It was an important center of storage, communications, and assembly of soldiers. Hiroshima was a major port and a military … They wanted the full force of the bombs to be seen. The bomb, code named " Little Boy ", possessed a force equivalent to 15,000 tons of TNT. There were factories and other facilities there. Internal deliberations and weather conditions ultimately led the U.S. to use a nuclear weapon on Hiroshima and, later, Nagasaki. Japan was a fierce enemy of the US and its allies — Britain, China and the Soviet Union — during the World War II. The bombs were dropped in order to get Japan to surrender. But it was also intended to send a message to the Soviets. Targeting was finalized on July 25, 1945: Hiroshima, Kokura, Nilgata, Nagasaki. First, it was a strategic decision. But in early 1945, the U.S. was still months away from building its first bomb and certainly didn't know what to hit. Rushay said that Hiroshima was one of four potential targets and that Truman left it up to the military to decide which city to strike. Those decisions were implemented because of the uncertainty of a successful detonation and also because of the wish to maximize shock in the leadership . In mid-July 1945, President Harry Truman was informed that the first test of the atomic bomb on had been successful. Shaded regions indicate the city's most devastated sectors. Hiroshima was chosen as the primary target since it had remained largely untouched by bombing raids, and the bomb's effects could be clearly measured. They chose Hiroshima. The work on the actual selection of targets for the atomic bomb was begun in the spring of 1945. Ultimately U.S. Secretary of War Henry Stimson persuaded Truman to take Kyoto out of consideration as it was Japan’s cultural center and a cherished city. Nagasaki was devastated instead. While President Truman had hoped for a purely military target, some advisers believed that bombing an urban area might break the fighting will of the Japanese people. Yokohama was an urban area that had escaped attack so far and hosted important industrial activities, including aircraft manufacturing, docks and oil refineries. The Atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were nuclear attacks on the Empire of Japan during World War II (WWII). Historians say the United States picked it as a suitable target because of its size Kokura was a city of great military importance because it had the largest factory in western Japan for the production of aircraft, missiles and other weapons. The committee settled on two "psychological" objectives of the first atomic bombing: to scare the Japanese into unconditional surrender and to impress upon the world the power of the new weapon. This firebombing took place overnight on March 9 and 10, 1945. The Target Committee identified the top four Japanese target cities, including Hiroshima shown here before the bombing. This is the fifth post in our series, “‘My God What Have We Done:’ The Legacy of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.”. Further, because of the firebombing, many industri… he asks. Targeting was finalized on July 25, 1945: Hiroshima, Kokura, Nilgata, Nagasaki. Historians say the United States picked it as a suitable target because of its size U.S. strategists wanted to flatten an entire city with a single atomic bomb: Hiroshima was the right size. As in Hiroshima, most of the victims were civilians, including many children and elderly. The initial list included a remote military installation and Tokyo Bay, where the bomb would have been detonated as a demonstration. hide caption. These are questions that were yet to be decided, says Alex Wellerstein, a historian at the Stevens Institute of Technology. AP Hiroshima before the bombing. Kyoto was another ideal target: it had a population that amounted to 1,000,000 people, it was a major industrial center, and it was Japan’s intellectual center and former capital. Wellerstein has devoted his career to studying nuclear weapons and the decision to use them. AP "Hiroshima is compact," Wellerstein says. Nagasaki, another important port, was chosen as its replacement. But they wanted it to be horrible, to end the war and to try to stop the future use of nuclear bombs. That second goal was especially important to the researchers choosing the target. Hiroshima was also very important from a military perspective since it was home to the 2nd Army Headquarters, which were responsible for the defense of southern Japan. The war ended. Based on three qualifications, “a large urban area of more than three miles in diameter…capable of being damaged effectively by the blast and…likely to be unattacked by [August 1946]”. Nagasaki’s sky was also hazy, but visibility briefly cleared. Over the next few weeks, Global Zero will explore what led to the bomb’s development, the consequences of its use, and where we’ve come since those fateful days in August. The site was designated as a World Heritage Site in 1996. Shaded regions indicate the city's most devastated sectors. So, they decided this bomb would not just kill — it would do something biblical: One bomb, from one plane, would wipe a city off the map. At the time, American bombers were already firebombing many cities, killing tens of thousands. The bombing followed in three days by the Aug. 6 bombing of Hiroshima by the “Little Boy” uranium weapon. A. Hiroshima was a major Japanese military hub with factories, military bases and ammunition facilities. U.S. strategists wanted to flatten an entire city with a single atomic bomb: Hiroshima was the right size. Atomic bombs needed to be sited visually rather than relying on radar, which made clear skies necessary. The atomic bomb was still top secret, but the scientists had an even more frightening secret. Rushay said that Hiroshima was one of four potential targets and that Truman left it up to the military to decide which city to strike. The Hiroshima bomb was ready awaiting suitable weather on July 31st, and the Nagasaki bomb was used as soon after the Hiroshima bomb as it was practicable to operate the second mission. stipulated the U.S. Air Force would deliver the first bomb “after around August 3, 1945 on one of the targets” as the weather permitted. Nagasaki was bombed because the primary target, the city of Kokura was hidden under cloud cover. Nagasaki was an important port city, and the first alternate target. The city’s landscape added to its appeal as a place to showcase the bombs destructive power – the nearby hills could increase damage from the atomic blast and the rivers running through it kept Hiroshima off the list of targets for firebombing. It would be horrible. In May 1945, the committee issued their recommendations. NPR's Geoff Brumfiel has the story of why that city was chosen as a target. "If you put a bomb like this in the middle of it, you end up destroying almost the entirety of the city.". Hiroshima, Then Nagasaki: Why the US Deployed the Second A-Bomb The explicit reason was to swiftly end the war with Japan. Three days later the U.S. released another on Nagasaki, devastating the city and ushering in the nuclear age. The residents of Hiroshima decided to keep this tragic reminder of war intact. GEOFF BRUMFIEL, BYLINE: The name Hiroshima is so tied to the atomic bomb that it's hard to imagine there were other options. "Hiroshima is compact," Wellerstein says. In mid-July 1945, President Harry Truman was informed that the first test of the atomic bomb on had been successful. To date, the death toll, including those who died subsequently from radiation-related cancers, totals 182,600. Hiroshima was chosen because it had not been targeted during the US Air Force's conventional bombing raids on Japan, and was therefore regarded as … Physicist Edward Teller wasn't on the committee, but a letter he wrote sums up the anxiety of the bomb builders: "Our only hope is in getting the facts of our results before the people. The first target city chosen was Hiroshima, which had an important port on southern Honshu and was headquarters of the Japanese Second General Army with 40,000 military personnel in the city. But the target committee decided those options wouldn't show the world the power of the new bomb. Within a few years, they expected to have a "super-bomb": the hydrogen (or thermonuclear) bomb. 38 views Hiroshima was chosen because it had not been extensively bombed and was an important military base. A giant column of smoke rises after the atomic bomb attack over Nagasaki (AP) In May 1945, the committee issued their recommendations. Nilgata, an increasingly important port city, was also offered as an option. At the time, they believed H-bombs on top of missiles could destroy the world. The attack order stipulated the U.S. Air Force would deliver the first bomb “after around August 3, 1945 on one of the targets” as the weather permitted. Kyoto was another ideal target: it had a population that amounted to 1,000,000 people, it was a major industrial center, and it was Japan’s intellectual center and former capital. This is the fifth post in our series “‘My God What Have We Done:’ The Legacy of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.”. Based on three qualifications – “a large urban area of more than three miles in diameter…capable of being damaged effectively by the blast and…likely to be unattacked by [August 1946]” – the committee identified their top four potential targets for the bombings: Kokura, Yokohama, Hiroshima, and Kyoto. Hiroshima’s weather report for August 6 showed a clear day and plans moved forward. Over the next few weeks, Global Zero will explore what led to the bomb’s development, the consequences of its use, and where we’ve come since those fateful days in August. Three days later the U.S. released another on Nagasaki, devastating the city and ushering in the nuclear age. Ultimately U.S. Secretary of War Henry Stimson persuaded Truman to take Kyoto out of consideration as it was Japan’s cultural center and a cherished city. Should it be a military installation? On August 6, 1945, the United States dropped a nuclear weapon on Hiroshima, Japan – the first time such a catastrophic weapon was ever used in conflict. > The Atomic Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki The Selection of the Target Some of the most frequent queries concerning the atomic bombs are those dealing with the selection of the targets and the decision as to when the bombs would be used. The name Hiroshima is so tied to the atomic bomb that it's hard to imagine there were other possible targets. "It did have that effect on the decades that followed," says Robert Norris, a longtime arms control advocate and fellow with the Federation of American Scientists who also studied the history of the first bombings. The Army estimated the bomb killed 70,000 to 80,000 people. Our next post marks the anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima with an account of the bombing and its immediate devastating effects. In 1945, Nagasaki was a large seaport on … Authorities in Hiroshima quickly rebuilt the city as a site of atomic trauma and peace activism, while their counterparts in Nagasaki downplayed the atomic bombing to … The minutes of this committee were declassified years ago — and they show it considered some far less deadly targets. "Should it be a city? On August 6, 1945, the United States dropped a nuclear weapon on Hiroshima, Japan – the first time such a catastrophic weapon was ever used in conflict. Why was Hiroshima bombed? Before the Trinity Test, the Manhattan Project’s Target Committee had been discussing which Japanese cities would be the most effective targets for the atomic bomb. Why the atomic bombing of Hiroshima would be illegal today By Katherine E. McKinney , Scott D. Sagan , Allen S. Weiner , July 1, 2020 In his first radio address after the bombing of Hiroshima, President Harry S. Truman claimed that “[t]he world will note that the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, a military base. The city of Nagasaki in southern Japan is marking the 75th anniversary of the US atomic bombing. Hiroshima was chosen as the primary target since it had remained largely untouched by bombing raids, and the bomb's effects could be clearly measured. At 11.02am, the Bockscar dropped a 4.5-ton (10,000-pound) plutonium bomb dubbed Fat Man from 31,500ft (9,600 metres). The bomb was ready for military use. This might help to convince everybody that the next war would be fatal. "They want people to understand that this is something different, and so picking a place that will showcase how different it is, is very important," Wellerstein says. The attack. After the conclusion of the World War II in 1945, the relations between Japan and the US worsened, especially as Japanese forces decided to take an aim at Indo-china with the intention of capturing the oil-rich areas of the East Indies. Should you be just displaying the bomb, without killing anybody?" In the minds of the people who dropped the bombs, the more damage the better. But Norris adds that thousands of bombs are still on alert, and the military still has war plans to use them. A. Hiroshima was a major Japanese military hub with factories, military bases and ammunition facilities. The impact would not have been nearly as great. The bomb was ready for military use. Historians say the United States picked it as a suitable target because of its size This photo diagram shows the extent of the damage at Hiroshima. This photo diagram shows the extent of the damage at Hiroshima. It didn’t make sense to use such a powerful bomb on an already-crippled city. The bomb was assembled in secret and loaded on the Enola Gay. Hiroshima was chosen as a target also because it had mountains around it that would help concentrate the effects of the bomb on the city. Kokura, the intended target for the second bombing, was spared only because the city was suddenly covered by a cloud on August 9. Why Hiroshima? A. Hiroshima was a major Japanese military hub with factories, military bases and ammunition facilities. , the Manhattan Project’s Target Committee had been discussing which Japanese cities would be the most effective targets for the atomic bomb. It would be horrible. After the bombing of Hiroshima on August … But they wanted it to be horrible, to end the war and to try to stop the future use of nuclear bombs. Hiroshima was also very important from a military perspective since it was home to the 2nd Army Headquarters, which were responsible for the defense of southern Japan. The United States and the Allies were fighting against Japan and slowly winning. A. Hiroshima was a major Japanese military hub with factories, military bases and ammunition facilities. "What are the targets today?" Hiroshima’s weather report for August 6 showed a clear day and plans moved forward. It was the second nuclear bomb dropped by the US, three days after the attack on Hiroshima. While President Truman had hoped for a purely military target, some advisers believed that bombing an urban area might break the fighting will of the Japanese people. Also, Hiroshima was a real military target. hide caption. The target committee decided the A-bomb had to kill. 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