Hiroshima

by: John Hersey

Chapter Three: Details Are Being Investigated

Summary Chapter Three: Details Are Being Investigated

While the vivid descriptions of human tragedy are likely to provoke sympathy and outrage among readers, some people have criticized Hersey for not appearing outraged enough at the atrocities. At the end of the chapter, Hersey quotes Mr. Tanimoto’s letter to an American friend, in which Mr. Tanimoto writes about the “great sacrifice” of the Japanese on behalf of an “everlasting peace of the world.” The letter makes the Japanese capitulation seem like a proud moment for both Japanese and Americans alike. Many historians have pointed to the Japanese need to save face as a major reason for the bomb’s efficiency, one that was certainly not lost on President Truman: the bomb allowed the Japanese to surrender but still keep their pride. Were Hersey to end the book with this information, the implication would be that there was nothing wrong with America’s decision to drop the bomb.