67th year of Nagasaki Atomic Bombing

I realize the tragic significance of the atomic bomb… It is an awful responsibility which has come to us… We thank God that it has come to us, instead of to our enemies; and we pray that He may guide us to use it in His ways and for His purposes.

—President Harry S Truman, August 9, 1945

On August 9, 1945 at 11:02 AM, American B-29 Superfortress Bockscar dropped Fat Man, an atomic bomb containing a core of 6.4 kilograms of plutonium, in an industrial valley in Nagasaki, Japan.

nagasaki bombing

This was in relation to United States Potsdam Declaration – threatening Japan for “prompt and utter destruction” should the Axis power did not surrender. However, Japan brushed this off which led the US to go with the Manhattan project.

On August 6 of the same year, Little Boy was dropped in Hiroshima killing around 100-170 000 people.

After three days, Nagasaki was hit with the same weapon of mass destruction (WMD), resulting to 60-80 000 casualties.

On August 15, six days after the second atomic bomb was dropped, Japan surrendered.

Yesterday, August 9, 2012, Japan held a ceremony at Statue of Peace at Nagasaki Peace Park to mark the 67th year of the bombing.

67th nagasaki bombing

around 6,000 people gathered at the Statue of Peace, a park near the epicenter of the 1945 atomic blast (Kyodo News)

67th anniversary, nagasaki bombing

Japan’s PM, Yoshihiko Noda, offered wreath in the ceremony

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I have been to Japan last 2009 as a Filipino student ambassador. Unlike my friend, I was assigned mostly in Tokyo and Ishikawa prefecture while she was  in Nagasaki prefecture.

During our post-Japan meeting, she relayed to me what she had experienced in that beautiful region. She mentioned how, until this moment, people from the prefecture continue to remember the devastating attack and its lifetime effects. Many were slaughtered and those who have survived are suffering from different mental, emotional, and physical scars brought by radiation. Not only the survivors, but their children were also affected by the deadly emission. My friend even related a story how people from Nagasaki were discouraged to marry folks from other prefectures or countries so as to contain the awful radiation effects, which could be transferred from one generation to the next.

I have also seen photographs and short films regarding the bombing, and I was really shocked how people behind the attack stomached killing innocent people. Was the dropping of atomic bombs to Japan just? Did the end justify the means? Was it the only way to make Japan surrender? The then Soviet forces were already advancing to the country and Japan could’ve surrendered then with the thought that it was really outnumbered. However, it seemed that United States wanted to show off and impressed USSR of its new weapon. Why targeted a civilian province? Why didn’t they settle with only one bomb; why did they have to drop a second?

IS ATOMIC BOMBING NECESSARY FOR JAPANESE SURRENDER?

 

Harry Truman was told by his army generals, Douglas MacArthur and Dwight Eisenhower, that there was no military need to use the bomb. Also, naval chief Admiral William Leachy offered that, “The use of [the atomic bombs] at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of no material assistance in our war against Japan. The Japanese were already defeated and ready to surrender.”

In addition, fleet admiral Chester Nimitz, also said: “The Japanese had, in fact, already sued for peace. The atomic bomb played no decisive part, from a purely military point of view, in the defeat of Japan.”

Some research conclude that the bombings were not the principal reason for Japanese surrender. Instead, it was the Soviet’s victories over Manchuria which forced Japan to surrender on August 15.

VIOLATION OF INTERNATIONAL LAW

The debate whether US is guilty of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and state terrorism has been going on for years and subject to scholarly argument.

The director of Nuclear Studies Institute at the American University, Peter Kurznick, talked about Truman: “He knew he was beginning the process of annihilation of the species. It was not just a war crime; it was a crime against humanity.”

The mayor of Nagasaki, Iccho Ito, declared that, “It is said that the descendants of the atomic bomb survivors will have to be monitored for several generations to clarify the genetic impact, which means that the descendants will live in anxiety for decades to come. … with their colossal power and capacity for slaughter and destruction, nuclear weapons make no distinction between combatants and non-combatants or between military installations and civilian communities … The use of nuclear weapons … therefore is a manifest infraction of international law.”

THE WORLD TODAY

Currently, there are thousands of nuclear weapons present in the world. Humanity is threatened by a nuclear war that could happen anytime. These WMDs may be a lot stronger than those a-bombs used in Japan and could have more lethal effects that could easily annihilate an entire population. With the rise of states eager to possess nukes, will we ever be safe? Will Nagasaki be the last city to be attacked?

2 thoughts on “67th year of Nagasaki Atomic Bombing

  1. I am a Japanese. Although it is not good at English, it writes a comment. I’m sorry when English has mistaken. There are many people who a bomb falls to Hiroshima and Nagasaki and are troubled by them still physically and mentally in 1945. Did the nuclear bomb need to be dropped to Japan where defeat was decided? There is “grave of a Hotaluohaka= firefly” on the movie of anime of Japan. Sad talk of the elder brother and younger sister of a young child. Please see once. But his not forgetting is that Japan has also done that it is the same as that of a foreign country. Only Japan is not a victim. it does not have “core in Japan – it does not make – there is” law which is not made to make. In fact, seemingly, the United States made the present Constitution of Japan. There is present peaceful Japan because the United States made the constitution. Is the large earthquake which hit the East Japan on March 11, 2011 known? At that time, the people of many countries helped Japan in very cold Japan. Thank you very much for fund-raising or the relief goods. It is returning to original Japan little by little. Not the airplane that put the bomb which kills people but the airplane which put the goods which help people. Not an army with a gun but an army with the tool which helps people. It came from many countries. I think that war and a disaster can be overcome if all people cooperate. I am sorry for poor English.

    1. Thank you very much for your comment, Aki. I commend you for writing a comment here in English. I understand what you meant. I have also seen the Japanese cartoon movie “Grave of the Fireflies”. It is such a tear-jerking movie; I think all war movies are like that. However, I don’t agree that something good happened because of the bombing. I still believe that it is not necessary to bomb those cities as there might be other option for Japanese surrender. The cost of many lives and the consequences of such act cannot compensate the ending of the war. Well, this is just my opinion.

Share your thoughts, I would love to read them!