Estimates of the number of victims
Immediately after the explosion, 70 to 80 thousand people, mostly civilians, died. Almost everyone who was closer than a kilometer and a half away died hypocentreBut Little Boy killed at twice the distance.
Another 70,000 people succumbed to the consequences of the injuries. “The problem is that the city was completely destroyed and the massive fire destroyed the archives and all documentation. So it is very difficult to specify it completely, “noted historian Ivo Pejčoch earlier.
“Another much-discussed issue is how many people died in the post-war years or decades as a result of radiation,” added Pejčoch, adding that these numbers vary considerably depending on the statistical or medical methodologies used by individual experts. According to Japanese official figures, the total number of deaths from Hiroshima exceeds 260,000.
Truman: We used the basic force of the universe against the perpetrators of the war in the Far East
About using a destructive bomb reported President Harry S. Truman soon introduced his nation. “Sixteen hours ago, an American plane dropped a bomb on Hiroshima, an important Japanese military base (…). It is an atomic bomb,” he said at the time.
“We have used the fundamental power of the universe. The power from which the Sun draws its power has been unleashed against those who have waged war in the Far East, “the president continued. He never considered his decision on the nuclear bombing of Japan bad, even though he called the nuclear weapon the worst bomb in world history after successfully testing it.
Conversely, Enoly Gay co-pilot Robert Lewis later recalled that his first thought, when he saw the bomb being fired and the city destroyed, was, “My God, what have we done?” In this context, Pejčoch pointed out that most of the aircraft staff did not know the purpose of their mission. Familiar to him was Commander Paul S. Tibbets and the bomb operators.
“The rest of the crew – at least according to what they claimed after the war – was informed only to the minimum necessary, but since they were all very experienced technicians, they estimated what effects the weapon could have,” the historian said. the reality was a surprise to them.
The American public approved the atomic bombing of Japan
As for the reaction of the American public, according to Pejčoch, it is necessary to be aware of the context of the time. “The Americans have been attacked by Japan. The Japanese army behaved in particular, especially in China or towards the indigenous people on the occupied islands, and committed a number of military crimes comparable to what the Nazis did in Europe, “Pejčoch described.
“For example, the Bataan death march is known,” said Pejčoch. For this reason, the nuclear bombing of Japan was then considered an act of necessity.
At that time, the Americans mainly wanted the war to end. “The local public was not prepared for tens of thousands more dead American soldiers,” historian Jaroslav Láník noted earlier.
The road to peaceful Japan
However, the inferno that the Little Boy brought to Hiroshima did not break the Japanese Emperor Hirohita. The Japanese did not give up. That is why the Americans decided to nuclear bomb another target, which was to be the city of Kokura.
However, the crew of the B-29 bomber, which was named Bockscar, could not aim at the target on the ninth of August, so they decided to drop their cargo – a plutonium bomb nicknamed Fat Man – on the second target. This was an important port and industrial center of Nagasaki.
It was the destruction of the second city that forced Japan to accede to the demands of the Allies. The Empire, to which Stalin’s Soviet Union declared war on August 8, 1945, finally capitulated six days after the bombing of Nagasaki. The signing of the surrender document followed about two weeks later.
Immediately after the surrender, the Allies established an occupying administration in war-torn Japan. Although formally international in nature, it was in fact an American occupation. The United States, led by General Douglas MacArthur, implemented it indirectly through the Japanese government.
The goal of the seven years of occupation was to transform Japan into a democratic and demilitarized state. The adoption of the new constitution played an important role in this process. It came into force in May 1947, and Japan relinquished its right to own an army and rejected the war.
Japan’s nuclear bombing is still controversial
The use of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki remains controversial to this day. Proponents point out that the bomb saved many lives of American soldiers. However, there are opinions that at the time of the deployment of nuclear weapons, Japan was militarily and economically on its knees and the dropping of bombs did not significantly bring the end of the war.
On the other hand, there are also voices that the atomic bombing of Japan – the only use of these destructive weapons in human history to date – has helped prevent a similar move during the Cold War. This is pointed out, for example, by historian Prokop Tomek. “Without the Hiroshima experience, we would have no idea how terrible a weapon it is. ‘I don’t think Hiroshima civilians died in vain because they showed the danger in that weapon,” he said earlier.