Nuclear war was brought about through the invention of the atomic bomb. The atomic bomb was first thought of in 1939. The Manhattan Project was devoted to researching and constructing the bomb (Serendipity: Manhattan Project para.1). Six years and 2 billion dollars later the Manhattan Project produced the first atomic bomb in history (Serendipity: Manhattan Project para.5). The bomb was tested in northern New Mexico on July 16th, 1945. The creators of the bomb watched the first detonation. One creator quoted from the Bhavad Gita saying, I am become death, the destroyer of worlds. The testing of the bomb in New Mexico was the first detonation, however it was not the last (Serendipity: Manhattan Project para.10). The atomic bomb was again set off in Hiroshima on August 4th, 1945. This time the bomb was used in warfare (Serendipity: Detonation para.1). Two aspects of these bombings were the injuries to the people caused by the bomb and the long-term effect the bombing had on the culture.
There were three main kinds of injuries caused by the bombing: burns, mechanical, and radiation. The burns were due to the flash radiation of heat. The mechanical injuries were caused by debris in the air thrown by falling buildings, etc. the radiation injuries were from the gamma rays produced from the nuclear bomb itself (Avalon: Characteristics of Injuries para.1). Without exact numbers it is hard for experts to determine the actual death rate caused by each injury. Most would say that that majority of the deaths were caused by either radiation or mechanical injuries (Avalon: Characteristics of Injuries para.2).
Two different kinds of burn were reported after the bomb, flame burn and flash burn (Avalon: Burns para.1). People that had any sort of protection or shielding around them were protected from flash burns (Avalon: Burns para.4). Japanese experts estimate that burns caused at least 50 percent of the deaths in Hiroshima. They say that most burn victims died instantly (Avalon: Burns para.5).
The second form of injury due to the bomb was referred to as mechanical injuries. These injuries were cause by flying objects, falling buildings, crumbling walls, etc. People that were injured from these things experienced fractures, lacerations, concussions, abrasions, etc (Avalon: Burns para.1).
The third and most talked about injury caused by the bombing were the radiation affects on the human body. Most people were expected to experience the affect of radiation seconds after the bombing. However, some people did not start having symptoms until 3 weeks after the bombing (Lifton pg.35). The symptoms start out with the person feeling nauseated, weak, and light headed. They continue with vomiting and diarrhea. Eventually the persons hair will fall out and their white blood count will drop (Lifton pg.35). That person will then gradually weaken until they meet their death. Not all people that were injured from burns, mechanical, or radiation injuries died. The people that survived next dealt with an entourage of rumors and questions. Rumors went around about flowers and trees never growing on the land again. People claimed that no one would be able to live in Hiroshima for at least seventy-five years (Lifton pg.36). Well, the flowers grew again along with the trees and people were able to live in Hiroshima after the bombing. But would the culture ever be the same? Would people in Hiroshima ever be able to move on with their lives? If so, how?
Today the culture in Hiroshima is as strong as it ever was. Some may even say it is stronger or closer due to the unity the bomb brought about in the city. People do not shut the bombing out by forgetting about it or not talking about it. They tell their children about it, teach it in school, and every August 6th they gather together in a park and remember together (WWW Museum para.1). Hiroshima today is officially named the city of peace(Lifton pg.38). The target for the bombing in Hiroshima was the Aioi Bridge. Today the Ota River, which runs under the bridge, brings back memories for those that lived through the bomb. When most people walk by the water they see a clear stream of water, however when survivors walk by they remember the river as a place of dark water filled with blood and bodies (Lifton pg.37). Near the river is a large building that is dome-shaped. Before the bombing this building was The Industrial Exhibition Hall. This building now serves as one of the few surviving buildings from the bomb. Most of the building is in ruins and has been gutted out due to the nuclear explosion. After the war many Hiroshima citizens felt the building should be torn down. They felt if it was torn down people could forget and move on with their lives. However, others had different views. Some thought the building should stay up to warn the rest of the world and show the destruction the bomb caused. And still others felt the building should just remain until it falls down naturally on its own. Finally, the government decided to preserve the building in its natural setting. The building is now referred to as the Atomic Dome(Lifton pg.38). The Ota River along with the Atomic Dome are located in the peace park in Hiroshima. The peace park is also home to the Cenotaph. This building was built to model an ancient clay house. It was made for people to remember those that died in the bombing. Names are listed on the building and as survivors pass away their names are added to the structure. People believe that this is the place that the souls of those that perished in the bomb are buried. With that in mind they come here bringing flowers, cards, candles, and other things to show their respect. Above the names there is a statement saying, Rest in peace. The mistake will not be repeated (Lifton pg. 42). For those that could not be recognized, or found after the bombing there is a separate memorial. This is referred to as the Memorial Mound. Tens of thousands of boxes of ashes were place in this mound of burned bodies that could not be identified. Still today remains are found in excavation sites and are cremated and stored with the others. There in that tomb they wait to be claimed by friends or families(Lifton pg.45). Another place for people to mourn is the Childrens Monument. The monument was built in 1958 in memory of Sadako Sasaki. She is said to be the Anne Frank of Hiroshima. Sadako died ten years after the bomb due to delayed radiation effects on her body. The monument is not only to honor Sadako but also the many children that died in the bombing. On the top of the monument there is a young statue girl that stands holding a crane in her arms. Inside the monument is room to store the many cranes that children all over the world have made and sent to Japan. Inscribed on the base are the words, This is our cry, this is our prayer: Peace in the world!(Lifton pgs.47-49). Another place to remember or learn about the bomb is the Peace Museum. The museum displays peaces of glass and other materials, showing how the bomb affected each thing. The director of the museum says its purpose is to educate the millions that view it each year, not to shock them(Lifton pgs.50-61). With all of the monuments, museums, and memorials in Hiroshima it is hard for the people to forget about the bombing. What happened that August 6th will be remembered with the citizens of Hiroshima for years to come.
The bomb in Hiroshima will be remembered forever. It will be passed down through history books and memorials. The disease caused by the bomb will exist in peoples minds instead of their bodies. The culture will forever be affected by the bombing. Lifton gives this advice in going to view the city, To begin with this place youve come to see called Hiroshima is no one place. There are many places, each bearing that name. One is located in the past. One in the present. One in the future. Understand, the legendary place that you seek is not located on a map. It is a state of mind. (Lifton pg.7).