At the time, American bombers were already firebombing many cities, killing tens of thousands. Rushay said that Hiroshima was one of four potential targets and that Truman left it up to the military to decide which city to strike. The impact would not have been nearly as great. In May 1945, the committee issued their recommendations. The bombing followed in three days by the Aug. 6 bombing of Hiroshima by the “Little Boy” uranium weapon. Kokura, the intended target for the second bombing, was spared only because the city was suddenly covered by a cloud on August 9. 38 views U.S. strategists wanted to flatten an entire city with a single atomic bomb: Hiroshima was the right size. hide caption. Further, because of the firebombing, many industri… Hiroshima was also very important from a military perspective since it was home to the 2nd Army Headquarters, which were responsible for the defense of southern Japan. The bomb was assembled in secret and loaded on the Enola Gay. Hiroshima was also very important from a military perspective since it was home to the 2nd Army Headquarters, which were responsible for the defense of southern Japan. On August 6, 1945, the United States dropped a nuclear weapon on Hiroshima, Japan – the first time such a catastrophic weapon was ever used in conflict. Why was Hiroshima bombed? Targeting was finalized on July 25, 1945: Hiroshima, Kokura, Nilgata, Nagasaki. Hiroshima before the bombing. Authorities in Hiroshima quickly rebuilt the city as a site of atomic trauma and peace activism, while their counterparts in Nagasaki downplayed the atomic bombing to … It didn’t make sense to use such a powerful bomb on an already-crippled city. Hiroshima was chosen as the primary target since it had remained largely untouched by bombing raids, and the bomb's effects could be clearly measured. This might help to convince everybody that the next war would be fatal. Hiroshima’s weather report for August 6 showed a clear day and plans moved forward. Nagasaki was an important port city, and the first alternate target. In the minds of the people who dropped the bombs, the more damage the better. The name Hiroshima is so tied to the atomic bomb that it's hard to imagine there were other possible targets. On August 6, 1945, the United States dropped a nuclear weapon on Hiroshima, Japan – the first time such a catastrophic weapon was ever used in conflict. Hiroshima was chosen because it had not been extensively bombed and was an important military base. But in early 1945, the U.S. was still months away from building its first bomb and certainly didn't know what to hit. The committee settled on two "psychological" objectives of the first atomic bombing: to scare the Japanese into unconditional surrender and to impress upon the world the power of the new weapon. "If you put a bomb like this in the middle of it, you end up destroying almost the entirety of the city.". Hiroshima was chosen because it had not been targeted during the US Air Force's conventional bombing raids on Japan, and was therefore regarded as … The site was designated as a World Heritage Site in 1996. The Target Committee identified the top four Japanese target cities, including Hiroshima shown here before the bombing. "Hiroshima is compact," Wellerstein says. First, it was a strategic decision. "They want people to understand that this is something different, and so picking a place that will showcase how different it is, is very important," Wellerstein says. Kokura was a city of great military importance because it had the largest factory in western Japan for the production of aircraft, missiles and other weapons. A. Hiroshima was a major Japanese military hub with factories, military bases and ammunition facilities. Nagasaki’s sky was also hazy, but visibility briefly cleared. But the target committee decided those options wouldn't show the world the power of the new bomb. Over the next few weeks, Global Zero will explore what led to the bomb’s development, the consequences of its use, and where we’ve come since those fateful days in August. "It did have that effect on the decades that followed," says Robert Norris, a longtime arms control advocate and fellow with the Federation of American Scientists who also studied the history of the first bombings. "Should it be a city? In preparation for dropping an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, the Oppenheimer-led Scientific Panel of the Interim Committee decided against a demonstration bomb and against a special leaflet warning. The target committee decided the A-bomb had to kill. > The Atomic Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki The Selection of the Target Some of the most frequent queries concerning the atomic bombs are those dealing with the selection of the targets and the decision as to when the bombs would be used. This is the fifth post in our series “‘My God What Have We Done:’ The Legacy of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.”. This firebombing took place overnight on March 9 and 10, 1945. For this purpose actual combat use might even be the best thing.". "Hiroshima is compact," Wellerstein says. The residents of Hiroshima decided to keep this tragic reminder of war intact. To date, the death toll, including those who died subsequently from radiation-related cancers, totals 182,600. Nilgata, an increasingly important port city, was also offered as an option. U.S. strategists wanted to flatten an entire city with a single atomic bomb: Hiroshima was the right size. Internal deliberations and weather conditions ultimately led the U.S. to use a nuclear weapon on Hiroshima and, later, Nagasaki. They chose Hiroshima. They wanted the full force of the bombs to be seen. The city of Nagasaki in southern Japan is marking the 75th anniversary of the US atomic bombing. While President Truman had hoped for a purely military target, some advisers believed that bombing an urban area might break the fighting will of the Japanese people. There were factories and other facilities there. Based on three qualifications, “a large urban area of more than three miles in diameter…capable of being damaged effectively by the blast and…likely to be unattacked by [August 1946]”. The city’s landscape added to its appeal as a place to showcase the bombs destructive power – the nearby hills could increase damage from the atomic blast and the rivers running through it kept Hiroshima off the list of targets for firebombing. "What are the targets today?" The minutes of this committee were declassified years ago — and they show it considered some far less deadly targets. These are questions that were yet to be decided, says Alex Wellerstein, a historian at the Stevens Institute of Technology. Kyoto was another ideal target: it had a population that amounted to 1,000,000 people, it was a major industrial center, and it was Japan’s intellectual center and former capital. A. Hiroshima was a major Japanese military hub with factories, military bases and ammunition facilities. Nagasaki was bombed because the primary target, the city of Kokura was hidden under cloud cover. Ultimately U.S. Secretary of War Henry Stimson persuaded Truman to take Kyoto out of consideration as it was Japan’s cultural center and a cherished city. Historians say the United States picked it as a suitable target because of its size NPR's Geoff Brumfiel has the story of why that city was chosen as a target. Within a few years, they expected to have a "super-bomb": the hydrogen (or thermonuclear) bomb. But they wanted it to be horrible, to end the war and to try to stop the future use of nuclear bombs. Shaded regions indicate the city's most devastated sectors. Atomic bombs needed to be sited visually rather than relying on radar, which made clear skies necessary. The Atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were nuclear attacks on the Empire of Japan during World War II (WWII). hide caption. , the Manhattan Project’s Target Committee had been discussing which Japanese cities would be the most effective targets for the atomic bomb. It was an important center of storage, communications, and assembly of soldiers. Rushay said that Hiroshima was one of four potential targets and that Truman left it up to the military to decide which city to strike. The Hiroshima bomb was ready awaiting suitable weather on July 31st, and the Nagasaki bomb was used as soon after the Hiroshima bomb as it was practicable to operate the second mission. Should you be just displaying the bomb, without killing anybody?" This is the fifth post in our series, “‘My God What Have We Done:’ The Legacy of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.”. Japan was a fierce enemy of the US and its allies — Britain, China and the Soviet Union — during the World War II. At 11.02am, the Bockscar dropped a 4.5-ton (10,000-pound) plutonium bomb dubbed Fat Man from 31,500ft (9,600 metres). Targeting was finalized on July 25, 1945: Hiroshima, Kokura, Nilgata, Nagasaki. It destroyed 16 square miles and 100,000 people. Hiroshima was chosen as a target also because it had mountains around it that would help concentrate the effects of the bomb on the city. But it was also intended to send a message to the Soviets. Yokohama was an urban area that had escaped attack so far and hosted important industrial activities, including aircraft manufacturing, docks and oil refineries. It would be horrible. Over the next few weeks, Global Zero will explore what led to the bomb’s development, the consequences of its use, and where we’ve come since those fateful days in August. At the time, they believed H-bombs on top of missiles could destroy the world. AP That second goal was especially important to the researchers choosing the target. The first target city chosen was Hiroshima, which had an important port on southern Honshu and was headquarters of the Japanese Second General Army with 40,000 military personnel in the city. The bomb was ready for military use. A. Hiroshima was a major Japanese military hub with factories, military bases and ammunition facilities. Why Hiroshima? In 1945, Nagasaki was a large seaport on … AP This photo diagram shows the extent of the damage at Hiroshima. Nilgata, an increasingly important port city, was also offered as an option. Wellerstein has devoted his career to studying nuclear weapons and the decision to use them. The attack order stipulated the U.S. Air Force would deliver the first bomb “after around August 3, 1945 on one of the targets” as the weather permitted. The bomb was ready for military use. The United States and the Allies were fighting against Japan and slowly winning. Should it be a military installation? It was the second nuclear bomb dropped by the US, three days after the attack on Hiroshima. The bombs were dropped in order to get Japan to surrender. Three days later the U.S. released another on Nagasaki, devastating the city and ushering in the nuclear age. Three days later the U.S. released another on Nagasaki, devastating the city and ushering in the nuclear age. He says that in the spring of 1945, the military convened a target committee, a mix of officers and scientists, to decide where the bomb should fall. A. Hiroshima was a major Japanese military hub with factories, military bases and ammunition facilities. Hiroshima was chosen as the primary target since it had remained largely untouched by bombing raids, and the bomb's effects could be clearly measured. But Norris adds that thousands of bombs are still on alert, and the military still has war plans to use them. Historians say the United States picked it as a suitable target because of its size [91] Based on three qualifications – “a large urban area of more than three miles in diameter…capable of being damaged effectively by the blast and…likely to be unattacked by [August 1946]” – the committee identified their top four potential targets for the bombings: Kokura, Yokohama, Hiroshima, and Kyoto. While President Truman had hoped for a purely military target, some advisers believed that bombing an urban area might break the fighting will of the Japanese people. Historians say the United States picked it as a suitable target because of its size Hiroshima’s weather report for August 6 showed a clear day and plans moved forward. A giant column of smoke rises after the atomic bomb attack over Nagasaki (AP) Our next post marks the anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima with an account of the bombing and its immediate devastating effects. Hiroshima was a major port and a military … It would be horrible. At the time the bombs were going to be dropped, Tokyo had already been devastated by Operation Meetinghouse. Nagasaki was devastated instead. he asks. Hiroshima, Then Nagasaki: Why the US Deployed the Second A-Bomb The explicit reason was to swiftly end the war with Japan. The war ended. After the bombing of Hiroshima on August … Before the Trinity Test, the Manhattan Project’s Target Committee had been discussing which Japanese cities would be the most effective targets for the atomic bomb. Kyoto was another ideal target: it had a population that amounted to 1,000,000 people, it was a major industrial center, and it was Japan’s intellectual center and former capital. In May 1945, the committee issued their recommendations. In mid-July 1945, President Harry Truman was informed that the first test of the atomic bomb on had been successful. The bomb, code named " Little Boy ", possessed a force equivalent to 15,000 tons of TNT. Why the atomic bombing of Hiroshima would be illegal today By Katherine E. McKinney , Scott D. Sagan , Allen S. Weiner , July 1, 2020 In his first radio address after the bombing of Hiroshima, President Harry S. Truman claimed that “[t]he world will note that the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, a military base. But they wanted it to be horrible, to end the war and to try to stop the future use of nuclear bombs. Also, Hiroshima was a real military target. Physicist Edward Teller wasn't on the committee, but a letter he wrote sums up the anxiety of the bomb builders: "Our only hope is in getting the facts of our results before the people. Nagasaki, another important port, was chosen as its replacement. This photo diagram shows the extent of the damage at Hiroshima. The work on the actual selection of targets for the atomic bomb was begun in the spring of 1945. In mid-July 1945, President Harry Truman was informed that the first test of the atomic bomb on had been successful. The initial list included a remote military installation and Tokyo Bay, where the bomb would have been detonated as a demonstration. stipulated the U.S. Air Force would deliver the first bomb “after around August 3, 1945 on one of the targets” as the weather permitted. As in Hiroshima, most of the victims were civilians, including many children and elderly. GEOFF BRUMFIEL, BYLINE: The name Hiroshima is so tied to the atomic bomb that it's hard to imagine there were other options. Those decisions were implemented because of the uncertainty of a successful detonation and also because of the wish to maximize shock in the leadership . The atomic bomb was still top secret, but the scientists had an even more frightening secret. The Army estimated the bomb killed 70,000 to 80,000 people. Shaded regions indicate the city's most devastated sectors. The attack. Ultimately U.S. Secretary of War Henry Stimson persuaded Truman to take Kyoto out of consideration as it was Japan’s cultural center and a cherished city. After the conclusion of the World War II in 1945, the relations between Japan and the US worsened, especially as Japanese forces decided to take an aim at Indo-china with the intention of capturing the oil-rich areas of the East Indies. 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