The Atomic Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki

Characteristics of the Injuries to Persons

Injuries to persons resulting from the atomic explosions were of the following types:

  1. Burns, from
    1. Flash radiation of heat
    2. Fires started by the explosions.
  2. Mechanical injuries from collapse of buildings, flying debris, etc.
  3. Direct effects of the high blast pressure, i.e., straight compression.
  4. Radiation injuries, from the instantaneous emission of gamma rays and neutrons.

It is impossible to assign exact percentages of casualties to each of the types of injury, because so many victims were injured by more than one effect of the explosions. However, it is certain that the greater part of the casualties resulted from burns and mechanical injures. Col. Warren, one of America's foremost radioligists, stated it is probable that 7 per cent or less of the deaths resulted primarily from radiation disease.

The greatest single factor influencing the occurrence of casualties was the distance of the person concerned from the center of explosion.

Estimates based on the study of a selected group of 900 patients indicated that total casualties occurred as far out as 14,000 feet at Nagasaki and 12,000 feet at Hiroshima.

Burns were suffered at a considerable greater distance from X than any other type of injury, and mechanical injuries farther out than radiation effects.

Medical findings show that no person was injured by radioactivity who was not exposed to the actual explosion of the bombs. No injuries resulted from persistent radioactivity of any sort.

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