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A page from the diary of Hiroshima

August 11, 2009 Leave a comment

Hiroshima, August 5, 1945 8:00 PM: 

The day was calmer than expected. There was just one regular Air raid alert in morning. 

Regular troop movement was there from our 2nd Army Head quarters. I had just 30 new patients today from war injuries, mainly minor injuries except for a troop of 3rd battalion: 5 amputees and 3 half deaf soldiers all of them injured during the latest confrontation with allied forces.

Situation is lament in the hospital but the repeated narration of success of Pearl Harbor by Captain Daniel Yakuma along with his own personal input of the event keeps the others motivated. Captain Yakuma is man of mettle. His aircraft was hit by the anti aircraft missile on his return but he managed to come back to the post, lack of medical attention worsened his already fractured leg into Gangrene, before he can be finally brought to our base hospital. His leg now is amputated but he still has vigor in him to fight again.

The bloody war needs to come to an end. Whole of Hiroshima has been transformed to a military bunk over four years. The happy fishing people of ours have been moved out of the city or rehabilitated to the center of the city containing a number of reinforced concrete buildings instead of the ever beautiful wood houses along the shores of the canal.

How many lives we need to sacrifice. America, Europe or Asia everyone is bleeding but where will the damn quest of power lead us all?

The ships are hooting again from the bay of the Ota River. Probably more than a thousand times since the beginning of the war the citizens have seen off troops with cries of ‘Banzai’.

God bless us all.

Hiroshima, August6, 1945 11:30 PM:

Ah! It is paining even as I hold the pen. The pieces of the window glass have really pierced deep into me.

It was a black day for us and the humanity. There were rumors that the enemy had something special in mind for this city, but no one dreamed that the end would come in such a fashion.

The day began in a bright, clear, summer morning. About seven o’clock, there was an air raid alarm which we had heard almost every day and a few planes appeared over the city. No one paid any attention and at about eight o’clock, the all-clear was sounded.

 I have reached the base hospital and going through the history of the patients  monitoring their progress overnight. I am very cheerful today as compared to days in last few months. Captain Yakuma greeted me with a warm smile .He is happy; he is going to be released in just 2 more days.

From my window, I have a wonderful view down the valley to the edge of the city. Suddenly–the time is approximately 8:14–the whole valley is filled by a garish light which resembles the magnesium light used in photography, and I am conscious of a wave of heat. I jump to the window to find out the cause of this remarkable phenomenon, but I see nothing more than that brilliant yellow light. As I make for the door, it doesn’t occur to me that the light might have something to do with enemy planes. On the way from the window, I hear a moderately loud explosion which seems to come from a distance and, at the same time, the windows are broken in with a loud crash. There has been an interval of perhaps ten seconds since the flash of light. I am sprayed by fragments of glass. The entire window frame has been forced into the room. I realize now that a bomb has burst and I am under the impression that it exploded directly over our hospital or in the immediate vicinity. FUBAR!!

I am bleeding from cuts about the hands and head. The alarm has been raised. I attempt to get out of the door. It has been forced outwards by the air pressure and has become jammed. I force an opening in the door by means of repeated blows with my hands and feet and come to a broad hallway from which open the various rooms. Everything is in a state of confusion. All windows are broken and all the doors are forced inwards.  I do not note a second explosion and the fliers seem to have gone on. Most of my colleagues have been injured by fragments of glass. A few are bleeding but none has been seriously injured. All of us have been fortunate since it is now apparent that the wall of my room opposite the window has been lacerated by long fragments of glass.

We proceed to the front of the hospital to see where the bomb has landed. There is no evidence, however, of a bomb crater; but the southeast section of the hospital is very severely damaged. Neither a door nor a window remains. The blast of air had penetrated the entire hospital from the southeast, but it still stands

Down in the valley, perhaps one kilometer toward the city from us, several peasant homes are on fire and the woods on the opposite side of the valley are aflame. A few of us go over to help control the flames. While we are attempting to put things in order, a storm comes up and it begins to rain. Over the city, clouds of smoke are rising and I hear a few slight explosions.

Perhaps a half-hour after the explosion, a procession of people begins to stream up the valley from the city. The crowd thickens continuously. A few come up the road to our hospital. We have in the meantime cleaned and cleared of wreckage, and put them to rest on the straw mats. Casualties will be heavy and beyond the capacity of the hospital. Soldiers which are able to move are also being ordered to arrange. Captain Yakuma is marshalling his fellow mates for all possible arrangements.

The first groups of casualties have arrived. A few display horrible wounds of the extremities. First aid will definitely not be enough .Operation theatres are ready and I take first patient severely burned with one of his hand missing and one side of face peeled off. Blood is oozing out from his body and my apron has already turned red before even I enter the operation theatre. I must be clam, I must be focused it’s not the time to panic. Oh thy Lord give me strength and composure.

Its 3:00 PM in evening I have operated upon 15 causalities till now. More and more of the injured are coming. The least injured dragging the more seriously wounded. There are wounded soldiers, and mothers carrying burned children in their arms.

Soon comes the news that the entire city has been destroyed by the explosion and that it is on fire.

Medical supplies are depleted. Iodine is applied to the wounds but they are left uncleansed. Neither ointments nor other therapeutic agents are available. Those that have been brought in are laid on the floor and no one can give them any further care. What could one do when all means are lacking? Under these circumstances, it is almost useless to bring them in. We need to shift patients to the grounds of our hospital.

The transportation of our own wounded is difficult. It is not possible to dress their wounds properly in the darkness, and they bleed again upon slight motion. As we carry them on the shaky litters in the dark over fallen trees of the park, they suffer unbearable pain as the result of the movement, and lose dangerously large quantities of blood. In the meantime, fires which had begun some distance away are raging even closer, so that it becomes obvious that everything would soon burn down.

We didn’t know when night fell. The night was just a shade darker than day. Its 9 pm now. More than 12 hours since the blast.

A rescue party had brought a large case of fresh rice cakes but there is no one to distribute them to the numerous wounded that lie all about. We distribute them to those that are nearby and also help ourselves. The wounded call for water and we come to the aid of a few. Cries for help are heard from a distance, but we cannot approach the ruins from which they come.

I am now shivering with cold like never before. My hands have become numb and my throat is choked with smoke. If the reports about the nuclear explosion are true then we are in grave danger. I am not worried about us anymore. We are doomed to die, every one of us either from our injuries or from the radiation. But in what we are gifting to our coming generations lies my sorrow.

The amount of radiation will kill at least 5 coming generation of ours. For about half of the century the infants will have genetic and physical disorders. We have killed our future. We have dug the grave for them even before they would open their eyes or would take the first breath in this tragic air.

Let the battle stop for good. We have seen enough. Let us forget the animosity and stop further degradation of humanity. I might not survive a day more. All I humbly pray to the future generations is to learn from our mistakes .Let humanity triumph over pride, possession and power.

Notes:

Captain Fujimoto was found dead the next morning. There was another nuclear bombing in nearby city of Nagasaki on August 9, 1945.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. Amongst these, 15–20% died from injuries or the combined effects of flash burns, trauma, and radiation burns, compounded by illness, malnutrition and radiation sickness. Since then, more have died from leukemia (231 observed) and solid cancers (334 observed) attributed to exposure to radiation released by the bombs. In both cities, the majority of the dead were civilians.

Six days after the detonation over Nagasaki, on August 15, Japan announced its surrender to the Allied Powers, signing the Instrument of Surrender on September 2, officially ending the Pacific War and therefore World War II. 

From me:  

This is my tribute and service to the brave Japanese and humanity, who have overcome their great grief and have raised themselves as one of the leading economy in the post world war era. 

PS: The character of captain Yakuma and Fujimoto are fictious and the diary too.

Notes describing the scenario have been taken from the diary of Father John A. Siemes, professor of modern philosphy at Tokyo’s Catholic University