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Mushroom cloud over Hiroshima / Photo
World War II / War in the Pacific 1941–45:
Dropping of the first Atom Bomb on the Japanese City Hiroshima, 6th August 1945
(The US B–29 Bomber “Enola Gay” dropped...
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1945 - The first atom bomb
The atom bomb had been successfully tested by the Americans in July 1945 and codenamed "Little Boy" it was ready for use since 31 July 1945. What if it had been ready three months earlier? Might it have been used in Germany, perhaps over Berlin?

The US had invested 2 billion dollars in the development of the first atomic bomb and although there were many controversial discussions about its use, the pro bomb lobby prevailed. US president Harry S. Truman gave the order to drop the bomb whilst at the Potsdam Conference.

On 6 August 1945 at 8.16 in the morning the first bomb "Little Boy" was dropped over Hiroshima in Japan without prior warning. The bomb exploded directly above the centre of the city at a height of 600m. 80% of Hiroshima was destroyed by a massive shock wave only 43 seconds after the explosion. A fireball with a core temperature of more than one million degrees centigrade and the 13km high mushroom cloud are well-known from contemporary photographs. More than 80.000 people died instantly, they literally evaporated in the heat. In the following weeks, months and years thousands more died from radiation sickness - the overall casualty rate was 300.000.

On 9 August 1945, only three days later at 11.02am, the second bomb called "Fat Man" was dropped over the city of Nagasaki. More bombs had been planned for use in Japan in the following days and weeks. Emperor Hirohito announced his country's unconditional surrender in a speech on 15 August 1945. The Japanese foreign minister Shigemitsu Mamoru signed the official surrender thus ending World War II in the Pacific.

The military necessity of using the bomb, especially the second one is doubtful and to legitimise its use in war can be seen as cynical. Using the bomb in August 1945 was a demonstration of power by the Americans, not just towards the Japanese but also the Soviet Union.

Part of Zweiter Weltkrieg 1939 - 1945