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Cindy Wong

11/01/2015

Ms. Turner
Effects of Hiroshima and Nagasaki Bombings on Japan
World War II is arguably the most devastating war in recorded history. The clash between
Japans struggle for an empire and its inferior position in the League of Nations led to a violent
end. In order to secure its position as the most powerful nation in Asia, Japanese forces attacked
Pearl Harbor in hopes of damaging the U.S. naval forces so that they couldnt interfere in Japans
domination of Asia.1 However, the U.S. began the Manhattan Project, a project to create the
worlds first atomic bombs, in retaliation after declaring war on Japan.2 The ensuing Hiroshima
and Nagasaki bombings devastated the Japanese populations physical state, psychological state,
and the state of the future generation.
Death rates of the bombs were unlike any other seen before. The Hiroshima bomb,
codenamed Little Boy, contained 64 kg of uranium and had a 16 kiloton yield (aka 16,000 tons
of TNT) that completely destroyed everything within a one-mile radius, killing 70,000 - 80,000
of people immediately.3 Civilians within a one-mile radius of the bomb were sublimated, turned
from solid to gas from the blinding heat, killed on the spot.4 Some were charred so badly from
the flames that their skin was brown or black, and they died shortly after.5 Other deaths and
injuries were caused by flash burns or flames, falling debris, and radiation.6 The Nagasaki
bombing wasnt much better. The bomb was codenamed Fat Man, contained 6.4 kg of

The Weapons and Battleships used in the Pearl Harbor Attack, accessed November 1, 2015,
http://pearlharborattack.net/the-weapons-and-battleships-used-in-the-pearl-harbor-attack/.
2
The Manhattan Project, U.S. History, accessed November 1, 2015, http://www.ushistory.org/us/51f.asp.
3
Atomic Bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, World War II Database, accessed November 1, 2015,
http://ww2db.com/battle_spec.php?battle_id=49.
4
Ibid.
5
The Effects of the Atomic Bombings, accessed November 1, 2015,
https://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/AAF/USSBS/AtomicEffects/AtomicEffects-2.html.
6
Ibid.
1

Plutonium 239, and had a 21 kiloton yield, killing 45,000 - 70,000 people immediately.
7

Thousands were crushed under collapsed buildings and even more died from shattered panels of

flying glass.8 Radiation poisoning caused some to violently throw up their insides and inevitably
die.9 Even when a man escaped unscathed, it wasnt a surprise when his hair began to fall out and
his nose began to bleed uncontrollably from the radiation exposure.10 The accurate number
casualties will never be known; the confusion after the explosions was widespread and bodies
were either charred beyond recognition or moved out of the city to die.11
The psychological state of the population was in ruin after the bombings, and continued
even years after the bombings. Fear, the initial reaction to the attacks, was widespread because of
the destruction, blood, and suffering of the people.12 A Nagasaki survivor illustrates his
experience: All I saw was a flash and I felt my body get warm and then I saw everything flying
around. My grandmother was hit on the head by a flying piece of roof and she was bleeding, I
became hysterical seeing my grandmother bleeding and we just ran around without knowing
what to do.13 Hysterical behavior and panic was the typical reaction.14 Survivors would
commonly have a fear of planes or loud noises.15 Undoubtedly, the morale of the people had been
completely crushed. Nearly everyone believed that the defeat of Japan was inevitable, and they
were right.16
The effects of the radiation from the bombs were underrated. In some cases symptoms of
radiation-caused diseases didnt show themselves until days after the attacks.17 Cancer and
The After-Effects of the Atomic Bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, accessed November 1, 2015,
http://zazenlife.com/2011/12/29/the-after-effects-of-the-atomic-bombs-on-hiroshima-nagasaki/.
8
The Effects of the Atomic Bombings.
9
Atomic Bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
10
Ibid.
11
The Effects of the Atomic Bombings.
12
Ibid.
13
Ibid.
14
Atomic Bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
15
The Effects of the Atomic Bombings.
16
Ibid.
17
Ibid.
7

leukemia killed many survivors and some are still being treated today.18 Thousands of pregnant
women within 3000 feet of Ground Zero all had miscarriages.19 Even ones further away suffered
stillbirths, had children with birth deformities, or birthed premature infants who died shortly
after.20 The particles of the bombs themselves would be suspended in the air before coming back
down onto the city as radioactive bits of black rain.21 Some of the material can still be found in
in soil and farm products in some parts of Nagasaki.22
The U.S. was the first and only nation to ever use nuclear weapons in war.23 Japan
surrendered shortly after the attacks after seeing the ruin of its city and people.24 The attacks not
only killed hundreds of thousands, but they also crushed the morale of even more people and
instilled lasting psychological damage into survivors. Japan continues to feel effects of the
attacks even to this day. 25 The countless number of casualties and the suffering of the survivors
will not be forgotten.

Bibliography
Pearl Harbor. "The Weapons and Battleships Used in the Pearl Harbor Attack." Accessed
November 1, 2015. http://pearlharborattack.net/the-weapons-and-battleships-used-in-thepearl-harbor-attack/.
Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and Subsequent Weapons Testing, World Nuclear Association, accessed
November 1, 2015, http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/Safety-and-Security/Radiation-andHealth/Hiroshima,-Nagasaki,-and-Subsequent-Weapons-Testing/.
19
The Effects of the Atomic Bombings.
20
Ibid.
21
Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and Subsequent Weapons Testing.
22
Ibid.
23
The Manhattan Project.
24
Ibid.
25
Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and Subsequent Weapons Testing.
18

"The After-Effects of the Atomic Bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki." Accessed November 1,
2015. http://zazenlife.com/2011/12/29/the-after-effects-of-the-atomic-bombs-onhiroshima-nagasaki/.
"The Effects of the Atomic Bombings." Accessed November 1, 2015.
https://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/AAF/USSBS/AtomicEffects/AtomicEffects-2.html.
U.S. History. "The Manhattan Project." Accessed November 1, 2015.
http://www.ushistory.org/us/51f.asp.
World Nuclear Association. "Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and Subsequent Weapons Testing." Accessed
November 1, 2015. http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/Safety-and-Security/Radiationand-Health/Hiroshima,-Nagasaki,-and-Subsequent-Weapons-Testing/.
World War II Database. "Atomic Bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki." Accessed November 1,
2015. http://ww2db.com/battle_spec.php?battle_id=49.