The two bombs that destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki were completely different one from another: one was a uranium 235 bomb, the other one – a plutonium 239. The second arrives just a few days after the first one, putting an end to the war and to the lives of tens of thousands of people.
The United States, with the second bombardment, wanted to make believe that they were in possess of much broader arsenal, that was built only later, with the proliferation of both strategic and tactical nuclear weapons of variable power. Showing muscles, therefore. An action that had its dramatic evidence.
In the morning of August 9, 1945, the crew of the Boeing B-29 Superfortress, the bomber designated for the mission, took off with an atomic bomb nicknamed “Fat Man” on board, heading to Kokura, the initial target of the mission. However, the clouds did not allow to locate exactly the target, and after three rides above the city, running out of fuel necessary for the return flight, the plane was hijacked towards a secondary target, Nagasaki.
At 11:02 AM, a few minutes after having started to fly over Nagasaki, the captain caught sight of the new target, that was still hidden by the clouds. Considering that it was unthinkable to fly back and risk a splashdown due to lack of fuel with an atomic weapons on board, the commander decided, in contrast with the orders, to turn on the radar in order to locate the target even through the clouds: thus “Fat Man” which contained about 6.4 kg of plutonium-239, was unfastened onto the industrial zone of the city. The bomb exploded at about 470 m, near the weapon factories; at about 4 km to the north-west from where it was planned: this “mistake” saved the largest part of the city, protected by the surrounding hills, since the bomb fell in the Urakami Valley.
The United States destroyed, however, a vast area, causing immediate death and future diseases. Seventy years after the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, two hospitals of the Japanese Red Cross are treating thousands of people who continue to suffer from the consequences of these attacks. Last year, the hospitals took care of 4657 victims of the explosion in Hiroshima and 6030 victims of that in Nagasaki, as it was reported today, in an announcement, by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. It is also estimated that several thousand of these people will continue to be in need of care in the next few years because of radiation-connected issues. To sum up, in the two health centers were hospitalized 2.6 million people due to consequences linked to radiation. 63 per cent of the deaths recorded at the Hiroshima hospital, open since 1956, have been caused by different types of cancer.
Today, 70 years later, the Japanese foreign minister Fumio Kishida and Rose Gottemoeller, the USA Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security, reaffirmed the desire of the two countries to cooperate in order to have “a world free of nuclear weapons”. Kishida, during a phone interview, has “very much appreciated” her presence in the city of Hiroshima, on behalf of the Obama administration and as the first exponent of the US government (she was accompanied also by the ambassador Caroline Kennedy, daughter of the former president Jfk), to remember the atomic holocaust, as well as at another similar ceremony planned for today in Nagasaki. Gottemoeller, reads a note of the Japanese minister of Foreign Affairs, has declared herself to be “deeply honored to partake in these ceremonies on behalf of the US government” and that “it is important to share knowledge about the humanitarian impact of the nuclear weapons” across borders and generations. The secretary has said she wants to deepen still further “the already strong Japan-USA cooperation in the field of disarmament and non-proliferation”.
Translated by Ecaterina Severin