Trivia Questions About the Bombing of Nagasaki

August 9, 1945, was not supposed to turn out the way it did. But circumstances changed, and the Japanese city of Nagasaki became the second nuclear target of the United States. Try answering these trivia questions about an attack that ended the Pacific portion of World War II.

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Why a Second City, and Why Nagasaki? # Nagasaki Peace Park. Photo credit: Kyla Duhamel/Flickr. The first atomic bombing, in Hiroshima, was intended to bring Japan to its knees and force a surrender. However, it didn't. Faced with continued warfare, the United States planned a second bombing for August 11, with the city of Kokura as the target. However, the weather forecast for the 11th was bad, and pilots had to use visual targeting for these bombs to ensure maximum damage. The bombing was moved to the 9th, and on that day, the B-29 bomber flew out to Kokura. 

However, Kokura was obscured by smoke, and the pilots had to choose an alternative target. They chose Nagasaki, which was on the original list of potential targets but had been removed because its geography wasn't conducive to creating as much damage. Yet for some reason, the pilots chose Nagasaki. This time, the bombing was effective in getting the Japanese to surrender. It was also effective in getting U.S. President Harry Truman to decree that no more atomic bombs could be dropped without his specific approval.

What Was The Nickname of The B-29 Bomber Used to Drop The Fat Man Bomb on Nagasaki? Bock's Car, or Bockscar, was the nickname of the B-29 bomber used to drop the Fat Man bomb on Nagasaki and was named after Frederick Bock who normally commanded the plane. Instead, Maj. Charles Sweeney piloted the flight. The pilot dropped the bomb from a height of 1,650 feet at 11:02 a.m. The plane was returned to the United States following the war, restored to its original markings and is displayed, along with a reproduction of the bomb, in Dayton, Ohio at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

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How Long Was It Before Nagasaki Was Totally Livable Again? # Services were restored rather quickly for survivors, but rebuilding housing took much longer. Photo credit: Marion Doss/Flickr. Both Hiroshima and Nagasaki began to recover almost immediately. While the two were obviously devastated, the Japanese worked to get services running again for survivors very quickly. Rumors spread that Nagasaki wouldn't be livable again for several decades, but American scientists found, using Geiger counters, that a month after the Hiroshima blast, there was little radiation left. The same was likely the case for Nagasaki. Within a few months, the cities were well on their way to functioning a lot more normally, though it took about 6 months for housing in Nagasaki to begin to recover.

The ability of these two cities to recover so quickly likely lies in two facts. One is that both bombs exploded in the air and not while hitting the ground, so there was little surface contamination that could hang around. The other was that the materials used in these bombs had some very short half-lives, and the radiation quickly dispersed.

Which Victims and Survivors Are Often Overlooked? The Japanese were, of course, the main victims and survivors, but both Hiroshima and Nagasaki were not wholly occupied by Japanese. There were Koreans who had been forcibly shipped to Japan to work in factories, and several Allied POW camps were in those cities as well. 12 American POWs died in the Hiroshima bombing, and a number of Dutch and Australian POWs, plus one British POW, died in the Nagasaki bombing. However, several Allied prisoners survived the bombing despite their camp being very close to the explosion.




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