- Education and Science»
- History & Archaeology»
- History of the Modern Era»
- Twentieth Century History
Atomic Bombs, Trinity, Hiroshima and Nagasaki - Facts and Information
Trinity Test bomb
Albert Einstein brought the idea to Roosevelt
Albert Einstein brought the idea of the atomic bomb to the U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt's attention. He shared the destructive power of such an idea. Then there was the top secret Manhattan project where top U.S. scientists brought the idea to fruition. They came up with the first nuclear reaction. This occurred in Chicago Illinois, and Enrico Fermi's team in 1942. The team went on to build 3 atom bombs.
Then, in 1945 there was the Trinity. Trinity was the code name for the first nuclear test of an atomic bomb. The United States army carried out this test in New Mexico on July 16, 1945. Informally, the weapon itself was called "The Gadget." So July 16, 1945 was officially the beginning of the atomic age. The B-29 dropped this bomb, as it was the only one big enough to transport it get the job done.
There was much to think about for President Harry Truman. Would the use of these bombs ultimately save more lives than those it would clearly take? He decided that in the end, the result would still save more lives than it would take. President Truman ordered two of the three atom bombs to be used against Japanese cities.
The Atom Bombs
World War 2 didn't end with the fall of Hitler's Germany. While Hitler was a thing of the past, more battles were going on with Japanese troops over in Okinawa. The soldiers in Japan were so set on not surrendering, that many even were willing to commit suicide if it meant that American's would be killed. It was observed that many of Japan's civilians even joined in on the fighting.
There could have been an invasion of Japan's home islands, but who could begin to guess the numbers of deaths if that were to occur? In the mean time, both Britain and France were busy getting their forces ready for service in the Far East. The allies were still working together which was a great thing.
We will never know how many lives may have been lost on both sides in the Far East, because Japan was surprised by an atom bomb first in Hiroshima, then in Nagasaki. That quickly brought an end to the long war, and Japan responded and surrendered.
Nagasaki Temple Destroyed, Japan 1945
B-29 Superfortress heavy bomber
The destructive power of atomic energy, and peace that followed
The first of two atom bombs was used in Hiroshima on August 6, 1945. The bomb was dropped by Enola Gay, a B-29 Superfortress bomber. The bomb was nicknamed "Little Boy." Unfortunately, it killed as many as 150,000 civilians. Up to 200,000 people died immediately, and more died from radiation burns. Others suffered from deformities. Many of those that died, did so from radiation sickness after the fact. It has long been disputed, the idea of such a bomb and whether or not it was militarily justified. A new age of energy was ushered in, the nuclear age, and they now had Japan's attention. The splitting of atoms of radioactive elements changed everything.
Next, on August 9, another atom bomb was dropped on Nagasaki. This was also a B-29 Bomber, called Bockscar (also called Bock's Car, or Bocks car). The bomb itself was nicknamed Fat Man. Approximately 80,000 people died from that bomb. Japan decided then it was time to surrender. Decisions were made, and Japan was forced to surrender. Based on other things we know, it didn't look like they were going to surrender on their own. At this point, Japan decided to make peace immediately. It was on September 2, 1945 that an official surrender was signed. The Emperor remained the head of state. The Japanese islands were a different story. They were placed under the rule of the rule of the United States army for a time. The Second World War was now over.
President Truman announces Japan's surrender
Nuclear Energy since then
After 1945, many other countries quickly became interested in nuclear power as well, as evidenced when they followed suit with their own form of a nuclear weapons program. This was particularly true with the USSR. Since there had been little testing done at this point, there was some cause and effect seen from friendly nuclear testing. We know so much more now, but they eventually realized people were developing cancers and other genetic problems/diseases.
In 1946, we saw Operation Crossroads, which was a series of nuclear testing. The United States conducted these tests on Bikini Atoll. The year was 1946 and it was summertime. The goal was to see how Naval ships did with nuclear testing. Was there any effect on the ships after such testing? Of the 5 testings of nuclear bombs, these tests were # 4 and 5.
Many countries now continue to try hard to get nuclear weapons of their own and it has become quite a concern for many. Hopefully any further damage can be avoided as countries try to reason together and live in peace and harmony. That, I think is the hope of all people that love life and freedom.