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The Secret History of the American POWs Killed by the Atomic Bomb


by

Shigeaki Mori

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The Secret History of the American POWs Killed by the Atomic Bomb


by

Shigeaki Mori

English Translation

Translated here into English is the story discovered and told by historian Shigeaki Mori, who is himself a survivor of the atomic bomb. Learning that Americans were killed along with 140,000 Japanese and others, Mr. Mori came to realize that American families felt the same loss, and knew nearly nothing about what happened to their young men. He felt compelled to work for decades compiling information about American POWs...learning, finding relatives to tell them what happened, to register the sacrifices, the memory in the Atomic Registry, informing those who would educate us...

Here, Mori-san provides this version of his book in English, without charge to the reader. He and the Co-editors are actively revising the contents to include new information from government archives, historians, families and friends, and in this sense his book is a "living document".

Book Review

By Yukako Ibuki

Genbaku de shinda Beihei Hishi
(Secret History of the American Soldiers Killed by the Atomic Bomb)  by Shigeaki Mori

 

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Prologue


Mori, who was 8 years old at the time of the attack, also came very close to dying in the cauldron that engulfed his hometown.

“I was about 2.5 kilometers from the center of the blast, on a hill near my school to the northwest,” he recalls. “The blast threw me into a stream and then I found myself inside the mushroom cloud. It was so dark that when I held my hands up about 10 centimeters in front of my face, I couldn’t see them.

“The blast was unbelievable. I saw things around me being lifted up into the air by its power,” he says. “I thought the Earth itself had exploded.

“It was a miracle that I was not injured.”

Prologue


Mori, who was 8 years old at the time of the attack, also came very close to dying in the cauldron that engulfed his hometown.

“I was about 2.5 kilometers from the center of the blast, on a hill near my school to the northwest,” he recalls. “The blast threw me into a stream and then I found myself inside the mushroom cloud. It was so dark that when I held my hands up about 10 centimeters in front of my face, I couldn’t see them.

“The blast was unbelievable. I saw things around me being lifted up into the air by its power,” he says. “I thought the Earth itself had exploded.

“It was a miracle that I was not injured.”

Prologue

1:45 a.m. August 6, 1945 (20th year of Showa)

A bomber began a mission from a runway on Tinian Island, situated 8 km southwest of Saipan. It was the Enola Gay, carrying an atomic bomb. Enola Gay was the name of the mother of the crew commander, Col. Paul Tibbets, Enola, being the first name and Gay, her middle name. Her name was marked on the forward side of the fuselage as the guardian angel of the plane.

 The Great Artiste (an observation plane) and B-29 No. 91 (photography escort) followed the Enola Gay, taking off from the runway in the middle of the night.

 The primary target for dropping the bomb was Hiroshima... 

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Chapter 1


Chapter 1


Chapter 1

Illustrations Made by Survivors of the Atomic Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki

From 1974 to 1975, the public Japan Broadcasting Corporation (NHK) made an appeal to the general public for submission of illustrations of the atomic bombing of Japan. The goal was to obtain illustrations that were inspired by personal experiences directly related to the atomic bombing. In 1945, when the Atom bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, photographic... 

 

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Chapter 2


Chapter 2


Chapter 2  

Hiroshima Is the Chosen Target

☆    Preparing for a Decisive Battle on Japan Proper

 Until around the end of 1944, the air raids by B-29s on Japan Proper (Japanese islands) were restricted to targets such as military ammunition facilities, factories and so on. However, in 1945, the bombing targets were not only military facilities but they were shifted to indiscriminate air bombings including residences of civilians. Starting with the Great Tokyo Air Raids on March 10, big cities such as Osaka, Nagoya, and Kobe were attacked by B-29s indiscriminately, and the damage spread to local cities. No doubt, Hiroshima would be attacked.  Every person who lived in Hiroshima believed that. However, B-29s just passed through the sky above Hiroshima, while the air-raid sirens absently wailed. “Why are there no air-raids in Hiroshima?” citizens of Hiroshima all wondered as they looked up at the sky. 

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Chapter 3


Chapter 3


 

Chapter 3

 Why were POWs in Hiroshima? 

One of the reasons why Hiroshima was selected as a target candidate for dropping the Atomic Bomb, according to a US document, was “There is no POW camp in Hiroshima”. Technically, there should have been no POWs in Hiroshima. However, perhaps fate played a trick on human beings as the POWs had been brought to this city. If there had been a slight difference in the date of their capture, or if they had been captured as POWs elsewhere, their fate might have been changed. In the first place, how did the US military POWs arrive in Hiroshima City? How did they become POWs and how is it that they were taken to Hiroshima?

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Chapter 4


Chapter 4


Chapter 4

At the Bomber Crash Sites

The Crash Sites Crowded with Military Police Personnel and Villagers

It is easy to imagine how astonished Japanese villagers were when an American soldier came down to their village. Some must have been taken aback, while others must have felt aggressive. Some years ago, a book was published by the Ishiuchi Citizen’s Hall, in the suburbs of Hiroshima City.  The title is The A-Bombing and the Pacific War. During the Pacific War (WW II), Ishiuchi Village was assigned the duty of feeding the military horses, and an episode tells how cruel a duty it was for a family whose male head of the house had been conscripted into the military. Another episode ... 

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Chapter 5


Chapter 5


Chapter 5

Taken to Chugoku Military Police Headquarters

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What Happened at the Chugoku Military Police Headquarters?

 Chugoku Military Police Headquarters was just 400 meters away from the epicenter, which can be defined as within a very close range... 

 

 

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Chapter 6


Chapter 6


Chapter 6  

The Eve and the Day of the Atomic Bombing

 

...The US Government, on receiving the report that the test in Alamogordo had been a great success, gave President Truman’s order to drop the atomic bomb to the crew of the B-29 Enola Gay, who were being trained on Tinian Island.

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Chapter 7


Chapter 7


Chapter 7 

How Many American Soldiers were Killed by the Atomic Bombing of Hiroshima?

Regarding the US POWs in Hiroshima, the starting point for the research was a list compiled by Mr. Satoru Ubuki in 1977, when he visited the Diplomatic Archives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan. At that time, Mr. Ubuki was an assistant at the Research Institute of Radiation Biology and Medicine, affiliated with Hiroshima University. He is currently a professor at Hiroshima Jogakuin University. This was later called “Ubuki’s List”.

 

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Chapter 8


Chapter 8


Chapter 8

Some Mysteries about Aioi-bashi Bridge

☆   Were American Soldiers Slaughtered There?

Mystery persists about the U.S. soldier who was on the Aioi-bashi Bridge. The Aioi-bashi Bridge appears in the article publicized by Father Arrupe about his atomic bombing experience, which I have mentioned. When Fr. Arrupe passed by, the soldier seems to have been still alive. He told Fr. Arrupe that he was a crew member of the Lonesome Lady...

Chapter 9


Chapter 9


Chapter 9

Bereaved Families

 

☆   Two US Soldiers Who Died in Agony

It is known that the biological harm caused by the atomic bombing may induce long-lasting effects on the human body–––even sixty years later (now 72 years later as of the publication of this English version) many people are still suffering.

Epilogue


Epilogue


Epilogue

On October 18, 1999, Mr. Cartwright, the former pilot in command of the Lonesome Lady visited Hiroshima. His wife, Mrs. Carolyn Hobson Cartwright, and their son---a Medical Doctor, and also Mr. J. M. “Matt” Crawford, the President of the 494th Bombardment Group of the 7th Army Air Corps Veterans Association, came over with him.

Postscript


Postscript


Postscript

By the end of 1945, the number of those who died from effects of their exposure to the A-Bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki came to 140,000 in Hiroshima, 70,000 in Nagasaki, which made the total of 210,000... 

Archives


Archives


More information about the Hiroshima POWs is available... 


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Learn more about the POWs who were in Hiroshima...[new links are coming]

 
 

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The documentary film directed by Barry Frechette, Paper Lanterns, describes the work of the author, Shigeaki Mori, to research and share the stories of the American POWs of Hiroshima.