The atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki
From death, destruction and despair a movement grew for peace and disarmament.
May 21 until Aug 29 at the Australian National Maritime Museum
During the Second World War in August 1945, atomic bombs were detonated over Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan – reducing the cities to ruin. An estimated 200,000 people tragically died by the end of that year – either instantly or subsequently from the aftereffects of radiation.
A schoolgirl’s blouse, some chopsticks, an armband, a satchel and a melted crucifix rescued from the rubble are poignant reminders of these events.
For some survivors the worst was yet to come. Sadako Sasaki was two years old when the bomb blast blew her through the window of her house. Apparently unscathed, she developed radiation induced leukaemia in 1955. While in hospital she began folding a thousand paper cranes which, according to legend, would ensure her a wish was granted. Before she died in August 1955 Sadako had exceeded her goal and folding paper cranes has become a lasting symbol of a wish for peace. In the exhibition some of Sadako’s cranes are displayed beside a crane folded by US President Barack Obama in 2016 when he was the first leader of a nuclear power to visit the museum in Hiroshima.
Exploring stories of both destruction and recovery, this exhibition highlights the importance of achieving a world without nuclear weapons.
The Mayors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki , Kazumi Matsui and Tomihisa Taue sent this message, ‘As you view these exhibits, our hope is that you will encounter the reality of the terrible damage wrought by nuclear weapons and deepen your understanding of nuclear weapons as an absolute evil.’
Kevin Sumption Director of the Australian National Maritime Museum said, ‘This exhibition provides an evocative reminder of the human cost of events over 75 years ago. The objects and stories in the exhibition are deeply moving and we honour the victims by reflecting upon them. The exhibition marks the end of our War and Peace in the Pacific 75 program which has seen a range of exhibitions and initiatives here at the museum, in the US and in Japan to mark the 75thanniversary of the end of the Pacific campaign.’
War and Peace: The atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki is an exhibition from the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum and the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Part of War and Peace in the Pacific 75, an Australian National Maritime Museum USA Program supported by the USA Bicentennial Gift Fund.