65 Years after Hiroshima and Nagasaki

By Eric Auner

In August 1945, nuclear weapons were used in war for the first and last time. The Wall Street Journal reports that for the first time the U.S. is sending a representative to Japan's annual ceremony commemorating the bombing of Hiroshima.

John Roos, the U.S. ambassador to Japan, will join representatives of 73 other countries, including Britain and France, for Friday's event marking the 65th anniversary of the Aug. 6, 1945, bombing. United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will also attend.

The annual Hiroshima peace memorial ceremony—where doves were released as a symbol for world-wide peace—was a poignant reminder of the lives that were lost in the aftermath of the bombing. Hiroshima Mayor Tadatoshi Akiba, Prime Minister Naoto Kan, other officials and representatives of survivors lay wreaths at the ceremony, which began at 8 a.m. Friday. At 8:15 a.m., the moment the bomb was dropped, participants observed a minute of silence.

Daryl Kimball argues in a recent Issue Brief that memories of Hiroshima and Nagasaki provide an opportunity to focus on what's at stake in the nuclear weapons debate:

However one feels about nuclear weapons and their role, it is essential for all of us to understand the horrific effects of nuclear weapons and work together to prevent their use ever again.

This week, as the world marks the 65th anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Arms Control Today reprises the following annotated photo essay (PDF) to help recall the human consequences of nuclear war in ways that words cannot describe.