1. Manhattan Madness
In 1939, Physicists began to discover the possibility of splitting a Uranium atom. Scientists believed that the energy created from this splitting could be utilized in order to create a bomb more powerful than anything seen before. Once this information was received by Albert Einstein, he quickly wrote a letter to president Roosevelt which can be found here. In this letter, Einstein asked Roosevelt for programs of research to further investigate atomic energy. At the time Roosevelt didn’t feel a need for any large scale project but did agree to proceed slowly in atomic research. Two years later the U.S began the manufacturing of an atomic bomb and named this program “The Manhattan Project.” This project would be kept top secret to ensure that the Axis powers had no knowledge of the making of such a large scale weapon.
“The Manhattan Project.” Ushistory.org. Independence Hall Association, n.d. Web. 01 Aug. 2014.
2. Operation Downfall
After German surrender in May of 1945, war in Europe had come to a close. The United States was now completely focused on war in the Pacific. Japan had established itself as a solid military force as it began to dominate the Pacific and move through Asia. The idea of an invasion of Japan became popular and was given the name “Operation Downfall.” After success in Europe Americans believed that such an invasion would help end the war. It also created a sense of nationalism as depicted by the poster seen here. An invasion of this caliber would have caused hundreds of thousands of casualties, so president Truman searched for a solution. Only few knew of the devastating and horrific solution he would end up employing.
“Operation Downfall”. HistoryLearningSite.co.uk. 2011. Web.
3. Surrender! or Else
In July of 1945 Stalin, (Soviet Union) Truman, (U.S.) and Churchill (UK) met in Berlin at the Potsdam Conference. This conference was set up to discuss how Europe would be rebuilt and how they would proceed with war in the Pacific. All of the powers attending the conference had a common enemy, Japan. From this, the Potsdam deceleration was drawn up, setting the conditions for surrender and post war reconstruction. A copy of the declaration can be found here. The deceleration demanded Japanese surrender or else Japan would face “prompt and utter destruction.” (http://www.history.navy.mil/) Japan still refused to surrender and would experience this destruction.
“Potsdam Conference.” Potsdam Conference. N.p., n.d. Web. 03 Aug. 2014.
4. Hiroshima Horror
On August 6, 1945 an atomic bomb given the name “Little Boy” was loaded aboard the Enola Gay. The Enola along with its crew can be seen in a photograph here. The target of the bomb was the Japanese city of Hiroshima. Hiroshima was chosen because of its industrial features, military base, and the fact that it had yet to be bombed. The bomb itself weighed over 8,000 pounds and was estimated to do damage similar to 12.5 kilotons of dynamite. (http://www.thenagain.info/) At 8:15 A.M. the Enola Gay dropped “Little Boy” over the city of Hiroshima, the bomb would detonate before reaching the ground. Minutes later a mushroom cloud would hover above the city, the atrocity had begun.
“The US Drops Atomic Bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.” Atomic Bomb Dropped on Hiroshima: 1945. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 Aug. 2014.
5. Hiroshima: The Aftermath
The blast of the “Little Boy” bomb immediately incinerated a 1 square mile area turning everything in this area to dust. At the core of the explosion the heat was over one million degrees Celsius and on the ground almost 4000 degrees Celsius. (http://griid.org/) Some people were burnt all the way down to their bones and organs. Houses in an 8 mile radius were set ablaze causing even more causalities. In total about 140,000 people were killed from the initial bast and the after effects. Radiation effects were unknown and proper medical care for radiation was not understood. People bled from their eyes, ears, and noses and women who were pregnant ended up with babies with birth defects and mutations. You can see the wreckage of the city here.
“One More Week: Atomic Bomb Photo Poster Exhibition.” Grand Rapids Institute for Information Democracy. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Aug. 2014.
6. Nagasaki Nuked
On August 9, 1945 the second atomic bomb which had been developed, named “Fat Man” was loaded aboard the B29 bomber “Bockscar.” Unlike the previous bomb which used uranium, the “Fat Man” had a plutonium base and was expected to inflict more damage. The bomb itself weighed over 10,000 pounds, was over 10 feet tall, and was estimated to do damage similar to 20,000 tons of explosives. (http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/) A picture of the bomb can be seen here. The original target for the bomb was actually the city of Kokura, but cloud coverage caused the pilot to seek out the secondary target. This secondary target would be the city of Nagasaki. Nagasaki was targeted because of its large military port and ship manufacturing industry. Just three days after the Hiroshima horror Nagasaki would suffer a similar monstrosity.
“The bombing of Nagasaki”. HistoryLearningSite.co.uk. 2011. Web.
7. Nagasaki: The Aftermath
The “Fat Man” was similar to “Little Boy” in that it initially vaporized anything at the center of the explosion. The geographic features of Nagasaki would help reduce the damage and not cause the fire damage that occurred in Hiroshima. The initial blast was actually larger than that of Hiroshima and would eliminate an area of bout 2 square miles. The death count was estimated to be around 87,000 from both the blast and radiation effects. The city was left in ruins and much of its manufacturing strongholds had been destroyed. A picture of the damage from the blast can be seen here. In 3 days time, Two bombs had caused completely destroyed the morale of Japan.
“The bombing of Nagasaki”. HistoryLearningSite.co.uk. 2011. Web.
8. V-J Day
The bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki had truly devastated Japan. On August 14, 1945 emperor Hirohito announced that Japan would be accepting the Potsdam deceleration. The surrender marked the end of fascism and one of the most gruesome wars mankind had ever seen. Hirohito believed that without surrender the Japanese nation would face complete obliteration from the use of more atomic weapons. August 14 was officially coined as V-J day (victory in Japan) and would receive as much celebration and relief as that of V-E day (victory in Europe). On September 2, 1945 officials from both Japan and the United States met aboard a battleship where the official Japanese surrender document was signed. A copy of the first page of the instrument of surrender document can be seen here, and the signing of it can be seen above.
“V-J Day.” History.com. A&E Television Networks, n.d. Web. 03 Aug. 2014.
9. Truman’s decision
As you now know president Truman made the decision to drop two nuclear bombs on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. This decision was extremely controversial not only by the U.S. and Japan but worldwide. Truman backed his decision by saying an invasion of Japan would have seen a much larger amount of casualties and that the bombs ultimately ended a war which had waged on for too long. The bombing were on the world’s pedestal and every country had now seen the effects of a weapon powerful enough to nearly destroy an entire city. Nations would begin attempts to imitate such weapons and began atomic research. A campaign ad seen here from 1964 can give you a glimpse of the future to nuclear weapons. The controversy will never truly be resolved because of the unethical nature of the decision but president Truman would stay firm that what he did was in the best interest of the American people.
“The Decision to Drop the Bomb.” Ushistory.org. Independence Hall Association, n.d. Web. 02 Aug. 2014.
10. Hiroshima and Nagasaki Today
It’s been almost 70 years since the bombs devastated Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Today the cities see little sign of the atrocity that occurred back in August of 1945. Hiroshima has skyscrapers, shopping malls, department stores, and the classic view of an urban city from above. Nagasaki has similar characteristics to that of Hiroshima but has a large river running through the center of it. Both cities have peace ceremonies on the anniversary of when to bomb was dropped. The citizens strive to put bans on all nuclear activity in order to make the world a better place. A current picture of Hiroshima can be seen above and one of Nagasaki can be seen here.
“Hiroshima & Nagasaki Remembered.” Hiroshima and Nagasaki Remembered: The Story of Hiroshima. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Aug. 2014