National Geographic – August 1995, Hiroshima

A movie theatre, one of the very rare buildings still left partially standing so close to point of impact.

66 years ago, the very first atomic bomb was dropped by the Americans onto Hiroshima (広島市). After the a-bombing, the Americans demanded the Japanese surrender, but they still preferred death over the white flag. Then the Americans a-bombed a second city, Nagasaki (長崎市). When on my trip to Japan in 2008, we made a stop at Nagasaki, and we visited the memorial museum. It contained plenty of information about atomic bombs, the effects and post-effects of such a bombing, as well as plenty of photographs and items recovered from various victims. In the entrance was a shrine, with dozens of origami cranes stringed up. In Japanese culture, cranes signify longevity.
The bombings were both as a revenge for Pearl Harbor, a counter-attack to Japan's invasions, and as a way to intimidate other WWII enemies. The American's plans worked, as a few days after the Nagasaki assault, WWII ended completely. Although the Allies provided technical help, financial aid for reconstruction was sparse, everything went to helping rehabilitate allies in Europe. Also, many thought that the earth of Hiroshima was spoiled for ever, but when greenery started growing again, a new hope transpired. By 1953 the water and sewage systems were fully restored, and a decade later the population came to half a million people, although many people were still sick with the after effects of radiation. After a while, the bombing was seen as a way to make a fresh start. Before, Hiroshima had been the ultimate seat of militarism, its port used for dispatching various invasions. When rebuilt, the people of Hiroshima self proclaimed their new found place as the City of Peace, containing over 700 maintained parks, a towering skyline, and cosmopolitan shopping arcades.
Every year, in the Hiroshima Memorial Park, thousands gather to honour the dead, with special seats reserved for the hibakusha (bomb survivors). Also the Hiroshima Memorial Museum receives more visits from Americans and foreigners than it does from japanese schoolchildren on school trips.

That theatre still stands today as a memorial.

This entry was posted in Chemistry, History and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a reply