The aftermath of the bomb dropped on Hiroshima
Today (August 6th) is the 64th anniversary of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, by the United States, during the World War II, on August 6th 1945. This was a decisive, and significant event in the history of mankind. The atomic bombing of Hiroshima, along with that of Nagasaki on August 9, is to date the only attack with nuclear weapons in the history of warfare. Here are ten facts about the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki :
1. The bomb wasn't dropped just like that. The United States bombed Japanese cities for six months. This was followed by an ultimatum, which was ignored by the ShâÃ§wa regime. Then the decision to bomb Hiroshima and Nagasaki was made.
2. The bomb dropped on Hiroshima killed as many as 140,000 people, while the one dropped on Nagasaki killed as many as 90,000 people. People continued to die even after the bombings, due to secondary illnesses (for example, cancers) caused by the immense radiation. In both cities, the majority of the dead were civilians.
3. Six days after the bombing of Nagasaki, on August 15, Japan surrendered to the Allied Powers, ending World War II.
4. The date to bomb Hiroshima, August 6th, was chosen because clouds had obscured the target previously. The plane carrying the bomb was the Enola Gay. The bomb (known as "Little Boy") was dropped at 08:15 (Hiroshima time).
5. The bomb created a blast equivalent to about 13 kilotons of TNT. The radius of total destruction was about one mile, Fires resulting from the explosion spread out to an area of radius of about 4.4 miles … – listf
Just two bombs: 105,000 people dead, 94,000 wounded according to atomicarchive.com.
TABLE A: Estimates of Casualties Hiroshima Nagasaki Pre-raid population 255,000 195,000 Dead 66,000 39,000 Injured 69,000 25,000 Total Casualties 135,000 64,000
As the Japanese city of Hiroshima marks the 65th anniversary of the world’s first atomic bomb attack, a member of the US crew that dropped the weapon talks to the BBC’s Kristin Wilson about his memories of that day.
To his family and friends, the elderly man in a little retirement community in Georgia is just “Dutch”.
But 65 years ago on Friday, Lt Theodore Van Kirk was flight navigator for the Enola Gay on its mission to drop the atomic bomb on Hiroshima.
On the morning of 6 August, 1945 he, two of the closest friends and nine other Americans took off for the flight that launched the world into the nuclear age.
“I looked out the window and saw the just-rising sun and thought about what a beautiful morning it was over the Pacific,” he recalls, sitting in his home office surrounded by pictures, books, model planes, awards and mementos marking the mission.
“We didn’t know at first what we were going to do. Just that maybe it would shorten the war.”
The bomb killed an estimated 100,000 Japanese, but it ended the war and precluded an invasion of Japan, and Mr Van Kirk says he has no regrets. None of them did.
“Look, we did what we had to do,” he says. “They were never going to give up. But I just could not see how they could continue the war and subject their people to that.”
He remained friends with bombardier Tom Ferebee and pilot Paul Tibbets until their deaths in 2000 and 2007 respectively. They flew 35 missions together. …
The cabin was quiet the whole way there. Unusually for friends so accustomed to jokes and pranks, there was no extraneous talk, no frivolity, only talk that involved the task at hand.
“Then Tom said, ‘I have it. I can’t make it any better than that. I’ve got it down the line.'” he recalls.
And the 9,400-lb bomb, named Little Boy, dropped from the plane.
The plane turned hard to the right to escape the blast they weren’t sure would even come. But Little Boy detonated 1,800ft above Hiroshima at 8.15am.
“For 43 seconds, nothing happened,” he pauses.
“And then there was an orange light so bright from the back of the plane that I think you didn’t have on goggles, you’d probably be blind.”…
The concussion rocked the plane like anti-aircraft fire. A second shock wave followed.
“It’s like when a rock hits a still pool of water,” he says. “That’s the best way I can describe it.”
After the shock waves subsided, Tibbets turned the plane around to survey. Contrary to reports, Mr Van Kirk flatly denies they circled the target. They just took a look before heading back, because everyone wanted a report, he says.
“General Rose wanted to know, the scientists wanted to know,” he says.
“Hell, Truman wanted to know.”
Radio operator Dick Nelson, the youngest of the crew at 19, sent word back to command: “Results Excellent.”
Bob Lewis, the co-pilot, kept a log of the flight, and is remembered for saying the infamous words, “My God, what have we done?”
Mr Van Kirk chuckles.
Yes, Bob did keep a log, he remembers.
Sea of rubble
“But I’m not going to tell you what Bob’s first thing was.” He pauses. “Let’s just say it was – more descriptive.”
Even as he sits surrounded by mementos, Mr Van Kirk says neither he nor his friends let that day define their lives.
“We never talked about it,” he says.
“We’d talk about playing golf or kids or just go visit each other.”
Every year around this time the calls start coming in, he says – requests to speak at high schools, events, public appearances.
“My life now is hectic,” he says. “And on the 6th it’ll get even crazier. But I won’t answer the calls that day. Not that day.”…