CARACAS, Wednesday April 01, 2009 | Update
The summit year in the 20th Century concomitantly witnessed the birth of the nuclear horror, the end of fascism in Europe and the surge of real socialism. In Venezuela, the Maiquetía international airport, an icon of the Venezuelan modern age, opened; the first direct, universal and secret voting was held and a civilian took over after 109 years of uninterrupted military regimes. It was, undoubtedly, a crucial year in modern history, both for the world and Venezuela
From August 6th, 1945 to the end of the days, Hiroshima will
be not only a small port in southern Japan, but also the place
where one of the two atomic bombs on real targets was dropped.
And while World War II accounts for innumerable horrors in places such as Auschwitz, Stalingrad, The Ardennes, Dunkirk, none of them has been for so long a warning against the mass destruction capacity.
The history of the nuclear bombing on Hiroshima started in 1939, when Albert Einstein, a globally renowned genius of physics, fled to the United States from the Nazi threat. In a letter addressed to US President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Einstein summed up the uranium potential of releasing energy, according to a research conducted by Enrico Fermi and Leó Szilárd, and its potential military application in a 2,000 megaton bomb.
With a scanty budget, related research was conducted from 1939 through 1941. However, the Japanese raid on Pearl Harbor, which prompted the United States to take an active part in the war, bolstered the Manhattan Project -i.e., the US nuclear effort- and took thousand scientists and workers to the New Mexico desert. Such a pool of talents, resources and efforts would be not enough to defeat Germany, which surrendered on July 7th, 1945. Only one week later, the first atomic bomb exploded at 80 kilometers from Alamogordo, the nearest town.
There was no more Roosevelt. He had passed away four months earlier. Harry Truman was the US President now. He was apprised of the success of the first nuclear detonation. Its power spread over 400 kilometers. At the Postdam Conference, where the postwar was discussed by Stalin, Churchill and Truman, the latter sent a message to Japan. Surrender from the only remaining belligerent axis should be unconditional, "otherwise, there would be terrible consequences." The 70 Japanese major cities were already living like in the Stone Age as a result of shelling on the archipelago since 1944. And while Hirohito, the Japanese emperor, had appointed Admiral Kantaro Suzuki as Prime Minister, partly to negotiate the end of the war, Truman's threat came true at 9:00 a.m., on August 6th.
A total of 80,000 people literally vanished right away; 200,000 others suffered a slow, terrible death over the next five-year term. Shortly after the bombing, black rain started to fall on a city filled with carbon emerging from the burnt bodies and buildings.
Nowadays, Hiroshima is a cutting-edge city, but the memory of the bombing prevails at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum.
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