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U.S. to donate photographs of A-bomb effects to Hiroshima museum

An aerial photograph showing the city of Hiroshima following the atomic bombing. To the bottom right are inscribed figures showing the extent of damage done to targets, including "100%" regarding an electricity generating plant. (Photo taken by the U.S. military, provided by the Stimson Center)
The cover of photographic images utilized by Gen. Groves, showing the mushroom cloud that rose following the dropping of the atomic bomb on the city of Nagasaki. (Photo taken by the U.S. military, provided by the Stimson Center)

WASHINGTON -- A total of 21 photographs showing the effects of the atomic bombs, which Lt. Gen. Leslie Groves used to brief top officials under then U.S. President Harry Truman, will be presented to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum in the near future, the Stimson Center -- a Washington D.C.-based think tank -- announced on May 18.

    During World War II, the late Gen. Groves oversaw the development of the Manhattan Project, under which the United States developed the atomic bombs.

    The photographs are part of a 24-panel collection with explanations, and is presently in the possession of the Stimson Center. The images include those of the world's first nuclear test, which was carried out in July 1945 in the state of New Mexico, as well as aerial images taken by the U.S. that show Hiroshima and Nagasaki after atomic bombs were dropped on both cities.

    The images also include those of the cities prior to the atomic bombings, with indications of targets such as military bases and shipyards -- along with specific percentages indicating the level of destruction to those targets.

    The photographs comprise a valuable resource that is likely to reveal reactions within the United States with respect to the destructive power of the atomic bombs.

    The panels are around one meter wide, and 80 centimeters tall. When briefings regarding the panels were given to Truman officials, the photographs were mounted upon easels of the type used by oil painters.

    Some of the photographs -- including those that show the effects of the atomic bombings -- have already been made public. In an interview with the Mainichi Shimbun, however, center co-founder Michael Krepon said with regard to the collection of panels that "no one seems to know of other copies of this briefing," which he noted was an "important historical document."

    Krepon's idea of donating the panels to the Hiroshima museum began to be finalized when Hiroshima Gov. Hidehiko Yuzaki visited the center last year in October.

    Gen. Groves later gave the panels to Mr. Harvey Bundy, who was the closest adviser to Secretary of War Henry Stimson, and was closely involved in the planning of the atomic bombs.

    Bundy's son McGeorge, who had received the panels from his father, gave them shortly before his death in 1996 to the Stimson Center. McGeorge Bundy had also served as a national security adviser and special presidential adviser to both presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson.

    The Stimson Center was founded in 1989 in remembrance of Henry Stimson, who was long involved in international politics. (Haruyuki Aikawa)

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