HIROSHIMA – A research foundation here plans to display 223 photographs in August that a U.S. scientist took in Hiroshima and Nagasaki after the U.S. atomic bombings of the cities in 1945.
Paul Henshaw, a U.S. scientist who took part in the Manhattan Project to develop atomic bombs during World War II but later became a peace activist, took the pictures between 1945 and 1947. He died in 1992 at age 90.
His son, Robert, 71, donated the photos — most of them are color — last year to the Radiation Effects Research Foundation, which operates laboratories in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
The pictures depict Hiroshima’s reconstruction efforts, with some of them showing buildings being rebuilt around the Hiroshima Peace Memorial, and Dr. Takashi Nagai, who was exposed to radiation in Nagasaki and worked to help other hibakusha.
Robert Henshaw said he donated the photographs to convey his late father’s deeply felt wishes that war should never be waged.
Paul Henshaw participated in the Manhattan Project from 1942 because he felt the need for an atomic bomb, the son said.
But the scientist had never wanted to use it on a population center but rather use it as a demonstration of power on an area of little or no population, he said.
So his father called on then U.S. President Harry Truman not to use the weapon on a city weeks before the president gave the go-ahead for “Little Boy” to be detonated over Hiroshima, according to the son.
After the war, the scientist came to Japan in 1946 to join what was the Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission, the predecessor of the research foundation, to study the health damage caused by the atomic bomb, he said. After learning about the misery situations in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Henshaw worked to promote public awareness of the tragedies of war.
Toshiteru Okubo, chairman of the research foundation, said that color photographs were rare at the time and that the photographs will hopefully help the public better understand Hiroshima and Nagasaki after the bombings.