Atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki

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The Fat Man mushroom cloud resulting from the nuclear explosion over Nagasaki rises 18 km (11 mi, 60,000 ft) into the air from the hypocenter.
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Hiroshima & Nagasaki

The Atomic Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki involved the nuclear attack on the Japanese city of Hiroshima by the United States Army Air Forces on August 6, 1945 with the nuclear weapon "Little Boy," followed three days later by the detonation of the "Fat Man" bomb over Nagasaki during World War II against the Empire of Japan, part of the opposing Axis Powers alliance.

In estimating the death toll from the attacks, there are several factors that make it difficult to arrive at reliable figures: inadequacies in the records given the confusion of the times, the many victims who died months or years after the bombing as a result of radiation exposure, and the pressure to either exaggerate or minimize the numbers, depending upon political agenda. That said, it is estimated that by December 1945, as many as 140,000 had died in Hiroshima by the bomb and its associated effects,<ref> Japan's Asahi Shimbun estimates are 237,000 for Hiroshima, and 135,000 for Nagasaki including diseases from the aftereffects based on hospital data. (1999) The Spirit of Hiroshima: An Introduction to the Atomic Bomb Tragedy. Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum.</ref><ref> Mikiso Hane (2001). Modern Japan: A Historical Survey. Westview Press. ISBN 0-8133-3756-9.</ref> with the estimate for Nagasaki roughly 74,000.<ref> Template:Cite web</ref><ref> Possibly the most extensive review and analysis of the various death toll estimates is in: Richard B. Frank (2001). Downfall: The End of the Imperial Japanese Empire. Penguin Publishing. ISBN 0-679-41424-X.</ref> In both cities, the overwhelming majority of the deaths were those of civilians.

The role of the bombings in Japan's surrender, as well as the effects and justification of them, have been subject to much debate. In the U.S., the prevailing view is that the bombings ended the war months sooner than would otherwise have been the case, saving many lives that would have been lost on both sides if the planned invasion of Japan had taken place.<ref>Tsuyoshi Hasegawa (2005). Racing the Enemy: Stalin, Truman, and the Surrender of Japan. The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 298–299.</ref> In Japan, the general public tends to think that the bombings were unnecessary, as Japanese civilian leadership was covertly seeking an end to hostilities.<ref> Sadao Asada (1997). “The Mushroom Cloud and National Psyches: Japanese and American Perceptions of the Atomic-Bomb Decision, 1945-1995”, Laura Hein and Mark Selden, eds.: Living with the Bomb: American and Japanese Cultural Conflicts in the Nuclear Age. East Gate Book, 186. ISBN 1-56324-967-7.</ref>

On August 15, 1945 Japan announced its surrender to the Allied Powers, signing the Instrument of Surrender on September 2 which officially ended World War II.


[edit] Prelude to the bombings

Image:Groves Oppenheimer.jpg
The Manhattan Project, led by General Leslie Groves (left) and the physicist Robert Oppenheimer, developed the first atomic weapons for use in World War II.
Main article: Manhattan Project

The United States, with assistance from the United Kingdom and Canada, designed and built the first atomic bombs under what was called the Manhattan Project. The project was initially started at the instigation of European refugee scientists (including Albert Einstein) and American scientists who feared that Nazi Germany would also be conducting a full-scale bomb development program (that program was later discovered to be much smaller and further behind). The project itself eventually employed over 130,000 people at its peak at over thirty institutions spread over the United States, and cost a total of nearly US$2 billion, making it one of the largest and most costly research and development programs of all time.

The first nuclear device, called "Gadget," was detonated during the "Trinity" test near Alamogordo, New Mexico on July 16, 1945. The Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs were the second and third to be detonated and as of 2006 the only ones ever employed as weapons.

During World War II both the Allies and Axis powers had previously pursued policies of strategic bombing and the targeting of civilian infrastructure. In numerous cases these had caused huge numbers of civilian casualties and were (or came to be) controversial. In Germany, the Allied firebombing of Dresden resulted in roughly 30,000 deaths. The March 1945 firebombing of Tokyo may have killed as many as 100,000 people. By August, about 60 Japanese cities had been destroyed through a massive aerial campaign, including massive firebombing raids on the cities of Tokyo and Kobe.

Over 3½ years of direct U.S. involvement in World War II, approximately 400,000 American lives had been lost, roughly half of them incurred in the war against Japan. In the months prior to the bombings, the Battle of Okinawa resulted in an estimated 50,000–150,000 civilian deaths, 100,000–125,000 Japanese or Okinawan military or conscript deaths and over 72,000 American casualties. An invasion of the Japanese mainland was expected to result in casualties many times greater than in Okinawa.

U.S. President Harry S. Truman, who was unaware of the Manhattan Project until Franklin Roosevelt's death, made the decision to drop the atomic bombs on Japan. His stated intention in ordering the bombings was to bring about a quick resolution of the war by inflicting destruction, and instilling fear of further destruction, that was sufficient to cause Japan to surrender. On July 26, Truman and other allied leaders issued The Potsdam Declaration outlining terms of surrender for Japan:

"...The might that now converges on Japan is immeasurably greater than that which, when applied to the resisting Nazis, necessarily laid waste to the lands, the industry and the method of life of the whole German people. The full application of our military power, backed by our resolve, will mean the inevitable and complete destruction of the Japanese armed forces and just as inevitably the utter devastation of the Japanese homeland..."
"...We call upon the government of Japan to proclaim now the unconditional surrender of all Japanese armed forces, and to provide proper and adequate assurances of their good faith in such action. The alternative for Japan is prompt and utter destruction."

The next day, Japanese papers reported that the declaration, the text of which had been broadcast and dropped on leaflets into Japan, had been rejected. The atomic bomb was still a highly guarded secret and not mentioned in the declaration. The government of Japan showed no intention of accepting the ultimatum. On July 28, Prime Minister Suzuki declared at a press conference that the Potsdam Declaration was no more than a rehash (yakinaoshi) of the Cairo Declaration and that the government intended to ignore it (mokusatsu).

Emperor Hirohito, who was waiting for the Soviet reply to Japanese peace offers, made no move to change the government position. On July 31, he made clear to Kido that the imperial regalia had to be defended at all costs. (Kido Koichi nikki, p.1120-1121)

[edit] Choice of targets

The Target Committee at Los Alamos on May 10–11, 1945, recommended Kyoto, Hiroshima, Yokohama, and the arsenal at Kokura as possible targets. The committee rejected the use of the weapon against a strictly military objective because of the chance of missing a small target not surrounded by a larger urban area. The psychological effects on Japan were of great importance to the committee members. They also agreed that the initial use of the weapon should be sufficiently spectacular for its importance to be internationally recognized. The committee felt Kyoto, as an intellectual center of Japan, had a population "better able to appreciate the significance of the weapon." Hiroshima was chosen because of its large size, its being "an important army depot" and the potential that the bomb would cause greater destruction because the city was surrounded by hills which would have a "focusing effect".<ref>Template:Cite web</ref>

Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson struck Kyoto from the list because of its cultural significance, over the objections of General Leslie Groves, head of the Manhattan Project. According to Professor Edwin O. Reischauer, Stimson "had known and admired Kyoto ever since his honeymoon there several decades earlier." On July 25 General Carl Spaatz was ordered to bomb one of the targets: Hiroshima, Kokura, Niigata, or Nagasaki as soon after August 3 as weather permitted and the remaining cities as additional weapons became available.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref>

[edit] Hiroshima

[edit] Hiroshima during World War II

At the time of its bombing, Hiroshima was a city of considerable industrial and military significance. Even some military camps were located nearby, such as the headquarters of the Fifth Division and Field Marshal Shunroku Hata's 2nd General Army Headquarters, which commanded the defense of all of southern Japan. Hiroshima was a minor supply and logistics base for the Japanese military. The city was a communications center, a storage point, and an assembly area for troops. It was one of several Japanese cities left deliberately untouched by American bombing, allowing an ideal environment to measure the damage caused by the atomic bomb. Another account stresses that after General Spaatz reported that Hiroshima was the only targeted city without prisoner of war (POW) camps, Washington decided to assign it highest priority.

The center of the city contained several reinforced concrete buildings and lighter structures. Outside the center, the area was congested by a dense collection of small wooden workshops set among Japanese houses. A few larger industrial plants lay near the outskirts of the city. The houses were of wooden construction with tile roofs, and many of the industrial buildings also were of wood frame construction. The city as a whole was highly susceptible to fire damage.

The population of Hiroshima had reached a peak of over 381,000 earlier in the war, but prior to the atomic bombing the population had steadily decreased because of a systematic evacuation ordered by the Japanese government. At the time of the attack the population was approximately 255,000. This figure is based on the registered population used by the Japanese in computing ration quantities, and the estimates of additional workers and troops who were brought into the city may be inaccurate.

[edit] The bombing

Image:Little boy.jpg
A postwar "Little Boy" casing mockup.
For composition of USAAF mission see 509th Composite Group

Hiroshima was the primary target (the secondary was Kokura and a third "tertiary" target was Nagasaki) of the first U.S. nuclear attack mission, on August 6, 1945. The B-29 Enola Gay, piloted and commanded by 509th Composite Group commander Colonel Paul Tibbets, was launched from North Field, an airbase on Tinian in the West Pacific, approximately 6 hours flight time away from Japan. The drop date of August 6 was chosen because there had previously been a cloud formation over the target. At the time of launch, the weather was good, and the crew and equipment functioned properly. Navy Captain William Parsons had armed the bomb shortly after takeoff, since it had been left unarmed to minimize the risks during takeoff, and his assistant, 2nd Lt. Morris Jeppson, removed the safeties thirty minutes before reaching the target area.<ref name="SM15"> Template:Cite web</ref>The attack was carried out as planned, and the gravity bomb, a gun-type fission weapon, with 60 kg (130 pounds) of uranium-235, performed as expected.

Image:Hiroshima aftermath.jpg
Hiroshima, in the aftermath of the bombing.

About an hour before the bombing, the Japanese early warning radar net detected the approach of some American aircraft headed for the southern part of Japan. The alert had been given and radio broadcasting stopped in many cities, among them Hiroshima. The planes approached the coast at a very high altitude. At nearly 08:00, the radar operator in Hiroshima determined that the number of planes coming in was very small—probably not more than three—and the air raid alert was lifted (to conserve fuel and aircraft, the Japanese had decided not to intercept small formations).

The three planes of the strike flight were the Enola Gay (named after Colonel Tibbets' mother), The Great Artiste (equipped to deploy instrumentation), and a then-nameless B-29 later called Necessary Evil (the photography aircraft).<ref name="SM15"> Template:Cite web</ref> The normal radio broadcast warning was given to the people that it might be advisable to go to air-raid shelters if B-29s were actually sighted, but no raid was expected beyond some sort of reconnaissance.

At 08:15 (Hiroshima time), the Enola Gay dropped the nuclear bomb called "Little Boy" over the center of Hiroshima. It exploded about 600 meters (2,000 ft) above the city with a blast equivalent to about 13 kilotons of TNT (the U-235 weapon was considered very inefficient, with only 1.38% of its material fissioning),<ref name="cotmplitboy"> Template:Cite web</ref> instantly killing an estimated 70,000–80,000 people. Of this number, there were approximately 2,000 Japanese Americans who died from the blast and another 800-1,000 who lived on as hibakusha. As U.S. citizens, many of these Japanese Americans were attending school before the war and had been unable to leave Japan.<ref>Rinjiro Sodei. Were We the Enemy?: American Survivors of Hiroshima. Boulder: Westview Press, 1998</ref> It is likely that hundreds of Allied prisoners of war also died.<ref> David Rubin, 2005, "Remembering Normand Brissette" (Downloaded 28/10/06) </ref> The radius of total destruction was about 1.6 km (1 mile), with resulting fires across 11.4 square km (4.4 square miles).<ref>Template:Cite web</ref> Infrastructure damage was estimated at 90% of Hiroshima's buildings being either damaged or completely destroyed.

[edit] Japanese realization of the bombing

The burns on this victim look like the kimono patterns; the lighter areas of the cloth reflected the intense light from the bomb, causing less damage.

The Tokyo control operator of the Japanese Broadcasting Corporation noticed that the Hiroshima station had gone off the air. He tried to re-establish his program by using another telephone line, but it too had failed. About twenty minutes later the Tokyo railroad telegraph center realized that the main line telegraph had stopped working just north of Hiroshima. From some small railway stops within 16 kilometers (10 mi) of the city came unofficial and confused reports of a terrible explosion in Hiroshima. All these reports were transmitted to the headquarters of the Japanese General Staff.

Military bases repeatedly tried to call the Army Control Station in Hiroshima. The complete silence from that city puzzled the men at headquarters; they knew that no large enemy raid had occurred and that no sizeable store of explosives was in Hiroshima at that time. A young officer of the Japanese General Staff was instructed to fly immediately to Hiroshima, to land, survey the damage, and return to Tokyo with reliable information for the staff. It was generally felt at headquarters that nothing serious had taken place and that it was all a rumor.

The staff officer went to the airport and took off for the southwest. After flying for about three hours, while still nearly 100 miles (160 km) from Hiroshima, he and his pilot saw a great cloud of smoke from the bomb. In the bright afternoon, the remains of Hiroshima were burning. Their plane soon reached the city, around which they circled in disbelief. A great scar on the land still burning and covered by a heavy cloud of smoke was all that was left. They landed south of the city, and the staff officer, after reporting to Tokyo, immediately began to organize relief measures.

Tokyo's first knowledge of what had really caused the disaster came from the White House public announcement in Washington, D.C., sixteen hours after the nuclear attack on Hiroshima.<ref name="White House Press Release">Template:Cite web The press release, it should be noted, was written not by Truman but primarily by William L. Laurence, a New York Times reporter allowed access to the Manhattan Project.</ref>

[edit] Post-attack casualties

Image:Victim of Atomic Bomb 002.jpg
The upper-body of a boy exposed to the explosion

By December of 1945, thousands had died from their injuries and radiation poisoning, bringing the total killed in Hiroshima in 1945 to perhaps 140,000.<ref>Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. The Spirit of Hiroshima: An Introduction to the Atomic Bomb Tragedy. Hiroshima: Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, 1999.</ref> In the years between 1950 and 1990, it is statistically estimated that hundreds of deaths are attributable to radiation exposure among atomic bomb survivors from both Hiroshima and Nagasaki.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref><ref>Template:Cite web</ref>

[edit] Survival of some structures

Some of the reinforced concrete buildings in Hiroshima were very strongly constructed because of the earthquake danger in Japan, and their framework did not collapse even though they were fairly close to the center of damage in the city. Since the bomb detonated in the air, the blast was more downward than sideways, which was largely responsible for the survival of the Prefectural Industrial Promotional Hall, now commonly known as the Genbaku, or A-bomb Dome designed and built by the Czech architect Jan Letzel, which was only a few meters from ground zero (hypocenter). The ruin was named Hiroshima Peace Memorial and made a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1996 over the objections of the U.S. and China.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref>

[edit] Events of August 7-9

After the Hiroshima bombing, President Truman announced, "If they do not now accept our terms, they may expect a rain of ruin from the air the likes of which has never been seen on this earth." On August 8 1945, leaflets were dropped and warnings were given to Japan by Radio Saipan. (The area of Nagasaki did not receive warning leaflets until August 10, though the leaflet campaign covering the whole country was over a month into its operations.)<ref>Template:Cite web</ref> An English translation of that leaflet is available at PBS.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref>

The Japanese government still did not react to the Potsdam Declaration. Emperor Hirohito, the government and the War council were considering four conditions for surrender : the preservation of the kokutai (Imperial institution and national policy), assumption by the Imperial Headquarters of responsibility for disarmament and demobilization, no occupation and delegation to the Japanese government of the punishment of war criminals.

At two minutes past midnight on August 9, Tokyo time, Russian infantry, armor, and air forces launched an invasion of Manchuria. Four hours later, word reached Tokyo that the Soviet Union had broken the neutrality pact and declared war on Japan. The senior leadership of the Japanese Army began preparations to impose martial law on the nation, with the support of Minister of War Anami, in order to stop anyone attempting to make peace.

Responsibility for the timing of the second bombing was delegated to Colonel Tibbets as commander of the 509th Composite Group on Tinian. Scheduled for August 11 against Kokura, the raid was moved forward to avoid a five day period of bad weather forecast to begin on August 10.<ref>Martin J. Sherwin (2003). A World Destroyed: Hiroshima and its Legacies, 2nd edition, Stanford University Press, 233-234.</ref> Three bomb pre-assemblies had been transported to Tinian, labeled F-31, F-32, and F-33 on their exteriors. On August 8 a dress rehearsal was conducted off Tinian by Maj. Charles Sweeney using Bockscar as the drop airplane. Assembly F-33 was expended testing the components and F-31 was designated for the mission August 9.<ref> Richard H. Campbell (2005). “Chapter 2: Development and Production”, The Silverplate Bombers: A History and Registry of the Enola Gay and Other B-29s Configured to Carry Atomic Bombs. McFarland & Company, Inc., p.114. ISBN 0-7864-2139-8.</ref>

[edit] Nagasaki

[edit] Nagasaki during World War II

Urakami Tenshudo (Catholic Church in Nagasaki) in January, 1946, destroyed by the atomic bomb, the dome of the church having toppled off.

The city of Nagasaki had been one of the largest sea ports in southern Japan and was of great wartime importance because of its wide-ranging industrial activity, including the production of ordnance, ships, military equipment, and other war materials.

In contrast to many modern aspects of Hiroshima, the bulk of the residences were of old-fashioned Japanese construction, consisting of wood or wood-frame buildings, with wood walls (with or without plaster), and tile roofs. Many of the smaller industries and business establishments were also housed in buildings of wood or other materials not designed to withstand explosions. Nagasaki had been permitted to grow for many years without conforming to any definite city zoning plan; residences were erected adjacent to factory buildings and to each other almost as closely as possible throughout the entire industrial valley.

Nagasaki had never been subjected to large-scale bombing prior to the explosion of a nuclear weapon there. On August 1 1945, however, a number of conventional high-explosive bombs were dropped on the city. A few hit in the shipyards and dock areas in the southwest portion of the city, several hit the Mitsubishi Steel and Arms Works and six bombs landed at the Nagasaki Medical School and Hospital, with three direct hits on buildings there. While the damage from these bombs was relatively small, it created considerable concern in Nagasaki and many people—principally school children—were evacuated to rural areas for safety, thus reducing the population in the city at the time of the nuclear attack.

To the north of Nagasaki there was a camp holding British prisoners of war, some of which were working in the coal mines and only found out about the bombing when they came to the surface. At least eight known POWs died from the bombing.<ref>As many as 13 POWs may have died in the Nagasaki bombing:

  • 1 British ([1] [2]{Note last link reference use only.} (This last reference also lists at least three other POWS who died on 9-8-1945 [3][4][5]but does not tell if these were Nagasaki casualties)
  • 7 Dutch {2 names known}[6] died in the bombing.
  • At least 2 POWs reportably died postwar from cancer thought to have been caused by Atomic bomb [7][8](note-last link United States Merchant website).


[edit] The bombing

Image:Fat man.jpg
A post-war "Fat Man" model.
For composition of USAAF mission see 509th Composite Group

On the morning of August 9 1945, the U.S. B-29 Superfortress Bockscar, flown by the crew of 393rd Squadron commander Major Charles W. Sweeney, carried the nuclear bomb code-named "Fat Man", with Kokura as the primary target and Nagasaki the secondary target. The mission plan for the second attack was nearly identical to that of the Hiroshima mission, with two B-29's flying an hour ahead as weather scouts and two additional B-29's in Sweeney's flight for instrumentation and photographic support of the mission. Sweeney took off with his weapon already armed but with the electrical safety plugs still engaged.<ref name="SM16"> Template:Cite web</ref>

Observers aboard the weather planes reported both targets clear. When Sweeney's aircraft arrived at the assembly point for his flight off the coast of Japan, the third plane (flown by the group's Operations Officer, Lt. Col. James I. Hopkins, Jr.) failed to make the rendezvous. Bockscar and the instrumentation plane circled for forty minutes without locating Hopkins. Already thirty minutes behind schedule, Sweeney decided to fly on without Hopkins.<ref name="SM16" />

By the time they reached Kokura a half hour later, a 7/10 cloud cover had obscured the city, prohibiting the visual attack required by orders. After three runs over the city, and with fuel running low because a transfer pump on a reserve tank had failed before take-off, they headed for their secondary target, Nagasaki.<ref name="SM16" /> Fuel consumption calculations made en route indicated that Bockscar had insufficient fuel to reach Iwo Jima and they would be forced to divert to Okinawa. After initially deciding that if Nagasaki were obscured on their arrival they would carry the bomb to Okinawa and dispose of it in the ocean if necessary, the weaponeer Navy Commander Frederick Ashworth decided that a radar approach would be used if the target was obscured.<ref name="Spitzer"> Template:Cite web</ref>

At about 07:50 Japanese time, an air raid alert was sounded in Nagasaki, but the "all clear" signal was given at 08:30. When only two B-29 Superfortresses were sighted at 10:53, the Japanese apparently assumed that the planes were only on reconnaissance and no further alarm was given.

A few minutes later, at 11:00, the support B-29 flown by Captain Frederick C. Bock dropped instruments attached to three parachutes. These instruments also contained messages to Professor Ryokichi Sagane, a nuclear physicist at the University of Tokyo who studied with three of the scientists responsible for the atomic bomb at the University of California, Berkeley, urging him to tell the public about the danger involved with these weapons of mass destruction. The messages were found by military authorities but not turned over to Sagane.<ref>Lillian Hoddeson, et al, Critical Assembly: A Technical History of Los Alamos During the Oppenheimer Years, 1943-1945 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1993), on 295.</ref>

Image:Nagasaki temple destroyed.jpg
A Japanese report on the bombing characterized Nagasaki as "like a graveyard with not a tombstone standing."

At 11:01, a last minute break in the clouds over Nagasaki allowed Bockscar's bombardier, Captain Kermit Beahan, to visually sight the target as ordered. The "Fat Man" weapon, containing a core of ~6.4 kg (14.1 lb) of plutonium-239, was dropped over the city's industrial valley. 43 seconds later it exploded 469 meters (1,540 ft) above the ground exactly halfway between the Mitsubishi Steel and Arms Works in the south and the Mitsubishi-Urakami Ordnance Works (Torpedo Works) in the north. This was nearly 3 kilometers (2 mi) northwest of the planned hypocenter; the blast was confined to the Urakami Valley and a major portion of the city was protected by the intervening hills.<ref>Dennis D. Wainstock (1996). The Decision to Drop the Atomic Bomb. Praeger, 92.</ref> The resulting explosion had a blast yield equivalent to 21 kilotons of TNT. The explosion generated heat estimated at 7000 degrees fahrenheit and winds that were estimated at 624 MPH.

According to some estimates, about 70,000 of Nagasaki's 240,000 residents were killed instantly,<ref>Rinjiro Sodei. Were We the Enemy?: American Survivors of Hiroshima. Boulder: Westview Press, 1998, ix.</ref> and up to 60,000 were injured. Other estimates say about 40,000 dead and perhaps 50,000 injured.<ref> Richard Frank. Downfall: The End of the Imperial Japanese Empire. New York: Penguin Putnam, Inc, 1999</ref> The radius of total destruction was about 1.6 km (1 mile), followed by fires across the northern portion of the city to 3.2 km (2 miles) south of the bomb.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref> The total number of residents killed may have been as many as 80,000, including those who died from radiation poisoning in the following months.[citation needed]

An unknown number of survivors from the Hiroshima bombing made their way to Nagasaki and were bombed again.[9]("Nine Who Survived Hiroshima and Nagasaki", Robert Trumbull, 1957).

[edit] Plans for more atomic attacks on Japan

The United States expected to have another atomic bomb ready for use in the third week of August, with three more in September and a further three in October.<ref>The Atomic Bomb and the End of World War II, A Collection of Primary Sources, National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 162 (</ref> On August 10, Major General Leslie Groves, military director of the Manhattan Project, sent a memorandum to General of the Army George Marshal, Chief of Staff of the United States Army, in which he wrote that "the next bomb . . should be ready for delivery on the first suitable weather after 17 or 18 August." On the same day, Marshal endorsed the memo with the comment, "It is not to be released over Japan without express authority from the President."<ref>The Atomic Bomb and the End of World War II, A Collection of Primary Sources, National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 162 (</ref> There was already discussion in the War Department about conserving the bombs in production until Operation Downfall, the projected invasion of Japan, had begun. "The problem now [13 August] is whether or not, assuming the Japanese do not capitulate, to continue dropping them every time one is made and shipped out there or whether to hold them . . . and then pour them all on in a reasonably short time. Not all in one day, but over a short period. And that also takes into consideration the target that we are after. In other words, should we not concentrate on targets that will be of the greatest assistance to an invasion rather than industry, morale, psychology, and the like? Nearer the tactical use rather than other use."<ref>The Atomic Bomb and the End of World War II, A Collection of Primary Sources, National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 162 (</ref>

[edit] The surrender of Japan and the U.S. occupation

Up to August 9, the War council was still insisting on its four conditions for surrender. On that day Hirohito ordered Kido to "quickly control the situation" "because Soviet Union has declared war against us". He then held an Imperial conference during which he authorized minister Togo to notify the Allies that Japan would accept their terms on one condition, that the declaration "does not compromise any demand which prejudices the prerogatives of His Majesty as a Sovereign ruler". (Kido Koichi nikki, p.1223).

On August 12, the Emperor informed the imperial family of his decision to surrender. One of his uncles, prince Asaka, then asked whether the war would be continued if the kokutai could not be preserved. Hirohito simply replied "of course".<ref>Terasaki Hidenari, Shôwa tennô dokuhakuroku, 1991, p.129</ref> As the Allied terms seemed to leave intact the principle of the preservation of the Throne, Hirohito recorded on August 14 his capitulation announcement which was broadcast to the Japanese nation next day despite a short rebellion by fanatic militarists opposed to the surrender.

During the year after the bombing, approximately 40,000 U.S. occupation troops were in Hiroshima. Nagasaki was occupied by 27,000 troops.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref> Upper limit dose estimates for those troops range from 0.19–0.3 mSv for Hiroshima and from 0.8–6.3 mSv for Nagasaki, depending on location.<ref>RADIATION DOSE RECONSTRUCTION U.S. OCCUPATION FORCES IN HIROSHIMA AND NAGASAKI, JAPAN, 1945-1946 (DNA 5512F)</ref>

[edit] The Hibakusha

The survivors of the bombings are called Hibakusha (被爆者?), a Japanese word that literally translates to "people exposed to the bomb". The suffering of the bombing is the root of Japan's postwar pacifism, and the nation has sought the abolition of nuclear weapons from the world ever since. As of 2005, there are about 266,000 hibakusha still living in Japan.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref>

[edit] Korean survivors

During the war Japan brought many Korean conscripts to both Hiroshima and Nagasaki to work as forced labor. According to recent estimates, about 20,000 Koreans were killed in Hiroshima and about 2,000 died in Nagasaki. It is estimated that one in seven of the Hiroshima victims was of Korean ancestry.<ref>Mikiso Hane. Modern Japan: A Historical Survey. Boulder: Westview Press, 1992.</ref> For many years Koreans had a difficult time fighting for recognition as atomic bomb victims and were denied health benefits.[citation needed] Though such issues have been somewhat addressed in recent years, issues and resentments regarding recognition continue to linger.

[edit] Debate over bombings

[edit] Support

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While the death of US President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, on April 12, 1945, marked a hopeful moment for the Japanese people, who were largely unaware of the inauspicious state of their war efforts owing to government propaganda, the German surrender of May 8 seemed to forbode certain defeat. In complete isolation, Allied forces controlled much of the globe. It could be presumed that it was only a matter of time before Russia reoriented her forces to declare war on Japan; Japan, at the time, still occupied territory it had won from Russia in the Russo-Japanese War.

Military, strategic, and technological superiority in the months leading up to the August 1945 atomic bombing seemed to indicate that Japan would have to surrender, but even beyond Victory in Europe Day, battle was fierce. The Battle of Okinawa, for instance, which had begun while Germany was still a trusted and steady Japanese ally, raged on well beyond the collapse of Germany, ultimately claiming 72,000 US casualties of whom over 12,500 were dead or missing, in addition to over 200,000 Japanese dead, at least half of whom were civilians. From the Allied standpoint, Japan seemed to have every incentive to surrender unconditionally, and yet Emperor Hirohito, regarded as a living deity for whom approximately 4,000 "kamikazes" laid down their lives, appeared culturally or politically unable to do so.

A nation historically suspicious of Western imperialism, Japanese military officials were unanimously opposed to any negotiations before the use of the atomic bomb.[citation needed] The rise of Japanese militarism in the wake of the Great Depression had resulted in countless assassinations of reformers attempting to check military power, such as those of Takahashi Korekiyo, Saitō Makoto, and Inukai Tsuyoshi, creating an environment in which opposition to war was itself a risky endeavor.

While some members of the civilian leadership did use covert diplomatic channels to attempt peace negotiation, they could not negotiate surrender or even cease-fire. Japan, as a Constitutional Monarchy, could only enter into a peace agreement with the unanimous support of the Japanese cabinet, a cabinet dominated by militarists of the Japanese Imperial Army and Navy, all of whom were staunchly opposed to surrender. A political stalemate developed between the military and civilian leaders of Japan, the military increasingly determined to fight despite all costs and odds. Many continued to believe that Japan could negotiate more favorable terms of surrender by continuing to inflict high levels of casualties on opposing forces, to end the war without an occupation of Japan or change of government.

Historian Victor Davis Hanson points to increased Japanese resistance, futile though it was, as it became obvious that Axis defeat was certain. The Battle of Okinawa showed this determination to fight on at all costs. More than 120,000 Japanese and 12,000 American troops were killed in this bloodiest battle of the Pacific theater, just eight weeks before Japan's final surrender. When the Soviet Union declared war on Japan on August 8, 1945, and carried out Operation August Storm, the Japanese Imperial Army ordered its ill-supplied forces in Manchuria to fight to the last man. Major General Masakazu Amano, chief of operations at Japanese Imperial Headquarters, stated that he was absolutely convinced his defensive preparations, begun in early 1944, could repel Allied invasion of the home islands with minimal losses.

According to some Japanese historians, after realizing that the destruction of Hiroshima was from a nuclear weapon, civilian leadership gained more traction in its argument that Japan had to concede defeat and accept the Potsdam Declaration. Even after the destruction of Nagasaki, the emperor himself needed to intervene to end a deadlock in the cabinet.

The peace faction seized on the bombing as decisive justification of surrender. Kōichi Kido, one of Emperor Hirohito's closest advisors, stated: "We of the peace party were assisted by the atomic bomb in our endeavor to end the war." Hisatsune Sakomizu, the chief Cabinet secretary in 1945, called the bombing "a golden opportunity given by heaven for Japan to end the war." According to these historians and others, the pro-peace civilian leadership was able to use the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki to convince the military that no amount of courage, skill, and fearless combat could help Japan against the power of atomic weapons.

Supporters of the bombing also point out that waiting for the Japanese to surrender was not a cost-free option—as a result of the war, noncombatants were dying throughout Asia at a rate of about 200,000 per month.[citation needed] Firebombing had killed well over 100,000 people in Japan since February of 1945, directly and indirectly. That intensive conventional bombing would have continued prior to an invasion. The submarine blockade and the United States Army Air Forces's mining operation, Operation Starvation, had effectively cut off Japan's imports. A complementary operation against Japan's railways was about to begin, isolating the cities of southern Honshū from the food grown elsewhere in the Home Islands. "Immediately after the defeat, some estimated that 10 million people were likely to starve to death," noted historian Daikichi Irokawa. Meanwhile, in addition to the Soviet attacks, offensives were scheduled for September in southern China and Malaysia.

The Americans anticipated losing many soldiers in the planned invasion of Japan, although the actual number of expected fatalities and wounded is subject to some debate. It depends on the persistence and reliability of Japanese resistance, and whether the Americans would have invaded only Kyūshū in November 1945 or if a follow up landing near Tokyo, projected for March of 1946, would have been needed. Years after the war, Secretary of State James Byrnes claimed that 500,000 American lives would have been lost, however in the summer of 1945, U.S. military planners projected[citation needed] 20,000–110,000 combat deaths from the initial November 1945 invasion, with about three to four times that number wounded. (Total U.S. combat deaths on all fronts in World War II in nearly four years of war were 292,000.)

The atomic bomb hastened the end of the Second World War in Asia liberating millions in occupied areas, including thousands of Western citizens; about 200,000 Dutch and 400,000 Indonesians ("Romushas") from Japanese concentration camps. Moreover, Japanese troops had committed atrocities against millions of civilians (such as the infamous Nanking Massacre), and the early end to the war prevented further bloodshed.

Supporters also point to an order given by the Japanese War Ministry on August 1, 1944, ordering the disposal and execution of all Allied POWs, numbering over 100,000, if an invasion of the Japanese mainland took place.<ref>The only existing original copy of general order was found by Jack Edwards after the war in the ruins of the Kinkaseki prisoner of war camp. (Edwards References Page 260)</ref>

Supporters of the bombings have argued that the Japanese government waged total war, ordering many civilians (including women and children) to work in factories and military offices and to fight against any invading force. Father John A. Siemes, professor of modern philosophy at Tokyo's Catholic University, and an eyewitness to the atomic bomb attack on Hiroshima wrote:

"We have discussed among ourselves the ethics of the use of the bomb. Some consider it in the same category as poison gas and were against its use on a civil population. Others were of the view that in total war, as carried on in Japan, there was no difference between civilians and soldiers, and that the bomb itself was an effective force tending to end the bloodshed, warning Japan to surrender and thus to avoid total destruction. It seems logical to me that he who supports total war in principle cannot complain of war against civilians."<ref>Template:Cite web</ref>

Some supporters of the bombings have emphasized the strategic significance of Hiroshima, as the Japanese 2nd army's headquarters, and of Nagasaki, as a major munitions manufacturing center.

In his speech to the Japanese people presenting his reasons for surrender, Emperor Hirohito refers specifically to the atomic bombs, stating that if they continued to fight it would result in " ultimate collapse and obliteration of the Japanese nation..."<ref></ref>

[edit] Opposition

Image:Cenotaph Hiroshima.jpg
The cenotaph at the Hiroshima Peace Park is inscribed with an ambiguous sentence: "Rest in peace, for this mistake will not be repeated." This construction, natural in the Japanese language, was intended to memorialize the victims of Hiroshima without politicizing the issue.

Objections to the bombings generally emphasize one or both of two points:

  1. That the bombings were inherently immoral due to the massive civilian casualties.
  2. The unique nature of nuclear weapons, and that the bombings were unjustified and unnecessary for tactical military reasons.

[edit] Inherently immoral

A number of notable individuals and organizations have criticized the bombings, many of them characterizing them as war crimes or crime against humanity. Two early critics of the bombings were Albert Einstein and Leo Szilard, who had together spurred the first bomb research in 1939 with a jointly written letter to President Roosevelt. Szilard, who had gone on to play a major role in the Manhattan Project, argued:

"Let me say only this much to the moral issue involved: Suppose Germany had developed two bombs before we had any bombs. And suppose Germany had dropped one bomb, say, on Rochester and the other on Buffalo, and then having run out of bombs she would have lost the war. Can anyone doubt that we would then have defined the dropping of atomic bombs on cities as a war crime, and that we would have sentenced the Germans who were guilty of this crime to death at Nuremberg and hanged them?."<ref> The quote is three-quarters of the way down, under HOW BOMBING BOOMERANGED, first answer. From U.S. News & World Report "President Truman Did Not Understand,"

, August 15, 1960, pages 68-71</ref>

On August 8, 1945, Albert Camus addressed the bombing of Hiroshima in an editorial in the French newspaper Combat:

"Mechanized civilization has just reached the ultimate stage of barbarism. In a near future, we will have to choose between mass suicide and intelligent use of scientific conquests[...] This can no longer be simply a prayer; it must become an order which goes upward from the peoples to the governments, an order to make a definitive choice between hell and reason."<ref> Albert Camus in Combat newspaper, August 8, 1945, available in French here</ref>

In 1946, a report by the Federal Council of Churches entitled Atomic Warfare and the Christian Faith, includes the following passage:

"As American Christians, we are deeply penitent for the irresponsible use already made of the atomic bomb. We are agreed that, whatever be one's judgment of the war in principle, the surprise bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki are morally indefensible."

In 1963 the bombings were the subject of a judicial review in Ryuichi Shimoda et al. v. The State.<ref>Shimoda et al. v. The State, Tokyo District Court, 7 December 1963</ref> On the 22nd anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, the District Court of Tokyo declined to rule on the legality of nuclear weapons in general, but found that "the attacks upon Hiroshima and Nagasaki caused such severe and indiscriminate suffering that they did violate the most basic legal principles governing the conduct of war."<ref> Falk, Richard A.. "The Claimants of Hiroshima", The Nation, 1965-02-15. reprinted in (1966) “The Shimoda Case: Challenge and Response”, Richard A. Falk, Saul H. Mendlovitz eds.: The Strategy of World Order. Volume: 1. New York: World Law Fund, pp. 307-13.</ref>

New York City: An anti-nuclear weapon display in Tompkins Square Park on August 6th
In the opinion of the court, the act of dropping an atomic bomb on cities was at the time governed by international law found in the Hague Regulations on Land Warfare of 1907 and the Hague Draft Rules of Air Warfare of 1922–1923<ref>

Boyle, Francis A. (2002). The Criminality of Nuclear Deterrence. Atlanta: Clarity Press, 58.</ref> and was therefore illegal.<ref>Falk, "The Claimants of Hiroshima", p.308</ref>

As the first military use of nuclear weapons, the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki represent to some the crossing of a crucial barrier. Peter Kuznick, director of the Nuclear Studies Institute at American University in Washington DC wrote of President Truman:

”He knew he was beginning the process of annihilation of the species. It was not just a war crime; it was a crime against humanity."<ref name="New Scientist">

Template:Cite web</ref> Kurznick is one of several observers who believe that the U.S. was largely motivated in carrying out the bombings by a desire to demonstrate the power of its new weapon to the Soviet Union. Historian Mark Selden of Cornell University has stated "Impressing Russia was more important than ending the war in Japan."<ref name="New Scientist"/>

Takashi Hiraoka, mayor of Hiroshima, upholding nuclear disarmament, said in a hearing to The Hague International Court of Justice (ICJ):

"It is clear that the use of nuclear weapons, which cause indiscriminate mass murder that leaves [?effects on] survivors for decades, is a violation of international law".<ref name="Hearing"> November 1995 Public Sitting, in the Case of Legality of the Use by a State of Nuclear Weapons in Armed Conflicts at La Hague International Court of Justice</ref><ref> See also 1995 Peace Conference, by Takashi Hiraoka, Mayor of Hiroshima </ref>

Iccho Ito, the mayor of Nagasaki, declared in the same hearing:

"It is said that the descendants of the atomic bomb survivors will have to be monitored for several generations to clarify the genetic impact, which means that the descendants will live in anxiety for [decades] to come. [...] with their colossal power and capacity for slaughter and destruction, nuclear weapons make no distinction between combatants and non-combatants or between military installations and civilian communities [...] The use of nuclear weapons [...] therefore is a manifest infraction of international law."<ref name="Hearing"/>

John Bolton, current US ambassador to the United Nations, used Hiroshima and Nagasaki as examples why the US should not adhere to the International Criminal Court (ICC):

"A fair reading of the treaty [the Rome Statute concerning the ICC], for example, leaves the objective observer unable to answer with confidence whether the United States was guilty of war crimes for its aerial bombing campaigns over Germany and Japan in World War II. Indeed, if anything, a straightforward reading of the language probably indicates that the court would find the United States guilty. A fortiori, these provisions seem to imply that the United States would have been guilty of a war crime for dropping atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. This is intolerable and unacceptable."<ref> "The Risks and Weaknesses of the International Criminal Court from America's Perspective", by John Bolton, current US ambassador to the United Nations, Winter 2001.</ref>

Historical accounts indicate that the decision to use the atomic bombs was made in order to provoke an early surrender of Japan by use of an awe-inspiring power. These observations have caused some commentators to state that the incident was an act of state terrorism.[citation needed] These claims were strong enough to cause historian Robert Newman, a supporter of the bombings, to argue that the practice of terrorism is justified in some cases.[citation needed]

[edit] Militarily unnecessary

Those who argue that the bombings were unnecessary on military grounds hold that Japan was already essentially defeated and ready to surrender.

One of the most notable individuals with this opinion was then-General Dwight D. Eisenhower. He wrote in his memoir The White House Years:

"In 1945 Secretary of War Stimson, visiting my headquarters in Germany, informed me that our government was preparing to drop an atomic bomb on Japan. I was one of those who felt that there were a number of cogent reasons to question the wisdom of such an act. During his recitation of the relevant facts, I had been conscious of a feeling of depression and so I voiced to him my grave misgivings, first on the basis of my belief that Japan was already defeated and that dropping the bomb was completely unnecessary, and secondly because I thought that our country should avoid shocking world opinion by the use of a weapon whose employment was, I thought, no longer mandatory as a measure to save American lives."<ref>

Eisenhower, Dwight D (1999). The White House Years: Mandate for Change, 1953-56. Doubleday & Co., Inc., 312-313. ASIN: B000DZAL8I.</ref><ref name="Hiroshima: Quotes"> Template:Cite web</ref>

Other U.S. military officers who disagreed with the necessity of the bombings include General Douglas MacArthur (the highest-ranking officer in the Pacific Theater), Fleet Admiral William D. Leahy (the Chief of Staff to the President), General Carl Spaatz (commander of the U.S. Strategic Air Forces in the Pacific), and Brigadier General Carter Clarke (the military intelligence officer who prepared intercepted Japanese cables for U.S. officials),<ref name="Hiroshima: Quotes"/> and Admiral Ernest King, U.S. Chief of Naval Operations, Undersecretary of the Navy Ralph A. Bard,<ref name="Bard Memorandum"> Template:Cite web</ref> and Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, Commander in Chief of the Pacific Fleet.<ref> Template:Cite web</ref>

"The Japanese had, in fact, already sued for peace. The atomic bomb played no decisive part, from a purely military point of view, in the defeat of Japan." Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, Commander in Chief of the U.S. Pacific Fleet.<ref name = "CD"> Template:Cite journal</ref>
"The use of [the atomic bombs] at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of no material assistance in our war against Japan. The Japanese were already defeated and ready to surrender." Admiral William D. Leahy, Chief of Staff to President Truman.<ref name = "CD" />

The United States Strategic Bombing Survey, after interviewing hundreds of Japanese civilian and military leaders after Japan surrendered, reported:

"Based on a detailed investigation of all the facts, and supported by the testimony of the surviving Japanese leaders involved, it is the Survey's opinion that certainly prior to 31 December 1945, and in all probability prior to 1 November 1945, Japan would have surrendered even if the atomic bombs had not been dropped, even if Russia had not entered the war, and even if no invasion had been planned or contemplated."<ref>

Template:Cite web</ref><ref name = "CD" />

The survey assumed that continued conventional bombing attacks on Japan—with additional direct and indirect casualties—would be needed to force surrender by the November or December dates mentioned.

Many, including General MacArthur, have contended that Japan would have surrendered before the bombings if the U.S. had notified Japan that it would accept a surrender that allowed Emperor Hirohito to keep his position as titular leader of Japan, a condition the U.S. did in fact allow after Japan surrendered. U.S. leadership knew this, through intercepts of encoded Japanese messages, but refused to clarify Washington's willingness to accept this condition. Before the bombings, the position of the Japanese leadership with regards to surrender was divided. Several diplomats favored surrender, while the leaders of the Japanese military voiced a commitment to fighting a "decisive battle" on Kyūshū, hoping that they could negotiate better terms for an armistice afterward. The Japanese government did not decide what terms, beyond preservation of an imperial system, they would have accepted to end the war; as late as August 9, the Supreme War Council was still split, with the hard-liners insisting Japan should demobilize its own forces, no war crimes trials would be conducted, and no occupation of Japan would be allowed. Only the direct intervention of the emperor ended the dispute, and even then a military coup was attempted to prevent the surrender.

What was originally the Hiroshima Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall has now been turned into the Hiroshima Peace Memorial. The atomic bomb exploded almost directly overhead.

Historian Tsuyoshi Hasegawa's research has led him to conclude that the atomic bombings themselves were not even the principal reason for capitulation. Instead, he contends, it was the swift and devastating Soviet victories in Manchuria that forced the Japanese surrender on August 15 1945.<ref> Hasegawa, Tsuyoshi (2005). Racing the Enemy: Stalin, Truman, and the Surrender of Japan. Belknap Press, pg. 298. ISBN 0-674-01693-9.</ref>

[edit] See also

[edit] References

  • Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. The Spirit of Hiroshima: An Introduction to the Atomic Bomb Tragedy. (Hiroshima: Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, 1999)
  • Ronald Takaki. Hiroshima: Why America Dropped the Bomb. (Boston: Little, Brown, and Company, 1995).
  • Rinjiro Sodei. Were We the Enemy?: American Survivors of Hiroshima. (Boulder: Westview Press, 1998).
  • Richard B. Frank, Downfall: The End of the Imperial Japanese Empire (Penguin, 2001 ISBN 0-14-100146-1)
  • The Committee for the Compilation of Materials on Damage Caused by the Atomic Bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Hiroshima and Nagasaki: The Physical, Medical, and Social Effects of the Atomic Bombings (Basic Books: 1981) ISBN 0-465-02985-X.
  • Tsuyoshi Hasegawa, Racing the Enemy: Stalin, Truman, and the Surrender of Japan, Belknap Press. ISBN 0-674-01693-9.
  • Laura Hein, and Mark Selden, eds. Living with the Bomb: American and Japanese Cultural Conflicts in the Nuclear Age, (M.E. Sharpe: 1997) ISBN 1-56324-966-9
    • Section III: Sadao Asada (1997). The Mushroom Cloud and National Psyches Japanese and American Perceptions of the Atomic-Bomb Decision, 1945-1995
  • Martin J. Sherwin A World Destroyed: Hiroshima and its Legacies, Stanford University Press, 3rd edition 2003, ISBN 0-8047-3957-9
  • Lillian Hoddeson, et al, Critical Assembly: A Technical History of Los Alamos During the Oppenheimer Years, 1943-1945 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1993), ISBN 0-521-44132-3
  • Dennis D. Wainstock The Decision to Drop the Atomic Bomb, Praeger Publishers (1996) ISBN 0-275-95475-7
  • Newman, Robert. Enola Gay and the Court of History (Frontiers in Political Communication) (New York: Peter Lang Publishing, 2004) ISBN 0-8204-7457-6
  • Eisenhower, Dwight D. The White House Years. MANDATE FOR CHANGE 1953-1956. Doubleday & Company, Inc.,Garden City, New York 1963. (On line source)
  • United States Strategic Bombing Survey: Summary Report (Pacific War). Washington, D.C. 1 July 1946. Japan's Struggle to End the War. Washington: Government Printing Office.

[edit] Further reading

There is an extensive body of literature concerning the bombings, the decision to use the bombs, and the surrender of Japan. The following volumes provide a sampling of prominent works on this subject matter. Because the debate over justification for the bombings is particularly intense, some of the literature may contain claims that are disputed.

[edit] Decision to use the bomb

[edit] Descriptions of the bombings

The black marker indicates "ground zero" of the Nagasaki atomic bomb explosion.

[edit] Histories of the events

  • Gar Alperovitz, The Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb (New York: Vintage Books, 1995)
  • Robert Lifton and Greg Mitchell.Hiroshima in America: A Half Century of Denial. (Putnam Pub Group: 1995) ISBN 0-615-00709-0. (Avon: 1996) ISBN 0-380-72764-1
  • The Committee for the Compilation of Materials on Damage Caused by the Atomic Bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Hiroshima and Nagasaki: The Physical, Medical, and Social Effects of the Atomic Bombings (Basic Books: 1981) ISBN 0-465-02985-X. Detailed accounts of the immediate and subsequent casualties over three decades. Includes analysis of U.S., Chinese, Korean prisoner casualties, and international visitors and students. In 706 pages, 34 subject expert scientists commissioned by the two cities report their findings.
  • William Craig, The Fall of Japan (New York: Dial, 1967) A history of the governmental decision making on both sides, the bombings, and the opening of the Occupation.
  • Richard B. Frank, Downfall: The End of the Imperial Japanese Empire (Penguin, 2001 ISBN 0-14-100146-1). A history of the final months of the war, with emphasis on the preparations and prospects for the invasion of Japan. The author shows that the Japanese military leaders were preparing to continue the fight, and that they hoped that a bloody defense of their main islands would lead to something less than unconditional surrender and a continuation of their existing government.
  • Michael J. Hogan, Hiroshima in History and Memory
  • Fletcher Knebel, Charles W. Bailey, No High Ground (New York: Harper and Row, 1960) A history of the bombings, and the decision-making to use them.
  • Robert Jungk, Brighter Than a Thousand Suns: A Personal History of the Atomic Scientists (New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1956, 1958)
  • Pacific War Research Society, Japan's Longest Day (Kodansha, 2002, ISBN 4-7700-2887-3), the internal Japanese account of the surrender and how it was almost thwarted by fanatic soldiers who attempted a coup against the Emperor.
  • Richard Rhodes, The Making of the Atomic Bomb (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1986.)
  • Gordon Thomas, Max Morgan Witts, Enola Gay (New York: Stein and Day, 1977) A history of the preparations to drop the bombs, and of the missions.
  • J. Samuel Walker, Prompt and Utter Destruction: President Truman and the Use of Atomic Bombs Against Japan
  • Stephen Walker, Shockwave: Countdown to Hiroshima (New York: HarperCollins, 2005) ISBN 0-06-074284-4. Narrative events in the lives of those involved in or touched by the bombings.
  • Stanley Weintraub, The Last, Great Victory: The End of World War II, July/August 1945, (New York, Truman Talley Books/Dutton, 1995) Recounts the events day by day.
  • U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey, The Effects of the Atomic Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Chairman's Office, 19 June 1946. Available online

[edit] Debates over the bombings, and their portrayal

  • Grayling, A. C. (2006). Among the Dead Cities. New York: Walker Publishing Company Inc.. ISBN 0-8027-1471-4. Philosophical/moral discussion concerning the the Allied strategy of area bombing in WWII, including the use of atomic weapons on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
  • Thomas B. Allen and Norman Polmar, Code-Name Downfall: The Secret Plan to Invade Japan- And Why Truman Dropped the Bomb (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1995), ISBN 0-684-80406-9. Concludes the bombings were justified.
  • Gar Alperovitz, Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb. New York: Random House, 1996. Weighs whether the bombings were justified or necessary, concludes "were not".
  • Barton J. Bernstein, ed. The Atomic Bomb: The Critical Issues (Boston: Little, Brown, 1976). Weighs whether the bombings were justified or necessary.
  • Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin, American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer (New York: Knopf, 2005). ISBN 0-375-41202-6, "The thing had to be done," but "Circumstances are heavy with misgiving."
  • Herbert Feis, Japan Subdued: The Atomic Bomb and the End of the War in the Pacific (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1961).
  • 'Hiroshima bomb may have carried ulterior motive' - A Newscientist report on findings suggesting Japan was already looking for peace, that it surrendered due to the Soviet invasion, and that Truman's true aim was to start the coldwar, the bomb being a demonstration of US power to the Soviets.
  • Richard B. Frank, "Why Truman dropped the bomb: sixty years after Hiroshima, we now have the secret intercepts that shaped his decision", The Weekly Standard, (August 8, 2005): p. 20.
  • Paul Fussell, Thank God for the Atom Bomb (Ballantine, Reprint 1990), ISBN 0-345-36135-0.
  • Tsuyoshi Hasegawa, Racing the Enemy: Stalin, Truman, and the Surrender of Japan, Belknap Press. ISBN 0-674-01693-9. Argues the bombs were not the deciding factor in ending the war. The Russian entrance into the Pacific war was the primary cause for Japan's surrender.
  • Robert James Maddox, Weapons for Victory: The Hiroshima Decision (University of Missouri Press, 2004). Author is diplomatic historian who favors Truman's decision to drop atomic bombs on two cities.
  • Robert P. Newman, Truman and the Hiroshima Cult (Michigan State University Press, 1995). An analysis critical of postwar opposition to the atom bombings.
  • Philip Nobile, ed. Judgement at the Smithsonian (New York: Marlowe and Company, 1995). ISBN 1-56924-841-9. Covers the controversy over the content of the 1995 Smithsonian Institution exhibition associated with the display of the Enola Gay; includes complete text of the planned (and canceled) exhibition.
  • Ronald Takaki, Hiroshima: Why America Dropped the Atomic Bomb (Little, Brown, 1995). ISBN 0-316-83124-7
  • Truman, The Bomb, And What Was Necessary [10]

[edit] Cultural notes

Image:A-Bomb Dome.jpg
Citizens of Hiroshima walk by the Hiroshima Peace Memorial, the closest building to have survived the city's atomic bombing.
  • The book Hiroshima Mon Amour, by Marguerite Duras, and the related film, were partly inspired by the bombing. The film version, directed by Alain Resnais, has some documentary footage of the afteraffects, burn victims, devastation.
  • The Japanese manga "Hadashi no Gen" ("Barefoot Gen"), also known as "Gen of Hiroshima" [11]; Studio Ghibli's anime film Grave of the Fireflies which depicts American fire bombings in Japan; and Akira Kurosawa's Rhapsody in August are just a few examples from manga and film which deal with the bombings and/or the wartime context of the bombings.
  • Zipang is a currently running anime series in which a modern-day Japanese SDF ship travels back in time to WWII. The series provides a look into the mindset of that time and how the Japanese currently feel about it.
  • The musical piece "Threnody to the Victims of Hiroshima" by Krzysztof Penderecki (sometimes also called Threnody to the Victims of Hiroshima for 52 Strings, and originally 8'37" as a nod to John Cage) was written in 1960 as a reaction to what the composer believed to be a senseless act. On the 12th of October, 1964, Penderecki wrote: "Let the Threnody express my firm belief that the sacrifice of Hiroshima will never be forgotten and lost."
  • Composer Robert Steadman has written a musical work for voice and chamber ensemble entitled Hibakusha Songs. Commissioned by the Imperial War Museum North, Manchester, it was premiered in 2005.
  • Artists Stephen Moore and Ann Rosenthal examine 60 years of living in the shadow of the bomb in their decade-long art project "Infinity City." Their web site documents their travels to historical sites on three continents and explores their art installations and web works reflecting on America's nuclear legacy.
  • The Canadian progressive rock band Rush performed a song called "The Manhattan Project" depicting the events of and leading up to the bombing of Hiroshima.
  • The story of Sadako Sasaki, a young Hiroshima survivor diagnosed with leukemia, has been recounted in a number of books and films. The best known of these works is Eleanor Coerr's Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes (Putnam, 1977). Sasaki, confined to a hospital because of her leukaemia, created over 1,000 origami cranes, in reference to a Japanese legend which granted the creator of the cranes one wish.

[edit] Films about the events

  • Imamura, Shohei (Director). (1989) Kuroi ame (Black Rain) [Feature-length drama]. Japan: Toei Co. Ltd.. - The story of the aftermath of the Hiroshima bombing, based on Masuji Ibuse's novel.
  • Kurihara, Koreyoshi and Roger Spottiswoode (Director). (1995) Hiroshima [Feature-length docudrama]. Canada/Japan: Hallmark Home Entertainment. - A detailed, semi-documentary dramatisation of the political decisions involved with the atomic bombings.
  • Kurosawa, Akira (Director). (1991) Hachi-gatsu no kyôshikyoku (Rhapsody in August) [Feature-length drama]. Japan: MGM Home Entertainment. - Fictional drama that takes place in Nagasaki at the time of the bombing.
  • Sato, Junya (Director). (2005) Hadashi no Gen (Barefoot Gen) [Feature-length, animated movie]. Japan: Tara Releasing. - Animated dramatization of the bombing of Hiroshima based on the writer's own experiences and the documented experiences of other surivors.

[edit] Footnotes


World War II
Theatres     Main events     Specific articles     Participants    

in Europe
in Asia

Main theatres:
Eastern Europe
Middle East
Asia & Pacific

General timeline:


Invasion of Poland
Winter War

Invasion of Denmark and Norway
Battle of France
Battle of Britain
East African Campaign
North African Campaign
West Africa Campaign

Battle of Greece
Battle of Crete
Invasion of Soviet Union
Battle of Moscow
Attack on Pearl Harbor

Battle of the Coral Sea
Battle of Midway
Battle of Stalingrad
Second Battle of El Alamein
Operation Torch

Battle of Kursk
Battle of GuadalcanalInvasion of Italy

Battle of Leyte GulfBattle of CassinoBattle of Normandy
Operation Bagration
Battle of the Bulge

Battle of Okinawa
Battle of Berlin
End in Europe
Atomic bombings of Hiroshima & Nagasaki
Operation August Storm
Surrender of Japan


Home Front
Military Engagements

Civilian impact and atrocities:
Allied war crimes
Dutch famine of 1944
Hiroshima & Nagasaki
German war crimes
Japanese war crimes
Strategic bombings

Expulsion of Germans
Cold War


The Allies
Image:Flag of the United Kingdom.svg United Kingdom
Image:US flag 48 stars.svg United States
Image:Flag of the Soviet Union.svg Soviet Union
Image:Flag of the Republic of China.svg Republic of China
Image:Flag of Poland.svg Poland
Image:Flag of France.svg France
Image:Flag of the Netherlands.svg Netherlands
Image:Flag of Belgium.svg Belgium
Image:Canadian Red Ensign 1921.svg Canada
Image:Flag of Norway.svg Norway
Image:Flag of Greece (1828-1978).svg Greece
Image:Flag of SFR Yugoslavia.svg Yugoslavia
Image:Flag of the Czech Republic.svg Czechoslovakia
Image:Imperial-India-Blue-Ensign.svg India
Image:Flag of Australia.svg Australia
Image:Flag of New Zealand.svg New Zealand
Image:Flag of South Africa 1928-1994.svg South Africa
Image:Flag of Egypt 1922.svg Egypt
Image:Flag of Brazil.svg Brazil

The Axis
Image:Flag of Germany 1933.svg Germany
Image:Flag of Japan - variant.svg Japan
Image:Flag of Italy (1861-1946).svg Italy
Image:Flag of Hungary 1940.svg Hungary
Image:Bulgaria flag.gif Bulgaria
Image:Romania flag.gif Romania
Image:Flag of Finland.svg Finland
Image:Flag of Croatia Ustasa.svg Croatia
Image:1stslovakia flag large.svg Slovakia
Image:Flag of Thailand.svg Thailand

See also

Category: World War II
Total war
WWII in contemporary culture
Military awards of World War II
Attacks in North America
Comparative military ranks of World War II

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ar:الضربة النووية على هيروشيما وناجازاكي bn:হিরোশিমা ও নাগাসাকিতে পারমাণবিক বোমাবর্ষণ bs:Atomski napad na Hirošimu i Nagasaki da:Atombomberne over Hiroshima og Nagasaki de:Atombombenabwürfe auf Hiroshima und Nagasaki es:Bombardeos atómicos sobre Hiroshima y Nagasaki fr:Bombardements atomiques d'Hiroshima et Nagasaki hi:हिरोशिमा और नागासाकी परमाणु बमबारी hr:Atomsko bombardiranje Hirošime i Nagasakija it:Bombardamento atomico di Hiroshima e Nagasaki ja:広島市への原子爆弾投下 no:Atombombene over Hiroshima og Nagasaki nn:Atombombene over Hiroshima og Nagasaki pt:Bombardeamentos de Hiroshima e Nagasaki ru:Атомные бомбардировки Хиросимы и Нагасаки fi:Hiroshiman ja Nagasakin pommitukset sv:Atombomberna över Hiroshima och Nagasaki zh:广岛市原子弹爆炸

Atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki

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