[lit-ideas] 61 years ago …

  • From: Chris Bruce <bruce@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Wed, 9 Aug 2006 11:39:06 +0200

From the Encyclopædia Britannica Ultimate Reference Suite 2005:

"On Aug. 6, 1945, an atomic bomb carried from Tinian Island in the Marianas in a specially equipped B-29 was dropped on Hiroshima, at the southern end of Honshu: the combined heat and blast pulverized everything in the explosion's immediate vicinity, generated spontaneous fires that burned almost 4.4 square miles completely out, and killed between 70,000 and 80,000 people, besides injuring more than 70,000 others (see the video). A second bomb, dropped on Nagasaki on August 9, killed between 35,000 and 40,000 people, injured a like number, and devastated 1.8 square miles."

Other reports I have read or heard about number the deaths resulting from the bombings *to date* at over two hundred thousand. For example, the book _Unforgettable Fire_ (about which I have written more below), using data from a report issued on the 30th anniversary of the bombing, reports the number of Hiroshima 'casualties' to be 240,000.

From the EMI Recordings 2 CD set 'PENDERECKI: Orchestral Works' performed by the Polish Radio National and London Symphony Orchestras conducted by Krzystof Penderecki [7243 5 74302 2 7]:

"Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima" (composed 1959-61).

From GRAMOPHONE's review of the above-listed recording:

"No other twentieth-century instrumental work quite equals the 'Threnody' for graphic impact …."

From my 'Drafts of Answers to Lit-Ideas Postings' mailbox:

Re [a posting to this list from March 16, 2005]:

OF COURSE the US used nuclear weapons against the Japanese. At that time, nobody really knew very much about the consequences of nuclear weapons.

I have heard that one effect that *was* known was that anyone looking directly at a nuclear explosion from close proximity would most likely be blinded - so a bright flare was dropped before the bomb to ensure that that people would be looking up. For a heart-breaking graphic representation of other effects, see the book _UNFORGETTABLE FIRE: Pictures Drawn by Atomic Bomb Survivors_ published in New York by Pantheon Books in 1977. Out of respect for list-members' sensitivites I will refrain from reproducing even the captions to some of those drawings here, and caution prospective readers of the book - i.e., viewers of the representations of horrors depicted therein - to prepare themselves beforehand.)

Chris Bruce
Kiel, Germany

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