75 years ago to the day…

August 6, 1945, 8:15:17 seconds, a solitary bomb was released from a single B-29 over Hiroshima…

[Lyrics: Peart; music: Lee, Lifeson]

Imagine a time
When it all began
In the dying days of a war
A weapon that would settle the score
Whoever found it first
Would be sure to do their worst
They always had before…

Imagine a man
Where it all began 
A scientist pacing the floor
In each nation, always eager to explore
To build the best big stick
To turn the winning trick
But this was something more…

[CHORUS:] The Big Bang took and shook the world 
Shot down the Rising Sun 
The end was begun

It would hit everyone 
When the chain reaction was done 
The big shots try to hold it back 
Fools try to wish it away 
The hopeful depend on a world without end 
Whatever the hopeless may say

Imagine a place
Where it all began
They gathered from across the land
To work in the secrecy of the desert sand
All of the brightest boys
To play with the biggest toys
More than they bargained for…


Imagine a man
When it all began
The pilot of Enola Gay
Flying out of the shockwave
On that August day
All the powers that be
And the course of history
Would be changed for evermore

Three days later, another bomb on Nagasaki made it clear that this was not a one-off thing. (The Japanese had no way of knowing that this exhausted the entire stock on hand, although more A-bombs were forthcoming.) On that same day, the USSR furthermore invaded Japanese-occupied Manchuria.

Japanese emperor Hirohito had been searching for some time for a formula to end the war that would not founder on the “death before dishonor” Bushido [=way of the warrior] mentality. Intentionally or not, the bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki offered him just that. Just days later, on August 14, 1945, Hirohito announced surrender in a radio speech that, significantly, contains the following passage:

Moreover, the enemy has begun to employ a new and most cruel bomb, the power of which to do damage is, indeed, incalculable, taking the toll of many innocent lives. Should we continue to fight, not only would it result in an ultimate collapse and obliteration of the Japanese nation, but also it would lead to the total extinction of human civilization.

Such being the case, how are we to save the millions of our subjects, or to atone ourselves before the hallowed spirits of our imperial ancestors? This is the reason why we have ordered the acceptance of the provisions of the joint declaration of the powers. [… I]t is according to the dictates of time and fate that We [, the Emperor] have resolved to pave the way for a grand peace for all the generations to come by enduring the unendurable and bearing what is unbearable.

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