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WORLD WAR II // 50 YEARS AGO TODAY

From newspapers of Sept. 5, 1945: A number of Western reporters tour Hiroshima. "I was among the first few foreigners to reach the site of this historic bombing," writes W. H. Lawrence of the New York Times, "and walked for nearly two hours today through streets where the stench of death still pervades and survivors or relatives of the dead, wearing gauze patches over their mouths, still probe among the ruins for bodies or possessions . . . This is the world's most damaged city, worse than Warsaw or Stalingrad." Clark Lee of the International New Service reports that a Japanese boy "described with stunning simplicity" the explosion of the atomic bomb. "I thought the moon fell down on Hiroshima," the boy said. A Japanese navy surgeon tells Lee that the effects of radioactivity are similar to an extremely large overdose of X-rays. The official death toll now is put at 53,000. In Washington, Secretary of State James Byrnes discloses that the United States and the Soviet Union reached an understanding at Yalta _ six months before Moscow declared war on Japan _ to let the Soviet Union regain the Kuriles and the southern part of Sakhalin Island.

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