Today in History: Atomic Bomb Decimates Nagasaki (1945)

On this day, six decades ago, Japan suffered a second atomic bombing from US forces during the last leg of the Second World War.

Just three days after the atomic bombing of Hiroshima during the final leg of the World War II, US forces dropped the a-bomb on another Japanese town. Nagasaki, a coastal town and important shipbuilding center situated on southern Japan, became the second target for an atomic bombing to force Japan into unconditional surrender.

On August 9, 1945, at 11:02 a.m., a B-29 bomber specially adapted for the occasion dropped the atomic bomb codenamed “Fat Man” 1,650 feet over Nagasaki. It was expected to be more powerful than the “Little Boy” that decimated Hiroshima, but since it was dropped in a valley, the hills contained the destructive force and dealt damage equal to “Little Boy.” Nevertheless, the a-bomb demolished much of the coastal town, killed 74,000 people, and injured 75,000 more.

The “Fat Man” dropped on Nagasaki. Photo via Wikipedia
Mushroom cloud over Nagasaki after the bombing. Photo via Atomic Archive

Harry Truman, the new president of the United States at the time, was an ardent defender of the two bombings and released statements shortly after the bombings. On Hiroshima, he said, “The Japanese began the war from the air at Pearl Harbor. They have been repaid many fold.” On Nagasaki, he said, “We have used it in order to shorten the agony of war, in order to save the lives of thousands and thousands of young Americans.”

Emperor Hirohito of Japan, putting the welfare of his people into consideration, gave his permission for unconditional surrender, and said, “continuing the war can only result in the annihilation of the Japanese people…” With this, the Second World War was over at last.

While the two atomic bombings remain a subject of debate to this day, the haunting photos are undoubtedly important documentations that will always remind the world of the tragic wartime events. Let’s say a little prayer as we take a look at some of them:

First photo: Nagasaki before and after the bombing; Second photo: Nagasaki rubble after the bombing; Third photo: Remains of a temple against the rubble; Fourth photo: Remains of Urakami Cathedral; Fifth photo: Dark portions of a victim’s clothing burned the skin during the flash.

Text/Photo Sources and Additional Readings:
Atomic Bomb Dropped on Nagasaki on
Nagasaki Atomic Bomb on About Japan
Hibakusha: The Story of Fumiko Miura on Voices in Wartime
Atomic Archive
Atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on Wikipedia
On This Day on BBC
President Harry Truman

You can also read more Today in History articles here!

written by plasticpopsicle on 2011-08-09 in #lifestyle #lomography #bombing #wwii #atomic-bomb #japan #analogue-lifestyle #history #today-in-history #world-war-ii

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