World War Two and Japan

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Where is Hiroshima?

Hiroshima is located on the island of Honshu in Japan. It is approximately 426 miles from Tokyo. Hiroshima seemed to be the chosen spot to drop the Atomic Bomb because of it’s relatively small size, which would make it easier to study the effects of a bomb because it was the Japanese city that had suffered the least amount of damage during World War II and a place where a high concentration of their military remained. (Why the A-bomb was dropped on Hiroshima)

Nazi Forces

World War 2 began in 1939. It all started when the Nazi force invaded Poland. The countries that joined forces were Germany, Italy, Japan, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria becoming known as the Axis Powers. On the opposite side of the field, a group of nations known as the Allies of World War 2 were U.S., Britain, France, USSR, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Denmark, Greece, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, South Africa, Yugoslavia. (World War II 1939–1945)

United States Neutral?

Initially, the United States remained neutral due to three bills that had been passed between 1935 and 1936 which restricted our involvement in other country’s political issues. The three bills prohibited the United States from selling weapons or aiding financially to countries who are at war with other countries and not long after, countries who were having a civil war were added to the banned list. Due to the fact that the Germans had been victorious over France and were now moving in on Britain, the United States felt that it had to take a stand to help Britain protect themselves so we began supplying them with any aid that was needed, except joining the war with them. (America and World War II)

Attack on Pearl Harbor

While Germany was on a mission to conquer Britain, Japan was once again in a continuing war to defeat China. The League of Nations which consisted of the United States, United Kingdom and the Netherlands disagreed with Japan’s actions and intentions and tried to pressure them by taking away the resources they needed most. Japan turned their eyes to the United States and retaliated on December 7, 1941 with a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor. On December 8, 1941 America was now officially an active party of the War.

Albert Einstein

On August 2, 1939 Albert Einstein wrote a letter to President Roosevelt informing him of studies being done in Germany that would find methods to use the incredible power of Uranium which could be used to create bombs.. In this letter, he passed along the information that Czechoslovakia, as ordered by Germany, was no longer allowed to sell their Uranium. Einstein prompted the United States Government to start studies on their own to find a way to use this power with the aid of trusted scientists. After a couple of sessions trying to convince Roosevelt that he needed to take the threat of an atomic bomb seriously, Alexander Sachs, an economist and friend convinced him that something needed to be done. In October 1939, the Manhattan Project was born and became a race to build an atomic bomb before Germany. (Einstein’s Letter)

Manhattan Project

Robert Oppenheimer was the appointed director of the Manhattan Project, in a Los Alamos, New Mexico laboratory, where the building of the atomic bomb was taking place with approximately 6000 scientists in top secret. “An atom bomb works by initiating a nuclear chain reaction, which releases a huge amount of energy relative to conventional explosives. Per unit volume, an atom bomb may be millions or billions of times more powerful than TNT. The first atomic explosion occurred on 16 July 1945 at the Alamogordo Test Range in New Mexico, during a test called Trinity” (Anissimov)

The Atomic Bomb Test

In July 1945, the first atomic bomb was ready for testing. At 5:30 AM, on July 16th when the weather conditions seemed favorable the bomb was fired. Some have described the light from the bomb to be several times brighter than the sun, this light show spanned over two states and parts of Mexico. People living within 120 miles of the test site felt the effect and saw the effect because some windows, at that great distance were shattered (The First Atomic Test). We were now prepared for full retaliation hoping to prompt Japan into surrendering.

“Little Boy” Bomb

On August 6, 1945, President Truman gave the order to drop the first bomb known as “Little Boy”. Hiroshima was chosen as the location to drop the bomb after careful strategic consideration. The primary reasons why Hiroshima was chosen were because of it’s relatively small size, which would make it easier to study the effects of a bomb and because it was the Japanese city that had suffered the least amount of damage during World War 2 and a place where a high concentration of their military remained and also it has been said that there were no allied POW prisons there. At the time there were close to 300,000 civilians and 43,000 soldiers (The Atomic Bombing of Hiroshima ).