13 Jan Hiroshima and the Aftermath of the A-Bomb
Hiroshima was the first city in history to be leveled by nuclear weapons when the United States dropped an atom bomb during World War II. On August 6, 1945, the bomb was dropped by a B-29 bomber called the Enola Gay and it is estimated to have killed 80,000 people. At year’s end, the death toll had risen to approximately 140,000 from injury and radiation poisoning. Almost three quarters of Hiroshima’s buildings were destroyed with almost 10% damaged beyond recognition. Three days later on August 9 th , the United States dropped another bomb over Nagasaki incurring the same devastating effects. On August 15 th , Japan surrendered to the Allied Powers and the atom bombs were credited with ending the war in the Pacific. There is still heated debate to this day about the ethical justifications of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Survivors of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima experienced many personal tragedies. Those lucky enough to have survived the attack were subject to serious burns, injuries, radiation sickness, and deformities. Many survivors were so disfigured they were unrecognizable to even their closest family members. Additionally, survivors had to endure the loss of family and friends as a significant portion of Hiroshima’s population was wiped out. Survivors lost their homes and many had to resort to living in self-made shacks or moving away to other cities. The attack was sudden and unexpected no one in Hiroshima was more unprepared for the fireball that leveled their city than the children. Many of the surviving children of Hiroshima were both mentally and physically traumatized. Many lost their parents and siblings and were thrown into a world of confusion. The children of Hiroshima were innocent casualties.
Hiroshima not only ravaged those living at the time of the attack, but generations after as well. The radiation from the attacks caused gene mutations in the survivors. These mutations led to an increase in birth defects in the next generation of Hiroshima descendants. Several infants who were in the mother’s womb at the time of attacks were born with severe mental disabilities. Additionally, survivors of the attacks had a much higher rate of cancer and tumors.
As of today, Hiroshima is once again a thriving city. It is full of entertainment, restaurants, business, bustling people and even the American commercialization of a Starbucks. Notably, there are numerous memorials and museums around the city to honor those who perished due to the atom bomb. Although Hiroshima is defined by the nuclear attack that ravaged it, its people are getting back to normalcy. There are a little over 80,000 survivors, or hibakusha, still living in the city who have lived with the horrendous memories of the attacks for over 60 years. Many survivors moved away, unable to bear living in the place where so much was lost.