How did Hiroshima recover after the atomic bombing?

Our class has divided up into teams, and we are all studying the atomic bombing. The topic our team is investigating is: Hiroshima from the Atomic Bombing to Today.

At one time, it was even said that plants would never grow again in Hiroshima. Please tell us how Hiroshima became the beautiful city it is today.

It is not easy to answer this question. All we can give you here is a brief, general description of how Hiroshima has recovered to this point.

After the atomic bombing, the lives of the people were extremely difficult and painful. In the fall of 1946, one year after the end of the war, a plan was devised to rebuild the crushed city and return the people to normal lives. However, because there was no money available, the plan made very little progress.

Eventually, in May 1949, the National Diet passed a law called the Hiroshima Peace Memorial City Construction Law. This law was designed to help build a new Hiroshima that would "symbolize the human ideal of sincere pursuit of genuine and lasting peace" (build a city that would always work for a peaceful world). Under this law, the city of Hiroshima was given land that had military facilities on it during the war and that still belonged to the national government. In addition, the national government provided funds to assist with parts of the plan for which local funds were insufficient.

This law and the national funds led to the building of Peace Memorial Park, Peace Boulevard, several bridges, and public housing for people who lost their houses.

It was 1958, more than ten years after the war, before the city of Hiroshima's population returned to the highest level it had been before the war, which was about 410,000. In April of that year, the Hiroshima Restoration Exposition was held. It is said that this event finally made many Hiroshima residents actually feel that their city had recovered.

After that, Japan experienced a period of extremely rapid economic growth. During this time the people of Japan worked very hard to achieve a more comfortable lifestyle. Hiroshima's population increased rapidly, which allowed the city to do many things it was unable to do before. Also, beginning in about 1965, the city annexed a number of surrounding towns and villages. As a result, in 1980 it became Japan's tenth government ordinance designated city, which is a city that is recognized by the national government as having a large population so it is given a level of political authority that is similar to a prefecture.)

Today, Hiroshima is moving steadily toward its vision of a dynamic "international peace culture city;" a city brightened by clean water, abundant greenery and energetic people; a city offering courage and hope to struggling people around the world. For more information, please see the following books.

●Material regarding the recovery of Hiroshima City
- The Spirit of Hiroshima, published by the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, 1999

Hiroshima City homepage http://www.city.hiroshima.jp/

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