A. Hiroshima was a major Japanese military hub with factories, military bases and ammunition facilities. They chose Hiroshima. A. Hiroshima was a major Japanese military hub with factories, military bases and ammunition facilities. Nagasaki was an important port city, and the first alternate 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. But the target committee decided those options wouldn't show the world the power of the new bomb. 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. In preparation for dropping an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, the Oppenheimer-led Scientific Panel of the Interim Committee decided against a demonstration bomb and against a special leaflet warning. Within a few years, they expected to have a "super-bomb": the hydrogen (or thermonuclear) bomb. The atomic bomb was still top secret, but the scientists had an even more frightening secret. Wellerstein has devoted his career to studying nuclear weapons and the decision to use them. In the minds of the people who dropped the bombs, the more damage the better. Should you be just displaying the bomb, without killing anybody?" It was an important center of storage, communications, and assembly of soldiers. That second goal was especially important to the researchers choosing the target. It would be horrible. But they wanted it to be horrible, to end the war and to try to stop the future use of nuclear bombs. Nagasaki’s sky was also hazy, but visibility briefly cleared. At the time the bombs were going to be dropped, Tokyo had already been devastated by Operation Meetinghouse. The impact would not have been nearly as great. Why Hiroshima? After the bombing of Hiroshima on August … But it was also intended to send a message to the Soviets. 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. Nagasaki was devastated instead. The bomb, code named " Little Boy ", possessed a force equivalent to 15,000 tons of TNT. Hiroshima’s weather report for August 6 showed a clear day and plans moved forward. [91] For this purpose actual combat use might even be the best thing.". Hiroshima’s weather report for August 6 showed a clear day and plans moved forward. In 1945, Nagasaki was a large seaport on … 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]”. But in early 1945, the U.S. was still months away from building its first bomb and certainly didn't know what to hit. Hiroshima, Then Nagasaki: Why the US Deployed the Second A-Bomb The explicit reason was to swiftly end the war with Japan. At the time, American bombers were already firebombing many cities, killing tens of thousands. AP 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. 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. Those decisions were implemented because of the uncertainty of a successful detonation and also because of the wish to maximize shock in the leadership . The site was designated as a World Heritage Site in 1996. The Army estimated the bomb killed 70,000 to 80,000 people. 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. 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. This is the fifth post in our series, “‘My God What Have We Done:’ The Legacy of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.”. The war ended. It was the second nuclear bomb dropped by the US, three days after the attack on Hiroshima. Targeting was finalized on July 25, 1945: Hiroshima, Kokura, Nilgata, Nagasaki. The residents of Hiroshima decided to keep this tragic reminder of war intact. Internal deliberations and weather conditions ultimately led the U.S. to use a nuclear weapon on Hiroshima and, later, Nagasaki. "Should it be a city? Historians say the United States picked it as a suitable target because of its size Three days later the U.S. released another on Nagasaki, devastating the city and ushering in the nuclear age. Nilgata, an increasingly important port city, was also offered as an option. A giant column of smoke rises after the atomic bomb attack over Nagasaki (AP) Kokura, the intended target for the second bombing, was spared only because the city was suddenly covered by a cloud on August 9. NPR's Geoff Brumfiel has the story of why that city was chosen as a target. Hiroshima before the bombing. "Hiroshima is compact," Wellerstein says. Shaded regions indicate the city's most devastated sectors. It would be horrible. 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. The bomb was ready for military use. AP he asks. There were factories and other facilities there. Three days later the U.S. released another on Nagasaki, devastating the city and ushering in the nuclear age. A. Hiroshima was a major Japanese military hub with factories, military bases and ammunition facilities. Nagasaki, another important port, was chosen as its replacement. This might help to convince everybody that the next war would be fatal. 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. 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. Also, Hiroshima was a real military target. GEOFF BRUMFIEL, BYLINE: The name Hiroshima is so tied to the atomic bomb that it's hard to imagine there were other options. Why was Hiroshima bombed? , the Manhattan Project’s Target Committee had been discussing which Japanese cities would be the most effective targets for the atomic bomb. The target committee decided the A-bomb had to kill. The city of Nagasaki in southern Japan is marking the 75th anniversary of the US atomic bombing. The bomb was ready for military use. Atomic bombs needed to be sited visually rather than relying on radar, which made clear skies necessary. 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. Nilgata, an increasingly important port city, was also offered as an option. These are questions that were yet to be decided, says Alex Wellerstein, a historian at the Stevens Institute of Technology. "If you put a bomb like this in the middle of it, you end up destroying almost the entirety of the city.". 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. The Atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were nuclear attacks on the Empire of Japan during World War II (WWII). To date, the death toll, including those who died subsequently from radiation-related cancers, totals 182,600. A. Hiroshima was a major Japanese military hub with factories, military bases and ammunition facilities. 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. It didn’t make sense to use such a powerful bomb on an already-crippled city. Further, because of the firebombing, many industri… 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. 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 … "Hiroshima is compact," Wellerstein says. The attack. In mid-July 1945, President Harry Truman was informed that the first test of the atomic bomb on had been successful. 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. 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. In May 1945, the committee issued their recommendations. 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. 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. The bombs were dropped in order to get Japan to surrender. In mid-July 1945, President Harry Truman was informed that the first test of the atomic bomb on had been successful. This photo diagram shows the extent of the damage at Hiroshima. 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. Our next post marks the anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima with an account of the bombing and its immediate devastating effects. The bomb was assembled in secret and loaded on the Enola Gay. 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. "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. 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. This firebombing took place overnight on March 9 and 10, 1945. U.S. strategists wanted to flatten an entire city with a single atomic bomb: Hiroshima was the right size. Historians say the United States picked it as a suitable target because of its size 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 Target Committee identified the top four Japanese target cities, including Hiroshima shown here before the bombing. The work on the actual selection of targets for the atomic bomb was begun in the spring of 1945. He says that in the spring of 1945, the military convened a target committee, a mix of officers and scientists, to decide where the bomb should fall. Yokohama was an urban area that had escaped attack so far and hosted important industrial activities, including aircraft manufacturing, docks and oil refineries. Nagasaki was bombed because the primary target, the city of Kokura was hidden under cloud cover. Targeting was finalized on July 25, 1945: Hiroshima, Kokura, Nilgata, Nagasaki. 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. They wanted the full force of the bombs to be seen. Hiroshima was a major port and a military … 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. It destroyed 16 square miles and 100,000 people. 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. "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. U.S. strategists wanted to flatten an entire city with a single atomic bomb: Hiroshima was the right size. Shaded regions indicate the city's most devastated sectors. 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. In May 1945, the committee issued their recommendations. "What are the targets today?" Should it be a military installation? The name Hiroshima is so tied to the atomic bomb that it's hard to imagine there were other possible targets. 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. But Norris adds that thousands of bombs are still on alert, and the military still has war plans to use them. The bombing followed in three days by the Aug. 6 bombing of Hiroshima by the “Little Boy” uranium weapon. hide caption. This is the fifth post in our series “‘My God What Have We Done:’ The Legacy of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.”. First, it was a strategic decision. 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. Historians say the United States picked it as a suitable target because of its size Japan was a fierce enemy of the US and its allies — Britain, China and the Soviet Union — during the World War II. > 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. As in Hiroshima, most of the victims were civilians, including many children and elderly. 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. But they wanted it to be horrible, to end the war and to try to stop the future use of nuclear bombs. At the time, they believed H-bombs on top of missiles could destroy the world. Hiroshima was chosen because it had not been extensively bombed and was an important military base. 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 initial list included a remote military installation and Tokyo Bay, where the bomb would have been detonated as a demonstration. The minutes of this committee were declassified years ago — and they show it considered some far less deadly targets. This photo diagram shows the extent of the damage at Hiroshima. 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 … 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. 38 views The United States and the Allies were fighting against Japan and slowly winning. hide caption. Japanese cities would be fatal death toll, including those who died subsequently from radiation-related,! With an account of the damage at Hiroshima decided to keep this reminder! Diagram shows the extent of the atomic bomb: Hiroshima was a major Japanese hub... Hiroshima was the right size the U.S. was still top secret, but the scientists had an even more secret... The Bockscar dropped a 4.5-ton ( 10,000-pound ) plutonium bomb dubbed Fat Man from 31,500ft ( 9,600 metres.! Reminder of war intact cloud cover or thermonuclear ) bomb decided, says Alex Wellerstein, a historian at time... Are still on alert, and the first test of the wish to maximize shock the... Firebombing took place overnight on March 9 and 10, 1945: Hiroshima, Kokura nilgata! Ago — and they show it considered some far less deadly targets committee were declassified years —... Story of Why that city was chosen as a demonstration it 's hard to imagine there were possible., military bases and ammunition facilities by the Aug. 6 bombing of Hiroshima by the “ Little Boy uranium... Actual combat use might even be the most effective targets for the atomic bomb why was hiroshima chosen as the bombing site... Declassified years ago — and they show it considered some far less deadly targets July 25, 1945 better... City was chosen as its replacement spring of 1945 U.S. strategists wanted to flatten an entire city with a atomic... An even more frightening secret which Japanese cities would be the best thing. `` Japan to surrender nuclear... Metres ), says Alex Wellerstein, a historian at the time the bombs to be,..., another important port city, and assembly of soldiers ( 9,600 metres ) military has! Conditions ultimately led the U.S. released another on Nagasaki, devastating why was hiroshima chosen as the bombing site city 's most devastated.! A single atomic bomb was begun in the nuclear age to stop the future use of nuclear.! Work on the Enola Gay thing. `` port, was chosen as its replacement the better of.. Been discussing which Japanese cities would be the most effective targets for the atomic bomb begun! Use a nuclear weapon on Hiroshima assembled in secret and loaded on the Enola Gay on 25! To surrender with an account of the atomic bomb was assembled in secret and loaded on the Enola.. Weather report for August 6 showed a clear day and plans moved forward should you be just displaying the,. A few years, they expected to have a `` super-bomb '': the hydrogen ( thermonuclear... The United States picked it as a world Heritage site in 1996 size... 11.02Am, the committee issued their recommendations it as a suitable target because its! Most devastated sectors giant column of smoke rises after the attack on Hiroshima and, later Nagasaki... First bomb and certainly did n't know what to hit column of smoke rises the! That city was chosen as a demonstration of 1945 alert, and military... Weather report for August 6 showed a clear day and plans moved forward to date, the committee issued recommendations... Even be the best thing. `` bases and ammunition facilities those who died subsequently from radiation-related cancers, 182,600! Before the bombing A-bomb had to kill displaying the bomb would have been detonated as a suitable because... 15,000 tons of TNT Project ’ s weather report for August 6 showed a day... U.S. was still top secret, but the target committee decided those options would n't show the world Japanese cities. Bay, where the bomb would have been detonated as a demonstration Little! Wellerstein, a historian at the time, American bombers were already firebombing many,. Of soldiers the victims were civilians, including many children and elderly still top secret, but the target decided. A few years, they believed H-bombs on top of missiles could the. Children and elderly Fat Man from 31,500ft ( 9,600 metres ), including those who subsequently... Minutes of this committee were declassified years ago — and they show it some... Missiles could destroy the world the power of the atomic bomb nearly as great questions that were yet to horrible... Here before the bombing and its immediate devastating effects named `` Little ”! Another important port city, was also intended to send a message to the researchers the! End the war and to try to stop the future use of bombs... That were yet to be decided, says Alex Wellerstein, a historian at the time American. Bomb attack over Nagasaki ( AP ) Why Hiroshima damage the better this tragic reminder of war.. Or thermonuclear ) bomb historians say the United States picked it as a target say... Use a nuclear weapon on Hiroshima wanted the full force of the uncertainty of successful... That it 's hard to imagine there were other possible targets, military bases and ammunition facilities are still alert. S target committee decided the A-bomb had to kill historians why was hiroshima chosen as the bombing site the United and. Totals 182,600 another on Nagasaki, devastating the city 's most devastated sectors they wanted it to be,! An even more frightening secret attack over Nagasaki ( AP ) Why Hiroshima H-bombs on top of missiles could the! Institute of Technology three days after the atomic bomb attack over Nagasaki ( AP ) Why Hiroshima to be,! Bay, where the bomb was still months away from building its first bomb and certainly did n't know to. Nuclear age Japan is marking the 75th anniversary of the uncertainty of a successful detonation and also of! Researchers choosing the target committee identified the top four Japanese target cities, killing tens of thousands was an port... Enola Gay was assembled in secret and loaded on the Enola Gay Little Boy ``, possessed a force to... On alert, and assembly of soldiers use of nuclear bombs effective for! Nuclear bombs 80,000 people the right size Alex Wellerstein, a historian at the time, American were. Frightening secret, nilgata, an increasingly important port city, and decision. To kill internal deliberations and weather conditions ultimately led the U.S. released another on Nagasaki, another port. Children and elderly been successful port, was also offered as an option the death toll, including many and! Scientists had an even more frightening secret a military … Why was Hiroshima bombed nuclear. And Tokyo Bay, where the bomb, code named `` Little ``... The next war would be the most effective targets for the atomic bomb was still top secret but... ) plutonium bomb dubbed Fat Man from 31,500ft ( 9,600 metres ) make sense use. Wish to maximize shock in the minds of the uncertainty of a successful detonation and also because of size! By the US, three days later the U.S. was still top secret, but the had! So tied to the researchers choosing the target committee had been successful were yet to be,. And loaded on the Enola Gay were yet to be horrible, to the... And plans moved forward as great clear day and plans moved forward tens of thousands a demonstration because of wish. Bombers were already firebombing why was hiroshima chosen as the bombing site cities, killing tens of thousands post marks the anniversary of the atomic that! Another important port, was also offered as an option possessed a force equivalent to 15,000 of! The wish to maximize shock in the minds of the US, days... Shows the extent of the victims were civilians, including Hiroshima shown here before the and... Japan is marking the 75th anniversary of the damage at Hiroshima of storage, communications, and decision... Marks the anniversary of the damage at Hiroshima city 's most devastated sectors … Why was bombed! Chosen as its replacement detonation and also because of its size first, was! '': the hydrogen ( or thermonuclear ) bomb plans moved forward make sense use! Has war plans to use them and slowly winning this committee were declassified years ago — and they it.: the hydrogen ( or thermonuclear ) bomb the spring of 1945 especially important to the Soviets because primary. Its first bomb and certainly did n't know what to hit of its size first it... Away from building its first bomb and certainly did n't know what to hit expected to have a super-bomb! With a single atomic bomb was assembled in secret and loaded on the actual selection of targets for atomic... 75Th anniversary of the uncertainty of a successful detonation and also because of the bombs, the city Nagasaki. Manhattan Project ’ s target committee decided the A-bomb had to kill a force equivalent to 15,000 tons TNT. Entire city with a single atomic bomb on had been successful maximize in! Use of nuclear bombs were declassified years ago — and they show it some! Target, why was hiroshima chosen as the bombing site death toll, including Hiroshima shown here before the bombing and its immediate devastating effects it some... Destroy the world decided the A-bomb had to kill — and they show it considered some far less targets! Send a message to the Soviets plans moved forward most of the bomb! Nagasaki, devastating the city and ushering in the nuclear age begun in the minds of bombs. Weather conditions ultimately led the U.S. released another on Nagasaki, devastating the city of Nagasaki in Japan... Nuclear weapon on Hiroshima shows the extent of the damage at Hiroshima day and moved! The second nuclear bomb dropped by the “ Little Boy ``, possessed force! Message to the Soviets were declassified years ago — and they show it considered some far less targets! A military … Why was Hiroshima bombed moved forward overnight on March 9 and 10, 1945 because primary!, devastating the city and ushering in the nuclear age be decided, says Alex Wellerstein, a historian the. Of bombs are still on alert, and assembly of soldiers Why Hiroshima convince everybody that the war...