Effects of Atomic Detonations: Hiroshima, Nagasaki
Home"Those were tiny bombs compared to what is around today. The bomb that hit Hiroshima is only about 15 kilotons, and the one that hit Nagasaki is only about 20 kilotons. These are just peanuts compared to the thermonuclear bombs, which are in the hundreds of kilotons, megatons, a million ton of TNT." [italics added]
-Robert S. Norris, 2018.
July 16, 1945: Trinity
Japan: Feasibility of Atomic Demonstration-Test in 1945
USAF Boeing B-52 Stratofortress
"[At 8:15am] On 6 August 1945, a number of eyes in the Japanese city of Hiroshima turned skyward at the drone of a US B-29 bomber flying across the cloudless sky, accompanied by two other aircraft. Their arrival was not a surprise; the early warning radar net had detected the incoming planes and an air-raid alert had been issued for the city. But soon the Japanese military realized that only three planes were incoming, and the alert was lifted. The anti-aircraft guns sat silent, and the fighter planes lingered in their hangars."
"The sound of the American planes drew the attention of the city's residents, many of whom were outdoors participating in work programs. A few saw a large parachute unfurl beneath the B-29 before it flew away, but most saw only the flash that soon followed." [italics added]
"For those who didn't see the planes, the sudden flare of harsh light was the first indication that something unusual had happened. In that eerily silent moment, white clouds sprung from the clear blue sky as the 'Little Boy' spilled the destructive equivalent of thirteen thousand tons of TNT over the city, projecting intense radiation in every direction."
Hiroshima"In the following waves [after the initial blast] people's bodies were terribly squeezed, then their internal organs ruptured. Then the blast blew the broken bodies at 500 to 1,000 miles per hour through the flaming, rubble-filled air. Practically everybody within a radius of 6,500 feet was killed or seriously injured and all buildings crushed or disemboweled."
"Atom Bomb Effects": LIFE magazine, 3/11/1946
Hiroshima"...the U.S. military plane Enola Gay circled over Hiroshima, and released a single bomb. It plunged toward the Japanese city below and detonated in an enormous fireball as hot as the sun. At Ground Zero almost everything was simply destroyed and every human being died. Even two miles from the blast, human skin was severely burned.
"The wind blew at 1,000 miles per hour-shattering the bodies of thousands of people as it hurled them through the air or brought buildings crashing down upon them."[italics added]
"Hiroshima does not look like a bombed city. It looks as if a monster steamroller had passed over it and squashed it out of existence."
Wilfred Burchett, Australian Journalist
"Heavy black clay tiles which are an almost universal feature of the roofs of Japanese houses bubbled at distances up to a mile. Test of samples of this tile by the National Bureau of Standards in Washington indicates that temperatures in excess of 1,800º C. must have been generated in the surface of the tile to produce such an effect."
United States Strategic Bonbing Survey Summary Report (Pacific War)
"Earlier, on April 25, 1945, U.S. Secretary of War Henry Stimson met with the new president Harry S. Truman to brief him about a major military secret. 'Within four months,'Stimson said, 'we shall in all probability have completed the most terrifying weapon ever known in human history.'"
Hiroshima, Spetember 8, 1945.
Hiroshima, September 8, 1945.
"The first Americans arrived in Hiroshima on September 4, 1945... [Above] A member of the first American Survey Team explores the devastation near the financial district. Note radiators that survived fires in foreground, and complete destruction as a result of the firestorm."
Survey: "This section of Hiroshima looks like nothing more than a work pile. Radiators from buildings that disappeared from face of the Earth after blast of the atom bomb..." [italics added]
General Description of Damage Caused by the Atomic Explosions
"In about four hours from now one of its cities, making weapons of war for use against us will be wiped off the map by the greatest weapon ever made by man. In one-tenth of a millionth of a second, a fraction of time immeasurable by any clock, a whirlwind from the skies will pulverize thousands of its buildings and tens of thousands of its inhabitants."
William L. Laurence, Science writer for the New York Times, Eyewitness Account, Atomic Bomb Mission over Nagasaki, for Release Sunday, September 9, 1945, U.S. War Department
"When the [Nagasaki] bomb went off, a flier on another mission 250 miles away saw a huge ball of fiery yellow erupt. Others, nearer at hand, saw a big mushroom of dust and smoke billow darkly up to 20,000 feet, and then the same detached floating head as at Hiroshima. Twelve hours later Nagasaki was a mass of flame, palled by acrid smoke, its pyre still visible to pilots 200 miles away. The bombers reported that black smoke had shot up like a tremendous, ugly waterspout."
"War's Ending": LIFE Magazine: 8/20/1945