Hiroshima: the first city destroyed by a nuclear weapon
On August 6, 1945, the Japanese city of Hiroshima was destroyed by a nuclear weapon, an atomic bomb dropped by the United States. Three days later, a second atomic bomb was dropped on the city of Nagasaki; five days after that, Japan unconditionally surrendered to the United States, bringing an end to World War II.
The atomic bombs killed several hundred thousand people, many instantly in the nuclear fire, many later with burns, injuries and radiation sickness, and still many others, over the years, with cancers and birth defects. These deaths continue to this day. Like most of the cities bombed in World War II, the majority of the inhabitants were women, children and the elderly.
Before the war began, bombing cities was considered an act of total barbarism; there were no “conventional bombs” and it certainly was not considered “conventional” to target civilian populations for mass destruction. But this ideal was shattered early in the war, and eventually all sides engaged in mass bombing raids against cities and civilians.
After the Nazis conducted their massive bombing raids against London, the British retaliated by developing incendiary bombs, fire-bombs designed to burn down cities. British and American bombers dropped these bombs on 5 German cities, killing hundreds of thousands of German civilians in Hamburg, Dresden, Kassel, Darmstadt, and Stuttgart. In March, 1945, the U.S. fire-bombed the city of Tokyo, killing at least 100,000 people.
By the time the atomic bombs were dropped on Japan, 50 million people had already died in World War II. The bombing/murder of civilian populations had occurred so many times that it was no longer even regarded as unusual. I believe this is perhaps the greatest tragedy of the war, and it set the stage for the Cold War and the nuclear arms race that followed.
When you view these images of Hiroshima, remember that there is a good chance that a nuclear weapon may now be targeted on your own city and home. And consider that modern nuclear weapons are generally 8 to 50 times more powerful than the first atomic bombs that destroyed the Japanese cities.
Hiroshima & Nagasaki
Nuclear Darkness would like to thank the City of Hiroshima (Cultural Promotion Division Culture and Sports Department Citizens Affairs Bureau) for letting us use the following images.
Panorama Pictures of Hiroshima
The people of Hiroshima & Nagasaki
These images may be disturbing to some people.