gruesomely wounded people were wandering everywhere and uninjured ones had to take care of them bringing them to hospitals and giving necessary care. Rescue efforts could not make a big difference as majority of the population was injured. There were limited medical facilities and very few doctors and nurses to serve. Hundreds died at a time but nobody was available to bury them. Few doctors and nurses came to the city for help but still there were only 8 doctors for 10,000 wounded people. Hospitals were filled and doctors had to work continuously for hours to help the wounded people.
The radiation from the explosion had many longer-term effects and nearly killed the surviving people. They suffered from some degree of radiation sickness months after their exposure to the powerful radiation. Body absorbed the radiation and started showing it as various deadly sicknesses. Many people who appeared to uninjure mysteriously died. Those who somehow escaped this situation had to undergo various other problems. They suffered from nausea, heavy fever, shivering, headaches, diarrhea and various other problems for several months. Many of them passed away even after getting suitable treatments. As the days go, new new sicknesses and problems started appearing. Skin diseases, hair fell out, various allergies, fever, vomiting, diarrhea, everything happened as a result of the radiation effects of the bombing. Blood disorders started appearing a month after the blast. Many (particularly kids) suffered from very high fever and white blood count fall. Majority of the patients did not survive as a result of this blood problem. The body tried to compensate the problem of the blood by increasing white blood cell count. Large number of people died as a result of various other complications. Burns remained very big deep scar tissue on the top, and made what is called keloid tumors. Several doctors were injured and had to offer their service to the seriously injured most-urgent patients.
Boyer, Paul. By the Bomb's Early Light. New York: Pantheon, 1985.
Chambers, Whittaker. Witness. New York: Random House, 1952.
Griffith, Thomas. Harry and Teddy. New York: Random House, 1995.
Hersey, John. Hiroshima (reprint edition). New York: Vintage, 1989.
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