Peace groups have used the 76 year anniversary of the United States' bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan to demand the federal government sign the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. Kerry Smith reports.
The world recently commemorated the anniversaries of the dropping of nuclear weapons on the people of the Japanese cities of Hiroshima (August 6) and Nagasaki (August 9) in 1945. But it hasn't been a good few weeks for world peace.
Robert Menzies achieved many things in his long political career. To remain prime minister as long as he did, Menzies kicked the communist can for as much as it was worth. He also benefited from a split in the Australian Labor Party and the ALP’s remarkable talent for shooting itself in the foot. By choosing ineffectual leaders — Doc Evatt was brilliant but erratic, while Arthur Calwell was dour, dull and unelectable — the ALP was putty in Menzies’ clever political hands.
Seventy years ago this month, the US committed two of the worst terrorist attacks in human history. The incineration of the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by atomic bombs represented the bloody climax of World War II. The nation that committed this heinous crime soon itself came to be the only remaining capitalist superpower.
The 70th anniversary of the United States' atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki is a reminder that when the United States' enemies commit crimes, they are crimes. But when the United States commits crimes, they did not happen. In 1928, Arthur Ponsonby, a British politician, said: “When war is declared, the first casualty is the truth”. But he never specified what the distorted “truth” might be. If one were to examine all wars the US has engaged in, however, one might conclude the casualty to be civilian death counts.
Seventy years ago, two split second explosions changed the course of history. The blinding light and fireballs that scorched Hiroshima and Nagasaki marked the start of the atomic age. More than 200,000 people died either instantly or within a couple of months. Thousands more have died in the years since due to the radiological impacts of the bombs.