IN response to the information about the Remembrance ceremony for Hiroshima on your online edition somebody responded with a concise and interesting question “Why in Hastings?”
The commemoration of the bombing of Hiroshima on the evening of August 6 has become something of a local tradition, as far as I know it has been carried out in Alexandra Park every year since 1983.
Last Tuesday more than 60 people floated paper lanterns on the boating lake and remembered those who died as a result of the first atom bomb. It was a quiet, dignified and moving ceremony and its appealing nature could easily lead us to forget the enormity of the event it remembered.
There have been many war crimes committed in the last hundred years. An International Criminal Court has been set up to try and convict present-day war criminals.
However, in the past those convicted have been more often the defeated. The victors always exonerated themselves. This was the way with Hiroshima. For decades we were told that the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs were dropped to end the war against Japan. Understandably enough, many servicemen and women as well as civilians involved in the war welcomed them for that reason.
Lately, as the documentation has become available, this myth has been exploded. Japan was on the verge of surrender when nuclear weapons were dropped on undefended cities with little military value and no warning.
Most of the top military argued against the use of fire bombs and General Eisenhower, the most respected soldier of the time, openly declared that: ‘it wasn’t necessary to hit them with that awful thing’.
The 340,000 victims of those cities, mostly women and children, probably died because they were the target of the opening shots in the Cold War. Then, as now, nuclear weapons were political, rather than military weapons and 68 years later with tens of thousands of nuclear weapons on trigger alert in the world and many countries possessing them and even more intent on acquiring them, Hiroshima could be no more than an early prelude to an infinitely greater destruction.
Only their global abolition can rid us of this menace.