By coincidence, I received a letter from my friend in Nagasaki on the anniversary of the dropping of the bomb on its twin city Hiroshima. I shall write a piece on 9th August about the second bomb.
There are 2 distinct viewpoints on the use of atomic weapons on these occasions. The pro-bomb camp believe that the war in the East was shortened and greater loss of life (both Japanese and American casualties in the proposed Operation Downfall) was prevented.
Those vehemently opposed to the use of nuclear weapons of any sort, take the view that the invasion of Japan was not imminent and therefore more could have been done in respect of diplomacy to bring the end of the war closer. Part of the problem was that the Japanese forces and leadership were split over whether or not to surrender. There was a real division as to the future role of the emperor and his demi-god status.
What is clear, however, is the huge devastation caused to both cities. Hiroshima, on conservative estimates, saw over 70,000 people killed directly as a result of the initial explosion with a large number falling victim to secondary causes linked to radiation. There is some debate as to the actual figures of secondary fatalities.
Today, our thoughts should be with this city. We must remember so that this cannot happen again.
Appropriately, I have played OMD's song, Enola Gay today.