Today, 75-years ago, mankind proved itself the extent it can go. Japan remembers another year of the beyond horrible Hiroshima Nagasaki attack.
The United States of America dropped two atom bombs – codenamed ‘Little boy’ and ‘Fat man’ – in what is known as the world’s first atomic bomb attack.
Since then, fortunately, those two attacks remained the last deployed atomic bombs in the world. But the trauma continued years after years.
The first attack in Hiroshima on 10th August killed more than 150,000 people in the city in seconds. Another attack followed in Nagasaki that killed 74k people in 1945.
US bomber Enola Gay dropped the bomb nicknamed “Little boy” which was anything but little. The bomb detonated just 600 meters above the city after it was dropped by the US and it released energy equivalent to some 15k tonnes of TNT, France 25 reports.
On Ground-Zero – the immediate point of bomb detonation above earth’s surface of Hiroshima, people gathered for the annual ceremony on Thursday with marked silence on 8:15 AM -the exact time when the bomb ravaged the town, English daily Japan Times report.
Within three days after the first bomb blast in 1945, millions injured, hundreds of thousands killed in Hiroshima, the US dropped another bomb – “Fat man” – this time in Nagasaki on August 9th, upending another set of 74k lives.
In both cases, hundreds of thousands were unaware of the dooming fate nearing their lives in moments. People were in their daily chores – businesses operating, as usual, children in school – when the bombs detonated.
According to France 24, the ground temperature near the detonation point reached an estimated 7000 degrees celsius or 12,600 Fahrenheit.
Hundreds of thousands were instantly burnt to ashes from the fatal heat in a radius of up to five miles. Others died shortly from injuries and extraordinary amounts of radiation.
The largest blast on common public exploded at such magnitude, the glow of the fire instantly blinded many, some got permanently blind and other got cataracts and similar side-effects.
Eyewitnesses who survived to narrate their experience remember an enormous ball of fire when the bomb was detonated.
The city was turned into a pile of ash and billowing smoke in the aftermath of the blast, as the fire rapidly spread in the largely wooden Hiroshima in the 20th century.
“I remember the charred bodies of little children lying around the hypocentre area like black rocks,” a Nagasaki attack survivor recalled the ordeal who was 18 at that time, France 24 reports.
Why the Us bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki?
75 years after the blast, Historians still argue on the justification and the importance of the bomb deployment, the first of its kind in the atomic age and hopefully the last.
During World War II, Japan was the fiercest enemy of the US and its ally – the UK, Russia and China. The US-Japan relationship quickly worsened and it escalated with Japan aggressively pursuing their publicly stated intent to fight till the bitter end against the US.
To stop the ordeal, the US decided to drop the atomic bombs after discussing with the UK to make Japan surrender, which was successfully done, bringing an end of World War II.
The twin bombing enacted a great deal of distress to the two cities, is an understatement. While hundreds of thousands were killed and several others were injured, shockingly the toll included 90% of the city’s medical workforce. It meant, there was hardly human resource to trend the survivors.
Historians continue to calculate the results but that means little to the survivors who have been through the ordeal. After all, logic and calculations are an incorrect measure of actual human conditions.
Several years after the detonation people of the city continued to get battered by physical and psychological trauma. A significant spike in radiation-related cancer was noted shortly after the burst. Birth defects too were increased.
Apart from the direct implications of the attack faced by two generations of the Hiroshima citizen, several atom bomb victims and their family members also called ‘hibakusha’ continue to face the cultural implications of the war including getting shunned in marriage because of radiation prejudices.
In 2016, the then US President Barrack Obama became the first US President to visit Hiroshima to embrace the survivors and supported their cause to call for a world free from the nuclear arsenal. He did not issue an apology though.
Today all the ‘hibakusha’ continue to press for the cause of no-nuclear weapon. “Civil society must reject self-centred nationalism and unite against all threats,” Hiroshima Mayor said Thursday pointing to the present geopolitical rivalries between the superpowers US and China.
(Cover image courtesy of By George R. Caron – Nagasakibomb.jpgAtomic_cloud_over_Hiroshima.jpg, Public Domain)