Where were you on August 9th, 1945?

Nagasaki Japan
A colourized photo by Hiromichi Matsuda taken fifteen minutes and five miles away on August 9th, 1945

Toronto. I had just turned 8 at the time. The second world war in Europe was over that May and we had celebrated V-E day. In early August, we saw a newspaper photo of the first atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima. A few days later a second  bomb was dropped on Nagasaki and days later the war was over  with V-J day and we had entered the atomic age.

Few understood the horrendous risks brought to humanity or the devastation such “dirty” bombs could cause. A few years later the so called hydrogen  or “clean” bomb was invented. Dirty bombs used fission to break down uranium 232 atoms letting loose heat, energy, and radiation. Clean bombs used fusion to smash special hydrogen atom isotopes together releasing far more heat, energy, and less(?) deadly radiation. It was years later when I had grown up and read about the effects of radiation and the impact of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki that I understood just how devastating radiation is to humanity.

My thanks to Russ Forfar for spotting this article by Noelle Talmon (Nicky Benson?)  on www.ranker.com showing a colourized version of photographer Hiromichi Matsuda’s famous photograph taken just minutes after the second American atomic bomb was dropped on a Japanese city.

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