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Dublin: 16°C Sunday 7 August 2022

On this day in 1945, the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima

An event to remember the victims will take place in Dublin today.

hiro The mushroom cloud over Hiroshima after the bomb was dropped. Source: US Military/Zuma Press/PA Images

Warning: This article contains images that some readers may find distressing 

EVENTS WILL TAKE place in various locations around the world today, including Dublin, to mark the 72nd anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima.

American B-29 bomber Enola Gay dropped a bomb, dubbed Little Boy, on the Japanese city on 6 August 1945, in one of the closing chapters of World War II.

Nearly everything around it was incinerated by a wall of heat of up to 4,000 degrees Celsius — hot enough to melt steel. Estimates on the death toll vary, but in the region of 140,000 people were killed — many instantly and some weeks or months later. Many more were left with horrific injuries.

Three days later, the port city of Nagasaki was also attacked with an atomic bomb, killing more than 70,000 people.

hiro 2 Destruction in Hiroshima after the atomic bomb was dropped. Source: Keystone Press Agency/Zuma Press/PA Images

While some historians say the bombings prevented many more casualties in a planned land invasion, critics counter that the attacks were not necessary to end the war, arguing that Japan was already heading for imminent defeat.

In 2002, Paul Tibbets, who piloted the Enola Gay, told the Guardian he didn’t have second thoughts about dropping the bomb.

“I knew we did the right thing because when I knew we’d be doing that I thought, yes, we’re going to kill a lot of people, but by God we’re going to save a lot of lives. We won’t have to invade [Japan],” Tibbets said at the time.

Dublin event 

The annual commemoration for the victims of the atomic bombings will take place at 1.10pm in Merrion Square Park in Dublin city. The event has been organised by the Irish Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.

Midori Yamamitsu, Counsellor and Deputy Head of Mission at the Japanese Embassy in Ireland, and Councillor Larry O’Toole, representing the Lord Mayor of Dublin Mícheál MacDonncha, will speak at the ceremony.

kunio A Japanese man who was affected with nuclear fall-out wounds and abrasions. Source: Keystone Press Agency/Zuma Press/PA Images

There will be short contributions of poetry and music from Irish and Japanese traditional musicians (weather permitting) and the laying of a wreath at the memorial cherry tree. Representatives of several other embassies will also be in attendance.

Nuclear weapons

In July, countries meeting at a United Nations (UN) conference in New York adopted the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, the first multilateral legally-binding instrument for nuclear disarmament to have been negotiated in 20 years.

The treaty – adopted by a vote of 122 in favour to one against (the Netherlands), with one abstention (Singapore) – prohibits a full range of nuclear weapon-related activities, such as undertaking to develop, test, produce, manufacture, acquire, possess or stockpile nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices, as well as the use or threat of use of these weapons.

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None of the nine countries that possess nuclear weapons – the United States, Russia, Britain, China, France, India, Pakistan, North Korea and Israel — took part in the negotiations or the vote.

Even Japan – the only country to have suffered atomic attacks — boycotted the talks, as did most Nato countries.

The treaty will be open for signature to all UN member states at UN Headquarters in New York on 20 September 2017, and enter into force 90 days after it has been ratified by at least 50 countries.

“The treaty represents an important step and contribution towards the common aspirations of a world without nuclear weapons,” Stéphane Dujarric, spokesperson for Secretary General António Guterres, said at the time.

“The Secretary General hopes that this new treaty will promote inclusive dialogue and renewed international cooperation aimed at achieving the long overdue objective of nuclear disarmament,” she added.

Some of the countries opposing the treaty said it disregards the reality of dealing with international security threats such as North Korea.

Contains reporting from © AFP 2017

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Órla Ryan

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