Hiroshima, 6 August 1945

Posted: Thursday, August 06, 2009 by Travis Cody in

On 6 August 1945, 65 years ago today, Colonel Paul Tibbets flew his B-29 Enola Gay from Tinian Island in the Marianas to Hiroshima, Japan. At 08:15 local time the first atomic bomb, nicknamed Little Boy, dropped through the bomb bay doors. As Tibbets banked away, the bomb fell for 57 seconds before detonating 2,000 feet above the city.

Three days later, Major Charles W. Sweeney flew his B-29 Bockscar loaded with the second atomic bomb, nicknamed Fat Man, to Kokura, Japan. Cloud cover over the primary target forced Major Sweeney to fly on to Nagasaki, where he dropped Fat Man at 11:01 local time. The bomb fell for 43 seconds and detonated 1,540 feet above the city.

I don't think the debate will ever be resolved as to whether the use of these weapons shortened the war and saved lives. But the war did end without an invasion of the Japanese homeland, and without further use of atomic weapons, although that use was certainly threatened.

Little Boy killed about 80,000 people outright and injured another 70,000. Deaths from radiation, burns, and related issues have been estimated at 200,000 by 1950. Fat Man killed as many as 70,000 people outright. By the end of 1945, as many as 80,000 had been thought to have died from the after-effects of the bombing.

War is horrible. The decisions made during war have consequences.


  1. Marsha says:

    Just like Sherman during the civil war, the war was taken to the people. Had it not been in either case thousands more soldiers would have died. There's nothing pretty or glamorous about war.

  1. Bond says:

    Nothing pretty about war at all, but there are times when drastic measures are needed...

  1. Anonymous says:

    I agree with Bond.

    It's unfortunate that we have to get to such drastic measures. It makes it tough all over... for the decision makers and the people.

  1. Chilling, when you think about it.

  1. Cherie says:

    That's one of those "being between the devil and the deep blue sea." Horrible that a decision even had to be made.

  1. Jeni says:

    Agreed -war is definitely not pretty! Had that conflict (that's a light word there for the fighting that had been endured for 4 1/2 years prior to the bombing) endured for oh, say another 4 1/2 years maybe -who knows -what would the casualty ratio have been then? I don't know what the loss factors were in the 4 1/2 years prior to the bombing, but the fact of the matter is, this event did bring the war to an end and that was the ultimate goal -for both sides, was it not? Hopefully, the world will never see, never have to endure, a war with civilian casualties such as that but, I suppose there are also those who seem to feel that loss of life, be it civilian or military, is of no great consequence as long as some specific group gets their way with in any country.

  1. The debate will never be resolved. It's intersting to see it explored in alt history fiction.

  1. Dianne says:

    people will always find a way to kill each other - I hate that I feel that is true

  1. I have mixed feelings about this. Yes sometimes drastic measures are needed but then again if the goal was to decrease the death of soldiers and that was achieved at the loss of life of innocents people, cause you can spin all you want but there is no way to justify the children we killed, then I am not so sure that it was the right plan.

    To those that say that Japan killed innocents I have this to say. Choose your enemies wisely for you will become like them.

  1. President Truman did what he felt best for our military.By useing the bomb,it did shorten the war,That I have no doubt.The use of those bombs did emotional harm to the Japanese population as did the occupational forces after the war.My Late Dad talked about it when I was growing up.He was proud to serve our country,he was saddend to see parts of Japan and the devatation the we had did with those 2 bombs.I pray that that monster is never used again.

  1. Akelamalu says:

    I hope it never happens again. :(

  1. Janna says:

    War is indeed a wicked thing. :(

  1. Travis says:

    Marsha: No there isn't.

    V: I can't disagree.

    Lois: I don't envy anyone those decisions.

    Julia: Yes.

    Cherie: No easy answer.

    NNG: Agreed.

    Jeni: We can't ever know. Our history is one in which we dropped those bombs.

    Charles: Agreed.

    Dianne: Unfortunately, it is true. As much as I'm an advocate of peace, I still recognize that some will actively work counter to it.

    Starr: Yeah...there will always be some who operate on the "they did it to us, so we can do it to them" plan.

    Mike: My stepdad was stationed in Japan in the late 50s.

    Akelamalu: Indeed.

    Janna: Yes.

  1. Joshua says:

    So when are you going to blog about the anniversary of the Rape of Nanking?

    If the Japanese and others were/are so horrified by how we finished it, they shouldn't have started the damned conflict.

    Spare me the sorrow over the use of those weapons. It was justified.

  1. Classic the ends justify the means.

  1. Joshua says:

    And you're wrong, the debate is over regarding the end of the war and saving lives. Anyone with an objective brain and a willingness to find the answers knows this.