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Transcript: Source3

Sections of a British government report on casualties in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, December 1945
(Catalogue ref: AB 16/250)

Source 3a

As with most bombs, however, a high proportion of casualties, probably the bulk (except insofar as these were killed as it were several times over, by each casualty producing agent separately) died from secondary injuries.

The secondary injuries caused by the atomic bomb may be divided into mechanical injuries and burns. The mechanical injuries resulted mainly from people being struck by falling buildings. …

It is probably that many people were burned because the fires started simultaneously in many places while they were trapped under or hemmed in by debris.

What information is available indicates that the secondary injuries did occur at distances up to 10,000 feet from the bomb, but that they were not common at this distance. Beyond 7,000 feet the incidence of secondary mechanical injuries appears to fall off more rapidly than the incidence of flash burns and of secondary (flame) burns but much less rapidly than the incidence of gamma ray effects. ……

Source 3b

Casualties in School Children in Hiroshima

It is obvious that gross casualty figures of the kind quoted are of no value in studying the lethality of the bomb at various distances. The only way of approaching this subject in retrospect seemed to be to try to trace the fate of each individual in some suitable group. It was found that there were fairly good records of the whereabouts of the school children and of their fate. The Medical Section of the Joint Commission therefore made an effort to collect complete data concerning these children and also of some industrial groups. None of these data have been completely collected and analysed yet. A part of the data on the school children is presented to indicate roughly what may be expected from the complete data.

These children were organized into groups of various sizes and were scattered throughout the city doing a variety of war jobs. Very few of them were actually in school when the bomb fell. It was hoped that they are a fairly representative sample as far as proportion in the open, in various types of buildings, distance from the bomb, etc., are concerned. Any sampling bias is ignored here but will be investigated by the Joint Commission. The consolidated results for the many groups are:-

Distance
from
Centre
Total
Dead
Missing
Unkown
Wounded
Untraced
Disconnected
Healthy
Severe
Slight
0 - 1 km.
3,340
2,479
289
35
0
166
371
1 - 1.5
4,683
683
481
240
0
1,643
1,626
1.5 - 2
1,260
227
22
168
0
343
500
2 - 2.5
5,121
96
14
1,123
0
832
3,056
2.5 - 3
2,314
11
0
37
0
0
2,266

Missing (unknown is the word used by the Japanese) means that the child’s parents did not know what had become of it.

Untraced (disconnected) means that it was not possible to get in touch with anyone in the family.

The most logical treatment of this data seems to be to assume that all of those that are missing are killed, and that the ‘disconnected’ suffered the same fate as the remainder at their distance, i.e., subtract them from the total. This gives the following results:-

Distance
from
Centre
Total
Dead
Percentage
Mortality
0 - 1 km.
3,174
2,768
87
1 - 1.5
3,040
1,174
39
1.5 - 2
917
249
27
2 - 2.5
4,289
110
2.6
2.5 - 3
2,314
11
0.48

... ...

Source 3c

From all this evidence it is only possible to assume that the total killed in Hiroshima by the bomb was certainly not less that 60,000 and probably not more than 120,000, with the most likely figure between seventy and ninety thousand. It is not possible to estimate the injured with any useful degree of accuracy but they must have been at least as numerous as the dead. Thus of the 323,000 people in Hiroshima, probably one quarter or more were killed and one third or more injured.

5.3.2 Casualties in Nagasaki. The official Japanese casualty figures for Nagasaki which were prepared for the Civil Defence Section of U.S.S.B.S. are probably the best available figures. They are to November 6th. They are:-

Dead
25,761
Injured
30,460
Missing
1,927
Homeless Families
21,174
Homeless Individuals
89,780

However, as before, the figure for deaths is the number of verified deaths obtained from the Governor of the Prefecture – actual deaths are much higher.

The figures for injured are for those actually hospitalised in Nagasaki: it is estimated that there were 25,000 more hospitalised outside.

It is usually concluded in medical circles that there were approximately 40,000 killed and at least 60,000 injured by the bomb in Nagasaki. ……

Source 3d

THE MORE IMPORTANT EFFECTS OF ATOMIC BOMBS ON PEOPLE AND THEIR HOMES

Explosion as at Nagasaki and Hiroshima

[The diagram shows what would be the percentage of people killed, comparing a city in Japan with a British city. It also shows the degree of damage radiating out from the centre, again comparing the expected effects on Japanese and British cities.]