This building serves as a memorial to the people who were killed in the atomic bombing of Hiroshima on August 6, 1945. Over 70,000 people were killed instantly, and another 70,000 suffered fatal injuries from the radiation.
The building was designed by the Czech architect, Jan Letzel. It was completed in April 1915, and was named the Hiroshima Prefectural Commercial Exhibition (HMI). It was opened formally to the public in August that year. In 1921 the name was changed to the Hiroshima Prefectural Products Exhibition Hall, and again in 1933, to the Hiroshima Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall.
At 8:15 on August 6, 1945, the first nuclear bomb to be used in war, detonated almost directly above the dome (the center of the blast was 490 feet (150 m) away and 1,968 feet (600 m) above ground).