07 August, 2012

07 August 1945

No letter today. Just this:

Here are some random pictures. Some are from Nancy but others were left out of their appropriate places...

Greg in Nancy, France - August 1945

Bastogne, Belgium - June 1944, not 1945

Houffalize, Belgium - July 1944, not 1945

Houffalize, Belgium - July 1944, not 1945

Neufchateau on the Moselle - August 1945

Belgium - August 1944

Nancy, France - August 1945

Plaque to the returning French soldier
Nancy, France - July 1945

Reassembled V-1 Rocket
Nancy, France - August 1945


about The Day After
the Atomic Bombing of Hiroshima

In her senior thesis at Dickinson, Diana Steele wrote this:
7 August 1945, the day after the atomic bomb destroyed Hiroshima, brought new challenges, new hardships, new sufferings, more death and despair. Hiroshima had been completely destroyed. The atomic bomb had detonated about 2,000 feet over Hiroshima, and almost every building in the city had been turned to dust. In less than half a second, heat rays with temperatures of more than 3,000 degrees Celsius caused primary burns within two miles of the hypocenter, and the city turned into a sea of fire.

The thousands of victims who had fled the day before returned in the desperate hope that some shred of their lives remained for them to collect and hold dear. Most found nothing but ashes where once stood their house, broken glass that once served as their dinnerware, twisted metal that they once rode as a bicycle. Burned bloody corpses were piled high everywhere. Huge funeral pyres burned throughout the city, while mass graves for the ashes were being dug wherever the pyre was built, by whomever was strong enough to dig. The search for relatives and loved ones rarely met with success or joy.

At the Red Cross Hospital, patients let their presence be known by painting their names on the wall in their own blood in the chance that someone would come looking for them. Along the rivers floated boats with large white flags with the names of people written across them in the hopes that someone would see their name and come to be reunited with their loved ones.

Most, however, found the search hopeless and fruitless. Toshiko Saeki went everyday into Hiroshima to search for her lost family members, but
I couldn't identify people by their faces. Trying to find my family, I had to take a look at their clothing . . . I couldn't find any of my family, so I went out to the playground. There were four piles of bodies and I stood in front of them. I just didn't know what to do. . . If I tried to find my beloved ones, I would have to remove the bodies one by one. It just wasn't possible. I really felt sad.
Toshiko would lose 13 family members to the bomb, including her mother and father and brother.

Those who came to Hiroshima from other towns and cities were not prepared for what they saw. Familiar landmarks were gone, buildings were gone, and only a few shells of structures remained to haunt the smoldering city. Two friends of Dr. Hachiya arrived in Hiroshima from his home town to check on his condition. They continuously repeated the horrors they had seen to convince themselves what they had witnessed was reality, not a nightmare. Mr. Katsutani, one of his friends, recounted in a broken tone,
I came onto I don't know how many [Japanese soldiers], burned from the hips up; and where the skin had peeled, their flesh was wet and mushy. . . And they had no faces! Their eyes, noses and mouths had been burned away, and it looked like their ears had melted off. It was hard to tell front from back.

He explained further of countless bodies along the river, dead from drowning as they tried to get a drink or cool their burns; the thousands of burned corpses filling the roads that led to Hiroshima; the smell everyone who was burned gave off; the pain of having nothing to help them.

Dr. Hachiya, as many of the people of Hiroshima, was a broken man, devoid of hope and spirit:
I found myself accepting whatever was told me with equanimity and a detachment I would have never believed possible. . . . I felt lonely, but it was an animal loneliness. I became part of the darkness of the night. . .
The second day found Hiroshima a city of broken souls, on the edge of death still clinging to life.
Meanwhile, on 7 August 1945 on the island of Guam, the decision to drop the second bomb was made. It's use was calculated to indicate that the United States had an endless supply of the new weapon.

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