Highlights

  • Nuclear attack in Hiroshima killed about 1,35,000 people
  • US bombed the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki
  • US pilot Eatherly who carried out the nuclear bombings drove into self-sabotage for the rest of his life

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Hiroshima Day: US bomber pilot Claude Eatherly who became anti-nuke symbol

The impact of August 6, 1945 nuclear attack was so intense that it not only caused physical damage, but tormented people for life.  And one such case is that of Claude Eatherly.

On this day in 1945, the United States Air Force used an atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima. Nearly 1,35,000 residents of Hiroshima died and over 35,000 were wounded besides the colossal infrastructural loss to Japan.

It was August 6, 1945 when United States launched atomic weapon attack in Hiroshima, which became the first ever to face a nuclear attack that eventually led to the culmination of World War 2.

This year marks the 76th anniversary of this atomic bombing, and the day is remembered as 'Hiroshima Day', a glaring reminder of how devastating violence can be and how fatal is the impact of nuclear warfare.

While the loss of life and the aftermath of Hiroshima bombing has been detailed in much length, the stories of those Americans who took part in the bombing has slipped under the rugs of oblivion.

Take for example the story of Major Claude Eatherly, a Major in the United States Air Force and a B-29 bomber pilot, who was tasked to assess target visibility prior to the bombing.

Most reports note that Major Eatherly was the only serviceman out of 90 who took part in Hiroshima bombing, who rued the tragic loss of nearly 200,000 lives in the aftermath of bombings in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Leafing the pages of history reveals that Major Eatherly was so disturbed by the trauma caused to him that he would reportedly wake up screaming in the aftermath of the attack. Later, he was declared as mentally unstable for his outbursts, and was confined in a mental institution.

The post Hiroshima impact drove Major Eatherly into self-sabotage and his role in the 'cruel' bombing haunted him till his last days in Houston.

He tried taking his life on more than one occasion. "I see great fires boiling fires, closing in on me. Buildings fall, children run - living torches with their clothes aflame. 'Why did you do it?' they scream," Claude told a magazine in 1960s.

On his journey of reconciliation, Major Eatherly began sharing his thoughts through letter exchange with the victims of Hiroshima to escape the adversities, and spread the message of a world free from nuclear weapons and war.

Also watch: Hiroshima Day 2021: Japan marks 76th anniversary of US atomic bombing

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