Skip to comments.Silent Nagasaki (“Raw” Footage of the Loading of the Fat Man Bomb)
Posted on 02/08/2014 10:37:19 AM PST by nickcarraway
into the Bockscar plane on the island of Tinian, August 9th, 1945
Posted February 7th, 2014 by Alex Wellerstein Teaching and other work has bogged me down, as it sometimes does, but Im working on a pretty fun post for next week. In the meantime, here is something I put together yesterday. This is unedited (in the sense that I didnt edit it), raw footage of the loading of the Fat Man bomb into the Bockscar plane on the island of Tinian, August 9th, 1945. It also features footage of the bombing of Nagasaki itself. I got this from Los Alamos historian Alan Carr a while back. Ive added YouTube annotations to it as well, calling out various things that are not always known.
You have probably seen snippets of this in documentaries and history shows before. But I find the original footage much more haunting. It was filmed without sound, so any sound you hear added to this kind of footage is an artifact of later editing. The silent footage, however, makes it feel more real, more authentic. It removes the Hollywood aspect of it. In that way, I find this sort of thing causes people to take the events in the footage more seriously as an historical event, rather than one episode in World War II, the Movie.
I posted it on Reddit as well, and while there was some share of nonsense in the ~700 comments that it accrued, there was also a lot of expression of empathy and revelation, and a lot of good questions being asked (e.g. Did the people loading Fat Man into the plane know what they were loading? Probably more than the people who loaded Little Boy did, because they knew what had happened at Hiroshima). So I think some learning has happened, and I think the fact that this has gotten +100,000 views in just a day is some sign that there is quite an audience out there for this sort of stripped-down history.
There is also Hiroshima footage, but it isnt quite as good, on the whole. It is largely concerned with the crew of the plane taking off and arriving. Which is interesting, in a sense, but visually doesnt mean much unless you know who everybody is.
There is a lot of Trinity test footage as well which I will upload and annotate in the future as well.
Until next week!
I don’t think I can watch it right now-—too disturbing.
That said,I was in my early teens when the bombs were dropped and we all cheered.
War is hell.
I recently saw “The Wolverine” and the Hollywood version of the Nagasaki bombing. I wonder how realistic that was? Anyway, nuclear explosions are cool from a safe distance. Hiroshima and Nagasaki were military targets, in any case, intentionally set within civilian populations by the Japanese.
Thank God for the Bomb.
You can say that again.
My Dad was to turn 18 in November of 1945 and thanks to High School ROTC he was a qualified pilot with four years of experience in gliders and powered flight. If not for the bomb he probably would have been flying in the invasion of Japan.
And probably fighting in the “Japanese War”, when Red “North Japan” invaded “South Japan.”
That bomb saved my late father-in-laws life. He was a Marine wounded on Iwo Jima and were it not for that bomb he and millions of other American kids might not have lived to see their next birthday. I'm one American who is sick and f**king tired of hearing this bs about how horrible the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were. America didn't want war but Japan did and they paid the price for it. Do you think if the Japs had such a weapon and possessed it on Dec.7.1941 they would have hesitated to use it? F'ing world gets all weepy every time August 6th. and 9th. rolls around but it never gets weepy on Dec.7.
My father was an aviation cadet due to graduate in Sept 1945
He was to pilot a B29.........
Still remembering the guy who died recently. He was at Hiroshima when it was bombed. He survived and headed home to Nagasaki. Survived that one too. What a bad week.
Perhaps even more to the point, if Japan had such a weapon would they have hesitated to use it in August of 1945?
I think not.
Thanks for posting! My best friend’s late father-in-law loaded the first one. I’ve gotta show him this one and see if he sees the guy.
I found the commentary interesting. The “Trinity and Beyond” movies were good, but I see the benefit of the silent films.
Supposedly, about 125 high-value workers were railroaded from the aftermath of Hiroshima to Nagasaki just in time to experience it all over again.
That was CSA GEN Nathaniel Bedford Forrest who said that. And he was educated enough to use proper English.
Didn't know that about you but it's certainly true for me and many others. People still look at me like I have two heads when I say, "Thank God for the bombs at Hiroshima and Nagasaki."
He died in 2010, aged 93.
He was from Nagasaki but was in Hiroshima on business (he worked for Mitsubishi). After surviving Hiroshima, he made his way back to Nagasaki, reported to work, and was recounting his experience to his supervisor, when Fat Man exploded.
Not only did these bombs save American lives, but Japanese ones as well.
Our military had estimates of 500,000 to 1,000,000 American casualties that would we would have suffered from an invasion of the Japanese mainland.
Those would have been our soldiers, and while it’s a horrible number, we could have recovered, albeit slowly.
The estimated casualties on the Japanese side were 2 to 5 times the American estimations. And those would have included civilians, who would have suffered much worse in an extended conflict than in the one week of the atomic bomb attacks.
A body count of 150,000 versus 2,000,000 to 5,000,000, in addition to untold suffering. Harry Truman would have been considered a monster by the U.S. and Japan to allow such a thing to happen, once it was known he had the bomb but refused to use it.
Then, we could have gone the other way and not invaded from the sea, but allowed the Soviets to do so via China.
Either way, it’s a good possibility we’d only know about the Japanese from museums and history books had we not dropped those bombs.
I'm getting old and time is really starting fly by. 3 or 4 years ago isn't "recently".
According to Yamaguchi's Wikipedia article, he was the sole person officially recognized by the Japanese government as having survived both attacks.
What’s scary to contemplate is what if Tojo and Company knocked off the Emperor before he made his broadcast?
Pity. The Navy Ordinance Officer responsible for the arming of Little Boy was watching the B-29s take off the day before, and witnessed one, if not three, B-29s and crews, not surviving the take off.
The plan was for the A-bomb to be armed (4 cordite-containing bolts screwed into the nose) before take off.
He decided to hold off until safely airborne, and had the bomb loaded, and practiced the rest of the day, suited up, making his way to the bomb, and screwing/unscrewing the bolts in the confines of the bomb bay.
There isn't all that much in the way of structural integrity to stand upon in the bay...
I usually ask people to ponder how history would be different today if the Iron Curtain that fell across Europe were to have included Japan in the 1940's? That was a very likely outcome had we allowed the Soviets to get involved in the War in the Pacific. As it was, the Soviets were trying to play catch-up, having only very recently declaring war on Japan (August 8, 1945, between the bombings).
And imagine if the war extended beyond 1949, when Mao Tse Tung took over China.
The Chinese were going to join in and they were thirsty for revenge, to say the least.
Not to mention being colder than a witches....well, you know. I understand he had to be fairly quick about loading the triggers because his fingers were getting stiff.
The interaction between China and the USSR would have been...interesting.
Well they were pals for the first few years, at least on the surface.
What is scary to contemplate is that the war in Japan was ACTUALLY ended by a tape recorder. At the time of the broadcast, the emperor's palace was surrounded and he wasn't going anywhere. What the conspirators didn't know was that there had been great concern that the emperor couldn't get through the speech without choking up. So they recorded it the night before. The message played that day was actually a recording!
What did come out of this was that the conspirators, who were also the most hard line and wanted to continue the war no matter what, were completely embarrassed over their failure and most committed ritual suicide. That was the main reason the resistance fell apart and we did not have a long insurgency, as in Iraq.
I think that would be the subject of a great movie, “The Emperor’s Speech.”
Fighting over the spoils of a war with Japan would have had quite the impact on that chumminess.
When I was a kid I met the pilot who flew the plane that the photographers were on. He said that he knew nothing about the bomb but was told to fly to certain coordinates and make a sharp turn and open the bay doors. I remember that his last name was Cline. Real interesting fellow.
My dad fought with Patton’s Third Army. Upon completion of Europe, he was sent back to the US to train for the invasion of...JAPAN.
When they heard of the Atomic bombs, they knew it was over and all breathed a sigh of relief.
That was the subject of the last episode of Band of Brothers, everyone was obsessed with getting enough “points” so as to avoid having to participate in the invasion of Japan. Pure unbridled joy when they learned of the bombs and the surrender.
very cool footage.
Thanks for posting it
Exactly correct, on all counts.
The Force is strong in you.
Wow, I thought you were kidding.
That’s a neat website!
-— Our military had estimates of 500,000 to 1,000,000 American casualties that would we would have suffered from an invasion of the Japanese mainland. -—
That may be true, but that in itself would not justify the targeting of a purely civilian target (which Hiroshima and Nagasaki were NOT), because a good end does not justify evil means.
But there were significant military targets within those cities, which justified the action.
When I saw it at the theater I didn't know what was coming until I saw the B-29 (Bock's Car) make its final turn on its bomb run. My jaw dropped. I couldn't remember a single movie that contained scenes of the A-bombings of Japan. Having said that, 3 thoughts occurred regarding the accuracy ...
1. I would have thought the B-29 would have been flying at a higher altitude.
2. I got the impression from the Wolverine film that the Fat Man detonated at ground level. I thought it was set for an air burst at ~1,000 ft.
3. There were other B-29s in the Bock's Car flight. I would have thought they would have been close by.
A final note - I toured the USAF Museum at WP-AFB in 1994. The fuselage flight deck of Bock's Car was on display then while the rest was being restored.
Didn't know about Sakai.
Mitsuo Fuchida, 1902-1976, was a Japanese captain in the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service and a bomber aviator in the INJ before and during WWII. He is perhaps best known for leading the 1st air wave attacks on Pearl Harbor on 12/07/1941. Working under the overall fleet commander, Vice Admiral Chūichi Nagumo, Fuchida was responsible for the coordination of the entire aerial attack.
After the war, Fuchida was called on to testify at the trials of some of the Japanese military for Japanese war crimes. This infuriated him as he believed this was little more than "victor's justice". In the spring of 1947, convinced that the Americans had treated Japanese POWs the same way and determined to bring that evidence to the next trial, Fuchida went to Uraga Harbor near Yokosuka to meet a group of returning Japanese POWs. He was surprised to find his former flight engineer, Kazuo Kanegasaki, who all had believed had died in the Battle of Midway. When questioned, Kanegasaki told Fuchida that they were not tortured or abused, much to Fuchida's disappointment, then went on to tell him of a young lady, Peggy Covell, who served them with the deepest love and respect, but whose parents, missionaries, had been killed by Japanese soldiers on the island of Panay in the Philippines. For Fuchida, this was inexplicable, as in the Bushido code revenge was not only permitted, it was "a responsibility" for an offended party to carry out revenge to restore honor. The murderer of one's parents would be a sworn enemy for life. He became almost obsessed trying to understand why anyone would treat their enemies with love and forgiveness.
In the fall of 1948, Fuchida was passing by the bronze statue of Hachiko at the Shibuya Station when he was handed a pamphlet about the life of Jacob DeShazer, a member of the 1942 Doolittle Raid who was captured by the Japanese after his B-25 bomber ran out of fuel over occupied China. In the pamphlet, "I Was a Prisoner of Japan", DeShazer, himself a former U.S. Army Air Forces Staff Sergeant and bombardier, told his story of imprisonment, torture and his account of an "awakening to God." This experience increased Fuchida's curiosity of the Christian faith. In SEP 1949, after reading the Bible for himself, he became a Christian. In May 1950, Fuchida and DeShazer met for the 1st time.
In 1951, Fuchida, along with a colleague, published an account of the Battle of Midway from the Japanese side. In 1952, he toured the U.S. as a member of the Worldwide Christian Missionary Army of Sky Pilots and wrote another book, From Pearl Harbor to Gologoth in 1953. Fuchida remained dedicated to a similar initiative of the group for the remainder of his life. During his travels he met the pilot of the B-29 Enola Gay, Col. Paul Tibbetts, and told him that he did the right thing by dropping the atomic bomb because the Japanese people would not have stopped fighting when American forces were scheduled to invade the Japanese home islands in late 1945.
They still are.
PJTV Video: "Jon Stewart, War Criminals & The True Story of the Atomic Bombs"
video run length = 00:16:46 minutes
Exactly. Had Truman not used the Bomb and proceeded with Downfall, it would have been a bloodbath. Sooner or later, the American people would have found out. I believe impeachment would have been the least of Truman's worries. He would have been assassinated, in political terms.
While the broadcast is well-known to older Japanese who heard it, at first many Japanese could not understand what was spoken, since the dialect of Japanese used by the Emperor in the speech was no longer in formal use by 1945.
I thought that the flash should have been a lot brighter. Instead all the damaage seemed to come from the shock wave. But that may be just the higher yield H-bombs. And I think I recall it being an air burst as well because of Nagasaki’s hilly terrain.
As a matter of fact I recall reading about Hiroshima victims who were instantly blinded by looking directly at the explosion, so I suppose the flash should have been brighter in the movie.
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