77 years ago, humankind witnessed the power of the nucleus of an atom. August 6, 1945, was the day when the first atomic bomb was detonated over Hiroshima, Japan. Seventeen Nobel laureates were involved in manufacturing the bomb in a classified mission: The Manhattan Project. The bombings brought an end to WWII. Here are ten lesser-known facts about that dreadful day:
The US Air force, before dropping the atom bomb, dropped pamphlets in Hiroshima warning people of the bombing.
In Japanese, the back of the pictured leaflet read:
“Read this carefully as it may save your life or the life of a relative or friend. In the next few days, some or all of the cities named on the reverse side will be destroyed by American bombs. These cities contain military installations and workshops or factories which produce military goods. We are determined to destroy all of the tools of the military clique which they are using to prolong this useless war. But, unfortunately, bombs have no eyes. So, in accordance with America’s humanitarian policies, the American Air Force, which does not wish to injure innocent people, now gives you warning to evacuate the cities named and save your lives. America is not fighting the Japanese people but is fighting the military clique which has enslaved the Japanese people. The peace which America will bring will free the people from the oppression of the military clique and mean the emergence of a new and better Japan. You can restore peace by demanding new and good leaders who will end the war. We cannot promise that only these cities will be among those attacked but some or all of them will be, so heed this warning and evacuate these cities immediately.”
The distribution of these leaflets, along with the radio broadcasts, does put a dent in the argument that America was unconcerned about the potential civilian deaths resulting from an atomic attack. Still, the debate over the bombs’ necessity in ending the war will never be truly resolved. – Source
2. The Policeman
After the bombing of Hiroshima, one policeman went to Nagasaki to teach the technique of ducking after the atomic flash. This is why no policeman died from the bombing in Nagasaki. Although the Japanese knew nothing about the atomic bomb, the policeman told them that a bright light would be followed within seconds by a deadly shock wave. Tsutomo Yamaguchi, a surviving ship designer for Mitsubishi, also brought this message from Hiroshima to his company in Nagasaki. Many in his section were saved from serious injury from flying glass. – Source
However, the general population was not warned of the heat or blast danger following an atomic flash due to the new and unknown nature of the atomic bomb. As a result, many people in Hiroshima and Nagasaki died while searching the skies, curious to locate the source of the brilliant flash.
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The Oleander is the city’s official flower because it was the first thing to bloom after the explosion of the nuclear bomb. – Source
4. Cyanide Pills
Twelve cyanide pills were kept in the cockpit of the Enola Gay (plane carrying the atom bomb), and pilots were instructed to take them if the mission was compromised during the bombing of Hiroshima – Source
5. The Secrecy
Only three of the twelve people on board the Enola Gay actually knew the real purpose of their mission to Hiroshima. – Source
Oak Ridge was conceived and built by the United States government in the early 1940s as a base for uranium and plutonium work as part of the Manhattan Project. As the nuclear effort marched along, the town grew, too. By 1945, a dense suburb had taken shape, home to roughly 75,000 people. At war’s end, Oak Ridge was the fifth-largest city in the state—and all along, it was supposed to be a secret.
On August 6, 1945, Japanese radars tracked a few US planes entering the territory. However, they weren’t intercepted as they thought a small number of planes would not threaten the nation. – Source
7. What just happened?
It took Tokyo about 3 hours before they realized Hiroshima had been bombed. – Source
8. The lucky one
The closest known survivor of the Hiroshima atomic blast was in a basement just 170 m from ground zero. – Source
9. Surviving Hiroshima and Nagasaki
In 1945, a man named Tsutomu Yamaguchi survived the atomic blast at Hiroshima, dragged himself into an air-raid shelter, spent the night there, and in the morning caught a train so he could arrive at his job on time in Nagasaki, where he survived another atomic blast. – Source
10. The flame of peace
‘The Flame of Peace’ has burned since 1964 in honor of victims killed in the atomic bombings and will be extinguished only when there will be no more nuclear weapons and Earth will be free of the nuclear threat. – Source