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37 Interesting Facts about the Atomic Bomb on Hiroshima & Nagasaki

37 Interesting Facts about the Atomic Bomb on Hiroshima & Nagasaki

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On August 6, 1945, an atomic bomb was dropped over Hiroshima in Japan. It killed more than 80,000 people and wiped almost 90% of Hiroshima off the map.

Three days later another atomic bomb was dropped over the city of Nagasaki. It killed more than 35,000 people. As a result of the bombings, Japan surrendered and World War II came to an end.

Here are 37 Interesting facts about the atomic bombs that hit Hiroshima and Nagasaki, as well as atomic weaponry in general, which you might not know.

NB: While the atomic bombing of the two cities was the first instance of an atomic bomb being detonated in a populated area, they weren’t the first atomic bombs detonated (more on that later).

atomic representation

37 Interesting Facts about the Atomic Bomb

The atomic bomb had detrimental effects on many lives and also played a pivotal role in World War II. Let’s find out more interesting facts about atomic bombs and how they changed the course of the world’s history as well as some other facts on nuclear weaponry.

1. After the detonation of the atomic bomb the buildings, trees, people, and the upper level of the the Earth itself were vaporized. The blast also generated winds at the rate of 600 miles per hour.

2. The atomic bombs exploded in the air before hitting Nagasaki and Hiroshima. This made them less radioactive than if they had detonated on the ground.

Some scientists believe that this is why Nagasaki and Hiroshima are no longer radioactive.

3. While the bomb in Hiroshima killed 80,000 people instantly, tens of thousands more citizens were killed in the following days due to radiation exposure.

4. Nagasaki was not on the US’s initial hit list. There were five Japanese cities on the list, Kokura, Hiroshima, Yokohama, Niigata, and Kyoto.

Kyoto was spared because the US Secretary of War, Henry Stimson, had spent his honeymoon in the ancient city and was very fond of it. Nagasaki took its place. 

nagasaki after atomic blast
Nagasaki after atomic blast

5. The reason Hiroshima was chosen as a target is because of the major military hub in the city. It had factories, military bases, and ammunition facilities. This, along with its size and landscape, made it a target of the US.

6. Haunting shadows of people, bicycles, and objects were found imprinted on the streets after the blasts and are known as the “Hiroshima Shadows”. Some believe that the intensity of the bomb burned shadows into the ground.

However, science suggests that the marks were always in the street and the bomb bleached the remaining areas, illuminating what looked like shadows of humans. Either way, it was an eerie reminder of what had just happened in the city. 

7. An atomic bomb can produce temperatures of 1000 degrees centigrade after a blast. 

8. A person named “Tsutomu Yamaguchi” survived both the atomic bombings of Nagasaki and Hiroshima.

9. The atomic bombs that hit Hiroshima and Nagasaki had code names. The one that hit Hiroshima was nicknamed “Little Boy,” and the one that was detonated in Nagasaki was called “Fat Man”.

These were chosen by the maker of the bombs, Robert Sherber, who is supposed to have drawn the inspiration from the 1941 film The Maltese Falcon.

nagasaki memorial
Nagasaki memorial

10. A group of American scientists became concerned with the nuclear research being conducted by Nazi Germany in 1939, even before the outbreak of the war. This led to the US Government funding and beginning its own research and atomic weapons development program in 1940.

This was the joint responsibility of Scientific Research & Development and the War Department.

11. The weapons development program in the US functioned under the codename “The Manhattan Project”. Under the direction of J. Robert Oppenheimer, also known as the ‘father of the atomic bomb’ the first atomic bomb was successfully detonated in a remote desert part of New Mexico.

This was known as the ‘Trinity Test’ and is responsible for ushering in the Atomic Age.

12. The most destructive World War II bombing in Japan was neither in Hiroshima nor Nagasaki. The firebombing of Tokyo in 1945, named ‘Operation Meetinghouse’ killed more than 100,000 people and injured even more. 

13. The bomb over Nagasaki was detonated on the 9th of August 1945, three days after the Hiroshima bombing. On the 15th of August 1945, Hirohito, the Japanese Emperor declared the country’s surrender, marking the end of World War II. This has become known as ‘V-J Day’ (Victory over Japan Day).

14. It is widely agreed that these atomic bombs ended World War II with the surrender of Japan.  However, recent scholarship analysis of the minutes of a meeting held in the lead-up to the surrender between Japanese officials dictates otherwise. They suggest that the unexpected entry of the Soviet Union into war with Japan played a more decisive role in the surrender.


15. The Oleander is the official flower of Hiroshima as this was the first flower to blossom on the scorched earth after the atomic bomb blast. 

16. A Bonsai tree survived the Hiroshima atomic attack and can now be found in the Washington, DC, landmark that is the US National Arboretum Museum. 


17. The Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima has a flame that has burned continuously since it was lit in 1964. The ‘Peace Flame’ will remain lit and burning until the planet is free from the threat of nuclear destruction, meaning all atomic and nuclear bombs in the world are destroyed. 

18. In May 2016, President Obama became the first serving American president to visit Hiroshima. 

19. US Air Force pilots flew over Japan and dropped pamphlets before the atomic bombings. The pamphlets did not give direct details on imminent attacks in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. They did, however, hint at “utter destruction” and urged citizens to flee. 


20. Nine nations have atomic bombs today. This includes the US, France, Russia, the UK, Pakistan, China, India, Israel, and North Korea. This weaponry could all be used in wars today.

21. Israel has never actually officially declared its nuclear weaponry. However, experts believe that they have been holding atomic weapons since 1966. 

22. One of the scary but fun facts about atomic bombs is that there are nuclear weapons more powerful out there. One such weapon is hydrogen bombs, which are 100 times more powerful than atomic bombs. In 1962, a hydrogen bomb was detonated in space.


23. The United States of America is the only country to ever use nuclear weapons in war.

24. It’s estimated the United States spends around $25 billion (around £20 billion) on nuclear weaponry every year.

25. In 1955, the United States detonated a nuclear bomb close to a few beer bottles and cans to see if you could still drink it after a nuclear explosion. The test at the time determined that they were still drinkable. Today, scientists question this theory. 

26. One of the fun facts about the atomic bomb is that one of Las Vegas’ major tourist attractions was the site for atomic bomb testing in the 1950s. The site still exists as a National Security Site, and tours are only conducted once a month for free. If it’s something you’d like to do, put your name on the waiting list now.


27. In 1961, the US accidentally nearly blew up a bomb that had 200 times more power than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima. The Goldsboro B-52 broke up in mid-air, causing it to drop the nuclear bombs it was carrying. Later reports showed one of the bombs came extremely close to detonating.

28. Among the interesting facts about the Hiroshima bombing is that temperatures dropped by up to 22 degrees centigrade (72 degrees Fahrenheit) after detonation. This also caused a huge loss of life.

29. Atomic bombs have a few name variations. So, if you’ve heard of; a-bombs, atom bombs, nuclear bombs, and nukes, they all mean atomic bombs.

30. Due to nuclear bomb tests, there are places in the world that are ten times more radioactive than Nagasaki or Hiroshima.


31. One of the startling atomic bomb interesting facts is that 90% of the world’s total nuclear weapons belong to the US and Russia.

32. While no official consensus has been reached, one of the most tragic Nagasaki and Hiroshima bomb facts is that between 129,000 and 226,000 people died due to the attacks.

33. Among the other scary facts about atomic bomb detonation is that the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs weren’t the largest nukes ever detonated. In fact, the USSR exploded the largest nuke ever in 1961, known as the Tsar Bomba. It was 1,500 times more powerful than the USA’s atomic bombs and could demolish everything in a 100 km radius.


34. The US was seriously thinking of dropping an Atomic Bomb on the moon during the Cold War, just to prove that they could.

35. The matter that generated the nuclear explosion in Hiroshima had a weight equal to a small paper clip.

36. Another of the atomic bomb facts to be alarmed is Russia has more nuclear weapons than any other country in the world. Their atomic weaponry accumulates to 8,400 nuclear weapons.

37. Some researchers believe that there was an atomic bomb that was lost somewhere near Georgia.

Atomic Bomb Dome Site

interesting facts about the atomic bomb

The Atomic Bomb Dome in Hiroshima was once known as the monument of peace and prosperity. However, the Nagasaki and Hiroshima explosions changed it into a symbol of terror.

While many wanted the Atomic Bomb Dome to be demolished, it was saved thanks to the diary entries of Kajiyama Hiroko. She was a female high school who died of leukemia due to exposure to the bomb’s radiation as a child, and it was preserved as a reminder of the terror of the bombs.

Final Thoughts on Atomic Bomb Facts 

Atomic bombs can cause a huge amount of devastation when used in war for mass destruction. It is important, however, to learn about and understand the events that took place with atomic bombs at the center.

These events play a significant role in world history and also encourage us to take a moment to remember the lives that were lost. Hopefully, this post on the interesting facts about Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the nuclear weaponry used to attack the two cities has been an eye-opening read.

Related Posts:

Facts about the Vietnam War

Dr. P Halleck

Tuesday 5th of April 2022

Item 27 is mostly fallacy. In 1961 a B52 suffered midair failure and came apart over N. Carolina, losing two mark-39 so-called H-bombs. These were, in fact, about 200 times more powerful than the weapons used on Japan, and would have caused immense devastation...we'd all certainly know about it if it had happened. However, neither weapon detonated. They are designed and tested to be sure that they won't go off on simple impact. The only casualty was an aircrew member who did not survive the bailout.

If you have a different hidden incident in mind, please give us the location.

Amanda O'Brien

Monday 25th of April 2022

thank you for your comment. We investigated your comment and found it to be verified in reputable sources. We have updated the post accordingly. Thank you for taking the time to let us know that the original version was not completely correct.

Randal Sutherlin

Friday 31st of December 2021

"The world's first nuclear explosion "(atomic bomb)" occurred on July 16, 1945, when a plutonium implosion device was tested at a site located 210 miles south of Los Alamos, New Mexico, on the barren plains of the Alamogordo Bombing Range, known as the Jornada del Muerto. Inspired by the poetry of John Donne, J. Robert Oppenheimer code-named the test "Trinity."" ref.: As a matter of fact, the bomb dropped on Hiroshima was NOT "world's first atomic bomb"...

Amanda O'Brien

Sunday 2nd of January 2022

Thanks for commenting Randal - we checked and you are definitely correct and we have updated the article accordingly. We recently purchased this website and are busy checking all the facts - thanks for your help! amanda


Friday 31st of December 2021

I find your historical time-line fascinating but you did not acknowledge the servicemen who entered the devastation and who firsthand observed the horrific effects. The veterans of WWII should be acknowledged as their lives were forever altered.

Amanda O'Brien

Sunday 2nd of January 2022

Hi Martha - thanks for your comment. We totally agree. kind regards Amanda


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