Atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki

Atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki

Between 1942-1945 the American forces waged a bitter and costly war against the Japanese in the Far East in general and the Pacific in particular to recapture the territories that were conquered by the Japanese Army as well as islands which belonged to Japan or were close to the Japanese homeland. Much blood was spilled in the capture of each island, and the American Marines (as well as infantry and other units) fought extremely tough battles to capture the Japanese held territory as the Japanese soldiers fought to the bitter end. By mid-1945 the American forces approached the Japanese mainland with the capture of Saipan, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa and the next step was invasion of Japan itself.

The decision to drop the atomic bomb on Japan – Japan rejected President Truman’s demand that she surrender. It was clear that the invasion of Japan itself would be tremendously costly in view of the tenacious combat waged by Japanese forces throughout the Pacific campaign and it was estimated that hundreds of thousands of American lives would be lost in such an invasion. Therefore President Truman took the decision to use the new American secret weapon—the Atom bomb after also receiving the approval of the senior American military leaders. He wanted to end the War as quickly as possible and begin to rehabilitate the World from all the tremendous damage inflicted on it by the War. He also wanted to use the dropping of the bombs as a warning to Russia.

On the 6th of August 1945 the Americans dropped the first atom (uranium) bomb on Hiroshima. The power of the bomb was comparable to 12,500 tons of high explosives, 130,000 people were killed instantly and another 200,000 died during the next five years.

The Japanese government composed of militant generals did not hurry to surrender.
Three days later on the 9th of August another American plane dropped a plutonium bomb on Nagasaki. The power of the bomb was comparable to 22,000 tons of high explosives. 70,000 people were killed immediately and approximately 140,000 died afterwards. On the following day -10th of August Japanese Emperor Hirohito instructed his government to surrender. He personally announced the unconditional surrender of Japan in a broadcast to his people and commanded all Japanese soldiers to lay down their arms.

The surrender was officially signed on the 2nd of September by the Japanese Foreign Minister and Chief of the General Staff on board the battleship “Missouri” which anchored in Tokyo Bay. The ceremony was conducted by General MacArthur and in the presence of senior officers representing all the Allied armies.

Thereby ended the Second World War.

Following the surrender of Japan and with its occupation by the American army under the supervision of General MacArthur, Japan became an American protectorate until receiving its independence some two years later. Japan’s militant policy disappeared and the Emperor retained his throne. Japan agreed to take its place in the new World order and became a parliamentary democracy. America helped Japan to recover from the War. In 1949 America and Japan signed a peace treaty and japan was accepted as a member in the United Nations.