Seventy-four years ago today, on August 6, 1945, a single American bomber carrying a single bomb destroyed an entire Japanese city. The atomic age had begun.
A teeming wartime metropolis of a quarter million people, Hiroshima stretched over the broad, marshy flatlands of the Ota River delta, as yet untouched by the American firebombing campaign that had turned many of Japan's urban areas to ash.
Hiroshima's factories and houses and hospitals and schools bustled with the activity of civilian life — children playing outside, people running morning errands, and families finishing up breakfast.
Until, on an otherwise unremarkable August morning, Hiroshima suddenly vanished under the blinding light and deafening roar of the world's first nuclear weapon.
The bombing of Hiroshima is not just painful history. As Ben Rhodes, our board member and former deputy national security advisor under Obama told us during a recent interview on our new podcast, Press The Button, "if human beings don't limit their capacity to have these kinds of technologies, the nature of human beings is that there will be another Hiroshima."
This is why our mission is so important. Ploughshares Fund is dedicated entirely — every last penny — to reducing and eventually eliminating nuclear weapons. We fund the smartest, most diverse minds in the field. We have our own staff in Washington and San Francisco working tirelessly to prevent a new arms race and promote a vision of a world where our security needs are met without nuclear weapons.
But we cannot do it alone. We need your support, and we need it now more than ever. We urge you to consider a gift today. With your help, we can turn back the dangers of our modern atomic age, we can advance urgent projects to stop the spread of these weapons, and we can shape the nuclear policy of the 2020 election.
In the debates on CNN last week Elizabeth Warren said she wants to make it official nuclear policy never to be the first to use a nuclear weapon. "Because it makes the world safer," she said, never hesitating. "The United States is not going to use nuclear weapons preemptively, and we need to say so to the entire world. It reduces the likelihood that someone miscalculates, someone misunderstands." Other candidates like Bernie Sanders, Pete Buttigieg and Joe Biden agree.
We need to get all the candidates to agree. We need to have all of them agree to rejoin the Iran anti-nuclear agreement. We need to have them all agree to support diplomacy with North Korea. And more.
We can do this. We can redefine America's nuclear policy.
Together, we can create a safer world for all of us — a world where Hiroshima can never happen again.
Listen to a special episode remembering the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and what they mean amid calls for 'No First Use' of nuclear weapons:
Learn more about our podcast, Press the Button.
Photo from nuclear historian Alex Wellerstein: "The Hiroshima Peace museum had many powerful images to illustrate the destruction and human cost of the use of the atomic bomb. But it’s this guy and his students of the Noboricho Elementary School, located 0.7 mi / 1.1 km from ground zero, that I keep thinking about. Those smiles seem to transcend politics." From Hiroshima Peace museum via restricteddata.