Marking the 75th anniversary of the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said in a message for the Hiroshima peace ceremony on Thursday, 6 August:
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Anyone who has been to Hiroshima will never forget what they saw there – the shells of houses behind the huge, empty space over which the bomb exploded. Anyone who has been to Hiroshima has looked into the abyss – and seen the end of human civilisation.
The world must never forget what happened in Hiroshima and a few days later in Nagasaki – and why it happened. Radiation, death, illness, untold suffering – all this resulted from a war fuelled by nationalism and militarism and unleashed by Germany and Japan.
It was only by looking into the abyss that humankind was able to find ways after the war to prevent its self-destruction by nuclear weapons, so I am all the more alarmed when the pledges made in the past are now being jeopardised by short-sighted and irresponsible power politics.
Nuclear disarmament is stagnating. New technologies are creating dangerous imbalances. And the moves towards atomic weapons by a country such as North Korea pose a challenge to the entire international community.
Today, 75 years after the catastrophe, new momentum for arms control and nuclear disarmament must thus emanate from Hiroshima.
Japan and Germany are working together on this with many other countries. As part of the so-called “Stockholm Initiative” and the Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Initiative, we urgently call on all countries to adhere to their obligations arising from the Non-Proliferation Treaty. We also lobby for a quick entering into force of the Test Ban Treaty. Above all, we appeal to the nuclear-weapon powers to meet their particular responsibility for disarmament and arms control.
Hiroshima stands for the insanity of atomic war and the inconceivable suffering of its victims. I had the opportunity to speak with some of the survivors during my visit to the city last November. We owe them our unwavering commitment to a more peaceful world – a world without nuclear weapons.