On August 6, 1945, in an attempt to bring an end to World War II, the United States dropped the world’s first atomic bomb on Hiroshima, a Japanese city and military center. Most of the population stood helpless in the open as the sighting of only three aircraft quickly caused a roaring of air raid warnings. The extraordinary event destroyed nearly two-thirds of the city and immediately killed tens of thousands of people, and tens of thousands more died later from radiation exposure. Sixteen hours after the attack, United States President, Harry S. Truman, broadcasted the report of the event to radio listeners:
The world will note that the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, a military base. We won the race of discovery against the Germans. We have used it against those who attacked us without warning at Pearl Harbor, against those who have starved and beaten and executed American prisoners of war, against those who have abandoned all pretense of obeying international laws of warfare. We have used it in order to shorten the agony of war, in order to save the lives of thousands and thousands of young Americans. We shall continue to use it until we completely destroy Japan’s power to make war.
Just three days later on August 9, 1945, the United States dropped a second atomic bomb on Nagasaki, a secondary target chosen due to inclement weather impairing the primary target city of Kokura. Though the terrain surrounding Nagasaki prohibited the widespread devastation as was seen on Hiroshima, the death-toll quickly rose into the tens of thousands.
Finally, on August 15, 1945, the world witnessed Japan’s unconditional surrender. In a radio address, Japan’s Emperor Hirohito announced his country’s surrender in World War II, citing the devastating power of “a new and most cruel bomb”.
Beginning in September 1939, war-stricken Europe had entered into another World War. Fueled by the desire to expand the German race, Germany’s Adolph Hitler invaded Poland, thereby thrusting Great Britain and France into what would become World War II. Meanwhile, in the Pacific, Japan was in an ongoing war with China and expanding its seizure of European Colonies in the Far East. With the effects of World War I (1914-1918) and the decade long Great Depression still looming, the United States was far removed from the idea of entering into another World War.
Then, on December 7, 1941, Japanese carrier-based airplanes surprisingly struck Pearl Harbor, Hawaii and sprung the United States into the war. In a raid lasting less than two hours, they sank or seriously damaged eight battleships and thirteen other naval vessels. This surprise attack also destroyed a large portion of the American warplanes stationed on the airfield and took the lives of thousands. No discretion was apparent on this morning as both military and civilian personnel unexpectedly faced a barrage of Japanese fighter planes raining fire down among the ships in the...