Sunday, August 9, 2020

Hibakusha, those who were bombed


Seventy-five years ago today Nagasaki was destroyed with an atomic bomb.

At the end of World War II, 2 Japanese cities, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, were obliterated. 

On August 6, 1945, the Enola Gay, a B-29 Superfortress bomber named after the pilot's mother, dropped Little Boy, a five-ton uranium explosion bomb, on Hiroshima.

Three days later another plane, jokingly named Bock's Car (after the plane's original pilot), dropped
Fat Man (a moniker supposedly given it in honor of former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill), a more complex plutonium implosion bomb, on Nagasaki. 

In Hiroshima, Little Boy's huge fireball and explosion killed 70,000 to 80,000 people instantly. Another 70,000 were seriously injured. As Joseph Siracusa, author of Nuclear Weapons: A Very Short Introduction, writes: "In one terrible moment, 60% of Hiroshima... was destroyed. The blast temperature was estimated to reach over a million degrees Celsius, which ignited the surrounding air, forming a fireball some 840 feet in diameter."

Three days later, Fat Man exploded 1,840 feet above Nagasaki, with the force of 22,000 tons of TNT. According to "Hiroshima and Nagasaki Remembered," a web resource on the bombings developed for young people and educators, 286,000 people lived in Nagasaki before the bomb was dropped; 74,000 of them were killed instantly and another 75,000 were seriously injured.

Those who somehow managed to survive call themselves Hibakusha, which literally means "those who were bombed." 

[ extracted from Frida Berrigan's Reflections on Hiroshima and Nagasaki published on August 3, 2009 in TRUTHOUT ]

The photo above is the front cover of a New Directions book containing the poem, "Original Child Bomb", by Thomas Merton. The book was designed and illustrated by Emil Antonucci and published in 1961

For most of the years of this louie blog, I have in some way remembered and noted these days of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings. These posts can be found HERE

Other louie postings on Nagasaki & Hiroshima are here:

Nagasaki (2018)


As of July 8, 2017, the United States has 6,800 warheads, according to data from Hans Kristensen and Robert Norris at the Federation of American scientists. 2,800 of them are retired, 4,000 are stockpiled, and 1,800 are deployed. The total number of U.S. warheads is second only to Russia, which currently has 7,000 of them.

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From Dorothy Day’s editorial in the Catholic Worker on the atomic bombing of Hiroshima on August 6, 1945.