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On August 6th, 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan. Three days later a second atomic bomb detonated at Nagasaki, Japan. President Harry S. Truman made the decision to use the bombs to bring the war to a final end. Estimates suggest that over 100,000 people died, and tens of thousands were never recovered. Hiroshima, by John Hersey, tells the story of 6 survivors beginning with events several hours before the "A bomb" dropped. This controversial event described throughout the novel changed the lives of not only those living in Japan; it changed the course of the world. Should the "A bomb" have been dropped or should nuclear weapons ever be used again in the future?

John Hersey based his book upon the perspective that the bombing of Hiroshima was an act of inhumanity. He accomplished this by revealing the suffering of the victims of the atomic bomb. He described the burn victims, "On some undressed bodies, the burns had made patterns of undershirt straps and suspenders..." (Hersey 29). Mr. Tanimoto "took a woman by the hands, but her skin slipped off in huge glovelike, pieces" (Hersey 45). "Their faces were wholly burned, their eye sockets were hollow, the fluid from their melted eyes had run down their checks" (Hersey 51). Hersey also wrote of the unpredictable illness that the radiation brought upon the Hiroshima victims, such as vomiting, hair loss, abnormal growths on their skin only to name a few. Mrs. Nakamura, "after one stroke, her comb carried with it a whole handful of hair" (Hersey 68). Mr. Tanimoto, "fell suddenly ill with a general malaise weariness, and feverishness" (Hersey 68). Father Kleinsorge's wounds "had suddenly opened wider and were swollen and inflamed" (Hersey 68). These are only a few of issues that the Japanese experienced due to the radiation during the first several weeks following the bomb. In the later years of the survivors' lives, Hersey describes not only the physical illnesses they continue to battle, but he also describes how they are discriminated against because employers consider them unreliable workers due to frequent medical issues. Many employers even feared the survivors might be contagious.

Reading all of these horrific details of suffering is enough to persuade any one to believe that America is a heartless country who destroyed an innocent civilization. After doing some research, I now know that Japan is not the innocent civilization that Hersey creates with the tone of Hiroshima. What Hersey failed to do was to give the other perspective, of why America took these actions against Hiroshima. The two major historic events that Hersey failed to mention were the bombing of Pearl Harbor and the Death March at the Bataan Camps. December 7, 1941, Japan performed a surprise attack on America at Pearl Harbor. America lost over 2,400 service men from this bombing (Boyer). In the Bataan



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