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.
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.
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 a bit more about the bomb that changed the course of history as well as some other interesting facts on nuclear weapons.
1. After the detonation of the atomic bomb the buildings, trees, people, and the upper level of 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.
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 name “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 “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.
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10. A group of American scientists become concerned with the nuclear research being conducted by Nazi Germany in 1939, even before the outbreak of the war. Which led the US Government to fund and begin 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 6th 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’s analysis of the minutes of a meeting held in the lead up to 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 US National Arboretum Museum in Washington DC.
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 Airforce 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. Hydrogen bombs are 100 times more powerful than atomic bombs. In 1962 a hydrogen bomb was detonated into 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, however, scientists today question this theory.
26. In the 1950s, one of Las Vegas’ major tourist attractions was the site for atomic bomb testing. 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. After the explosion, the temperature fell by up to 22 degrees centigrade. 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. The US and Russia together own 90% of the world’s total 17,000 nuclear weapons.
32. 200,000 people were killed by the atomic bomb attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
33. The USSR exploded the largest nuke ever in 1961, which was known as the Tsar Bomba. This detonation was 1500 times more powerful than the bomb that landed on Nagasaki and had the capability to 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. 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
The atomic bomb dome in Hiroshima was once known as the monument of peace and prosperity but the explosions in Nagasaki and Hiroshima changed it into a symbol of terror. The only reason to save the atomic bomb dome is that the world should always remember the terror and fear of the atomic bomb attacks in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Hiroko was a young man who worked for the preservation of the atomic bomb dome. Many people wanted the dome to be demolished but Hiroko wanted the world to see this dome and for it to be a symbol of Atomic bomb terrors and fears.
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 centre. These events play a significant role in world history and also encourage us to take a moment to remember the lives that were lost.