Japan set to mark 75 years since Hiroshima, Nagasaki atomic bombing

Source: Reuters Published: 2020/8/4 17:03:40

Paper lanterns float in the river at the Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima, Japan, Aug. 6, 2019. Hiroshima, the Japanese city hit by a U.S. atomic bomb at the end of the World War II, marked the 74th anniversary of the bombing on Tuesday. (Xinhua/Du Xiaoyi)

Thursday marks 75 years since the US unleashed the world's first atomic bomb attack on the city of Hiroshima, followed three days later by the second and last on Nagasaki, vaporizing lives, buildings and Japan's capacity for war.

At 8:15 am on August 6 (2315 GMT, August 5), 1945, US B-29 warplane Enola Gay dropped a bomb nicknamed "Little Boy" and obliterated the southwestern city of Hiroshima, killing 140,000 of an estimated population of 350,000, with thousands more dying later of injuries and radiation-related illness.

On August 9, the US dropped another bomb, dubbed "Fat Man," about 420 kilometers to the south over Nagasaki, instantly killing more than 75,000 people beneath a mushroom cloud which grew as high as 9,000 meters.

Japan surrendered six days later, ending World War II.

Archive footage shows prebomb Hiroshima as a bustling, thriving city of trilby-topped gentlemen boarding trams, ladies dressed in elegant kimonos, and uniformed schoolchildren walking beneath cherry blossoms overhanging shopping streets.

After the blast, rubble and contorted metal stretch almost uninterruptedly to the horizon. 

Electricity poles and bare trees accompany the dotted handful of windowless buildings which appear to have withstood the impossible.

Japan will commemorate the 75th anniversary of the bombing of the two cities on Thursday and Sunday in 2020.

In previous years, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and the city mayors attended annual memorial services and renewed pledges for a nuclear-free world. Bells tolled and a minute's silence was observed at the exact time the bombs detonated in both cities.

Commemorations in 2020 will be scaled back due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with fewer seats and video messages from dignitaries.



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