World War 2 Stories

Hiroshima

Photo taken moments after the bomb dropped on Hiroshima. 

During the final stages of World War II in 1945, the United States conducted two atomic bombings against the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan, the first on August 6, 1945 and the second on August 9, 1945.

For six months, the United States had made use of intense strategic fire-bombing of 67 Japanese cities. Together with the United Kingdom, and the Republic of China the United States called for a surrender of Japan in the Potsdam Declaration. The Japanese government ignored this ultimatum. By executive order of President Harry S. Truman, the U.S. dropped the nuclear weapon "Little Boy" on the city of Hiroshima on Monday, August 6, 1945, followed by the detonation of "Fat Man" over Nagasaki on August 9. These two events are the only active deployments of nuclear weapons in war. The target of Hiroshima was a city of considerable military importance, containing Japan's Second Army Headquarters, as well as being a communications centre and storage depot.

Within the first two to four months of the bombings, the acute effects killed 90,000–166,000 people in Hiroshima and 60,000–80,000 in Nagasaki, with roughly half of the deaths in each city occurring on the first day. The Hiroshima prefectural health department estimates that, of the people who died on the day of the explosion, 60% died from flash or flame burns, 30% from falling debris and 10% from other causes. During the following months, large numbers died from the effect of burns, radiation sickness, and other injuries, compounded by illness. In a US estimate of the total immediate and short-term cause of death, 15–20% died from radiation sickness, 20–30% from flash burns, and 50–60% from other injuries, compounded by illness. In both cities, most of the dead were civilians.

Six days after the detonation over Nagasaki, on August 15, Japan announced its surrender to the Allied Powers, signing the Instrument of Surrender on September 2, officially ending the Pacific War and therefore World War II. Germany had signed its Instrument of Surrender on May 7, ending the war in Europe. The bombings led, in part, to post-war Japan adopting Three Non-Nuclear Principles, forbidding the nation from nuclear armament. The role of the bombings in Japan's surrender and the U.S.'s ethical justification for them, as well as their strategical importance, is still debated.

 Hiroshima, after the bomb and now (2015)

This wristwatch shows the exact time (8.15) of the explosion of Little Boy (the nickname of the nuclear bomb) 

Memorial Park - The Peace Memorial

Memorial Park in 1980 

Memorial :Park in 2013 

Peace messages 

Photo depicts destruction of Hiroshima. 

In 1952 

In 1958 

In 1975 

In 1995 

In 2005 

Bell ringing on site where bomb landed. 

 1945: US drops atomic bomb on Hiroshima

from BBC site, 'On This Day'.


The first atomic bomb has been dropped by a United States aircraft on the Japanese city of Hiroshima.

President Harry S Truman, announcing the news from the cruiser, USS Augusta, in the mid-Atlantic, said the device was more than 2,000 times more powerful than the largest bomb used to date.

An accurate assessment of the damage caused has so far been impossible due to a huge cloud of impenetrable dust covering the target. Hiroshima is one of the chief supply depots for the Japanese army.

The bomb was dropped from an American B-29 Superfortress, known as Enola Gay, at 0815 local time. The plane's crew say they saw a column of smoke rising and intense fires springing up.

The President said the atomic bomb heralded the "harnessing of the basic power of the universe". It also marked a victory over the Germans in the race to be first to develop a weapon using atomic energy.

President Truman went on to warn the Japanese the Allies would completely destroy their capacity to make war.

The Potsdam declaration issued 10 days ago, which called for the unconditional surrender of Japan, was a last chance for the country to avoid utter destruction, the President said.

"If they do not now accept our terms they may expect a rain of ruin from the air the like of which has never been seen on Earth. Behind this air attack will follow by sea and land forces in such number and power as they have not yet seen, but with fighting skill of which they are already aware."

The British Prime Minister Clement Attlee, who has replaced Winston Churchill at Number 10, read out a statement prepared by his predecessor to MPs in the Commons.

   It said the atomic project had such great potential the government felt it was right to pursue the research and to pool information with atomic scientists in the US.

As Britain was considered within easy reach of Germany and its bombers, the decision was made to set up the bomb-making plants in the US.

The statement continued: "By God's mercy, Britain and American science outpaced all German efforts. These were on a considerable scale, but far behind. The possession of these powers by the Germans at any time might have altered the result of the war."

Mr Churchill's statement said considerable efforts had been made to disrupt German progress - including attacks on plants making constituent parts of the bomb.

He ended: "We must indeed pray that these awful agencies will be made to conduce peace among the nations and that instead of wreaking measureless havoc upon the entire globe they become a perennial fountain of world prosperity."   

Hiroshima up from the ashes - 2010.