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Paper Cranes of Hiroshima

07.08.2023 | 03:07 |
 Paper Cranes of Hiroshima

There is hardly a person in the civilized world who has not heard about the tragedy of Japanese Hiroshima…

In the Peace Memorial Park of this city on August 6, at exactly 8.15 a.m. local time (this is the time when the horrible explosion thundered), the alarm bell began to count a minute of silence announced throughout Japan in memory of the victims of the atomic bombing that wiped Hiroshima off the surface of the earth 78 years ago.

During the mourning ceremony, the UN representative read out a message from Antonio Guterres, which says that "States possessing nuclear weapons must commit themselves never to use them."

... 78 years ago, on August 6, at 01:45 local time, a B-29, a Boeing long-range heavy bomber, took off from the Pacific island of Tinian, where the secret 509th Air group was formed. The group under the command of Colonel Paul Tibbetson reached Japan in six hours. On board the Boeing was an atomic bomb with the innocuous name "Little Boy".

The B-29 was accompanied by five aircraft carrying out reconnaissance of the area. It was they who reported heavy clouds over the Japanese cities of Kokura and Nagasaki, while the sky was clear over Hiroshima.

... A few months before, the Target Selection Committee recommended four Japanese cities for atomic bombing: Kokura, where there were large warehouses of weapons and ammunition, as well as machine-building enterprises; Hiroshima, where the headquarters of the 2nd army, as well as large military warehouses, were located; Kyoto as a major industrial center; and finally, a port city Nagasaki with its military shipyards.

... When a bomber appeared in the sky with a deadly "Boy" on board, parts of the Japanese air defense initially announced the alert, but when they saw a single plane, they recklessly canceled it.

At 08:15, a B-29 bomber, being at an altitude of 9 thousand meters, dropped the "Boy" on the center of Hiroshima. The bomb, descending on a huge parachute, went off at an altitude of 600 meters.

In seconds, the city virtually ceased to exist. All kinds of communication with Hiroshima were cut off. A Japanese officer, whom the General Staff sent by plane to clarify the situation, saw a fiery glow 160 kilometers from Hiroshima.

The world learned about what happened to the unfortunate city and that humanity has entered the nuclear era from an official statement made in Washington, 16 hours after the first atomic bomb was used in combat.

...Three days after this tragedy, a second giant explosion thundered, destroying the city of Nagasaki. It happened on August 9th.

Although the object No. 2 for the atomic bombing was again the city of Kokura. The attack was planned for August 11, but the date had to be changed due to the forecasters' forecast of bad weather.

At 02:47, the same B-29, but already under the command of Major Charles Sweeney and with the "Fat Man" bomb on board, took off from Tinian, headed for Kokura, which was saved from the atomic apocalypse on August 6 by thick clouds. But this time, on August 9, bad weather helped this city to avoid a terrible fate.

Due to insufficient visibility, the bomber had to change the route, sending the plane to the reserve target - the city of Nagasaki, which had previously been almost not even subjected to conventional bombing.

The weather could have saved this city from destruction, as there were also thick clouds over it. Major Sweeney was about to give the command to drop the bomb at random, since there might not be enough fuel for the return trip, but at that moment the gunner (it was Captain Kermit Behan) managed to see the stadium in the center of Nagasaki between the clouds.

A powerful explosion thundered at an altitude of about 500 meters. This was the second practical use of atomic weapons within 3-4 days.

...Surprisingly, one Japanese experienced a nuclear nightmare twice. The first time was in Hiroshima, where he managed to survive, after which he immediately moved to relatives in Nagasaki. And there he found himself under the influence of weapons of mass destruction for the second time. But he managed to survive here, too. However, many residents of Hiroshima and Nagasaki did not see such a happy ending.

The figures of the victims of the two atomic bombings differ, but they number in the hundreds of thousands who burned alive, died from the shock wave and died from diseases related to the consequences of nuclear explosions.

When a fire tornado swept over Hiroshima, Sadako Sasaki was two years old. She survived, but contracted blood cancer. Japanese belief says that if a person makes a thousand paper cranes, then his every wish will come true. The Japanese girl really wanted to live, so she diligently folded paper cranes. But I didn't have time. While in the hospital, she managed to make only 644 …

... In the Hiroshima Memorial Park, white pigeons are released into the sky every year after the wreath-laying ceremony at the Memorial Monument and a minute of silence.

And let them – alive – fly peacefully over our heads, so that children do not need to fold paper cranes…

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Photo: Getty Images

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