hotel hiroshima


So it is with the Hotel Hiroshima. We checked in to a metaphoric Hotel Hiroshima—”we” as a culture—on Aug. 6, 1945, when the 16-kiloton atomic weapon detonated about 800 meters over a hospital here. (The hospital wasn’t the ostensible target; a nearby bridge was, but needless to say, the hospital and all those in it were vaporized.) Nearly 100,000 people died instantly or within hours from the original blast and the firestorms that followed (by the end of 1945, 140,000 were dead). Estimates of those who died over a longer period from radiation sicknesses, from radiation-induced cancers, and other disease sequela range far upward.

We checked in to the First Nuclear Age that day in 1945, and yes, sometimes we check out, in the sense of repressed memory, willed or unconscious denial, cultural amnesia. It’s happened for prolonged periods after the end of the Cold War. That all-too-brief “holiday from history” some called it.

more from Slate here.