Film Reaction Paper
The world entered a new stage of its existence on August 6, 1945, when a new formidable weapon, the atomic bomb, was used for the first time in warfare. The Nazi Germany was defeated and the US administration made the last, decisive step, which, as it claimed, was necessary to bring to the end WWII. The U.S.A. intended, as President Truman put it, to destroy Japan’s power to make war (Okazaki, S. 2007). Dropped on the Japanese city of Hiroshima and three days after that on another city, Nagasaki, the atomic bombs caused enormous devastation and immeasurable suffering to the civil population.
The documentary White Light/Black Rain: The Destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki directed by Steven Okazaki tells the audience the shocking story of the staggering cost of atomic bombings, which is more convincing than the US narrative focusing on the necessity of such a step to end WWII. By the summer 1945, American bombers ruined the major Japanese cities and the defeat of imperial Japan was evident; however, it did not surrender. The US administration did not want to start the invasion of Japan, which could have cost hundreds of thousands of American lives. Instead, President Truman decided to use a new secret weapon, which the U.S.A. tested only in mid-July 1945. On August 6, 1945, an atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima killed or maimed over 100,000 people. It also poisoned the air, soil, and groundwater, with consequences lasting for decades after the explosion. A second atomic bomb destroyed Nagasaki (Pollard E., Rosenberg, C. & Tignor, R. 2014, 730). Within a few days, the Japanese Emperor Hirohito announced Japan’s surrender, and the goal was achieved, but at what cost? Okazaki’s documentary based on the stories of survivors of atomic bombings told by themselves reveals the enormity of what amounts to the act of outrage against humanity. Most of the civilians who died or were horribly wounded and exposed to radiation were children and women, as Hiroshima was a city of civilian residents.
Almost seven decades after the disaster, survivors who used to be children at that time, share their stories of the tragedies of immeasurable loss and pain, both moral and physical. These people have demonstrated immense courage and perseverance in their successful efforts to survive, go on with their lives, acquire professions, and have families, children and grandchildren. The US narrative of what happened in Japan seven decades ago is still full of controversy. For example, the 50th anniversary exhibit of the Enola Gay, the B-29 plane that dropped the bomb on Hiroshima highlights an “unresolved conflict in the American psyche” over whether the event should be a celebration of the final victory of WWII or the commemoration of the human life losses (Ahlberg, S. 2015). With few references to the bomb in contemporary culture the enormity of the atomic bombings seems to have “sunk into the recesses of the collective unconscious”, with the focus in US narrative on the fact that the bombings were necessary …