In the month of August, 1945, two atomic bombs were dropped on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Although different types (the one dropped on Hiroshima was Uranium-based while the one dropped on Nagasaki was Plutonium-based), both yielded an approximate 10kt explosion, decimating each city. Together these bombs caused over two-hundred thousand casualties. The difficult decision to employ the use of the atomic bomb was contemplated heavily by top government officials for an extended period of time. Finally the conclusion was made to detonate the bomb in order to bring a quick end to World War II and reduce the number of American casualties.
Hiroshima was chosen as a target because it was a heavily populated city that had not been bombarded repeatedly during the course of the war, and it would prove a strategic city to not only get the Japanese government's attention but also to shatter their military forces. Hiroshima is divided by the Ota River into six islands. Hiroshima was the target of the first atomic bomb ever dropped on a city. The bomb, code named "Little Boy," was dropped on August 6, 1945. Little Boy was dropped by an aircraft named the "Enola Gay." Ninety percent of the city was completely destroyed. There were approximately one-hundred and thirty thousand casualties. Most of Hiroshima has been rebuilt. However, a gutted area known as "Peace City" has been set aside as a memorial.
Nagasaki's port was the first to receive sixteenth century Western trade, and remains one of Japan's leading ports. Ship building is their chief industry. During World War II, Nagasaki was the target of the second atomic bomb for the same reasons as Hiroshima. It had a large population, and it had been pretty much excluded from the war up until that point. The bomb, code named "Fat Man," was the second and last atomic weapon ever used on a populated area. The bomb was detonated on August 9, 1945, three days after the bombing of Hiroshima. About seventy-five thousand people were killed or wounded and one third of the city was demolished.
This specific page was last updated on: 01/04/2000 at 10:50pm EST