The ten lesser-known facts about one of the saddest acts of war that the human race has ever witnessed.
1. Hiroshima, which means ‘Wide Island’ in Japanese, is the biggest city on the largest island of Japan and is the first city in history to be targeted by a nuclear weapon.
2. The US air force dropped an atomic bomb on the city at 8.15am on Monday, August 6, 1945.
3. The nuclear bomb was code named “Little Boy” and was transported in the belly of an American B-29 bomber (pictured above) called Enola Gay.
4. The bomb instantly killed an estimated 80,000 people, but after taking into account all deaths caused by injury and radiation at the end of that year, the total number of deaths was estimated at 166,000.
5. The population before the atomic attack on Hiroshima was estimated to be 340,000, but following the bombing in 1945, the population dropped to around 137,000.
6. The Uranium-based atomic bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima was the equivalent of 20,000 tonnes of TNT and it annihilated about 80% of the city's buildings. The mushroom cloud climbed upto 25,000 feet in the sky.
7. The Oleander was chosen to be the official flower of the city of Hiroshima, because it was the first to bloom, showing signs of renewed life, after the explosion.
8. Six Ginkgo trees, which were growing about one kilometre away from the atomic explosion in 1945, were among the few living things in the area to survive the blast. The Ginkgos speedily recovered and are alive to this day. These trees are sometimes described as living fossils; their origins have been known 250 million years. The city trams also survived the blast and were in fact used to transport the injured away from ground zero. Some of these trams are still in operation today and are a sense of pride for the Japanese people as a sign of resilience. The Bank of Japan building, which was around 400 metres from ground zero, also survived the explosion and due to its thick walls, many people who took refuge inside the bank, were saved.
9. The 1954 film Godzilla, or Gojira in Japanese, was actually created as a personification of a nuclear bomb inspired by the Hiroshima tragedy in 1945. The beast’s weapon of choice was its atomic breath in the form of a radioactive heat wave that it released from its jaws.
10. The Hiroshima city government continues to advocate the abolition of all nuclear weapons and the mayor of Hiroshima is the president of an international organisation called Mayors for Peace that is working towards the elimination of all nuclear weapons worldwide by 2020. A Peace Flame, lit in 1964 at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, will continue to burn until all nuclear weapons in the world have been destroyed.
Source: Gulf News