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December 6, 1985

The Psychological Lesson of Hiroshima and Nagasaki

Author Affiliations

Stanton, Calif

JAMA. 1985;254(21):3035. doi:10.1001/jama.1985.03360210049017

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To the Editor.—  The bombs dropped on Hiroshima and on Nagasaki have created a great deal of negative criticism of our government, and it is worthwhile to look at them from another point of view.About the first of September 1945,I believe I was the first US Army physician to visit the atom bomb site in Nagasaki. Our team spent about a half hour at "ground zero." (We were unaware of radiation exposure to which we were being subjected.) Later we visited with Japanese officials and doctors and had the opportunity of photographing victims who remained in local hospitals.We drove in our jeep through the debris of five-story aircraft factory buildings that had been crushed to a height of 10 ft. Thousands of bodies were beneath the rubble. (The stench of death was so strong that it was several days before we could push it from our thoughts.) Surrounding