9 August 1945 - 11:02 AM
Fatman bomb, dropped by the U.S. B-29 Bock's Car, explodes with the force of 22 kilotons of explosives.
Within a mile, most people were dead, most buildings were destroyed. The survivors waited for death as emergency services were minimal. The cremation fires burned day and night, mixing with the fallout.
Sounds terrible. But that is what war is. And that is what war should be, so Man will be less inclined to turn to it as a continuation of diplomacy by other means.
But it was also necessary. President Truman made the decision to use the bombs after he was presented with reports that the closer U.S. Forces got the the Japanese mainland, the more viciously the Japanese fought. He was also informed that the civilians in Japan were taking up whatever arms they could and were preparing for a last stand fight to the death against U.S. Forces on their home soil.
That information coupled with the projections that an invasion of the Japanese mainland would lead to tens, if not hundreds of thousands of Allied casualties, and Japanese military and civilian casualties numbering in the millions tipped the balance.
But neither bombing was a sneak attack. The Japanese government was warned before Hiroshima was bombed that we had a new "Super Weapon" that we would use unless they surrendered. They ignored the warning. We destroyed Hiroshima.
We warned them again. We dropped leaflets over their cities asking them to ask their leaders to surrender. The first was dropped right after Hiroshima:
TO THE JAPANESE PEOPLE:
"America asks that you take immediate heed of what we say on this leaflet.
"We are in possession of the most destructive explosive ever devised by man. A single one of our newly developed atomic bombs is actually the equivalent in explosive power to what 2000 of our giant B-29's can carry on a single mission. This awful fact is one for you to ponder and we solemnly assure you it is grimly accurate.
"We have just begun to use this weapon against your homeland. If you still have any doubt, make inquiry as to what happened to Hiroshima when just one atomic bomb fell on that city.
"Before using this bomb to destroy every resource of the military by which they are prolonging this useless war, we ask that you now petition the Emperor to end the war. Our President has outlined for you the thirteen consequences of an honorable surrendor: We urge that you accept these consequences and begin the work of building a new, better, and peace-loving Japan.
"You should take stops now to cease military resistance. Otherwise, we shall resolutely employ this bomb and all out other superior weapons to promptly and forcefully end the war."
EVACUATE YOUR CITIES
The government ignored the warning. They ignored their citizens. Radio Tokyo told the country of the destruction of Hiroshima. We warned them again. This time we dropped leaflets over target cities BEFORE the second bomb was used:
"ATTENTION JAPANESE PEOPLE" EVACUATE YOUR CITIES
"Because your military leaders have rejected the thirteen part surrender declaration, two momentous events have occurred in the last few days.
"The Soviet Union, because of this rejection on the part of the military has notified your Ambassador Sato that it has declared war on your nation. Thus, all powerful countries of the world are now at war against you.
"Also because of your leaders' refusal to accept the surrender declaration that would enable Japan to honorably end this useless war, we have employed our atomic bomb.
"A single one of our newly developed atomic bombs is actually the equivalent in explosive power to what 2000 of our giant B-29's could have carried on a single mission. Radio Tokyo has told you that with the first use of this weapon of total destruction, Hiroshima was virtually destroyed.
"Before we use this bomb again and again to destroy every resourse of the military by which they are prolonging this useless war, petition the Emperor now to end the war. Our President has outlined for you the thirteen consequences of an honorable surrender; We urge that you accept these consequences and begin the work of building a new, better, and peace loving Japan.
"Act at once or we shall resolutely employ this bomb and all our other superior weapons to promptly and forcefully end the war."
EVACUATE YOUR CITIES
Again they ignored the warnings. We bombed Nagasaki. Damage was not as extensive as it was at Hiroshima, due to the geography of the area. The area around Ground Zero is surrounded by hills, and this served to protect the civilian areas of the city from the blast.
On 10 August 1945, planning for more atomic attacks continued in the U.S., and The Emperor of Japan ordered the military to offer surrender to The Allies. This order resulted in a split between those wanting to surrender for the good of Japan, and those wanting to continue the war for the glory of Japan.
The emperor recorded a message in which he personally accepted the Allied surrender terms, to be broadcast over Japanese radio. This way everyone in Japan would know that surrender was the emperor's personal will. Some within the Japanese military actually attempted to steal this recording before it could be broadcast, while others attempted a more general military coup in order to seize power and continue the war.
On August 15, 1945, the emperor's broadcast announcing Japan's surrender was heard via radio all over Japan. For most of his subjects, it was the first time that they had ever heard his voice. The emperor explained that "the war situation has developed not necessarily to Japan's advantage," and that "the enemy has begun to employ a new and most cruel bomb." Over the next few weeks, Japan and the United States worked out the details of the surrender, and on September 2, 1945, the formal surrender ceremony took place on the deck of the U.S.S. Missouri.