The bomb that fell on Hiroshima 65 years ago
today tomorrow was by no means the most destructive event of the Second World War. Nor was the one that fell on Nagasaki three days later. What set the atomic bombs apart was the dreadful cheapness of the devastation they wrought, one plane doing the work of a thousand-plane raid.
I really have no primary substance to add to the remarks on this subject that I made three years ago. I'm posting anyway, because it is always a day to reflect on human destructiveness - even if I read my calendar wrong, posting a day early - and because of a canny observation by commenter Milo on the previous post:
Mutually Assured Destruction does seem like a reasonable projection if current trends persist, but most people want to read about superpowers clashing at full power - or at least about a superpower using its full power to oppress canny rebels - which is incompatible with a MAD scenario.Nuclear weapons thus pose not only a moral challenge - not to mention a survival challenge for post-industrial civilization - they also pose a literary challenge. For purposes of drama we want all-out effort, but in a technological age the drama threatens to end like Hamlet, with the entire cast dead on the stage. (Except for Fortinbras, whose role is to confirm for the audience that everyone is indeed dead.)
Which is sort of a downer ending, and also makes it very hard to come up with a sequel.
The image of the Hiroshima aim point comes from The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus.
Related Post: "I am become Death, destroyer of worlds"