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The Hiroshima disaster (II)

31-12-1982 Article, International Review of the Red Cross, No. 231, by Marcel Junod

The text which we print here, entitled "The Hiroshima disaster", was found recently among the papers left by Dr. Marcel Junod, a former Vice-President of the ICRC, who died in 1961. As far as we know, the text has never before been published, though Dr. Junod probably drew on it when writing the last part of his book "Le troisieme combattant" (translated into English as "Warrior without Weapons").


Dr. Junod, an ICRC delegate in the Far East at the end of the Second World War, was the first foreign doctor to visit the ruins of Hiroshima after the atomic explosion and to treat some of the victims. His account, apparently written soon after the event, is therefore a valuable first-hand testimony.

Since then, much has been written about Hiroshima and about the atom bomb, possibly better documented, more carefully considered, more elegantly composed. But nothing has better described, in its simple way, the horror of the situation as Dr. Junod saw it.

The personality of the author stamps this text, which we now publish almost forty years after he wrote it. His account has lost none of its force, and vividly conveys the shock, and also the fears for the future which Dr. Junod felt as he looked upon the devastation suffered by Hiroshima.