If a picture is worth a thousand words, this color footage of the aftermath of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima should speak entire volumes.

War is an awful thing, whether you consider it a necessary evil or not. The destruction it brings is a heavy price for any society to pay, especially when one considers the number of innocent bystanders whose lives are taken or irreparably damaged by the fighting.

Those who have experienced war firsthand can give their account of the atrocities it causes as a warning to future generations, and while their messages are certainly powerful, having visual reminders for us to see the destruction with our own eyes can really help to drive that message home.

This video footage from the US National Archives shows the aftermath of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan, nearly eight months after it wreaked havoc on the city. Filmed by US Air Force staff in March and April 1946, this film is 17-minutes of color footage.

Don’t bother to adjust your speakers before clicking the ‘play’ button; there’s no background music or narration here. The images, we’re sure you’ll agree, do all the speaking for themselves.

▼ This scene was recorded on April 8, 1946


▼ Here, a group of children stand under the roof of a ruined building, holding hands with a Christian clergyman


▼ A Buddhist priestess prays…


▼ …before rows and rows of boxes of human ash.


▼ Outside, a woman searches through the rubble


▼ Children also search through the debris.


▼ The children inspect some dishes they have found, perhaps for their families to use, or to sell for money


▼ A man pulls a rickshaw of luggage through streets of rubble


▼ Workers or soldiers loading debris onto the back of a truck.


While the footage fails to show the immediate hell the direct victims of the bomb went through, that the city still looked like a barren wasteland almost a year following the bomb’s detonation says enough of the miserable devastation war can bring.

Source and screenshots: YouTube/Cryptome1 via goo