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