Sixty-nine years on this day, the US military dropped their first atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima, at 08:15 a.m., which resulted in an estimated number of 140,000 deaths by the end of December 1945 (source: Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum). As we all know, the atomic weapon was used again by the US Air Force when it was dropped on the Japanese city of Nagasaki three days later.
Sixty-nine years from the date of the first bombing, we are still facing the threat that the atomic bomb could be used again in a conflict as we are in the midst of a new cold war between the USA and Russia and as several regions of the world have become highly unstable. In addition, nuclear warheads have proliferated exponentially since the first atomic bomb was dropped, thereby even raising the spectre of the use of a ‘dirty bomb’ containing nuclear material by terrorists.
Given the sword of Damocles hanging over our heads that nuclear weapons constitute (e.g. http://www.nucleardarkness.org), the only solution is to abolish them once and for all. On 24 April 2014, the tiny Republic of the Marshall Islands brought lawsuits against the nine nuclear-armed states (the USA, Russia, the UK, France, China, Israel, India, Pakistan and North Korea) on the grounds that, in violation of Non-Proliferation Treaty, they had failed to pursue negotiations for the worldwide elimination of nuclear weapons (see http://www.nuclearzero.org/). Extra hope comes from the fact that 146 states participated in the Second Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons which was held in Nayarit, Mexico, on 13 and 14 February 2014.
Perhaps the best thing to do at the individual level is simply to sign the online petition for a world free of nuclear weapons as ‘zero is the only safe number of nuclear weapons on the planet’.
- ‘Hiroshima: the first city destroyed by a nuclear weapon’, Nuclear Darkness
- ‘When time stood still, A Hiroshima survivor’s story’, BBC, Vibeke Venema, 24 July 2014
- ‘Atomic cover-up: the hidden story behind the US bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki’, Democracy Now!, 9 August 2011
- ‘Debate over the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki’, article published on Wikipedia
- Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum
- ‘A-bomb Dome’, Visit Hiroshima, Tourism Promotion Office of the Hiroshima Prefectural Government
- ‘How many minutes to midnight? Hiroshima Day 2014’, Noam Chomsky, Tom Dispatch, 5 August 2014
- http://www.nucleardarkness.org [explains the deadly consequences of a nuclear war, even if limited]
- ‘Nuclear famine: two billion people at risk? Global impacts of limited nuclear war on agriculture, food supplies and human nutrition’, November 2013, Physicians for Social Responsibility, by Ira Helfand
- http://www.nuclearzero.org/ [‘zero is the only safe number of nuclear weapons on the planet’; petition for a world free of nuclear weapons]
- ‘Are you ready for nuclear war?’, Paul Craig Roberts, 3 June 2014
[Screenshot of the rise of a shoot-first doctrine?, ‘The rise of US nuclear primacy’, Foreign Policy, 2006]
Other entries on militarism and pacifism on this blog:
- Putting Putin’s 9 May speech in context
- My wife has green fingers
- Hollande’s self-congratulatory smile
- Why is the French government intervening in Africa for the second time this year?