At 8:15 a.m. on Aug. 6, 1945, the first atomic bomb was dropped on a city, giving Hiroshima a dubious distinction in the annals of history. The blast produced a mushroom cloud and killed 140,000 people and left thousands more homeless. Three days later, the U.S. dropped a second bomb on Nagasaki, which killed an estimated 80,000 people, closing the chapter on the second World War.
Today, the city remains known for its role at the end of World War II, but it has also grown into a major tourist attraction. Each year, thousands of visitors from Japan and around the world flock to this western Japanese city to learn about what happened here and how Hiroshima has helped shape history.
While atomic weapons no doubt remain a controversial subject, it is possible – and worthwhile – to take in Hiroshima and understand the historical significance of the city without spending too much time discussing the pros and cons of nuclear warfare.