Sunday, August 9, 2009

Nagasaki, 1945



Yosuke Yamahata, A Japanese army photographer, took this picture the day after the Fat Man fell over Nagasaki.

More of Mr. Yamahata's photography can be seen here.

The photo and the quote are from © The Exploratorium,


John Spencer said...

This borders on unethical here, but I had students debate the pros and cons of the atomic bomb seeing only the cold hard facts. From a purely pragmatic standpoint, it made some sense. The Russians were coming in and we needed more of an influence if we were to win the Cold War. The process would have meant more lives lost. Kids came up with the usual reasons.

Then I showed them the pictures. Not a single kid could justify what happened anymore. When they broke into small groups to discuss what they saw, kids talked about how it would change the world. Some talked about the difference between facts and images.

What amazed me was that, in every class, in every small group, I didn't hear a single person try to justify what we did.

(Oh, and, incidentally, for the Word Verfication below, I have to type "dying." Interesting.)

doyle said...

Dear John,

Horrors occurred, obviously, on both sides, and Japan, of course, attacked us. That your kids transcended the debate beyond the usual rhetoric speaks volumes about your classroom.

Warfare in the 20th century defied humanity, yet we continue. I do not have any easy answers (or perhaps any answers at all), but I hope that the public school classroom remains a safe place to discuss issues like this.