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“Hiroshima” by John Hersey. “The release of atom power has changed everything except our way of thinking... the solution to this problem lies in the heart.

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Presentation on theme: "“Hiroshima” by John Hersey. “The release of atom power has changed everything except our way of thinking... the solution to this problem lies in the heart."— Presentation transcript:

1 “Hiroshima” by John Hersey

2 “The release of atom power has changed everything except our way of thinking... the solution to this problem lies in the heart of mankind. If only I had known, I should have become a watchmaker.” ~Albert Einstein

3 The author: John Hersey *born 1914 in China to missionary parents *studied journalism at Yale and Cambridge *was a WWII correspondent for Time magazine *many of his writings center around the topic of war *won a Pulitzer Prize *died 1993

4 “Hiroshima”was originally published on August 31, 1946, in The New Yorker magazine as a 31,000 word article. There were NO other articles in the magazine that issue. “Hiroshima” was read on ABC radio to the entire country and newspapers all over the world asked permission to reprint it. Mr. Hersey agreed to the reprints as long as the profits were donated to the American Red Cross. Ironically, Albert Einstein purchased 1,000 copies of the magazine to be handed out to just about anyone he could find. Later that same year, “Hiroshima” was compiled into book form. Because it was originally an article, it keeps its “quotation marks” around the title instead of being underlined.

5 Historical Context of “Hiroshima” The book (a work of NONFICTION) starts on August 6, 1945, the day the first atomic bomb was dropped on human beings, and ends in 1985, with updates on the lives of the six survivors chronicled in the book. When the bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, and a few days later on Nagasaki, Japan had been at war with the United States for three and a half years. It was by then a losing fight for Japan, as resources and soldiers had been severely depleted and the civilian population was living on meager rations. The atomic bomb attacks were a final devastation to the Japanese war effort. The Japanese Empire surrendered unconditionally only nine days after the destruction of Hiroshima, on August 15, 1945.

6 The Survivors… interviewed by John Hersey for “Hiroshima”

7 Mrs. Hatsuyo Nakamura The widow of a tailor, Mrs. Hatsuyo is raising three young children on her own, Mrs. Nakamura is caring and resourceful, as well as a dedicated citizen. As Hersey puts it, she “had long had a habit of doing as she was told.” She and her children survive the explosion without any external physical harm, but she and her daughter, Myeko, later come down with radiation sickness and suffer with it for years.

8 Miss Toshiko Sasaki Miss Sasaki is a personnel clerk at the East Asia Tin Works factory. She is in her early twenties and lives with her parents and young sibling at the time of the blast. Her left leg is severely injured when bookshelves fall on her from the impact of the bomb, and she is left crippled.

9 Dr. Masakazu Fujii Dr. Fujii is a middle-aged physician who is comfortable financially since he owns his own private hospital. Being fairly self- absorbed, he enjoys fine whiskey, relaxation, and the company of foreigners. His hospital is completely destroyed in the blast and he is moderately injured.

10 Father Wilhelm Kleinsorge Father Kliensorge is a thirty-eight year-old German missionary priest with the Society of Jesus (Jesuits). He loves the Japanese people and is committed to his work in Hiroshima but feels uncomfortable with the xenophobia of war-time Japan. He incurs only small cuts in the blast, but suffers years later from debilitating effects of the radiation, and dies in the 1970s with a loyal Japanese nurse by his side.

11 Dr. Terufumi Sasaki Dr. Sasaki is an idealistic, young surgeon working at the Hiroshima Red Cross Hospital. (No relation to Ms. Sasaki). He is the only uninjured doctor from the bomb, and in the chaotic aftermath, he treats thousands of victims from all over the city for three days straight with no sleep.

12 Rev. Kiyoshi Tanimoto Rev. Tanimoto is a hard- working and thoughtful pastor. He is largely unhurt by the blast, and spends the first several days after the attack compassionately caring for the wounded and destitute of the city.

13 "If they (Japan) 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.” ~President Harry S. Truman August 6, 1945

14 August 6, 1945…

15 The “Enola Gay”…the plane that dropped the bomb on Hiroshima, piloted by Brig. Gen. Paul Tibbets.


17 “Little Boy” was what the military named the bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima.

18 “Sixteen hours ago an American airplane dropped one bomb on Hiroshima and destroyed its usefulness to the enemy. That bomb had more power than 20,000 tons of T.N.T. …which is the largest bomb ever yet used in the history of warfare.” ~President Harry S. Truman in a radio address to Americans after the bomb was dropped on Hiroshima



21 Mushroom Cloud from the ground in Hiroshima

22 “As the bomb fell over Hiroshima and exploded, we saw an entire city disappear. I wrote in my log the words: ‘My God, what have we done?’” -Capt. Robert Lewis co-pilot of the Enola Gay


24 On August 6, 1945, at 8:15 in the morning an atomic bomb called Little Boy was dropped over the city of Hiroshima by a B29 bomber called the Enola Gay. The 15-kiloton nuclear device was detonated about 2000 feet above the city immediately generating temperatures in the millions of degrees and sending a fireball out in all directions. Even though the explosion was 2000 feet up, the temperatures on the ground below it reached 7,000 degrees Fahrenheit, melting tile and glass and instantly burning anything combustible. The blast generated winds up to 620 miles per hour and destroyed most houses and buildings within a mile and a half radius.

25 The men, women and children who were not instantly incinerated by the blast were badly burned and exposed to very high levels of radiation. Most died within a few months. It is estimated that 140,000 people died by the end of that year. Subsequent deaths from radiation poisoning brought the death toll to somewhere around 200,000.


27 In the name of peace They waged the wars Ain't they got no shame ~Nikki Giovanni


29 “What a cruel thing is war: to separate and destroy families and friends…; to fill our hearts with hatred instead of love for our neighbors, and to devastate the fair face of this beautiful world.” ~ Gen. Robert E. Lee


31 A “Hiroshima” shadow… When the blast took place, radiation moved across in every direction, scorching everything in its path. Anything that was behind, or covered, by an object, was left unscortched… the “shadow" effect -it is similar to when you get a sunburn, but there are places not burned --like a tan line. This picture is an example of a “Hiroshima Shadow”. The man that was standing by his ladder disintegrated instantly after the blast.


33 “Mankind must put an end to war, or war will put an end to mankind.” ~John F. Kennedy, 1961


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