Wednesday, 12 August 2020
Impact of atomic bomb use over Japan in 1945 upon aircrew and victims on the ground
Letter published on 12 August 2020 in the Morning Star: Phil Brand is right to point out (Letter, 8 August) that the airs crew of the planes (th “Enola Gay” and (that dropped atomic bombs of n Hiroshgim aand Nagaskai in August 1945 had their reservations. But he is wrong to assert "this has never been mentioned.” An article in a Japanese newspaper (in english) two years ago reported that tape recordings of testimonies by Paul Tibbets, the pilot of the Enola Gay aircraft hat transported and dropped the atomic bomb that immolated 200,000 civilians in Hirsoshima ( and with hi screw members) had been put on show at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. “Interview tapes of American airmen who dropped A-bomb on Hiroshima found” (Mainichi Shimbun, 4 August 2018; https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20180804/p2a/00m/0na/008000c) The records include 27 tapes spanning about 30 hours, and 570 pages of transcripts. The records contain vivid testimonies every crew member and have clear, huge historic value. Another article (“The Crew of the Enola Gay on Dropping the Atomic Bomb” (https://www.mentalfloss.com/article/24269/crew-enola-gay-dropping-atomic-bomb) includes thes following testimonies: Captain Theodore Van Kirk, the plane’s navigator, said: “I pray no man will have to witness that sight again. Such a terrible waste, such a loss of life. We unleashed the first atomic bomb, and I hope there will never be another. I pray that we have learned a lesson for all time. But I'm not sure that we have.” Co-pilot Robert Lewis recorded in the official log of the mission "My God, what have we done." Later he explained, "I was dumbfounded. Remember, nobody had ever seen what an A-bomb could do before. ..there was almost no talk I can remember on our trip back to the base. It was just too much to express in words, I guess. We were all in a kind of state of shock. " Private Richard Nelson, Radar Operator, said: “"War is a terrible thing . It takes and it destroys. Anyone feels sorry for people who are killed. We are all human beings. “ Phil Morrison, a Los Alamos atomic weapons scientist on board as an observer said: “We stared in disbelief...there below was the flat level ground of what had been a city, scorched red..” Thirty years ago this week, on a visit to Hiroshima and Nagasaki to attend ceremonies to mark the terrible few days in August 1945 when the world safety was changed for the worst forever, I met an old Japanese gentleman, who had survived both atomic bombs! He witnessed the first atomic bomb from the outskirts of Hiroshima on 6 August 1945 ; in shock, he headed for his home city of Nagasaki, arriving on its outskirts in time to see the mushroom cloud rise a second tim, on 9th August. I was a very salutary and unforgettable meeting.