60 Percent of Jap City Blasted By Atom Bomb, Reports Show
Tokyo Broadcasts Admit All Living Things Seared To Death by New Weapon
Results of Explosion Described: Gen Spaatz Warns Enemy of New Raids if Resistance Continues
By Morrie Landsberg
Guam — The obliterating blast of a single atomic bomb dropped by a lone Superfort destroyed 60 percent of the important Japanese city of Hiroshima and today Tokyo admitted that practically nothing escaped death in its scorching path.
“Those outdoors burned to death, while those indoors were killed by indescribable pressure and heat,” reported Tokyo. It said the city was in “disastrous ruin” and that houses and buildings were “crushed.”
The newspaper Asahi Shumbun appealed to the people to remain calm under the “inhuman” bombing and “pledge to fight through until the last.” The editorial declared the Japanese mind had been “trained for just such an occasion as this.”
Gen Spaatz warned the enemy more B-29s are ready to drop more of the world’s most destructive explosives on the island cities if resistance continues.
The strategic air forces commander said that 4.1 square miles of Hiroshima’s built-up area of 6.9 square miles were wiped out. Five military targets were destroyed by the one bomb. The communique did not identify them.
Grim details of what happened on the ground came only from Tokyo. The enemy broadcast revealed the blast was so terrible that the dead could not be distinguished from the injured. Neither could be identified. Destruction was so great, and need for relief so urgent, that authorities had been unable to establish the extent of civilian casualties.
Spaatz based his communique on photographs from the sky. They showed the heart of the city devastated with awful thoroughness — as if a giant bulldozer had swept up buildings and houses and dumped them into a river.
Reconnaissance disclosed that the harbor area of Hiroshima — population of about 343,000 — was barely touched by the tremendous blast. But the concussion, or fire effect was so overpowering elsewhere that several fire breaks and seven streams — one stream was about three city blocks wide — failed to stop the flames.
The high-flying camera planes circled Hiroshima a few hours after Monday’s attack and found only two small fires still burning. The remainder of the city appeared burned to ashes. The lens caught photographic proof that one bomb, small enough to be carried by any American bomber or fighter plane packs more death and destruction than thousands of tons of ordinary fire and demolition bombs.
American officers who studied the pictures said the destruction was about the same as they would expect from a forces of about 150 Superforts, each carrying seven tons of incendiary and demolition bombs.
The city, which will go down in history as the testing ground for man’s most awful weapon, was unprepared for such a swift, crushing blow. The Japanese had prepared their defense well against Superforts and firebombs, but they were as nothing against the atom.
Tightly congested Hiroshima had a population roughly midway between that of Denver and Seattle, respectively 322,412 and 368,302 in 1940. But Denver covers 58.7 square miles and Seattle 80.7 square miles. Physically the destroyed area approximated that of Bayonne, NJ, an industrial seaport with a population of but 79,198 in 1940.
The high degree of concentration undoubtedly added to the extent of Hiroshima’s destruction.
In the heart of the city, a few concrete structures remain standing, like bleak sentinels over a scene of ruin. They are believed to be air raid shelters. Photographs indicate they were burned out.
An expert at US army strategic air force headquarters said there was no comparison between the fire caused by the atomic bomb and normal conflagration. When Yokohama was burned by incendiaries, he said, it looked as if smoke pots were burning throughout the city. At Hiroshima, a white plume of smoke rose thousands of feet into the air. Crewmen of the B-29 which dropped the bomb said it rose 40,000 feet.
At the base of this high-necked mushroom was a cloud-like accumulation which was believed to be dust blown into the air by the tremendous concussion.
In that one, swift, devastating strike, a B-29 piloted by Col Paul W Tibbets Jr, wrought as great damage as normally is inflicted by a large force of the sky giants. Tibbets’ Superfort, 10 miles from the scene and several miles high, itself was rocked as if by an anti-aircraft shell had burst close by.
There was no hint when the next atomic bomb would be dropped, but Washington and London toyed with the theory that Japan soon would be given a final additional surrender ultimatum before the next atom is dropped. Spaatz did say that the Japanese would be warned by leaflet that they could expect more such raids.
The most revolutionary development in the history of the world
Spaatz termed the new weapon “the most revolutionary development in the history of the world” and said “it would have shortened the war (in Europe) six to eight months.”
There would have been “no need to have had D-Day in Europe” if the bomb had been developed earlier, asserted Maj Gen Curtis LeMay, his chief of staff.
Capt Eddie Rickenbacker, world war ace, quickly predicted that aerial assaults alone would knock Japan out of the war.
But here on Guam, where the war is very close and the amazing atom is in the “I still can’t believe it” realm, some military personnel adamantly maintained it would be the infantry who would win.
The navy department, in an official statement, said “it is too early yet to tell what effect the atomic bomb will have on Japanese morale. We may have to destroy four or five cities before they actually believe we have such a bomb.”
The Japanese screamed “barbarity” and “massacre tactics” while Premier Suzuki called an emergency meeting of the cabinet to study a report of the damage.
Sekomizu also reported on “progress being made in organization” by the people’s volunteer corps, which is scheduled for defense in case of invasion.
All Tokyo morning newspapers admitted grave concern over the Hiroshima bombing. The London Daily Mail said its listening post heard a broadcast order for Japanese to evacuate big cities.
Earlier, the Japanese were warned to brace for new attacks and were told that “authorities will point out measures to cope with them immediately.” The bomb’s “destructive power cannot be slighted,” said another enemy broadcast.
Dr George Willard Watt, University of Texas chemist, who helped develop the bomb, asserted it could destroy “all life on Japan in a few days. It may mean the atomic bomb will be a threat compelling world peace.”
Brig Gen Thomas F Farrell, Albany, NY, another who helped find a way to use the mighty atom, disclosed that only last March a Nazi atom bomb laboratory at Ortenburg, Germany, was “completely and absolutely destroyed” by bombing.