July 16 - August 9:

60th Anniversary of the Start of the Nuclear Age 1945-2005

 July 16, 1945 - the first atomic test blast, code-named "Trinity";
August 6 and 9, 1945, the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.



Saturday, July 16, 12 Noon - Protest in "Lockheed-ville". Noon - Town Square Vigil with banners and leafleting Main & Chester Aves., Moorestown, NJ (map & directions) [[home to Lockheed Martin and its production  of Aegis warship combat systems and Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense - "Star Wars"] 2:30PM - Demonstration at main entrance to the Lockheed Martin Aegis Naval weapons complex, Marne Highway near Bortons Landing Rd.


Saturday, August 6, Noon - Area Hiroshima Day Rally Lockheed Martin, Mall & Goddard Blvds., Valley Forge, PA (behind the King of Prussia Mall - map & directions.) Speakers, Music, "Die-in", Ceremony of Remembrance & Resistance Joining hands in a human chain of peacemaking in front of Lockheed Martin & Nonviolent Civil Disobedience.


Bobís Report From Hiroshima Day at Lockheed Martin, Valley Forge, PA:

A large Japanese puppet, dove puppets, and sunflowers, the international symbol of a world free of nuclear weapons and war, gave greater visibility to yesterday's time of Remembrance and Resistance at Lockheed Martin marking the 60th Anniversary of the

Atomic Bombing of Hiroshima. Nearly a hundred people participated in the opening ceremony that included bell-tolling and "die-in", before taking our sunflower hopes directly to Lockheed Martin. We walked from one entranceway to another, placing a large sunflower at each, and then stretched out in a "human chain of peacemaking"

in front of a main entrance and a large lawn area. Those willing to face arrest in nonviolent civil disobedience walked onto Lockheed Martin one by one sprinkling thousands of sunflower seeds - 10 pounds of sunflower seeds.  Sean Dougherty, Tom Mullian, Ann Geers, Beth Friedlan, Vint Deming, Mary Jo McArthur, Theresa Camerota, Rev. Patrick Sieber, Brother Tom Ennis, Bernadette Cronin-Geller, Bob Smith, and Michael Berg were arrested and cited for "disorderly conduct".


"The sunflower has become a worldwide symbol for peace, carrying the hope of a world free of nuclear weapons and war. Today, we bring sunflowers and sunflower seeds to Lockheed Martin. We seek to reclaim the land on which Lockheed Martin sits from the business of war. We seek to reclaim our country for peace and the promise of justice and democracy. We seek to reclaim a determined hope for a world free of nuclear weapons and war. Today, we join hands in a human chain of peacemaking in front of Lockheed Martin. Today, in memory of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, we plant our hopes for

peace and for justice with sunflower seeds here at Lockheed Martin." - from Litany of Remembrance & Peace, August 6, 2005, Lockheed Martin, Valley Forge, PA.


Litany of Remembrance & Peace

Reader: On July 16, 1945, the first atomic bomb test, code-named "Trinity," took place in an area of desert in New Mexico called "Jornada del Muerto" ≠ Journey of Death. "We knew the world would not be the same," recalled J. Robert Oppenheimer, chief scientist of the Manhattan Project which developed the world's first atomic bomb. As he witnessed

the 1st atomic test, Oppenheimer remembered the line from the Hindu Scripture, the Bhagavad Gita: "Now I am become death, the destroyer of worlds." Hiroshima and Nagasaki, 3 weeks later, foreshadowed the world that we know and the society that we've become. The trail of nuclear weapons, militarism and war, invasions and occupations, bombing campaigns that speak of "pre-emptive war" and "shock and awe", empire and the corporate domination of the economy and our democracy, brings us to where war is

made today: Lockheed Martin.

All: Hiroshima, Never Again; War, No More; Stop Lockheed Martin.


Reader: On August 6, 1945, the first atomic bomb was dropped on the city of Hiroshima. The thermal flash and blast started fires which very quickly became a firestorm until the whole city was ablaze. Birds ignited in midair. People ran to the rivers to escape and soon the river became not a stream of flowing water but a stream of drifting dead bodies.

Despite every horrifying statistic of violence and war we've ever heard, the account, statistics, and memory of that day 56 years ago are still devastating. 60 percent of the city is destroyed; ≠hospitals, hotels, rail stations, temples, factories, houses, and scores of other buildings reduced to flaming rubble. The next morning the sun rose and revealed the

dawning of the nuclear age. Where the city once stood, was a wasteland of

ashes and ruin.

All: Hiroshima, Never Again; War, No More; Stop Lockheed Martin.


Reader: Yasu Tsuchida is a woman and Hibakusha, survivor of the Hiroshima bombing: ď...A B-29 plane disappeared into the northern sky, trailing a vapor cloud. The relieved feeling that the plane had passed away called people again to the streets. The day's work was just beginning. About 30 minutes later, from the B-29, the atomic bomb was dropped. A woman was walking with her baby in her arms. There was no time for her to escape from the instantaneous heat. Her burnt body, a cake of black charcoal,

was standing. The big eye holes on the small face eloquently told me of the intense heat. I felt in the depth of my heart the last prayer and the last curse of the mother who had instinctively covered the baby's body by crouching over it."

Nuclear weapons and their threatened use have emboldened and outlined every imperial move of the U.S. from Vietnam to Central America to the Persian Gulf. Whole populations and lands have been contaminated with the toxic effects of nuclear weapons production: ≠plutonium, which fuels nuclear bombs, has a toxic life of 240,000 years or 10,000 human generations. So too, the very principle of democracy and commitment to

civil liberties has been contaminated by our society's reliance on war and the militarization of culture, economy. and law.

All: Hiroshima, Never Again; War, No More; Stop Lockheed Martin.


Reader: The atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki announced the beginning of the nuclear age in which one weapon became the very definition of terror. Lockheed Martin, formed seven years ago in the merger of Lockheed and Martin Marietta, announced itself with: "And this is just the beginning!." Lockheed Martin ≠ the world's largest weapons corporation, the U.S.'s #1 arms dealer, the U.S.'s chief nuclear bombs

contractor ≠ now would invade the heavens to wage war on earth. Theater missile defense. Global Missile Defense. Have no illusion about it, the Bush Administration, the Pentagon, and Lockheed Martin, one of the 4 primary Star Wars contractors, are hell-bent on "Star Wars" missile defense and with it, plans for the full militarization of space. Aegis warships, produced by Lockheed Martin in Moorestown, NJ, are key to the

Navy's "Theater Missile defense" plans. Long-range Interceptor missiles just began being deployed at the first ballistic missile defense site in Fort Greeley, Alaska.  In its Vision for 2020document, the U.S. Space Command, which is responsible for all U.S. space operations, speaks of: "...Dominating the space dimension of military operations to protect U.S. interests and investments...," "Integrating space forces into war-fighting capabilities across the full spectrum of conflict...," and calling space "a fourth dimension of warfare: speaks of the "projection of force from space to earth." An illusion of security, to the tune of $240 billion, Star Wars is the next step to nuclear war. Letís have no illusion about it, Star Wars is about war and the business of war which is Lockheed Martin.

All: Hiroshima, Never Again; War, No More; Stop Lockheed Martin.


Reader: The chief beneficiary of Bush's policy of war is Lockheed Martin. It makes the weapons. Lockheed Martin has received the largest military contract in history≠: $200 billion for the Joint Strike Stealth Fighter. New earth-penetrating nuclear bombs are being developed for actual use. Bush's Nuclear Posture Review assumes continued maintenance and further production of nuclear weapons, and even their use, as a matter of

military doctrine. The weapons control systems for Tomahawk cruise missiles repeatedly launched from Aegis warships throughout the Gulf Wars are produced by Lockheed Martin right here.  Increased military expenditures are the profits of Lockheed Martin at the expense of human needs and the promise of justice.

All: Hiroshima, Never Again; War, No More; Stop Lockheed Martin.


Reader: In every war lies the threat of another Hiroshima or Nagasaki. Lockheed Martin is built atop the ashes of the nuclear age and the continuing wars and global nuclear reach of the U.S. military empire. It is here at Lockheed Martin that the deadly consequences of its business of war must be brought to light. It is here that the criminal enterprise that is Lockheed Martin must be confronted. It is at Lockheed Martin that our demand for justice and our cry for peace must be brought to bear! To stop Bush's war, we must resist war-making. To say "Hiroshima Never Again!" and mean it, we must stop the war makers.


On this, the 60th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, the victims of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, of the nuclear age and 60 years of war-making and nuclear weapons, cry out for peace and an end to the business of war.  In memory of all victims of the past 60 years of war and nuclear terror, we cry out for peace and a future worthy of our hopes and our children: ≠education, homes, decent health care, justice, an honoring of the earth, and peace.


The sunflower has become a worldwide symbol for peace, carrying the hope of a world free of nuclear weapons and war. Today, we bring sunflowers and sunflower seeds to Lockheed Martin.  We seek to reclaim the land on which Lockheed Martin sits from the business of war. We seek to reclaim our country for peace and the promise of justice and democracy. We seek to reclaim a determined hope for a world free of nuclear weapons and war. Today, we join hands in a human chain of peacemaking in front of Lockheed Martin. Today, in memory of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, we plant our hopes for peace and for justice with sunflower seeds here at Lockheed Martin.

All: Hiroshima, Never Again; War, No More; Stop Lockheed Martin.



Sunflowers carry the hope of a world free of nuclear weapons and war.  Bright and beautiful, a nutritious miracle from which Native Americans once made bread, sunflowers were even used near the catastrophic Chernobyl nuclear reactor to extract cesium 137 and strontium 90 from contaminated ponds.


Sunflowers now carry a new meaning and have become the symbol of a world free of nuclear weapons and war. On June 1, 1996, Ukraine transferred to Russia for dismantlement the last of the 1900 nuclear warheads it had inherited from the former Soviet Union. The Defense Ministers of the Ukraine, Russia, and the United States gathered at an emptied nuclear base and celebrated the historic act of nuclear disarmament by planting sunflower seeds at a nuclear base that once house 80 long-range nuclear missiles.



Remembering Hiroshima

REBECCA CAVANAUGH, Special to the Local News




With unparalleled devastation, the first nuclear bomb was dropped on a city in Japan 60 years ago today, destroying lives, obliterating buildings, and changing the rules of war forever.

As the anniversary approached of the bombing of Hiroshima, as well as the bombing of Nagasaki that followed three days later, the impact of those nuclear weapons continues to defy the imaginations of even those who lived through that time.

Reactions from World War II veterans to those who were young children at the time listening to the radio news run the gamut from memories of relief the war was over to horror at the devastation caused by the bombs.

When President Harry Truman made the final decision to drop atomic bombs on Japanese cities, the war in Europe was already over.

One of the primary reasons for using atomic bombs was as an effort to force Japan to surrender unconditionally. It was less than a week after the second bomb was dropped on Nagasaki that a formal surrender to the Allied powers was presented.

Barry Pennell, of Berwyn, recalled seeing the headlines about the bombings when he worked as a paper boy in Drexel Hill.

"When the bombings happened, everyone kind knew that would be it," said Pennell. "I remember running down the street, jumping and yelling ĎItís over! Itís over!í It was the middle of the day so everyone was probably at work or asleep or something, but I was leaping like a gazelle."

Pennell said it took time -- up to a decade for many -- to fully realize the devastation the bomb caused, overcome as they were with relief at the end of World War II.

"We probably thought they got what they deserved at the time. But later we started to think, why did we do that? There was a huge wipe-out and a lot of innocent people who had nothing to do with the war were incinerated."

Rose Loscalgo, of Lionville, also remembers the jubilation that followed the news, describing people running around, honking car horns and yelling that the war was over. A new bride at the end of World War II, Loscalgo credited Truman with making the right decision to drop the bomb. "It was a shock to all of us, but (Truman) thought it would end the war and save American boys," she said.

Those serving in the war at the time were less certain the bombs really spelled an immediate end to war.

George Mullen, of Parkesburg, the recently retired state adjutant of the Department of Pennsylvania Veterans of Foreign Wars, was serving in the Navy, preparing for an invasion of Japan when the bombs were dropped.

Only 19 years old at the time, Mullenís unit was ordered to go into Tokyo Bay after the surrender and look for white flags which would indicate gun stations.

"We were very happy it was over, but also frustrated and scared. You didnít really know what was happening. The bombing saved an awful lot of Americans. We saw the gun placements there," said Mullen. "In times of war, everybody is in danger. To win the war, you gotta do what you gotta do."

"We all experienced horror over the whole thing, but it was something that had to be to bring the other side to a halt," said Richard McIlvaine, a Korean War veteran who had two brothers serving in the Pacific during World War II.

Not everyone feels the bombings were justified, however. With civilian casualties from the bombings starting at over 100,000 at the time they were dropped, and rapidly escalating as a result of radiation poisoning and conditions in the aftermath of the bombs, many consider the bombings inexcusable.

"It seems to me that it had no merit except to scare people," said Saunders Dixon, a longtime peace activist, and director of Thorncroft Therapeutic Horseback Riding stables in Berwyn. "There probably werenít any soldiers in sight. You canít prove it saved lives one way or the other."

Dixon went on to say it was critical for the American public to protest the use of weapons he described as immoral. "Back then we were all united about the war. Now itís sort of a side thing. It doesnít affect our daily life as much except for the price of gas."

Some groups are joining to raise opposition to the continued manufacture of weapons, including the Brandywine Peace Community, which has organized nonviolent protests such as a ceremony of remembrance today outside Lockheed Martinís Valley Forge complex.

Itís important that we remember this anniversary and the start of the nuclear age, which has meant 60 years of war and nuclear terror, especially as the Bush administration has a whole new generation of nuclear weapons being developed, including those that can be used in combat situations," said Robert Smith, of the Brandywine Peace Community.

According to Smith, young people today may not understand the full impact of the use of nuclear weapons, because they didnít experience World War II or the Cold War.

"I would ask the younger kids to look at pictures of the aftermath of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and look at the faces of the survivors, and then ask whether a continued nuclear weapons policy for the United States is right," said Smith.

©Daily Local News 2005


Activists rally memory of attack

By: CARL ROTENBERG , Times Herald Staff


UPPER MERION - They came with yellow sunflowers symbolizing a world free of nuclear weapons, giant paper mache "birds of peace" and bullhorns to amplify their voices of protest.

More than 50 members and supporters of the Brandywine Peace Community peacefully demonstrated for 90 minutes Saturday afternoon outside Lockheed Martin's Upper Merion offices. At the end of the demonstration, 12 members of the anti-nuclear group crossed onto Lockheed Martin's lawn, symbolically planted sunflower seeds in the lawn and were arrested by Upper Merion police for trespassing.
The 12 protesters were released Saturday with a citation and will appear in district court, Upper Merion Police Det. Sgt. Jeff McCabe said.
About 35 Upper Merion police officers and Lockheed Martin security workers guarded open driveways into Lockheed Martin's large parking lot.
The group protest was part of a worldwide commemoration marking the 60th anniversary of the United States' bombing of Hiroshima, Japan, with an atomic bomb on Aug. 6, 1945. On Friday, more than 55,000 people observed a moment of silence in Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima as part of the global anti-nuclear movement.
About 140,000 Japanese people were killed instantly or died within a few months after the attack.
The local group has protested outside Lockheed Martin's Integrated Systems & Solutions division at Mall and Goddard boulevards for the past 29 years as the company name has changed over the years from General Electric to Martin Mariatta to Lockheed Martin, Brandywine spokesman Robert M. Smith said.
"They are making money and people are dying," Tina Shelton of Havertown said. Shelton, a member of the Delaware County Wage Peace and Justice, brought her daughter, Ellie, 6, to the protest.
"We need to stand up and work for change," the elder Shelton said.
Gret Gentile of Philadelphia has protested outside Lockheed Martin for 20 years.
"I can't let Aug. 6 go by unrecognized," the former Lower Merion resident said. "The U.S. has a huge arsenal of nuclear weapons. Lockheed Martin is the primary military supplier and they are making money off them."
Gentile's daughter, Melinda Jeanne of Los Alamos, N.M., was attending a similar anti-nuclear protest Saturday in Los Alamos, where America's first nuclear weapons were developed and tested.
"She is like-minded (about nuclear weapons) like I am," Gentile said. In 1987, Gentile participated in "Meere & Druzbah," a 350-mile "Peace & Friendship" walk from Leningrad to Moscow, Russia, with 200 Americans and 200 Russians.
The "Ceremony of Remembrance & Peace" was marked by the symbolic "dying" of the protesters on the corner while an air-raid siren wailed from a portable loudspeaker. Only an elderly woman and five younger protesters holding up signs remained standing.
A counter-protester, Carris Kocher of Concordville, Delaware County, carried a sign, "Thank You Paul Tibbets - Thank You Enola Gay/Citizen-Soldiers For the Atomic Bomb," referring to the U.S. Army Air Force pilot and the B-29 bomber that dropped the 4-ton atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan.
Kocher stood 15 feet away from the anti-nuclear protest on a traffic island. One protester, carrying a "Get Out of Iraq" sign, argued with her about her support for the atomic bomb.
A spokesman for Lockheed Martin did not return a telephone call Saturday seeking comment on the protest.
Carl Rotenberg can be reached at crotenberg@timesherald.com or 610-272-2500, ext. 350.

Philadelphia Inquirer: Posted on Sun, Aug. 07, 2005

Research challenges Hiroshima strategy

Atomic bombs were not needed to end WWII, publications say.

Sixty years ago, on Aug. 6 and 9, atomic bombs destroyed the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Most Americans think the bombings forced Japan to surrender. And further, most believe that they were necessary as the only way to end World War II without a costly invasion.

But new research findings suggest that both judgments are wrong.

A just-published Harvard University Press volume by professor Tsuyoshi Hasegawa of the University of California-Santa Barbara is the most comprehensive study yet undertaken of Japanese documentary sources. The highly praised study argues that the atomic bomb played only a secondary role in Japan's decision to surrender. By far the most important factor, Hasegawa finds, was the entry of the Soviet Union into the war against Japan on Aug. 8, 1945, two days after the Hiroshima bombing.

Japanese military leaders had long been willing to sacrifice civilians and cities to American conventional bombing. What they really feared, Hasegawa points out, was the Red Army, a force that would directly challenge what was left of Japan's dwindling military capacity both on the home islands and in Manchuria. The traditional myth that the atomic bomb ended the war, he writes, "cannot be supported by historical facts."

A similar conclusion has been reached in a recent publication by another eminent Japanese scholar, professor Herbert Bix, author of a biography of Emperor Hirohito, which won the Pulitzer Prize for nonfiction in 2001.

Long before the bombings, top American and British policy-makers were aware that a declaration of war by the Soviet Union, combined with assurances for the Japanese emperor, would likely end the conflict.

As early as April 29, 1945, for instance, U.S. intelligence advised that entry of the Soviet Union into the war would "convince most Japanese at once of the inevitability of complete defeat" and, further, that if they were convinced that unconditional surrender "did not imply annihilation, surrender might follow fairly quickly."

Many scholars have wondered about the timing of the bombings. The invasion of Japan was set to begin in November 1945, three months off. There was plenty of time to test whether the intelligence estimates of the impact of a Soviet declaration of war were correct before striking civilian targets. The bombs could have been used if the Red Army attack did not produce the expected results.

In fact, making sure the Soviet option was available in case the atomic test failed was a major U.S. priority for the first half of 1945.

Once the test succeeded in July, however, the atomic bomb was preferred because, Hasegawa and others argue, U.S. leaders, for political reasons, no longer wanted the Soviets to enter the war.

Strikingly, many American military leaders also believed that the atomic bombing was unnecessary. On numerous occasions, then-Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower stated that he had urged that the bomb not be used against an already defeated Japan. After the war, he put it bluntly: "It wasn't necessary to hit them with that awful thing."

The diary of President Harry Truman's chief of staff, Adm. William D. Leahy, shows that in June 1945 he believed that the war could be ended on acceptable terms. After the war, Leahy, who also presided over the combined British and U.S. Chiefs of Staff, wrote that "the use of this barbarous weapon at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of no material assistance in our war against Japan. The Japanese were already defeated and ready to surrender... . In being the first to use it, we... adopted an ethical standard common to the barbarians of the Dark Ages."

The well-known hawk, Gen. Curtis LeMay, publicly declared shortly after the bombings that the war would have been over in two weeks and that the atomic bomb had nothing to do with bringing about Japan's surrender.

Sixty years later, the moral challenge of Hiroshima and Nagasaki - and the ongoing threat of future nuclear horrors - still haunt us.

Gar Alperovitz is a professor of political economy at the University of Maryland and the author of many works on the bombing of Hiroshima.





Tuesday, August 9, 60th Anniversary of the Bombing of Nagasaki:


Bobís Report:


More than 170 people gathered in candlelight vigil in front of the SS Peter & Paul Roman Catholic Cathedral in Phila., PA to remember the atomic bombing of Nagasaki 60 years ago with particular reference to the fact that ground zero for the Nagasaki bombing was the Urakami Roman Catholic Cathedral. The vigil on the steps of SS Peter & Paul Cathedral and service included an account of the Nagasaki Bombing (see attached); a

personal remembrance by Anne Schmieg and her son, Jack. Anne and Jack recently returned from a tour of Japan, visiting both Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Jack is part of the Keystone State Boys Choir which performed throughout Japan and at the re-built Urakami Cathedral, Ground Zero for the Nagasaki Bombing; and a Litany of Remembrance & Repentance , see below.


Following the vigil, people walked in candlelight procession, lead by a large dove puppet and intoned by a peace of peace, to the Phila. City Hall  for a Peace Circle around candle-lit mushroom cloud flats and sunflowers.  People heard the loudspeaker broadcast of  siren and atomic bomb explosion, a period of silence and tolling of the bell 60 times, once for every year of War and Nuclear Terror, and a reading of Hiroshima - Nagasaki Mayor's Appeal for Peace (www.abolition2000.org)


(Response: God Help Us, 'We Shall Not Repeat The Sin'*, from the Hiroshima

Peace Park cenotaph)


Reader: We mourn the loss of hundreds of thousands of lives with the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki; knowing at this moment we allow 10,000 operational nuclear weapons, poised to strike at will, to exist in our country's arsenal.

Response: God help us, 'we shall not repeat the sin'*


Reader: We lament our country's destruction of the Urakami Cathedral in Nagasaki.  We call on our churches, synagogues, mosques, and temples to speak out against the continued use of  use of weapons of mass destruction--bombs, missiles; tanks, artillery, and gases --on the peoples of  Afghanistan and Iraq. We decry the past 60 years of war and nuclear terror and call on our communities of faith to stand with us for peace.

Response: God help us, 'we shall not repeat the sin'*


Reader: We cry out for the poor of our country. Our country spends more than $400 billion a year benefitting the Military-Industrial complex and the Corporate greed of  Halliburton, Lockheed Martin, and Boeing,  while our schools, health system, urban housing, jobs and infrastructure are collapsing.

Response: God help us, 'we shall not repeat the sin'*


Reader: As a people committed to ending war, the systemic violence of poverty and to protecting our Earth from the ravages of war and the indifference of the powerful,  we are painfully aware of  the pull of an Affluent Society which ignores the Two Thirds of  World whose resources and means of survival are plundered for the technologized One Third;

Response: God help us, 'we shall not repeat the sin'*


Reader: It is fitting that this day, commemorating the bombing of the Catholic Cathedral in Nagasaki, along with the city's inhabitants, should coincide with the Jewish feast of Tisha B'Av )which commemorates the Destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem and the captivity of the people by a pagan nation. It is a day of fasting and lamentation. The 1st Book of Kings records Godís words to Solomon that the house of God would be

destroyed if the people forsake their God and worship false gods.


We grieve the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki 60 years ago. We grieve the continued making of war and arsenals of destruction. We grieve for Iraq and Haiti, and  Afghanistan. We grieve for the injustice throughout Central and Latin American, Africa and the Middle East Ė much at the behest of U.S. interests and worldwide militarism.  We grieve as we look to the heavens and know of our government's plans to weaponize

space. We know that many suffer, so few may profit. In the 60 year shadow of  nuclear weapons cast in the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. We see the danger that comes with worshipping the false gods of Weaponry, Consumerism and Violence. Tonight, we stand as a community of peace affirming our commitment to justice and a world free of nuclear weapons and war.

Response: God help us, 'we shall not repeat the sin'*


History: August 9, 1945


The presidential approval for the use of atomic bombs on Japan was given on July 4, Independence Day, 1945, twelve days before the first atomic bomb test - code-named "Trinity" At 5:29AM, on July 16, the Trinity test took place in Alamogordo, New Mexico in a place known as "Jornada Del Muerto" - Journey of Death or Dead Man's Trail. J. Robert Oppenheimer, the scientific director of the Manhattan Project remembered: "We knew the world would not be the same. A few people laughed. A few people cried.

Most people were silent. I remembered the line from the Hindu Scripture, the Bhagavad -Gita. Vishnu is trying to persuade the Prince that he should do his duty and to impress him he takes on his multi-armed form and says, ĎNow I am become death, the destroyer of world'. I suppose we all though that, one way or another."


Three weeks later, Hiroshima.  President Truman, returning from the Potsdam Conference, exclaims that "This is the greatest thing in history" and in a radio broadcast promises a "rain of ruin" on Japan should it fail to immediately surrender unconditionally.


Nagasaki lies at the head of a long bay which forms the best natural harbor on the southern Japanese home island of Kyushu.  Founded in 1500, Nagasaki enjoyed little historical significance until 1542 when a Portuguese ship accidentally founded the previously secluded region. Followers of the zealous Jesuit missionary Francis Xavier multiplied converting the population to Christianity. The little harbor village quickly grew into a diverse port city, and Portuguese products imported through Nagasaki were assimilated into Japanese culture.  In 1587, Nagasaki's prosperity was threatened when Toyotomi Hideyoshi came to power. Concerned with the large Christian influence in southern Japan, he ordered the expulsion of all missionaries. Japanese and foreign

Christians were persecuted, with Hideyoshi crucifying 26 Christians in Nagasaki in 1596 to deter any attempt to usurp his power. Portuguese traders were not ostracized, however, and so the city continued to thrive with the increasing influence of Dutch trading firms. Until the mid-1800's Japan's contact with the outside world was limited to Nagasaki


US Commodore Perry landed in 1853 and Nagasaki began to assume economic

dominance with its main industry of ship-building, the very industry that would make it a target in World War II. 


On August 6, 1945, Hiroshima lay in ruins. The second atomic bombing of a Japanese city was scheduled for August 11th.  The announcement of a large depression approaching Japan prompted the special staff of Air Force chief General Curtis LeMay to set the second bombing date for August 9. General Leslie Groves, the engineer who had directed the Manhattan Project after building the Pentagon and a score of scientists hurriedly prepared the third and final bomb available, considering it essential

that they seize the chance of using it before Japan surrendered. 


Nicknamed "Fat Man" (after British prime minister Winston Churchill), it was even more promising than the Hiroshima "Little Boy" bomb, because it was the same type as the plutonium bomb used in the "Trinity" test on July 16, three weeks before. By 2200 on August 8, "Fat Man" had been loaded into the forward bomb bay of a B-29 named "Bock's Car" after its usual commander, Frederick Bock, but for the second bombing mission piloted by Major Charles W. Sweeney.


Bock's Car flew off Tinian Island at 0347 on August 9 heading for the plane's primary target, Kokura on the island of Kyushu, but when Bock's Car arrived there at 1044 heavy ground haze and smoke fully obscured the target. Pilot Sweeney decided to "make a run down to Nagasaki [the mission's secondary target] as there was no sense dragging the bomb home or dropping it in the ocean". Bock's Car had enough fuel left for only

one pass over the target.  Approaching Nagasaki, Sweeney and crew found the city covered with cloud; with his fuel lov he could either bomb by radar or jettison a bomb worth several hundred million dollars into the sea. Sweeney authorized a radar approach. At the last minute, a hole opened in the cloud cover long enough to give the bombardier a

twenty-second visual run. "Fat Man" dropped from the B-29, fell through the hole and exploded 1,650 feet above the city at 11:02AM. Ground zero for the plutonium bomb was the Urakami suburb of Nagasaki and the Urakami Roman Catholic Cathedral, then the largest cathedral in the East.


70,000 people were killed within minutes and another 100,00 died from radioactive poisoning over the next five years. The legacy of radioactive poison continues to claim lives in Nagasaki to this very day. The U.S. continues to maintain 10,000 operational nuclear weapons.