Hiroshima after the Atom Bomb

Following the end of the Second World War end the United States sent teams from the United States Strategic Bombing Survey to archive and examine the aftermath of the air campaign against Japan. This particular video was taken in Hiroshima in march 1946, only half a year since the United States detonated the 15 kt Mark 1 “Little Boy” nuclear bomb above the city.

One thing you’ll notice in this video is that the brick and concrete buildings are still (barely) standing, but there are large spaces in between them. This is because most Japanese housing at the time was constructed out of wood and paper. So, when the bomb went off the houses and shops were incinerated by the heat flash and then blown away by the shockwave.

Only the concrete and cement shells of the sturdier buildings were left standing. Even then, burn marks are evident and some of the walls have been blown slightly inward by the blast. It’s not hard to imagine how a bomb that could smash in a concrete wall a mile away could wipe out an entire city.

In any case, enjoy the haunting footage of Hiroshima after the atom bomb. While you’re watching you may want to think about how many Japanese people died because of the bombing (140,000) or maybe you want to think about how many Americans were saved because the allies never had to invade Japan (500,000?). Either way, this video is a testament to the power of nuclear weapons, even the most primitive ones.


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