Manchester remembers the events of Hiroshima and Nagasaki 75 years on

To commemorate the 75th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki Manchester will pay tribute to the lives lost and the lasting impact it has had. 

Manchester remembers the events of Hiroshima and Nagasaki 75 years on

In line with social distancing guidance to help stop the spread of COVID-19, we are encouraged not to gather to mark the anniversary or leave tributes, but to mark it online in our homes.

Programme of resources

Usually, we’d work with the Manchester Museum to put on our annual event of reflection on the events at Hiroshima and Nagasaki 75 years ago. This year, we’re hosting a host of resources to help educate and commemorate.

Why are we reflecting?

Engagement Manager, Anna, from the Manchester Museum, introduces why we are here today.

Hiroshima Peace Memorial, Genbaku Dome tribute by mamaykun

Mamaykun’s piece, made to pay tribute to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial, Genbaku Dome, explores the story of Hiroshima through music and art.

"‘Let there be Peace’’, by Lemn Sissay MBE

Lemn Sissay MBE, poet, playwright, broadcaster, speaker and Chancellor of the University of Manchester reads his iconic and topical poem ‘Let there be Peace’.

Manchester and Mayors for Peace joint working

Manchester has had a long relationship with Mayors for Peace, which began with our famous ‘nuclear-weapons-free city’ declaration 40 years ago on 5 November 1980.

 Our declaration inspired cities across the world to work together for nuclear disarmament. In 1982, the Mayor of Hiroshima invited all Mayors to join with him to work for a more peaceful world free of nuclear weapons, and Mayors for Peace was created. Manchester was one of the first members and we’ve attended almost every conference. In the late 1990s, we were asked to become a Vice President of Mayors for Peace and joined the Executive Board.

Since then, Manchester has played a lead role in the organisation and in 2013 accepted a further invitation from Hiroshima to become a Lead City of Mayors for Peace, founding a UK and Ireland Chapter of the organisation.

Members of Mayors for Peace have come together, virtually, to record a special message to spread public awareness throughout the world toward the abolition of nuclear weapons. Manchester appears at 4:14 minutes.

Project G: Bringing the story alive for young audiences

When the atomic bombs hit the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, many who survived them thought they may never see their cities return, concerned that the land would be poisoned for many years. Whilst much of the radiation from the bombs went straight upwards, the growth of saplings on charred trees, particularly on gingko trees around 1300 metres from ‘ground zero’, inspired the survivors of these disasters that their cities could be rebuilt. A peace ceremony took place shortly after and the process to rebuild Hiroshima and Nagasaki began.

In a project with Hiroshima University, Hiroshima City Council and the NGO Green Legacy Hiroshima, seeds from one of the trees that grew back in sprig 1946 have been harvested and sent around the world as an important symbol of peace and the regenerative power of nature after a disaster.

Manchester received a number of seeds which have been grown and cultivated at the National Trust site at Dunham Massey. A collaborative project with six Manchester primary schools has seen hundreds of schoolchildren learn about the story of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the importance of the tree seeds. In late 2018, the seeds had grown into small trees which were planted in the schools and they have become great symbols of peace for the children as they promote such ideas following the tragedy of the Manchester Arena attack. A tree has also been given to Manchester Children’s Hospital to go into its Children’s Garden.

In 2019 a tree was given to Manchester Metropolitan University and a special ceremony was held with all participating schools who received memorial plaques with the names of the tree they had decided upon in relation to the ethos of their school. Remaining trees are planned for a site in Manchester University, as well as the reconstituted Manchester Peace Garden at Lincoln Square in the city centre, as well as in some of the larger parks around Manchester. The message of the gingko seeds have been shared by the children of Manchester, and have led on to other worthwhile projects including the Manchester City Centre Children’s Peace Trail, which highlights many stories of peace and justice in Manchester – a city of peace. 

Learn more about Project G:

  • Green Legacy Hiroshima: http://glh.unitar.org/

  • Peace Trail website: http://www.manchesterpeacetrail.org.uk/

 

Adaptation of the United Nations (UN) Peace Declaration

Manchester City Council’s permanent Mayors for Peace and NFLA representative, Councillor Eddy Newman, reads the words delivered outside the United Nations Second Special Session on Disarmament, 1982 – where Mayors for Peace was founded.

Other ways you can get involved

Make your own paper crane with the Manchester Museum

The famous paper crane has been an enduring symbol of peace for decades. We’d love to see you make one and tweet us on Twitter.

[h3] ICAN Virtual museum tour of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum and the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum

[h3] Voices of War

Voices of War, by Imperial War Museums, brings together eye-witness accounts on the dropping of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945, drawing on IWM’s extensive sound archive.

Partners: Manchester City Council, Mayors for Peace, UoM Manchester Museum.

Press release issued on Monday 3 August 2020

The total loss of life of the two bombings is estimated to be up to 135,000, though the effects would be felt for generations to come.

On 6 August at 8.15am Manchester encourages all of its residents to hold a minute of silent reflection to all those who were killed in the attacks.

In recent years Manchester City Council and Mayors for Peace have hosted commemoration events with Manchester Museum for anniversaries of the event. However, given the current Covid-19 pandemic the commemoration will take place online via the City Council’s website and social media.

The online programme will include a poem from Lemn Sissay MBE, readings by officials and a choir service. The programme will be promoted through the council’s social media channels and will be live at www.manchester.gov.uk/LetThereBePeace

Manchester City Council is a founding member and the host of the Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA). It is also a Vice President of the Hiroshima-led Mayors for Peace. Both organisations have been working for over three decades to promote multilateral nuclear disarmament.

The Lord Mayor of Manchester and Vice President of Mayors for Peace, Councillor Abid Latif Chohan said: “I am delighted that Manchester City Council will be able to formally commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic weapon attacks through this extensive web-based series of readings and resources. 

“These attacks remind us of the destructive power of the ultimate weapon of mass destruction. The response of the survivors of this terrible event and of the two Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, to advocate peace and reconciliation, remains a beacon of hope for all of us who wish to see a more peaceful world.

“Manchester will continue to work with them for the promotion of peace and nuclear disarmament through the Mayors for Peace. I encourage the people of Manchester and around the world to read the profound material in our special 75th anniversary webpage and work together for peace.”

Councillor Eddy Newman, Manchester’s Permanent Mayor for Peace nominated representative, said: "Manchester City Council has campaigned against the use of nuclear weapons for 40 years. Such weapons of mass destruction and poisonous radiation have the potential to indiscriminately kill countless innocent civilians. 

“On the 75th anniversaries of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki I join with the people of those cities in their constant appeal that they should be the last ever atomic bombed cities."

Esme Ward, Director of Manchester Museum, added: "Manchester’s commemoration for the 75th anniversary of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic weapon attacks The doors to the Living Worlds gallery may be closed, where the words PEACE are spelt out in neon, but our work with others carries on: to shine light on remembering many pasts and creating better futures together.Hope and change is at our core."

Was this page helpful?

Was this page helpful?