71 years since Hiroshima & Nagasaki bombings

06 Aug 2016 | By Supriya Kaur
Remembering Hiroshima and Nagasaki

Today marks 71 years of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima by the United States.

A memorial service was held to pay respect to the deceased. 50,000 people were present which included a small number of aging survivors as well as dignitaries.

On August 6, 1945 at 8.15 am the U.S. dropped the atomic bomb; the memorial service began at that precise moment today.

In context: Remembering Hiroshima and Nagasaki

OverviewKey events leading up to Hiroshima & Nagasaki bombings

The U.S. entered World War II after a surprise attack by Japan on its military installations in Pearl Harbour.

Mid-1942: 70,000 American soldiers in Philippines were captured by Japan and forced to march towards Bataan in very harsh conditions; several thousand died mid-way.

1944-45: U.S. war with Japan raged in the Pacific; many islands off Japan's shore were captured including Saipaan and Iwo Jima.

Key reasonsBombing of Hiroshima & Nagasaki

The U.S. dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki on August 6th and 9th, 1945 respectively.

It's believed that then U.S. President Harry Truman was warned against invading Japan as it could result in massive casualties of Americans.

To bring a speedy end to war, minimize American casualties and corner Japan into surrendering unconditionally, the decision to use the atomic bomb was made.

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Aftermath of the bombing

DetailsAftermath of the bombing

Hiroshima and Nagasaki were completely obliterated.

The Hiroshima bomb killed 70,000 people instantly. One third of the people killed belonged to the military. Total deaths for Hiroshima have been estimated between 100,000 - 180,000 including those who died due to the after effects of radiation poisoning and cancer.

Nagasaki was bombed three days after Hiroshima; 74000 were killed instantly and were mostly civilians.

06 Aug 201671 years since Hiroshima & Nagasaki bombings

B-29 American Bomber

An American B-29 bomber dropped an atomic bomb code named "Little Boy" on the city of Hiroshima. The explosion was equivalent to the power of 15,000 tons of TNT and created surface temperatures of nearly 6,000 degrees centigrade. It destroyed everything in 4 square miles.

ViewU.S. President's message

In May 2016 Barack Obama visited Hiroshima and became the first incumbent President of the U.S. to do so.

Obama had a sombre message to nuclear powers in the world for the immense need for disarmament and the need to pursue a future where there are no nuclear weapons.

The American President, however, did not apologize for the devastation caused by the atomic bombings.

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AboutChina's counter view

China wasn't enthused with Obama's visit to Hiroshima. Editorials in the Chinese media maintain that the "atomic bombings of Japan were of its own making."

China believes that the Japanese militarist Government was responsible for the massacres in the neighbouring countries.

Hiroshima's devastation was tragic but it is also important to remember Nanjing where 300,000 died at the hands of Japanese forces.

Nagasaki: Not original target

On August 9, 1945, Nagasaki in Japan was bombed by an American B-29 bomber. The bomb, codenamed 'Fat Man', exploded 1500 feet above the ground. The original target was Kokura, Japan but was instead detonated over Nagasaki due to thick clouds and smoke over Kokura.