Nagasaki - 60 years on…

By Murray Bourne, 01 Nov 2005

Ground zero, Nagasaki
(from a slide)

I visited Nagasaki and Hiroshima when I first arrived in Japan 17 years ago - it was a powerful experience. Both places had English-speaking survivors who were available to talk about their experiences. The most powerful memory for me is that the survivors were not bitter and do not hate the Americans - their main purpose was to ensure it never happens again.

From the sign at ground zero:

At 11:O2 a.m., August 9, 1945 an atomic bomb exploded 500 meters above this spot. The black stone monolith marks the hypocenter.

The fierce blast wind, heat rays reaching several thousand degrees, and deadly radiation generated by the explosion crushed, burned and killed everything in sight and reduced this entire area to a barren field of rubble.

About one-third of Nagasaki City was destroyed and 15O.OOO people killed or Injured, and it was said at the time that this area would be devoid of vegetation for 76 years.

Now. the hypocenter remains as an international peace park and a symbol of the aspiration for world harmony.


1. Levelled Area:

  • 6.7 million square meters

2. Demaged Houses

  • Completely Burned: 11,574
  • Completely Destroyed:1,326
  • Badly Damaged: 6,5O9
  • Total: 18,4O8

3. Casualties:

  • Killed 73,934
  • Injured 74,904
  • Total 143,788

(Large numbers of people have died In the following years from the effects of radioactive poisoning.)

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