The first atomic bomb was dropped by the U.S. on Hiroshima, Japan, on August 6, 1945. Atomic bomb records mostly exist in the form of before and after photographs, first person accounts from both sides, and atomic bomb records taken by the two military planes that escorted the Enola Gay, which were equipped with cameras and measuring equipment. Another plane that monitored weather conditions preceded this trio.
Atomic bomb records also include information on why Hiroshima was chosen out of several other possible Japanese targets. Hiroshima was mostly unscathed from the war, and the U.S. wanted to make a bold statement to the rest of the world. This atomic bomb had yet to be tested, and many scientists feared it would malfunction. However, atomic bomb records show that not only did it explode as promised, but it wiped out most of the city.
Atomic bomb records show that this weapon, which was dropped from the B-29 Superfortress airplane Enola Gay and nicknamed "Little Boy", was the equivalent of 20,000 tons of TNT and the result of $2 billion worth of research.
August 6, 1945, 2:45 am: The Enola Gay, with a crew of 12, took off from the North Pacific island Tinian, which was 1,500 miles from Japan. The Enola Gay was headed for Hiroshima, Japan with an atomic bomb onboard.
3:00 am: Navy Captain William S. Parsons began arming the bomb, nicknamed Little Boy. This took approximately 15 minutes to accomplish.
8:15 am: The Enola Gay dropped Little Boy above Hiroshima, and it exploded 1,900 miles above the city. Eyewitnesses said that the city was clearly visible until the explosion, which clouded the city with smoke and fire. Nearly two-thirds of the city was destroyed with 60,000 of the 90,000 buildings within a 3-mile radius being demolished, but the mission was considered a success. Later, it would be reported that 70,000 people died that day, with another 70,000 people dying within 5 years from radiation poisoning.
The Berkshire Evening Eagle, published in Massachusetts on August 6, 1945, featured the headline "U.S. Drops Atomic Bomb." This atomic bomb newspaper edition described the nature of the atomic bomb, citing it having a blast equal to 20,000 tons of TNT, and that scientists, who had worked on this bomb for four years, were victorious. President Truman said that the point was to obliterate Japan's resources for making war.
This atomic bomb newspaper edition also quoted Truman as saying, "It is an atomic bomb. It is a harnessing of the basic power of the universe. The force from which the sun draws its power has been loosed against those who brought war to the Far East." The reasons for the U.S. choosing Hiroshima as the target included the fact that it was a "major quartermaster depot" with aircraft and machine tool factories. It was also the site of a major Japanese port and army base. Truman also said that the Japanese government brought this destruction about by rejecting the Big Three Ultimatum issued July 26. Had the Japanese not rejected this ultimatum, the people of Hiroshima would have been spared.
This atomic bomb newspaper edition also included a report on a British "grand slam" bomb that, when tested on an island in the English Channel, wiped the island off the map. Also reported was the fact that the Japanese government ordered its people to strap explosive to themselves, hari-kari style, to prevent at all costs American troops from causing Japanese defeat. Vice-Admiral Mitscher said that even if this occurs, it will not prevent Japan from being defeated.
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