Culture

Nagasaki #OnThisDay

On 9th of August 1945 the USA dropped its second atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Nagasaki.

Only days before on August 6th they had dropped the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima. Both these actions had the full consent of the UK Government.

It is not precisely known how many people had died at Hiroshima. It is thought half of the deaths were caused on the day of the bombing but a  total now ranges from between 140,000 to over 202,000. 

 After the bombing of Hiroshima President Truman announced to the American people and the world that the USA had:

“spent two billion dollars on the greatest scientific gamble in history—and won”.

“If they do not now accept our terms, they may expect a rain of ruin from the air, the like of which has never been seen on this earth. Behind this air attack will follow sea and land forces in such numbers and power as they have not yet seen and with the fighting skill of which they are already well aware.”

Nagasaki, was a last minute ‘choice’ for the second atomic bomb. It was, like Hiroshima, a seaport. The buildings were mostly of timber construction. Its population consisted of Japanese citizens, thought to number about 240,000 but also  10,000 Koreans. There were also workers who had been conscripted in by the Japanese of about 2,500 Koreans and 300 Chinese. About 9,000 Japanese soldiers were stationed in the port. Seeking refuge in the city were about 200 survivors from Hiroshima. Nearby was a prisoner of war camp containing  400 Allied prisoners.

At 11.01, ‘Fat Man’, as the atomic bomb was named was dropped. It was much larger than the bomb which had been used days earlier. The estimates of how many were killed at Nagasaki are again variable. The city, as explained above, contained many people conscripted to work in its factories and the POWs in the nearby camp. Estimates range from between 60,000 to  80,000.

We will never know the actual numbers of those who died because many were obliterated and there was nothing left to count. Others suffered on with appalling injuries to die over the next days, months and years.

This was not to be the end because the USA had plans to drop more atomic bombs on Japan should her leaders not surrender.

  • 1 for  August 19
  • 3 for September
  • 3 for October
  • and another for December

Japan surrendered on August 15th 1945.

Reporter: Fiona Grahame

Link: Bernie Bell: Remembering

Nagasaki

This is the Hypo-centre. The bomb detonated some distance above the ground, and this monolith marks the hypo-centre ( ‘under-centre’) of the blast. It’s a single monolith, with circles radiating out from it, which is set in the centre of a ‘bowl’ in the land. Mike says it’s a very, very, intense place.. (Photo M Bell)

4 replies »

  1. I didn’t want to press the like button as it didn’t seem appropriate, but thank you for posting this. People should never forget what happened . I watched a documentary recently which pointed out that the reason Hiroshima was chosen was because it was a really cloudy day, and the cloud broke just as they were flying over the city, all those people losing their lives just because the sun came out.

  2. “Others suffered on with appalling injuries to die over the next days, months and years.”

    I remember, as a teenager, reading a book which told the story of a little girl who has Radiation Sickness, from one of the atomic bomb blasts.
    The tale is of how there was a Japanese tradition that, if you were ill, and you could make 1,000 Origami cranes, you would survive.
    Presumably this often ‘worked’, as a person would either die while making the cranes, or take so long to make them, that they would survive.
    She made the 1,000 cranes, but died anyway – in her bed, with the Cranes floating above her – as the radiation sickness took a long time to kill her. It was a new, different kind of sickness, beyond the ken of tradition.
    That book had a strong effect on me, I think I was about 13 when I read it. It was the patience and hope of the little girl that got me – patience and hope in the face of something utterly inhuman and WRONG.

  3. The Americans et al had several more bombs and targets planned if Japan had not surrendered.
    The horror of these weapons is unimaginable – if you believe they will not be used in the future think again.

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