The first, World War 2 atomic bomb ever detonated was part of the tests to verify the functionality of the atomic bomb. The first atomic bomb test, code-named Trinity took place on July 16, 1945. After the US Army saw the demonstration of the weapon plans were soon made for it to be used against the Japanese. Despite the protests from the scientists working on the Manhattan Project, the project that made the atomic bombs possible, plans were made to use the nuclear devices on the Japanese unless they surrender.
When was the Atomic Bomb Dropped on Hiroshima, Japan?
Around 8:15 AM on August 6 1945, an atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, the explosion instantly killed over 80,000 people. Three days later, another bomb was dropped on the city of Nagasaki resulting in an additional 40,000 deaths. To this day, those two world war 2 atomic bomb attacks remain the only nuclear bomb attacks in history. Apart from the 120,000 that died instantly when the bombs were dropped, more than 100,000 people died from radiation poisoning.
The Birth Of The Atomic Age
The atomic age had it's roots in a letter that Albert Einstein sent to the U.S. president, Einstein feared that Nazi Germany
might be working on an atomic bomb. Soon after that, in 1942 a top secret project was launched code-named Manhattan Project. Over 100,000 scientists worked on the project and it's goal was the creation of a world war 2 atomic bomb. 37 installations from all over the United States were part of the project, some of the most renowned scientists of the day worked on the project, such as the Nobel prizewinning physicist Arthur Holly Compton. The project was directed by Brigadier General Leslie R. Groves, the Army's chief engineer. Most people don't realize this today, but at the time the Manhattan Project was the most secret project ever undertaken by the U.S. Army.
In the initial stages of the project the scientists that were involved in making what would become the world war 2 atomic bomb worked in complete isolation from each other, they were actually in different parts of the country and most of them didn't know about the other people working on the project. Later the project had to be centralized so the people working on it were moved to Los Alamos, New Mexico. In Los Alamos the project was headed by J. Robbert Oppenheimer.
When was the First Atomic Bomb Test Conducted?
On 16 July 1945, the first test for the bomb was carried out, the atomic device code-named Trinity was detonated in the New Mexico desert with an explosive power of 20 kilotons of TNT. The U.S. president Harry Truman was notified of the successful test while he was at the Potsdam Conference in Europe, negotiating the post-war order for Europe.
Atomic Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki
The opinions regarding the atomic bomb were split in the U.S. Military. Many people, including the scientists working on the Manhattan Project warned against use of the atomic bombs against Japan, Truman was, however convinced that the atomic bomb was the only option in ending the war and that using the bomb would both prevent many American deaths as well as being the most humane option to ending the war. While the use of the atomic bomb had some opponents many people agreed that it was the only way to end the war, after all Japan was strategically fire-bombed for six months and it didn't' seem like it was breaking their resolve as Hirohito's regime continued to ignore the requests for unconditional surrender that were made at Potsdam. The idea of an invasion of the Japanese home islands was weighted against the use of the world war 2 atomic bomb and it was estimated that it could lead to hundreds of thousands of American casualties.
Atomic Bomb Video
Impact of the Atomic Bomb
The atomic bombings were devastating. The surrender that they hoped to accomplish with the bombings came on 15 August 1945, six days after the bombing of Nagasaki. Thus the last member of the Axis had surrendered effectively ending World War 2. While the war was over, the doubts regarding the use of the bomb had just begun. The first people including servicemen and scientists that arrived at the bombing sites reported a landscape filled with ash and populated by people begging for death.
The atomic age had begun in one of the most ethically debated uses of technology in human history.