August 06, 2010

Remembering Hiroshima and the hibakusha (survivors)

Today is the 65th anniversary of one of the most terrifying and tragic events in human history -- the bombing of Hiroshima (quickly followed by the bombing of Nagasaki).

Photograph by Alfred Eisenstaedt | Source : National Geographic (via)

At 11:00 a.m., August 6 (Washington D.C. time), radio stations began playing a prepared statement from President Truman, informing the American public that the United States had dropped an entirely new type of bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima -- an "atomic bomb." Truman warned that if Japan still refused to surrender unconditionally, as demanded by the Potsdam Declaration of July 26, the United States would attack additional targets with equally devastating results. Two days later, on August 8, the Soviet Union declared war on Japan and attacked Japanese forces in Manchuria, ending American hopes that the war would end before Russian entry into the Pacific theater.

By August 9th, American aircraft were showering leaflets all over Japan informing its people that "We are in possession of the most destructive explosive ever devised by man. A single one of our newly developed atomic bombs is actually the equivalent in explosive power to what 2,000 of our giant B-29s can carry on a single mission. This awful fact is one for you to ponder and we solemnly assure you it is grimly accurate. We have just begun to to use this weapon against your homeland. If you still have any doubt, make inquiry as to what happened to Hiroshima when just one atomic bomb fell on that city."

Meanwhile, Tibbets's bomber group was simply waiting for the weather to clear in order to drop its next bomb, the plutonium weapon nicknamed "Fat Man" (right) that was destined for the city of Nagasaki. (source)

If you have time today, take some time to remember, learn about or ponder this event.

This one-hour documentary is available online:

More videos can be found here: Hiroshima -

I'm sending my love to the Japanese people from way over here in Milwaukee,

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