What questionings of human values during the Cold War period are brought up in the book, Hiroshima?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Interestingly enough, I think that one of the most profound questionings of human values evoked through the book is the idea of human endurance.  The book does not moralize or sensationalize the dropping of the atomic bomb.  Rather, it focuses on the survivors and their will to live in the face of unspeakable horror.  The book stresses the idea of human resilience and endurance through difficult times.  It is here where Cold War values of domination and annhilation are raised.  Essentially, Hersey's narrative demands the asking of how one set of human beings can devise policies and actions intended to destroy an entire group of people through the use of nuclear weapons if their basic humanity is similar and if their will to live will outlast the use of said tools of destruction.  The values and ideas that dominated the Cold War period were ones of competition and destruction.  If Hersey's narrative is right and that humans will survive through their will and "capacity for suffering," as Faulkner would put it, can nations dedicate themselves to destroying humanity when its essence will not be removed?  This becomes one of the major Cold War values questioned in the work.


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