HISTORY: The AP Reports the Devastation of Hiroshima and Nagasaki
On the 70th anniversary of the United States’ slaughter of civilians in the dropping of atomic bombs on the Japanese cities, The Associated Press has made its reporting on the bombings and Japan’s ultimate surrender available to readers.
“An atomic bomb, hailed as the most terrible destructive force in history and as the greatest achievement of organized science, has been loosed upon Japan,” reads an article published Aug. 6, 1945.
President (Harry) Truman disclosed in a White House statement at 11 a.m. Eastern War Time, today that the first use of the bomb — containing more power than 20,000 tons of TNT and producing more than 2,000 times the blast of the most powerful bomb ever dropped before — was made 16 hours earlier on Hiroshima, a Japanese army base. …
The atomic bomb is the answer, President Truman said, to Japan’s refusal to surrender. Secretary of War (Henry) Stimson predicted the bomb will prove a tremendous aid in shortening the Japanese war. Mr. Truman grimly warned that “even more powerful forms (of the bomb) are in development.”
“If they do not now accept our terms, they may expect a rain of ruin from the air the like of which has never been seen on this earth,” he said.
The War Department reported that “an impenetrable cloud of dust and smoke” cloaked Hiroshima after the bomb exploded. It was impossible to make an immediate assessment of the damage.
An article published Aug. 9, 1945, reports the bombing of Nagasaki:
The world’s second atomic bomb, most destructive explosive invented by man, was dropped on strategically important Nagasaki on western Kyushu Island at noon today. …
Japanese perished by uncounted thousands from the searing, crushing atomic blast that smashed Hiroshima, photographic and other evidence indicated today.
The Tokyo radio, which said that “practically all living things, human and animal, were literally seared to death,” reported that authorities were still unable to check the total casualties.
A third article, published Aug. 14, 1945, announces Japan’s “unconditional” surrender to the Allied forces and the Allies’ victory in World War II, “history’s greatest flood of death and destruction”:
… from the moment President Truman announced at 7 p.m. (EWT) that the enemy of the Pacific had agreed to Allied terms, the world put aside for a time woeful thoughts of the cost in dead and dollars and celebrated in wild frenzy. Formalities meant nothing to people freed at last of war.
To reporters crammed into his office, shoving now-useless war maps against a marble mantle, the president disclosed that:
Japan, without ever being invaded, had accepted completely and without reservation an Allied declaration of Potsdam, dictating unconditional surrender.
There is to be no power for the Japanese emperor — although Allies will let him remain their tool. No longer will the warlords reign, through him. Hirohito — or any successor — will take orders from MacArthur.
The last article goes on to quote President Truman’s words to the public on the announcement of the news:
Ladies and gentlemen, this is the great day. This is the day we have been looking for since Dec. 7, 1941. This is the day when fascism and police government ceases in the world. This is the day for the democracies. This is the day when we can start up our real task of implementation of free government in the world. We are faced with the greatest task we ever have been faced with. The emergency is as great as it was on Dec. 7, 1941. It is going to take the help of all of us to do it. I know we are going to do it.
Read everything and see the AP’s photographs here.
— Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.
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