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Nagasaki and Hiroshima:
When Nuclear Weapons Were Used On People

On August 10, 1945, Yosuke Yamahata, age 28 and working as a military photographer, had been dispatched to photograph Nagasaki the day after the atomic bomb was detonated.

Urakami Station ~1 km near Nagasaki epicenter, 08-10-45
Mother and child dead on platform at Urakami station,
approx. 1 km near epicenter in Nagasaki, 10 August 1945

The appearance of the city [of Nagasaki] differed from other bomb sites: here, the explosion and the fires had reduced the entire city (about four square kilometers) to ashes in a single instant. Relief squads, medical and fire-fighting teams, could do nothing but wait. Only the luck of being in a well-placed air raid shelter could be of any use for survival.

Even if the medical and fire-fighting teams from the surrounding areas had been able to rush to the scene, the roads were completely blocked with rubble and charred timber. One had not the faintest idea where the water main might be located, so it would have been impossible to fight the fires. Telephone and telegraph services were suspended; the teams could not contact the outside world for help. It was truly a hell on earth. Those who had just barely survived the intense radiation—their eyes burned and their exposed skin scalded—wandered around aimlessly with only sticks to lean on, waiting for relief. Not a single cloud blocked the direct rays of the August sunlight, which shone down mercilessly on Nagasaki, on that second day after the blast.

Although relief provisions and emergency supplies had arrived in the early morning, it was not until midday that rescue squads from Isahaya Army Corps and Omura Naval Cemetery arrived to administer medical care. I continued to photograph in these conditions until about three o'clock in the afternoon, when I had been ordered to set out on my return. I boarded a train conveying seriously injured victims to nearby hospitals, and I reached Hakata at about 3:00 a.m. on the eleventh.

—Yosuke Yamahata, Photographing the Bomb, A Memo (1952)
from: Nagasaki Journey - The Photographs of Yosuke Yamahata
This film Hiroshima-Nagasaki: August, 1945 (1980) was created by filmmaker Erik Barnouw in 1968 from Japanese footage that the U.S. Defense Department had suppressed for over 20 years. It was screened at New York’s Museum of Modern Art, but none of the three main television networks would air the film. The reason why is stark by viewing it. (Raw transcript included in above link.)
Shadows of Nagasaki
Shadows of Nagasaki Unknown author image.
Never have the nations of the world had so much to lose, or so much to gain. Together we shall save our planet, or together we shall perish in its flames. Save it we can—and save it we must—and then shall we earn the eternal thanks of mankind and, as peacemakers, the eternal blessing of God.”
President John F. Kennedy, UN General Assembly, 25 Sep 1961
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