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WWII Atomic bombs

WWII atomic bombs and the controversy after Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Latest hand-picked WWII news. See also: Did Hitler have an atomic bomb?, V-2, Manhattan Project, Enola Gay, A-bomb survivors.

Rare photograph of a-bomb cloud found in Hiroshima
A long lost image from the Hiroshima atomic bombing has been discovered at a Japanese school. The black-and-white photograph shows the mushroom cloud over Hiroshima split into two parts, one on top of the other. The rare image was found at the Honkawa Elementary School in Hiroshima city, in a collection of about 1,000 articles on the WWII atomic bombing. The material was donated by a late survivor, Yosaburo Yamasaki. A memo on the back of the photo says it was shot near the town of Kaitaichi, 6 miles east of ground zero, two minutes after the bomb was dropped on August 6, 1945.
(discovery.com)

What the crew of the Enola Gay said about dropping the atom bomb
On August 6, 1945, the B-29 bomber Enola Gay dropped an atomic bomb on the city of Hiroshima, Japan. 12 men were on that flight. Some chose to keep a low profile and others spoke out about their place in history. Almost all had something to say after the war. Air Force captain Theodore Van Kirk did not know the destructive force of the nuclear bomb before Hiroshima: "I honestly believe the use of the atomic bomb saved lives in the long run. There were a lot of lives saved. Most of the lives saved were Japanese. ... I pray no man will have to witness that sight again. Such a terrible waste, such a loss of life." Bombardier Thomas Ferebee pushed the button that dropped the bomb on Hiroshima: "I`m convinced that the bombing saved many lives by ending the war."
(mentalfloss.com)

British soldier`s photographs of Hiroshima in the aftermath of atomic bomb blast
A British soldier`s photo album showing at close hand the devastating aftermath of the nuclear bomb on Hiroshima has emerged after 66 years. Sapper Ronald Taylor was posted to Japan just weeks after the country surrendered following the dropping of the A-bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The British were tasked with trying to restore some of the infrastructure to the destroyed cities in the aftermath of the Second World War. Taylor had with him his camera and took snaps of the surroundings he worked in but never revealed the haunting album to his family when he returned.
(dailymail.co.uk)

GIs worked in atomic blast sites without safety gear: Their hair fell out and their bodies were covered in sores
The first large group of American soldiers arrived in Nagasaki September 23 and in Hiroshima two weeks later. They were part of a force of 240,000 that occupied the islands of Honshu and Kyushu. Marines from the 2nd Division took Nagasaki while the US Army`s 24th and 41st divisions seized Hiroshima. No one was urged to take precautions. Some bunked down close to ground zero, even slept on the earth and engaged in cleanup operations without protective gear. When a marine named Sam Scione returned to the U.S. a year later, his hair fell out and his body was covered in sores. He suffered a string of ailments but never was awarded service-related disability status.
(thenation.com)

Never-before-seen photographs from Hiroshima and Nagasaki
Never-before-seen photographs from Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
(life.com)

Japanese Army continued to gear up for combat after a-bombs, but Soviet attack forced them to surrender   (Article no longer available from the original source)
In spite of the atomic bombings the Japanese Imperial Military Command thought it could resists an Allied invasion if it had Manchuria and Korea, which provided the resources for war. In August 1945, 1.6 million Soviet troops attacked on the Japanese army in eastern Asia - and within days the Imperial army in the area collapsed. It was a key turn on the Pacific war, completely overshadowed in the history books by the atomic bombs. Now a new WWII book - Racing the Enemy by professor Tsuyoshi Hasegawa - reinforces the view that the Soviet attack was at least as effectively as the A-bombs in ending the war.
(washingtonpost.com)

The atomic bombing, city of Hiroshima, and aftermath in photographs
The atomic bombing, city of Hiroshima, and aftermath in pictures.
(boston.com)

The Hiroshima cover-up: How US hide American, Japanese footage from Hiroshima and Nagasaki   (Article no longer available from the original source)
After the atomic attacks on Japan - and then for decades afterwards - the United States suppressed all film shot in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. This included footage shot by American military crews and Japanese newsreel teams - and all but a handful of newspaper pictures were seized. The public did not see any of the newsreel footage for 25 years, and the American military film stayed hidden for 4 decades. Newsreels might have disappeared forever if the Japanese filmmakers had not hidden one print from the Americans. The color U.S. footage remained hidden until the 1980s, and has never been fully aired - so Americans have not seen the damage wreaked by the bombs.
(editorandpublisher.com)

A collection of memorabilia from the Hiroshima nuclear bomb site is to be auctioned
The blast on August 6 1945 marked the beginning of the nuclear age. Named Little Boy, the 8,900lb bomb dropped by American B-29 bomber the Enola Gay vaporised buildings as temperatures peaked at 6000C. Now a roof tile from the Sairenji Temple - handed to a British tourist by the chief priest - is to be auctioned off along with other strange items, including a signed picture of a crippled man and a signed parchment from Sairenji Temple`s Rev. S. T. Katsaki. The lot also features a tourist map and 8 postcards showing the desolated city and the Japanese surrender on the USS Missouri. John Sydney Watts picked up the items while visiting Hiroshima in 1952.
(telegraph.co.uk)

The Atomic Bombs and the Soviet Invasion: What Drove Japan`s Decision to Surrender?
This essay argues the most important cause behind Japan’s decision to surrender were the emperor`s "sacred decision" to do so, masterminded by a small group of the Japanese ruling elite; and that in their calculations, Soviet entry was a more powerful motivation than the atomic bombs to seek the ending of the war by accepting the terms specified in the Potsdam Proclamation. Soviet entry into the war against Japan alone, without the atomic bombs, might have led to Japan`s surrender before November 1 1946, but the atomic bombs alone, without Soviet entry into the war, would not have resulted this.
(japanfocus.org)

The Bomb: A New History by Stephen M. Younger [book review]
The threat of a German atomic bomb disappeared with the defeat of the Nazis in May 1945, but war continued as Japan had vowed to fight to the last person. Allied military planners figured losses of over a million people in the invasion of the Japanese home islands. Could the atomic bomb be used as the "shock and awe" weapon that would stun the emperor and his advisers into admitting defeat? Some scientists argued for a demonstration on a remote island or at sea, an event that would be announced in advance to the Japanese government. Surely when the generals, admirals, and politicians saw the huge fireball they would see the uselessness of resistance.
(wsj.com)

The first accurate replica of the Hiroshima bomb
The engineering behind the explosion over Hiroshima, Japan, on August 6, 1945, has remained a state secret. In the decades since World War II, dozens of historians have tried to model the mechanics of the two bombs - Little Boy and Fat Man. The most prominent is Richard Rhodes, who won a Pulitzer Prize for his book "The Making of the Atomic Bomb." But the most precise account of the bomb`s inner workings has been written by truck driver John Coster-Mullen. The eminent atomic historian Robert S. Norris considered Coster-Mullen`s knowledge of the bomb superior to his own after reading his book "Atom Bombs: The Top Secret Inside Story of Little Boy and Fat Man."
(newyorker.com)

American POW John Long faced to the tragedy of Hiroshima
On Aug. 6, 1945, the atom bomb wiped out Hiroshima. Everyone knows what followed: Nagasaki (Aug. 9), VJ Day (Aug. 14) and the end of World war II (Sept. 2 in Tokyo Bay). Among the 140,000 victims was at least 10 American POWs. One of them was Cpl. John Long. A gunner on a B-24, he was seized after his plane was shot down over Kure and held in Hiroshima. He was 27 when the Enola Gay delivered the a-bomb. In a 2004 ceremony, his photo was added to the Hiroshima memorial for victims. In a sea of 9,000 pics of Asian faces, his is the only American. When U.S. tourists see one American face they might feel a little more of a connection.
(post-gazette.com)

World War II pilot pens memories of Hiroshima - The Hostile Sky
James Vernon had seen Hiroshima before and after the A-bomb, from the cockpit of his Navy fighter-bomber. In 1945, he was serving in the Navy as a pilot in VBF 87, a fighter-bomber squadron operating aboard the aircraft carrier USS Ticonderoga. "Our flight path took us over the Kure Naval Base and then south of Hiroshima. I remember how beautiful, green and lush it was." Later he was flying south of Hiroshima: "There were maybe 2 or 3 structures standing... There was nothing there." His comrade Raymond Porter was shot down and held at Hiroshima. Porter was killed in the blast, but his crewman Normand Brissette was one of two American POWs to survive the bomb.
(venturacountystar.com)

Dick Sherwood, who flew over Hiroshima after the a-bomb, meets the former mayor
Before the 63rd anniversary of the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan, two men met for the first time; former adversaries now united in a common cause. Dick Sherwood, a B-29 bomber pilot, was assigned to fly over Hiroshima within an hour after the atomic bomb detonated August 6th of 1945. He was to take photos and report back what he saw. He had no idea what had occurred, but he has had nightmares ever since. Sherwood still does not like to talk about it, until recently the former mayor of Hiroshima came to Dick`s home to ask Dick what he saw as he flew 200 feet over the burning rubble.
(deseretnews.com)

Hiroshima A-bomb museum visitors spend only 20 minutes viewing the core displays
Visitors to Hiroshima`s memorial museum spend less than 20 minutes viewing the core displays, which contain the most chilling photos of scorched victims. 1.25 million people tour the museum each year, spending an average of 45 minutes there, far short of 180 minutes needed to fully view the exhibitions. Now curators are reviewing the exhibition to fix the problem. "To me and to many of the survivors, this museum has become way too clean and pretty and not shocking. When this museum was opened in 1955, it was much more shocking and it has been gradually cleaned up, and made more like a professional museum," said Steven Leeper.
(afp)

Book review: Hiroshima: The World`s Bomb by Andrew J. Rotter
"The World`s Bomb" explains in layman`s terms the background that led to the creation of the atomic bombs dropped in 1945. On the eve of World War II top scientists thought an atomic bomb to be feasible, and feared that Nazi Germany might build it first - but mishaps, decentralisation and the loss of eminent scientists precented that. The Allied atomic bombs were too late for their intended use against Third Reich. Despite the unease of some scientists, and an ignorance of the radiation, U.S. leaders felt Japan deserved the bomb. The author has no solid evidence that atomic bombs were used to prevent the Soviet Union from seizing parts of Japan.
(odt.co.nz)

11 rare photos reveal Hiroshima Atom-bomb devastation   (Article no longer available from the original source)
11 rare photos taken in the center of Hiroshima within weeks of the American atomic bombing on Aug. 6, 1945, will be exhibited at Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park. The photos were found at the house of Yoshihiro Nakamae in Hatsukaichi in the Hiroshima prefecture. His late father Yoshimi took the images in September or October 1945 in the Nakajima district. One of the photos shows the number 101 written on a wall of a warehouse. Shortly after the end of WWII, a U.S. team explored the city making a record of buildings around the explosion center, giving them numbers from 1 to 135 -- building No. 101 was a warehouse, and this corresponds with the photo.
(yomiuri.co.jp)

World War II Victory Museum in Auburn opens Nagasaki Bombing exhibit
A WWII veteran who served on the B-29 mission that dropped an atomic bomb on Nagasaki, killing 74,000 people, said the bombing was justified because it helped end WWII. William Barney was the radar operator on the B-29 Bock`s Car that dropped a plutonium bomb on Nagasaki on Aug. 9, 1945. The Nagasaki bombing came 3 days after Hiroshima, which killed at least 140,000 people. However, some historians have questioned whether the missions were necessary. The permanent display detailing the Nagasaki mission includes artifacts, veterans` uniforms, letters, pics and even old rations.
(theheraldbulletin.com)

Hiroshima road sign found at antiques valuation day
The distorted and melted remains of a road sign from Hiroshima, picked up by a sailor in the aftermath of the dropping of the atom bomb, has been revealed at an auctioneers` day. The road sign was seen during a valuation tour in Fairford by antiques experts Moore Allen & Innocent. The Hiroshima sign was introduced by a local man who was serving on HMS Bermuda. "The sign was twisted and melted and an incredible thing to see. It was not the sailor`s only memento. The gentleman also had a photo album with pictures of scenes from around the city."
(swindonadvertiser)

Not Everyone Wanted to Bomb Hiroshima
That day Tibbets`s B-29 (named the "Enola Gay" after his mother) dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima. The blast killed 140,000 people. Many others were scarred and injured for life. Most of the bomb`s victims were women, children, the elderly and other civilians not directly involved in the war. Tibbets defended the atomic bombing of Hiroshima for the rest of his life - He claimed never to have lost any sleep over the bombing. He went so far as to reenact the Hiroshima bombing in 1976 at a Texas air show. Contrary to opinion today, many military leaders of the time (6 out of 7 wartime 5-star officers) criticized the use of the atomic bomb.
(hnn)

The only U.S. Officer on both Atomic Missions - Jacob Beser
First Lieutenant Jacob Beser, Radar-Counter-Measure Officer, was on board of both B-29-bombers which flew the first atomic missions against Hiroshima and Nagasaki. I met him together with a Colonel ret. Joe Gaston, First U.S. Army, near Baltimore in 1986 many years before he passed away in 1992. According to Jacob Beser, Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson struck Kyoto from the A-bomb list over the objections of General Leslie Groves, because of its cultural significance and as he had liked this city since his honeymoon there. "After we had dropped the bomb on Hiroshima, the plane turned sharply 170 degrees..."
(analyst-network)

First Into Nagasaki: The Censored Eyewitness Dispatches
George Weller, author of "First Into Nagasaki: The Censored Eyewitness Dispatches on Post-Atomic Japan and Its Prisoners of War", was one of the few reporters to not overreact over the atomic bomb. He was analytical about the explosion, reporting how a mere slit trench protected some POWs who were near the blast. It`s worth remembering that the Rape of Nanking killed more people than both atomic bombs combined. His response to any Japanese official who asked "What kind of barbaric country could use such a weapon on the Japanese people?" was that they should ask that question of their prisoners.
(frontpagemagazine)

Hiroshima, Nagasaki sobered Japan`s Atomic-bomb project head
It was here at the former site of Rikagaku-kenkyujo, or Riken, the Institute of Physical and Chemical Research, that Japan`s top scientists under Yoshio Nishina faced pressure from military to make a nuclear bomb for use against the US. Earlier this year documents belonging to Nishina were published, describing the nuclear weapons project. The documents reveal that the most difficult part was being able to enrich enough uranium. The 3-volume collection also raises historical questions. In a letter to Nishina dated April 21, 1933, a German physicist disclosed that Edward Teller was hoping to stay in Japan after fleeing Nazi Germany.
(japantimes)

World War II veteran surveyed Hiroshima aftermath   (Article no longer available from the original source)
World War II veteran Jack Rathgeber flew Corsairs until the end of the war, and was one of 8 pilots who surveyed the aftermath of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. "We then dropped together to 1,000 feet. Our mission was to survey all of Japan. When we flew over Hiroshima and Nagasaki at that low a level, it was very easy to see all the devastation from the atomic bombs. Everything was leveled and burned. There was not a single person alive anywhere around those locations." Because it was not possible for the 8 planes to land on carriers that were anchored, they set down on two dirt strips, perhaps being the first 8 U.S. military men to set foot on mainland Japan.
(alamogordonews)

HBO Airs Atomic-Bomb Footage Kept from Media for Decades
On the 62nd anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima - widely ignored elsewhere in the media - HBO aired a documentary "White Light/Black Rain" by Steven Okazaki. It mainly focuses on a few survivors of the attack in 1945, which took at least 150,000 lives. The film also features extremely graphic footage shot in Hiroshima and Nagasaki after the bombings by an American military film crew - and then kept from the press and public for decades. The footage was used in the film "Original Child Bomb." Here is a report on how the footage came to exist and then hidden from all.
(truthout.org)

White Light/Black Rain: The Destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki
One might imagine that the significance of Aug. 6, 1945, would be etched in the memory of most Japanese. Yet in Steven Okazaki`s documentary about the WWII atomic bombings of Japan White Light/Black Rain: The Destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, when a number of young people are asked about the date not one of them can provide an answer. The ignorance on this issue came as a shock to Okazaki, with the result that none of the interviewees` comments ended up on the cutting room floor. Using the accounts of 14 victims and 4 Americans involved in the production and dropping of the bombs, the movie conveys the awful consequences of the bombings.
(salon.com)

Fumio Kyuma apologizes for remarks on WWII atomic bombing by US
Defense Minister Fumio Kyuma apologized for saying the U.S. atomic bombings of Japan during WWII "couldn`t be helped." He said Saturday the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki during World War 2 were inevitable: "I understand that the bombing ended the war, and I think that it couldn`t be helped." His comments drew sharp criticism from survivors, and some called for his dismissal. "I am sorry if my comments gave the impression I disrespect the victims. I will refrain from making such comments." The US dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki near the end of WW2, in the world`s only nuclear attacks.
(usatoday)

Nuclear reactor secrets revealed from sealed envelopes
Instructions on how to build a nuclear reactor have been revealed from 5 sealed envelopes that have lain hidden for almost 70 years before discovered in the science academy`s archives. The documents were sent to the UK`s Royal Society for safekeeping by James Chadwick, discoverer of the neutron, during World War 2. He felt their contents, which described cutting-edge science, were too sensitive to publish at the time. The envelopes contain the work of two French scientists, Hans Von Halban and Lew Kowarski, who worked in the Cavendish laboratory in Cambridge.
(bbc)

Hiroshima in History: The Myths of Revisionism
The use of atomic bombs against Japan in August 1945 is one of the most controversial issues in American history. The conventional view is that these weapons were used to end a bloody war that would have become far bloodier if the planned invasion of the Japanese islands had proven necessary. Individuals, known as "Hiroshima Revisionists," have dismissed this as a post-war myth by Harry S. Truman to cover up their real goal, which was political. They maintain that American officials knew by the spring of 1945 that the Japanese were trying to surrender, and would have done so if only an assurance had been given that they could retain their sacred emperor.
(hnn)

More than 300,000 still suffer from Hiroshima, Nagasaki A-Bombs
After 62 years, about 300,000 people are still suffering from the effects of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan during World War II. "These people are suffering from severe health problems, a result of the radiation from the A-bombs dropped by the US," said Dr Shoji Sawada, who himself is a Hiroshima survivor and eyewitness of radiation exposure. "I found that the studies concerning the effects of atomic radiation supported by the US government have completely ignored the effects of residual radiation caused by the fallout and induced radioactive matters."
(bernama)

Censored WWII Nagasaki reports unveiled 61 years later
Four weeks after the US dropped its second atomic bomb on Japan, reporter George Weller sneaked into Nagasaki. Posing as a colonel, he toured the ruined city and interviewed soldiers liberated from POW camps. In a series of articles, he wrote about the mysterious "Disease X" - radiation sickness. But not one word made it through military censors. Weller saved copies, and now his son is publishing them in "First Into Nagasaki", a book due out Dec. 26. Had the articles gotten past General Douglas MacArthur`s censors, they would have helped alert the American public to the horrors of the atomic bomb.
(guardian.co.uk)

The Hiroshima Myth
Every year during August the media trot out the "patriotic" myth that the dropping of the two atomic bombs on Japan caused them to surrender, and thereby saved the lives of American soldiers. Polls show that 80%-90% believe this false history which, makes them feel better about killing hundreds of thousands of women and children. The best book to explode this myth is "The Decision to Use the Bomb," because it explains the real reasons the bombs were dropped. The fact is that Emperor and the Japanese military and civilian leaders, were willing to surrender in May of 1945 if the Emperor could remain in place without trial.
(lewrockwell)

Helped to drop a-bomb : Hiroshima mayor asked his WWII era
Rob Robertson helped build and load the bomb that destroyed Hiroshima in 1945. He was riding on a bus 15 years ago when the mayor of Hiroshima wanted to ask him what he did in World War II. Robertson was wearing a hat with military pins on it, which is how the man knew he was involved in the war. "I sent him a card that showed him what (military) outfit I was in, and my stomach did flip-flops. I thought he`d give us a bad time. His brother and dad and mother were all annihilated."
(herald-review)

223 photos taken in Hiroshima, Nagasaki after A-bomb donated   (Article no longer available from the original source)
The son of a U.S. scientist who took part in a project to develop atomic bombs has donated 223 photographs that the scientist took in Hiroshima and Nagasaki prefectures after the atomic bombings of the cities in 1945. The Radiation Effects Research Foundation will show the photographs on Aug. 5-6 in Hiroshima and on Aug. 8-9 in Nagasaki. The most of the photographs are in color. Photos were taken by Paul Henshaw between 1945 and 1947. Color photographs were rare at the time, and photographs will hopefully help to better understand Hiroshima and Nagasaki after the atomic bombings.
(kyodo)

I saw both of the atomic bombs and lived
Anyone who survived the world`s first atom bomb blast must have felt the worst was past. But Kazuko Sadamaru was caught up in the second explosion too. That she did so and is still alive today is perhaps the most uniquely improbable story of all. This unassuming woman is among a handful of people alive who witnessed both the Hiroshima bomb and the obliteration of Nagasaki three days later. "I cannot forget the events on 6 and 9 August 1945. I saw the flashes and the mushroom clouds of both A-bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. So many were exposed to the A-bomb but I am one of the few people who have experienced the two bombs, and still I am in good health."
(guardian)

Haunted by Hiroshima - from national hero to nuclear pacifist
When bombs fell on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, ending WWII in clouds of flame and fury, Sgt. Daniel Belasco was following orders. Sixty years later, he`s following his conscience. Belasco helped test the world`s first A-bomb. And he loaded it onto the plane that flew it to Japan. His journey from national hero to nuclear pacifist began when his do-anything attitude landed him at Wendover Army Air Field, with the 509th Composite Group, a secretive unit charged with preparing planes to unleash atomic weapons. They had this gate with this sign. It read: "What you see here, what you do here, when you leave here, it will stay here."
(Times Herald-Record)

Orphan Nagasaki - Unjustified atomic bombing
Like Nagasaki, August 9 is an orphan of history. And in that history, new, definitive evidence has surfaced that the atomic bombing there was completely unjustified. More than 80,000 human beings perished in Nagasaki three days after at least that many died in Hiroshima. The Bomb that destroyed this historic city was made of plutonium (Hiroshima`s was uranium). Whatever the case for nuking Hiroshima, it was far weaker for Nagasaki. The US had already shown it had this ultimate weapon. It showed it was willing to use it. And it now had time to wait for the Japanese to surrender, which so many believe they were trying to do.
(freepress)

The third atomic bomb of World War Two
The question often arises: did the United States have a third bomb ready to drop on Japan, following the Little Boy uranium device that destroyed Hiroshima on August 6 and the Fat Man plutonimium bomb that destroyed Nagasaki three days later? The U.S. Army Strategic Air Forces wanted the third bomb to be dropped on Tokyo as a wakeup call for the Japanese government, which was stalling on agreeing to the United Nations surrender terms.
(warbird-forum)


See also:
Did Hitler have an atomic bomb?
V-2
Manhattan Project
Enola Gay
A-bomb survivors.