The day looked bright and cheerful. The sun-dipped earth looked ethereal.
I wondered why the shimmering river did not appeal to me. As I looked through the window of the plane that carried me so laboriously, I realized I was impervious to the bewitching beauty of the earth!
Deep within me, I knew I wasn’t emotionally connected to what I was seeing down below me, the earth. No emotions stirred at the sight of the majestic city.
I was dry as a desert, bare as autumn. Numb and devoid of emotions. There sure is a purpose in life. I owe my presence to my creator. Why do I shudder to reflect on the purpose? O, the dichotomy of my existence! How I wish I could escape from the clutches of these inhuman humans!
A searing pain cut through my being as someone prodded me, as though to check whether I was prepared for the execution of the mission. The turmoil and anguish within will be released only when I accomplish the mission. And that eventually would be my end too! A hard truth. But I trust my strength, the craft of the Manhattan Project and the scientific knowledge of Dr Robert Oppenheimer.
Wasn’t it strange that I would immortalise myself by annihilating two cities of the warring Axis country? I would be called the famous (rather the infamous) ‘Little Boy’ who blew up Japan. Did I take pride in the thought?
Amidst the muffled voices of the flight crew and military personnel, I heard my name being uttered several times. I was all ears. What I overheard sent a chill up my spine. I had no clue why I came into existence. My birth remained a mystery – to me and the ones who brought me into this world.
I was glued to the walls of the aircraft listening to their heart-wrenching conversation. My birth secrets were being revealed and I was anything but happy to know the facts.
I was born as a result of a project that was kept a secret until I took a shape and got my identity. The US, the country of my origin, known for its military prowess, had embarked upon a mission to counter combat the Axis powers in the mid-1940s.
The rumoured deadly war weapons being manufactured by Germany got the US into immediate action. An aggressive, offensive defence. Ethically unsound, politically correct retaliation.
Los Alamos in New Mexico, Oak Ridge in Tennessee and Hanford/Richland in Washington state, the cities that were instrumental in making me come into existence, were the ‘chosen ones’ for research and development of a phenomenon that prompted me to become the instrument in the American warfare.
A meticulously designed venture that would serve as the ‘epicentre’ for an unheard-of project – the Manhattan Project. The people who worked on this had no inkling of the dangers and risks involved in it except that it was war-related. Many would have taken pride in being a part of the enterprise unaware of its shattering impact on lives. The true nature of the work would be revealed only after its execution and how devastating it would be for those workers to know that they had collaborated for destruction.
My creators were not only secretive but also discreet in selecting places which could house hundreds of workers and provide the necessary facilities to process the material. The comprehensive, methodical procedure manifested the potency of the operation. The strategic planning of the project began with identifying areas that were thinly populated and that had relatively easy access to transport and communication.
The working conditions had to be suitable and comfortable for those who worked on the project. The houses that came up were akin to military barracks. The project heads weren’t heartless, I can vouch for it. They provided facilities and infrastructure for the residents of these three cities so that the workflow was smooth.
Thoughtful, weren’t they?
I was about to end thousands of innocent lives.
I was hazardous to the safety of thousands of people in Japan. I was in a ‘catch 22’ situation. My conscience was rubbing against my filial loyalty and sense of guilt.
War could never resolve issues. Did the governments believe that war would restore peace?
What an incoherent thought!
History is proof of it. No war ever had ‘peace’ as an ‘end.’
End justifies the means. How true!
My curiosity magnified.
The US had every political, ethical, and logical reason for this massive preparation- to pay back Japan in the same coin. Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbour, the military base of the US in Hawaii, had triggered the US military ire. This attack as justified by the Japanese was a counterattack to the policy of the US to bar Japan from any business connections.
The political goal of Japan was to expand its territory for which natural resources were required. The US, China and Indochina were its destinations for these resources.
Japan’s intentions were alarming. It had already attacked, defeated and colonized some of the South Asian countries. It was spreading its tentacles toward the Pacific region. The US too had plans to acquire natural resources from these countries. It was a tug of war for supremacy.
Meanwhile, the US Pacific Fleet was moved to Pearl Harbour in Hawaii. This sudden movement was a threat to Japan and its goal to expand. It was now or never for Japan.
The unexpected attack on the US fleet sent shockwaves across the US Military and political circles. Japan, miscalculated its victory. It expected the US to crumble and suffer. Far from it, the US decided not to lie low. It was time to examine their decision not to interfere in the II World War. A low profile at that juncture would send wrong signals to the Allies. Instead of surrendering to the Imperial power, it hit back.
And what retribution!
Wait, wait! I wanted to scream. Would such a resolution restore peace? Or wasn’t that on the agenda? Oh, no! All this was heading towards destruction, and mass killings!
All doubts cleared. I knew the purpose of my being there, in the aircraft, with the crew. I was the weapon that would cause devastation.
Do I still need to listen to their conversation?
Unwillingly I continued to be a part of it.
As the aircraft sailed through the clouds, I could see the thick, smoky clouds of dust and toxic fumes that would engulf the earth.
I could have wept my heart out but for my loyalty, my allegiance to the country of my origin.
Such is the might of motherland.
Et Tu, Brute…?
“But why Hiroshima and Nagasaki?” The crew had a point.
A debatable question.
“…. obvious reasons- thickly populated cities housing Japanese military power-, weapons and armour. An attack would not only destroy the cities but would bring the despotic rulers on their knees.” The voice was convincing and authoritative. It was as though the act to be executed was being justified. The conviction was beyond any doubt.
“Can we justify this act on moral grounds?”
Just what I wanted to ask.
“Did they think about it while demolishing our military basis in Hawaii?” The voice sounded cross.
“But aren’t innocent people being victimised? It is the rulers, and politicians, who make the common man suffer. The loss will be enormous -human as well as resources. What do we gain?”
“Gain? Did you say gain? Pose that question to those warring Generals. Can they justify their brutal act? When they can’t, we don’t have to.” That was the final statement. No more words were spoken. Only the recurring sound of the aircraft filled the empty spaces.
I waited with bated breath. The air reeking with stress and anxiety stifled everyone’s breath. Apprehension, fear, worry… the trauma was indescribable.
August 6th, 1945 shall be etched on the memories of thousands of people across the globe. I made history.
evoked resentment and hatred
no one would ever want to repeat
destroyed two cities that never knew what struck them.
With a silent prayer on my lips, I descended onto the earth. The aircraft that carried me would be congratulated by the US President. People would talk about me with hatred. I was born to die and kill. Mission accomplished.
Fire, smoke, and radiation engulfed the city – Hiroshima was devastated. It was razed to the ground.
Casualties? Hardly any! Survivors itself was doubtful.
The wounded, the dead, the half-dead… cries of the helpless rented the air. But the deafening sound of Little Boy drowned the wailing of the humans.
The Boeing B-29 successfully dropped the deadliest nuclear weapon – Little Boy on the silent city. It just blew up everything that came under its impact.
Repeat performance – Nagasaki 9th August, Fat Man.
Woe behold! I cried.
“Woe is me.” Einstein regretted.
But President Truman justified. Millions of lives in the US were saved from the brutal attack of the inhuman Japanese.
The offence is the best defence. True that!
Japan surrendered eventually on August 15th.
War, I know, is the worst calamity that can befall the human race.
The darkest hour in my life disappeared along with me. But my remnants still poison the air and the lives of the next generations.
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