The horror of the second nuclear attack which Nagasaki witnessed has not faded even after the completion of 75 long years on 9th August,2020. The people of Japan were mourning over the attack on Hiroshima on 6th August, 1945 claiming 80,000 lives at the moment of the blast. Little were they aware of another brutal attack which occurred just three days after ‘Little Boy’ played havoc on Hiroshima. The US dropped another bomb code named ‘Fat Man’ on Nagasaki expecting Japan’s surrender leading to a quick end to World War II.
What We will explore in this article
- Some Facts about the Nuclear Attack
- Reason behind the Second Nuclear Attack
- Why was Nagasaki chosen for the detonation of the ‘Fat Man’
- On the DAy of the Bombing
- Aftermath of the Big Explosion
Some Facts about the Nuclear Attack
- Like the previous attack on Hiroshima, the attack on Nagasaki was also a part of the Manhattan Project and was authorized by the then President, Harry S. Trueman.
- As required by the Quebec agreement, the project had the green signal from the United Kingdom.
- The Primary target was Kokura and Nagasaki was the secondary target, but with fuel in the aircraft running low, the mission continued and Nagasaki was the bombs target.
- A B29 bomber named the Bockscar dropped the ‘Fat Man’, Plutonium Implosion type bomb, unlike the gun type Uranium bomb dropped on Hiroshima three days earlier.
- The casualties ranged somewhere between 39,000 to 80,000 instantly after the attack.
- This was the last time till now, a nuclear weapon was used in the history of mankind.
- The US remains the only country to detonate nuclear bombs.
Reason behind the Second Nuclear Attack
The purpose of attacking Nagasaki with a nuclear bomb was exactly the same as that of Hiroshima’s nuclear attack, which was the invasion of Japanese mainland. After the US detonated ‘Little Boy’ on 6th August, 1945 on the urban and military centre, it expected that Japan would surrender before the allies and this would put an end to World War II saving them from casualties. But the admiral of the Japanese Forces decided to continue with the war ignoring the ultimatum of another devastating nuclear attack.
Why was Nagasaki chosen for the detonation of ‘Fat Man’
A Target Committee was formed to select important cities in terms of population and military value so that the damage by the nuclear attack was of higher intensity. The US wanted to showcase its power in order to get the instrument of surrender signed by the Japanese emperor Hirohito.
Some important features of the city which made it a significant target for the Atomic Bomb attack were
- It was one of the important sea ports of Japan holding high industrial value.
- Ships, military equipment and other war resources were manufactured in Nagasaki.
- It had a population of 2,63,000 on the day of the bombing.
On the Day of the Bombing
- The Bomb was dropped between Mitsubishi Steel and Arms Works in the south and the Mitsubishi-Urakami Ordnance Works in the north, which was famous as Nagasaki’s Industrial Valley.
- Fat Man exploded at a height of 1650 feet over the above mentioned area of the city followed by three shock waves.
- The blast yield equivalent of the explosion was 21 kilotons of TNT.
- Due to the failure in dropping the bomb at the precise location, the damage caused by the nuclear bomb was confined to the Urakami Valley. Despite this, almost half of the city was devastated after the blast.
- The radius of total destruction from the atomic blast was about one mile, followed by fires across the northern portion of the city to two miles south of where the bomb had been dropped.
- On an estimate, between 40,000 and 75,000 people died immediately following the atomic explosion, while another 60,000 people suffered serious injuries.
Aftermath of the big Explosion
Japan was a victim of horrific twin nuclear attacks which claimed several lives. Nagasaki alone had casualties of approximately 75,000. The radiation which resulted after the explosion aggravated the suffering of the Japanese people. People experienced radiation sickness and an increased chance of skin and other types of cancers.
Sadly, the people also faced descrimination on being deformed due to radiation after the attack.
Japan surrendered after six days of the attack on Nagasaki and the instrument of surrender was signed on 2nd September, 1945 finally putting an end to World War II.
After the two nuclear attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki which are a blot in the name of humanity, several lessons were learnt by the nations around the globe. There was a call to ban nuclear weapons to protect the future generations from the deadly warfare methodology.