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History of Hiroshima Research Paper

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Updated: Sep 8th, 2021

Introduction

According to historical documentation, Hiroshima was founded in the year 1589 by Mori Motonari (Burgan 35). It was established during the Meiji era and gradually developed into a large urban centre that served other regions and cities around it. Mori Motonari founded the city and established his rule that involved a strong army and several government officials.

Today, the city is characterized by a flat delta, 7 outlets that emanate from the Ota River, and six islands. However, some hills located in the city constitute the main landmarks of the city because of their heights. Historically, Hiroshima is renowned for the 1945 nuclear bomb attack that damaged it heavily (Burgan 36). Historians have defined the attack as one of the critical moments of the 20th century.

Hiroshima is considered a historical city because of the nuclear attack that was initiated by the United States. After the attack, Hiroshima was reconstructed into a memorial city as a way of commemorating the devastating attack. The attack destroyed Hiroshima and killed thousands of people. Recovery efforts included building new schools, renovating damaged buildings, and restoring damaged roads and electricity systems.

Founding of Hiroshima

Mori Motonari founded Hiroshima and maintained control over the city by establishing a strong army that resisted external attacks. After approximately 100 years, the grandson of Motonari lost in a battle against Tokugawa Leyasu. This led to establishment of new leadership in Hiroshima. Leyasu handed over certain provinces of Hiroshima to rival leaders in surrounding regions.

These actions weakened Hiroshima. For example, he gave the province of Ari to his friend who had supported him in a battle that led to the capture of Hiroshima. Leyasu was responsible for diminishing the influence that Hiroshima had on the region.

Asano later became leader of the whole region of Hiroshima han. At the time, Hiroshima was the capital of the region surrounding Hiroshima that included other cities and administrative provinces (Burgan 41). Under Asano’s rule, Hiroshima developed and prospered greatly. His rule was characterized by peace and stability throughout the city. There were few internal and external conflicts.

After Asano’s death, his relatives ruled the city for many years until the restoration of Meiji. After a few years, the city of han was abolished and Hiroshima became the capital city of the whole Hiroshima region (Hogan 63). This contributed to development of Hiroshima as a major urban centre because the economy of Japan was rapidly growing during that period.

In addition, construction of Ujina Harbor by Sadaaki made the city an important economic centre (Hogan 64). Hiroshima was later used by Japanese military to conduct logistics during the Sino-Japanese War. In addition, it served as a source of supplies for military troops taking part in war. The Japanese government moved its headquarters to Hiroshima during the war.

The government preferred Hiroshima to other cities because of its historical significance. The city was used for conducting negotiations between China and Japan during the Sino-Japanese war (Hogan 66). This led to establishment of manufacturing plants in Hiroshima that contributed to development and growth of the city. This growth continued even during the World War II.

The city experienced further economic growth during the Russo-Japanese War. Development during this period involved production of supplies used by military troops to fights invading armies (Hogan 68). During World War I, Hiroshima was the centre of military operations. The city further developed after the war because other institutions such as churches took interest in its rapidly growing economy.

World War II

During World War II, Hiroshima was used as a centre for military operations by the Japanese government. The city was chosen because it produced large quantities of military supplies needed in the war and had several ports that facilitated shipping of supplies. In 1945, a nuclear attack launched by America damaged Hiroshima severely (Powell par2). The nuclear attack was the first in history to be used by military personnel.

The attack forced the Japanese government to surrender due to its severity. Owing to the magnitude of the attack and damages incurred, Hiroshima was later reinvented into a memorial city (Powell par3). The only building that did not succumb to the bombing was named the Hiroshima Peace Memorial. The incident elicited mixed reactions among different nations concerning development of nuclear weapons.

Many nations have since joined Hiroshima in their efforts to eradicate development of nuclear weapons after the incident that led to mass destruction of lives and property. Hiroshima officially became a city in 1889, and later followed by government recognition in 1980.

Rebuilding of Hiroshima

After the bombing, Hiroshima was reconstructed into a memorial city to commemorate the attack. Recovery was difficult because after the end of the war, the city was struck by a typhoon that caused massive destruction (Hein et al 53). The city experienced more than 3,000 fatalities that accounted for approximately half its population. In addition, many bridges, roads, and railway lines were destroyed.

The destruction necessitated rebuilding of the city in order to restore its lost glory as a capital of the Hiroshima prefecture. The government facilitated the rebuilding of Hiroshima. The law contained provisions that directed construction of a memorial park to commemorate the bombing (Hein et al 54).

The government provided funding for construction of destroyed buildings. In addition, it donated land to the city for construction of a memorial park. The donated land was used for military operations during different wars before the nuclear bomb attack. In the year 1949, the city attained the status of a city of peace. Shinzo Hamai, the mayor of the city at the time, facilitated this initiative.

After the naming of the city as a city of peace, the world started recognizing the city as a favorable destination for meetings and peace conferences (Hein et al 56). This prompted the establishment of the Hiroshima Peace Institute association (HIGA). Its main role was to facilitate conferences in the city. In 1999, the Hiroshima Peace Institute was established as an additional measure to promote peace in the city and world.

The city has over the years advocated against development of nuclear weapons by superpower nations. The mayor of the city is the head of the organization known as “Mayors for Peace.” The organization aims to convince cities and nations to abolish development of nuclear weapons (Hein et al 58).

The rebuilding of Hiroshima also involved donations from Japan and other regions. For example, Japan donated streetcars to Hiroshima because they were contributing to destruction of its infrastructure. As a result, Hiroshima developed a streetcar scheme that later became a defining characteristic of the city.

Even though many Japanese cities have streetcar systems, Hiroshima’s system is the most developed and advanced (Hein et al 61). Over the years, Hiroshima has made several changes to the streetcar system to integrate technological advancements.

The nuclear bomb attack destroyed Hiroshima heavily. It destroyed its transport systems, buildings, electricity system, and killed thousands of people. Restoration of destroyed structures and systems was the main activity of the rebuilding of Hiroshima. For example, people salvaged any building materials that were not destroyed and used them to rebuild their homes (Powell par6).

After the bombing, many people speculated that vegetation would not grow again in Hiroshima due to the devastating effects of the bombing. However, after red canna flowers sprouted, people regained hope. As a result, people who had moved to rural areas moved back to the city and contributed to its recovery (Powell par8). Soldiers who had fled during the war returned to the city.

Schools were heavily damaged by the attack, children were evacuated, and learning stopped. As a rebuilding strategy, new schools were constructed and those that had not been destroyed were renovated.

Officials of Hiroshima were determined to rebuild the city. As a result, they decide to build a memorial that would commemorate the 1945 nuclear attack. The memorial was later referred to as the Peace Memorial Park and was designed by Kenzo Tange.

The park was completed in 1954 and comprised a museum that contained materials that preserved memories of the attack (Hein et al 61). The recovery of the city involved both economic and psychologic aspects. The help that the city received from the government was critical in its recovery because it helped to create jobs and revive the economy of the city.

Conclusion

Mori Motonari founded Hiroshima in 1589. Initially, it was used as a capital of the large Hiroshima prefecture that comprised several provinces and cities. The historical relevance of the city is based on the 1945 nuclear attack by America. After approximately 100 years, the grandson of Motonari lost in the battle against Tokugawa Leyasu. This led to establishment of new leadership in Hiroshima.

In addition, the new leader gave certain provinces of Hiroshima to other leaders in the surrounding regions. After Asano assumed leadership, the city grew rapidly. After his death, his relatives ruled the city for many years until the restoration of Meiji. After a few years, the city of han collapsed and Hiroshima became the centre of all economic activities in the region.

This contributed to the development of Hiroshima as a major urban centre because at the time, the economy of Japan was rapidly growing. During the World War II, Hiroshima was still used as a centre for military operations. The city was chosen because it had several ports that facilitated distribution of supplies to warring armies in different parts of the region.

In addition, it had enough resources for production of necessary equipment used by armies during war. After the bombing, Hiroshima was reinvented and a memorial park was constructed with the aid of the government. The officials of Hiroshima were determined to rebuild the city.

As a result, they decide to build a memorial that would be used to commemorate the 1945 nuclear attack. This memorial was referred to as the Peace Memorial Park, and it has become a tourist attraction.

Works Cited

Burgan, Michael. Hiroshima: Birth of the Nuclear Age. New York: Marshall Cavendish, 2009. Print.

Carola, Hein, Jeffrey Diefrondorf, and Yorifusa Ishinda. Rebuilding Urban Japan after 1945. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003. Print.

Hogan, Michael. Hiroshima in History and Memory. London: Cambridge University Press, 1996. Print.

Powell, Bill. . 26 July. 2005. Web.

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