Atomic Bomb Attacks on Japan
During the Second World War, the United States carried out a pretense experiment during which it produced a bomb. It was only realized after the detonation in New Mexico. However, the experimentation resulted in the production of two functional bombs that were used for the Atomic Bomb Attacks on Japan in cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki killing 14,000 people and 70,000 people respectively. On 6th August 1945, the first bomber, Enola Gray left Tinian Island for Hiroshima with a 12 man crew. The aircraft was modified in order to be capable of carrying the heavy atomic bombs.
The modifications included the presence of new propeller s, opening and closing bomb bay doors and stronger engines. Despite these modifications however, The Enola Gray was not a super aircraft as it still needed a runway. Being flanked by several other aircrafts which carried various war paraphernalia and cameras, the Enola Gray went on its mission over Hiroshima.
The bomb, dubbed the Little Boy, was hung on the Enola Gray. It was a three meter bomb. The responsibility of detonating the Bomb fell to William Parsons who had been part of the development team. The bomb was loaded only 15 minutes into the flight and its detonator had no emotional feelings for the victims (Newtan, 2007). The bomb, developed using uranium 235 technology, consumed approximately $2 billion in research, development and tuning. Since the bomb had not been tested, most people involved in the development believed it could malfunction and had no awareness of its potential destructive impacts. The three key targets included Kyoto, Hiroshima and Nagasaki based on the fact that the cities were yet to experience any war impacts (Miller, 1986). On the 6th August 1945, the Enola Gray detonated the Little Boy 5700 meters above Hiroshima, missing their key target which was the Aioi Bridge by only 700 meters.
During the attack, the destruction was massive. More than 60,000 of the 90,000 buildings in proximity to the point of explosion were destroyed. More than half of the city’s population was also killed during the attack. The attack was different in that it targeted an entire city rather than a military base as was common. Due to the destructive impacts of the Hiroshima attack, the Nagasaki attack found the Japanese still in shock and unable to comprehend what had happened to them. In this case, a plutonium 239 bomb called the Fat Man was used for the attack, launched by an air craft referred to as Bock’s Car.
The bomb was detonated 500 meters above the city. The original plan was to attack Kokura but the weather in the city on that day made it unfavorable for an air attack. Although the fat man was considered to be of stronger nature than the little boy, its effects were less due to the terrain of Nagasaki (Anderson, 2001). It led to the death of about a quarter of the city’s population.
The factors that led to the attacks are linked to Japan’s atomic bomb attacks on Pearl Harbor. This was followed by calls for surrender and peace declaration by the then US president, Harry Truman. The failure of the Japanese to surrender unconditionally in spite of numerous military setbacks post Pearl Harbor attack triggered the war response by the US. The objectives of the US in dropping the bombs were to keep USSR off Japan and to force the Japanese into submission. The bombs achieved these and led to the end of the war. Had the war failed to end, the US had plans for other attacks in Japan.
The negative effects of the bombs included deaths; initiation of teratogenic effects in pregnant women; induction of maladies such as cancer and leukemia through the radiation effects; and destruction of property. On the other hand, the bombs also led to prevention of further bomb use during war and forceful ending of the Second World War.
Anderson, D. (2001). Fire road. Iowa City: University of Iowa Press.
Miller, R. L. (1986). Under the cloud: The decades of nuclear testing. New York: Free Press.
Newtan, S. U. (2007). Nuclear War I and other major nuclear disasters of the 20th century. Bloomington, IN: AuthorHouse.
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