Nuclear Bombings on Hiroshima and Nagasaki

On July 16, 1945, during the Potsdam Conference, the U.S. successfully completed the test of the world’s first nuclear weapon explosion – the “Trinity” bomb. On July 24, U.S. President Harry S. Truman ordered the atomic bomb to be used on Japan, over one of the cities including Hiroshima, Niigata, Kokura (Fukuoka) and Nagasaki, depending on weather conditions. On the same day, at the Potsdam Conference, Truman reportedly informed Soviet leader, Stalin of the existence of a “new weapon of special destructive power.” According to reports from the Soviet delegation, Stalin already knew about the successful test of an American atomic bomb and ordered to intensify the development of a Soviet atomic bomb. This date is therefore also considered the beginning of the nuclear arms race.

Attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki:

Why were Hiroshima and Nagasaki were bombed? There are some reasons for why the US chose these two cities as bombing targets.

The city of Hiroshima was the first target of attack by U.S. forces. Because of its industrial and military facilities, the city was also of strategic importance. The bomb, -known as “Little Boy,” was dropped at 8:15 a.m. Japan time on August 6, 1945. According to various accounts, between 100,000 and 120,000 people in the city of Hiroshima, which had an estimated population of 300,000 at the time, were killed instantly or succumbed to their injuries in the months that followed. About 90 percent of the building and houses were destroyed or severely damaged.

Since the Japanese government did not surrender unconditionally even after the bombing of Hiroshima, the U.S. government decided to drop a second bomb. Initially, the port city of Kokura was designated as the deployment site. Due to heavy cloud cover, Nagasaki, just over 100 kilometers away, was approached. Between 60,000 and 80,000 people died in Nagasaki.

The casualty figures of both bombings are still disputed today. Not everyone’s remains were found in the detonation center of the bombs, and many records of who lived in the city were also destroyed in the process. In addition, tens of thousands died as a result of the attack in the months and years that followed .

On August 15, Japanese Emperor Hirohito addressed the public in a radio address, saying that Japan must now “endure the inevitable” and end the fighting. The unconditional surrender was signed aboard the U.S. battleship Missouri on September 2 and is considered the end of World War II.

Numerous cases of cancer as a late consequence:

Hundreds of thousands of survivors of the two atomic bombs dropped in 1945 had to deal with severe consequences. These include diseases directly caused by the radiation or burns, but also late effects – such as cancers and deformities in children. In Japan, the survivors are called “hibakusha.” If they are recognized as victims, they are entitled to free medical treatment starmusiq .

In the first ten years, the number of leukemia cases increased among the hibakusha. Later, cases of thyroid, breast, lung and bladder cancer increased. Whether the radiation has an influence on future generations is being investigated by the U.S.-Japanese Radiation Effects Research Foundation, among others. So far, the research institute has not found any conclusive evidence for this .

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