Hiroshima: The Fallout

At 8.15am on 6 August 1945, the first atomic bomb used in warfare exploded over Hiroshima, instantly killing some 80,000 people, the vast majority civilians.

To mark next week’s 70th anniversary, the Australian Doctor team has created a multimedia feature telling the story of medical impact on survivors in the hours, days and years that followed.

It’s called The Fallout.

No doubt there will be another fraught debate next week about whether the bomb was justified.

The main argument, particularly in the West, has always been that it brought the war to an early end, the necessary utilitarian calculation so often applied in catastrophic times.

The argument, and its moral dimensions, are important. But by telling the story of the medical aftermath, you can capture the very real human cost so often smothered by the sheer numbers of dead and injured.

What happened in the moments after the bomb fell, how were the injuries treated, what was known about the effects of radiation?

These are some of questions we looked at.

Then there is the story of long-term consequences. Japan feared the radiation would lead to genetic mutations in survivors. These survivors were discouraged from marrying and from having children because of fears of deformity.

There is also an Aussie hero at the centre of the story, the controversial journalist Wilfred Burchett, who revealed to the wider world the horrors of the 'Atomic Plague' in the weeks after the bomb fell.

His report, dubbed the “scoop of the century”, was dismissed by the US as Japanese propaganda.

We hope you can read the story and share it with friends and colleagues through social media.

They don’t have to register on the Australian Doctor website. We’ve made The Fallout open access and is available for everyone to read.

Paul Smith
Australian Doctor deputy editor

ReadThe Fallout