Sunday 13 May 2018


Hiroshima, August 1945
Yesterday, The Jones visited Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the two cities which were annihilated by a nuclear bomb in 1945. They were hard visits full of sadness and anger to discover how stupid and cruel humanity can be. 

The family didn't take any photo or selfie because they considered the places they visited aren't touristic ones but historic and they wanted to preserve the honour of the victims without forgetting their pain, suffering and terrible experiences. We must never forget what happened in Hiroshima on August 6, and in Nagasaki on August 9.

More information: History

Hiroshima, literally Broad Island, is the capital of Hiroshima Prefecture and the largest city in the Chūgoku region of western Honshu, the largest island of Japan. Hiroshima gained city status on April 1, 1889. On April 1, 1980, Hiroshima became a designated city. 

Hiroshima, August 1945
Hiroshima is known as the first city in history to be targeted by a nuclear weapon when the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) dropped an atomic bomb on the city at 8:15 a.m. on August 6, 1945, near the end of World War II.

During World War I, Hiroshima became a focal point of military activity, as the Japanese government entered the war on the Allied side. About 500 German prisoners of war were held in Ninoshima Island in Hiroshima Bay. The growth of Hiroshima as a city continued after the First World War, as the city now attracted the attention of the Catholic Church, and on May 4, 1923, an Apostolic Vicar was appointed for that city.

More information: The Atlantic

During World War II, the Second General Army and Chūgoku Regional Army were headquartered in Hiroshima, and the Army Marine Headquarters was located at Ujina port. The city also had large depots of military supplies, and was a key center for shipping.

Nuclear shadows in Hiroshima
The bombing of Tokyo and other cities in Japan during World War II caused widespread destruction and hundreds of thousands of civilian deaths. There were no such air raids on Hiroshima

However, a real threat existed and was recognized. In order to protect against potential firebombings in Hiroshima, school children aged 11–14 years were mobilized to demolish houses and create firebreaks.

More information: Atomic Heritage

On Monday, August 6, 1945, at 8:15 a.m., the nuclear weapon Little Boy was dropped on Hiroshima from an American Boeing B-29 Superfortress, the Enola Gay, flown by Colonel Paul Tibbets, directly killing an estimated 70,000 people, including 20,000 Japanese combatants and 2,000 Korean slave laborers. 

More information: Ranker

By the end of the year, injury and radiation brought the total number of deaths to 90,000–166,000. The population before the bombing was around 340,000 to 350,000. About 70% of the city's buildings were destroyed, and another 7% severely damaged.

Sumitomo Bank in Hiroshima, Japan.
The public release of film footage of the city following the attack, and some of the Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission research about the human effects of the attack, was restricted during the occupation of Japan, and much of this information was censored until the signing of the Treaty of San Francisco in 1951, restoring control to the Japanese.

News of the terrible consequences of the atom bomb attacks on Japan was deliberately withheld from the Japanese public by US military censors during the Allied occupation, even as they sought to teach the natives the virtues of a free press. Casualty statistics were suppressed. Film shot by Japanese cameramen in Hiroshima and Nagasaki after the bombings was confiscated. 

The US occupation authorities maintained a monopoly on scientific and medical information about the effects of the atomic bomb through the work of the Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission, which treated the data gathered in studies of hibakusha as privileged information rather than making the results available for the treatment of victims or providing financial or medical support to aid victims. The US also stood by official denial of the ravages associated with radiation. Finally, not only was the press tightly censored on atomic issues, but literature and the arts were also subject to rigorous control prior.

More information: UNESCO

Oleander is the official flower of the city of Hiroshima because it was the first to bloom again after the explosion of the atomic bomb in 1945.

 Hiroshima has become a metaphor not just for nuclear war 
but for war and destruction and violence toward civilians. 
It's not just the idea we should not use nuclear arms. 
We should not start another war because it's madness. 

Max von Sydow

Nagasaki is the capital and the largest city of Nagasaki Prefecture on the island of Kyushu. The city's name, means long cape in Japanese. Nagasaki became a centre of colonial Portuguese and Dutch influence in the 16th through 19th centuries, and Churches and Christian Sites in Nagasaki have been proposed for inscription on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Part of Nagasaki was home to a major Imperial Japanese Navy base during the First Sino-Japanese War and Russo-Japanese War.

More information: The New Yorker

Nagasaki in 1945 and The Flame in Tokyo
During World War II, the American atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki made Nagasaki the second and, to date, last city in the world to experience a nuclear attack at 11:02 a.m., August 9, 1945' Japan Standard Time.

On the day of the nuclear strike, August 9, 1945, the population in Nagasaki was estimated to be 263,000, which consisted of 240,000 Japanese residents, 10,000 Korean residents, 2,500 conscripted Korean workers, 9,000 Japanese soldiers, 600 conscripted Chinese workers, and 400 Allied POWs. That day, the Boeing B-29 Superfortress Bockscar, commanded by Major Charles Sweeney, departed from Tinian's North Field just before dawn, this time carrying a plutonium bomb, code named Fat Man.

Less than a second after the detonation, the north of the city was destroyed and 35,000 people were killed. Among the deaths were 6,200 out of the 7,500 employees of the Mitsubishi Munitions plant, and 24,000 others, including 2,000 Koreans, who worked in other war plants and factories in the city, as well as 150 Japanese soldiers.

More information: Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum

Dropping those atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki 
was a war crime. 
George Wald

The Japanese word kamikaze is usually translated as divine wind. Kami is the word for god, spirit, or divinity, and kaze for wind. The word originated from Makurakotoba of waka poetry modifying Ise and has been used since August 1281 to refer to the major typhoons which dispersed Mongolian invasion fleets under Kublai Khan in 1274.

More information: Ancient Origins

Kamikaze pilots, To-Go Unit, 1944
A Japanese monoplane which made a record-breaking flight from Tokyo to London in 1937 for the Asahi newspaper group was named Kamikaze. She was a prototype for the Mitsubishi Ki-15.

In Japanese, the formal term used for units carrying out suicide attacks during 1944–1945 is tokubetsu kōgeki tai, which literally means special attack unit. This is usually abbreviated to tokkōtai. More specifically, air suicide attack units from the Imperial Japanese Navy were officially called shinpū tokubetsu kōgeki tai, divine wind special attack units. Shinpū is the on-reading, on'yomi or Chinese-derived pronunciation, of the same characters that form the word kamikaze in Japanese. 

More information: War History

During World War II, kamikaze, officially Tokubetsu Kōgekitai which means Special Attack Unit, were a part of the Japanese Special Attack Units of military aviators who initiated suicide attacks for the Empire of Japan against Allied naval vessels in the closing stages of the Pacific campaign, designed to destroy warships more effectively than possible with conventional air attacks. About 3,800 kamikaze pilots died during the war, and more than 7,000 naval personnel were killed by kamikaze attacks.

The USS Arizona hit by kamikaze, Pearl Harbor
Kamikaze aircraft were essentially pilot-guided explosive missiles, purpose-built or converted from conventional aircraft. Pilots would attempt to crash their aircraft into enemy ships in what was called a body attack in planes laden with some combination of explosives, bombs, torpedoes and full fuel tanks. 

Accuracy was much better than a conventional attack, and the payload and explosion larger; about 19% of kamikaze attacks were successful. A kamikaze could sustain damage which would disable a conventional attacker and still achieve its objective. The goal of crippling or destroying large numbers of Allied ships, particularly aircraft carriers, was considered by the Empire of Japan to be a just reason for sacrificing pilots and aircraft.

More information: History

These attacks, which began in October 1944, followed several critical military defeats for the Japanese. They had long since lost aerial dominance due to outdated aircraft and the loss of experienced pilots.  

USS Bunker Hill hit by kamikazes
Japan suffered from a diminishing capacity for war, and a rapidly declining industrial capacity relative to the Allies. Japan was also losing pilots faster than it could train their replacements. In combination, these factors, coupled with the unwillingness to surrender, led to the use of kamikaze tactics as Allied forces advanced towards the Japanese home islands.

While the term kamikaze usually refers to the aerial strikes, it has also been applied to various other suicide attacks. The Japanese military also used or made plans for non-aerial Japanese Special Attack Units, including those involving submarines, human torpedoes, speedboats and divers.

The tradition of death instead of defeat, capture, and shame is deeply entrenched in Japanese military culture. One of the primary traditions in the samurai life and the Bushido code: loyalty and honour until death.

More information: The Atlantic

The only mystery in life is 
why the kamikaze pilots wore helmets. 

Al McGuire

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