Seventy years ago today, the U. S. “Enola Gay” B-29 bomber devastated a large portion of Hiroshima, Japan, when it dropped the first Atomic Bomb. Three days later, a different B-29 bombed Nagasaki. After the decimation of Hiroshima, Japan remained defiant; but, after Nagasaki followed, Japan passed word of its desire for Peace the following day. Between those two bombing runs, it is estimated that more than 200,000 people died immediately and, of the many injured, many more died in the aftermath.
The first linked article, from the Washington Post, provides an excellent discussion of what the City of Hiroshima is doing today to insure that the world–and especially the Young--are aware of what happened, and its significance. Be sure to view the photos in the first linked article (below), as well as the historical explanation of how the bombing was carried out. T he second article discusses the bombings more from an American perspective, and it also notes how it is viewed in other nations around-the-world.
In the first article, Emiko Okada is a 78 year old hibakuusha (“atomic bomb person”), who is training 39 year-old Yasukazu Narahara as an apprentice denshosha (“memory keeper”). The City of Hiroshima wants to ensure that the world is aware of the horrible impact of Nuclear Warfare, on its city as well as on Nagasaki. The importance of the memory keepers is to keep the legacy alive after the atomic bomb people;e have passed away.
Ms. Okada addresses three key points: Japanese children do not spend much time learning about World War II in school, and that they should learn that the war caused sufferings to all humanity; she hopes that young people will learn why the atomic bombs were dropped, and to know what Japan did to other countries. Also, Ms. Okada disagrees with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who wishes to upgrade the Japanese self-defense forces into a full-fledged Military, and to be able to operate both at home and overseas.
The horrors of war–and especially that of nuclear war–need to be recognized. Over the 70 years since World War II, one Japanese Administration after another has refused to admit the commission of atrocities. At the same time, given the on-going aggressive behavior of China, it is important that the other largest country (by population) in the region assume its appropriate responsibilities. Japan’s financial and technological resources would be invaluable in such efforts.
Once again, as the Nuclear Agreement with Iran is being debated, it is a fitting reminder of the total advantages, to all involved parties, that negotiations are always more beneficial than warfare. In times of war, only the corporations benefit; but governments need to recognize the fallacy of war, and do so at all costs. That should be the lessons of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.