Facts Everyone Must Know About The Hiroshima Nuclear Bomb Attack

78 years ago, the world changed completely forever. The United States dropped an atom bomb on Hiroshima, and boy it was brutal. Here are some important facts about the Hiroshima/ Nagasaki bombings that everyone must know.

#1. The Empire of Japan was trying to take control of the Asia-Pacific region, and the country was at war with China since 1937.

#2. In the Western part of the World, Nazi Germany invaded Poland in 1939 which irked the United Kingdom and France, who subsequently announced a war at Germany.

#3. Sometime during this time in 1939, the United States Government initiated the Manhattan Project, to develop and test atomic bombs, fearing the fact that Germany might develop and use an atom bomb earlier than any other country.

#4. By 1941, Germany along with Italy, as part of the “Axis” alliance, conquered much of Europe and launched a mission to take over Russia.

#5. In December 1941, Japan officially joined the ‘Axis Group’, and bombed Pearl Harbour. The attack marked United States’ entry in the Second World War. Japan quickly took control of a good portion of the Western Pacific soon after.

#6. In 1942, the tables began to turn as the Allied powers (US, UK, USSR, France, China etc.) started reversing the damage done by the Axis powers.

#7. In May 1945, Germany surrendered, ending the War in Europe; following which the Allied powers demanded Japan’s immediate surrender.

#8. On July 26, 1945, the Allied Powers made the Potsdam Declaration that laid down points for Japan’s surrender. The declaration said that if Japan did not surrender immediately, it would face “prompt & utter destruction.”

#9. After Germany surrendered, the United States decided to use the atom bombs developed as a part of Manhattan Project on Japan. The bombs were originally developed keeping Germany as a target.

#10. Also, a little while earlier, in around April 1945, the military group responsible for the atom bomb got on the task of selecting targets for the bomb. The criterion for target selection:
i) the target should be at least 4.8 km in diametre and
ii) be an important urban area, and
iii) the attack should create effective damage.

#11. This “Target Committee” shortlisted five Japanese cities: Kokura, Hiroshima, Yokohama, Niigata, and Kyoto.

#12. With the war on, the United States military had air-dropped more than 6 crore leaflets every now and then for months, alarming and warning the civilians about any forthcoming attacks. There were, however, no special leaflets dropped to warn the citizens regarding the nuclear attacks.

#13. This decision of the US leaders to not drop any leaflets was allegedly taken to “maximise Japan’s psychological damage”.

#14. Two types of bombs were devised via the Manhattan Project. The Hiroshima Bomb, called the Little Boy, was a gun-type nuclear fission bomb that used Uranium-235.

#15. The other bomb, the Fat Man, that was used to attack Nagasaki three days later after the attack on Hiroshima, was a more powerful and efficient weapon that used Plutonium-239.

#16. Hiroshima was selected as the primary target for the Little Boy nuclear bomb, with Kokura and Nagasaki as alternate targets. Both Hiroshima and Nagasaki were areas largely left unaffected by the War up until then.

#17. The bomb used in Hiroshima, Japan’s 7th largest city was about 5-tons in weight and the blast equivalent to the power of 15,000 TNT. 80,000 people were instantly killed.

#18. Three days later, on August 9, 1945, US dropped another bomb in Nagasaki. 39,000 people were instantly killed.

#19. The deadly radiation from the blast affected another 2,00,000 people in the weeks to come. Of the 90,000 buildings housed in the city, more than 60,000 were destroyed. On August 15, 1945, days after the dual attack, Japan surrendered, fearing more nuclear attacks.

#20. After both the blasts, Winston Churchill estimated that the lives of over 1 million Americans and 2,50,000 British soldiers and sailors had been saved owing to the shortening of the War.

#21. The Japanese police and officials in Hiroshima began issuing disaster certificates to the survivors right after the bombing. The certificates made them eligible to procure emergency aid like food and water, and also enabled them to use public transport without charge.

#22. Hiroshima’s official flower is the oleander, the first one to bloom after the bomb blast in 1945.

#23. The Japanese tree, Gingko Biloba was one of the only living things to survive the Hiroshima nuclear bombing. The trees were charred, but survived the blast and are alive to date.

#24. Among the many monuments to commemorate the victims of the Hiroshima disaster, one of the most famous ones is the Flame of Peace, which has been burning since it was first lit in 1964. Japan has said that the flame will be put out only when all of the world’s nuclear weapons are done away with, and when the Earth is free from nuclear threat.

That day the world changed forever. The United Nations came into being soon after. The Nuclear non-proliferation treaty was executed. Cold War between the United States and the USSR ignited soon after the bombings.

The Hiroshima and the Nagasaki bombings are the only times Nuclear weapons have been used for an attack. Today, we face different problems. The problems of managing our nuclear weapons, keeping them safe from evil hands. We face the problems of protecting the technology being procured by terrorist outfits, and also fear an eminent nuclear attack from countries who are governed by autocratic leaders and governments.

Are nuclear weapons worth all the trouble? What do you think?


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