In August of 1945, both of the only two nuclear bombs ever used in warfare were dropped on the Japanese cities of Nagasaki and Hiroshima. These two bombs shaped much of the world today.
In 1941, The United States began an atomic bomb program called the “Manhattan Project.” The main objective of the “Manhattan Project” was to research and build an atomic bomb before Germany could create and use one against the allied forces during World War II. German scientists had started a similar research program four years before the United States began so the scientists of the “Manhattan Project” felt a sense of urgency throughout their work (Wood “Men … Project”).
Serious security measures were set in place to protect the information discovered throughout the life of the “Manhattan Project.” The Jemez Mountains were chosen for the site of the “Manhattan Project” due to its remote location. All citizens of the Los Alamos Ranch School area, where the “Manhattan Project” was developed, received the same address so that military personnel could monitor all mail being sent in and out of the city. Numbers replaced names on all official documents. As a final precaution, workers knew nothing of the final product they were creating. Only what was needed to complete their jobs was told to the individuals (Wood “Men … Project”).
Despite all of the security used by the officials in charge of the “Manhattan Project,” soviet spies managed to leak information to the Soviet Union that allowed them to create a nuclear bomb of their own. Klaus Fuchs, an important scientist to the “Manhattan Project,” managed to move throughout the project and provide crucial information to the Soviets. David Greenglass also provided the Soviet Union with information though the information he supplied was not nearly as devastating as that of Fuchs’s. Neither of the men’s actions were discovered until after the war had ended (Wood “Men … Project”).
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Through the efforts of the “Manhattan Project” and the scientists within it, several nuclear bombs were created. Two of which, “Little Boy” and “Fat Man,” ended up being dropped on Japan. “Little Boy,” the only uranium bomb created was dropped on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945 (Batchelder 99-105).
“Fat Man,” the second nuclear bomb ever used in warfare, detonated above Nagasaki on August 11, 1945 (Batchelder 95-105).
The leaders of the United States, decided that dropping the newly developed atomic bombs on Japan was the smartest action they could take at the time, given the current situation that the United States and the world was in. Dropping the bombs on Japan was mainly motivated by the belief that human lives could be saved. A massive invasion of the Japanese mainland was the only other option if no bombs were going to be dropped. The fact that the Japanese main army of approximately two million had never before been defeated on top of the Japanese terrain which was much better suited for guerrilla warfare than the mechanical ways of the U.S. put estimated American deaths alone well over the deaths at Hiroshima and Nagasaki combined (Batchelder 114-118).
Paul Tibbets was chosen to fly over Hiroshima and drop “Little Boy.” Tibbets named the B-29 that he flew during the mission after his mother’s maiden name, “Enola Gay.” Well before the planned bombing of Hiroshima, Tibbets and his crew began fake bombing runs over the ocean dropping replicas of “Little Boy.” The crew of the “Enola Gay” had not been told that the bomb they would be dropping was nuclear until a short time before they left for Japan so that the bomb crew could be trained to handle the bomb (Wyden 190-193).
THE HISTORICAL CONTEXT WHICH CONTRIBUTED TO THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE ATOMIC BOMB THE CHAIN REACTION BOMB Atomic bomb imagined The New York Press reports: "New hope for releasing the enormous stores of energy within the atom has arisen from German scientists." World famous Niels Bohr of Copenhagen and Enrico Fermi of Rome, both Nobel prize winners, acclaim this experiment as one of the most important ...
The Hiroshima bombing went just as, and possibly smoother than, had been planned. Days before the “Enola Gay” left for Japan, small groups of B-29’s began flying over the Hiroshima area dropping TNT filled bombs shaped like “Little Boy.” These small groups of planes made the Japanese complacent to the B-29’s doing little damage. The “Enola Gay” lifted of from Tinian at 2:45 a.m., followed by two B-29 escorts. Thanks to the earlier B-29 bombing runs, the “Enola Gay” and her escorts encountered no enemy resistance throughout their run (Batchelder).
Japanese authorities listed an original report of 71,379 dead and missing, with 68,023 injured after the bombing of Hiroshima. The United States Strategic Bombing Survey had estimated between 70,000 and 80,000 dead and an equal number missing. A 1959 official notice from Japan listed 60,175 dead after the dropping of “Little Boy” on Hiroshima (Batchelder 41).
Nagasaki, the only other city ever to be bombed by a nuclear bomb, was actually a second target for “Fat Man” (Wyden 195-197).
Kokura was to be the city bombed by “Fat Man,” but bad weather conditions and a series of other problems forced the use of a secondary target (Glines “The Bomb … War II).
The Kokura bombing mission was code-named, “Special Mission Number Sixteen.” Millions of leaflets were dropped across Japan in an attempt to persuade the Japanese people to petition and force the emperor to surrender before a second bombing mission began. At the time of the bombing of Nagasaki, dense clouds covered the city making visual bombing almost impossible. Despite the clouds, the bomber managed to spot the target and drop “Fat Man” directly over the industrial valley of Nagasaki. The second nuclear bomb used against Japan exploded at 11:01 with an explosion far more powerful than that of any other bomb in the history of the world (Batchelder 99-103).
25,680 were reported dead and missing by the Japanese authorities. This number was immediately rejected by the U.S.S.B.S. and was replaced with at least 40,000 dead and missing (Batchelder 41).
Though the target was hit, the mission did not go nearly as planned. The first two B-29s of “Special Mission Number Sixteen,” arrived at the designated rendezvous point on time and began circling in wait for the second escort B-29. After no sign of the second escort after forty-five minutes, the bomb plane and her lone escort went on to Kokura as planned. Arriving above the city over an hour late they discovered that the clear skies had been replaced by thick cloud cover. The B-29s circled over Kokura until rising Japanese fighter planes and anti-aircraft fire forced them to head for Nagasaki. Nagasaki too, had the same thick cloud cover, which forced the planes to stay in the air longer while the target was being obtained. An extra six hundred gallons of fuel located in the cargo bay of the bomb plane malfunctioned and could not be transferred to the engines (Glines The Bomb … War II).
Humanities On December 7, 1941, the Japanese Navy willfully and deliberately attacked Pearl Harbor, and the Pacific War began. On August 6, 1945 the first atomic bomb was dropped on the city of Hiroshima, and marked the beginning of the end of the Pacific War. Ever since the end of the Pacific War, many people have asked the question. Should the United States have used the atomic bomb The use of ...
The reduced fuel forced the planes to head for Okinawa, taken over by U.S. troops in June (Bondi 236).
The lead plane touched down on the runway just before two of the engines stopped from a lack of fuel. There were a measured seven gallons left in the tanks before refueling began (Glines The Bomb … War II).
The second nuclear bomb, “Fat Man,” was dropped on Japan to convince them that the U.S had a large number of bombs and would continue to use them until the war ended. In truth, another plutonium bomb could not have been ready for a few weeks. Another theory is that the U.S. dropped “Fat Man” because the American leaders wanted to test the effectiveness of the new plutonium bomb. There had been a small chance that the bomb would have blown up with only a one tenth of a ton of TNT explosion (Wyden 194).
However, the U.S.S.B.S. had not counted on the blast survivors to continue to die after the bombings. It was believed that the city’s residents would either be killed by the blast itself, or soon after. At first, United States officials did not believe that the survivors were suffering from the strange disease known in the American nuclear facilities (Wyden 310-211).
One out of every five patients in Japanese hospitals began to develop purple skin hemorrhages. Those who had been closer to the hypocenter of the blast were more likely to develop the hemorrhages. After three weeks, those patients who had already developed the hemorrhages began to die and many others who had not previously been diagnosed with the hemorrhages began to develop them. Many of the patients started to loose their hair. White blood cell counts from the patients showed five to six hundred, with five to six thousand being normal and three thousand as a recognized danger zone (Wyden 310-311).
Fighting Vietnam and Communism Fighting the Vietnam War dramatically changed the lives of everyone even remotely involved, especially the brave individuals actually fighting amidst the terror. One of the first things concerned when reading these war stories was the detail given in each case. Quotes and other specific pieces of information are given in each occurrence yet these stories were ...
Finally, on August 23 the strange hemorrhages began to disappear and most patients seemed to be recovering. Only those patients with rising temperatures, continually low white blood cell counts, and stomatitis did not recover. Many of the patients died because their low amount of white blood cells made their bodies susceptible to disease and infection (Wyden 310-311).
After recovery, many of the survivors had great difficulty being hired for jobs. Rumors spread that the survivors could not work as long or hard as those not exposed to the blasts, due to the radiation sickness
After the bombings, people not only in the U.S., but all over the world began to question whether or not the bombs were justified. The public did not know for sure if the bombs saved lives. At the time, dropping “Little Boy” and “Fat Man” was the only other option for ending the war other than the full out invasion of Japan. Japan’s large central army and unfavorable terrain put American deaths at 250,000 and American casualties over one million. The loss of Japanese life in an invasion would be overwhelming. In previous battles, the Japanese had lost as many as eleven times as many men as the United States (Batchelder).
The general public also wondered if the bombs had shortened the war. To have forced the Japanese emperor to surrender though invasion, allied forced would have to have occupied most of the Japanese mainland. After the invasion, Japanese troops throughout China, Korea, and the Philippians would be more likely to continue fighting because their surrender would have been forced, whereas the surrender after the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was much more of a decision on the part of the Japanese emperor. Finding and eliminating these Japanese forces would have taken many years and cost many lives (Batchelder).
The two bombs, “Little Boy” and “Fat Man,” changed our nation and the world. Whether these changes were for the better, we may never know. The bombs may have saved countless lives in ending World War II, but those same bombs, also affected generations of the blasts’ survivors. Though many may have disagreed with the use of the nuclear bombs, one survey showed that 53% of Americans surveyed felt that the bombs should have been used exactly the way they were and only 4.5% felt that no bombs should have been used (Batchelder 111).
... killed by this atom bomb. On August 14 Japan surrendered and World War II was finally over.When Harry Truman the American president heard of ... destroy Japan's power to make war.It was to spare the Japanese people from utter destruction that the ultimatum of July 26 ... Japan would never surrender. If the bomb had not been dropped thousands of American lifes could have been lost in an invasion of ...
Batchelder, Robert C. The Irreversible Decision, 1939-1950. New York: Macmillan, 1965.
Bondi, Victor ed. “Hiroshima and Nagasaki,” American Decades, 1940-1949. Detroit: Manly, Inc., 1995
Glines, C.V. “The Bomb That Ended World War II.” Aviation History Sept. 1995: 42-49. SIRS Research. SIRS Knowledge Source. Manheim Township H.S. Library, Lancaster, PA. 13 Feb. 2003.
Wood, Linda K. “Men and Mission of the Manhattan Project.” World War II July 1995: 38-45. SIRS Research. SIRS Knowledge Source. Manheim Township H.S. Library, Lancaster, PA. 13 Feb. 2003.
Wyden, Peter. Day One: Before Hiroshima and After. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1984.