“My God! What have we done!?”

August 6, 1945 Americans dropped atom bomb on Hiroshima

Today, there are talks that it was necessary to use that fearful and powerful arm. One people say that there was no military necessity in the bombardment: Americans and their allies anyway were near to the victory. While others state that after the Suzuki cabinet on July 28 declined the Potsdam declaration, there was not any other way to make Japanese capitulate, for great losses would have been inevitable, if the US had land its troops in Japanese islands. Winston Churchill later wrote in his memoirs that neither he, nor President Truman, nor most of US military and politicians had doubted about necessity of the atom strike on Japan. According to Churchill, that was a possibility to finish the war, to render peace to the whole world, to cure wounds of exhausted nations.

Anyway, the bombardments of Hiroshima should have demonstrated the might of US military. And not only to Japan, but to other US allies, too, first of all, to the USSR.

July 27, the US cruiser Indianapolis reached Tinian Island of Mariana Archipelago. In the hold of the cruiser, there was a specially guarded container with uranium charge for the first atom bomb. By July 31, the bomb was completely prepared, as well as the aircraft and the crews. Everything was ready, and Americans were waiting only for the weather. Finally, the clouds disappeared, and the new day of August 6, 1945 started.

Already before daybreak, at 2:45, B-29 bomber, number 82, called by its commander Enola Gay in honour of his mother, took off from the runaway of Tinian. During its flight, six more similar aircraft added to it: there was a reserve aircraft, three reconnaissance aircraft, and two “witnesses,” carrying containers with cameras and devices for registration the strike. Though, namely Enola Gay was carrying the uranium bomb “Little Boy” with power of 20 kilotons, which cost 2 billion dollars. At 7:09, in Hiroshima buzzers started to howl signalling air alarm. The lonely B-29 appeared in the air over the city. This was Straight Flesh aircraft of major Iserly. The pilot saw the city covered with a kind of white nimbus of disappearing clouds. Iserly heard the command: “Bomb the first target!” transmitted through radio to Enola Gay. This phrase was the death sentence to Hiroshima. At 8:14:15, colonel Tibbers gave the order, the bomb hatch of Enola Gay opened and the Little Boy rushed down.

The diameter of the fire ball from the explosion made 17 m, the temperature was 300,000 degrees Celsius. As a result of the bombardment, over 240 citizens of Hiroshima died (at that time, there were about 400,000 citizens in Hiroshima).

First minutes, the crew of Enola Gay even could not understand what was happening. One of the pilots of B-29, captain Robert Lewis wrote in the log-book that first minutes, nobody had known what could happen. “In front of our eyes was without a doubt the greatest explosion Man has ever witnessed, – he wrote. – My God! What have we done!?”

Only August 8, the military leadership of the US learned about the real scope of the city destruction. The results of air photography showed that about 12 square kilometres were covered with ruins, 60 percent of buildings were turned into dust. The city stopped existing. General J.Kenney said that the city looked like being crushed with a foot of a giant.

Washington issued an order: within 9 days, to inform Japanese population about the Hiroshima fate, to write leaflets in Japanese with describing results of the bombardments and photographs of the destroyed city and drop them on Japanese territory. The leaflets read: “We possess a powerful weapon people have never known… If you have doubts, you can see what had happened in Hiroshima after only one bomb had been dropped on this city. Before we drop one more bomb of the kind, we propose to you to address to you emperor with demand to capitulate”.

The Hiroshima bombardment did not caused an immediate capitulation of Japan. August 9, the city of Nagasaki became the target of Great Artists bomber. While returning to the base, the bomber commander signalled an immediate landing, because there were killed and injured persons onboard. When the B-29 landed, the doctor ran to the aircraft commander and asked him where were that killed and injured, while he answered that they had remained in Nagasaki.

Only August 14, after the USSR joined the war against Japan, emperor Hirohito gave the order about capitulation.

Vasily Bubnov PRAVDA.Ru

Translated by Vera Solovieva

Read the original in Russian: http://www.pravda.ru/main/2002/08/06/45262.html

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