August 6th is a day to remember when a nuclear weapon was used during an armed conflict between two countries, and the lives it took while razing a city to the ground.

The effects of the atomic bomb that was dropped by the US on the city of Hiroshima, Japan in 1945, saw a large number of people continue to die months after the incident, and most were innocent civilians. In memory of the day and of those who lost their lives, August 6 is marked yearly as Hiroshima Day..

The incident took place in the final year of World War II, when the United States detonated two nuclear weapons over the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

The first bomb was dropped on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945 and after three days, the second bomb was dropped on Nagasaki on August 9, 1945. The bombings killed between 129,000 and 226,000 people, and levelled the cities to the ground.

The Allied leaders had called for the unconditional surrender of the Imperial Japanese armed forces before the bombing, and had on July 26 issued the Potsdam Declaration, which outlined the terms of surrender for Japan.

The declaration was presented as an ultimatum that warned of “the inevitable and complete destruction of the Japanese armed forces and the utter devastation of the Japanese homeland”. There was, however, no mention of the atomic bomb in the communique. The Japanese government was reported by local media on July 28 to have rejected the declaration. 

On August 6, 1945, a modified B-29 dropped a uranium gun-type bomb, named “Little Boy”, on Hiroshima, and three days later another B-29 dropped a plutonium implosion bomb, named “Fat Man”, on Nagasaki.

It is reported that some 70,000 to 80,000 people were killed immediately by the blast and resultant firestorm, and about the same number of people were injured in Hiroshima. In the months that followed, more people lost their lives in both the cities due to the effects of the bombings.

Along with the lives the bombs took, there was massive structural damage, with Japanese officials stating that around 69 per cent of the buildings in Hiroshima were destroyed.