I grew up in Los Alamos New Mexico and my father worked at the Laboratory there, although not on weapons research. I left in 1980. I have become more and more aware of how immense the repercussions and personal affect there was to the creation of the bombs. I recently journeyed on business to Hiroshima where I saw Japanese children by the thousands visiting the Peace memorial there to reflect on what happened. I was surprised to listen to them and find that in such young children there is an overwhelming desire to use this as a lesson to never let our societies get to that point again. The basic feeling was that man must keep himself from War at all cost.
The mushroom cloud is a dangerous sight. Japan surrendered with fractures in its homeland. The bomb may be used against somebody who is trying to rule the world. Morgan Harris Kocher, age 8, North Bend Ore. PS - Morgan is quite the student of WWII history (papa)
First I would like to say you guys did a wonderful job on this web site. I am not old enough to have experience WWII but I do think that in time the memories of Hiroshima and Nagasaki will fade if people like you are not around to remind us of what happened. It is human nature to forget the bad thing that happen throughout history. We should learn from our mistakes so they will not happen again. I think the nuclear bomb is a terrible thing but I think that new technology is even worse. The uses of biological warfare has the potential to cause more destruction than all the H-bombs that will ever be drop on the face of this planet. It is one thing to see people kill people with a H-bomb but I will be harder to see someone slowly dying from a human made disease that will kill off millions slowly and silently. I hope that day will never come. Thanks for preserving the memory and history . Kevin J.
I am from France where President Chirac decided to allow 8 more nuclear tests. I really hope he would soon change his mind.
I'm Alejandro Pelaez. I was born in Mexico City, Mexico in 1955. I'm now 40 years old. I'm a biologist working for a government agency dedicated to the knowledge and use of biodiversity. I knew about the atomic weapons in the 60's when there was a missile crisis in Cuba. I was 6 or 7 years old then and the teacher would talk to us about the possibility of the end of the world. She was not a progressive woman, nevertheless, and she blamed both sides. I didn't understand then what each side was. Since then, it keeps in my mind as a probe of human stupidity - the fact that in the interest of a very few persons all the rest of the humanity have to die. It was a very traumatic experience. While there exists a single atomic bomb in the world we have to remember and talk about all the Japanese who die as a shame to the human beings. I keep them in my heart I keep also in my heart all the people who die fighting for justice and freedom for all the people.
War is just plain stupid. -- Aliza, age 30, Washington DC
A moving and excellent piece of work. As we approach the fiftieth anniversary you have made a true contribution. I will tell others and use this as instruction about the horrors of the atomic age. Sincerely, Stephen Anderson. Associate Professor Tokyo, Japan.
Walter Dunaj, 37 years. I live in Reading Berkshire, England. Both my parents have instilled in me the atrocities of war and hopefully there will never be a need to use the bomb in the future for all our sakes.
I am 30 years old. I know the story of Hiroshima and Nagasaki from school books and newspapers. I cannot understand why this happened. Why? This is as unbelievable as Polish Auschwitz. I have now a small one year old daughter. Not so far ago she was like the small child at one of the photographs of Yamahata. That is why I cannot understand. Krzysztof Gozdziewski. Torun, Poland
My name is Lachlan Forrow. I was seven years old at the time of the Cuban missile crisis, living in a suburb of NY City, worried about whether our house and neighborhood would survive. In 1981, as a second-year medical student, I became involved in the founding of an organization called International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW), which united US, Soviet, and many other physicians united in working to convince our governments that the only way to survive the Cold War was to abandon any fantasies that either country could survive nuclear war. (In 1985, IPPNW was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for our efforts to spread authoritative factual information about the dangers of nuclear weapons on both sides of the iron curtain.) Even though the risk of all-out nuclear war is lower than at any time in many years, there are still 40,000 nuclear warheads and it would take about 20 minutes of software reprogramming for every Russian missile to be re-targeted at the US.
My name is Lou Waddell, 27 years old, resident of Haight-Ashbury District for 5 years. My interest is largely spiritual, rather than semantic, rhetorical or historical/political. I believe Nagasaki was genocide plain and simple. It is egregious that the Mass Murders Eisenhower and Truman along with the UN could justify the paradox of war crimes by executing German Generals for their 'atrocities'. Certainly what they did was atrocious but arguably what the US did was more atrocious, or at the very least THE SAME. I am outraged by how 'history' and in particular, our culture can taint the reality of genocide as being 'Victory'. It was a crime on humanity as is all war. Obviously, the concept of 'war crimes' is something that only 'winners of a war can conceive of. Let us remember that the winner of a war is the side that murders the most people. My logic tells me that two wrongs do not make a right and that when the winner of a war does so by doing a worse deed than the 'bad guys' then they become the looser.
Abandon Nuclear bombs before all the people on the earth are killed. Masahiro Fukuda, 32, Kawasaki/Japan.
Jonathan Budil, 28 years old, from central Illinois. I've viewed the exhibit and read the responses, and found many of them to be very moving. The question I'm left with is, where do we go from here? Were the effects of the atomic bomb an atrocity? Most certainly. Was the dropping of at least one atomic bomb a necessity for ending the war? I do not feel qualified to judge, but it certainly was a major contributing factor to the war's end. Yes, those first detonations have caused us to live in fear: the psychological pall of dread has lasted far longer than the radioactive fallout. And there is still good reason to be afraid that someone somewhere with an ax to grind might do something horrible with nuclear technology. But I don't see the atomic bomb as the penultimate evil. There's no shortage of examples when it comes to humanity's self-cruelty. The current Bosnia conflict, the Jewish Holocaust, Japanese medical experiments on human patients, the Spanish Inquisition, witch burnings, take your pick.
Artem L. Ponomarev, 26. I'm from Russia. As Russki, I have my point of view of what the Cold War was all about. We have always felt isolated in this world and never had any allies. As a result, my country went through a series of terrible wars and devastation's. For example, the Second World War cost us 20 million people and occupation of the most productive territories with the consequent distraction of cities, villages, mines, etc. We had the Pact of Peace with Germany, which was violated. Our allies from USA and Western Europe left us alone for the first 4 years of struggle with the Nazis. The Cold War after that was mostly pointless and longer than enough. But the main goal has been reached -- my country is so stuffed with weapons now that the next invasion is impossible. So, now we are free to be the way we are and to search the Ideal Society or Truth (which we have been doing for 12 centuries).
I have read some of the immense body of writing that is in the "discussion" section. I too went through a period of intense fear of nuclear destruction. Now I know that with the destruction of the ozone due to the blast, all life ceases. Period. The radiation emitted from the sun compound ground radiation interrupting, corrupting, and destroying all life based on DNA replication. In other words, all life. I have to desensitize myself to that. Like my own death, it is too much to worry about constantly. The fear, however, is healthy. "History doesn't repeat, but it does rhyme a lot." After the sound defeat of Napolean after Waterloo, there was a large peaceful period. Eager nationalists and a lot of "young patriotic flesh" was ground up in the meat grinder that was WWI. Why? People forget the horrors of war. "Memory slips" If we forget the intense fear of nuclear war, I might sadly bid good-bye to the beautiful song that was Earth.
My name is Gerald Harrison; I got exhibit e-address from Newsweek Magazine, 7-31-95 p.8. I am a research technician in protein biochemistry at the Univ. of Penn. I have been an anti-war activist most of my adult life with ties to the teachings of Nonviolence of Gandhi, M.L. King Jr., Tolstoy, and George Fox (one of the Founders of the Quakers) as well as the writings in a book titled "The Urantia Book" (Urantia Foundation; 533 Diversey Parkway, Chicago Illinois). Recently, I have been particularly concerned about the availability of fissile materials (Uranium and Plutonium) to those in the general public who may be interested as a result of the reduced security over the stockpiles of these elements in the former Soviet Union. I am grateful for access to this photo-exhibit and I hope and pray, against the odds, that humanity will never witness these kinds of images again. Thanks to those of you who have made this exhibit possible--Gerald Harrison
I interned during the summer of '75 at the Hanford works in eastern Washington. The shells of the reactors that produced the plutonium and test stations still dotted the strange arid landscape of the area. The men who worked at the stations were still fiercely proud of their work, ever defensive about any environmental concerns I would raise. To them the incredible cost and permanent scars the weapons produced in both their use and production were just the cost of freedom. The balance of terror in the cold war may well have saved mankind from another costly major war, but the spectre of annihilating weapons at the disposal of political leaders has haunted my generation.
Steve Trowell, 46, Huntsville, AL. It comes to me that this bomb seems to have altered the hereditary landscape in many ways. Just as the bomb killed many fathers and mothers, whose children will never live, so there are many whose children live today because the war was not prolonged. These are testaments to man's inhumanity to man, but since then we have devastated numerous species entirely. War's only positive aspect is that it limits the growth in human numbers and extinction of other creatures.
I have looked at the pictures and read the accounts of the bombing of Nagasaki and Hiroshima. The thing that causes me the greatest sadness are the people in this archive which say "The Japanese got what they deserved for Pearl Harbor. I am glad that they dropped the bomb". Let those people know that "The Japanese"included my mother who was a fifteen year old child who lived in Nagasaki. A child that would have been killed if she had not been in the shadow of a small hill. A child who grew up and recovered from her experience enough to come to the United State for graduate school and marry an American. A child who became a mother who never ever spoke to her own children about Nagasaki. A child who grew up to be an artist and a scholar. A child who became a calm, self confident, happy, laughing adult who likes to watch "Murder She Wrote". A child who became an Obachan to 5 grandchildren (all only 14 Japanese) that she showers with handmade gifts and presents and books.
If my mother could so completely overcome any hate or bitterness, if she ever harboured any, than what excuse do these people have for still hating "The Japanese"for a war that was over half a century ago? It is frightening testimony, because these people hold within them the potential for future wars and atrocities. They are the true enemies within us and around us. My name is Taneil. I am 38, and I live in Colorado, and have always known that I could be any other member of the human race, just as they could be me. I shudder to think that the potential for such callous hatred might lie within me.
Bonnie Rama Baroja. I live in S.F. and was in the University of Cal at Berkeley during the 60's. I notice that people are so bombarded by life's event and by surviving that often they cannot feel or relate to the horror of events like the atomic bomb. It is so far removed from our experience and we do not want to feel pain or guilt or rage. How do we bring issues into the direct consciousness of individuals in society in away that allows a creative space for changing the situation or actaully motivate individuals to want to make a difference. What can I as an individual do to stop the atomic war machine? Why is France still testing atomic bombs in the Pacific and why no one stops them?
The advent of nuclear weapons has only raised ability for commiting acts of terrors of one man against another. We can now now do in an instant what it took the Germans months to do to the Jews with their extermination camps. Of course, as terrble as the atomic bomb is and was, we have to see it in the perspective of the horrors commited uopn the Chinese in Nanking and Manchuria as well the chemical and biological warfare experiments comitted there also by the Japanese. I am also reminded of the atrocities commited on the prisoners of war by the Japanese in Malaya and in other parts of South East Asia. The two problems for us all are: 1. Those who do not learn from history are condemmed to repeat it. 2. The danger when on man dehumanizes another and so it becomes easy for us gas Jews, kill millions of Chinese drop a bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaski or launch a 10 warhead ICBM from a submarine. They are you real problems. Michael John Little, Technical Writer, Melbourne Australia. Born 1959, England.
My name is Lyn. I am a white male born in rural Alabama in the summer of 1940, the summer before the bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. My earliest memories of the "atomic bomb"are of pictures that I saw in Life magazine about the Eniwetok H bomb tests. They seemed very awsome and scary. Another very vivid memory is the execution of the Rosenbergs, supposedly for giving the bomb secrets to Russia. I recall listening intently to the radio which described the executions which had just been performed. Somehow, even for one who was almost totally ignorant of all that had transpired, this didnÕt seem right to me. I was unaware of the paranoia which gripped the country and the destruction of the career of Openheimer and other scientists who had worked to build the bomb because they had concerns about its use.
I joined the military in 1959 and went through training in Chemical, Biological, and Radiological warfare. However, I recall little exposure to the effects of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. I entered college in 1961 and majored in Chemistry. My freshman chemistry textbook provided the first information that I recall about the mechanisms by which atomic bombs operate. I entered graduate school in 1965 and I lived with physics graduate students. As a result of my interaction with them I became intrigued by the Manhattan project and development of the bomb. I read a book about Lawrence and Oppenheimer and was greatly impressed that Oppenheimer had felt a sense of responsibility, as a scientist who had worked to develop the bomb, about the possible use of such weapons. I also saw that this had cost him very dearly, and in essence destroyed his life because he went against the official government dogma.
In 1966, as first year graduate student, I attended a symposium on photosynthesis and listened to a moving address by Nobel Laureate Albert Szent-Gyorgyi, which I have remembered all my life. He talked about the use of scientific knowledge to further the human condition, in particular feeding the hungry of the world. He also spoke about how primitive is our understanding of the atom and molecular processes such as photosynthesis, and our total inability to really comprehend some developments in physics such as 20 megaton bombs. He noted that we can understand a hot stove, or the loss of a loved one. For these we have a frame of reference. However, our primitive brains cannot comprehend temperatures of millions of degrees or the vaporization of millions of people within a few microseconds. These concepts make no sense to us, we have no frame of reference to understand them.
As a member of the Òsixties generationÓ I became very distrustful of my government and the sanctimonious approach to war and human suffering, which seems to be the typical official American response. I believe this sanctimonius approach continues to this day and was most evident in the recent Persian Gulf war where we plowed tens if not hundred of thousands into the sands. And we invoke God as being on our side in doing so. Are George BushÕs action so different than those of Harry Truman? Mark Twain seems to have captured the essence of this mentality so perfectly in his ÒWar PrayerÓ. As a medical school professor I interact with many young people who seem to know little about the bomb and its history, especially those from other countries such as China and India. I tell them of my former spouse who lived in Gary Indiana, near the steel mills, a prime target, and who had her blood type tattooed on her side. Supposedly this was to help ensure survival in case of nuclear attack. I often show to members of my lab, the movie ÒThe Atomic CafeÓ, which describes the first use of the atomic bomb and the cold war paranoia which followed it. I recommend to them Richard Rhodes outstanding book, The Making of the Atomic Bomb, as reading on development of the bomb.
When I read in Newsweek about the photography exhibit of Yosuko Yamahata I was most interested in seeing his photographs. I found them to be a very moving and objective documentary of manÕs inhumanity to man, and they show most eloquently the human costs of the bombing. I also was able to explore and obtain new information regarding the decisions to use the bomb. I was able to read the minutes of the meeting of Oppenheimer and the ÒTarget CommitteeÓ at which targets were selected, and the ostensible reasons for their selection. Item 8, Use Against Military Objectives, seemed especially interesting: ÒIt was agreed that for the initial use of the weapon any small and strictly military objective should be located in a much larger area subject to blast damage in order to avoid undue risk of the weapon being lost due to bad placing of the bombÓ. Somehow this conflicts with TrumanÕs diary notes of July 25, 1945, in which he states ÒI have told the Secretary of War, Mr. Stimson, to use it so that military objectives and soldiers are the target and not women and childrenÓ. Were Oppenheimer and his group really proposing an experiment to test the blast effects of the bomb? Certainly, there is no question that ÒvirginÓ targets were chosen. I also read EinsteinÕs statement of January 22, 1947 about the responsibility of scientists to ensure the peaceful use of atomic energy, a view which I share about all aspects of science. I also examined Leo SzilardÕs petition from 68 Manhattan researchers to Truman, a petition which I understand was squelched by General Groves so that Truman never saw it. I toured Hiroshima and Nagasaki and saw them immediately after the explosions and again following their rebuilding.
My personal feelings about use of the bomb are conflicted. In terms of the magnitude of killing there doesnÕt seem to be a lot of difference in the fire bombing of Tokyo, Dresden, and other cities and the devastation produced by the atomic bomb, with the exception of the long term radiological effects. By the end of World War II warfare against civilian populations was a well developed art, by both sides. Although this is detestable, it was and is a fact of life wich continues today. I am not convinced that the bombÕs use was necessary to end the war and I remain skeptical about the magnitude of the casualties which were predicted for a land invasion. The inflated casualty estimates seem to be, in retrospect, a justification for what was done. I also believe that the evidence suggests that a major reason for dropping the bomb involved political considerations of the Soviet Union. I believe that there were also concerns about the costs involved in developing the bomb. After spending two billion dollars there was a need by some to prove that the money had been Òwell spentÓ. I am also aware that the US did not ÒstartÓ the war.
I find deeply troubling the response of many of my fellow citizens, most especially the politicians, regarding the display of the Enola Gay exhibit at the Smithsonian. It seems to me that enough time has passed that we can begin to analzye the events involved in dropping the bomb more dispassionately and learn some valuable lessons, for the US, Japan, and others. Unfortunately, I agree with the comments of the journalist Mitsuko Shimomura, that Americans have this simplistic notion that things are always a simple choice between good and evil, and the US always assumes that it is on the ÒgoodÓ side. And usually that God is also on our side, as evidenced by the comments of Truman, and more recently George Bush. However, I would like to believe that displays such as this provide a ray of hope. As more and more people become aware of what has been and is being done in their name, and with their tax dollars, perhaps they will demand more explanations from those who are supposed to represent us.
One can only hope that displays such as the photography exhibit of of Yosuko Yamahata will cause us all to re-think the lessons of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and to resolve that atomic warfare will never again be used again to settle differences between countries. For it is the innocent who bear the brunt of the destruction.
My name is Murilo Coutinho, and I'm from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Nowadays this attrocity is a world wide interest. I hope that the all atomic bombs will be destroyed.
As Yamahata is quoted at the end of the exhibit, the memory has a tendency to slip, but the camera brings the stark facts before our eyes without need of embellishment. These photographs, like those of other horrors perpetrated by humans on humans, whatever the cause, or reason, or blame, carry a weight that resounds without a knowledge of the specific facts or history. War is repugnant, it is no solution. No doubt photographs like these could have been taken in Iraq in the aftermath of the Persian Gulf War, they could have been broadcast worldwide on CNN as the humanizing antidote to the video game war broadcast instead. The inclusion of such images could have done much to refute the dangerous lingering among the minds of many, especially the young, that war can somehow be clean and precise and even fun. Thank God these images are resurrected for us to see here and be reminded, what a pity that they are not broadcast to hundreds of millions glued to their CNN screens- September 1, 1995, Scott Andrews, Filmmaker.
Pawel Wiechowski Gothenburg Sweden age 20. Obviously I'm not old enough to have experienced it first hand but I think that it's probably the most idiotic invention of all mankind. No more nukes, for everybody's sake.
Chris, 27 years, Paris (France) I am born in 1968 therefore, unfortunatelly, as far as I can recall I' ve always known the existence of the bomb. But, as a teen, I was pretty much conviced that if western Europe was not yet ruled by a huge USSR it was thanks to the bomb. I actually think that western Europe has been damned close to catastrophy. But if the bomb "helped"us to avoid the worst, it is nowadays outdated and a waste of public founds. So, lets just put it where it belongs, i.e to the museum of shame of humanity. I' ve never seen the science as sources of evil. Yes I thought the bomb would be used again. I' m glad I was wrong at this time. For now, I think it is safer thanks to a more responsible conscience and powerfull media medium.
I am one Japanese student studying at the Chuo University. I read in the paper today and found the address of this article. I have some questions about the atomic bomb. I am personally deadset against the atomic test now conducted by one country. I take peace study at the university and the other day we talked about the deterrence effect of the atomic bomb and we came to the conclusion that if every and single country in the world conducted the nuclear test, the earth would not exist. But I am wondering if it is true or not that the bomb has never been used since 1945 because we know what it does. Because it was used 50 years ago. I think that is one of the reasons but I do not think that is the only one. My name is Ryoji Shimada
I' m mexican, my name is Julio, nowadays I'm witness of nuclear tests made by France, since those test in Mexico City have ocurred earthquakes, I feel there is a relationship on these events, also I think using nuclear weapons whatever the reasons is a crime to the entire world, it destroys our habitat and makes me think we still are animals.
|The MEMORY Exhibition|