A Hole In Our Collective Memory

Adam Harrison Levy tells the story of recently discovered photographs from Hiroshima, found in a pile of trash 8 years ago:

On September 18, 1945, just over a month after Japan had surrendered, the U.S. Government imposed a strict code of censorship on the newly defeated nation. It read, in part: “nothing shall be printed which might, directly or by inference, disturb public tranquility.”

...The lack of visual evidence of the atom bomb’s effect has helped us to forget its devastating impact. To see is to remember. Up until now, there have been few publicly available images of what happened on the ground when the first atomic bomb exploded. As a result, Hiroshima has become, as the novelist Mary McCarthy wrote in 1946, “a kind of hole in human history.”

These images go some way towards filling in this hole in our historical memory. Taken during the weeks following the bombing, they show a landscape that is eerily vacant and quiet, like ruins from a vanished civilization. But why were they taken and by whom? And how is it that they ended up in a pile of garbage?