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Nagasaki’s shadows: European citizens facing nuclear weapons
Europe, nuclear weapons, civil society
As Boris Johnson entered 10 Downing Street, he was required to write the so-called “letters of last resort” – his instructions should the United Kingdom be hit by a nuclear strike. At the same time, the 1987 INF Treaty, which banned an entire category of weapons, is now officially over, and the prospects of a failure of the 2020 NPT Review Conference and the non-extension of the 2010 New START Treaty next year saturate nuclear discussions. As legitimately preoccupying as these ongoing events are, the exclusive focus on them obscures what happened 74 years ago, perpetuating an asymmetrical memory of the atomic bombings of World War II, privileging Hiroshima. Let’s not forget that on August 9, 1945, a 21-kiloton atomic bomb levelled the Japanese city of Nagasaki. It was the third atomic explosion in the history of humankind, with more than 2,000 others to come.