Japan held moving services across the country during August as it paid tribute to more than 210,000 people killed when the A-bombs were dropped in 1945.
With 32 countries represented, a ceremony in Nagasaki observed a moment of silence at 11.02am Pacific Time, the time the bomb, nicknamed ‘fat man’, detonated over the city 65 years ago. Churches in Japan held a special 10 Days for Peace event, where prayers for a nuclear-weapon-free age were raised.
On the 6 and 9 August respectively, the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were obliterated when the US airforce dropped atomic bombs in a bid to speed up the end of the war in the Pacific.
According to the BBC, both bombs caused a blinding flash and a fireball hot enough to melt sand into glass and vaporise every human near ground zero.
The war in Europe was already over and within days of Nagasaki, the Japanese government issued an unconditional surrender, on 15 August.
Within the first 2-4 months of the bombings, the acute effects killed 90,000-166,000 people in Hiroshima and 60,000-80,000 in Nagasaki, with roughly half of the deaths in each city occurring on the first day.
The Hiroshima prefectural health department estimates that, of the people who died on the day of the explosion, 60 per cent died from flash or flame burns, 30 per cent from falling debris and 10 per cent from other causes.
During the following months, large numbers died from the effect of burns, radiation sickness, and other injuries, compounded by illness. Most of the dead were civilians.
Within a generation, nuclear capability had spread to many other nations. As post-war tensions mounted between the capitalist west and communist east, whole populations were forced to live each day under the threat of nuclear war.
The Bay of Pigs stand-off in 1961 is etched onto the living memories of millions, as a moment in history when the wickedness of mankind brought the world to the brink of a nuclear holocaust.
While openly hostile nations still develop nuclear capabilities today, the world is only kept safe from such desolation by the grace of God. It is he who declares, ‘Thus far, but no further’.