The A-bomb Dome (Genbaku Dome), a silent sentinel on the Motoyasu Riverbank, is what remains of the once-thriving Hiroshima Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall. On August 6, 1945, at 8:15 A.M., the atomic bomb detonated nearly directly above the building, just 160 meters to the north-east. This unique circumstance led to one side of the structure being devastated, while the other remained intact. The moniker “A-bomb Dome” arose organically as a result of the distinct shape left at the top of the ravaged building.
At only 8 months old, Koko Kondo experienced the devastating effects of the first atomic bomb that struck her hometown of Hiroshima on August 6, 1945. Her father, Methodist minister Rev. Kiyoshi Tanimoto, had left earlier that day.
Kondo recalls the sudden collapse of their home, which left her and her mother trapped under debris. Her mother painstakingly created a small opening to free them. Kondo shared with NPR’s Weekend Edition that her mother first pushed her out, then managed to escape as well. Upon emerging, they found their surroundings utterly transformed, with fires raging everywhere. They narrowly escaped the catastrophe.
Three days after the Hiroshima bombing, the United States dropped another nuclear bomb, this time on Nagasaki.
Death toll estimates range from 90,000 to 166,000 individuals. At least half of the victims lost their lives in the initial moments of the blast, while others succumbed to radiation-related injuries up to four months following the event.
A structure situated precisely at ground zero was partially destroyed, yet a fragment remained upright, making it “the closest building to the nuclear bomb’s hypocenter that still maintained a degree of structural integrity.” This building has been preserved as a stark reminder of the horrific event.
The museum, located within the Peace Park and facing the A-bomb Dome, houses artifacts from the explosion. These include personal belongings of the victims, such as clothing, watches, and hair. Additionally, the museum exhibits the impact of the intense heat on various materials, including wood, stone, metal, and glass. It also provides information on the health consequences suffered by individuals due to the radiation released by the blast.
The A-bomb Dome, along with the preserved remnants at ground zero and the museum within the Peace Park, stand as potent symbols of the devastating consequences of nuclear warfare. Let the lessons from Hiroshima and Nagasaki guide our path toward a more peaceful and secure world for everyone.