The Little Boy
Author: Aditya Nooka
August 6th, 1945.
The US dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima. The world hadn’t seen such a powerful weapon until then. On Impact, It destroyed around 5 sq. mi of the city and wiped away around 80,000 humans out of existence.
(Total death toll: An estimate of 150,000)
World War II ended in 1945, and the relations between Japan and the US only worsened. Japan decided to take an aim at Indo-china with the intention of capturing the oil-rich areas of the E. Indies and the kamikaze attacks took place over there. (Pilots would crash against the allied ships) Hence, Harry Truman, the then president of the US, permitted the idea of using atomic bombs in order to make Japan fall on its knees.
President Harry Truman announces the Bombing of Hiroshima:
The Manhattan Project
In the 1940s, The US had started its research and funding on the development of atomic bombs. (which later came under the joint responsibility of OSRD, the Office of Scientific Research and Development and the War Department after the US entry into WWII)
German chemists Otto Hahn & Fritz Strassmann have discovered nuclear fission in 1938. Later happened the development of a weapon with key materials uranium-235 and plutonium (Pu-239). And on July 16, 1945, the Manhattan Project held its first, successful test of a plutonium bomb at Alamogordo, New Mexico.
Hiroshima (and Nagasaki) fulfilled their criteria of a target, and eventually, it happened.
The civilian death toll was indeed high. And with Ground temperatures reaching over 4,100°C and radioactive rain pouring down, the nightmare followed the people who were either already injured or the very few survivors for days, weeks, and months.
90% of all the medical staff were either dead or wounded. Nearly all the hospitals were of no use. More than 70% of victims faced severe burns. The blast generated a shockwave which destroyed all the buildings within the range. With debris flying all around the city.
Because of the intense heat of the explosion of the bomb, (the TNT Equivalent of ~15KTons), there were around 75,000–80,000 casualties on impact and in addition to this, there were deaths caused by long-term side effects due to gamma rays and neutrons emitted at the instant of explosion radiation. Totaling the death count to an estimated 140,000–150,000.
Leukemia was noticed among the survivors and even after decades of the bombing, there’s still people suffering from other types of cancers, birth defects, and cases of Severe Mental Retardation.
The Aftermath and Hibakusha
Rivers were full of corpses. Firestorms. Radiation Poisoning. Flora and fauna, all lost.
Hibakusha or the “explosion-affected people” faced more than just the explosion’s effect. Physically, mentally and financially ill, they still receive much-needed support from the government. Essentials were recovered at a quick pace. Water was restored after 4–5 days of the bombing.
UNFORTUNATELY, a typhoon had hit Hiroshima the next month and all the essentials recovered were lost. They had to work on them again.
Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park was built on an area of 3 acres of land, and it isn’t just for the memory of the departed but now being a UNESCO World Heritage Site (1996), promotes World Peace.
Significance of the Day
The day, on which respects are paid to the departed, and the affected ones, who lost all they had, and are living with the memories of their past, are living with the hope that they won’t be looking at something similar with the tragedy in their minds. The lives of innocent people were lost. So on the exact same day, every year, there’s a motive to spread awareness and to promote peace politics. And there is no better occasion for us to come forward and talk about this.
If there’s something for us to learn from the Japanese, which still inspires us, it is their optimism and determination. There were bombings, tsunamis, other natural disasters, and whatnot! Yet, they’ve always rebuilt themselves. It has come a long way from literal devastation to becoming the Third Largest Economy in the World. [GDP crossed the $5 trillion mark in 2019.]
In Today’s Time
We have seen the damage, the destruction, and the consequences of nuclear weapons, and the fear this time is greater. With the advancement of technologies, countries like the US, are already spending over $100 Billion on nuclear weapons, a missile, which is 20 times more powerful than the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima. Nations are preparing themselves. They are ready to go to any extent to manufacture a ‘bigger one’.
On a better note, there’s one goal, to prevent the usage of such lethal weapons. The UN has even designated 26th September as the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons, which highlights doing away with the usage of nuclear weapons. Many do realize this and believe it could be difficult to recover if such a thing ever happens.
But with rising tensions between countries, whether or not political, it’s just a matter of time for one to declare war on another. And this time, if it happens, there will be more blood than humanity has ever seen. Or will there be humanity left at all?
- Hiroshima and Nagasaki: the aftermath
The bomb dropped at 8:15 am on a clear August morning. Less than a minute later, a blinding flash was followed by a…www.history.co.uk
- Counting the dead at Hiroshima and Nagasaki — Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists
The most credible estimates cluster around a “low” of 110,000 mortalities and a “high” of 210,000, an enormous gap…thebulletin.org
- Atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki — Wikipedia
Atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki Part of the Pacific War of World War II Atomic bomb mushroom clouds over…en.wikipedia.org