A New Paradigm?

S M Chen
5 min readFeb 22, 2024

Conventional wisdom is sometimes wrong. Or, if not wrong, perhaps incomplete.

We have learned that ionizing radiation is, in general, not a good thing.

In an extreme example, witness the horrors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 when two nuclear bombs, one uranium and the other plutonium, helped bring about the end of WWII with Japan.

Little Boy and Fat Man, respectively, perhaps saved millions of lives (4M Allied, 10M Japanese) which were estimated to be lost if the U.S. invaded Japan, the last holdout of the Axis powers.

As it was, 129,000–226,000 Japanese lost their lives in the two bombings.

Best estimates indicate Japan would have most likely fought to the death, possibly to the last man, defending their homeland. Such was its honor.

In an irony perhaps few could have imagined, Japan is now a global economic power, and is considered a friend of the USA.

Tourist travel with relative ease between the two countries.

The same can be said of Germany and Italy, two other Axis powers and our enemies during WWII.

It is said art capitulates life.

Great art, perhaps more so.

Two masterful examples of art arose from the ashes of Hiroshima.

John Hersey’s 1946 book simply titled “Hiroshima” and the 1959 avant-garde black and white Alain Resnais French film, “Hiroshima, Mon Amour” would not have germinated but for the flights of the B-29 bombers Enola Gay and Bockscar, carriers of the two atomic bombs the U.S. dropped on Japan.

Both are justifiably acclaimed works.

Some debate has ensued pursuant to the lone time nuclear weapons have been deployed in wartime.

Were the bombs even necessary?

Some argue Japan was prepared to surrender.

We will never know for sure.

What we do know is the awesome devastation wrought by nuclear weapons were not the figment of some mad scientist’s fevered imagination.

They were real enough.

Los Alamos, New Mexico was merely the appetizer

Hiroshima and Nagasaki were the main course.

But rarely is anything black and white (exception: the film “Hiroshima Mon Amour”).

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