Around 7.15 am on August 6, 1945 Japanese radar detected three American aircraft flying south at high altitude. Because it was thought the planes were on reconaissance, the air raid alert was lifted. At 8.16 am, the leading B-29 bomber, named, Enola Gay, dropped Little Boy, an enriched uranium bomb, over the city of Hiroshima. Three days latter, ‘Fat Boy’, a plutonium bomb was dropped on Nagasaki. “Hiroshima-Nagasaki” is a monologue interieur set against the background of unique movie footage in the cities right after the bombs exploded.
Style & quality
Due to its age and the circumstances at which the footage was recorded the image quality is poor. Nevertheless, this documentary film is an explicit and powerful portrayal of Nuclear aftermath.
The bombs killed as many as 140,000 people in Hiroshima and 80,000 in Nagasaki by the end of 1945, roughly half on the days of the bombings. In Hiroshima an estimated 90.000 people were killed instantly.; another 50.000 died by the end of the year. About 90% of the citys buildings were damaged or destroyed. Since then, thousands more have died from injuries or illness attributed to exposure to radiation released by the bombs. In both cities, the overwhelming majority of the dead were civilians.
These are to date the only attacks with nuclear weapons in the history of warfare. In 1949 the USSR tested its first atomic bomb. Britain, France and China soon followed. Today, Israel, India, Pakistan, and North Korea have joined the nuclear club. The threat of nuclear war might have acted as a deterrent and kept the peace between the main nuclear powers. The ability to destroy the world, however, has made our planet an infinitely more dangerous place.
The atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were nuclear attacks during WW II against the Empire of Japan by the United States of America at the order of U.S. President Harry S. Truman. The war against Nazi Germany had ended in May, but Germanys ally, Japan, refused to surrender even after six months of intense firebombing of 69 Japanese cities. In the US it was thought that any invasion of the Japanese mainland would result in a huge loss of both military and civilian life, as well as massive physical destruction. Truman therefore decided to use atomic bombs to force Japan to surrender. This popular thought however, is disputed in the documentary Why we fight. In it director Jarecki argues that the US government must have been aware that Japan was ready to surrender anyway. From his point of view the true reason for bombing Hiroshima and Nagasaki was to intimmidate Stalin (Soviet Communism).
Hiroshima was chosen because of its industrial and military significance. The Hiroshima bomb exploded 600 metres above the city with a blast equivalent to 13 kilotons of TNT. The physics that made this bomb possible grew out of the reailzation that the atom was not stable and indivisible but had the potential to release immense amounts of energy. In 1938, German scientists Otto Hahn and Fritz Strassman split uranium atoms by bombarding them with neutrons. The process used, known as nuclear fission, had obvious military uses and scientists in the UK and US grew concerned that Germany might use this to make bombs. On August 2, 1939, Albert Einstein and the Hungarian physicist Leo Szilard wrote to president Roosevelt urging him to take action. He set up the Uranium Committee to pursue research. After the US entered the war in December 1941, the ‘Manhattan Project, under the direction of Robert OppenheimerJ, developed a nuclear Bomb. Three devices resulted from this work:
The trinity test of a plutonium bomb detonated at Alamogordo in New Mexico, US.
The enriched Uranium bomb detonated over Hiroshima
The Plutonium bomb dropped on Nagasaki.
- Producer: Erik Barnauw
- Writer: Paul Ronder
- Editor: Geof Bartz
- Music: Linea Johnson & Terrill Schukraft