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152 pages, Paperback
First published January 1, 1946
TO OUR READERS
The New Yorker this week devotes its entire editorial space to an article on the almost complete obliteration of a city by one atomic bomb, and what happened to the people of that city. It does so in the conviction that few of us have yet comprehended the all but incredible destructive power of this weapon, and that everyone might well take time to consider the terrible implications of its use.
The scientists noticed that the flash of the bomb had discoloured concrete to a light reddish tint, had scaled off the surface of granite, and had scorched certain other types of building material, and that consequently the bomb had, in some places, left prints of the shadows that had been cast by its light [...] (a few vague human silhouettes were found...
As for the use of the bomb she would say, 'It was war and we had to expect it.' And then she would add, 'Shikata ga nai,' a Japanese expression as common as, and corresponding to, the Russian word, 'nichevo': 'It can't be helped. Oh, well. Too bad.' Dr Fujii said approximately the same thing about the use of the bomb to Father Kleinsorge one evening, in German. 'Da ist nichts zu machen. There's nothing to be done about it.'