This attack on Hiroshima and Nagasaki is first ever use of a weapon of mass destruction. The target was an empire with its own secret weapon: the suicide bomber. On the 6th of August, 1945, a bomb unlike any other fell from the skies above Hiroshima. The bomb was designed by some of the world’s finest scientists. Using it was one of the most momentous political decisions ever made. The entire city of Hiroshima was annihilated in just a few seconds. The bomb helped bring the Second World War to an end as well as marking the beginning of a new chapter in human history. Japans refusal to surrender, the enormous number of allied casualties involved in securing mainland Japan and the ineffectiveness of a military barricade in forcing the Japanese to surrender made the bomb both a necessary and justified last resort.
On July the 14th, 1945, at the top secret research facility in Los Alamos, New Mexico , a heavily armed convoy was loaded with parts for a new kind of bomb. This bomb was the product of three years’ research and had cost $2 billion to develop. But at this stage, the technology was still completely untested, however, an opportunity arose two days later. The scientists and soldiers of the Manhattan Project gathered for the first ever test explosion of an atomic bomb The force of the explosion was estimated to be the equivalent of 67 million sticks of dynamite. The bomb had originally been intended for use against Nazi Germany but its backers had another target in mind. By July 1945, the war in Europe was over and Nazi Germany was defeated. But in the Pacific, the war against Japan was raging on. After the surprise attack on Pearl Harbour, American forces had fought their way back across the Pacific island by island with savage hand-to-hand fighting. However, Japan’s main armies remained intact and undefeated. The Americans had tried firebombing the Japanese into submission, reducing its many cities to rubble, but still the Japanese refused to surrender. The Allies now faced the prospect of a full-scale invasion with some estimates putting their losses as high as a million causalities and many more Japanese.
In Japan at the time, the emperor was head of state and also a living god, but day to day power rested with the Special War Direction Council. Prime Minister Suzuki and Foreign Minister Togo were considering a negotiated settlement. But army Minister General Korechika Anami was determined to fight on and refused to surrender. Anami’s plan was for an all out final battle. In Hiroshima and Nagasaki, civilians and soldiers were being prepared for the coming invasion. The Japanese military were relying on a powerful weapon: people’s willingness to die for the emperor. The whole population was to be part of the battle against the invaders including schoolgirls who were trained to attack American soldiers.
The man who had to authorize the invasion was American President Harry Truman. On the 16th of July, he had just arrived in Berlin...