Saturday, August 6, 2022

6th August 1945: The United States drop an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, on Nagasaki 3 days later


The Potsdam Declaration issued on 28 July by the Allies had called for the unconditional surrender of Japan. If the government did not surrender, they were threatened with ‘the complete destruction of the Japanese armed forces and…utter devastation of the Japanese homeland’. 

Having completed the successful Trinity atomic test on 16 July, the USA felt that the atomic bomb could quickly end the War in the Pacific.

Hiroshima was chosen as a target due to its industrial and military significance. The city was the command centre for the defence of southern Japan and contained approximately 40,000 military personnel, while conservative estimates state that more than 200,000 civilians also lived there.

Enola Gay and six accompanying aircraft had a 6-hour flight from the air base at North Field before reaching the city where they released the bomb at 8.15am. It exploded 1,900 feet above the city as planned, with the equivalent to 16 kilotons of TNT. Virtually all buildings within a mile of the blast were flattened.

More than 70,000 people were killed instantly as a result of the explosion, of whom 20,000 were military personnel. Approximately another 70,000 died over the following months due to radiation sickness, burns, and other injuries directly related to the explosion.

Following the explosion, President Truman warned that, if Japan did not surrender, ‘they may expect a rain of ruin from the air, the like of which has never been seen on this earth’. Japan did not surrender. A second bomb was dropped on Nagasaki three days later. [ @HistoryPod ]

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