Bombing of Nagasaki and Hiroshima

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Sixty-five years ago towards the end of the Second World War, on August 6, 1945, at 8.15 a.m.[1] local time, the United States of America dropped a uranium-fuelled atom bomb (nicknamed “Little Boy”) on Hiroshima. Between 70,000 to 80,000 people, most of them women and children, died instantaneously. Another several hundred thousand were to die later of injuries, diseases and illnesses due to fallout and radiation[2]. Three days later, on August 9 at 11.02 a.m. local time, the U.S. dropped another – more deadly – plutonium-fuelled atom bomb (nicknamed “Fat Man”) on the port city of Nagasaki. This time the atom bomb killed around 40,000 people instantly. To date 269,446 people[3] have died as a result of the deployment of the two atom bombs. All of them were civilians who were not involved in the war between Japan and the Allied forces. Not only was this act of destruction wholly unjustified, it was at the very least a war crime and, arguably, an act of genocide. Leading up to the first bomb, on July 26, the United States of America, the United Kingdom and the Republic of China issued a document to Japan, the Potsdam Declaration, in which they demanded unconditional surrender from the Empire of Japan. This document gave the ultimatum that if Japan did not surrender that it would face “prompt and utter destruction”[4] with the warning, “We will not deviate from them. There are no alternatives. We shall brook no delay.” On July 28, Kantaro Suzuki, the Japanese prime minister, declared at a press conference that the Potsdam Declaration was no more than a rehash of the Cairo Declaration of 1943[5] and that the government intended to ignore it[6]. Other than the allusion to “prompt and utter destruction”[4], the Japanese were given no prior warning about the deployment of atom bombs on their cities[7][8][9]. One of the main arguments for the use of the atom
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