According to a note on the back of this photograph, it was taken on August 6th, 1945, in the town of Kaitaichi, Japan. Kaitaichi is six miles away from Hiroshima; the photo was taken two minutes after the detonation of the first a-bomb, “Little Boy”.
This photo sat forgotten since 1953 in an archive of about 1,000 articles about the bombing, kept in Honkawa Elementary School in Hiroshima city. Most photographs of the mushroom cloud are from U.S. military sources, this alternate picture, showing the cloud broken into two parts, is quite rare.
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“One rainy night eight years ago, in Watertown, Massachusetts, a man was taking his dog for a walk. On the curb, in front of a neighbor’s house, he spotted a pile of trash: old mattresses, cardboard boxes, a few broken lamps. Amidst the garbage he caught sight of a battered suitcase. He bent down, turned the case on its side and popped the clasps.”
What he found inside the suitcase were seven hundred and one black-and-white photographs depicting scenes of a devastated city.
Lost to the public for over sixty years, the pictures were taken by the “Physical Damage Division”, a special team of 150 men that was part of the United States Strategic Bombing Survey. a group commissioned by Harry Truman to analyse the effectiveness of the United States bombing campaigns in Europe and Asia.