Skip to comments.This day in History: Atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki (Happy Nagasaki Day!)
Posted on 08/09/2008 3:50:28 AM PDT by abb
On this day in 1945, a second atom bomb is dropped on Japan by the United States, at Nagasaki, resulting finally in Japan's unconditional surrender.
The devastation wrought at Hiroshima was not sufficient to convince the Japanese War Council to accept the Potsdam Conference's demand for unconditional surrender. The United States had already planned to drop their second atom bomb, nicknamed "Fat Man," on August 11 in the event of such recalcitrance, but bad weather expected for that day pushed the date up to August 9th. So at 1:56 a.m., a specially adapted B-29 bomber, called "Bock's Car," after its usual commander, Frederick Bock, took off from Tinian Island under the command of Maj. Charles W. Sweeney. Nagasaki was a shipbuilding center, the very industry intended for destruction. The bomb was dropped at 11:02 a.m., 1,650 feet above the city. The explosion unleashed the equivalent force of 22,000 tons of TNT. The hills that surrounded the city did a better job of containing the destructive force, but the number killed is estimated at anywhere between 60,000 and 80,000 (exact figures are impossible, the blast having obliterated bodies and disintegrated records).
General Leslie R. Groves, the man responsible for organizing the Manhattan Project, which solved the problem of producing and delivering the nuclear explosion, estimated that another atom bomb would be ready to use against Japan by August 17 or 18-but it was not necessary. Even though the War Council still remained divided ("It is far too early to say that the war is lost," opined the Minister of War), Emperor Hirohito, by request of two War Council members eager to end the war, met with the Council and declared that "continuing the war can only result in the annihilation of the Japanese people...." The Emperor of Japan gave his permission for unconditional surrender.
Thus ended WWII and alleviating the need to invade the island of Japan which would have cost hundreds of thousands of American lives.
And if they didn’t surrender after Nagasaki... it meant that Olympic and Coronet were the next on the docket. The loss of life in an invasion of Japan, at that time, is mind-boggling.
I’ve not gotten to this one yet. Any reviews from FReepers?
I've seen numerous interviews of men who were readying to invade the main island and they were overjoyed at the news. Prior to that, they ALL considered themselves as "dead men walking".
My grandfather was on the Bunker Hill when it got kamikazee’d during Okinawa. Never had to do much to convince him the bomb was a good thing.
“Another great day in United States military history.”
Absolutely true, but that “Happy Nagasaki day” jibe in the headline is childish.
“Another great day in United States military history.”
Indeed. A good day to remember that our nuclear forces are essential and in need of modernization.
Nothing in history has been a force for peace to equal the nuclear weapon.
Thanks again to the makers of the bomb .My dad was in California training for the invasion of mainland Japan when the bomb was dropped. Good chance I probably wouldn’t be writing this if it hadn’t happened !
“ Made in America, Tested in Japan !”
My late father, at that time a Marine private who helped to take Okinawa, was one such man. He lived to the age of 77 instead of being killed in the invasion of the Japanese Home Islands.
Oh dear, The Lord must have been watching over my Mother - She was an Eleven Year old young child, her hometown was Fukuoka, Japan. She remembers, still vividly and Sixty-Three Years later the flash of bright sunlight one morning, it was the second Atomic Bomb dropping of Nagasaki. Fate, brought her many years later to my Late Father, an American, who served proudly in the United States Army. My Mother still says to this day that the bomb saved alot of lives and that the Japanese would have never surrendered but to describe this event as Happy? I think the word: Happy would be appropriate when the Japanese unconditionally surrendered to General Douglas MacArthur./Just Asking - seoul62.......
My father considered every day of his life after d-day (Sept. 20?) as a gift from heaven. There turned out to be 60 years worth of days to be grateful for. He had done that beachhead thing three times and was already a fugitive from the law of averages. Also he was in an independent tank battalion, and they always got the dirty end of the stick.
Not really. It's quite on point - the day should be celebrated at least as prominently as Dec. 7. It caused WWII to come to an end.
And of course, this is what the anti American- anti nuke crowd will be wailing over during all the tearful candlelight vigils held tonight.
What they can't seem to get through their heads is that had the war continued, 10 times that number would have been killed by the Japanese imperial army alone in their occupied zones.
My dad had recovered from burns suffered in a crash in the CBI Campaign. He was sure that his number would be called again.
It should be Happy Fatman day!
I wonder if any of those 60-80k people were non-cambatants?
I understand that on a good day down town, you can still smell fried sushi.
Allied POW's will tell you of their Japanese-Christian guard's life-saving favors when nobody was looking.
Should also serve as a reminder and warning to enemies of the United States...
I seriously doubt the accuracy of that number.
Fat man was dropped purposely on the industrial area where there would be as few civilian casualties as possible. The plan was to take out Japans aircraft and ship building capability.
Do you celebrate Dec 7? Really? How?
Where did you hear that? It was an industrial area
Exactly, as an (understandable) reaction to the America haters constant assertion that the bombs were unjustified. I'd probably say it myself if someone pissed me off enough.
One of the first surprises I got as a young adult was that the WWII generation (our parents) were NOT the war-happy yahoos that the Boomers portrayed them to be. As I got into History written at the time of the war and after I was struck at the sadness and horror “of the waste” expressed by the very Americans fighting it.
To be sure, many a man has raised his glass to the bombing that saved his own skin but I doubt too many of them, based upon their own testimony, would have seen anything happy about it.
That’s why I asked. It’s always interesting to hear how if it’s the good guys doing the killing, civilian and non-cambatants casualties are acceptable...but if it’s the bad guys killing good civilians and non-combatants, it’s heinous.
.....”Frederick Bock, took off from Tinian Island under the command of Maj. Charles W. Sweeney. Nagasaki was a shipbuilding center, the very industry intended for destruction.....”
Wans’t Kokura the target? But due to bad weather they diverted to their secondary target Nagasaki. Am I wrong?
Sounds like that to me. I don’t see why so many people are so against moral relativism...it’s all through history.
Yeah "baby". "Happy Nagasaki" day to you, too.
Agreed. Thoroughly bad taste. I’m sure the Japanese were a hated enemy, and I’m glad the war was ended quickly with a fraction of the lives lost than had we invaded...but, to celebrate joyfully at the incineration of tens of thousands of non-combatants is pretty disgusting. As much as I hate the hajis, even I wouldn’t go dancing a jig if Baghdad got nuked. People need to have a little more respect.
As compassionate Americans, we don't have to rejoice in the deaths of others and the destruction of their cities to prove to ourselves that we were right. We don't believe in collective punishment of this kind, do we? Moreover, I hope we have not set a terrible precedent that may came back to haunt us.
He could get eyewitness accounts of the cruelty of Japanese military towards Allied POWs near Nagasaki that were liberated, the guy also could document the immense CIVILIAN tragedy (casulties and radiation disease) that were the aftermath of the Naga bomb as well. Ending the war is worth celebration; gloating over massive civilian deaths in the process, however, is barbaric and is not American.
Chicago Daily News reporter George Weller broke all the rules when he went into Nagasaki about four weeks after it had been blasted by the second atomic bomb dropped on Japan. He escaped his military escort, rode a still-running Japanese train, and pretended to be an American army officer. The ruse worked to the point that he obtained official Japanese cooperation, but his on-the spot reports were snagged by General MacArthur's censors and destroyed. The carbons from his typewriter were found in 2003. First into Nagasaki is the first publication of most of the stories from his months in and around Japan in the fall of 1945. Why were Weller's reports suppressed? His accounts were not sensational. In fact, the military accounts of destruction and loss of life were higher, and most of his pieces dealt with soldiers and civilians who had been Japanese prisoners of war. In a memoir that he wrote later (also in this book), he surmised that MacArthur and his staff wanted full control of the story, which the reporter threatened. The prisoner of war stories are more interesting than the Nagasaki story, which is as much about Weller's adventure as about the military event. The reporter spoke with hundreds of service men who had spent years in brutally hard work camps, often recording their own words. First Into Nagasaki should have an index so the descendants of these men could more easily find their stories.
My Dad was waiting to ship out with his infantry battalion to the Pacific theater when the bombs were dropped. I’m here for that reason.
We were stationed in Yokohama 1956-58. I was in the third grade and played baseball with Japanese kids. Subject of war never came up.
Heck, at the time I thought WWII only involved the Nazis!
But yeah, we shouldn’t lightly celebrate August 9th. Just observe with sad solemnity that the murderous Japanese warlord regime made such an enormous act unfortunately necessary.
It was the site of Urakami Cathedral or St. Mary's Cathedral built by the Kakure Kirishitan or "Hidden Christians".
I have stood on the exact spot and in that rebuilt church.
Where did you hear that? It was an industrial area
Probably here at FR; however, Amazon books gets a great many references from Google, and here are two others:
"...Survivors from the Catholic community--the bomb had fallen on Nagasaki's Catholic district and cathedral--..."
Yeah, but what would be taught would be how evil the US was to use such a terrible weapon on civilians, with no mention of the millions of lives that were saved.
In fact, Christianity was sealed in Nagasaki in the blood of martyrs. On a hill not far from the epicenter of the blast of Nagasaki, is a hill where about 20 Japanese were crucified on orders of Tokugawa (the Shogun at the time) for not renouncing Christianity. In that group, were little Japanese children, too, each nailed to their own smaller crosses overlooking the city.
Some people have absolutely no class, even freepers.
1597. Although I had the shogunate wrong. It was Toyotomi who ordered this.
I am as always envious of your travels in Japan.
On this day still no one recognizes that the Japanese lives saved by the bomb were in the Millions.
And that their losses could have been on a scale of ten to every one of ours had we invaded.
As cruel as it was the reality of what might have been if Operation Olympus had proceeded is lost on many. The planners at the time were estimating 300,000 to 700,000 allied casualties—and up to 2,000,000 Japanese casualties for the first phase of the operation.
Imagine a world where “Made in Japan” didn’t happen.
My dad would have been a new infantry draftee private in Coronet and/or Olympic. Against fierce Japanese resistance, he might not have made it. The atom bomb probably made me possible.
Derserves to be repeated.
Every war has developed newer technologies to kill people. Nuclear weapons are too indescriminate to use in populous nations.
The fact so many here gloat over the deaths of thousands of innocents should be reviled. It makes you look like the jihadists that celebrated when the Twin Towers fell.
Was the dropping necessary? It saved American lives. The bomb had been developed, it would be used. EVERY weapon developed gets used, especially in a time of war.