written by Louise Ingham
The History of Hiroshima
The history of the city of Hiroshima began in 1589. It was a city right at the centre of politics, the military and later became home to large factories and the top school in western Japan.
On 6 August 1945 during World War II, an American bomber dropped the first atomic bomb ever deployed on Hiroshima. The explosion instantly killed around 70,000 people. Eventually around 150,000 died because of the effects of the bomb. On 9 August a second bomb was dropped on the city of Nagasaki killing around 75,000 people. The effects of this event are still felt today.
Commemorating Hiroshima and Nagasaki
This year, people around the world are commemorating the 75th anniversary of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It is a time to mourn those who lost their lives and to refocus efforts to abolish nuclear weapons. Remembering this anniversary carries on the legacy of ‘hibakusha’, the survivors of this fateful event.
The realities of the atomic bombing continue to be taught to future generations. Remembering the event seeks to educate society so that we can continue to learn, grow and seek a more peaceful world for the future.
Nuclear Weapons Today
The number of nuclear weapons available has been steadily reduced since the Cold War but it is thought that there are still approximately 14,000 nuclear weapons in the world. The production and testing of nuclear weapons are a continuing threat to communities, health and our environment. It threatens peace.
The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons was adopted in 2017 and it seeks to abolish nuclear weapons. This treaty is an important step because it is the first legally binding international agreement to comprehensively prohibit nuclear weapons. Its aim is to completely eliminate them. By 22 July 2020 82 states had signed the treaty and 40 had ratified or acceded to it. Once 50 states have ratified or acceded to it, it will enter into force.
Promoting Peace After The Bombings
There are many organisations seeking to remember the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and to promote peace. Hiroshima for Global Peace seeks a peaceful, international society that is free of nuclear weapons. Amongst many other aims, they have a peace plan which seeks to advance Hiroshima as a hub for promoting global peace.
The United Nations are also encouraging people around the world to engage with this anniversary and enter into discussions on how we can move forward into a better future. To do so, they are hosting the ‘UN 75 in Hiroshima’ global peace dialogue event. At this event a senior UN official and members of the public will discuss ways to advance the UN Sustainable Development Goal and an agenda for disarmament.
One way we can all get involved and use our voices is to sign petitions. The Union of Concerned Scientists for a Healthy Planet and Safer World are working with Hibakusha Appeal to promote a global appeal to the United Nations seeking to abolish nuclear weapons. If you want to get involved you can sign this petition.
It is incredibly important that we are all aware of what happened so we do not allow it to happen again. There are so many resources to do this, and the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum is a great place to start. It has a lot of resources to learn more about the history of the bombing, the reality of using atomic bombs and to hear survival testimonies. You can find out more here.
At Peace Partners, one of our aims is Peace. We aim to promote a message of peace and to do so we partner with The Prem Rawat Foundation and we support the Peace Education programme. We believe in a more peaceful world.
Whilst there have been improvements to reduce the use of nuclear weapons there is still so much to be done. This anniversary is a chance to remember those whose lives were lost, to educate ourselves, and to strive towards a more peaceful society - one free from nuclear weapons.
“The wars are still happening …. But every human being taking on that responsibility of knowing themselves, and establishing peace for themselves, that’s the only solution that has not been tried.”
Prem Rawat Oct 12, 2018
In 2018 international Peace Ambassador Prem Rawat visited the Memorial Park in Hiroshima. You can watch a short video about his visit here on the TimelessToday website: