Japan: A memorial stands outside Shiroyama Elementary School in Nagasaki in remembrance of the 1,450 students it lost to an explosion. A devastating explosion in the history of inhumanity which brings up the horrors of nuclear war and the power of resilience along with an unforgettable date - August 9, 1945.
These were not just 1,450 students of Nagasaki. They were 80,000 civilians. They were 150 soldiers. They weren't even targeted. Had it been fate but it was fatal. In reality, Kyoto was on of the targets of U.S. military for the deployment of a deadly bomb. Why was it later replaced by the U.S. Secretary of War? Just to save one of his honeymoon memory destination another whole city was devastated? The nuclear bombing on Nagasaki was an undignified and a heart-wrenching one. It had been 75 years to the misery, everything is restored now. On this Nagasaki day, the old pages to the tragedy need to be turned over to a haunting past and call one's mind to be kind to one another.
August 9, 1945: A history to Nagasaki day
According to National Geographic, on a Spring of 1945, the U.S. military was reviewing different targets for the first deployment of the atomic bomb that summer. Between April and June, military leaders generated a long list of Japanese cities using three criteria:
First, the cities needed to be large, wider than three miles with sizable populations;
Second, they needed to have “high strategic value,” meaning military installations of some kind; and
Third, they needed to have escaped the U.S.’s ongoing firebombing campaign begun in March 1945.
Areas that met all the qualifications were few - Kyoto, Hiroshima, Kokura, and Niigata. By the end of May 1945, these cities were finalised. Kyoto and Hiroshima were the primary targets. American B-29s would not firebomb those areas. A populous and flawless city was chosen to check the destructive capacity of the atomic bombs. Despite the presence of military targets, Nagasaki was not selected as one of the U.S. target cities in May 1945. The idea of Nagasaki was already dropped in April. The city’s hilly geography and the presence of a POW camp made it a less than ideal target for the atomic bomb, and U.S. officials had four candidate cities that suited their purposes.
The fortunes of Nagasaki changed in early June. U.S. Secretary of War Henry Stimson wanted Kyoto removed from the target list, on the grounds that the city was too culturally significant to the Japanese to be destroyed. Some say it was his personal fondness for the city where he visited in the 1920s for honeymoon to be the real reason he appealed to President Harry Truman to remove Kyoto from the list.
A replacement was not selected until the day before the official strike orders were issued. On July 24, 1945, a hand-written notation “and Nagasaki” appeared on a draft of the strike order which was officially added on July 25.
Atomic bombs needed to be sited visually rather than relying on radar, which made clear skies necessary. After the bombing of Hiroshima earlier on August 6, 1945, the United States planned to drop the next atomic weapon on August 10, but a cloudy forecast made them switch the attack to August 9, hastily assembling the egg-shaped plutonium bomb “Fat Man,” and loading it into the B-29 bomber Bockscar.
The mission took off from Tinian Island at 3:47 A.M. and flew toward Kokura, the intended target. Also located on the island of Kyushu, Kokura had been selected because the Japanese Imperial Army’s massive arsenal was there. Bockscar arrived at Kokura around 10 o’clock in the morning, but visibility over the city was poor. Searching for a window in the clouds, the plane circled the city three times, but Kokura never clearly came into view. Around 10:45, the team abandoned Kokura and flew south toward Nagasaki.
At two minutes past 11 o’clock in the morning on August 9, 1945, the Fat Man weapon, an atomic bomb containing a core of about 5 kg of plutonium, was dropped over the city's industrial valley. It exploded 47 seconds later at 1,650 ± 33 ft in the Japanese city of Nagasaki and unleashed more than 21 kilotons of firepower, ripping through Nagasaki.
At 11:02 am on August 9, their morning was broken by a blinding white flash in the sky. The plutonium bomb which was dropped by the United States killed as many as 70,000 people almost instantly. It was an inhuman attack. Japan, which insisted on continuing the war even after Hiroshima was destroyed, was quickly forced to surrender amid fears of further nuclear attacks.
Today, thousands of students and people from across Japan journey there to learn about the bombing of Nagasaki. In these 75 years Nagasaki has been rebuilt and is once again a flourishing port. The once blackened camphor trees have now formed green canopies. Nagasaki has healed from its fatal fate.