White Light Black Rain really opened my eyes to the accounts of the people caught in the thick of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. I never realized how many people the nuclear bombs we dropped killed. The large, devastating numbers were way too much for me to personally fathom as the entire time I was astonished by all of this. Around 220,000 Japanese men, women and children died during the Nagasaki/Hiroshima bombings.The temperature was 60 million degrees when the bomb detonated. The immensity of what had happened can never be measured in numbers though. No matter how scary these numbers may look there is always an even more terrifying statistic that we almost always look when Americans discuss this topic. The United States of America was the first country to ever use a nuclear bomb on a civilian population.
During World War II Hiroshima was always the main target for America. Hiroshima had large amounts of military supplies, major shipping ports, and the Japanese armies headquarters. August 6th was when “Little Boy” was dropped over Hiroshima. This bomb instantly killed at least 88,000 people and would have killed more, but the bomb that was suppose to impact the ground of Hiroshima actually exploded a few thousand feet in the air. Imagine what would have happened if “Little Boy” actually did impact the ground and then exploded, how many more would have died.
In White Light Black Rain all of the survivors stated “We were always told that we were winning the war, even when we knew we weren’t the government always told us we were.” The government wanted the backing of all of its members and wanted to create some type of hope for them. The Japanese custom was always “it is more honorable to die for your country, then to surrender” which meant Kamikaze pilots had some of the most honorable jobs. Japan’s government forced most men into at least two years in the military and to be an active draftee until the age of 40. They had a larger army than us, but their samurai code weighed them down during the war. Sadly, throughout the entire war Japan seemed to not really care about its citizens and how many citizens it was losing.
None of the American citizens knew the effect of nuclear warfare, in fact a majority of the statistics were hidden from them. I think it’s even worse that we did the same thing to the Japanese. The news of the actual effects of the bombings were withheld by our US military from both us and the Japanese. The number of casualties were hidden, actual film of the bombings were confiscated, and the only thing that we actually had a way to learn about all this was a book written by John Hersey titled “Hiroshima” which we banned in Japan. I find it funny that a country built around “freedom” could actually be censored and force censorship among a population of millions.
The innocent lives we killed in order to end the war wasn’t all that necessary when you look at it now. During the war we believed that Japan was the evident danger and must be eliminated, but we didn’t even realize that the Japanese were killing themselves faster than we were killing them. Many people would call the Japanese people brave since they never gave up, but I find the Japanese government to be quite the opposite. In the film White Light Black Rain, we get a much better understanding of how “helpful” Japan was to the survivors of the nuclear bombings when many of the people in the documentary say things like “Japan is now finally helping us survivors after sixty years of struggling.”
The Japanese people even shunned those survivors and segregated them, making them the untouchables of Japan. Even now in present time if you are a bomb survivor you will be shunned by others. I find this absolutely disgusting that these nuclear survivors were being pushed away by their own people when it wasn’t even their fault that this was happening. I understand that back in WWII people didn’t understand if this was infectious, but now that we know it isn’t I don’t understand why these people still have to be forgotten about and treated like animals.
I was sickened to see what we put the Japanese civilians through during World War II. Nuclear bombs seemed to be helpful to win the war, but other then that it’s easy to see that they cause more pain and suffering. I personally do not agree with what we did to accomplish victory as we took revenge for Pearl Harbor to a much larger scale. The strange part about all of this was that the people in the documentary, White Light Black Rain, seemed fine with the bombing explaining that “They want to be the first and last people to have this type of weapon used on.” Those words alone are extremely noble for anyone to say. This documentary really opened my eyes to the true power of nuclear war and I feel as if we should never use it on civilians like we have done in the past. The story of Hiroshima and Nagasaki should be one explained to matured audiences everywhere in hopes we all experience the white light of knowledge and have nuclear war dissipate in a storm of black rain.
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