Hiroshima Would you be afraid of an atomic bomb dropping on your city? In August 1945, World War II was finally dying down. The United States, including her allies, had already defeated Germany by this time and had reclaimed land that had been taken over by Hitler's Nazi Germany. Now that the United States and her allies had defeated the Nazis all the attention was pointed towards Japan. Japan was a city that would fight to the very end, and if needed fight to the very last man. The people of Japan did not believe in surrendering to anyone.
Do you think that the people of Japan were afraid of the bomb that the United States' best physicists had created? (Claypool 1) The people of Japan did not know the power of the atomic bomb and so they were not afraid of the United States. An hour before the United States dropped the bomb, Japan had detected the approach of some American aircraft heading towards the southern part of Japan. (The Manhattan Engineer District) The Japanese were in fear of a huge B-29 raid that could occur. At 8: 00 a.m. the radar operator in Hiroshima determined that the number of planes coming was only a couple and probably not more than three. Basically, the Japanese were pretty clueless of what was coming.
What was coming? There were a total of 7 B-29's flying towards the city of Hiroshima. One plane was a stand-by plane; three of them were weather planes, two of the planes carried scientific equipment and observers. The final B-29, the "Enola Gay", carried the first atomic bomb Nelson 2 that would be dropped on Hiroshima. In less than three hours, sixty percent of Hiroshima would be erased.
(Hersey 35) Hiroshima was located on a flat delta off the Ota River. The Ota River had 7 channels that divide the city into 6 islands. The city of Hiroshima was slightly above sea level and was almost entirely flat. It consisted of 26 square miles, and out of the 26, only 6 square miles were built-up. Seventy-five percent of the people had lived in the center of Hiroshima. (The Manhattan Engineer District) There was no separation between commercial, industrial, and residential zones.
The houses and industrial buildings were made of wood. Also, the outskirts of the center of the city had an area of close small wooden workshops that were scattered between the Japanese houses. There were also some industrial plants that had lain on the outskirts too. These facts left Hiroshima highly susceptible to fire damage. (The Manhattan Engineer District) The mission to bomb Hiroshima went very smoothly. The crew and equipment functioned exactly as planned, and the weather was just right.
The only thing the flight crews weren't sure about was if "Enola Gay", the B-29 carrying the atomic bomb, was going to lift. The plane carried a total of 7,600 gallons of fuel. Because of the plane's weight and for the safety of the island of Tinian, it was decided that the final assembly of the bomb would be finished in the air. The plane was lifted amazingly and was off to drop the first atomic bomb, also known as "little boy". (Claypool 3) At an elevation of 31,600 feet the Enola Gay dropped the atomic bomb.
Forty-three seconds later, at about 1,800 feet over Hiroshima, the bomb detonated. Nelson 3 This was the first atomic bomb ever to be dropped; the time was 8: 15 a.m. Japanese time, the day of August 6, 1945. (Hiroshima) It was dropped by the United States Army Air Forces.
(Tsuruya) Following the detonation of the bomb there was a great flash of light, brighter than that of the sun and eye scorching. There was also a great rush of air and a loud rumble of noise that circled the city. Sounds of buildings crumbling to the ground and the sounds of growing fires were among the city. A great cloud of dust began to cast itself upon the city, leaving the people of Hiroshima in a state of darkness. (The Manhattan Engineer District) Hiroshima was an assembly area for troops, a storage point, and communication area. A control operator for a Japanese Broadcasting Corporation in Tokyo noticed that the Hiroshima station had gone off the air.
The operator tried to reconnect with his program and then once more on another connection but had failed. Twenty-minutes later the Japanese found out that a Tokyo railroad telegraph center was not working just north of Hiroshima. Small railway stops within ten miles sent confused reports on an explosion of Hiroshima. These reports were sent to the headquarters of the Japanese General Staff. (The Manhattan Engineer District) The military headquarters had tried many times, over and over, to call the Army Control Station in Hiroshima. The headquarters were confused and puzzled by nobody answering their calls.
They thought that no large enemy raid could have occurred, and they knew that no large amounts of explosives were in Hiroshima at that time. Nelson 4 They felt that that nothing serious had happened, and that these reports were only terrible rumors, which they will soon find to be true. (The Manhattan Engineer District) From the Japanese General Staff, a young officer was told to fly to Hiroshima, land and to survey the damage, and then to return to Tokyo. The officer went to the airport and took off towards Hiroshima. While about only one hundred miles from Hiroshima, 3 hours later from when he took off, the officer and his pilot saw an enormous cloud of smoke. When they had finally reached the city, they went around it in disbelief.
The land was as though a big scar, and still burning down to nothing. The officer immediately reported back to Tokyo the terrible news. Sixteen hours from after the bomb was dropped there was a White House public announcement that notified Tokyo what had really happened to Hiroshima. (The Manhattan Engineer District) A massive amount of damage was done to Hiroshima and its people.
The bomb's explosive energy was equivalent to about 20,000 tons of TNT. Sixty-eight percent of Hiroshima's buildings were destroyed completely. There were a total of 135,000 estimated casualties. Sixty-six thousand people were killed. Sixty percent of the deaths were caused by burns, thirty percent by falling debris, and ten percent were from other causes.
To as far as 3 miles houses were knocked flat. This does not include the several reinforced concrete buildings. The buildings that were reinforced with concrete were stronger than needed compared to America because Japan has earthquake danger. Therefore, some of the buildings near the center of the burst did not collapse. (The Manhattan Engineer District) Nelson 5 Hiroshima did not surrender to that but waited too long and was bombed a second time on Nagasaki. They surrendered after this bombing and the war was then ended.
Some people believe that neither of the bombings was necessary to end the war. After the U.S. Air Force dropped the bomb, physicists that had been involved in developing and testing the atomic bomb later stated that they wished that it had never been invented. People suggested that President Truman should have invited Japanese officials to demonstrate the atomic bomb to them to warn them what power they actually had before they struck. Also, some critics believe that the U.S. Air Force had dropped the second bomb, "fat boy", on Nagasaki before the Japanese could surrender in order to test out the effects of the bomb because it was a more sophisticated plutonium bomb. (Claypool 5) This event in time was absolutely horrible.
It was awful that all of those people had to die. It's terrible that people are still dying from the radiation from the bomb. This event being one of the most devastating times in history had to have happened. If Hiroshima was not hit by an atomic bomb where would we be now? This event has helped the world grow. By this, we know now how horrible something like this can be.
From all the devastating knowledge that we know of the U.S. Air Force dropping the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, I hope it will never repeat itself in time.