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76th anniversary of Hiroshima bombing: History, significance, and impacts of World War II atomic bombings

Atomic cloud over Hiroshima (509th Operations Group/WikiCommons)

August 6, 2021, observed solemnly as Hiroshima Day around the world, is the 76th anniversary of the atomic bombing of the Japanese city in the final year of World War II. On this day in 1945, the United States dropped the very first deployed nuclear bomb in the city of Hiroshima, wiping out an estimated 39 percent of the population, most of who were civilians. Along with the atomic bombing of Nagasaki three days later, these instances remain the only recorded use of nuclear weapons in armed conflict.

History

Hiroshima bombings of 1945 were “necessitated”, as said by the United States, as the Allied Forces continued to struggle against Japan even after Germany’s surrender in World War II. In reports that have since been revealed, it has been known that the US administration at the time practically believed that the use of a nuclear weapon would force Japan to yield and save millions of casualties in the process.

The Manhattan Project, commissioned by the US, created two atomic bombs. The first one, called ‘The Little Boy’ was dropped in the city of Hiroshima while the second one, dubbed ‘The Fat Man’, was dropped in Nagasaki by the US on August 6 and 9, respectively.

Hiroshima saw the terrors of the atomic weapon the moment an American B-29 bomber dropped it on the city. An estimated 90,000 to 140,000 people were killed instantly, while thousands more were hit with generational defects that are plaguing a section of the populace to this day.

Significance

Hiroshima Day 2021 will commemorate, like every year, the 1945 tragedy which completely destroyed the two cities and left the country to deal with a dreadful fate even in its aftermath. It reminds the world that all wars are terrible, and nuclear warfare even more so. It reminds thousands of politicians, diplomats, and envoys around the world that diplomacy is the only option while navigating geopolitics in the 21st century because only nine countries in the entire world currently possess more than 13,000 nuclear weapons.

Hiroshima Day serves as a day of remembrance and a focus for anti-war and anti-nuclear demonstrations in several countries. Several people also take the time to visit the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum on this day, which documents the atomic bombing of Hiroshima in World War II.

The legacy of nuclear warfare

Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombings of 1945 are an eerie reminder for the world of the devastating effects of nuclear warfare that two recorded instances in history left for humankind.

Together, the two nuclear attacks killed between 129,000 and 226,000 people. Radiation poisoning, what was referred to as “atomic bomb disease”, left people with an increased risk of cancer, birth defects, severe mental retardation, among other diseases.

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(c) 2021 the Hindustan Times

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