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Objectivity in Hiroshima

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At 8:15 A.M. on August 6, 1945, the President of the United States of America ordered the dropping of an atomic bomb over Hiroshima causing the death of an estimated 66,000 people. The journalist, John Hersey, wrote a 30,000 word essay in 1946 entitled, Hiroshima, which was later turned into a book. In 1985, Hersey added chapter five which tells the stories of the six survivors’ lives after the bomb was dropped. While writing Hiroshima, John Hersey was supremely objective by not conveying any personal feelings about sympathy for the habashuka, pro-American beliefs, or judging the use of the bomb.

“There were many dead in the gardens. At a beautiful moon bridge, he passed a naked, living woman who seemed to have been burned from head to toe and was red all over.” (51) John Hersey explains this situation in a matter-of-fact way not describing the dead or seeming sympathetic toward the burned woman. Instead he describes the moon bridge as beautiful and is completely unemotional to the facts. Hersey could have stated that it was terrible that the woman was burned from head to toe or that it was a shame but he did not. Hersey also succeeded in not expressing any type of pro-Americanism in this book.

“It was several days before the survivors of Hiroshima knew they had company, because the Japanese radio and newspapers were being extremely cautious on the subject of the strange weapon” (57) Hersey, again, gives only the facts and does not express any emotion in this quote on American company in Hiroshima and the other city that was bombed, Nagasaki. In no way did Hersey give his own opinion on the matter that was going on during this time. John Hersey accomplished the task of not putting across personal opinions on whether he thought the bomb should have been dropped.

“At two minutes after eleven o’clock in the morning of August 9th, the second atomic bomb was dropped, on Nagasaki.”(57) In this quote it is clear that, once again, John Hersey only gave the facts. He did not write that it would be unwise to dropt he bomb on Nagasaki, he did not write that it would be a great idea, and he did not write that he did not care whether the bomb should have been dropped. Hersey merely offered facts and let the reader decide whether it was unfortunate for the bomb to be dropped or if it was necessary for the United States of America.

In Hiroshima, John Hersey achieved supreme objectivity by not giving out his opinions on the habashuka, pro-American beliefs, or judging the dropping of the bomb. As a journalist, Hersey did a wonderful job of only giving the “who”, “what”, “when” and “where” facts and leaving out the “why” as most great journalist achieve.

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