The mushroom cloud billowing up 20,000 feet over Hiroshima on the morning of August 6, 1945 (Photo from U.S. National Archives, 77-AEC)
A nuclear weapon of the "Little Boy" type, the uranium gun-type detonated over Hiroshima. It is 28 inches in diameter and 120 inches long. "Little Boy" weighed about 9,000 pounds and had a yield approximating 15,000 tons of high explosives. (Copy from U.S. National Archives, 77-AEC)
Hiroshima, after the first atomic bomb explosion. This view was taken from the Red Cross Hospital Building about one mile from the bomb burst. (Photo from U.S. National Archives, Still Pictures Branch, Subject Files, "Atomic Bomb")
The Atomic Bomb and the End of World War II: A Collection of Primary Sources. National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 162. Edited by William Burr - 202/994-7000 Posted - August 5, 2005
"Inspired by the photographic work "Hiroshima" by Japanese artist Hiromi Tsuchida, The Hiroshima Archive was originally set up to join the on-line effort made by many people all over the world to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the atomic bombing. The archive is intended to serve as a research and educational guide to those who want to gain and expand their knowledge of the atomic bombing."
Fragments from An Original Child Bomb, a poem by Thomas Merton. The complete text can be found at the end of a PDF from the documentary of the same name.
Points for meditation to be scratched on the walls of a cave.Original Child Bomb: The Film
1 In the year 1945 an Original Child was born. The name Original Child was given to it by the Japanese people, who recognized that it was the first of its kind.
13 The time was coming for the new bomb to be tested, in the New Mexico desert. A name was chosen to designate this secret operation. It was called “Trinity.”
14 At 5:30 A.M. on July 16th, 1945, a plutonium bomb was successfully exploded in the desert at Almagordo, New Mexico. It was suspended from a hundred foot steel tower which evaporated. There was a fireball a mile wide. The great flash could be seen for a radius of 250 miles. A blind woman miles away said she perceived light. There was a cloud of smoke 40,000 feet high. It was shaped like a toadstool.
15 Many who saw the experiment expressed their satisfaction in religious terms. A semi-official report even quoted a religious book-The New Testament, “Lord, I believe, help thou my unbelief.” There was an atmosphere of devotion. It was a great act of faith. They believed the explosion was exceptionally powerful.
22 On August 1st the bomb was assembled in an airconditioned hut on Tinian. Those who handled the bomb referred to it as “Little Boy.” Their care for the Original Child was devoted and tender.
25 On August 4th the bombing crew on Tinian watched a movie of “Trinity” (the Almagordo Test). August 5th was a Sunday but there was little time for formal worship. They said a quick prayer that the war might end “very soon.” On that day, Col. Tibbetts, who was in command of the B-29 that was to drop the bomb, felt that his bomber ought to have a name. He baptized it Enola Gay, after his mother in Iowa. Col. Tibbetts was a well balanced man, and not sentimental. He did not have a nervous breakdown after the bombing, like some of the other members of the crew.
26 On Sunday afternoon “Little Boy” was brought out in procession and devoutly tucked away in the womb of Enola Gay. That evening few were able to sleep. They were as excited as little boys on Christmas Eve.
31 At 3:09 they reached Hiroshima and started the bomb run. The city was full of sun. The fliers could see the green grass in the gardens. No fighters rose up to meet them. There was no flack. No one in the city bothered to take cover.
32 The bomb exploded within 100 feet of the aiming point. The fireball was 18,000 feet across. The temperature at the center of the fireball was 100,000,000 degrees. The people who were near the center became nothing. The whole city was blown to bits and the ruins all caught fire instantly everywhere, burning briskly. 70,000 people were killed right away or died within a few hours. Those who did not die at once suffered great pain. Few of them were soldiers.
35 It took a little while for the rest of Japan to find out what had happened to Hiroshima. Papers were forbidden to publish any news of the new bomb. A four line item said that Hiroshima had been hit by incendiary bombs and added: “It seems that some damage was caused to the city and its vicinity.”
36 Then the military governor of the Prefecture of Hiroshima issued a proclamation full of martial spirit. To all the people without hands, without feet, with their faces falling off, with their intestines hanging out, with their whole bodies full of radiation, he declared: “We must not rest a single day in our war effort ... We must bear in mind that the annihilation of the stubborn enemy is our road to revenge.” He was a professional soldier.
38 On August 9th another bomb was dropped on Nagasaki, though Hiroshima was still burning. On August 11ththe Emperor overruled his high command and accepted the peace terms dictated at Potsdam. Yet for three days discussion continued, until on August 14ththe surrender was made public and final.
40 As to the Original Child that was now born, President Truman summed up the philosophy of the situation in a few words. “We found the bomb” he said “and we used it.”
41 Since that summer many other bombs have been “found.” What is going to happen? At the time of writing, after a season of brisk speculation, men seem to be fatigued by the whole question.
[Interesting post/critique from Metafilter:
Sort of a digression, but this "oh-so-poetic/charming/mystical" Original Child Bomb name is a good example of the annoying tendancy some people have of making literal character-by-character translations of Chinese or Japanese words because they are supposed to be profound.P.S. I was also born on this day in 1945.
The name "original child bomb" was not "given to it by the Japanese people, who recognized that it was the first of its kind," as this page claims.
The word for "atom" is simply made of two kanji (Chinese characters), one meaning "original" or "basic" and one being a general diminutive that, yes, sometimes also means child. That is the way new Chinese words are formed, by putting together two or more characters in a way that makes sense, like "small basic thing" in the case of "atom." The translation is "atom bomb," OK? not "original child bomb," and there's no way that the people who coined the word meant it in any deeper sense. I'm sure this is an interesting movie, and I'd like to see it, but the Asian exoticism dripping off the title makes me want to gag.
posted by banishedimmortal]