70 Years Ago This Week The United States Of America Became The Only Nation On Earth To Unleash Nuclear Bombs On Civilian Populations

Atom Bomb


ASSOCIATED PRESS: An atomic bomb, hailed as the most terrible destructive force in history and as the greatest achievement of organized science, has been loosed upon Japan. President (Harry) Truman disclosed in a White House statement at 11 a.m. Eastern War Time, today that the first use of the bomb — containing more power than 20,000 tons of TNT and producing more than 2,000 times the blast of the most powerful bomb ever dropped before — was made 16 hours earlier on Hiroshima, a Japanese army base. (Tokyo Radio announced that Hiroshima was raided at 8:20 a.m. Monday (7:20 p.m. Sunday, United States Eastern War Time). That is about the time the bomb was dropped, but the Tokyo broadcast, recorded by the FCC, made no mention of any unusual destruction. It reported only that “a small number” of American B-29s attacked the city on southwestern Honshu with incendiary and explosive bombs.) The raid on Hiroshima, located on Honshu Island on the shores of the Inland Sea, had not been disclosed previously although the 25th Air Force on Guam announced that 580 Superforts raided four Japanese cities at about the same time. The atomic bomb is the answer, President Truman said, to Japan’s refusal to surrender. Secretary of War (Henry) Stimson ATOM BOMBpredicted the bomb will prove a tremendous aid in shortening the Japanese war. Mr. Truman grimly warned that “even more powerful forms (of the bomb) are in development.” “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,” he said. MORE

ASSOCIATED PRESS: The world’s second atomic bomb, most destructive explosive invented by man, was dropped on strategically important Nagasaki on western Kyushu Island at noon today. Crew members radioed that results were good, but Gen. Carl A. Spaatz said additional details would not be disclosed until the mission returns. The first atomic bomb destroyed more than 60 percent — 4.1 square miles — of Hiroshima, city of 343,000 population, Monday, and radio Tokyo reported “practically every living thing” there was annihilated. Nagasaki, which had 211,000 population 10 years ago, is an important shipping and railway center. It was hit first by China-based B-29s a year ago this month and was heavily attacked by Far East Air Force bombers and fighters only last July 31 and on the following day. Nagasaki, although only two-thirds as large as Hiroshima in population, is considered more important industrially. With a population now estimated at 255,000, its 12 square miles are packed with eave-to-eave buildings, which won it the name “sea of roofs.” It was vitally important as a port for transshipment of military supplies and the embarkation of troops in support of Japan’s operation in China, Formosa, Southeast Asia and the southwest Pacific. It was highly important as a major shipbuilding and repair center for both naval and merchantmen. The city also included industrial suburbs of Inase and Akunoua on the western side of the harbor and Urakami. The bombing area is nearly double Hiroshima’s. Japanese perished by uncounted thousands from the searing, crushing atomic blast that smashed Hiroshima, photographic and other evidence indicated today. The Tokyo radio, which said that “practically all living things, human and animal, were literally seared to death,” reported that authorities were still unable to check the total casualties. MORE



ASSOCIATED PRESS: The second world war, history’s greatest flood of death and destruction, ended tonight with Japan’s unconditional surrender. Formalities still remained — the official signing of surrender terms and a proclamation of V-J Day. But from the moment President Truman announced at 7 p.m. (EWT) that the enemy of the Pacific had agreed to Allied terms, the world put aside for a time woeful thoughts of the cost in dead and dollars and celebrated in wild frenzy. Formalities meant nothing to people freed at last of war. To reporters crammed into his office, shoving now-useless war maps against a marble mantle, the president disclosed that: Japan, without ever being invaded, had accepted completely and without reservation an Allied declaration of Potsdam, dictating unconditional surrender. […] From Tokyo just before midnight EWT came a broadcast saying Emperor Hirohito had told the Japanese people by radio that the Allies had begun “to employ a new and most cruel bomb” — the atomic bomb — and that to continue to fight “would lead to the total extinction of human civilization.” Allied forces were forced to “suspend offensive action” everywhere. MORE

ASSOCIATED PRESS: Surrender followed — at an instant when carrier planes of the mighty Pacific fleet were a few seconds from their targets in the Tokyo area. Pilots eager for a last lick at a weakening foe were reported to have gotten this word from Adm. William F. Halsey, who wants to ride Hirohito’s white horse through Tokyo streets: “It looks like the war is over. Cease fighting, but if you see any enemy planes in the air shoot them down in friendly fashion.” MORE