Hiroshima Marks 75 Years Since Atomic Bombing in Scaled-Back Ceremony

BY REUTERS

TOKYO—Bells tolled in Hiroshima on Thursday for the 75th anniversary of the world’s first atomic bombing, with ceremonies downsized due to the coronavirus and the city’s mayor urging nations to reject selfish nationalism and unite to fight all threats.

Though thousands usually pack the Peace Park in the centre of the Japanese city to pray, sing and offer paper cranes as a symbol of peace, entrance was sharply limited and only survivors and their families could attend the memorial ceremony.

The city said the significance of the anniversary of the bombing that killed 140,000 people before the end of 1945 had prompted its decision to hold the ceremony despite the spread of the virus, but taking strict precautions.

“On August 6, 1945, a single atomic bomb destroyed our city. Rumor at the time had it that ‘Nothing will grow here for 75 years,’” said mayor Kazumi Matsui.

“And yet, Hiroshima recovered, becoming a symbol of peace.”

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3 Responses to Hiroshima Marks 75 Years Since Atomic Bombing in Scaled-Back Ceremony

  1. C E Voigtgsberger August 7, 2020 at 8:28 pm

    All the handwringers about the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki should read some of the books written by Hirohito’s privy council and the memoirs of the elites who were in attendance at the conferences in the Tokyo palace in the final days of the war.

    After reading those books it was my conclusion that even Russia entering the war would not have convinced Japan to surrender. Yes, they were discussing surrender but Hirohito was concerned over whether he would be allowed to continue as emperor and more particularly whether he would be tried as a war criminal.

    It wasn’t until he was assured that he would not be tried as a war criminal and would continue as emperor, albeit subject to direction from the U.S. Supreme Commander that he finally agreed that the war should end.

    Even then there were dissident forces in Japan. He nearly was kidnapped and his privy council killed by the dissidents.

    Had the war continued, it is my belief that Japan would have ceased to exist as a political entity. Russia would have easily driven Japanese defense forces from Hokkaido and invaded the main island. Japan at best would have ended up divided the same as Germany with Tokyo the Far East version of Berlin.

    Worst case is that we would still be chasing Japanese holdouts in the rugged mountain all over Japan. Look at how long the solitary Japanese soldier held out in the Philippines and he was surrounded by what he considered to be enemies. Supported in the homeland, it is my opinion that most of the Japanese army would not have surrendered. The allied forces would have been forced to root them out one by one.

    Hideki Tojo correctly guesses that we had only two atomic bombs and urged continuing the war effort. The Japanese strategy was to continue inflicting losses on the allies until we sued for peace on terms favorable to Japan.

    The losses at Hiroshima and Nagasaki were significantly lower than the civilian loss of life in the Tokyo-Yokohama area bombings. Everyone seems to forget the firebombing of those two cities and the subsequent loss of life there.

    As for low key celebration, apparently the author has not been following the English language portion of Japan National Television for the last two weeks. Oh, woe is me, us poor Japanese. The only people ever subjected to atomic bombing.

    Yeah, and the people who actually engaged in biological warfare against the Chinese. The people who forced the citizens of the islands and countries they conquered into slavery. The people who fought a war without quarter and without regard for the horrendous loss of their own troops. The people who regarded their own troops as “go sen ni rin”. A sen is 1/100 of a yen. At that time the yen was 100 to a dollar. There are ten rin to a sen. Five sen, two rin was the cost of a postcard ordering a Japanese man to military service and he was considered to be worth less than a penny in cost to the Japanese government. A bayonet was more valuable than a Japanese soldier.

    The two atomic bombs saved tens of thousands of American lives, perhaps hundreds of thousands. It also save innumerable Japanese lives by ending the war in a hurry. The Okinawa campaign was declared over just about one month by the time we dropped the first bomb. Read about the Okinawa Campaign. You can read a very vivid account from the eyes of a U.S. Marine in the foxholes on Okinawa in “With the Old Breed on Peleliu and Okinawa” by E. B. Sledge. In written word Sledge attempts to describe the horror of the battle of Okinawa. If you look at his picture, you can see a very young man with what was called :The Thousand Yard Stare” the look of a man/boy with PTSD before he was old enough to vote. He survived Okinawa and would have been slated to invade Kyushu about two months after Okinawa was declared secured.

    Apparently Michael has never seen photographs of Tokyo or Yokohama after the nighttime fire bombings of those cities. The bombers were overhead almost every night. Every night hundreds of thousands of women and children had to flee to bomb shelters and open areas, hoping that their home would be spared. Hoping that they wouldn’t be caught in firestorms and burned alive as their clothing and hair caught fire from the intense heat.

    People who were not alive during WWII can’t possibly imagine the world at that time. I was only a small child, but I was most certainly affected by that war. In the early years of the war it was really touch and go whether we would prevail or not. Gold stars in windows were a common sight in my neighborhood. That meant that household had lost someone in the war. Everyone knew instantly it was bad news when the Western Union boy showed up at someone’s doorstep. There was no consolation team. All a family got was a telegram, “The government regrets to inform you that . . .”

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  2. Michael August 6, 2020 at 8:48 pm

    I have been to Hiroshima and it is a vibrant city today. I visited the museum to the blast and it is shocking to see first hand the destruction of a nuclear explosion. One display was a stone step into a building which had the outline of a human being etched into the stone where that human had been standing at the time of the blast.

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