More than a blow to the city, it was a wake-up call to the whole world. Hiroshima was a demonstration of the feelings of the world towards the war, and the type of lengths we would go to too stop it. President Harry Truman made a tough decision by any standards. We could stop it now, or drag it on some more for possibly an even greater casualty list. After seeing what World War II had done to the soldiers, Truman was tired of the growing list of wasted lives. Truly, I don't think that even President Truman knew of the kind of energy created by an atom bomb, or what kind of devastating effects it could bring. No one knew. Was the bombing necessary? That is a question that lies in the hands of the American people. Even with the release of information concerning the bombing, I don't think that American can know all of the details surrounding the event. The emotions, the politics, the bribes, and the hellish details of a Pacific war with a Japanese God.
Miss Kayoko Nobutoki, a student of a girl's high school in Hiroshima was taking a rest with some of her friends beside the heavy fence of a Buddihist Temple. At the moment at which a the bomb was dropped, the fence fell on top of the girls. Under the fence the girls could not move, and when the fires from the bomb swept the city the smoke suffocated most of them. Yet, even as inevitable and as scary as death may have seemed, one of the girls began to sing Kimi ga yo, the Japanese national anthem. The others followed her lead and sang as the smoke choked them to death. Meanwhile, one of the girls found a crack and struggled hard to get out. When she was taken to the hospital she told of how her friends had died. "Shikata ga nai," It can't be helped; oh, well, too bad. Many of the Japanese that died in Japan did so proudly and dutifully for their Emporer. "Yes, people of Hiroshima died mainly in the atomic bombing did so proudly and dutifully for their Emperor's sake," said Hersey, the writer of the book "Hiroshima." This total dedication to the Emperor is most likely what caused the decision to use the atomic bomb in the first place. The people of Japan believed that their Emperor could do no wrong, and that his god-likeness would save them all from disaster and dishonor. In the end this respect they had for him is what stopped Japan from being totally overrun and decimated, but it first caused a decision to be made that would be questioned for eternity.
Eight fifteen in the morning of August 6, 1945, a moment in time that will ever be remembered by governments, Hiroshima, and the pilots and crew of the Enola Gay. "Little Boy," and 8,900 lb atomic bomb- dubbed so by its makers, detonated above the city of Hiroshima without warning. "My God! What have we done!?.....If I live a hundred years I'll never quite forget these few minutes,"Co-pilot, Captain Robert Lewis muttered horrified to himself. The mushroom cloud billowed up and reached 30,000 feet in less than three minutes, and 50,000 feet only moments later. The explosion created a cauldrun of smoke boiling out over the city that indicated the blowing up and burning of numerous buildings. The center of the blast was later recorded as 6000 degrees Celsius; it is amazing that anybody lived. The bomb was comprised of highly enriched uranium-235 and was triggered by a simple "gun" mechanism. A small slug-shaped piece of uranium was fired down a barrel into a larger cup-shaped piece. This simple design triggered an explosion equvalent to 15,000 tons of TNT. Although the explosion destroyed nearly all of the city and left few buildings standing, people managed to clamber out of their hiding places and prepare to face a nightmare for several weeks, months, and for some, even years. Living in the city at the time of the bombing was around 245,000 people. Over 140,000 people died in the blast or after from the effects of the radiation, lack of food or water, infection, or severe flash burns. Twenty percent of the people died from radiation sickness, and fifty percent of the people from injuries caused by the explosion. The burns were caused by an extremely hot wave of the explosion going outward from the center. The wave knocked down buildings, burned trees and people, and started the thousands of fires that finished off much of the city's structures. The radiation sickness struck about a month or two months after the bombing and caused hair loss, tiredness, hemorrhaging, infection, and temporary damage to the immune system. If the patients had a high raging fever for very long their chances of survival were grim, but if their fever broke within a week then they usually lived (Hiroshima, Hersey).
The bombing was probably the scariest thing the people of Hiroshima ever experienced, but the days afterward were terrible to encounter. The people who weren't hurt meant that they would probably live to help the dying to thier deaths in the most comforting way possible. If the injured were burned, others tried to get them to a hospital, and get their wounds cleaned out as best they could. Hospitals were so overflowed that the doctors, what there were left of them, had to pass over the worst wounded of the mass, and go on to people who might live. The able-bodied helped the wounded to get to water and keep them from the fires of the city. On one river, that many wounded were situated, the tides came up during the night. Many of the wounded were so weak that they couln't move to save themselves and were swept into the tide and drowned the first night after the bombing. Feeling so inadequate many people just laid down in defeat and never had the strength to get up again. Those who could saved themselves and the ones closest to them. One man even had to leave his sister to the fires of the city and save his mother who had a severe cut on her face and couldn't escape safely. He could hear his sister calling for help among the debris of their once-house. Those who didn't have family to save helped as many as they could, and some even had to leave those they helped in the streets dying. Setting up a makeshift shelter, one man had to leave a severely burned man, a woman with a mortal chest wound, and another woman with a severely crushed leg to fend for themselves, while he helped other-more seriously wounded people to the Red Cross Hospital. These people sat through city fires, without food or water, and not seeing another human until help came two days later. Only the woman with the broken leg lived. (Hiroshima, Hersey)
August 9, 1945- the second question, or maybe it was an enlargement of the first? The bomb dropped over Nagasaki was really meant for Kyushu and the Korkura Arsenal. However, foul weather persuaded the pilot of the Bockscar to head toward Nagasaki and the Mitsubishi torpedo factory instead. Nagasaki experienced a different type of bomb than Hiroshima, it consisted of plutonium surrounded by high explosives wired simultaneously. The bomb, named "Fat Man," detonated over Nagasaki was actually larger than the one over Hiroshima, but the geography of Nagasaki saved the city from near total devistation. Nagasaki was only one-third destroyed by a 22 kiliton explosion. Hiroshima was decimated with a 15 kiliton blast. (Snowden, 1998)
Even at all of the damage and suffering witnessed at Hiroshima, the Japanese government didn't want to surrender. War minister Anami, Army Chief of Staff Umenzu, and Navy Chief of Staff Toyoda all adamantly refused to surrender. Therefore, the meeting adjourned in a deadlock and no decision. Later that day, the Japanese Cabinet met again- and still, a slight but firm hold on the voting dictated another indecision and no surrender call. So, what would it have taken to make Japan surrender if it hadn't been for the Doves? Doves were the ones of the Japanese government who counseled the Emperor to call for surrender. They spoke to the Emperor as his closest advisors, and could have gotten arrested for their support of surrender had the right circumstances been arroused. As it was, the Emperor realized that very possibly the preservation of the Japanese throne could depend upon Japan's surrender. With some slight prodding of the Doves, that surrender might save Japan's face, the Emperor expressed his desire, "It is my desire that you, my ministers of State, accede to my wishes and forthwith accept the Allied reply." Only because the Emperor was believed to be a god did the military hawks accept his request to surrender. To the military, surrender was a dishonor and they would rather destroy Japan than surrender to an enemy. If the military of Japan had gone against their Emperor in continuing the war, they would have,"acted against the express wishes of an Emperor of whom they had unceasingly extolled as sacred and involiable, and around whom they had woven a fabric of individuality loyalty and national unity. They would have destroyed the very polity in perpetuation of which they had persistently declared they were fighting." (4,1995-1998, Long. Hiroshima: Was it Necessary?)
On the following day, the leaders of Japan decided upon surrender, while Anami, Umez, and Toyoda were still talking of a chance for victory. The Emperor's request convinced the leaders that Japan's future lay at stake and that it was time to save the nation's, if not the military's, face. The leaders reluctantly agreed to surrender, like War Minister Anami said,"As a Japanese soldier, I must obey my Emperor." After surrendering to the United States, many of the military leaders had to go into deep religious devotions to keep from killing themselves. Surrender was so repugnant to Anami that he committed hara-kiri, a suicidal ritual, the day after he signed the surrender document. Yet, finally on August 14, 1945, the surrender of Japan was announced, and the world rejoiced a gloomy victory. (Hiroshima, Hersey)
Warrebey, Glen Van. "The Hidden & Deeper Legacy of Hiroshima:The Hiroshima Tapes," 1998, pg.1-10. Available at: csi.ad.jp/ABOMB/index.html
Snowden, Ben. Spotlight: The Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, 1998, pg.2-3.
Long, Doug. "Hiroshima: Was it Necessary?" (Part 1), 1995-1998, pg.1-11. Available at: he.net/~douglong/index.html.