Hiroshima Peace Memorial

Wednesday, 6th August 2008 by

On this day, August 6, in 1945 - the first nuclear weapon to be used in war was dropped on the Japanese city of Hiroshima. The bomb, Little Boy, was released at 8:15 local time by the American B-29 bomber Enola Gay, and the resulting explosion completely destroyed around 69% of the city's buildings, directly killing an estimated 80,000 people.

By the end of the year as many as 140,000 of Hiroshima's people were dead, the overwhelming majority of them civilians. Since then thousands more have died from injuries or illness attributed to exposure to radiation released by the bomb.

The bomb was aimed at this t-shaped bridge, and on the river bank here is the closest structure to ground zero which survived. Today it is known as the Atomic Bomb Dome, remaining exactly as it did in the aftermath of the bomb, and serving as a stark reminder of the devastation nuclear weapons can cause.

The Atomic Bomb Dome is part of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park which is mainly situated on the island to the south. There are a variety of monuments and buildings in the park, each dedicated to a different aspect of the bombing, all of which are laid out along the course the Enola Gay took, exactly 63 years ago today.

Three days after the destruction of Hiroshima, the US dropped a second bomb on the city of Nagasaki, where a further 80,000 people would be dead by the end of the year.

Educate yourself further about these tragedies by exploring the Wikipedia pages on the subject, beginning with the Atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Thanks to Alexey Panasenko, Matt Van Pelt, nineo, Mikhail, Jack, eRez and Matthew McMillan.