On 6 August 1945, the USA dropped the first atom bomb on the city of Hiroshima in Japan. At 8:15am Japanese time, the atomic bomb (named ‘Little Boy’) was dropped on the city from the B-29 bomber Enola Gay. Approximately 150,000 people were killed or wounded as a result and 75% of the city’s buildings were destroyed or severely damaged.
There were 90,000 buildings in Hiroshima before the bomb was dropped; only 28,000 remained after the bombing. Of the city’s 200 doctors before the explosion; only 20 were left alive or capable of working. There were 1,780 nurses before—only 150 remained who were able to tend to the sick and dying.
According to John Hersey’s classic work Hiroshima, the Hiroshima city government had put hundreds of schoolgirls to work clearing fire lanes in the event of incendiary bomb attacks. They were out in the open when the Enola Gay dropped its load.
The day is remembered in many parts of the world as Hiroshima Day and is commemorated in various ways including peace protests, the observation of a minute’s silence at the time at which the bomb fell and symbolic gestures such as the release of white doves.
6 August is also a day of independence – for Bolivia from Spanish rule in 1825 and Jamaica within the British Commonwealth in 1962.