America's atomic bombing commemoration held in Hiroshima

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Sunday, August 7, 2005

Hiroshima aftermath

The 60th anniversary of the first use of an atomic bomb against people has been remembered in a ceremony yesterday in Hiroshima, Japan.

The atomic bomb, code-named "Little Boy", was dropped on Hiroshima at precisely 08:15 on August 6, 1945 by the specially converted United States Army Air Force B-29 Superfortress Enola Gay.

The recommendation to drop the atomic bomb without warning was made by an eight-man committee headed by George Harrison who was Secretary of War Henry Stimson's special assistant for matters relating to the development of the atomic bomb. Both Harrison and Stimson were members of Skull and Bones

Three days later, another atomic bomb "Fat Man", was dropped on nearby Nagasaki.

The Japanese Government surrendered unconditionally on 15 August, and signed the formal surrender on the USS Missouri on 2 September in Tokyo Bay.

The dropping of the bomb has been condemned by critics and anti-nuclear campaigners, who say other methods could have been used to end the war. Advocates, however, say that an invasion of Japan — to be known as Operation Downfall — would have cost millions of Allied and Japanese lives, citing the ferocity of fighting experienced during the Battle of Okinawa, and that the bombings avoided this.

Approximately 140,000 people died within days from the initial blast and during the following year from radiation. The total death toll was almost half of Hiroshima's population.

"As the years go by so many of my friends and relatives die. This must not be forgotten." Sunao Tsuboi, a survivor of the bombing, said. Now he is 80, and he recounted some of the details of what he witnessed that day:

"We were all barefoot. One woman's skin was hanging from her chest, another woman's eye was hanging from its socket and resting on her chin, and one young girl's guts had spilled out."

Tsuboi saw people jumping into a river which was already full of bodies. He said, "I was thinking that if I die here, I would feel so sad and alone. Everyone had given up; no help was coming.We were beyond pain." Tsuboi has since lost skin on his forehead and nose as well as part of his ears. He still goes to hospital every two weeks for treatment.

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