5 Facts About The Bombing on Nagasaki & Hiroshima

On August 9, 1945, the United States detonated a nuclear device over Nagasaki effectively bringing the war with Japan to an end. Here are 5 things you didn't know about an attack that ended the Pacific portion of World War II.

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Japanese Citizens Were Warned About the Upcoming Nuclear Attack Days before the bombing of Nagasaki and Hiroshima, American planes dropped leaflets that warned residents of the cities to evacuate. The pamphlets said that bombs could not differentiate between military factories and people, so as part of America’s humanitarian beliefs, citizens were being asked to save their lives. Radio broadcasts also warned citizens every quarter of an hour, and after Hiroshima, those in Nagasaki were told to run.

The Bombs Used on Nagasaki and Hiroshima Were Different The two bombs were very different since “Little Boy,” the bomb used on Hiroshima, was made of enriched Uranium-235, and the one used on Nagasaki used 8 kg of Plutonium-239. The latter was sourced through a much more detailed process. The United States used the difference to evaluate each bomb's effectiveness.

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To Build the Hiroshima Bomb, the United States Used All the Uranium That Existed Building Little Boy by using 141 pounds of Uranium came at a price since it used almost all the uranium that existed at that time. In “Command and Control,” author Eric Schlosser said that the majority of the Uranium was destroyed before reaching the supercritical phase. Schlosser noted that only .7 g of uranium was used to create an explosion that killed about 80,000 people in Hiroshima.

One Japanese Man May Be the Luckiest in History A Japanese citizen, Tsutomu Yamaguchi, survived the blasts in both cities and is recognized by the government of Japan as the only person to do so. On August 6, 1945, he was in Hiroshima as part of his work for Mitsubishi and was in the blast but survived. He went back to Nagasaki on August 7 and was in the city for the second explosion and survived that too, dying at age 93 in 2010.

The Pilot of The Enola Gay Met Hiroshima Victims on This Is Your Life In 1955, ten years after the bombing, several Japanese victims were flown to America to receive plastic surgery. US television thought it would be a good opportunity to reunite victims of the Hiroshima bombing with the co-pilot of the plane which dropped the bomb. Footage of the extraordinary meeting was featured in a US documentary, and it appears that the meeting was every bit as awkward as you might expect.