65 years ago today.
On Nagasaki, the Japanese city, the second operational atomic bomb was dropped by the American air force.
Nicknamed 'Fat Man' (a reference to Churchill), the bomb, which used plutonium 239, was dropped by parachute at 1102 on 9 August by an American B29 bomber from the Pacific island of Tinian.
It measured just under 3.5 m. (11 ft. 4 in.) in length, had the power of 22 kilotons of TNT, and weighed 4,050 kg. (nearly 9,000 lb.).
Among the 270,000 people present in Nagasaki when the bomb was dropped, about 2,500 were labour conscripts from Korea and 350 were prisoners-of-war.
About 73,884 were killed and 74,909 injured, with the affected survivors suffering the same long-term catastrophic results of radiation and mental trauma as at Hiroshima.
The “Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament”, a group of worldwide legislators, say:
During the US Presidential election campaign Barack Obama pledged on at least two occasions to take strong nuclear disarmament steps if he became president including leading an effort to achieve a nuclear weapons free world.
In the month since his successful election, has President-elect Obama given indications that he intends to fulfill these pledges, or are the politics of building a cross-partisan team and dealing with vested pro-nuclear interests dragging him back towards a more limited agenda?
Some critics claim that Obama’s appointment of Robert Gates as Secretary for Defence indicates a backward slide.
In a keynote address just before the election, Gates supported the development of a new nuclear weapon (the ‘reliable replacement warhead’), argued that the US should maintain its nuclear stockpile as long as other States possessed or sought to possess nuclear weapons or other weapons of mass destruction, and claimed that US nuclear weapons deter others from developing such weapons.
What have they learned from killing barbarically 65 years ago with one bomb almost 75.000 men, women and children?