The Atomic Bomb: The Basics • Dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki • August 6th, 1945 • August 9th, 1945 • Targets chosen because they were previously untouched by earlier bombings
The Atomic Bomb: Hiroshima • 70,000 people died instantly • By the end of 1945, 70,000 more people were dead from burns, radiation and related diseases, the effects of which were aggravated by lack of medical resources • By 1950, 60,000 more were dead from cancer • TOTAL DEATH TOLL:200,000
The Atomic Bomb: Hiroshima • Consequences of Nuclear Radiation: • Cancer and other forms of malignant disease • Genetic effects • Formation of cataracts • Shorter life spans • Children in Utero: • Increase in still-births • Increase in mental retardation • Maldevelopment of teeth • Lower average body weight
11th grade boy, in 5th grade in 1945 • “I saw several people plunging their heads into a half-broken water tank and drinking the water. I was very thirsty too, and I was so happy to see some people again that without thinking I left my parents’ side and went toward them. When I was close enough to see inside the tank I said “Oh!” out loud and instinctively drew back. What I had seen in the tank were the faces of monsters reflected from the water dyed red with blood. They had clung to the side of the tank and plunged their heads in to drink and there in that position they had died.
11th grade boy, in 5th grade in 1945 • From their burned and tattered middy blouses I could tell that they were high school girls, but there was not a hair left on their heads; the broken skin of their burned faces was stained bright red with blood. I could hardly believe that these were human faces…”
5th grade girl, 4 years old in 1945 • “We were just about to eat breakfast – we were just about to put our chopsticks into our mouths…Just as we saw a bright flash there was a loud bang and I almost fainted…Mother, while she was trying to rescue a child who lived next door, touched poison… • Since mother was in great pain, we called the doctor. The doctor said, “The baby is going to be born pretty soon.” At the end of August, a baby was born. But only the baby’s head was born and then the baby and the Mother died together. It was terribly sad.”
The Atomic Bomb: Nagasaki • 60,000 people died instantly • By the end of 1945, 20,000 more people were dead • TOTAL DEATH TOLL: 80,000-90,000
Arguments FOR… • Preferable to invasion • Why? • The “speedy” end of World War II saved many lives • Japan refused to surrender • The U.S. needed to scare the Soviets
Arguments AGAINST… • Targeted civilians instead of the military • Japan was attempting to surrender • The Soviet Union had just entered the war in the Pacific • Japan would not have been able to fight a war on two fronts • Why drop two bombs? • Why drop the bombs without warning?