• Sat. May 18th, 2024

Hiroshima & Nagasaki

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On 6th August 1945, an American B-29 bomber named Enola Gay dropped an atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima. It was the first use of a nuclear weapon in warfare. The bomb instantly killed 80,000 people. Thousands more died from radiation exposure.

Three days later, on 9th August 1945, a second atomic bomb was dropped on the city of Nagasaki, instantly killing another 40,000 people. Overtime, the final death toll increased substantially from the devastating effects of nuclear fallout.

Whatever the circumstances, it was the most deadly atrocity by man against man in human history involving instant deaths, long-term radiation suffering and diseases. Major facts about America’s bombing on Hiroshima and Nagasaki are well documented. However, there are far lesser additional facts too that are known to very few. Some of those are as follows:

1       After the Hiroshima bombing, thousands of the survivors fled to Nagasaki. But 3 days later, Nagasaki too was attacked and many of those prior survivors fell victims at the hands of the second nuclear detonation.

2       Official reports later amazingly suggested that there were about 165 people who survived both the bombings and were thereafter known as “double survivors.”

3       Initially five Japanese cities were on the US hit list, but Nagasaki was NOT one of them!!!

4       The initial list included Kokura, Hiroshima, Yokohama, Niigata and Kyoto. Kyoto was luckily spared because the then US Secretary of War, Henry Stimson was said to be fond of the ancient Japanese capital, having spent his honeymoon there decades earlier. Nagasaki took the hit on its behalf.

5       Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs were based on very different configurations. The Hiroshima bomb was made of highly enriched uranium-235, while the bomb dropped on Nagasaki was made of plutonium, the latter regarded as the more complex design. The approach of two different bombs sadly smacks of a planned “experimentation” opportunity.

6       Both bombs were code named. The Hiroshima bomb known as” Little Boy”, while the Nagasaki one was codenamed “Fat Man”.

7       It is said both code names, “Little Boy” and “Fat Man” were chosen by their creator Robert Serber, who drew inspiration from John Huston’s 1941 film “The Maltese Falcon”. In the movie, Fat Man is a nickname for Sydney Greenstreet’s character, Kasper Gutman, while the name Little Boy was the nickname of Humphrey Bogart’s character, Spade.

10     How about this? The bombing of Hiroshima or Nagasaki was not the most destructive World War II bombing.  “Operation Meetinghouse”, which was conducted on the night of 9–10 March 1945, is the single most destructive bombing raid recorded in human history. On the night of 9/10 March 1945, a napalm attack was carried out by US Airforce 334 B-29 bombers in which more than 90,000 and possibly over 100,000 Japanese people were killed, mostly civilians. Several times that number were also injured and one million were left homeless.

11     Policemen in Nagasaki were saved by the “Duck and Cover” method. The method enhanced the chances of personal protection in case of a nuclear explosion, especially to practitioners who were outside the radius of the nuclear fireball, but still in the range in which they would suffer grave injuries or death if they had been standing upright. The 1946 book named “Hiroshima”, mentions how a Hiroshima policeman went to Nagasaki and taught their police to duck after the atomic flash. It is claimed that as a result, not a single Nagasaki policeman died in the initial blast. This allowed the Nagasaki police to organize better relief efforts than in Hiroshima. Sadly, the public was ignorant of this method.

12     Obama was the first American leader to visit Hiroshima since the bombing.  That was on May 27, 2016.

114   Ginkgo biloba is a unique species of trees. It is a living fossil. 270 million years old, Ginkgo has survived many extinction events. Its tenacity was seen in Hiroshima, where six Ginkgo trees within 1–2 km from the bomb explosion were among the very few living things in the area that survived the blast. The trees healed quickly and are still alive today.

15.       In Hiroshima’s Peace Memorial Park, a flame has burned continuously since it was lit in 1964. The “Peace Flame” will remain lit until all nuclear bombs on the planet are destroyed and the planet is free from the threat of nuclear destruction. A dream too far, it seems, given the increase rather than decrease in the number of nuclear warheads in the world today.

Zahir Kaleem

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