Skip to comments.Aug 6, 1945: American bomber drops atomic bomb on Hiroshima
Posted on 08/06/2012 6:08:40 AM PDT by BO Stinkss
On this day in 1945, at 8:16 a.m. Japanese time, an American B-29 bomber, the Enola Gay, drops the world's first atom bomb, over the city of Hiroshima. Approximately 80,000 people are killed as a direct result of the blast, and another 35,000 are injured. At least another 60,000 would be dead by the end of the year from the effects of the fallout.
U.S. President Harry S. Truman, discouraged by the Japanese response to the Potsdam Conference's demand for unconditional surrender, made the decision to use the atom bomb to end the war in order to prevent what he predicted would be a much greater loss of life were the United States to invade the Japanese mainland. And so on August 5, while a "conventional" bombing of Japan was underway, "Little Boy," (the nickname for one of two atom bombs available for use against Japan), was loaded onto Lt. Col. Paul W. Tibbets' plane on Tinian Island in the Marianas. Tibbets' B-29, named the Enola Gay after his mother, left the island at 2:45 a.m. on August 6. Five and a half hours later, "Little Boy" was dropped, exploding 1,900 feet over a hospital and unleashing the equivalent of 12,500 tons of TNT. The bomb had several inscriptions scribbled on its shell, one of which read "Greetings to the Emperor from the men of the Indianapolis" (the ship that transported the bomb to the Marianas).
There were 90,000 buildings in Hiroshima before the bomb was dropped; only 28,000 remained after the bombing. Of the city's 200 doctors before the explosion; only 20 were left alive or capable of working. There were 1,780 nurses before-only 150 remained who were able to tend to the sick and dying.
According to John Hersey's classic work Hiroshima, the Hiroshima city government had put hundreds of schoolgirls to work clearing fire lanes in the event of incendiary bomb attacks. They were out in the open when the Enola Gay dropped its load.
There were so many spontaneous fires set as a result of the bomb that a crewman of the Enola Gay stopped trying to count them. Another crewman remarked, "It's pretty terrific. What a relief it worked."
There has been a series of pictures circulating on the net showing Hiroshima on August 6, 1945 and Detroit on the same day. Then there are pictures of both. The message is very clear: Democrat rule is much worse than an atomic bomb.
My friend, Joe P, was convinced these bombs saved his life. He went to his grave swearing Truman was one of the greatest presidents of all time.
If we had invaded the Home Islands (Operation Olympic?) it would have been an unbelievable bloodbath.
“From the invasion of China in 1937 to the end of World War II, the Japanese military regime murdered near 3,000,000 to over 10,000,000 people, most probably almost 6,000,000 Chinese, Indonesians, Koreans, Filipinos, and Indochinese, among others, including Western prisoners of war. This democide was due to a morally bankrupt political and military strategy, military expediency and custom, and national culture (such as the view that those enemy soldiers who surrender while still able to resist were criminals).”
“unfortunately”? I think not!
Yes, and no. There was the "gadget", an atomic "bomb".
Granted, not fit for dropping, probably not fit for moving. And it was plutonium, not uranium.
Had Little Boy and Fat Man not been dropped, the 20th Air Force would have spent the next three months, up until the invasion scheduled for early November, 1945, trying to burn the entire country of Japan to the ground with napalm and magnesium. Remember, from the bombing of Tokyo in March 1945, they could kill 100,000+ in a single night.
Then, the invasion itself would have probably looked like this:
Little Boy and Fat Man saved the lives of TENS OF MILLIONS of Japanese.
The story here is the arrogant stubbornness of the Japanese Emperor that it took two bombs before he surrendered. He didn’t believe the U.S. had more than one and was willing to gamble the lives of 200,00 of his own worshippers on that erroneous belief.
It is amazing how well they rebuilt the city. One of the truly charming things about it is their streetcar system. It looks like they spent megabucks collecting top antique quality street cars from all over the world, each with its own decor and international look.
In reality, when it became trendy to scrap street cars for highways back in the 1950's and 1960's, the leadership of the city got them donated (in most cases) or purchased for scrap metal prices by charming them out of the former owners with the line "Wouldn't you like to help rebuild Hiroshima with a permanent living memorial to your fair city?"
Of course, I never brought up the atomic bomb, but the most common refrain from the locals was 'it was an unfortunate consequence of getting involved in that stupid war.' Even the A-bomb museum, which has a rotating exhibit on the lower floor of that building and permanent exhibits on the upper floors, had a display that particular day showing the extremes the military dictatorship was going to in those last days to brainwash the children and train them to fight to the last person.
Even after Nagasaki had been bombed and the Emperor decided to surrender, there was still a faction in the Japanese army that attempted to stage a coup to prevent the surrender ... to force the entire nation to fight to the death.
Using the bomb on Japan may very well have made my life possible.
My father was 17 at the time and thanks to high school ROTC a fully trained pilot.
If not for the bomb when he turned 18 in November he may have been off for Japan.
“it took two bombs before he surrendered”
That and the fact that the Soviet Union had just declared war on Japan. A ground invasion on two fronts with massive ground forces from Russia scared him as much as another A-bomb did.
there were two different bombs. The device at Trinity site and Nagasaki were plutonium bombs. The Hiroshima bomb was u235.
More Accurate Headline: Aug 6, 1945: American bomber begins the final process that rapidly ends the bloodiest conflict in history - saves the lives of millions by preventing mass starvation, disease, and retributions - prevents more than one million additional allied war casualties
My dad had mostly recovered from burns suffered in a crash landing in India (he was a Hump pilot in the C-B-I Theater.)
He had been notified that qualified pilots would be needed in late 1945 and agreed to return to the service.
Fortunately, this didn’t happen. He met my mom in ‘45 and the rest was history.
They deserved it.
Besides, it wasn’t worth a single American life to take Japan, if we could nuke it instead.
Wish we’d done that with Ashcanistan.
A family friend stationed in the Pacific at the time felt the same way. His son told him once that the bomb shouldn’t have been dropped. He immediately said “Then I wouldn’t be here”.
I think the Japanese realized - one plane, one bomb, one city. Also Nagasaki was where the torpedo’s used at Pearl Harbor were built. What goes around comes around. Karma is a bi**h.
From what I’ve read (knowing there at lots of stories about this), some didn’t believe that it was one bomb because the devastation was too great. I do remember one passage in a book that wrote that the Japanese government’s press release contained an understatement that would have made any Brit proud when it claimed that “some incendiary bombs were dropped on Hiroshima.”
There is a lot of fault that should land on the Japanese for their role in WWII and all the atrocities they committed, but the second bomb may have convinced more of the public and the military to end the war. I wouldn’t place it all on the emperor.
Thank God he ordered the stoppage of war after Nagasaki. If he hadn’t, the war would have lasted much longer, because we didn’t have another bomb. In this scenario, the Emperor saved a lot of lives.
Just food for thought....
日本 ピング (kono risuto ni hairitai ka detai wo shirasete kudasai : let me know if you want on or off this list)
Enola Gay is flush with pride at her little boy in that picture.
“U.S. President Harry S. Truman, discouraged by the Japanese response to the Potsdam Conference’s demand for unconditional surrender . . . “
Have we ever, since then, even once been in a position to make a “demand for unconditional surrender”? Have we even declared a war since then?
Now we’re to the point of not even naming the enemy (except returning vet domestic terrorists), and letting them infiltrate our administration and its evolving police state.
Russia invading Japan scared us, too. Imagine Japan and China and Korea all Red.
The emperor was willing to throw in the towel after Hiroshima. Of course, he was a figurehead and the decision among the military dictatorship was split. Remember, the sharper cookies in the military, especially Admiral Yamamoto, were gone by this time.
The compromise decision after Hiroshima was to send a cable to the USSR (the designated neutral intermediary) for delivery to America accepting unconditional surrender terms but proposing a meeting at America's earliest convenience to work out the details. For those familiar with Japanese culture, this was pretty much the best outcome we could expect under the circumstances.
The USSR, of course, did not deliver the cable immediately. In fact, they used it as an opportunity to invade Japanese territory in the Kuriles, Sakhalin, Manchuria and Korea. Other than the hot battle of Shumshu in the Kuriles, the Japanese offered only token resistance.
The key long-term results were Russian occupation of Japanese territory which continues to this day and capture of weaponry which was turned over to Mao's army for use in the Chinese civil war which broke out some three years later and brought the communist regime to power.
By the time the Japanese military realized they had been had, of course, the bomb in Nagasaki dropped. The emperor himself intervened and insisted acceptance of the unconditional surrender be communicated to the Americans directly and without further delay. Other than a few diehards (which produce the most action in the film), the military agrees.
The idea that the emperor was stubborn to the point of national suicide or that most of the military was even close to intransigent after Hiroshima is a total baseless fallacy.
Yes. The Nagasaki bomb exploded between the Mitsubishi steel & armament works and the Mitsubishi torpedo works, demolishing both. A picture of an unfinished torpedo sitting in it's cradle in the devastated factory, with the roof blown off, is not one of the more popular shots of the atomic bombings. I guess it's not kumbaya enough.
Hiroshima is the more popular narrative, as everyone plays the city out to be an innocent maiden. Hiroshima was actually an army garrison town and shipping port.
Dropping the bombs, both of them, absolutely had to be done to end the war. Anyone with any doubts should read Richard Frank’s “Downfall: The End of the Imperial Japanese Empire.”
The situation was that the Japanese leadership was determined to continue the war even though they had clearly been beaten. There was no real “peace movement” inside the Japanese government. The “peace feelers” supposedly being sent to the USSR were not official government spokesmen, but were functionaries in the Foreign Ministry acting without authority of the government, and had no official terms to offer. To the extent there were any terms being contemplated, they were completely unrealistic as they called for Japan to retain their overseas conquests that they still occupied. The actual texts of the cables between the Foreign Ministry in Tokyo and the ambassador in Moscow would be laughable if the situation were not so serious. Finally on that regard, we were intercepting and decoding these messages, and knew there was no legitimate peace movement in Tokyo.
The second argument Frank makes is that the invasion of Japan would have been a bloodbath, both for the Americans and Japanese, and all of this is well documented. Most American leaders did not want this to happen, for obvious reasons.
The final point Frank makes is that ironically, the bombs saved Japanese lives; literally millions of them. The American air, naval and submarine war against Japan had succeeded in full measure. The home islands of Japan had been completely shut off from any meaningful imports, not only of war material, but also of basic items such as food and coal. Japan could not produce enough food to feed their population, and none was getting through. In addition, there would be no coal for heating come winter. The food ration had already been reduced below necessary minimums by July, it would only have gotten worse in a cold winter. In addition to sealing off all external imports, Japan’s internal economic infrastructure had been destroyed or was going to be within a matter of weeks. In addition to burning out the heart of her cities, mining campaigns had shut off the internal maritime trade, and the rail links were easily severed by bombing.
Had the war continued through the winter, it is probable that millions of Japanese would have starved to death. Think of Leningrad on a national scale. And the deaths would have been proportionally greatest among the non-combatants: elderly, women, children and sick.
It may sound harsh, but we actually did them a favor by dropping the bombs.
We have not made Purple Heart medals in 60 years. The ones we have been awarding to the wounded since then were made for the expected losses from the invasion of Honshu. We had also underestimated the size of the home defenders by two Divisions.
two bombs weren’t enough....remember Pearl Harbor..the Bataan death march and more...
As we learned from the battles of Okinawa and Saipan that the civilians were willing to kill themselves rather than surrender.
Yes,it did.Regardless of what Western leftists or Japanese nationalists might say to the contrary.Those bombs saved the lives of (at least) hundreds of thousands of Allied troops and even more Japanese troops and civilians.
I was fortunate enough to be able to go to Hiroshima with friends. I visited the “A Bomb” building - walked all around it. I was told that they maintain it exactly as it was after the bomb dropped. I stood right at ground zero. There’s a Buddhist temple there. Snuck some ground zero dirt home in a film can.
Good day, FRiend. My father enlisted in the Navy as a 17 YO, and was training for the invasion of Japan.
Truman made the right call, and not just for the US.
Thanks for the thoughtful, informative reply.
Before my father died, I had talked to him about the war. As the reports of Japanese atrocities poured in, people learned of more deaths of our soldiers. Every neighborhood was affected, nearly every family. Many friends had died. Our nation was tired of the killing.
The bombs ended it. We need no further justification.
Please tell your Dad that I've just given him a smart salute...even though he was an enlisted man (as was I)!
Box set with over 100 Cold War songs and over 2 dozen Public Service Announcements (voiced by Groucho Marx, Bob Hope, Pat Boone, Johnny Cash and others). Artists on this set who sing about the Bomb and the Red Scare include Bill Haley and His Comets, The Louvin Brothers, Marty Robbins, Wanda Jackson, The Goldwaters, Janet Greene, Dr. Strangelove and the Fallouts, and many others. This also has 2 unintentionally hilarious full-length spoken word civil defense 'scare' LPs: 'If The Bomb Falls' and 'The Complacent Americans. ' A DVD of 9 bizarre civil defense and anti-Communist short films from the '50s and '60s is also included.
Just out of curiosity,has your Dad visited the WWII Memorial in DC yet? If not,does he have both the desire and the physical stamina to make the trip? I’ve been there and it’s a *very* moving experience.
It was absoultely the right thing to do. If you haven’t read “Unbroken”, about Louie Zamperini and what he endured and how close they came to dying, you will certainly come away with the resolution that it was absoultely the only war t end the war and save countless men and women.
Just out of curiosity,has your Dad visited the WWII Memorial in DC yet?
Yes. My younger sister took him the dedication ceremony back in 2004, I believe.
At the event, they had a computer set up to do searches for friends and comrades. Nothing came up, except him, for his unit.
Today, he has no desire to travel anywhere. He is also a colon cancer survivor. Each morning, he just gets up early, puts his U.S. flag on the pole, salutes it, then drives to the end of his road to get his daily newspaper to do the crossword and drink his coffee. He lives on a beautiful fresh water lake in eastern Maine. His opinion of the country, world and politics today? Don’t even go there...LOL.
For the whiners...
They started it, we ended it. End of story.
Thank you for the posts, excellent information and insight. Too bad we can not have quality people with quality writing skills simply tell the truth with all the facts without trying to rewrite history.
God Bless him.
Tell your Dad that he is not forgotten, nor are his sacrifices in vain.
He won’t agree, but he is a great man.
I hope while he still can remember, he will tell you of other great men who gave all, and give to them life they no longer have, by making sure their stories don’t fade into history undocumented.
67 years can pass, but the memory is still there, waiting to be tapped at a moment’s notice.
My uncle was in both of those battles and training for the invasion of the home islands when the bombs were dropped.
He says: "They were glad the war was over, it would have been a blood bath on the islands of Japan for both sides".
One-sided free trade has served Japan very well.
I may well owe my esistence to Paul Tibbets. It is a tragedy that he requested to be buried in an unannounced location. Today he will be villifed by the liberals and apologists.
I want his family to know that my brothers and I are eternally grateful to him, He gave us a wonderful father.