Seventy years after Hiroshima

Japan is commemorating today Thursday the US atomic bombing of Hiroshima 70 years ago. Around 140,000 people died instantly or in the months that followed. States still see possessing nuclear weapons as a security guarantee, commentators deplore and call for a new initiative for nuclear disarmament.

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Salzburger Nachrichten (AT) /

The bomb means international prestige

The warning that was Hiroshima is clearly losing its impact, the Salzburger Nachrichten complains: "Seventy years after Hiroshima we still have to live with the bomb. We are still - more than ever in fact - in the age of weapons of mass destruction. … The non-proliferation treaty that was supposed to prevent the propagation of nuclear weapons has become porous. The states that abstained from nuclear weapons development prompted the major nuclear powers to drastically reduce their own arsenals. But this was never properly or systematically enforced. As a result those in power want their own bombs more than ever before. Because nuclear status still means international prestige, the power of veto at the negotiating table and reassurance against the plans of big states to impose their will on smaller ones through military force."

El Periódico de Catalunya (ES) /

Force will never guarantee peace

Seventy years after Hiroshima and the non-proliferation treaty notwithstanding, humanity still hasn't banished the nuclear threat, the centre-left daily El Periódico de Catalunya admonishes: "Nuclear weapons, and even the possibility of producing them, are threats that extend far beyond the borders of the regions where they are stored. The bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki confronted humanity with the reality of its powers of destruction, but 70 years after the gates of hell opened the major powers still aren't sticking to the non-proliferation treaty. … Including Israel, which has the bomb but won't admit it. Even the most remote possibility of triggering a nuclear attack gives a country too much power for the disarmament treaties to make a peaceful future without the bomb seem possible. And meanwhile, every August 6 confirms the truth of Albert Einstein's observation: 'Peace cannot be kept by force; it can only be achieved by understanding.'"

Le Monde (FR) /

France can take the lead against nuclear weapons

France can play a key role in the process of nuclear disarmament, argues the centre-left daily Le Monde on the 70th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima : "Seventy years on and false truths are still rife. Nuclear bombs are still presented as our 'life insurance' or as a 'guarantee of our security and independence'. … France could be proud of itself if it took ambitious initiatives. It could invite the nuclear powers to an international conference that paves the way for a world without nuclear weapons. … France could demand that disarmament be made a top priority for the EU's common foreign and security policy. And finally within Nato it could push for the reduction of tactical US nuclear weapons in Europe and their complete withdrawal in the long term. 70 years after the nuclear attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki the overwhelming majority of states would no doubt back this approach."