The Atomic Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki
On December 7th, 1941, Japanese fighter planes attacked the United States naval base on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Less than 4 years later, the United States exacted retribution by detonating atomic bombs over the two major Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. These attacks were completely necessary and justified; both critical aspects towards the outcome of the war.
In 1942, the United States led the Manhattan Project, with the United Kingdom and Canada also participating. The purpose of this project was to develop and test the first atomic bomb, before Nazi Germany or Japan. It was started in 1942, after more ...view middle of the document...
" Navy Captain William S. Parsons, chief of the Ordnance Division in the Manhattan Project, was the Enola Gay's weaponeer. Since Parsons had been instrumental in the development of the bomb, he was now responsible for arming the bomb while in-flight. Approximately fifteen minutes into the flight (3:00 a.m.), Parsons began to arm the atomic bomb; it took him fifteen minutes. Parsons thought while arming "Little Boy": "I knew the Japs were in for it, but I felt no particular emotion about it."2
"Little Boy" was created using uranium-235, a radioactive isotope of uranium. This uranium-235 atomic bomb, a product of $2 billion of research, had never been tested. Nor had any atomic bomb yet been dropped from a plane. Some scientists and politicians pushed for not warning Japan of the bombing in order to save face in case the bomb malfunctioned.
There had been four cities chosen as possible targets: Hiroshima, Kokura, Nagasaki, and Niigata (Kyoto was the first choice until it was removed from the list by Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson). The cities were chosen because they had been relatively untouched during the war. The Target Committee wanted the first bomb to be "sufficiently spectacular for the importance of the weapon to be internationally recognized when publicity on it was released."3
On August 6, 1945, the first choice target, Hiroshima, was having clear weather. At 8:15...