Hanover College Triangle on

the Nagasaki Bombing

(December 14, 1945)

World War II came to a swift end after the first two atomic bombs were dropped on Japan. The first was dropped on August 6, 1945, on the city of Hiroshima. The second was dropped on Nagasaki, on August 9, 1945. Thousands of people lost their lives in the initial blast, and many more died from burns and the radiation following the explosion. Once peace talks began, Japan proposed a negotiated peace, but after three years of war with Japan, the United States would only accept a complete surrender. The formal surrender of Japan took place on September 2, 1945, on the U.S.S. Missouri. - Kyle Deglow '11

Source: The Manhattan Project: An Interactive History

N.B. The text below is transcribed verbatim, including the occasional typographical error.

"Hillis Describes Japan Situation," Hanover College Triangle, 14 Dec. 1945.

In a letter recently received by Prof. Ned Guthrie from Lt. (j.g.) Howard W. Hillis, a former Hanover student of '37, there is a striking account of the destruction of Nagasaki as a result of the atomic bomb.

Lt. Hillis is now situated at Sasebo, a part of the Kyushu Islands, and not far distant from the ill-fated city of Nagasaki. The young navel officer writes that the newspaper accounts of the damage caused by the atomic bomb were not exaggerated in the least. "A whole strip, or rather a circle of the city as wide as the distance from the Hanover post office to the site where Classic Hall once stood, has been leveled"-this includes everything, all architectural structures and all forms of vegetation. Even outside this large area, the damage was great. The industrial section of Nagasaki was so badly damaged that nothing remains in a condition suitable for operation.

"Nagasaki was built in a valley which is surrounded by medium sized mountains. Some of the buildings had been located on the sides of the valley at quite a higher level than the city proper. Debris from the bombed portion of the city was hurled high up into this elevated part. There was no bomb crater and the actual point at which the bomb hit can only be surmised or calculated by figuring out the center of the devastated area."

Lt. Hillis also states that the climate in Japan is quite nice-just cool enough to be comfortable. It seldom rains and the sun is usually shining. "It is the kind of weather California advertises, but seldom has."

Strangely enough, the Japanese do not seem to resent the military personnel and police force which have been set over them. "Quite a few of the Japanese people speak English and these are only too willing to associate with the Americans."

There is one Japanese characteristic which is quite prominent. Although their standard of living is low and their country's natural resources are at a minimum, still the people are very industrious. They have terraced every hill that is not absolutely perpendicular. Lt. Hillis says that they would have crops growing on the many hills surrounding the Hanover campus if they were located in this area.

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