Hiroshima/Nagasaki History and Politics at World War II


Hiroshima before atomic bomb

At 8 AM, people were arriving at their offices. Meanwhile, some folks in the sky saw an American B-29 plane take off. A few minutes later, something popped out of the plane at around 8:15 in the morning. From a distance, people couldn't figure out what it was. The thing falling out of the aircraft. They didn’t even dream it was a nuclear bomb. 43 Seconds. It was in freefall for exactly 43 seconds. Then, in an instant, it was over. In the final seconds of their lives, thousands of people across the city were blinded by a blinding light. The bomb blast created an instant fireball. As if the sun descended on Earth. The temperatures reached 4,000°C. 80,000 people died in a matter of seconds.

Second World War:

The war began in September 1939, with the invasion of Poland by Adolf Hitler. Subsequently, other countries joined the war. World War II was fought between two main alliances: the Axis Powers (Germany, Italy, Japan) and the United Kingdom (Great Britain, Soviet Union) and the United States (the United States), also known as the Allies. Other countries such as France and China joined the allies as well.

At the beginning of World War II, America actively sought to avoid involvement in the war. After the disastrous consequences of World War I, America decided not to intervene in conflicts across Europe and Asia. To stay out of it.

 Major Events of World War II:




Germany invaded Poland, sparking the war in Europe.


The Battle of Britain; Winston Churchill became British Prime Minister.


Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, bringing the United States into the war.


The Battle of Stalingrad became a turning point on the Eastern Front.


The Allies launched D-Day, the invasion of Normandy.


The dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki; Japan surrendered









Major Events of World War II
US involved in Second World War:

Pearl Harbour was attacked by Japan on December 7, 1941. This forced the United States to become a party to the war. It is important to understand things from Japan's context. When we talk about World War II, we talk about Germany and Hitler, and we don’t talk about Japan. But the truth is, in the early 1900s, we saw Imperialism in Japan. Just as Britain, France, and other European nations were annexing countries, and colonizing them, so was Japan. Similar to how India was a part of the British Empire, till 1940, Indonesia, Myanmar, Cambodia, Vietnam, Eastern areas of China, North Korea, South Korea, and Lao, were a part of the Japanese Empire. 

The Japanese colonizers talked of a Greater Asia. To build an Asia that'd be united. But that was just the front. In reality, like other colonizers, they acquired the land for the sole purpose of exploiting its resources for their own benefit. Their first large-scale expansion occurred in August 1931, when they captured Manchuria in Northern China. 

They planned on going further, to capture the areas under the Soviet Union, in Mongolia. In the south, their objective was to conquer the Vietnamese, Laotian, and Cambodian regions. What is interesting about the South is that the countries of present-day Vietnam and Cambodia belonged to the French Empire at the time, which was known as the French Indochina. Because Japan wanted to conquer these countries, they first had to conquer the French Empire. Japan and America

World War II
World War II

  • This happened in 1940. They declared war on France and captured these areas. But by doing so, Japan became a party to World War II. While Hitler declared war and took over territories in various countries around the world, Japan did the same thing in Asia. America was aware of this, but still did not want to get involved in the war using its military, but had to do something. So, they decided to take some economic action. 
  • They stopped the export of essential materials to Japan, such as copper, iron, and steel. They hoped that this would discourage Japan's expansionist scheme. But this did not happen. So, America stopped selling oil to Japan. At that time, oil was very important for Japan. So, America said that it would resume the sale of oil to Japan, but only on the condition that they would withdraw from the Chinese territories occupied by Japan, and that they would have to break their alliances with Germany and Italy, but doing so would mean that the Japanese Emperor would have to crush the dream of a Greater Asia. So, they ignored America's warnings and looked for other options. 
  • Malaysia and Indonesia were good producers of oil and they planned on capturing these areas and drilling for their oil needs. Ending their dependency on America. But there was a problem. Back then, Indonesia was Dutch East Indies. Under Dutch control. And Malaysia was British Malay. Under British control. British and Dutch both were America's allies. 
  • Even if Japan attacked these countries, it would mean that America might attack them. To defend its allies. There was a chance that America wouldn't attack. Japan, on the other hand, also wanted to take over the Philippines, which at the time belonged to the United States. America had occupied and settled in the Philippines. Therefore, America will definitely attack Japan in such a situation when they are actively trying to take over their territories.

Japan attacked America's Pearl Harbor:

These areas would have to be inhabited and settled. And in case America decided to attack them, they would need to be silenced first. Japan knew that America was more powerful than they were. Japan knew that if the war dragged on, they would lose. But if they attacked the U.S. military bases in secret, destroying their F-18s and F-15s, they thought America would never attack them again with that in mind, on December 7th, 1941, Japan attacked the U.S. Navy's Pearl Harbour. 

"December 7th, 1941, the Jap raiders are on the loose. Without warning, they attacked Pearl Harbour in the city of Honolulu A surprise attack born of infamy." More than 350 aircraft of the Japanese Navy, attacked and bombed the port, and within two hours, 19 U.S. Navy ships, 188 U.S. Air Force planes, and over 2,000 U.S.

Japan attacked America's Pearl Harbor
Japan attacked Pearl Harbor
Marines were killed. Within a few hours, Japan went on to take the Philippines. But, realistically, this was an irresponsible move by Japan. First, you attack a country so that they don't attack you. Then, you take their territory. And you thought you were safe because they said they would stay out of the war.

America officially participated in World War II:

But of course, if you take over a nation like the US and storm their base, you really can't expect them to just sit back and do nothing. Predictably, in response, America declared that they too would take part in the war. America declared war against Japan. This was when America officially became involved in WWII. 

America officially participated in World War II

After this, Britain and China declare war against Japan too. Seeing this reality, three days later, Germany and Italy declared war on the United States. By the late 1940s, World War II was underway. All major powers had declared war on each other. We come to the Italian surrender in 1943. Adolf Hitler shot himself on April 30, 1945. Germany surrendered thereafter. Among the Axis Powers, Japan was the only one to not surrender. Despite continual losses, the Japanese Emperor wasn't willing to surrender.

Japanese fascism:

At that time, the reality was that the people of Japan were being brainwashed. The incumbent Japanese Emperor was Hirohito, People were told that Hirohito was a blessing from the Gods. People literally compared him to God. They would blindly believe whatever he said. If they didn’t, they were marked as traitors. 

Japanese fascism

Since the Emperor of Japan declared that the colonization of other nations is for the benefit of the people, it must be right. When they entered the war, they thought it was for the greater good. Anyone opposing the war in Japan, was hunted down and executed.

Bushido tradition:

Additionally, some Japanese cultures and traditions were being modified in a way to manipulate people. For example, their Bushido Samurai tradition. This Bushido tradition states that Samurais must always be conscious of death. They should think of it as The End, nor should they fear it. 

Bushido tradition
Bushido tradition
But they modified this tradition and presented it to the people that a true Samurai is one who is willing to die for the Emperor. A man who believes that the greatest honor is to die for the Emperor, and to surrender to the enemy is to be humiliated. If people are brainwashed so, people will be willing to lay down their lives. this is what happened. Japanese people were brainwashed into committing organised suicide attacks.

Kamikaze airforce:

The Kamikaze was a special military unit of the Japanese air force. Their mission was to ram enemy warships with their fighter planes. Sacrificing themselves. In simpler words, suicide bombings. Not only that, but the children were also taught to carry an explosive on their bodies and to lie down before the tanks in order to sacrifice themselves in order to destroy them. Of course, not all children were brainwashed.

Kamikaze airforce
Kamikaze airforce
Kamikaze pilots wrote letters to their families on the night before the mission, asking if what they were about to do was really for the good of the nation. Or for themselves. The United States and other Allied nations hoped that the Japanese people would rise up against their Emperor in order to force him to surrender, as the unemployment rate in Japan at the time of the war was at an unprecedented high, and there was widespread starvation.

America conducting full-scale invasion:

America could see only one way forward. Conducting a full-scale invasion of Japan. They are sending their army to Japan to depose the Emperor. And so America planned Operation Downfall.

Okinawa battle between Japan and America:

The last major war between America and Japan was the Battle of Okinawa. From April 1, 1945, to June 22, 1945. The Okinawa Islands are located south of Japan on the map. The United States of America sent its armed forces to occupy the islands.

Okinawa battle between Japan and America

And to remove any obstacle they may encounter. After that, they would launch their full-scale assault, Operation Downfall. But the Battle of Okinawa shocked America. The Japanese people weren't willing to give up. Each man was prepared to fight until the end. Even the last person standing was fighting to their very end. There were continual Kamikaze attacks. One suicide bomb after the other. There was no intention of surrendering. This made it extremely difficult for the Americans to defeat the Japanese forces. This is one of the reasons why the battle of Okinawa is considered the bloodiest engagement in the Pacific War. In the end, America won the battle, but at a heavy price. 

12,000 American soldiers were killed. More than 50,000 were injured. On the other hand, 110,000 Japanese soldiers were killed. The people living in Okinawa are known as Okinawans. 100,000 Okinawan were killed in this battle. One-fourth population of the island. 25% of the people living in the islands laid down their lives. Upon viewing these figures, the chiefs of the U.S. armed forces believed that this would impede the success of Operation Downfall. 12,000 Japanese soldiers were killed on a single island. If the Americans tried to occupy other Japanese islands and fight them on the ground in close combat, many Japanese soldiers would also be killed. It was inconceivable. The war will continue for a long time because the Japanese people are so deluded that they will not surrender. The Americans and the allies know that they will have to find another way to get Japan to surrender.

Manhattan project:

 On April 12th, 1945, Franklin D. Roosevelt, who was the President of the United States during World War II, died. He was the POTUS at the time. The Vice President of the United States, Harry Truman, succeeded him. The responsibility to find a solution to the Japanese wars fell on him. He considered various options. He was trying to broker a peace deal with the Japanese Emperor, Hirohito, but they didn't think it would work because the Emperor didn't want to give up. 

Manhattan project
Manhattan project

He had already made that pretty clear. About this time, he heard about a top-secret US Military Project called the Manhattan Project. A group of scientists were secretly building the world's first atomic bomb. On July 16th, 1945, the bomb was tested at a bombing range near New Mexico. It was successful and Truman thought he had come up with a solution.

America gives last warning to Japan:

This was done to provide Japan with a final warning before the use of the atomic bomb. 26th July 1945, Potsdam Declaration. The Presidents of the US and China, and the Prime Minister of Great Britain, came together to demand Japan's unconditional surrender. They warned that if Japan did not surrender, it would lead to immediate and total destruction. They did not specify what they meant ‘destruction’ meant. Never in their wildest dreams did the Japanese people think that such a weapon as an atomic bomb would exist.

By July 1945, the Anti-war sentiments among the Japanese masses were said to be very high. The people were fed up with the constant war. The people were starving. The unemployment was high. The economy was bad. But the people could not speak out against their army and the Emperor unless the army spoke up for them.

 Japan rejected the Potsdam declaration:

While the Japanese Emperor may have been willing to surrender if assurances were given that he would remain in control of the occupied territories, America demanded unconditional surrender. On 29th July 1945, Japan rejected the Potsdam Declaration.

America dropped the atom bomb on Hiroshima in Japan:

After this, on 3rd August, US President Harry Truman authorized the atom bomb being dropped on Japan. On August 6, 1945, a B-29 bomber flew over Hiroshima, Japan. This aircraft was carrying the Little Boy atom bomb. Quite an ironic name for the first atomic bomb in the world. One that was used in warfare. Little boy. At 8:15 A.M. this bomb was dropped on Hiroshima.

America dropped atom bomb on Hiroshima in Japan
Atom bomb on Hiroshima 
Hiroshima was the first atomic bomb in the United States and the only atomic bomb in the world. The people who were there at the time of the bombing, those who survived the bombing, have a painful story to tell. They say that the first thing they saw was a bright light that blinded them for a few seconds. Just after that, came a blast so loud, that many survivors suffered permanent hearing loss. Followed by the temperature of 4,000°C on the ground that instantly vapourised people in the radius. 

It happened so fast that only human shadows remained, and the black shadow stuck to the rock forever. We still see them. The humans who weren’t killed in an instant couldn’t understand what was happening around them. Before they could understand this, the shockwaves of the blast followed. The temperature changes led to strong winds blowing that almost created a hurricane.

Hiroshima after the attack:

Hiroshima after the attack
Hiroshima after the attack
The debris from homes, glass pieces, everything was flying all around  When the wind calmed after some minutes, people looked up at the sky. They could see only black toxic dust. It was unbelievable. Where 15 minutes ago, they could see a beautiful blue sunny sky, it was covered in black toxic fumes by then. 70% of the buildings in Hiroshima were wiped out. The city wasn't a city anymor. All I can tell you is that the peel was coming off. People were so dehydrated that they were in agony.

 Rain after bomb blast:

 About 30 minutes after the explosion, it began to rain. Many believed that this would bring relief, but in fact, the poisonous dust in the atmosphere combined with the moisture to form clouds. This wasn't normal rain. Each drop of rain was black. Grease was dripping from the sky. This was poisonous. Normally, when a disaster strikes a city, doctors and ambulances reach there to help people. 

But here, 90% of healthcare workers were killed in the blast. As many hospitals were destroyed. Who would help these people? People who didn't die right away ended up dying days, weeks, and even months later from radiation sickness. After the bombing, the Japanese military reportedly refused to even hold a meeting with the fanatics. To them, it didn't matter. It was just another bomb, but a bigger one. To them, there was no need to surrender. The Japanese emperor still refused to surrender.

 America dropped 2nd atomic bomb on Nagasaki in Japan:

In response, three days later, on 9th August 1945, America dropped another atomic bomb. This time, in Nagasaki. At approximately 11:00 a.m., another B-29 bomber arrived over Nagasaki, this time carrying a new, even more powerful, Fat Man bomb. The size of the mushroom cloud created by this bomb was far greater than the one caused by the earlier one. At the time of the bombing, Nagasaki had a population of 40,000, and the city had a surface area of 6,7 km². 

atomic bomb on Nagasaki
Atomic bomb on Nagasaki 
Though the atom bomb dropped on Nagasaki was more powerful, this time, there were fewer casualties. There were several reasons for this. At first, when other cities learned about it, warning them that the same thing could happen in their city, people were more prepared. People moved from the city centre to the suburbs.

Additionally, there were hills around Nagasaki. Hiroshima was on a plain with no hills, so the impact of the bomb was lessened by the hills. The two Hiroshima bombs killed 200,000 people. 95% of these people were actually civilians. The common people. Not the military personnel.

Japanese discuss surrender in supreme council:

After that, the Japanese High Council finally got together to talk about surrender. A lot of people were finally worried that if they didn't surrender, the Americans would keep bombing the cities. However many members of the Council were still completely against the surrender. When the Council voted on the surrender, the result was tied people were in favor, and 3 against it. They asked the Japanese Emperor to break the tie.

 Why Japanese emperor surrender?

And finally, Emperor Hirohito agreed to surrender. The surrender was not entirely due to the atom bombs. In fact, just hours before the Nagasaki bombing, the Soviet Union also declared war on Japan. The region of Manchuria in North China that, was already occupied by Japan, the Soviet Union declared war there and occupied this area. On the one hand, the United States was bombing their cities on the one hand, and on the other hand the Soviet Union was bombing them on the other. 

Japanese surrender
Japanese surrender 
Additionally, in their occupied territories in Japan and South East Asia, people were getting increasingly infuriated. These are the reasons why Emperor Hirohito finally decided to surrender. The time is 9:05 AM, and the Japanese have been on board for exactly 10 minutes." Some of the Japanese military personnel were angry at this. They didn't want this surrender. So they tried to stage a coup against the Emperor. But the coup was unsuccessful.

 Japan established democracy:

On August 15, 1945, after surrendering, World War II officially ended. Approximately 7 years later, the Allied Forces occupied Japan. The occupation lasted until 1952, when the terms of surrender were agreed upon. In Japan, a new Constitution was passed, democracy was introduced, and the Emperor continued to be a figurehead. The Emperor of Japan is still there, but he has no power.

Hiroshima and Nagasaki rebuild:

Hiroshima and Nagasaki rebuild

The total cost of the destruction in Hiroshima and Nagasaki was $970 million.Their rebuilding and restoration began almost immediately. The cities were restored with the help of volunteers from other cities. This story deserves recognition about how the cities were restored beautifully if you visit these cities now, you won't even know that these cities were once attacked by a nuclear bomb.

 Effects of a nuclear bomb on Japan:

The people who suffered from the radiation, obviously, their lives were altered forever. They were disabled. Their children were born with disabilities. The chances of getting cancer increased. That people would contract diseases due to it later. That people would suffer radiation sickness later. The scientists involved in the Manhattan Project were aware of the level of radiation emitted. However, they were unaware of the effects of this radiation on human physiology. The project was never thoroughly tested. Fortunately, the long term radiation levels were not particularly detrimental. At least, they were not as detrimental as they were in the event of a Chernobyl-style nuclear disaster. A typhoon struck the city at some point in the future, and the radiation levels decreased after the storm. One of the reasons for this is that a nuclear bomb operates in a different manner from a nuclear power station.

Why did the U.S. drop atomic bombs on Japan?

  • For his part, U.S. President Harry Truman did not apologize for these attacks. Neither did he show any regret. "Well, I thought it was a blessing. I never worried about this being a curse I wanted a weapon that would win the war, and it did. I was interested in that because he and many other American diplomats and Military leaders believed that the bombing was necessary and that they had no choice. They said that America had only two options to end this war.
  • First, Operation Downfall. And the second, dropping the nuclear bombs. Most military leaders initially planned to execute Operation Downfall. However, after the battle of Okinawa, they realized that many Okinawan people would be killed in those battles. The Japanese people weren't ready to surrender. They were willing to fight to the bitter end.
  • After the battle, the U.S. declared that if they continued to engage the Japanese army on the ground, it would take a minimum of 10 years and 1 million American soldiers' lives.
  • From their point of view, the death toll from the atomic bomb was 200,000, but 200,000 is not a small death toll, and 200,000 is far fewer than 1 million American soldiers.
  • As far as radiation was concerned, they claimed that they weren't aware of any long-lasting effects of the nuclear bombs.
  •  America's argument was simply that they chose to kill 200,000 people rather than suffer the deaths of 1 million US soldiers. However, many critics point out that America did have a number of alternatives. First and foremost it is said that if they had to force the Japanese military to surrender.

 Why would they bomb cities with 95% civilians?

They could have bombed a Japanese island where there were only military facilities. They could still be threatened with the consequences and made to surrender. The U.S. Military's defense is that Japan's military was so thoroughly brainwashed that it would never give up without a fight. If the Japanese didn't give up after Hiroshima, why did they give up after bombing a tiny island?


  • It is also argued by experts that the US could not test more atomic bombs because they only had two readily available atomic bombs and two were in the process of being manufactured. Therefore, the US had to select a place where it could be sure that there would be some kind of action.
  •  Another argument against the dropping of the bomb is that the Soviet Union invaded Japan hours before the dropping of the atomic bomb on Nagasaki. According to experts, the Japanese would have surrendered if they saw that the US and Soviet Union were attacking them simultaneously. 
  • At the very least, the dropping of the second atomic bomb, the one on Nagasaki was pointless. It was not necessary. America simply had to sit on it for a while.
  •  Some experts argue that the dropping of atomic bombs was not the primary reason for the surrender of Japan. The invasion of the Soviet Union by the Japanese was the primary reason.

Post a Comment