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August 8, 2012
City LightsBy Greyhawk
(Note: Originally posted in August, 2010 - reposted now because it's that time of year again.)
Via yesterday's email:
Today, August 6th, marks the 65th anniversary of the American bombing of Hiroshima. Monday is the 65th anniversary of Nagasaki. To commemorate those dates, LIFE.com has created a gallery of never-seen pictures by LIFE photographers Alfred Eisenstaedt, Bernard Hoffman, and J.R. Eyerman -- all three of whom were there, on the ground, very shortly after both cities were destroyed.Apparently we really lit 'em up:
"When the [Nagasaki] bomb went off, a flier on another mission 250 miles away saw a huge ball of fiery yellow erupt. Others, nearer at hand, saw a big mushroom of dust and smoke billow darkly up to 20,000 feet, and then the same detached floating head as at Hiroshima. Twelve hours later Nagasaki was a mass of flame, palled by acrid smoke, its pyre still visible to pilots 200 miles away. The bombers reported that black smoke had shot up like a tremendous, ugly waterspout. With grim satisfaction, [physicists] declared that the 'improved' second atomic bomb had already made the first one obsolete." -- From the article "War's Ending" in LIFE, 8/20/1945.
That was the second Hiroshima pictures email I've gotten recently. The first, a "Hiroshima 64 years later" email (yes - it's from last year) popped into my inbox last month. Maybe you got it, too.
The pictures in it are amazing.
But they're pictures of Yokohama:
"I can't even begin to understand why someone would fabricate such a blatant fake," says the author of the de-bunking. "It's a bit like contrasting pictures of Pearl Harbour in 1941 with shots of Las Vegas in 2009, claiming it was the same city."
Google "Hiroshima 64 years later" and you'll find multiple examples of victims of the fraud. So, one lesson replaces another: the ultimate irony of the information age is that no matter how easily an indisputable truth can be found (this example took 30 seconds), few will bother to seek it out. Less obvious truths don't stand a chance.
Another 30 seconds of fun with Google - Yokohama didn't escape destruction in WWII:
Next up was Yokohama, an important shipbuilding and automotive center. 517 B-29s were involved, but there was a much stronger Japanese fighter effort, with around 150 Zekes involved. P-51 Mustang pilots destroyed 26 of them, and possibly as many as 23 more. The raid destroyed 6.9 square miles of the city, which was about a third of the city's area. This brought the total area destroyed in all attacks on the city to 8.9 square miles.
...but that just doesn't have the emotional impact of the one bomb solution.
As for Hiroshima today, while not quite Yokohama, it does appear to have recovered.
Its largest industry is the manufacturing industry with core industries being the production of Mazda cars, car parts and industrial equipment. Mazda Motor Corporation is by far Hiroshima's dominant company. Mazda accounts for 32% of Hiroshima's GDP.
That last bit being of particular interest, as the hoax email attempts to make a comparison between Hiroshima and Detroit - via photos of buildings and homes (presumably in the Motor City - but I've never seen an American city without them) crumbling with decay.
This Detroit photo is not included:
Nor is this even more thought-provoking image:
You can see at least two nations that launched surprise attacks against America in this one. One of them lost the war that resulted, the other is North Korea.
Posted by Greyhawk / August 8, 2012 3:08 PM | Permalink
November 26, 2010
I think anyone who's ever pondered the "comment" option - once only available on blogs and bulletin boards, now ubiquitous on almost any web site - will appreciate this:
The so-called faculty of writing is not so much a faculty of writing as it is a faculty of thinking. When a man says, "I have an idea but I can't express it"; that man hasn't an idea but merely a vague feeling. If a man has a feeling of that kind, and will sit down for a half an hour and persistently try to put into writing what he feels, the probabilities are at least 90 percent that he will either be able to record it, or else realize that he has no idea at all. In either case, he will do himself a benefit.
That's wisdom from the past, captured for posterity at the US Naval Institute, shared via the web on the institute's 137th anniversary.
From their about page:
"The Naval Institute has three core activities," among them, History and Preservation:
The Naval Institute also has recently introduced Americans at War, a living history of Americans at war in their own words and from their own experiences. These 90-second vignettes convey powerful stories of inspiration, pride, and patriotism.
Take a look at the collection, and you'll see it's not limited to accounts from those who served on ships at sea, members of the other branches are well-represented.
I'm fortunate to have met USNI's Mary Ripley, she's responsible for the institute's oral history program (and she's the daughter of the late John Ripley, whose story is told here). She also deserves much credit for their blog. ("We're not the Navy nor any government agency. Blog and comment freely.") We met at a milblog conference - Mary knew (and I would come to realize) that milbloggers are the 21st-century version of exactly what the US Naval Institute is all about. Once that light bulb came on in my head, I mentioned a vague idea for a project to her - milblogs as the 21st century oral history that they are.
"Put that in writing," she said (of course - see first paragraph above!) - and here's part of the result.
Shortly after the first tent was pitched by the American military in Iraq a wire was connected to a computer therein, and the internet was available to a generation of Americans at war - many of whom had grown up online. From that point on, at any given moment, somewhere in Iraq a Soldier, Sailor, Airman or Marine was at a keyboard sharing the events of his or her day with the folks back home. While most would simply fire off an email, others took advantage of the (then) relatively new online blogging platforms to post their thoughts and experiences for the entire world to see. The milblog was born - and from that moment to this stories detailing everything from the most mundane aspects of camp life to intense combat action (often described within hours of the event) have been available on the web...
And et cetera - but since you're reading this on a milblog, you probably knew that. And you know that milblogs aren't just blogs written by troops at war, that many friends, family members, and supporters likewise documented their story of America at war online in near-real time, as those stories developed.
The diversity in membership of that group is broad, the one thing we all have in common is the impulse to make sense of the seemingly senseless, and communicate the tale - for each of us that impulse was strong enough to overcome whatever barriers prevent the vast majority of people from doing the same. Everyone at some point has some vague idea they believe should be shared - we were the people who, from some combination of internal and external urging, found and spent those many half hours persistently trying to write it down.
But where will all that be in another 137 years? Or five or ten, for that matter. That's something I've asked myself since at least 2004 - when I wrote this:
Membership in the ghost battalion has grown in the years since, and an ever growing majority of those abandoned-but-still-standing sites are vanishing. Have you checked out Lt Smash's site lately? How about Sgt Hook's? If you're a long-time milblog reader you know the first widely-read milblog from Operation Iraq Freedom and the first widely-read milblog from Afghanistan are both gone from the web. If you're a relative newcomer to this world you may never even have heard of them - or the dozens upon dozens of others who carried forth the standard they set down.
If you have a vague notion that something should be done about that, (a notion I've heard expressed more than once...) then you and I and the good folks at the US Naval Institute are in agreement. Preserving the history documented by the milbloggers is just one of the goals of the milblog project, the once-vague idea that we're now making real.
And it's a big idea, if I say so myself - too big to explain in one simple blog post, so stand by for more. Likewise, it's too big a task to be accomplished by just one person. So if you're a milblogger (and exactly what is a milblogger? is a topic for much further discussion on its own) I'm asking for your help. All I'll really need is just a little bit (maybe just one or two of those half hours...) of your time, and your willingness to tell the tale.
We've already made history, it's time to save it.
(More to follow...)
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