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Slide Show: Hiroshima’s Aftermath: Lost Images of the First Atomic Bombing | The Nation

Slide Show: Hiroshima’s Aftermath: Lost Images of the First Atomic Bombing

  • Ruins of the Hiroshima Prefectural Commercial Exhibition Hall (A-Bomb Dome), October 24, 1945 (1 of 11)

    This month marks the 66th anniversary of the first use of a nuclear weapon during wartime. But have we in this country ever understood the full consequences of its use?

     

    After the United States detonated the atomic bomb “Little Boy” over the Japanese city of Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, American photographers surveyed the unimaginable destruction the blast had wrought. Their photos of the desolated cityscape remained classified for decades, but with this year’s exhibit at the International Center of Photography in New York City, they are now accessible to the general public for the first time. The images in the slides that follow provide an unfiltered look into nuclear warfare’s destructive power.

     

    Credit: International Center of Photography / United States Strategic Bombing Survey, Physical Damage Division 

  • Burned-over landscape with Nagarekawa Church in the foreground, Hiroshima, October 16, 1945 (2 of 11)

    Credit: International Center of Photography / United States Strategic Bombing Survey, Physical Damage Division 

  • Rooftop view of atomic destruction, looking southwest, Hiroshima, October 31, 1945 (3 of 11)

    Credit: International Center of Photography / United States Strategic Bombing Survey, Physical Damage Division

  • Interior of Hiroshima City Hall auditorium with undamaged walls and framing but spalling of plaster and complete destruction of contents by fire, November 1, 1945 (4 of 11)

    Credit: International Center of Photography / United States Strategic Bombing Survey, Physical Damage Division

  • Complete destruction of wooden floor and telephone switch and relay racks of Hiroshima Telephone Company, Central District Exchange, October 28, 1945 (5 of 11)

    Credit: International Center of Photography / United States Strategic Bombing Survey, Physical Damage Division 

  • Fire- and blast-damaged gas holders and buildings at Hiroshima Gas Company, October 31, 1945 (6 of 11)

    Credit: International Center of Photography / United States Strategic Bombing Survey, Physical Damage Division

  • Burned-over landscape north of ground zero in the vicinity of Hiroshima Castle, October 31, 1945 (7 of 11)

    Credit: International Center of Photography / United States Strategic Bombing Survey, Physical Damage Division

  • Group of people near damaged trolley cars, Hiroshima, October 31, 1945 (8 of 11)

    Credit: International Center of Photography / United States Strategic Bombing Survey, Physical Damage Division 

  • Flash-burned asphalt on Bridge 20 over the Motoyasu River, Hiroshima, October 26, 1945 (9 of 11)

    Credit: International Center of Photography / United States Strategic Bombing Survey, Physical Damage Division 

  • Interior of Sotoku Middle School, Hiroshima, showing blast-distorted steel roof trusses, October 27, 1945 (10 of 11)

    Credit: International Center of Photography / United States Strategic Bombing Survey, Physical Damage Division 

  • Blast- and fire-damaged ruins of Takeya Grammar School, Hiroshima, October 28, 1945 (11 of 11)

    For more on what transpired in the days leading up to the bombing, read Greg Mitchell's Countdown to Hiroshima posts. Mitchell's latest book, Atomic Cover-up, describes how America's "nuclear entrapment" continues to this day.

     

    For more on the exhibit Hiroshima: Ground Zero 1945, on view through August 28, visit the International Center of Photography’s website

     

    Credit: International Center of Photography / United States Strategic Bombing Survey, Physical Damage Division

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