July 30, 2015

hiroshimabandaOn the beautiful morning of August 6th, 70 years ago, citizens of Hiroshima, Japan, woke expecting a day like any other.  At 8:15, everything changed, forever, as the United States dropped the first atomic bomb ever on the city. When Japan refused to immediately surrender, the US dropped another bomb three days later, on Nagasaki. Those who survived the initial blasts found hospitals crumbling and few remaining doctors to treat their injuries.

By the end of 1945, over 200,000 people, mostly innocent civilians, were dead from the direct effects of  the blast, burns, and radiation,  Following this, additional health issues arose, such as infertility, birth defects and evidence of severe psychological trauma. Over the long term, thousands continued to experience the effects, over a half-century later. They faced numerous health consequences, including keloids, cataracts, anemia, and increased rates of cancer.

Despite the devastation the bombings of Japan wrought, the United States throughout the Cold War engaged in a escalating arms race with the USSR, ultimately leading to the production of tens of thousands of nuclear weapons. With the world’s population threatened by the hazards of radioactive fallout caused by atmospheric testing of weapons, and the heightened dangers of species-ending thermonuclear war, in 1962, the founders of PSR made the medical case for opposition to nuclear weapons in a series of groundbreaking articles in the New England Journal of Medicine. This greatly influenced the subsequent adoption of the Limited Test Ban Treaty in 1963 that forbade the atmospheric testing of nuclear weapons, and set the ethical and moral compass for our work through our current focus on attaining the complete elimination of all nuclear weapons.

Next week, we’re commemorating the 70thanniversary of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, by participating in a major demonstration at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), where a lack of transparency about nuclear arms research and production continue to be a cause for alarm.  LLNL remains a linchpin in US nuclear weapons modernization programs estimated to cost over $1 trillion over the next 30 years. Please join us to protest this colossal waste of our precious resources for such madness! Please see Facebook for the most updated information!