Alexa Gombert English-Kiernan 10/28/12 Period 1 On August 6, 1945, America was responsible for the death of over 100,000 innocent souls. On this day, an American aircraft dropped an atomic bomb on the city of Hiroshima, Japan. This was the first atomic bomb ever used in the history of warfare. In the non-fiction book Hiroshima by John Hersey, first hand six survivors of this horrific event describe accounts of the bombing and its effects in vivid detail.
The atomic bomb affected civilians of Hiroshima and the city’s environment in that people began acting irrationally, suffered from injuries and deaths, and it led to erratic environmental occurrences. The atomic bomb affected civilians of Hiroshima in that they began acting irrationally in the hours after the explosion. This irrational behavior can be seen through the actions of Mr. Fukai and Mrs. Kamai. Mr. Fukai was a secretary of the diocese who lived in a mission house with many priests and religious men.
When the bomb went off, all of the survivors from the mission house abandoned the pile of rubble that was once their home, and set out for their designated safe area. Father Kleinsorge went to get Mr. Fukai, but irrationally Mr. Fukai refused to leave and said, “Leave me here to die” (44). Mr. Fukai foolishly said he wanted to die in the burning city. He wasn’t in the right state of mind and therefore was unable to a reasonable decision. Mrs. Kamai, who was found cradling her dead baby, exhibits another example of irrational behavior as a result of the atomic bomb. Hersey relays Mr.
Tanimoto’s odd account when he wrote, “She was crouching on the ground with the body of her infant daughter in her arms. The baby had evidently been dead all day” (60). Holding the dead corpse for four days, Mr. Tanimoto ‘tried to cremate the baby, but Mrs. Kamai only held it tighter’ (81). During this time Mrs. Kamai was unstable and unable to make rational decisions because she was in shock as a result of the bombing and the chaos that came with it. Through her desperation to keep her dead baby, Mrs. Kamai demonstrates how the inhuman bombing of Hiroshima led to irrational ehavior. While some Japanese citizens were affected psychologically, others were affected physically. Civilians of Hiroshima were affected by the atomic bomb in that they suffered from severe injuries and burns. Being that this was the first atomic bomb ever used, its physical impact on people was uncertain. However, Father Kleinsorge and Mr. Tanimoto were able to witness the bomb’s physical impact when they were trying to assist the weak and feeble. While on a walk, Father Kleinsorge came across a number of desperate and wounded military men.
He described them as “all in the same nightmarish state: their faces were wholly burned, their eye sockets were hollow, the fluid from their melted eyes had run down their cheeks” (73). Father Kleinsorge’s description portrays the severity of people’s injuries as a result of the bomb. The immense heat that radiated from the bomb caused these soldiers’ eyes to melt and faces to burn. Another physical effect of the bombing on Hiroshima is portrayed by Mr. Tanimoto. Mr. Tanimoto was trying to assist critically injured victims when he experienced a gruesome event.
The bombs affect was apparent when Mr. Tanimoto ‘reached down and took a women by the hands, but her skin slipped off in huge, glove-like pieces’ (65). Mr. Tanimoto was taken back when he pulled off the skin, which indicates that the injuries caused by the bomb were fatal and agonizing. The heat from the bomb caused this victims skin to burn and come off with excruciating pain. However, the bomb didn’t effect just people. When the bomb was dropped on Hiroshima it resulted in an erratic reaction by the environment.
Father Kleinsorge noticed these odd environmental patterns while on a walk he noted, “through the wreckage of the city…was a blanket of fresh, vivid, lush, optimistic green” (93-94) The town was in ruins, however, now there were flowers blossoming everywhere over the ruble and ashes. The bomb’s purpose was to wipe out all living things, but ironically it unintendedally catalyzed the sporadic growth of flowers and plants. On August 6, 1945 the first ever atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, Japan. It’s power and abilities were unknown being that it was the first of ts kind. In the book Hiroshima, the bombs affects were seen through the eyes of its survivors. The bomb affected Hiroshima’s citizens in that they exhibited absurd and illogical actions. The environment was also affected in that the bomb triggered natural events that were very uncommon. The inhumane nature of the atomic bomb proves that humans will do anything to get their way despite the consequences. Their desire for power will never change and their methods of warfare are only going to get more and more deadly.