As the month of August comes to an end, the object of the fortnight has being chosen in remembrance of the 1945 Atomic bomb attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In the museum collection there are many different items relating around the anti-nuclear theme. This blog will give examples of some of the main ones. 

A Bit of History 

The United States used the bombs against Japan during the final stages of World War Two. The first bomb was dropped on Hiroshima on August 6th 1945 and just a few days later, Nagasaki was bombed. This was the first and only time atomic bombs have been used in warfare. On August 14th Japan surrendered to the allies and signed the ‘instrument of surrender’ ending World War Two. 

The effects

Around 30% of Nagasaki, including almost all the industrial district was destroyed by the bomb and nearly 74,000 were killed and a similar number injured. In Hiroshima, more than 60% of the buildings were destroyed. Japanese figures at the time put the death toll at 118,661. However, later on estimates suggest that the final toll was around 140,000 of Hiroshima’s 350,000 population. This also included military personnel and those who died later from radiation.

The effects of the atomic bombs are still being dealt with today as residents from both cities are still suffering the physical and mental consequences of radiation.

The Anti-Nuclear movement 

The Anti- Nuclear cause has been taken on by many different groups. One of the main ones is Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, (CND). Their symbol has become almost universally acknowledged as the main symbol for peace. The CND campaigns non-violently to achieve British nuclear disarmament – for scrapping the Trident nuclear weapons system and preventing its replacement. The museum collections includes a  variety of CND related items.

The Objects

- A variety of badges all with an anti-nuclear theme - one of my favourites being ‘Vegetarians Against the Bomb.’ 

- CND related items, including posters, banners and leaflets. One such banner currently on display in the museum has a quote from Lord Home 1961 which states, ‘The British people are prepared to be blown to atomic dust if Necessary’

Thalia Campbell Designs 

– Also we have on display the story of Sadako Sasaki, a girl who felt the effects of the bombs later on in her life.

These are only a small amount of anti-nuclear items that are a part of our collection.

Written by Charlotte Hall. Charlotte joined The Peace Museum in May 2014 as a collections intern. Charlotte has been leading a location audit of the collections and has helped install and research objects in the newly developed WWI gallery. Charlotte is studying a Masters in Museum and Art Gallery Studies at the University of Manchester.