Chapter 2 War and Hiroshima, the Devastating Impact of the Atomic Bombing: Introduction
Hiroshima was one of the most important military cities in Japan. During the turmoil of the Meiji Restoration, many castles in Japan were destroyed. Hiroshima Castle was one of those that remained, and it became a military base. With the outbreak of the First Sino-Japanese War, Hiroshima became a major base for troop dispatch and military logistics. Hiroshima’s function as a military city was fully realized and many troops were shipped out to the battlefield from the city, each time a war broke out. During the final days of World War II, the Headquarters of the Second General Army, established to command troops in western Japan, was stationed in Hiroshima in preparation for decisive battles on the mainland.
It was not long before Hiroshima was chosen as a target of an atomic bombing and suffered an indescribable tragedy. Tens of thousands of lives were lost and masses of suffering people ran about in confusion. Rescue operations, the disposal of the dead and the removal of debris were carried out by the military under circumstances that were unimaginably worse than what they had been prepared for. The road to reconstruction would be fraught with difficulties.