Seventy years ago to this day, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima.
The total number of fatalities of the Hiroshima attack, including Nagasaki which was targeted a few days later, was 199,000. While the scale of the tragedy is unparalleled, many today may find it hard to visualise the extent of loss experienced.
Historian Alex Wellerstein has created an app, Nukemap, that aims to rectify this.
Using a range of markers, the app allows you to see how the Hiroshima bomb, nick named ‘Little Boy,’ as well as other nuclear weapons currently being developed, would effect various cities around the world.
All you have to do is feed in your city, select a weapon from the drop down menu and press detonate.
After processing your selections, the Nukemap produces an image that looks something like this.
What would happen if the Hiroshima bomb dropped in London
The results are stark.
According to the app, if the Hiroshima bomb dropped on London there would more than 76,000 fatalities and 245,000 injuries.
The accompanying key gives a detailed breakdown of how the bomb would affect surrounding areas.
If the bomb was dropped over Big Ben, the fatalities would approach 100% for areas as far as Westminster Abbey, the House of Commons and the Westminister Bridge.
People found as far as Tate Britain and Leicester Square would be in the radiation zone, where the app predicts 50% to 90% mortality, while those near Holborn (in the North) and Vauxhall (in the South) at the time of the blast, would suffer from third degree burns.
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The same process can be repeated for the Nagasaki bomb, “Fat man.”
To date, these are the only instances in history when two atomic bombs have been used outside of testing.
Writing for The Guardian, Wellerstein outlines the various instances in which nuclear weapons could still be employed.
Describing five scenarios that would potentially repeat that tragic chapter in history, he says:
“Despite the worst of the cold war’s close calls, like the Cuban missile crisis, no other nuclear weapons have ever been used outside of testing.
“Seven decades later, it is worth asking: could it happen again? Here are five possible nuclear use scenarios.”