August 8, 1945 – Hiroshima: Vanishing, Almost Without Trace – Extent Of Damage Still Not Known.

Hiroshima 2 days later - still smoldering.
Hiroshima 2 days later – still smoldering.

– From The Pacific – NBC Radio – August 8, 1945 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –

Two days after the first Atomic Bomb attack on Hiroshima, the city was still smoldering. The full extent of the destruction was only starting to become apparent. American reconnaissance planes were able to photograph and survey the damage. Reports filtering in claimed some 60% of Hiroshima was gone, as was most of the population. Radio Tokyo reported that government sources were saying the U.S. had violated Article 22 of the Hague Convention and had shown disregard for humanity. Radio Tokyo went on to describe in detail the amount of death and destruction the bomb did during that one raid. Reports also indicated the Japanese Cabinet met in emergency session to hear a report about the raid. Japanese newspapers were reporting the raid as a “sadistic atrocity” and called the U.S. the “eternal enemy of humanity”.

Meanwhile, questions were being raised over whether this was a “one-off” or if there were more coming. Whether this would be all that was needed, or was an invasion still inevitable. Was this in fact, going to shorten the war.

Questions too about the Bomb itself. In some quarters, feelings were the bomb should never have been successfully tested and fears the secrets of making the bomb could fall into the wrong hands and that safety measures needed to be taken to insure the secrets would never get out.

Despite heavy censorship, this episode of the NBC Radio series “From The Pacific” answered many questions and speculated on many others. But the fact of the matter was; unless you were on the outskirts of Hiroshima this day, you still had very little idea the extent of the damage this bomb did, and even less idea of what an Atomic Bomb was all about.

That’s what it sounded like, 77 years ago, on August 8th 1945.

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