Year 2000 No. 128, August 7, 2000

55th Anniversary of Hiroshima:

The People Are Decisive Factor in Complete Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons

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55th Anniversary of Hiroshima:
The People Are Decisive Factor in Complete Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons

Thousands Commemorate "Hell on Earth" in Hiroshima

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55th Anniversary of Hiroshima:

The People Are Decisive Factor in Complete Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons

At 8.15 am on August 6, 1945, the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, detonating 1,885 feet above the ground. The initial death toll was nearly 100,000. By 1986, the cenotaph in Hiroshima listed about 140,000 people who died in the attack, including those who died later from injuries and the horrible effects of radiation. The toll represented some 40 percent of the city's population. The number of names on the cenotaph at the 55th anniversary now stands at 217,137.

Only three days later, the United States dropped a second atomic bomb on Nagasaki. The final death toll in that city was up to 70,000 people.

Japan agreed to surrender on August 15, a week after the Soviet Union had itself entered the war on Japan and driven 700,000 Japanese troops out of Manchuria.

Fifty-five years after the first use of nuclear weapons in warfare, these weapons of mass destruction have still not been banned, as is the demand of the world's people. Rather, the big powers, led by US imperialism, have used their monopoly of these weapons as a form of blackmail against other countries and the world's people, to get them to do their bidding. At the same time, they have used the pretext of the possession of "weapons of mass destruction" to keep in place the genocidal sanctions against Iraq. They have used the pretext of the alleged development of nuclear weapons by "rogue states" to blockade the DPRK and increase tension on the Korean Peninsula, while now beginning a new arms race, the "National Missile Defence" system.

It must be understood that the big powers have never been interested in the complete prohibition of nuclear weapons. The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) has been used not to bring about the banning of nuclear weapons and their testing, but to preserve the nuclear monopoly in their hands. It is a means for keeping the control of nuclear weapons in the hands of US imperialism and the big powers, while making it unlawful for the rest of the world to follow suit.

The demand of the world's people for the complete prohibition of nuclear weapons, as well as beginning from the demand that the imperialists end their nuclear monopoly and blackmail, must rely on their own anti-imperialist struggle as the decisive factor in guaranteeing peace and security. The entire history of the 20th century has proved that it is not the manoeuvrings and armed might of the imperialists which have contributed to the world's peace and security. The opposite is the case. It is the struggles of the people which have stayed the hands of the imperialists and won liberation and security, and which defeated fascism in the second world war.

It is only the struggles of the people, and ultimately the overthrow of imperialism itself, which will lead to the complete prohibition of nuclear weapons and all weapons of mass destruction.

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Thousands Commemorate "Hell on Earth" in Hiroshima

Yesterday, a crowd of about 50,000 in Hiroshima commemorated the devastating explosion of the atomic bomb 55 years ago to the day.

The Mayor of Hiroshima, delivering the annual peace declaration, said that "It has been precisely 55 years since one single atomic bomb created a hell on earth."

Several hundred anti-nuclear activists staged a die-in in front of the Atomic Bomb Dome. This building is the one which has been designated a World Heritage site, and its image a reminder of the struggle for the complete destruction of nuclear weapons.

On Saturday, the city announced that the names of 5,021 people who were in Hiroshima on the day of the bombing and who have died since last year's anniversary have been added to a monument dedicated to the victims.

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