Pope orders image of young Nagasaki victims to be printed

‘The fruit of war‘: Pope orders harrowing image of boy carrying his dead brother following the nuclear bombing of Nagasaki be printed and distributed

The Pope has ordered cards be printed and distributed depicting victims of the nuclear bombing of Nagasaki — captioned ‘the fruit of war‘.

The harrowing image shows a boy carrying his dead brother on his shoulders while waiting in line at a crematorium.

It was captured by US Marine photographer Joe O‘Donnell after the nuclear bombs were dropped at the end of World War II. 

requested that ‘the fruit of war‘ be written on the back of the card, accompanied by his signature. 

A caption adds: ‘The young boy‘s sadness is expressed only in his gesture of biting his lips which are oozing blood.‘ 

After the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, Japan‘s subsequent surrender ended World War II. 

Photographer O‘Donnell then spent a further four years recording the aftermath of the bombings in the two cities, according to Library of Congress records. 

The striking images were published in Japan 1945: A US Marine‘s Photographs from Ground Zero. 

Pope Francis has previously condemned the nuclear weapons and highlighted the plight of children in war zones. 

The US‘s nuclear strike against Nagasaki on August 9, 1945, came three days after a similar bomb was dropped on Hiroshima.

These attacks resulted in the deaths of around 120,000 people. Japan surrendered six days later. 


The harrowing cards comes after the Pope told an anti-nuclear weapon conference that the possession of nuclear weapons was now ‘irrational‘. 

In November, the Pontiff said: ‘We‘re at the limit of licitly having and using nuclear arms. 

‘Why? Because today, such sophisticated nuclear arsenals risk destroying humanity or at least a great part of it.

CNN‘s senior Vatican analyst John Allen wrote on his website: ‘Though release of the photo in the run-up to New Year‘s does not add anything substantive to the pontiff‘s positions, it‘s nevertheless the first time Francis has asked that a specific image be circulated in the holiday season, suggesting he believes its message is especially relevant at the moment.‘ 

It comes amid continuing heated rhetoric between the U.S. and North Korea. 

‘Today, is it legitimate to keep nuclear arsenals as they are? Or to save creation, to save humanity today, isn‘t it necessary to go back?‘ Pope Francis added.

The Vatican City was also said to be desperately attempting to open a dialogue between Pyongyang and the Holy See, the Express reported last month. 

Cardinal Peter Turkson of Ghana, head of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, said: ‘The dicastery is already in communication with the Korean episcopal conference to see how we may have also with the regime on the other side.

‘We are exploring the possibilities of speaking to them directly. We cannot say right now exactly when this will happen.‘


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