This editor’s note introduced the single article that took up almost every inch of space in the August 31, 1946, New Yorker magazine:
“TO OUR READERS: The New Yorker this week devotes its entire editorial space to an article on the almost complete obliteration of a city by one atomic bomb, and what happened to the people of that city. It does so in the conviction that few of us have yet comprehended the all but incredible destructive power of this weapon, and that everyone might well take time to consider the terrible implications of its use. — THE EDITORS”
That article was, of course, journalist John Hersey’s account of the destruction of the Japanese city of Hiroshima by an American atomic bomb and the stories of six survivors of that devastating single blast. It caused a sensation at the time and was recently memorialized in Lesley M.M. Blume’s riveting book, Fallout: The Hiroshima Cover-up and the Reporter Who Revealed It to the World.
Sadly enough, 76 years later, I think it’s clear that we Americans (and we’re hardly alone in this on Planet Earth) have yet to take in the full and “terrible implications” of that bomb’s use or of the second war-ending atomic weapon, code-named “fat man,” that devastated Nagasaki. In fact, when the leaders of Russia and the U.S. recently met in Geneva, nuclear war, unlike cyberwar, wasn’t even at the top of the set of topics they so grimly discussed for several hours, despite the fact that, of the nine nuclear powers on this planet, theirs are the two most staggering arsenals.