Lessons for the nuclear age

Hiroshima and Nagasaki must remind us of the delicate trap of nuclear weapons.

August 15th marked the 60th anniversary of the Japanese surrender to allied forces during World War II. It also coincides with two of the most destructive bombings in the history of humankind. Japanese surrender came just six days after an atomic bomb touched Nagasaki with radioactive death. In total, the two weapons of mass destruction resulted in the immediate death of more than 500,000 people. The specter of nuclear weapons still gazes upon the world like fires looming over playing infants.

The danger is readily apparent, and it is only a matter of time before precious life is consumed. With the nuclear arsenals of the world’s powers still in existence, there is still a chance of total global destruction. One only has to view Stanley Kubrick’s “Dr. Strangelove” to realize the precarious balance that holds the world. With nuclear weapons in existence, too many mistakes will eventually lead to the release of nuclear horror. It is important to remember the bombings because of the lessons they provide. Lessons that the world is, at best, learning slowly.

Sixty years later, opinions remain divided. Debate still rages. Proponents claim that the bombing expedited an end to what could have been a long and bloody ground war, while detractors said there was no reason to use such violently destructive weapons on civilian cities with no military targets. Not enough credence is given to the theory that the United States used Nagasaki and Hiroshima as a showcase and warning to their reluctant Russian allies. It is clear, however, that the effects of the nuclear weapons used are still felt today on both a geopolitical and individual level. In an era where weapons of mass destruction are used as pretense for war and more and more countries gain nuclear capabilities, the world must look back to Hiroshima and Nagasaki to move forward toward world peace.