The building was originally designed by Czech architect Jan Letzel. It was completed in April 1915, and the new building was named the Hiroshima Prefectural Commercial Exhibition (HMI). It was formally opened 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.
Having slightly missed the original target (the distinctive "T"-shaped Aioi Bridge), at 8:15 on August 6th, 1945 the first nuclear bomb to be used against mankind detonated almost directly above the dome (the actual hypocenter was 160 meters / 490 feet away and 580 meters / 1,968 feet above ground).
The Genbaku Dome was originally scheduled to be demolished with the rest of the ruins, but the fact that it was mostly intact delayed these plans. As Hiroshima was rebuilt around the dome, it became a subject of controversy; some locals wanted it torn down, while others wanted to preserve it as a memorial of the bombing.
China had reservations regarding the confirmation of the memorial as a World Heritage Site and the delegate of the United States to the World Heritage Committee dissociated himself from the decision. China cited the possibility that the monument could be used to downplay the fact that the enemies of Japan suffered the greatest losses of life during the war, while the United States claimed that having a memorial to a "war site" would omit the necessary historical context.
- Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park