Since today marks the 66th anniversary of the dropping of the atomic bomb in Hiroshima, here is a special post about probably the biggest humanitarian catastrophe in history. Between 150,000 and 245,000 people died after the U.S. dropped the atomic bomb “Little Boy” on Hiroshima, on August 6, 1945 and only three days later “Fat Boy” on Nagasaki. On August 15, Japan surrendered to the Allied Powers which officially ended the World War II. To this day, the ethical justification of the atomic bombing is still debated. Read this article for more information.
Do you think the use of the atomic bomb was justified, because it ended the war quickly? In my opinion, what happened in Hiroshima and Nagasaki is probably the most horrible crime against humanity ever committed.
As a History student I am always confronted with the big question “Do we learn from History?” and since I am a quite realistic person I always answer it with a clear “No.” as there are always new wars and new reports of violence and murder in the news. Still, catastrophes like the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki force us to at least try to learn from History. Always remember what happened this day 66 years ago in Japan, as well as the Holocaust in Germany, the Genocide in Armenia, in Rwanda and anywhere else people are killed for politics, ethnical differences, religion or any other reason!
A few months ago I was incredibly lucky to get the opportunity to talk to a survivor of the atomic bomb in Hiroshima. Even though I’ve known all the facts about the bombing from school and University, it was on this day that I realized for the first time the extend of the catastrophe and gained insight into the people’s experience of the bombings.
I have found this incredible article about a man who didn’t only survive the bombing of Hiroshima, but also of Nagasaki:
It will go down as one of the most inspiring survival stories ever to emerge from a horrific war. Tsutomu Yamaguchi was in his twenties when he found himself in Hiroshima on the morning of 6 August 1945, as a single B-29 US bomber droned overhead. The “Little Boy” bomb that it dropped from its payload would kill or injure 160,000 people by the day’s end.
Among them was the young engineer – who was in town on a business trip for Mitsubishi Heavy Industries – who stepped off a tram as the bomb exploded.
Despite being 3km (just under two miles) from Ground Zero, the blast temporarily blinded him, destroyed his left eardrum and inflicted horrific burns over much of the top half of his body. The following morning, he braved another dose of radiation as he ventured into Hiroshima city centre, determined to catch a train home, away from the nightmare.
But home for Mr Yamaguchi was Nagasaki, where two days later the “Fat Man” bomb was dropped, killing 70,000 people and creating a city where, in the words of its mayor, “not even the sound of insects could be heard”. In a bitter twist of fate, Yamaguchi was again 3km from the centre of the second explosion. In fact, he was in the office explaining to his boss how he had almost been killed days before, when suddenly the same white light filled the room. “I thought the mushroom cloud had followed me from Hiroshima,” Mr Yamaguchi said.
This BBC documentary gives a more detailed description of the events on August 6, 1945: