On 9 August 1945, an atomic bomb was dropped on the Japanese city of Nagasaki. It followed the use of such a weapon on Hiroshima days earlier. Voices of War brings together first-hand accounts of what happened in Nagasaki, taken from IWM’s extensive sound archive and the archives of the Atomic Heritage Foundation.

"I remember saying to the Japanese ‘what have we done to you?’ The tears rolled down his eyes and he said, ‘what have we done to each other?’" - Sidney Lawrence, British POW.

Click on the audio player below to listen to our soundscape and reflect on the experiences of those who were there, from a Japanese schoolboy to British and Chinese prisoners of war.  

Hear the voices of those who witnessed what happened in Nagasaki

WHO AM I LISTENING TO?

  • Geoffrey Sherring

    Served as civilian radio operator with the Merchant Navy in Atlantic. After his ship was sunk in 1942 , he was captured and became a prisoner of war. At the time of the atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki, he was being held in Fukuoka No 14 camp, on the edge of the city. 

  • A C I Belchen

    A Malayan Chinese prisoner of war, held in a camp on the edge of Nagasaki. 

  • Sidney Lawrence

    Born in June 1917, he served during the Second World War as a British aircraftman with No. 36 Squadron RAF in the Dutch East Indies.  He was captured on Java in March 1942. In November of that year he was transported to Japan and spent the rest of the war in prisoner of war camps, finally being held in Fukuoka camp No 14 at Nagasaki from January 1945 onwards.  He was there on a working party when the atomic bomb was dropped on 9 August.

  • Hisatsune Sakomizu

    Worked as a civilian government official in Japan throughout the war, ultimately serving as Chief Cabinet Secretary in Tokyo at the time of the atomic bombs being dropped. 

    Towards the end of the war he was ordered by Prime Minister Suzuki to investigate and analyse the economic condition of Japan, and to provide a written confidential report.  Sakomizu found that Japan‘s resources were rapidly decreasing, and that Japan would be unable to continue fighting the war for more than a few months.  After the conflict, he became a member of the House of Representatives and then joined the Liberal Democratic Party.

  • Yoshiro Yamawaki

    Yoshiro was 11 years old when the atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki, Japan on 9 August 1945. His father was instantly killed, while Yoshiro and his twin brother, who were 2.2 kilometres away from the hypocentre, survived. Today, Yamawaki shares his testimony widely and serves as a strong advocate for the elimination of nuclear weapons. In 2010 the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs appointed him as a Special Communicator for a World without Nuclear Weapons.

    Clip courtesy of Atomic Heritage Foundation.

Thank you for listening to Voices of War: Nagasaki. We’d love to know what you thought - please take our short survey to help us improve future programmes.

Discover

Second World War
Voices of War: VE Day
Listen to our four minute soundscape and reflect on the experiences of those who witnessed the events of VE Day in 1945.
Photograph depicting the aftermath of the Atomic Bomb in Hiroshima.
© IWM MH 29447
Second World War
Voices of War: Hiroshima
Listen to our soundscape and reflect on what happened when the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima on 6 August 1945. 
Civilians and service personnel in London's Picadilly Circus celebrate the news of Allied Victory over Japan in August 1945. © IWM D 25636
Second World War
Voices of War: VJ Day
75 years ago, the Second World War came to an end and was marked by the Allied nations on VJ Day. Listen to the voices of some of those who were there and discover what it meant to them.
Hiroshima following the dropping of the atomic bomb on 6 August 1945. The prominent building in the foreground was the Industry Promotional Hall, retained in its ruined state as a peace memorial.
© IWM MH 29427
Second World War
The Atomic Bombs That Ended the Second World War
The end of the Second World War witnessed the emergence of a new weapon. How did the Allies make the decision to drop two atomic bombs on Japan in August 1945? 
VE Day celebrations in London on 8 May 1945
© IWM (HU 41808)
Second World War
Victory
Commemorate 75 years since the end of the Second World War in Europe and remember the personal stories of people who stood together during a time of national crisis. 

SUPPORT IWM

As a charity, IWM needs your support now more than ever to ensure we can continue to share personal stories of conflict for generations to come.

Visit Us

Visit one of our museums to learn more about the Second World War and discover powerful personal stories of those who experienced it. 

IWM London Exterior shot
IWM
Now open
IWM London
Our London museum tells the stories of people’s experiences of modern war from WW1 to conflicts today
Winston Churchill
Now open
Churchill War Rooms
Explore the underground headquarters that between 1939 - 1945 acted as the top-secret nerve centre from where Churchill and his inner circle determined the course of the Second World War.
IWM Duxford Showcase
©IWM
Now open
IWM Duxford
IWM Duxford is a historic airfield and museum telling the stories of those who lived, fought and died in war from WW1 to 1969. Visit air shows, events and displays.
IWM North
IWM
Now open
IWM North
Visit our iconic museum in Manchester and explore how war affects people’s lives.