Hiroshima (2005) Script

This is the story of the first ever use of a weapon of mass destruction.

The weapon we are about to deliver was successfully tested in the States.

We've received orders to drop it on the enemy.

It is the most destructive weapon ever produced.

The target was an empire with its own secret weapon - the suicide bomber.

TRANSLATION FROM JAPANESE: I trained myself that I could die at any time.

On the 6th August 1945, a bomb unlike any other fell from the skies above Hiroshima.

The bomb was designed by some of the world's finest scientists.

Using it was one of the most momentous political decisions ever made.

Soldiers and sailors are the target, not women and children.

This is the story of the aircrew who flew the mission, and dropped the bomb.

I'm not thinking about the people who got killed or hurt, but of those that did not get killed or hurt.

And it's the story of the people of Hiroshima who were the first ever victims of a nuclear attack.

TRANSLATION: When something as devastating as a nuclear weapon is used, people are powerless, just like ants, or insects.

The entire city of Hiroshima was annihilated in just a few seconds.

The bomb helped bring the Second World War to an end, and it marked the beginning of a new chapter in human history.

July 14th 1945.

At the top-secret research facility in Los Alamos, New Mexico, a heavily armed convoy was loaded with parts for a new kind of bomb.

This was the start of a journey that would end in Hiroshima.

This bomb was the product of three years' research, and had cost $2bn to develop.

But at this stage, the technology was still completely untested.

Two days later, there was a chance to find out.

In the desert of New Mexico, the scientists and soldiers of the Manhattan Project gathered for the first ever test explosion of an atomic bomb.

A hundred to one, we crack the Earth's crust, and destroy the whole world.

Fifty to one we ignite the atmosphere, and only destroy New Mexico.

Someone shut Thirmy up, he's frightening the MPs.

Ten to one it fizzles out.

If that weapon fizzles out, each of you can look forward to a lifetime testifying in front of Congressional Investigation Committees!

OVER RADIO: 'Six, five, four, three, 'two, one, zero.'

The explosion vaporised the stainless steel tower holding the bomb.

The intense heat melted the desert sand, leaving an area of glass.

The force of the explosion was estimated to be the equivalent of 67 million sticks of dynamite.


The bomb had originally been intended for use against Nazi Germany, but its backers now had another target in mind.

I'm very proud of you! Thank you.

Well, done. The war's over, General.

Yep! As soon as we've dropped a few of these things on Japan!

Good work.

For Scientific Director Robert Oppenheimer it was a moment of terrible truth.

'Now I am become Death, 'the destroyer of worlds.'

By July 1945, the war in Europe was over.

Nazi Germany was defeated.

But in the Pacific, the war against Japan was raging on.

After the surprise attack on Pearl Harbour, American forces had fought their way back across the Pacific, island by island, with savage hand to hand fighting.

But Japan's main armies were still intact, and undefeated.

The Americans had tried firebombing the Japanese into submission.

City after city was reduced to rubble, but still the Japanese refused to surrender.

So the Allies now faced the prospect of a full-scale invasion, with some estimates putting their losses as high as a million casualties, and many more Japanese.

In Japan, at the time, the Emperor was Head of State, and also a living god, but day-to-day power rested with the Special War Direction Council.

Prime Minister Suzuki and Foreign Minister Togo were considering a negotiated settlement.

But Army Minister General Koretchika Anami was determined to fight on.

Anami's plan was for an all-out, final battle.

In Hiroshima, as in the rest of Japan, soldiers and civilians were being prepared for the coming invasion.

The Japanese military were relying on a powerful weapon - people's willingness to die for the Emperor.

Ordinary soldiers learned how to strap bombs to their bodies and throw themselves under tanks.

Dr Shintaro Hida was working at the Army Hospital in Hiroshima.

One of his duties was to train medical orderlies as suicide bombers.

TRANSLATION: The soldiers were trained to strap bombs to their bodies, and throw themselves against the tanks. At the military hospital we had to teach this.

The officers, in particular, were resigned to the fact that once we had gone to the Front, we would not return - we would die.

I trained myself that I could die, at any time.

The whole population was to be part of the battle against the invaders.

Even schoolgirls were trained to attack American soldiers with sharpened bamboo spears.

A bloodbath seemed inevitable.

The man who would have to authorise the invasion was American President Harry Truman.

On 16th July he had just arrived in Berlin for the Potsdam Conference, where he was meeting his fellow Allied leaders.

That very night came news of the successful New Mexico bomb test.

Listen to this.

Operated on this morning, the results seem satisfactory.

The test has already exceeded expectations.

They did it!

Now the boys may be spared an invasion of the Japanese Home Islands. I'll drink to that.

But before going ahead with the new bomb, Truman gave the Japanese one last chance to surrender.

The Americans had broken the secret Japanese codes, and could decipher military and diplomatic cables.

So, they knew their demands for total, unconditional surrender had been seen as a threat to the Emperor.

Now they decided to alter the terms, and give the Japanese a way out.

On Truman's staff was a young naval lieutenant, George Elsey - the last surviving witness to these events.

The Potsdam Declaration called upon unconditional surrender.

It was modified in the light of this, what we were learning from the intercepts, to read, "unconditional surrender of the armed forces of Japan."

"We call upon the government of Japan to proclaim now the unconditional surrender

"of all Japanese armed forces."

That left the door open for a retention of the Emperor.

The modified ultimatum was broadcast to Japan.

But ironically, the softening of the surrender terms seems to have backfired.

Prime Minister Suzuki announced that his government would ignore the Potsdam Declaration.

He used the word "mokusatsu", meaning "to kill with silent contempt".

From that moment, the dropping of the bomb on Hiroshima was inevitable.

The bomb left San Francisco on board the USS Indianapolis, two hours after the successful Trinity test in New Mexico.

It travelled across the Pacific on a ten-day voyage to the island of Tinian, just six hours flying time from Japan.

The island was the biggest air base in the world, with four large runways, and it was home to more than 500 B-29 Super Fortresses.

In charge was Commanding Officer Colonel Paul Tibbets, a veteran of the bombing campaign against the Germans.

At 29 years of age, I was so shocked to ask what the confidence of anything I couldn't do.

The two key members of his crew were bombardier Tom Ferraby, and navigator, Dutch Van Kirk.

You never heard the word "atomic", "nuclear", or anything of that type around the group. We referred to the weapon as, the "gimmick", "weapon", that sort of thing.

And, if you did figure it out, you'd better be smart enough not to talk about it.

All right, gentlemen, cities have been signed off.

Kyoto is out, Stimpson likes the temples too much, but we've got Nyagada, Kokura, Nagasaki, and Hiroshima.

They're the only major cities left we haven't roasted. And the primary?

The primary is Hiroshima.

All right.

Have you worked out an aiming point?

The T-shaped bridge.


That's the most perfect AP I've seen in this whole damn war.

Angle of approach - bomb drop like this.

Prevailing winds from the north.

You may want to come in this way, then you'll be flying with the wind, and you'll clear the target sooner.

Too risky. We'll fly into the wind. That way we're slower and more accurate.

You may get caught in the blast.

Once I make the dive turn, I'll have a tail wind, we'll be out quicker.

Anyway, we'll take that risk. We want to be as accurate as possible, don't we?

Hiroshima was an important military base, the Headquarters of the Second General Army, with a key role in the defence against the expected invasion.

Akiko Takakura, who was 19 and working as a bank clerk in the city centre, remembers the atmosphere at the time.

People called it an army city.

Everywhere you looked you saw the army...

..and there were always a lot of ships transporting soldiers from the port.

All the major cities of Japan had already been the targets of bombing raids, so everybody living in Hiroshima expected that Hiroshima would be targeted soon.

What no-one could realise was that the city had been preserved for a reason - the Americans had deliberately avoided firebombing Hiroshima so they could measure the precise effects of the atom bomb.

On the evening of the 4th August, Paul Tibbets called his men together.

The bombing mission was set for the following night, when the clouds over Japan were due to clear.

The moment has arrived.

This is what we've all been working towards.

Very recently the weapon we're about to deliver was successfully tested in the States.

We have received orders to drop it on the enemy.

There will be three possible targets.

In order of priority, they are Hiroshima, Kokura, Nagasaki.

The bomb you are going to drop is something new in the history of warfare.

It is the most destructive weapon ever produced.

We think it's going to knock out everything within a three-mile area.

Roll film. Kill the lights.

Weapons specialist Deke Parsons had brought film of the New Mexico explosion.

But the projector jammed.

The film you are now not about to see was made of the only test we have performed.

I was in a B-29, looking down on the target, in the darkness, and I can say that it is the brightest and the hottest thing on this Earth since creation.

This is what happened.

The flash of the explosion was seen for ten miles.

A soldier 10,000 feet away was knocked off his feet.

Another soldier, more than five miles away, was temporarily blinded.

Those of us who were there knew it was the beginning of a new age.

No-one knows exactly what will happen when the bomb is dropped from the air - that has never been done before.

We expect a cloud, this shape,

rise to at least 30,000 feet, maybe 60,000 feet, preceded by a flash of light much brighter than the sun.

A combat version of the bomb has now been assembled and ready.

All we are waiting for is an end to the rainstorms over Japan, so we can see our target. Colonel Tibbets.

Right, men, I know some of you have seen a lot of action already, and I picked you because you're the best available, but let me tell you all, beside this mission, whatever you've done before in this war is small potatoes.

I am personally honoured, and I'm sure all of you are, to have been chosen to take part in this raid, which will shorten the war by at least six months.

You're now the hottest crews in the Air Force.

There will be no talking about this to anyone.

No talking, even among yourselves.

No letters, no writing home.

No mentioning of the slightest possibility of a mission.

Is that clear? ALL: Yes, sir!


The next morning, the aircrews on Tinian woke to a disturbing sound...

HEAVY EXPLOSION Once again, a B-29 had crashed on the runway.

The crash alarmed Parsons, the weapons specialist.

It was the day of the mission, and they were planning to load the bomb on to the plane, fully armed.

The bomb's firing mechanism used gunpowder to force two separate pieces of uranium together, to start a nuclear reaction.

Parsons' worry was that if the plane crashed on take-off, the firing mechanism would be triggered, and they would blow up the whole island.

So, without authorisation, he changed the plan.

I think it's better if I load the powder charges into the gun barrel after we've cleared the island.

Have you made the assembly with the powder charges before?

Do you know how to do it?


But I've got all day and night to learn. We don't take off till 02:00.

There's time.

If Parsons got it wrong, there was a serious risk the whole mission, and the bomb, would be wasted.

Parsons sat in that airplane for several hours, rehearsing exactly what he was going to have to do, removal of the breech plug, inserting the powder, hooking up the thing.

He made it, this time is when he made his detailed check-off list.

And he practised that for half a day, and his hands were beaten up from handling this thing.

For God's sakes, man!

Why don't you let me lend you a pair of pigskin gloves? I wouldn't dare! I've gotta feel to touch.

That's why I could be bombing the Japs with dirty hands!

Paul Tibbets had reached a decision of his own - as commanding officer, he was also planning to pilot the strike plane.

As was traditional, he chose a name for it.

I said, I'd like to name it after my mother.

Her name was Enola Gay, and I know that there'll never be another B-29, I don't think there'll be an airplane flying, that will have the name Enola Gay on it.

I think the airplane will go down in history, and I want it to be with a good omen.

Tibbets' decision came as a shock to Captain Bob Lewis.

He had always flown that plane, and assumed he would be the pilot.

Why the hell are they putting that on my airplane? What's going on?

Number one, it's not your airplane, it belongs to United States Air Corps...

..and number two, I'm the organisation commander, I can do what I want with any one of those airplanes, including yours!

He shut up. That was the only discussion.


For most citizens of Hiroshima, 5th August was uneventful.

As the day closed, people prepared themselves for more air-raid sirens, and more disturbed sleep.

Dr Hida was still on duty after a busy day.

He remembers the 5th quite clearly.

TRANSLATION: I returned to the hospital around 8pm.

An office on night shift came and told me that four guests from Manchuria were in Hiroshima.

They were high-ranking army doctors.

I was told to look after them.


Eventually I put everybody to bed, and then I lay down beside them.

Then, in the middle of the night, an old man from the village come on his bicycle to see me.

There weren't any doctors where he lived, they were all at the Front.

Thinking it couldn't be helped, I went with him, in the middle of the night.

I was very drunk.

There were no cars at that time, and so I sat on the back of the old man's bicycle.

That is how I survived.

OK, there are three planes involved in the mission.

That night, in the last minutes before departure, there was a final briefing for all the crews who were heading to Hiroshima.

There are three planes involved in the mission.

Number one, the Enola Gay, carrying the bomb.

Number two, the Great Artiste...

carrying recording equipment.

Number three... ..the Necessary Evil, we were the photographic ship.

Do your jobs, obey orders, don't cut corners.

That is all.

The mission was so secret, Tibbets was given suicide pills, in case they fell into Japanese hands.

That evening, when I came out the mess hall, the Flight Surgeon gave me the pills.

He told me what they were.

"I hope you don't need them, but," he said, "if you do, they're cyanide."

He said, "Here, if you need them, one for each man of the crew."

He said, "You'll never know anything, within six minutes, you're gone."

"You never feel anything different, you never feel a thing."

And I told the guys outside the airplane, before we climbed up, "I'll give any one of you the pill, if you want the pill."

And no-one said anything, but Captain Parsons, he said, "I'd like to have one."

And I understood his position, because he knew more technical stuff about that bomb than anybody.

When we got to the Enola Gay, that was our first big surprise, because we had, there were lights all over the place, and this was not like any mission we'd ever flown. You know, this was like a Hollywood premiere!

Photographers and film crews had been ordered to record the historic mission.

We had climbed into the airplanes, in order to start the engines, and there were people all around, there were clegg lights right there, right in front of the number two engine, and I couldn't do anything with that thing there, so I opened the window, stuck my head out, I said...

Stand back!

Move out of the way!

But I just waved my hand like that, and some guy said, "Wave at us!"

So I waved, and that's what you got.

It was another day, it was another bombing run.

And that was it. It was my responsibility.

Dimples 82 to North Tinian tower, taxi out and take-off instructions.

The bomb weighed more than four tons, making take-off even more dangerous than usual.

15 seconds to go!

'The take off I remember, the most dangerous part of flying is in take off.'

Five seconds! Get ready!

Everyone on board, I'm sure, felt the same way I did, waiting for it to lift off.

'And it seemed like it took an inordinate amount of time.'

I wanted to hold the airplane on the ground, to get all the air flat over the tail that I could get.

I held it down longer than what Bob, used to see an airplane take off at 140, 145 miles an hour, I held it down till I was over 150 miles an hour.

'He reached for the yoke, tried to pull it back to...' Pull it back!

Get your damn hands off this yoke!

I'm flying this airplane!

'..and he pulled back right quick.'

'But eventually it lifted off, and we didn't crash at the end of the runway, so we were off.'

Fifteen minutes after take-off, with the plane still at low altitude, Parsons was ready to assemble the bomb.

We're starting!

Dimples 82 To North Tinian tower.

Judge going to work. I repeat, judge going to work.

It's about, maybe eight inches wide around the outside, to the back end of the weapon, which had those big fins.

Very cramped quarters - you had to squat down in order to peer into the back end of this bomb, and that's the position that Parsons took, is to work inside these fins.

They all knew a mistake would jeopardise the entire mission.

I'm screwing breech!

Inserting charges! Parsons would then take the powder charges, about the size of a loaf of bread.

He would put those in there, one at a time, then he'd pick up the breech block, put it into where it was supposed to go, turn it, just make the seal.

Inserting breech!

Each one of these manoeuvres he would check off on his check-off list, to ensure that he had made no mistakes.

And returning home! Check!

Two hours later, the Enola Gay met up with the scientific and photographic planes.

They were now three hours from Hiroshima.

Dawn was breaking, and it's now just a beautiful, beautiful morning.

We're about at 9,000 feet at that time, and we all remarked about what a beautiful sunrise it was, that particular morning.

Dick Jepson, Parson's assistant, had one task left, to arm the bomb.

Before the plane went to altitude, I had to climb into the bomb bay, and remove these three green plugs, and replace them with three arming plugs, which enabled the fusing circuit to fire the weapon, causing it to detonate.

And the only time I felt really nervous on this mission was the time when I inserted these red plugs into the bomb.

The bomb was now armed and live.

After they were in place, I breathed a sigh of relief, because nothing had happened at this point in time.

Evidently, with the action of replacing these plugs, or switching these plugs, I became the last person to put a hand on this bomb.

I hadn't realised that at the time.

We're at 30,000 feet.

Ahead of the Enola Gay, another B-29 was already flying over Hiroshima, checking the weather.

It triggered an alert.


TRANSLATION: There was an air-raid warning.

It was the type that warned that a raid was a possibility.

As the people waited in air-raid shelters, the weather plane reported its findings to the Enola Gay by coded message.

Cloud cover less than three tenths at all altitudes.

Advice - bomb primary.

It's Hiroshima!

The weather plane now headed away.

For a time, it seemed that the threat had passed.

About 30 minutes later, they sounded the all-clear.

It meant there was not going to be an air raid, so everyone went about their business, going to offices and factories.

I think that was the reason why such a large number died, and could not be found afterwards.

On the drill ground, thousands of soldiers were doing their early morning exercises.

Dr Hida had spent the night at a farm outside Hiroshima, looking after the girl with heatstroke.

It was just after eight o'clock when I woke up. I was already late.

I had to go back to the hospital.

I got myself ready, took the child's pulse, and then examined her chest with a stethoscope.

Sixteen-year-old Teruko Fujii had enlisted as a tram driver, to support the war effort.

The men were sent to the Front, with the army.

Because their numbers gradually declined, they wanted students to drive the trams.

Clerk Akiko Takakura and her friend were the first to arrive at the bank in central Hiroshima - just 260 metres from the aiming point, the T-shaped bridge.

At the bank, I stamped the arrival book.

You stamped next to your name when you arrived, so I stamped the book.

In those days, female staff were supposed to arrive 30 minutes before the men, to do the cleaning.

That sort of thing would be unthinkable now!

Kinuko Doi was working as a nurse at the communications hospital, also near the centre of the city.

TRANSLATION: My first job of the day was to sterilise the hospital tools, and prepare the patients for surgery.

The weather was beautiful. The sky was clear blue, not a cloud in sight.

In another part of the city, eight-year-old Takashi Tanemori was on his way to school.

Every morning, as soon as we get to school, we went and played a game of hide and seek.

Then we stand, picking who's going to be It.

And so we ran to the main gate...

..and I was to become It that morning.

Shigai Hiratsuka died in 2002, but her extraordinary story is taken from her written account.

It had just gone past eight in the morning - we had finished breakfast.

Our two children were playing beside us.

My husband was reading the newspaper.

Paul, Tom, Deke and I were all three up there, confirming, yes, this was the target, yes, that was bridge, yes, that was the aiming point. You might say we were having a convention in the nose of the plane.

OK, we're about to start the bomb run! Put on your goggles!

We were on that bomb run for three, three and a half minutes.

Tom and I are talking!

Christ, Dutch! We never sat on a bomb run this long over Germany!

They'd have blasted us out the sky! Yeah!

He said, "Nothing there!"

No opposition, no nothing.

Just...going to bomb the target.

TRANSLATION: I saw an aircraft, like a tiny silver drop, entering the sky above Hiroshima.

I instantly recognised it as an American plane, as no Japanese aircraft could fly at that altitude at the time.

It was just one plane, so I assumed that it was passing by, as usual.

I was counting.


I was wiping the desktop. That was when the bomb was dropped.

Bomb away!

It took about 45 seconds from the time the bomb left the airplane until it exploded.

There wasn't a man in the airplane that wasn't either timing it with his watch, or counting, or doing something.

I was sure the bomb was a dud.

I was sure it wasn't going to work.

After falling for 43 seconds, the time and barometric triggers started the firing mechanism.

A uranium bullet fired down the barrel into a uranium tunnel.

Together they started a nuclear chain reaction.

Solid matter began to come apart, releasing untold quantities of energy.

There was a white light in the window.

A flash, white like magnesium.

The bomb delivered its destruction in stages.

The flash came from a giant fireball 300 metres wide.

I was astonished.

It was a startling light.

Even if you had your back turned to it, you felt the shock go through, right to the centre of your brain.

At the same time, any area of skin that was exposed became very hot.

Heat. Heat. Such burning heat.

Temperatures directly below the fireball were 4,000 degrees Celsius.

The heat rays left shadows.

Ladders, railings, even people, left their outlines on stone and metal.

Anyone in the open air was either vaporised, or turned to carbon, in an instant.

At the same time, the flash sent out powerful infra-red radiation and gamma rays.

These could penetrate walls, and attack the cells in human bodies.

Then I slowly opened my eyes, and for the first time, looked in the direction of the light.

Just at that moment, a mushroom cloud appeared.

People who saw this in Hiroshima are nearly all dead by now.

There is barely anyone left now, who can say they actually saw it happen.

A fraction of a second later came a powerful shockwave, which moved at the speed of sound. It turned everyday windows and walls into shrapnel.

As soon as the blast hit, I was thrown across the room.

My body was flung from wall to wall, and from the ceiling to the floor.

My body was thrown around like it was a ball.

A jet black belt of cloud came towards me.

It came from there, over the lip of the mountain.

The black cloud spread between the mountains, and came rolling in my direction, swirling like this.

Just like that, my body was scooped up! It was the blast.

It sent me flying through the house.

The flash was very brilliant, and it only lasted a very short period of time.

It was over in a...few short seconds.

We didn't see any bodies down there, or anything of that type.

You didn't see any buildings collapsing, you can't really distinguish things like that.

And even if we had been able to, we couldn't do it, anyhow, because it was all covered with smoke and dust, and everything.

I'm not emotional.

I didn't have a first goddamn thought, or I'd have told you what it was.

I did the job, but I was so relieved that it was successful, you can't understand that.

Seeing the fires on the ground, and the cloud coming up, then you get pretty...distressed that there's such havoc down there, and people are suffering.

There are no exact figures for the number who died in the instant of the explosion, but tens of thousands of people in the open near the fireball vanished in a fraction of a second.

For the survivors, the ordeal was just beginning.

Thousands of people were injured and terribly burned.

Many were trapped in the rubble.

Just 260 metres from the bomb, the two girls in the bank had been sheltered from the worst of the explosion by the earthquake-proof building.

When the girls struggled outside, they found a vision of hell.

The morning sunshine was gone, the whole city was dark, and shrouded with smoke.

The streets were full of corpses.

The words "city of death" came to mind. There were only dead people.

We were the only living souls.

It had been the morning commuting hour, 8:15 in the morning.

People that had been walking the streets were doubled up dead on each other for as far as we could see.

They had died immediately, naked, burnt.

I just asked myself, why?

And could not find any words.

The two of us just crouched down, and burst into tears.

How could such terrible things happen?

At the communications hospital, one mile from the explosion's hypocentre, nurse Kinuko was blown away from the window.

Like so many others, she was badly lacerated by flying glass.

I had pieces of glass sticking up from my body, all over.

From my head, my face, my body.

In another part of the city, Shigei Hiratsuka's peaceful family breakfast had given way to chaos and confusion.

When we got out, we saw that the whole of Hiroshima had been turned upside down.

None of the buildings were left.

Fires were breaking out in different places all over the city.

Then I looked around for the children.

There was my daughter, Kazu. She was six.

She was buried from the chest down, and was wedged in by timber and plaster.

I tried to get her out, I was desperate to, but whatever I tried, wouldn't work.

The fires were moving closer and closer.

The flames were at our feet, and roaring up around us.

We could not stand the heat and pain any longer.


The school building had also collapsed in the blast.

Eight-year-old Takashito Nimuri and his friends were trapped in the rubble, crying out for someone to rescue them.

First things I saw, was pitch dark.

Then I sensed there were several soldiers above my head, moving the debris.

And finally one soldier dug me out.

All I remember was the soldier clutched me in his arms, weaving through the fires, between the fires.

The only place we were able to escape - it was the river that runs behind our school.

Near the station, about two miles from the flash, Teruko Fujii thought her tram had short-circuited on the overhead cables, and that the whole thing was her fault.

I thought that I'd caused some kind of disaster.

I thought I'd broken the tram and done something terrible!

And then I thought, "Is it a bomb?" That was when I realised it wasn't me who'd caused all this trouble.

First I thought only the station area was affected.

Then I saw people walking towards me with injuries, and skin hanging from them.

Everybody thought, "Perhaps if I go over there, I could be saved."

People to the west thought the east might be better.

People were going in every direction, in total silence.

Amid all the destruction, there was at least one miracle.

Eight-year-old Takashito Nimouri was carried through the burning city by the soldier who rescued him.

At last, the soldier reached the river, and from the crowds, the little boy heard a familiar voice.


Somehow my father spotted me!

I guess he called my name, and maybe I responded, and I said, "That's my daddy!"

And then he stood straight to the soldiers, and then he bowed many, many times to the soldiers, said, "Thank you! You are saviours!"

Later on, after we were flying back, conversation started about, you know, the war being over, as a result of this bombing. Despite the number of people we killed, we saved multiple numbers over that from being in a war, and being killed, on America's side, and on the Japanese side.

That time, there was such a hatred for the Japanese, that the more we killed, the better off we thought we were, because that means there's going to be less that we're going to have to contend with during the invasion.

After a six-hour return flight, the Enola Gay reached Tinian Island.

The following...

300, 400, 500 people there.

And when we got out of the airplane, of course we were all getting out, we're tired, and everything, and I get out, I remember getting out, carrying my oxygen mask, I'm right behind Paul, and then some joker calls us to attention.

I got out of the airplane, like I was told, he pins this thing on my shirt, guys take pictures of us, I saluted, and after that was over with, I'm back to my duty.

We've got to go to de-briefing, by the intelligence people.

They had certain things to ask, "Did you see this, and did you see that?" and so forth.

Confirming that we had bombed the right target.

I said, "Sure."

Dr Hida escaped from the rubble of the farmhouse four miles outside Hiroshima.

After checking on the child he had been treating, he headed back towards the city.

It's about six kilometres to Hiroshima from there.

When I was halfway there, suddenly a strange creature appeared out of nowhere.

As it was summer, if it were human, it would have been wearing white.

What I saw was all black, from top to bottom.

Pitch black. I thought it was strange.

At the top there was something round, like a head.

It had shoulders... something like a body followed.

But it was like it had no face. It was black.

The area around the eyes had swollen up, it had no nose, the lower half of the face was just mouth!

It was frightening. As a doctor, the first thing you do is take a pulse.

But when I took his hand, there was no skin.

There was nowhere I could hold.

So I stood up, saying, please, pull yourself together, and walked around him.

This person gave a small shudder, and then he stopped moving.

He had died.

He had fled three kilometres, and then he died there.

That man was the first fatality caused by the bomb, that I saw.

Army recruit Shigeru Terasawa had been stationed seven miles from the centre of the blast.

His unit was sent to help survivors, but they soon faced a terrible conflict between their compassion and their training.

Even now there are things that I will never forget.

One is the sound of people begging me for water.

In those days, we had been told not to give water to the badly burned, to tell you the truth, we all had these big, military water flasks on our hips.

People were begging for water, but we didn't give them any.

We had been told that if we did, they would die straight away.

And so I didn't give them any. A lot of people died.

Now, looking back, I wish I had given them water.

Burned, and bleeding, in the intense heat, people were desperate to find any water they could.

They fled to the rivers, to pools, and reservoirs.

Among them, nurse Kinuko.

I knew there was a pool of water, in the back yard of the hospital.

Lots of people had already got into the pool.

More people had jumped on top of them.

The people underneath drowned.

This is one scene I can never forget.

I still dream about it.


Then came a strange deliverance.

Dark raindrops began to fall from the clouds above the burning city.

We opened our mouths, and drank it.

Our throats were parched, but it was difficult to capture the rain into our mouths.

The rain had been made black by ash and smoke that had been sucked into the rising mushroom cloud.

When these ashes mixed with cool, humid air in the upper atmosphere, they formed thick, black raindrops, and fell back down on to the city.

The drops of rain were big enough to hurt, when they hit your skin. It descended in a torrent.

Black fluid flowed where the rain fell.

It was raining black fluid.

What the people who drank the rain didn't realise, was that it was highly radioactive.

In time, it would poison many thousands.

On the day the bomb was dropped, President Truman was still travelling home from Europe.

On our way back, on the Augusta, returning to Washington, we were on the edge of our chairs, because we expected any day - any time, any day - to have a flash from the War Department that the first bomb had been dropped.

And on August 6th, as we were one day out from Norfolk, that flash came.

George Elsie decoded the telegram that brought the news to President Truman on the Augusta.

When something like that came, we would walk in to him immediately, we would interrupt whatever he was doing.

He happened to be having lunch with the crew, at that point.

I took it to Truman, who showed it to Secretary Burns, and to Admiral Leyhey, and Truman announced to the ship's crew this great accomplishment.

We have dropped a single bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima, with the power of 20,000 tons of TNT.

The city has been completely destroyed!

There was cheering - cheering by the crew, and by the officers, when he read it in the officers' mess.

The Augusta was one of the ships that was destined for the Pacific, and would have been involved in the invasion.

The crew knew that.

Just about everybody who was in Europe knew that they would be headed for the Pacific, and an invasion of Japan.

So they were just as overjoyed as the President was, that this damned thing is over!

We hope this will be a warning to the Japanese military.

Come on, boys, we're going home!

He was eager to get home, because he was sure that the Japanese surrender would come very soon.

In case there was any doubt, Truman spelt it out to the Japanese High Command.

It was to spare the Japanese people form utter destruction that the ultimatum of July 26th was issued at Potsdam.

Their leaders promptly rejected that ultimatum.

If they do not now accept our terms, they may expect a rain of war, from the air, the like of which has never been seen on this earth.

Late that afternoon, the mayor of Hiroshima, issued his own proclamation.

The present catastrophe is the result of a horrible and inhuman air raid.

The enemy's intention is clearly to undermine the fighting spirit of the Japanese people.

Citizens of Hiroshima, the damage is great, but that is only to be expected during a war.

Keep up your spirits.

Do not lose heart.

The morning after the bomb, a full-scale rescue effort began.

Squads of soldiers from surrounding garrisons were drafted in to help.

They collected the dead bodies and disposed of them before disease could spread.

The wounded were quickly taken away for treatment.

Makeshift hospitals were set up, although there were only a handful of medical staff.

Dr Hida found himself treating 3,000 survivors in a village outside Hiroshima.

At first we had no medicine, no equipment.

There was nothing we doctors could do.

However, we gathered up some things, and started treating the burns.

Nurse Kinuko had an extraordinary escape.

I don't know whether I was unconscious for hours or for days.

When I did come round, I thought, "so, I'm still alive.

"God must have given me strength."

She woke to find that she had been thrown into a mass grave.

After I crawled out of the hole, I managed to cross the road, to get to the entrance of the hospital.

It took me a terribly long time, as I could not stand, nor lift my arms, or move them to the side.

I crawled like an insect, and finally reached the hospital entrance.

Dr Hinoki from the pharmacy spotted me, and exclaimed, "you're still alive!"

He picked me up, and carried me to the surgery area.

The corridor was full of people lying side by side.

This was where they operated on me...

..and removed all of the large pieces of glass that were stuck in me.

All over the city, relatives searched the ruins for signs of survivors.

Before midday, my friend's father came to get us.

But my friend, who had escaped from the bank with me, turned out to have a broken spine.

She died a week later.

She was a year younger than me.

I am nearly 80 years old now, but she was only 18 at the time.

Whenever I think of her, she is till 18 years old.

She was a very pretty, gentle person.

Three days after the Hiroshima bomb, despite all the destruction, Japan still hadn't surrendered.

A second bomb was made ready and Truman issued another warning.

The world will note that the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, a military base.

If Japan does not surrender, bombs will have to be dropped on more industries.

I urge Japanese civilians to leave industrial cities immediately and save themselves from destruction.

I realise the tragic significance of the atomic bomb.

Having found the atomic bomb, we have used it.

We have used it against those who attacked us, without warning, at Pearl Harbour.

Against those who have starved, and beaten, and executed American prisoners of war.

Against those who have abandoned all pretence of obeying international laws of warfare.

We have used it in order to shorten the agony of war, in order to save the lives of thousands and thousands of young Americans.

The second bomb was intended for the city of Kokura, but it was too cloudy, so the plane moved on to Nagasaki.

Desperately short of fuel, the crew released the bomb despite more clouds.

The bomb missed the aiming point and fell into a valley.

This time there was no firestorm.

But, even so, more than 50,000 people were killed.

The Supreme War Direction Council was meeting the same day.

By now, the Russians had declared war on Japan.

Then came the news from Nagasaki.

Then, Prime Minister Suzuki did something unheard of.

He asked the Emperor to break the deadlock and make a decision.

Emperor Hirohito told them he wanted to end the suffering and bear the unbearable.

Four days later, radical soldiers attempted a coup to prevent the surrender.

They failed.

At dawn, on the day that Emperor Hirohito was to broadcast an announcement that the war was over, General Anami prepared to end his life in the time-honoured tradition of seppuku.

His suicide note read, "My death is my apology for my great crime."

The war was over.

At last the troops were going home.

There was jubilation around the world.

But then came something that would forever change perception of the bomb.

It started in the hospitals.

A mysterious illness began to spread.

I noticed it from about the fourth day.

Of course, it had been there all along, but I thought people were dying of severe burns.

The woman who lost her children in the fires, Shigei Hiratsuka, and her husband, were amongst those affected.

They lined my bed up next to my husband's and took his test first.

When they had taken enough blood for the sample, they withdrew the needle.

But the blood wouldn't stop.

Nothing worked, whatever they did.

Even when they applied pressure, he carried on bleeding.

During this time, purple spots began breaking out all over my husband's body.

He then vomited a large amount of brown liquid.

Afterwards he went limp and died an hour later.

He had managed to survive that far but then even he was taken away from me.

Her husband was one of thousands who would die from this new and untreatable condition.

They were rotting.

It was necrosis.

There were no white blood cells, so the blood had no power to fight against infection, and so, suddenly, the rotting set in.

In the end, the hair would start to fall out.

When you put your hand on the patient's head, tufts of hair would come away in your hand.

It emerged that those who were worst affected had been close to the hypocentre, or had swallowed radioactive material, like the people who drank the black rain.

In hindsight we realised that it was radiation but, at that time, we didn't know what it was.

Radiation sickness has become the single most disturbing legacy of the bomb.

American scientists always knew the bomb would produce radiation but the scale of the after effects came as a shocking surprise.

Today, Hiroshima is a thriving city of over a million people.

Japan, too, has been transformed into a prosperous country that has renounced the use of war entirely.

Although no-one has used a nuclear weapon since, arguments continue as to the morality of dropping the bomb.

Was it really necessary?

Could it have been avoided?

The nation had no rice to eat, people had not eaten white rice for a whole year.

How could such a country go to battle?

The Americans knew that very well and still dropped the atomic bomb.

Why? It was an experiment!

They knew that the bomb had enormous explosive power.

What they did not know was how much damage the radiation would cause.

Some scientists thought they knew, but they had not tested it, so they made an experiment to find out by testing it on human beings.

The final decision that resulted in the two bombs -

Hiroshima and Nagasaki - was not made in Potsdam, it wasn't made by Truman, it was made by the Japanese militarists when they rejected any opportunity to surrender just their armed forces and save further massive loss of life.

Today, there are just a few places that bear the scars of August 6th 1945.

There are burn marks on trees...

..the shadow of a vaporised man left on stone.

First-hand memories are fading too.

Akiko Takakura, the bank clerk, who had been just 260 metres from the hypocentre, is one of the last witnesses to the full horror of the bomb.

There is a department store called Sogo, in Hiroshima, where I stop sometimes for tea.

From the tearoom, I can see the road from the bank to the drill ground where we escaped.

I see old people walking happily down the street, young people holding hands and enjoying conversation, children holding their parents' hands and looking happy.

And I think about those awful scenes that I experienced, many years ago now, and all the people that lost their lives.

I think to myself, what was all that?

Did it really happen?

Every year, on the 6th of August, there are ceremonies to recall what took place on that day...

..to make sure that these events are never forgotten or repeated.

At sunset, tens of thousands of candles are released on the river in Hiroshima...

..each candle representing the soul of one of the dead.