Bells have tolled in Japan’s leafy city of Hiroshima, but memorial events were scaled back due to the coronavirus pandemic. On August 6, 1945, a US bomber dropped the uranium bomb, or atomic bomb, above the city. It resulted in the deaths of 140,000 people and generations of biological suffering.
On Thursday morning, Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and the mayor of Hiroshima joined bomb survivors and descendants in the city’s Peace Park.
The park is usually packed to mark the event but attendance was visibly reduced this year, with chairs spaced out and attendees wearing masks.
A moment’s silence was held at 8:15am, the exact time the bomb was dropped on the city.
The bomb was drawn-up by a team of scientists during World War 2 in New Mexico in what became known as the Manhattan Project.
Among those involved was Nobel Prize winning physicist Richard Feynman.
During the BBC’s documentary, ‘The Fantastic Mr Feynman’, the scientist revealed shock at seeing what he and the others had created for the first time during a test drop.
He said: “They gave out dark glasses so you could watch it.
“It was 20 miles away and you couldn’t see a damn thing through dark glasses.
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Three weeks after the first test, the US military prepared to detonate the second atom bomb: this time for real.
Professor Feynman had been expected, as the scientist, to go with the first flight to Hiroshima to ensure nothing went wrong.
The bomb was so successful on its first test, however, that the pilots didn’t need a scientist.
Three days after Hiroshima was devastated, a second bomb was detonated over the city of Nagasaki.
Here, some 100,000 people are estimated to have perished.
The attacks led to Japan’s declaration of surrender and the end of the war.
After the success of the bombs, Prof Feynman described celebrations as having taken place at the New Mexico headquarters.
He said: “There was a very considerable elation.
“Quite a lot of parties and people got drunk.
“It would make a tremendously interesting contrast of what was going on is Los Alamos at the same time of what was going on in Hiroshima.”
Deeply disturbed by the mass bloodshed he had enabled, the atomic bomb would stay with Prof Feynman for the rest of his life.
He fell into a great depression, and admitted: “Maybe from just the bomb itself and maybe for some other psychological reasons I had just lost my wife, I was really in a depressive condition.”
His friend and fellow physicist Freeman Dyson noted: “He had had this great triumph on the technical level at Los Alamos.
“But then of course, a terrible let-down afterwards.
“Having run this tremendous race and then at the end of it concluded that it wasn’t all that worthwhile.”