Hiroshima marks a grim anniversary

66 years ago today, the first atomic bomb used in anger was dropped on the Japanese city of Hiroshima. At least 70,000 people died instantly, with tens of thousands of others dying months or years later of the after-effects of radiation poisoning. Today more than 200,000 were remembered as victims of the bomb.

The Hiroshima Prefectural Industry Promotion Building was one of the few structures to survive the blast, albeit in very badly damaged condition.

It was never repaired, being left as a memorial to those who died. It’s now known as the Hiroshima Peace Memorial, or more simply as the Atomic Bomb Dome. Today, Buddhist monks prayed for the dead within sight of it.

As night fell, lighted lanterns were released on the Motoyasu River, to float past the Dome in commemoration of those who died.

May I suggest it wouldn’t be out of place for us to add our prayers for the victims to those offered in Japan today?



  1. I have no problem sympathizing with the current Japanese regarding the deaths of the citizens of Hiroshima.

    However to call them victims of the Atom bomb kinda irks me. They were the victims of an ideology, of which, the main tenet was: "die for the emperor." The Emperor and military leaders in Japan at the time should have borne the total responsibility for creating, amongst their own people, the thousands of victims.

    The dropping of the two bombs saved countless Allied lives, including my father's, several uncles and many of their friends.

    And for those whose lives were spared by these deeds I endorse the dropping of the bombs for that reason.

  2. @Toejam: I completely agree. My father would have had to go to the Pacific after the defeat of Germany to fight Japan, if the atomic bombs hadn't put an end to the war.

    My request for prayers for the dead wasn't out of some misplaced feeling of guilt that the bombs were dropped. It was because, as John Donne put it in Meditation XVII: "any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee."

  3. Victims my ass. Tell the friends and families of those people killed at Pearl Harbor about victims.

    My father fought in WWII and endured a lot of hardship and misery because of the Japs, who were a long way from surrendering when the first bomb was dropped. When that didn't achieve the desired effect, the United States dropped another one.

    The war ended with a bang, and I'm not a bit sorry that the United States developed the atomic bomb and field tested it in Japan. Twice.

  4. It is entirely possible to think that dropping both bombs was not only necessary, but justified, and still see the civilians who died in nuclear fire as victims.

    War is hell. Acknowledging that's true even for the enemy doesn't cost much, especially decades after the fact.

  5. LabRat is exactly right.

    War is hell always–you know that Peter, and you know that the war in the Pacific in 1945 was promising a new kind of hell.

    I view the Japanese noncombatants in 1945 as victims in the same way I would view SEIU as victims in the coming economic meltdown.


  6. You think that if Japan has obtained the bomb and Germany had obtained the bomb first, they would have ONLY dropped TWO of them on the United States, and other countries to end the war in their favor?
    I know for sure they would have not.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *