Geopolitics

Hiroshima 70 Years Ago, How Newspapers Covered It

Hiroshima 70 Years Ago, How Newspapers Covered It
Bertrand Hauger

PARIS â€" In the early morning hours of Aug. 6, 1945, the Enola Gay B-29 bomber took off from the island of Tinian, in the Northern Mariana Islands, headed toward Japan. At 8:15 a.m., the first atomic bomb used in history â€" nicknamed "Little Boy" â€" was dropped on the center of Hiroshima. The blast, heat, and ensuing radiation killed more than 140,000 people, around half instantaneously.

If today we seem able to grasp the sheer magnitude and horror of the attack, back in 1945 the bombings of of Hiroshima and, three days later, of Nagasaki, were largely portrayed as the latest big battle victory and necessary evil to end World War II.

Seventy years after, the timeline of press coverage offers clues about the evolution of reporting when faced with an inconceivably shocking event destined to become a chapter of human history. Much of the printed and radio coverage in the first few days after the blast took hours and even days to arrive, and was mostly based on official press releases â€" something increasingly hard to understand in today's 24-hour news churn fed by social media and eyewitness accounts.

And then there are the angles of the coverage. In the U.S. and U.K. for example, there were virtually no voices of dissent to the use of revolutionary bomb to wipe out an entire city, with some papers choosing to focus on the scientific prowess and the technological possibilities the atomic bomb implied â€" as evidenced by U.S. President Harry S. Truman's first official announcement of the Hiroshima bombing, 16 hours after the blast.

The New York Times â€" U.S.

Few American journalists and readers questioned the morality of Truman's decision, nor his government's choice of sharing few details of the operation, thus allowing the cover-up and hiding away of U.S. and Japanese newsreel footage of the blast for years, sometimes decades.

As Hiroshima specialist Uday Mohan pointed out in his 2007 essay Nuclearism and the Legacy of U.S. Media Coverage of Hiroshima, "The first photograph of Japanese victims appeared in Life magazine about two months after the end of the war. ... For the most part, photographs of the human cost of the atomic bombings seldom appeared in the American media until the 1950s."

Instead, the remote, impersonal yet awe-inspiring pictures of the atomic mushroom cloud started circulating.

Daily Mirror

Still, even if all the implications could not be understood right away, the dropping of the nuclear bomb was nonetheless huge news around the world. Indeed one British daily headlined after Hiroshima: "The Bomb That Has Changed The World." Here are some notable international front pages from the days that followed, ranging from clinical and dispassionate to tabloid sensational:

U.S.

The Daily News

The Brainerd Daily Dispatch (MN)


FRANCE


"The Americans launch their first atomic bomb on Japan," reads the front page of a young Le Monde: The French daily was created less than a year before the bombing.

"The first atomic bomb pulverizes the Japanese city of Hiroshima" â€" La Croix

"Not a single living soul left in Hiroshima" â€" France Soir


ITALY


"The atomic bomb pulverizes every human being in Hiroshima" â€" Corriere d’Informazione


FINLAND


CANADA


CHILE

"Hiroshima goes up into a 15,000 meter-high cloud of smoke and debris" â€" La Nacion


ARGENTINA

"All human, animal and vegetal life has disappeared from the Hiroshima region" â€" Critica


UK

Daily Express


GERMANY

"Hiroshima, a dreadful field of ruins" reads the front page of the Berliner Zeitung, which was first published on May 21, 1945 in East Berlin.


AUSTRALIA


AUSTRIA

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New Delhi, India: Fumigation Against Dengue Fever In New Delhi

Anne-Sophie Goninet, Jane Herbelin and Bertrand Hauger

👋 வணக்கம்*

Welcome to Thursday, where America's top general reacts to China's test of a hypersonic weapon system, Russia is forced to reimpose lockdown measures and Venice's historic gondola race is hit by a doping scandal. French daily Les Echos also offers a cautionary tale of fraud in the crypto economy.

[*Vaṇakkam, Tamil - India, Sri Lanka, Singapore]

🌎  7 THINGS TO KNOW RIGHT NOW

Top U.S. general says Chinese weapon nearly a "Sputnik moment": China recently conducted a "very concerning" test of a hypersonic weapon system as part of its push to expand space and military technologies, Gen. Mark Milley, the U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told Bloomberg News. America's top military officer said that this was akin to the Soviet Union's stunning launch of the world's first satellite, Sputnik, 1957, which sparked the Cold War space race. Milley also called the test of the weapon "a very significant technological event" that is just one element of China's military capabilities.

Brexit: France seizes British trawler: A British trawler has been seized by France while fishing in French waters without a license, amid escalating conflict over post-Brexit fishing rights. France's Minister for Europe said it will adopt a zero-tolerance attitude towards Britain and block access to virtually all of its boats until it awards licenses to French fishermen.

COVID update: Russia confirmed a new record of coronavirus deaths, forcing officials to reimpose some lockdown measures, including a nationwide workplace shutdown in the first week of November. Germany also saw its numbers spike, with more than 28,000 new infections yesterday, adding to worries about restrictions this winter there and elsewhere in Europe. Singapore, meanwhile, reported the biggest surge in the city-state since the coronavirus pandemic began. Positive news on the vaccine front, as U.S. pharmaceutical giant Merck granted royalty-free license for a COVID-19 antiviral pill to help protect people in the developing world.

Iran nuclear talks to resume: Iran's top nuclear negotiator said multilateral talks in Vienna with world powers about its nuclear development program will resume before the end of November. The announcement comes after the U.S. warned efforts to revive the deal were in "critical phase."

First U.S. passport with "X" gender marker: The U.S. State Department has issued its first American passport with an "X" gender marker. It is designed to give nonbinary, intersex and gender-nonconforming people a marker other than male or female on their travel document. Several other countries, including Canada, Argentina and Nepal, already offer the same option.

China limits construction of super skyscrapers: China has restricted smaller cities in the country from building extremely tall skyscrapers, as part of a larger bid to crack down on wasteful vanity projects by local governments. Earlier this year the country issued a ban on "ugly architecture."

Doping scandal hits Venice's gondola race: For the first time in the history of the Venice Historical Regatta, a participant has tested positive to marijuana in a doping test: Gondolier Renato Busetto, who finished the race in second place, will be suspended for 13 months.

🗞️  FRONT PAGE

"End of the ice age," titles German-language Luxembourgish daily Luxemburger Wort, writing about how the ice melting in the Arctic opens up new economic opportunities with a new passage for countries like Russia and China but with potentially devastating effects for the environment. The issue of the Arctic is one of the topics that will be discussed at the COP26 Climate Change Conference which kicks off in Glasgow on Sunday.


#️⃣  BY THE NUMBERS

$87 billion

A new United Nations report found that extreme weather events such as tropical cyclones, floods and droughts have caused India an average annual loss of about $87 billion in 2020. India is among the countries which suffered the most from weather hazards this year along with China and Japan.

📰  STORY OF THE DAY

Air Next: How a crypto scam collapsed on a single spelling mistake

It is today a proven fraud, nailed by the French stock market watchdog: Air Next resorted to a full range of dubious practices to raise money for a blockchain-powered e-commerce app. But the simplest of errors exposed the scam and limited the damage to investors. A cautionary tale for the crypto economy from Laurence Boisseau in Paris-based daily Les Echos.

📲 The story began last February, when Air Next registered with the Paris Commercial Court. The new company stated it was developing an application that would allow the purchase of airline tickets by using cryptocurrency, at unbeatable prices and with an automatic guarantee in case of cancellation or delay, via a "smart contract" system. Last summer, Air Next started recruiting. The company also wanted to raise money to have the assets on hand to allow passenger compensation.

📝 On Sept. 30, the AMF issued an alert, by way of a press release, on the risks of fraud associated with the ICO, as it suspected some documents to be forgeries. For employees of the new company, it was a brutal wake-up call. They quickly understood that they had been duped, that they'd bet on the proverbial house of cards. Challenged by one of his employees on Telegram, the CEO admitted that "many documents provided were false", that "an error cost the life of this project."

⚠️ What was the "error" he was referring to? A typo in the name of the would-be bank backing the startup. A very small one, at the bottom of the page of the false bank certificate, where the name "Edmond de Rothschild" is misspelled "Edemond". Before the AMF's public alert, websites specializing in crypto-assets had already noted certain inconsistencies. The company had declared a share capital of 1 billion euros, which is an enormous amount. Air Next's CEO also boasted about having discovered bitcoin at a time when only a few geeks knew about cryptocurrency.


➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com


📣 VERBATIM

"A weapon was handed to Mr. Baldwin. The weapon is functional, and fired a live round."

— Following the Oct. 21 on-set shooting death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, Sante Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza told a press conference that the "facts are clear" about the final moments before Hutchins was shot. The investigation continues to determine what led up to that moment, and any possible criminal responsibility related to how the "prop" gun that actor Alec Baldwin fired was loaded.

✍️ Newsletter by Anne-Sophie Goninet, Jane Herbelin and Bertrand Hauger

Share with us your favorite gondola memories or worst crypto scams — and let us know what the news looks like from your corner of the world! info@worldcrunch.com

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