Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Visiting Hiroshima - Marcel Junod (14/5/04 -16/6/61)


Today marks the 68th anniversary of the devastating effects of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, which killed between 70,000 and 80,000 people and injured more than 70,000 others.
For many across the globe, it is an anniversary that we sadly cannot forget.
Ceremonies are held internationally to commemorate the victims and to remind humanity of the horrors of war and the evil of nuclear weapons. We should not be aloud to forget this war crime, for that is what this action was.
Marcel Junod was a Swiss red cross doctor who was one of the first foreign doctors to reach hiroshima, treating many of the bombing survivors and injured people. The following is an extract from his own personal harrowing account.

' The bare cone of Fuijiiama was just visible on the horizon as we flew over the 'inland sea' which lay beneath us like a lavender-blue carpet picked out in green and yellow with its numerous promontories and wooded islands...
Towards midday, a huge white patch appeared on the ground below us. This chalky desert, looking around like ivory in the sun, surrounded by a crumble of twisted ironwork and ash heaps, was all that remained of Hiroshima...
The journalist described the main official buildings of the town, which waere built of reinforced concrete and dominated a sea of low-rooted Japanese houses extending over six miles to the wooded hills I could see in the distance.
'The town was not much damaged,' he explained. 'It had suffered very little from the bombing. There were only two minor raids, one on March  19th last by a squadron of American naval planes, and one on April 30th by a Flying Fortress.
'On August 6th there wasn't a clod in the sky above Hiroshima, and a mild, hardly perceptible wind blew from the south. Visibility was almost perfect for ten or twelve miles.
'At nine minutes past seven in the morning an air-raid warning sounded and four American B-29 planes appeared. To the north of the town, two of them turned and made off to the south, and dissapeared in the direction of the Shoho Sea. The other two, after having circled the neighbourhood of Shukai, flew off at high speed southwards in the direction of the Bingo Sea.
At 7.31 the all-clear was given. Feeling themselves in safety people came out of their shelters and went about their affairs and the work of the day began.
'Suddenly a glaring whitish pinkish light appeared in the sky accompanied by an unnatural tremor which was followed almost immediately by a wave of suffocating heat and a wind which swept away everything in its path.
'Within a few seconds the thousands of people in the streets and the gardens in the centre of the town were scorched by a wave of searing heat.
Many were killed instantly, others lay writhing on the ground screaming in agony from the intolerable pain of their burns. Everything standing upright in the way of the blast, walls, houses, factories and other buildings, was annihilated and the debris spun round in a whirlwind and was carried up ino the air. Trams were picked up and tossed aside as thogh they had neither weight nor solidity. Trains were flung off the rails as though they were toys. Horses, dogs and cattle suffered the same fate as human beings. Every living thing was petrified in an attitude of indescibable suffering. Even the vegetation did not escape. Trees went up in the flames, the rice plants lost their greeness, the grass burned on the ground like dry straw.
'Beyond the zone of utter death in which nothing remained alive houses collapsed in a whirl of beams, bricks and girders. Up to almost three miles from the centre of the explosion lightly built houses were flattened as though they had been built of cardboard. Those who were inside wwere either killed or wounded. Those who managed to extricate themselves by some miracle found themselves surrounded by a ring of fire. And the few who succeeded in making their way to safety generally died twenty or thirty days later from the delayed effects of the deadly gamma rays. Some of the reinforced concrete or stione buildings remained standing but their interiors were completely gutted by the blast.
'About half an hour after the explosion whilst the sky all around Hiroshima was still cloudless a fine rain began to fall on the town and went on for about five minutes. It was caused by the sudden rise of over-heated air to a great height, where it condensed and fell back as rain. Then a violent wind rose and the fires extended with terrible rapidity, beacause most Japanese houses are built only of timber and straw.
'By the evening the fire began to die down and then it went out. There was nothing left to burn. Hiroshima had ceased to exist.'
The Japanes broke off and then pronounced one word with idescibable but restrained emotion: 'Look.'
About two and a half miles from the centre of the town all the buildings had been burnt out and destroyed. Only traces of the foundations and piles of debris and rusty charred ironwork were left. This zone was like the devastated areas of Tokyo, Osaka and Kobe after the mass fall of incendiaries.
At three-quarters of a mile from the centre of the explosion nothing at all was left. Everything haddissapeared. It was a stony waste littered with debris and twisted girders. The inccandescent breath of the fire had swept away every obstacle and all that remained upright were one or two fragments of stone walls and a few stoves which had remained inconcrously on their base.
We got out of the car and made our way through the ruins into the centre of the dead city. Absolute silence reigned in the whole necropolis.

9 September, 1945

REPRINTED FROM:
Warrior without Weapons - Marcel Junod,
Cape 1951





For years the American government refused to release images and photographs, such was the sheer horror that they did not want the world to Know.
Those who did not get incarcented on the spot, were to be traumatised for the rest of their lives. Hiroshima and Later Nagasaki are  remembered  today as the most deadliest slaughter of modern civilains in modern history.
Hibakusha is a term widely used in Japan , that refers to the victims of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, it translates as 'explosion effected/ Survivor of the Light. This post is dedicated to them and and  to all who were less fortunate.
Hiroshima now stands again, but  68 years laters reminds us why the world needs to get rid of  the madness  of nuclear weapons and proliferation, once and for all.

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