Julie Wang & Vivienne Hsu


Near the end of World War II in 1945, the United States planned to drop two atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki; the first on August 6, 1945 and the second on August 9, 1945. These two events are the only use of nuclear weapons in war to date.

For six months before the atomic bombings, the United States intensely fire-bombed 67 Japanese cities. Along with the United Kingdom and the Republic of China, the United States called for a surrender of Japan in the Potsdam Declaration on July 26, 1945. The Japanese government ignored this ultimatum. By executive order of President Harry S. Truman, the US dropped the nuclear weapon called "Little Boy" on the city of Hiroshima on Monday, August 6 1945, followed by the detonation of "Fat Man" over Nagasaki on August 9.

The two atomic bombs were developed by the research and development program, the Manhattan Project. This project was a collaboration between the US, the UK and Canada. The extremely costly and secretive project eventually produced two types of bombs The Hiroshima bomb,"Little Boy", was a gun-type fission weapon made with uranium-235, a rare isotope of uranium extracted in giant factories in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. The Nagasaki bomb, Fat Man was an implosion device using plutonium-239, a synthetic element created in nuclear reactors at Hanford, Washington. A test implosion weapon, the gadget, was detonated at Trinity Site, on 16 July 1945, near Alamogordo, New Mexico.

Within the first two to four months of the bombings, the effects killed 90,000–166,000 people in Hiroshima and 60,000–80,000 in Nagasaki with roughly half of the deaths in each city occurring on the first day. The Hiroshima prefecture health department estimates that, of the people who died on the day of the explosion, 60% died from flash or flame burns, 30% from falling debris and 10% from other causes. During the following months, large numbers died from the effect of burns, radiation sickness, and other injuries, compounded by illness. In an US estimate of the total immediate and short term cause of death, 15–20% died from radiation sickness, 20–30% from flash burns, and 50–60% from other injuries. In both cities most of the dead were civilians.
45hiroshima_a-bomb.jpg<atomic bomb's mushroom cloud
The role of the bombings in Japan's surrender and the US's ethical justification for them has been the subject of scholarly and popular debate for decades. The usage of the bombs is still controversial. J. Samuel Walker wrote in an April 2005 overview of recent historiography on the issue,"The fundamental issue that has divided scholars over a period of nearly four decades is whether the use of the bomb was necessary to achieve victory in the war in the Pacific on terms satisfactory to the United States."

Supporters of the bombings generally assert that they caused the Japanese surrender, preventing massive casualties on both sides in the planned invasion of Japan: The national slogan was “One hundred million will die for the Emperor and Nation.” Supporters also point to an order given by the Japanese War Ministry on 1 August 1944, ordering the execution of Allied prisoners of war.

Those who oppose the bombings, among them many US military leaders as well as ex-president Herbert Hoover, argue that it was simply an extension of the already fierce conventional bombing campaign.This, together with the sea blockade and the collapse of Germany (with its implications regarding redeployment), would also have led to a Japanese surrender – so the atomic bombings were militarily unnecessary.

Scholars have pointed out various alternatives that could have ended the war just as quickly without an invasion, but these alternatives could have resulted in the deaths of many more Japanese.


Enola Gay is a boeing B-29 Superfortress bomber named after the pilot, Paul Tibbets' mother, Enola Gay Tibbets. It was the first aircraft to carry and drop an atomic bomb as a weapon of war. The bomb was code named "Little Boy".it was dropped on the city Hiroshima on August 6th, 1945, which caused extensive destruction. I am sure Enola Gay was very proud to have this plane named after her. (sarcasm).

This plane gained a lot of extra attention in 1995 when the cockpit and nose of the aircraft were put on display at the national air and space museum during the 50th aneversery of the bombing. As you can see in the picture below, the name "Enola Gay" are printed in large letters on the side of the cockpit to show everyone the name of the plane. in 2003 the B-29 aircraft has been fully restored and put on display at the NASM's Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center.
The Pilot - Paul Warfield Tibbets, Jr. (February 23, 1915 – November 1, 2007)