Almost towards the fag end of World War II, powered by a burning desire to end the war at the earliest United States of America dropped the first atomic bomb over the Japanese city of Hiroshima on August 6, 1945. Three days later, on August 9, 1945, another bomb was dropped over Nagasaki – instantly killing at least 129,000 people- mostly civilians.
Overall, an estimated 214,000 people were killed in the two bombings. Fortunately or unfortunately these are the first, only two and hopefully the last instances of the use of nuclear weapons in the history of warfare.
Orders for dropping the atomic bombs over four Japanese cities were issued on July 25.
Accordingly one US B-29s dropped a Little Boy uranium gun-type bomb on Hiroshima on August 6 and another B-29 dropped a Fat Man plutonium implosion-type bomb three days later on Nagasaki.
The immediate effect of the bombings was that 90,000–146,000 people were killed in Hiroshima and 39,000–80,000 in Nagasaki. Nearly half of these deaths were reported on the first day itself — in the two cities. Apart from this, besides massive damage to property, large number of people continued to die due to burns, radiation, sickness, malnutrition and other injuries over the next two to four months. As a result of the atomic bombings — both the cities were transformed into virtual graveyards.
Within six days of the bombings–Japan decided to surrender before the Allies on August 15. The Japanese government signed the instrument of surrender on September 2, ending the World War II.
Was this scale of death and destruction really necessary? The ethical and legal justification for the bombings is still subject matter of debate even today.
This question needs an immediate answer as, some nine countries hold over 15,000 nuclear bombs in their arsenals according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. These include Russia (6,850), U.S. (6,450), France (300), China (280), U.K. (215), Pakistan (140-150), India (130-140), Israel (80) and North Korea (10-20).
On 7 July 2017, the UN decided to ban nuclear weapons under international law- for a world without nuclear weapons, without nuclear power stations and without wars.
On August 6, every year the City of Hiroshima holds a Ceremony at Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park in front of the Cenotaph for the A-bomb Victims (Monument for Hiroshima, City of Peace) in memory of the victims of atomic bombings in Hiroshima and Nagasaki and pray for everlasting world peace.
The event has been held virtually every year since 1947– just two years after the atomic bomb was dropped. The ceremony includes speeches by the Prime Minister of Japan, Mayor of Hiroshima and other prominent dignitaries. Some 50,000 local citizens as well as ambassadors and dignitaries from around 70 countries, gather here to console the spirits of those killed by the atomic bomb and pray for lasting world peace.
The Peace Declaration, delivered by the Mayor of Hiroshima at the ceremony, is sent to every country in the world, conveying Hiroshima’s wish for abolition of nuclear weapons and the realization of eternal world peace.
Every year on August 6 — the program starts with bells ringing in the temples and sirens wailing throughout the city at 8:15 A.M. — the exact moment when the atomic bomb were dropped. All over the city — citizens of Hiroshima in households and workplaces observe a moment of silence to pay tribute to the victims of the atomic bombing and pray for everlasting world peace.
On the evening of August 6th a “Peace Message Lantern Floating Ceremony” is held. Anyone is welcome to write messages of peace on the lanterns which are set afloat in the Motoyasu River. The 10,000 odd lanterns bearing wishes for peace — floating down the river in the dark night in front of the Atomic Bomb Dome leave a lasting impact.
The message is loud and clear: do away with all nuclear weapons, no military blocs, and peace through disarmament, social justice and international solidarity– war never again!
■ Date and Time
August 6 from 8:00 a.m. to 8:45 a.m. (The time and date are the same every year).
■ Sequence of Events
2. Registering the Names of the Fallen Atomic Bomb Victims
4. Dedication of Flowers
5. Silent Prayer and Peace Bell (for one minute from 8:15 a.m.)
6. Peace Declaration
7. Release of Doves
8. Commitment to Peace
9. Messages from Distinguished Guests
10. Hiroshima Peace Song
The ceremony is open to the public.
Peace Memorial Park (Nakajima-cho, Naka-ku, Hiroshima City)