Since the detonation of the first atomic bombs over the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August of 1945, The Nation has been appropriately fearful of the singular devastation that nuclear weapons can wreak upon the earth and equally skeptical of the promises of nuclear energy offers on the homefront. In 1945, editor Freda Kirchwey, while allowing that the bombs did indeed end World War II, argued that if the assumptions made in deciding to bomb Japan were repeated in the future, "the chance of saving civilization—and perhaps the world itself—from destruction is a remote one." More than fifty years later, Jonathan Schell, the premier nuclear writer of his generation, echoed many of Kirchwey’s contentions in a seminal opus, "The Gift of Time," making the case for nuclear abolition, a position that the magazine holds proudly to this day.
In commemoration of the victims of the atomic bombings of the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki sixty-five years ago this month we’ve assembled a series of related articles and photos from The Nation’s archives.
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