You are on page 1of 4

Atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki


During the final stages of World War II in 1945, the United States conducted two atomic bombings
against the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan.

After six months of intense strategic fire-bombing of 67 Japanese cities the Japanese government
ignored an ultimatum given by the Potsdam Declaration. By executive order of President Harry S.
Truman the US dropped the nuclear weapon "Little Boy" on the city of Hiroshima on Monday, August
6, 1945,[1][2] followed by the detonation of "Fat Man" over Nagasaki on August 9. These two events are
the only active deployments of nuclear weapons in war.[3] The target of Hiroshima was a city of
considerable military importance, containing Japan's Second Army Headquarters, as well as being a
communications center and storage depot.[4]

Within the first two to four months of the bombings, the acute effects killed 90,000–166,000 people in
Hiroshima and 60,000–80,000 in Nagasaki,[5] with roughly half of the deaths in each city occurring on
the first day. The Hiroshima prefectural health department estimates that, of the people who died on the
day of the explosion, 60% died from flash or flame burns, 30% from falling debris and 10% from other
causes. During the following months, large numbers died from the effect of burns, radiation sickness,
and other injuries, compounded by illness. In a more plausible estimate of the total immediate and short
term cause of death, 15–20% died from radiation sickness, 20–30% from flash burns, and 50–60%
from other injuries, compounded by illness.[6] In both cities, most of the dead were civilians.[7][8][9]

Six days after the detonation over Nagasaki, on August 15, Japan announced its surrender to the Allied
Powers, signing the Instrument of Surrender on September 2, officially ending the Pacific War and
therefore World War II. Germany had signed its Instrument of Surrender on May 7, ending the war in
Europe. The bombings led, in part, to post-war Japan adopting Three Non-Nuclear Principles,
forbidding the nation from nuclear armament.[10] The role of the bombings in Japan's surrender and the
US's ethical justification for them, as well as their strategical importance, is still debated

The Manhattan Project
The US, in collaboration with the United Kingdom and Canada, with their respective secret
projects Tube Alloys and Chalk River Laboratories,[13][14] designed and built the first atomic
bombs under what was called the Manhattan Project. The scientific research was directed by
American physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer and the overall project was under the authority of
General Leslie Groves, of the US Army Corps of Engineers. The Hiroshima bomb, a gun-type
bomb called "Little Boy," was made with uranium-235, a rare isotope of uranium extracted in
giant factories in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. The atomic bomb was first tested at Trinity Site, on

The Great Artiste. including the headquarters of the Fifth Division and Field Marshal Shunroku Hata's 2nd General Army Headquarters. Truman had re-examined the decision to use the bomb. Truman and other allied leaders issued the Potsdam Declaration outlining terms of surrender for Japan. and an assembly area for troops. Truman made the decision to drop the atomic bombs on Japan. "the gadget. and many of the industrial buildings were also built around wood frames. who was waiting for a Soviet reply to noncommittal Japanese peace feelers." were both implosion-type devices made primarily of plutonium- 239. Hiroshima was a minor supply and logistics base for the Japanese military. In the end. with Kokura and Nagasaki being alternative targets. Hiroshima was a city of some industrial and military significance. but prior to the atomic bombing the population had steadily decreased because of a systematic evacuation ordered by the Japanese government.[23][24] The center of the city contained several reinforced concrete buildings and lighter structures. near Alamogordo. It was presented as an ultimatum and stated that without a surrender. "Fat Man. Bombing Hiroshima was the primary target of the first nuclear bombing mission on August 6. Washington. about six hours flight time from Japan.[20] On July 31. The atomic bomb was not mentioned in the communique. That afternoon. It was one of several Japanese cities left deliberately untouched by American bombing.July 16. resulting in "the inevitable and complete destruction of the Japanese armed forces and just as inevitably the utter devastation of the Japanese homeland". the Allies would attack Japan. A number of military camps were located nearby. a synthetic element created in nuclear reactors at Hanford. The 393d Bombardment Squadron B-29 Enola Gay.000– 350. A few larger industrial plants lay near the outskirts of the city." and the Nagasaki bomb. which commanded the defense of all of southern Japan. On July 28. Japanese papers reported that the declaration had been rejected by the Japanese government. The population of Hiroshima had reached a peak of over 381. a storage point. the area was congested by a dense collection of small wooden workshops set among Japanese houses. Emperor Hirohito.000. allowing a pristine environment to measure the damage caused by the atomic bomb. New Mexico. commanded by Major . At the time of the attack the population was approximately 340. The houses were constructed of wood with tile roofs. Outside the center.[1 Potsdam Declaration On July 26. The test weapon. His stated intention in ordering the bombings was to bring about a quick resolution of the war by inflicting destruction and instilling fear of further destruction in sufficient strength to cause Japan to surrender. August 6 was chosen because clouds had previously obscured the target.000 earlier in the war.[21] In early July. he made clear to his advisor Kōichi Kido that the Imperial Regalia of Japan had to be defended at all costs. the exact population is uncertain. made no move to change the government position.[5] Because official documents were burned. The city was a communications center. "kill by silence"). The city as a whole was highly susceptible to fire damage. was launched from North Field airbase on Tinian in the West Pacific. Prime Minister Kantaro Suzuki declared at a press conference that the Potsdam Declaration was no more than a rehash (yakinaoshi) of the Cairo Declaration and that the government intended to ignore it (mokusatsu lit.[22] Hiroshima during World War II At the time of its bombing. The Enola Gay (named after Colonel Tibbets' mother) was accompanied by two other B-29s. on his way to Potsdam.[19] The statement was taken by both Japanese and foreign papers as a clear rejection of the declaration. piloted and commanded by 509th Composite Group commander Colonel Paul Tibbets. 1945.

thus reducing the population in the city at the time of the nuclear attack. and other war materials. ships.440 meters (8. however. Nagasaki had never been subjected to large-scale bombing prior to the explosion of a nuclear weapon there. .[25] After leaving Tinian the aircraft made their way separately to Iwo Jima where they rendezvoused at 2.Charles W. military equipment. which had been left unarmed to minimize the risks during takeoff. almost all of the buildings were of old-fashioned Japanese construction. it created considerable concern in Nagasaki and many people—principally school children—were evacuated to rural areas for safety. with three direct hits on buildings there.010 ft) and set course for Japan. 1945. a number of conventional high-explosive bombs were dropped on the city. A few hit in the shipyards and dock areas in the southwest portion of the city. On August 1. residences were erected adjacent to factory buildings and to each other almost as closely as possible throughout the entire industrial valley. including the production of ordnance. In contrast to many modern aspects of Hiroshima. During the journey. several hit the Mitsubishi Steel and Arms Works. 2nd Lt. and six bombs landed at the Nagasaki Medical School and Hospital. Navy Captain William Parsons had armed the bomb. carried instrumentation.855 meters (32. The aircraft arrived over the target in clear visibility at 9. Nagasaki had been permitted to grow for many years without conforming to any definite city zoning plan. Many of the smaller industries and business establishments were also situated in buildings of wood or other materials not designed to withstand explosions. While the damage from these bombs was relatively small. consisting of wood or wood-frame buildings with wood walls (with or without plaster) and tile roofs. removed the safety devices 30 minutes before reaching the target area. His assistant.[26] Nagasaki during World War II The city of Nagasaki had been one of the largest sea ports in southern Japan and was of great wartime importance because of its wide-ranging industrial activity.333 ft). and a then-nameless aircraft later called Necessary Evil (the photography aircraft) was commanded by Captain George Marquardt. Morris Jeppson. Sweeney.

To the north of Nagasaki there was a camp holding British Commonwealth prisoners of war. Sweeney took off with his weapon already armed but with the electrical safety plugs still engaged.[56] Observers aboard the weather planes reported both targets clear. Big Stink. flown by the crew of 393rd Squadron commander Major Charles W. Hopkins. Col. with two B-29s flying an hour ahead as weather scouts and two additional B-29s in Sweeney's flight for instrumentation and photographic support of the mission. the third plane. When Sweeney's aircraft arrived at the assembly point for his flight off the coast of Japan. Already 30 minutes behind schedule. the US B-29 Superfortress Bockscar. 1945. flown by the group's Operations Officer. Lt. Bockscar and the instrumentation plane circled for 40 minutes without locating Hopkins.[56] . The mission plan for the second attack was nearly identical to that of the Hiroshima mission. Sweeney decided to fly on without Hopkins. with Kokura as the primary target and Nagasaki the secondary target. Sweeney. carried the nuclear bomb code-named "Fat Man". failed to make the rendezvous. James I. some of whom were working in the coal mines and only found out about the bombing when they came to the surface. Bombing On the morning of August 9. Jr.