Women and the bomb

Satomi Oba, founder of Plutonium Action Hiroshima, was a longtime worker for an end to nuclear weapons and power.
See Remembering Satomi Oba

At Hiroshima, visitors see the memorial to Sadako Sasaki

Dorothy Day on the bombing of Hiroshima
: "Jubilate Deo. President Truman was jubilant. We have created. We have created destruction. We have created destruction. We have created a new element, called Pluto. Nature has nothing to do with it..."

Women and Hiroshima-Nagasaki:

Hiroshima, Mrs. Hatsuyo Nakamura:
"A tailor’s widow raising three young children on her own, Mrs. Nakamura is caring and resourceful, as well as a dedicated citizen. As Hersey puts it, she “had long had a habit of doing as she was told.” She and her children survive the explosion without any external physical harm, but she and her daughter, Myeko, later come down with radiation sickness and suffer with it for years... more

Ms. Teruko Yokoyama, hibakusha, testified as a victim of the atomic bombing at the World Court of Women Against War, For Peace , in Cape Town, South Africa, March 8, 2001. The following is from the text of the testimony which Ms. Yokoyama gave at the Court.

"...It took us the Hibakusha, A-bomb victims, 11 years since the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, to raise ourselves from despair. Supported by the growing voices in Japan and all over the world against atomic and hydrogen bombs, we were able to form our organization Nihon Hidankyo in 1956.

Until then, most of the Hibakusha had lived quiet and solitary lives, marginalized in the society. Many of us had to struggle to survive and get medical treatment for our burns and injuries and to get over the effects of radiation inflicted by the A-bombs. We suffered from discrimination in times of marriage, in having children or getting jobs. Because of the weak health of the Hibakusha who barely survived, people did not want to employ them, or did not want to marry and have children with them for fear of genetic effects. During this period, writing about or even talking about the damage caused by the A-bombs was prohibited by the "press code" imposed by the United States, which then occupied Japan.

But ever since the founding of our organization, we the Hibakusha have spoken more openly about the damage and suffering caused by the A-bombs. We have appealed to the world to abolish nuclear weapons, so that no one else in the world should go through the hell-like suffering that we had experienced...

The atomic bomb inflicted the worst damage on the weakest. By the end of 1945, 140,000 people in Hiroshima and 70,000 in Nagasaki died. 65% of those killed were elderly, children and women -- all civilians..."

How did American women respond to the end of World War II
What did women from across the United States write to their husbands, relatives and each other about the wartime use of the atomic bomb in Hiroshima and Nagasaki? Judy Barrett Litoff, a history professor at Bryant University in Rhode Island, and a scholar of woman and war can offer compelling insights.

"...I ask that the Senate know that the development of a 100-kiloton robust nuclear earth penetrator is simply not possible without spewing millions of tons of radioactive material and killing large numbers of people.

Secondly, the development of new nuclear weapons will only undermine our anti-proliferation efforts and will make our Nation less safe, not more safe..."


By Shea Howell, Michigan Citizen, August 14-20, 2005

"The sixtieth anniversary of the dropping of the atomic bomb by the United States on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki passed with barely a ripple. There was little public recognition of an event that changed the world forever...

The story caused a worldwide sensation and was a public relations fiasco for the U.S. military. The official narrative downplayed civilian casualties and categorically dismissed Burchett's account as "Japanese propaganda."

The military instituted a blanket ban on reporting about the effects of the bombs. It took seven years for the first photos to surface in Japan, and many more for the larger world to learn what happened on those two days...

At moments when the world has been close to madness, the voices of the survivors have rung loudly and clearly to call on our conscience and to demand renewed commitments to peace.

It is obvious why the Bush administration is reluctant to direct too much attention to this anniversary. It invites us to question the control of the media by the government and the willingness of our country to use weapons of mass destruction to kill hundreds of thousands of people and to flatten whole cities for political ends. It reminds everyone that we have a long and ugly history of using deadly force and intimidation as the basis for our international relations..."

Women Activists Fighting Nuclear-Weapons Proliferation
By Heather Wokusch
Featured in the April 2005 edition of Activist Magazine

..."In the US, the women's movement to abolish nuclear weapons unofficially began in early November 1961, when thousands of homemakers and business women across the country left their jobs for a one-day protest against the US-Russian nuclear weapons buildup. The so-called Women's Strike for Peace eventually became a powerful social movement which ultimately helped thwart NATO's proposal for a nuclear fleet.

Today, female anti-nuclear-weapons activists represent a broad spectrum and are equally diverse in getting their message across..."

Since its foundation in 1960, the Canadian Voice of Women for Peace/ La Voix Canadiennes des Femmes pour la Paix has worked locally, nationally and internationally on issues related to peace, social justice, human rights and development, always seeking to promote a woman's and a feminist's perspective.