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Hiroshima 70 Years Ago, How Newspapers Covered It

Hiroshima 70 Years Ago, How Newspapers Covered It
Bertrand Hauger

PARIS — 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 — nicknamed "Little Boy" — 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 — 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 — as evidenced by U.S. President Harry S. Truman's first official announcement of the Hiroshima bombing, 16 hours after the blast.

[rebelmouse-image 27089261 alt="""" original_size="468x645" expand=1]

The New York Times — 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 essayNuclearism 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.

[rebelmouse-image 27089262 alt="""" original_size="615x710" expand=1]

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:


[rebelmouse-image 27089263 alt="""" original_size="736x1022" expand=1]

The Daily News

[rebelmouse-image 27089264 alt="""" original_size="510x662" expand=1]

The Brainerd Daily Dispatch (MN)


"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.

[rebelmouse-image 27089265 alt="""" original_size="306x165" expand=1]

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

[rebelmouse-image 27089266 alt="""" original_size="1140x1549" expand=1]

"Not a single living soul left in Hiroshima" — France Soir


[rebelmouse-image 27089267 alt="""" original_size="1500x2084" expand=1]

"The atomic bomb pulverizes every human being in Hiroshima" — Corriere d'Informazione




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


[rebelmouse-image 27089268 alt="""" original_size="291x400" expand=1]

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


[rebelmouse-image 27089269 alt="""" original_size="590x845" expand=1]

Daily Express


"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.



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food / travel

When Racism Poisons Italy's Culinary Scene

This is the case of chef Mareme Cisse, a black woman, who was called a slur after a couple found out that she was the one who would be preparing their meal.

Photo of Mareme Cisse cooking

Mareme Cisse in the kitchen of Ginger People&Food

Caterina Suffici


TURIN — Guess who's not coming to dinner. It seems like a scene from the American Deep South during the decades of segregation. But this happened in Italy, in this summer of 2023.

Two Italians, in their sixties, got up from the restaurant table and left (without saying goodbye, as the owner points out), when they declared that they didn't want to eat in a restaurant where the chef was what they called: an 'n-word.'

Racists, poor things. And ignorant, in the sense of not knowing basic facts. They don't realize that we are all made of mixtures, come from different racial and ethnic backgrounds. And that food, of course, are blends of different ingredients and recipes.

The restaurant is called Ginger People&Food, and these visitors from out of town probably didn't understand that either.

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