2006/08/07

61 Years Ago

On August 6, 1945, three American planes flying at an altitude of 30,700 feet entered the skies over Hiroshima — an industrial town which had been spared from much bombing during the war and thus provided scientists and military planners with the opportunity to learn what the effects of the new weapon would be on various types of structures. The Target Committee at Los Alamos on May 10–11, 1945, had recommended Kyoto, Hiroshima, Yokohama, and the arsenal at Kokura as possible targets. The committee rejected the use of the weapon against a strictly military objective because of the chance of missing a small target not surrounded by a larger urban area. The psychological effects on Japan were of great importance to the committee members. They also agreed that the initial use of the weapon should be sufficiently spectacular for its importance to be internationally recognized.

One of the planes dropped a single bomb named "Little Boy". The bomb detonated 1,890 feet above the ground. The atomic blast which resulted killed some 80,000 people almost instantly, and caused the deaths by radiation poisoning and other causes of some 60,000 before year's end. Lingering illnesses would claim many more; according to the city of Hiroshima, the death toll of the bombing is now 247,787 and continues to rise - 5,350 in the past year - due to after effects. Most of Americans are still in denial about this event. I can't help but comment on how perverted it was to give an atomic weapon a cute name. It is part of the denial process. Let's face up to the realities and keep it from ever happening again.


A woman places memorial lanterns in the water across from the Peace Dome

8 comments:

FH2O said...

Sobering thoughts on a monday or any day of the week.

Pandabonium said...

I just hope we learn something from this insanity some day. To make the future better we must face the past.

@ロウ 。LOW@ said...

Somehow, I think hibakusha plays a vital role in keeping the memory, or lesson which fading away with the best cure, time. As like many undesirable incidents certain sensitive information is kept beyond public reach that we get some part of the story or different version of it. But it melts deep into hibakusha's eye and skin and feeling that it can't be wrong.

61 years after Hiroshima, a child born in 1945 has become a grandfather. 61 years after Hiroshima, atomic development is still at it's infancy stage -- it's a growth world failed to oppress.

It doesn't matter which country breaks the balance first (again), but we are all qualify to suffer. It will be never too far, that "ray of light".

Peceli and Wendy's Blog said...

Many of us did remember Hiroshima Day, with shame. It seems the powerful leaders of some nations still have stockpiles and no conscience.

Uranium is mined in Australia and exported and to me that is shameful.

Dr Helen Caldicott, an Australian is still speaking and reminding people of the horrorful effects of nuclear radiation.
W.

Happysurfer said...

Dear Pandabonium, your post and the various comments brought tears to my eyes and a lump to the throat. How appalling it is that the human race is not learning from such self-inflicted devastation that some countries are still tinkering with weapons of mass destruction. Perhaps the Smithsonian Institute or some world peace body should be encouraged to do more to knock some sense into some people.

Pandabonium said...

Thank you all for your perceptive comments. Each of you obviously grasps the meaning. Would that others listened to you.

The core issue, in my humble opinion, is that even if we cannot stop human conflict, we, as a species, must absolutely find a way to reach consensus against the use or even existence of any weapon capable of ending human existence. Denial is not a river in Egypt. Understandably, none of us wants to belive in our own mortality, let alone the extinction of the human species, but that is a very real possibility.

It seems to me that, for whatever reasons, human technological development has surpassed human wisdom by a wide margin during the last century or two. Until that equation changes, I cannot be optomistic for our prospects for survival. Not just with regard to atomic weapons, but also with regard to the ecological balance of the life systems of the entire planet.

So that is the real challenge. Not to develop new, better, more powerful weapons, or ways to exploit the remaining natural resources, but to learn how to share this small blue marble floating through space in a way that preserves humanity and the diversity of life that supports us.

To quote a science fiction film over half a century old, "It is no concern of ours how you run your own planet, but if you threaten to extend your violence, this Earth of yours will be reduced to a burned-out cinder. Your choice is simple: join us and live in peace, or pursue your present course and face obliteration. We shall be waiting for your answer. The decision rests with you." (The Day the Earth Stood Still, 1951).

If we do not heed these words, if we do not work for peace in everything we do, in the very way we live, it will not be a robot named "Gort" from some other planet we will have to fear, it will be ourselves.

See Fei said...

how i hope ppl of Nanking will have a nanking day as well! show pix of ppl being bayonet, raped, tortured by the japanese. only when we view history and its cruelty in perspective we do not gloriy the suffering of the perprator of cruelty as the victims.

Pandabonium said...

See fei - yes, just as the US government put out propaganda to get people to accept atomic weapons, and many Americans are in denial about their unnecessary use, the Japanese government is in denial for the suffering it caused during decades of agression before the end of WWII.

In discussing this issue with K (my Japanese companion), I asked her to read "The Rape of Nanking: The Forgotten Holocaust of World War II" by Iris Chang (whom I believe was murdered for this and other work). To K's credit she did. We also visited the Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor together. At the same time, as K can attest, I am very critical of Japan's fascist regime and the ties to it of the present LDP ruling party.

If you read my blog, See fei, you will discover that I don't often bring up politics, but when I do I try look at things as objectively as possible and I do not have any allegiance to any state.

That the Japanese military committed atrocities does not make it right that the American military did the same by using atomic weapons on civilians.

It is only by seeing things in human terms and letting go of political, national, religious and other biases that we can address our common history in an objective manner and put a stop to the madness that is war.

When I bring up Nanking with some people or the visits to Yasukuni shrine, they counter with Tiananmen Square or some other act of China. This is beside the point on all counts. All such acts are wrong, and pointing to the transgressions of another country is not defense for transgressions of one's own.

So I agree with you that we should view history in perspective, but I disagree that by mourning the loss of life in Hiroshima we are in any way denying the Japanese military atrocities of of the early 20th century.

I might add that it was the US which ended the war crimes trials, helped Japan to cover up many of their acts and installed the LDP into power - all to insure an anti-Soviet Japan.

So, in a sense, we have the US to thank for both the atomic bombing of civilians and the cover up and denial of atrocities by the Japanese government.