Hiroshima: Killing Thousands of People At 8:15 in the morning, on August 6, 1945, the United States dropped the first nuclear weapon ever used in a war. Little Boy was dropped from a B-29 bomber over the Japanese city of Hiroshima1. The blast itself and the radioactive fall out killed around one hundred thousand people and demolished the city. Did the Japanese bring this upon them selves? What was the role of the Japanese civilians in the United States decision to drop the bomb?
On August 6th, 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima without any precedent. The explosion viciously destroyed four square miles of the city and killed 90,000 and injured 40,000. (Weber, “Was Hiroshima Necessary?”) Three days later, a second atomic bomb stroked the city of Nagasaki which killed approximately 37,000 people and injured 43,000 (Weber, “Was Hiroshima Necessary?”). These actions of the United States still remain controversial today and the United States’ abuse of power and morality can be questioned. ‘Were the dropping of atomic bombs in the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki a justified way to end World War Two?’.
The atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki on August 6 and 9, 1945 completely obliterated both cities (Lanouette 30). “Little Boy,” the bomb dropped on Hiroshima killed 70,000 people with an additional 66,000 injured (30-39). “Fat Man,” the bomb dropped on Nagasaki also carried its “share of America’s duty” by killing 40,000 people and injuring another 25,000 (30-39). The bombs also killed an estimated 230,000 more people from the after effects of the two explosions (30). The two bombings had opened the world’s eyes to the destructive power that could be unleashed by man.
With the assistance of J. Robert Oppenheimer and lack of public’s knowledge of this so-called monstrous weapon, Truman decided to introduce the atomic bomb which was the key to ending war. However, even fearful weapons such as the atomic bomb have its own consequences. The consequences that Japan suffered from the loss of many innocent citizens, created public controversy in the United States, and tension between countries rose. When the atomic bomb was dropped, the destructive weapon disintegrated and claimed innocent lives in Nagasaki and Hiroshima. On August 6th, 1945 in Hiroshima, around 83,000 people were deceased in an instant and tens of thousands of more died in the following year due to wounds and radiation poisoning.
Less than a month later, atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan (Rosenberg). There are many people who oppose the use of the atomic bombs; though there are some that believe it was a necessity in ending the war. President Truman realized the tragic significance of the atomic bomb and made his decision to use it to shorten the agony of young Americans (“Was the Atomic Bombing”). The president knew of the way the Japanese fought. They fought to the death and they were brutal to prisoners of war.
With multiple chances from the United States to surrender in the war and rejecting each one, the Japanese set themselves up for disaster. On August 6, 1945 the course of history was changed. Two atomic bombs were dropped on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima, and three days later, August 9, 1945, on Nagasaki that ended World War II. Japan had already been a defeated nation from conventional bombs and World War II. Many innocent lives were lost, psychological scars were left on the lives of the bomb survivors, and thus many lives were changed forever.
On the morning of August 6th, 1945, 1900 feet above Hiroshima, Japan, one hundred forty pounds of highly enriched uranium-235 collided with itself, triggering the first manmade nuclear explosion ever detonated over a populated city (“Little Boy” 1). Seconds later, the lives of 70,000 men, women and children were extinguished (“The Atomic Bombing of Hiroshima” 6). Over the course of the next several years the effects of radiation poisoning would kill an additional one hundred thirty thousand people, making the first atomic bomb, nicknamed “little boy”, the most devastating weapon ever used by mankind - for an astonishingly short four days (“The Atomic Bombing of Hiroshima” 6). On the morning of August 9th, 1945, another atomic bomb, more powerful than the first, was dropped on Nagasaki, Japan (“The Atomic Bombing of Nagasaki” 1). Just as “little boy” did in Hiroshima, this bomb, nicknamed “fat man”, decimated the population of Nagasaki.
Was it moral to drop the atomic bombs on Japan to save American soldier lives? No, the problems created from the bomb far outweigh the gains because of the number of lives lost, it made the surrounding land uninhabitable, and caused birth defects in future generations. One of the more immediate effects of the atomic bomb was its ability to kill thousands in seconds and more over time. The blast, heat, and radiation from the Hiroshima bomb killed anything within a 20 mile radius. Killing 140,000 people on impact and a additional 10,000 more over weeks from radiation poisoning.
Yet he would be the central figure in making the decision to use the bomb. In April 1945, Secretary of War Henry Stimson(pictured - left) and General Groves briefed Truman(pictured - right) about the "Manhattan Project", the top-secret program that researched and developed the atomic bomb.2 The ... ... middle of paper ... ... 9. "Why Did They Drop the Atomic Bomb," The Atom Bomb. <http://www.mv.u-net.com/> (16 October 1999). 10.
Hahn and Strassman found that the neutrons split the nuclei of the uranium in half producing radioactive barium and krypton (Rhodes 18). Rhodes explains that the physicists observed that the reaction was extremely exothermic, producing about ten times the energy needed for the fission to occur. After publishing their findings, physicists all over the world recreated the experiment. After conducting his own fission experiment, Enrico Fermi, an Italian physicist at Colombia University, said, “A little bomb like that and it would all disappear” (qtd. Rhodes 19).