The Cold War began with a bang not a whimper as this city was bombed to smithereens at 11:02am, August 9, 1945. Fully one-third of Nagasaki's population was killed. The Earth badly charred, deadly radiation made the lush profusion of formerly green plants turn black and radioactive. As testament to life's tenacity, those plants have grown back to bedeck and renew this gorgeous, strong-spirited Kyushu Island city. It has always been Japan's trading partner with the western world. Today, it is its ambassador of peace, as well, with a moving International Peace Park devoted to the abolition of nuclear weapons standing at its helm.