The 76th anniversary of the atomic bombing of the Japanese city of Hiroshima by the US forces is being marked today, 6 August. Dubbed Hiroshima Day, the event is observed to promote peace politics and is a focus for anti-war and nuclear disarmament groups around the world.
History of the event
The bombing took place in the context of the Second World War. While Germany had surrendered in May 1945, Japan continued to hold out against the Allied Forces, which included the United States. The American administration believed that the use of atomic weapons would force Japan to surrender, thus ending the war.
On 6 August 1945, US bomber Enola Gray dropped the atomic bomb “Little Boy,” containing power equivalent to 15,000 tons of TNT on Hiroshima. This instance, along with the bombing of the city of Nagasaki on 9 August 1945, serves as the only recorded use of nuclear weapons in any armed conflict.
Japan surrendered on 15 August 1945. But, the end of the Second World War came at a terrible cost. At least 80,000 people died almost instantly due to the bombings and thousands later succumbed to radiation poisoning. Almost 35,000 were injured. Around 69 percent of all the buildings in the city were destroyed. Due to the massive amount of radiation released by the bombs, people also developed generational defects and diseases such as cancer.
Hiroshima Day marks the need for "peace politics" to avoid more world wars. Every year, people in Japan visit the Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima to pray, sing, and place offerings. The Peace Bell is sounded at the exact moment the bomb fell and people observe a moment of silence for all those who lost their lives in the bombing.