What If You Were At Hiroshima When the Atomic Bombs Were Dropped?

What If You Were At Hiroshima When the Atomic Bombs Were Dropped?

It’s 8:14 am on August 6, 1945, and you’re
about to live through hell. But for now, a brilliant, clear day is getting
started. Morning traffic and crowded streetcars go
by, and you arrive at work–a large, modern office building. Earlier in the morning, there was an air raid
alarm, but by now those are so common that they hardly register as more than routine. And besides, the all clear has come through. Only a few planes were spotted, meaning this
likely wasn’t a bombing run. There’s no real reason to believe that this
day would be any worse than the last. Other Japanese cities, notably Tokyo, have
taken serious hits from bombing. But so far, your city, Hiroshima, has been
comparatively fortunate–all but ignored by the American B-29s. The total warfare Japan has been waging for
over a decade has affected everyone in the country in some way–when you were younger,
you’d served overseas yourself. Now, all these years later, it’s almost surprising
that you’ve been spared the worst tragedies of the home front. Most of all, you pray that the war will end
before your son is old enough to fight, or daughter to be widowed. For now, like the other teenagers, they’ve
been occupied with civilian defense, helping knock down old buildings to make way for military
vehicles in the event of an invasion. A minute later: 8:15 am. You step into the lobby of the building. And then the world changes. An incredible yellow light like the flash
from a camera blazes all around you, and everything around you becomes an empty white. You’re sent flying, and you feel pieces of
debris strike you, followed by the deafening boom as the sound from the explosion catches
up. You slam against the floor and lose consciousness–probably
just for a moment, you’re not sure. You know you need to get up. Did you break any bones? No time to consider the situation. No one else is in the lobby with you, but
all of the furniture has been blown to one side of the room, along with your body. You push yourself up and step back outside
through the door that’s now missing all of its glass. You check all around yourself, and see what
you’re up against. In front of you is a wall of fire, and it
seems to be growing. You turn to run the other way, but now the
wind is against you, and the glass shards and pieces of rubble fly back toward the blaze
in the most powerful storm you’ve ever felt. You duck back into the doorway and watch as
anything that can catch fire, does. Somehow, you’ll have to fight the tremendous
windstorm. As you push forward, you catch glimpses of
people who’d been outside during the blast, some lying dead in the street. The fingertips are the first part of the body
to catch fire. Among the living, some are horribly burned. The boiling wind blows strips of clothing
off of them, along with strips of skin. Everyone just wants to get away from the fire. You feel like you might be getting burned
yourself. There’s the river in front of you. Along with the pack of people pressing against
you, you jump into the water. When you rise above the surface to catch your
breath, more debris rains down. How much time has passed? Are more bombs falling? You hear a child yelling, and help her get
across to the other side of the river. There are no more bombs, and although there
are fires burning in all directions, the fireball has stopped expanding, and the air isn’t as
hot. You try to help people to their feet. Some can manage, others can’t. A fire engine arrives, and the men start pulling
anyone who can’t walk onto the truck. You help as best you can, and then follow
in the direction that the truck heads, along with a small cohort of other people who’ve
escaped the worst of the blast. Now, as you trek through piles of bricks,
concrete, and metal, making your way back toward your house, the cloud cover thickens,
and heavy drops of rain fall. They’re black, apparently from soot. Nothing is as important to you as finding
out if your family is safe, but neither you nor the other survivors can ignore the calls
for help as you pass block upon block of leveled buildings amid the smoke and fire. For hours, as you press northward through
the smoke and wreckage, and burning houses, you hear the cries of people trapped below
buildings. When you can, you free them from the debris. Others, you’re powerless to help. You pass countless stumbling, crawling, prostrate,
or dead. You bury your guilt, and try not to see the
worst. You press forward in what you’re fairly sure
is the direction of your neighborhood. A little girl is wandering, clutching at a
wound on her head. You refuse to pass her by, and for a mile
you carry her, until you reach a makeshift clinic inside a school that, aside from its
windows, is largely intact. Later you’ll learn that you were among the
closest people to the atomic blast who didn’t die. The building you were in shielded you from
the full force of the blast and heat. Anyone within a half mile who was exposed
to the initial blast of heat didn’t merely burn to death: they were instantly incinerated. Outside that radius, thousands more burned
to death, or died from the flying debris and falling buildings. Here in the elementary school, people are
already stretched out shoulder-to-shoulder on the floor. A few nurses scramble from person to person,
cleaning the worst wounds, but apparently already without enough bandages for everyone. Some of the charred bodies have clearly already
stopped breathing. All of the emergency planning in the city,
setting up emergency aid centers with supplies in the various sectors of the city, had assumed
there would actually be a city left after an attack. Most of the adults are stoical in their suffering,
but from the cries of children, it’s clear that there’s little medicine for the pain. As you scan the unbelievable ranks of bodies
on the mats, desperately hoping not to see anyone familiar, you see the full extent of
their injuries. Many are so badly burned you can’t imagine
that they’ll survive. Apparently, people who were wearing dark colored
clothing were sometimes burned more than those wearing white, because of the difference in
heat absorption. With uncontrollable tears of relief, you learn
that no one in your own family is among them. Three miles from miles from the center of
the city, your family’s wooden house was destroyed, but hadn’t caught fire, at least not yet. You’re frightened when you realize that your
wife has been bleeding, cut down her back and sides by glass shards, but she assures
you that the injuries are all on the surface, and takes you by the hand, to your son and
daughter, both of whom are trying to administer some aid to the wounded. There’s no actual ointment left, and they’re
making due with cooking oil, which is better than nothing, albeit disturbing, given what’s
happened. They’ve both suffered bruises and cuts, but
their greatest pain was waiting for you to return. They’d been certain that since you were in
the city center, you must have been killed. For your part, you’re glad you’ve been able
to keep your children healthy as they’ve grown up. Other young people at the clinic have become
weak as the rationing has gotten worse, and you can see that among the injured, malnutrition
is going to make their chances of survival much less likely. Now that you’ve found your family, you can
go back out and help with the rescue. You can’t see much organized effort beyond
the continuing lines of evacuees, but along with other individuals, you try to move as
many of the injured as you can. Some wounded people are stuck on a sandbar
by the river, and you help to lift them to higher ground before the tide rises. In one particularly gruesome instance, the
body of a victim slips from your hands as the burned skin of the arm tears loose. After several more hours, you begin feeling
weak, and wander back to the aid station. By the time you get there, you realize that,
broken bones or no, you haven’t escaped unharmed. It can’t just be exhaustion catching up with
you. You’re lightheaded, and feel weak, like you’ve
come down with the flu. You sit down on a cot, just to catch your
breath. You feel feverish. A nurse offers a cup of water, which you gratefully
accept. But as you pour the cool liquid past your
lips, you can’t swallow it. Embarrassed, you cough and spit it out. You feel much worse all of a sudden, and without
hesitation begin to vomit on the floor. Someone puts a wastebasket next to you to
catch it. You weren’t the first with this symptom, nor
will you be alone as you continue to retch and suffer diarrhea for days on end. Aid workers are distributing soft rice biscuits
and bowls of rice porridge, but, like you, many people have little appetite. As days pass, insects find the necrotic tissue
on the survivors. Horrified family members do their best to
clear the wounds of larvae. You’re embarrassed to have your wife and children
caring for you. It’s supposed to be the other way around. After a couple of days of misery, the nausea
subsides. How could it not? You haven’t eaten in days. It takes courage, but you’re able to take
tiny sips of water, and then a bite or two of porridge. It’s rare to get a moment with a doctor, but
from what you can overhear, you’ve been hit with sickness caused by an invisible kind
of force called gamma rays that can fly right through your body, ripping tissues apart. As your strength recovers, you again try to
make yourself useful aiding in the endless recovery work. Often that means helping to carry bodies to
the perpetual funeral pyres. Many of these unfortunates never got to say
goodbye to their families, and their loved ones will never know what became of their
remains. For some victims, the poisoning from radiation
was much worse. By the 24 hour mark, several had become incoherent
from damage to the brain. Others had a racing heart; some soon suffered
a heart attack. Some literally changed color, turning bright
red as if sunburned. Those who, unlike you, never recovered their
appetite, were dead in a few days. But then something especially worrying begins. Several people who had been up and about are
now again lying flat on the cots, and they don’t look good. Their skin has become mottled with purple
blotches as blood vessels break. Again they feel weak and sick. The pain already looks like too much to bear,
but then it gets worse. The dying vomit blood, and blood flows from
their anus. Even the eyes begin to bleed. By now additional medical workers have come
from the outskirts and outside the prefecture. But those who hover over death tend to have
shriveled veins, so they can’t even receive morphine. You hope that you’re not due to follow their
downward slide. A doctor examines you, and notices spots on
your body that you’d overlooked. It’s happening. But at least for now you don’t feel it, and
you’re able to carry on a conversation. The doctor has come from Tokyo. He must be an expert on this kind of disease,
although before the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, there were very few cases–mostly
scientists doing research with radium or other unusual substances. He confirms that the atomic bomb blast dosed
you with harmful radiation. In that conversation, and many more that would
follow over the years, you avidly learn details about radiation. The blast did emit gamma rays, and X-rays
as well. They’re slightly different, but the main thing
to know is that in a high enough strength, they’re both very bad for you, unlike the
relatively weak X-rays that doctors use to take pictures of your bones. Both X-rays and gamma rays are made of photons,
the same kind of wave-particle as regular beams of light. But they have a much shorter wavelength, and
very different properties from visible light, as far as people are concerned. By comparison, some of the people who are
recovering from serious burns to the skin also received a very, very heavy amount of
long wavelength, infrared radiation, which causes matter to heat up–in this case, a
great deal. The temperature of the blast was thousands
of degrees–enough to reduce people to dust in an instant. Although gamma rays don’t cause surface burns,
they’re an example of what’s called ionizing radiation. Non-ionizing radiation, like the signals that
a radio antenna picks up, doesn’t seem to have much effect of living tissue at everyday
doses. But ionizing radiation is another story. This class gets its name from its invisible
effect, which is to cause an atom to lose electrons, leaving positively charged ions. Inside the cells of your body are complex
molecules held together by electrons, and if enough of the molecules are torn apart,
the cell dies. This is especially bad when it happens in
bone marrow, which manufactures blood cells for the body. A deficiency of red blood cells deprives the
body of oxygen. Low white blood cell count leaves the body
vulnerable to infection. And too few platelets prevents blood from
clotting, which causes the characteristic blotches in addition to other ill effects. In addition to gamma and X-rays, there are
streams of particles called beta rays, which are loose electrons. Alpha rays, the charged nuclei of helium atoms,
and loose neutrons, fly out of unstable elements as they decay. A few pounds of one such element, uranium,
was the fuel for the atom bomb at Hiroshima. Another, plutonium, powered the blast at Nagasaki. Both elements proved terribly effective at
creating a chain reaction. Moreover, it’s not safe to even handle much
of these substances for any length of time without protection. Marie Curie, who had discovered many of the
important properties of radioactivity had herself later died of radiation poisoning. So amid the smoke and dust from the nuclear
explosion was a mass of radioactive particles blasted into the air. Some of that material fell right back down
in the black rain. If you have radioactive material on your skin
or clothes you can spread it around. Worse, if you ingest radioactive dust, it
can stay in your system for some time, and for awhile at least, your body could itself
give off radiation. You think about how you held your wife and
children, and now wish you hadn’t found them so quickly. Because the blast was so far above ground,
there wouldn’t be a dangerous concentration at the center–one small comfort in the chaos. For weeks, you do decline in health. You’re admitted to a real hospital this time. All your hair falls out, and your skin becomes
swollen. The nausea comes back. People continue to die. By September, some of the burn victims are
in better shape. You assume that those with both heavy burns
and radiation poisoning are dead by now. But you do not die. Over the years, your family builds a new life,
utterly thankful that you didn’t share the fate of more than 200,000 in the two devastated
cities. You return to work for some time, and then
retire on a pension. Your son and daughter both marry, and each
begins to build their own family. You learn about a special kind of chemical
in the body called DNA, which scientists have found contains all the blueprints for the
cells in your body, and that combines with the DNA from your spouse to build a new person
in a woman’s womb. You also learn that it’s damage to DNA that
causes cancer, and you know that cancer rates are especially high for people exposed to
radiation. You’re not worried so much for yourself as
for your children. Although they may not have displayed acute
radiation sickness, they were certainly exposed to gamma rays. And if DNA is damaged, might their children
not have inherited the mutated genes? Certainly, some babies born soon after the
bombing had a high rate of birth defects, like underdeveloped brains. So far, no one has seen any evidence of genetic
damaged passed on to children of hibakusha–atom bomb survivors–who weren’t exposed in utero. You make sure that your children and theirs
get check-ups from the doctor, and the new, more peaceful Japanese government is keeping
tabs on their health, and yours of course. You can’t help but notice that people in your
new neighborhood in Tokyo don’t want to stand close to anyone in your family, and although
their fears are unfounded, you can understand their wariness in such strange times. And you follow the arms race, as nations build
nuclear weapons that could somehow inflict far more damage than the one you experienced. Years later, you take your grandchildren to
see a movie you’ve heard about. In this movie, there’s a reptile whose body
is altered by radiation, turning it into a monster that destroys the city of Tokyo. It’s a bit of dramatic license, you know,
but that’s what movies are for. The kids are old enough that they try not
to seem scared, although clearly the fire-breathing beast makes quite an impression on them. The allegory in the movie is not lost on you,
although you decide not to share it with these children of a new era. They’re aware of their country’s bitter, foolish
experience in making war, and the awful toll that their parents witnessed when men tested
the limits of human suffering. But you hope with all your heart that they
will themselves only ever see such horror in a movie. This story is a composite sketch based upon
the firsthand accounts of survivors of Hiroshima. Do you know anyone who’s had to deal with
heavy radiation, either for work or for a medical treatment–or through exposure to
hazardous material? Let us know what you think in the comments. Also, be sure to check out our other video
called “What To Do If There’s a Nuclear Explosion.” Thanks for watching, and, as always, don’t
forget to like, share, and subscribe. See you next time!

100 Replies to “What If You Were At Hiroshima When the Atomic Bombs Were Dropped?

  1. This channel gives me anxiety due to the slow, annoying, fluff filled storytelling. Still addicted. Still watching.

  2. Thank you Creators of this video. I was moved and sadend for the people, who this happened too. I Don't think very many Videos that cover this topic can do this. thanks for sharing.

  3. the way this video went through the life of this guy kind of made me.. idk. sad but calm? like watching sims 4 birth to death videos

  4. Sorry but can someone tell me why 98% of the videos on this channel have more than 5 adds and an additional 2 pre vid. I get the need for adds but that many on the majority of the videos is a joke tbh

  5. "I shouldn't have found my family so quickly. I'm definitely full of radiation and now I spread it to them too!"
    – Main Character whilst smiling

  6. There is a great anime movie I believe everyone should watch if they haven't already that fits with this very video, albeit from the point of view of a child and his struggle to keep his mother and baby sister alive following the Atomic Bomb attack on Hiroshima… Barefoot Gen… It's graphic, but it puts into perspective the horror the people faces, and, though told from a person who had connections to Hiroshima, is actually moreso an indictment of the Japanese Government than the United States…

    Also, though not connected to April 6th, 1945, and also, certainly most everyone has at least heard of these movies, "The Day After…" and "Threads" are both great movies to watch about what could have easily had been back when I was a Newborn-8 year old when the Cold War ended… Those films can put things into perspective, and I seriously suggest that people watch them, though the graphics are dated, as is the understanding of Nuclear War…. Be grateful that, not yet anyway, we've been able to dodge the Nuclear Bullet…

  7. the United States dropped leaflets on Hiroshima and Nagasaki to warn of the nuclear attack…

    I guess you could say they were the target audience.

  8. If you think about it, Japan did get revenge on the US and the rest of the world after the A-Bombs were dropped. Wanna know how? They gave the world anime.

  9. At 12:11 the description of Alpha and Beta Particles is switched.

    Alpha particles are ionized Helium atoms while Beta particles are electrons which usually escape the nucleus when a neutron converts into a proton (beta decay)

  10. I think it's quite sad shows like Chernobyl raise awareness of the dangers of nuclear power when "harnessed" by man, when two cities were destroyed with litetally countless civilians died as a result; those survived, doctors had no idea what to do because it was the first time ever this had happened.

  11. I hate that we had to do this, I wish there was a better way for us to make the war end but you kinda gotta understand how Japans military doctrine was during the Second World War. I mean we would’ve invaded mainland Japan. That would be millions of deaths. It’s the best worst option and I’m sad that we did it and hope to go to the memorial some day

  12. Aren’t we just glad, that we didn’t have thermonuclear war? Instead of having our eyes melt out, we get to troll around on the internet and leave comments like this 👆🤦🏻‍♀️

  13. What if Korea drop atomic bomb in new York and Washington DC straight to the oval office
    If it will happen it is very interesting

  14. Nuclear weapons are terrible. If everyone was rational, they wouldn't even exist. The worst part of them is how the only way to detur their use is to threaten their use. Here's hoping they are never used again

  15. It’s Unbelievable How the US could’ve dropped such a destructive weapon on a mostly
    Civilian population.
    And it’s unbelievable that Japan allowed such destruction to happen twice

  16. Let’s be realistic, if a bomb like this was to go off in New York only about 10% maybe 5% of people would help others. We think we care about strangers until the insanity comes.

    I hope I’m wrong

  17. Wow all of these guys act like they didn’t dropped a nuclear bomb on thousands of civilians and still have the nerve to joke about it like it’s something to be proud of.

  18. It's sad that we couldn't have a non-violent way of solving problems but unfortunately that's sometimes how wars end up happening

  19. The holocost, rightly so, gets lots of mentions and reconision and is one of the main things (as a European at least) that I think of when someone says WW2. This is such a horrible thing, how could someone do that especially to civilians. Innocent people. Can’t help but feel like this was Japan’s 9/11 but doesn’t get the reconigsion for it

  20. A drastic oversimplification of one of the most cataclysmic man made events in human history. And told in an inappropriately lighthearted style.
    I was stationed in Japan with the USAF and believe me, there's nothing lighthearted about it.
    Shame on you!

  21. Tbh if your city is about to get nuked, it would suit you better to get as close to the bomb as possible, instant death, too quick to even feel pain. A lot better than slowly decaying from the radiation after, just my 2 cents

  22. 12:15 i think u have a wrong description for both Alpha particles and Beta particles.. Beta rays should be the electron instead… Any how, it is a great video.. thanks !!!

  23. There's a graphic novel called "Barefoot Gen", and this book is about a kid who survived the bombing, and it's very interesting.

  24. Weirdly sanitized. Also nuclear I don't think people burning to death should be weirdly sanitized.
    I also generally doubt the level of investigation here, it's doesn't rise far above general knowledge at all. I don't think people should support this cheapo stuff.

  25. It never actually occurred but was a game designed by sick gamers. The reality was there was just an earthquake. The news are prepared to cover an event in an effort to stop panic among common plebs. Someone actually tried to call my phone to determine whether if I was a robot or a human and when I answered the phone call I heard an explosion and then the phone went dead. There is no news to report about this. Because the caller wasn’t suppose to call(cull).

  26. Radiation as a cancer treatment made my grandpa lose all his hair he rapidly lost weight until he died, I just entered the fifth grade during his death.

  27. I would die laughing at our Most Glorious Victory Fireworks Celebration! ‘Murica 🇺🇸Back to Back World War Champions! 🏆🏆

  28. 16:16 What to do if there's a nuclear explosion ? Duck and cover, and the radiations will bounce off your back of course.

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