Nuclear Weapon and Hiroshima

Topics: Nuclear weapon, Atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Nuclear warfare Pages: 9 (3600 words) Published: May 22, 2009
Hiroshima is a landmark event that can be looked at many ways. The idea, or thought of what was American’s thinking by Hiroshima is a topic that can be talked to death for ages. The main dilemma with Hiroshima is that fact that for the longest time the government kept a tight lid on the spread of information afterwards. It wasn’t until an editorial in the New Yorker that someone really looked at that deeper, darker impact of what had really happened. It opened eyes; it changed how people looked at the events that did happen. Hiroshima and the editorial “Hiroshima” changed many people. How this article has affected myself and my look at the first bombing is and always will be talked about, and it will be debated. What the editorial does is it forced reactions that people were not ready nor did not want to face. “Hiroshima” changed people and how they looked at Hiroshima, more then the bombing itself the editorial put the question of “What are you as American’s really thinking.” In an era when the press wasn't so deeply engaged in reporting on each other, the publication of "Hiroshima" caused a big commotion. The New York Times published a short article on August 29, 1946 with the lead paragraph "Breaking a precedent of twenty- one years standing, The New Yorker this week devotes virtually all the editorial space in its sixty- eight pages to an article by John Hersey on Hiroshima titled 'A Noiseless Flash' ". 1 The day after, on August 30, the Times had more to say about the article in an editorial titled "Time From Laughter:" The editorial went on to make clear that the Times did not regret that the bomb had been dropped. But it ends with the statement "The death and destruction not merely of people and cities but of the human conscience is clearly involved." 2

What were American’s thinking? American’s were tired, Hersey didn’t take a chance he did his homework and got his facts straight he told the story like it need to be told. It was a shock to the people but a shock that American needed. Respected opinion journals reviewed the article with the same seriousness they showed for important books. Bruce Bliven, writing for The New Republic's September 9 issue started off his review saying "By now, you have doubtless heard that last week The New Yorker devoted its entire space to one subject for the first time in the history of that periodical. The subject is the atomic bombing of Hiroshima; the author is John Hersey; and we understand the magazine sold out on most newsstands within a few hours of its appearance. If so, the public showed discernment. Hersey's piece is certainly one of the great classics of the war...." 4 Other, less known periodicals also praised the article. A thoughtful Protestant weekly reviewed the article in its book review section and said "Once in a lifetime you read a magazine article that makes you want to bounce up out of your easy chair and go running around to your neighbors, thrusting the magazine under their noses and saying: 'Read this! Read it now! ' “ 5 A Roman Catholic journal published shortly after "Hiroshima" commented that "the story of Hiroshima moved The New Yorker to abandon its worldly sophistication in its issue of Aug. 31. Every inch of text- space in that number is given over to an account of the atom- bombing of Hiroshima. Despite the miles of print, the endless reels of photographs that have tried to impress us with the cataclysms of Bikini, it is this New Yorker report which most shudderingly brings home to the reader the utter horror of the atom bomb." 6 Most of the critical reaction was positive, but not all of it. Mary McCarthy indicted the story for failing to put the bombing of Hiroshima in context. To her, the article, based on interviews with survivors, was "an insipid falsification of the truth of atomic warfare. To have done the atom bomb justice, Mr. Hersey would have had to interview the dead." McCarthy, evidently feeling that The New Yorker was not an...

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