Daniel Halliday
Aug 9 · Last update 6 days ago.
Why did America choose to target Hiroshima and Nagasaki?
What was behind this decision?
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Bigger cities such as Tokyo and Kyoto weren’t targets as they were not militarised
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Hiroshima and Nagasaki were big manufacturing and military strongholds in the Second World War
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America wanted to test this new weapon on a human population
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The original targets were actually Hiroshima and Kokura
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Bigger cities such as Tokyo and Kyoto weren’t targets as they were not militarised

Tokyo was no longer a major target because it wasn’t a major military stronghold and due to the heavy destruction already waged there with conventional bombing tactics. Operation Meetinghouse was the name given to the US air raid campaign carried out against Tokyo, it is widely recognised as the most destructive bombing raid in human history. Even Truman made a note in his diary at the time of the atomic bombings expressing his disapproval of bombing Kyoto and Tokyo, as he intended “the target [to] be a purely military one”.

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Hiroshima and Nagasaki were big manufacturing and military strongholds in the Second World War

America had already bombed Tokyo so badly there wasn’t much left to bomb there. Hiroshima, which was largely untouched by the US air force's fire bombing campaign thus far, was the centre of Japanese shipping and housed large military supply depots at the time. Nagasaki was the home to Mitsubishi Heavy Industries one of the main centres of steel and arms manufacture, and the dockyards at Nagasaki were the site for Japanese Navy’s ship building factories. Both cities represented major strategic targets for the Allies during the war and hence became the sites of the Atomic Bombing campaign.

Hiroshima, being the first main target, was the site of most military significance to America. Hiroshima was home to the headquarters of the Second General Army, Chūgoku Regional Army and the Army Marines. They city housed large warehouses containing ammunition and supplies and was also a key port for Japan.

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Daniel Halliday
Oct 15
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DH edited this paragraph
America had already bombed Tokyo so badly there wasn’t much left to bomb there. Hiroshima, which was largely untouched by the US air force's fire bombing campaign thus far, was the centre of Japanese shipping and housed large military supply depots at the time. Nagasaki was the home to Mitsubishi Heavy Industries one of the main centres of steel and arms manufacture, and the dockyards at Nagasaki were the site for Japanese Navy’s ship building factories. Both cities represented major strategic targets for the Allies during the war and hence became the sites of the Atomic Bombing campaign.
America wanted to test this new weapon on a human population

America could have targeted a non civilian or low population area to demonstrate the power of this new weapon to the Japanese forces. Instead they chose two highly populated urban areas without warning. The intent must have been to observe the damage caused on a real life population of a city. That makes this bombing more reminiscent of a weapons test, as they could have equally followed earlier military thinking of dropping these bombs on famous uninhabited Japanese land marks, such as Mt. Fuji.

At the time of the atomic bombing Nagasaki was the site of an Allied prisoner of war camp. Targeting this area with an atomic bomb shows not only the American’s appetite for destruction but also the complete lack of empathy and disregard for the Allied captive soldiers. Nagasaki was otherwise a major port and site of engine and torpedo manufacture, but not to the scale of Hiroshima or Kokura.

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Daniel Halliday
Oct 15
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DH edited this paragraph
At the time of the atomic bombing Nagasaki was the site of an Allied prisoner of war camp. Targeting this area with an atomic bomb shows not only the American’s appetite for destruction but also the complete lack of empathy and disregard for the Allied captive soldiers. Nagasaki was otherwise a major port and site of engine and torpedo manufacture, but not to the scale of Hiroshima or Kokura.
The original targets were actually Hiroshima and Kokura

Although Nagasaki has become infamous as the site of the second atomic bombing of Japan, the proposed site of this bombing was actually Kokura. The bombing of Hiroshima originally had a secondary target location of Kokura, incase the pilot was unable to accurately locate Hiroshima. On August 9th 1945 the Americans planned to bomb Kokura with Nagasaki as a secondary target following the pilots inability to locate Kokura.

On August 9th 1945, just three days after the bombing of Hiroshima, a B-29 bomber took off from a US air-base in the East Pacific island of Tinian at 3:47 am. This American war plane was carrying a five tonne nuclear bomb the US military had dubbed “the fat man”. The plane arrived over Kokura at 10:45 am, but due to the level of smoke coverage from the firebombing of neighbouring city of Yahata the previous day, the crew were unable to clearly locate Kokura’s military arsenal, the specific target for the bombing. After forty-five minutes of circling Kokura trying to locate their target the pilot set course for the secondary target of Nagasaki.

Having thus far been airborne for 8 hours, the B29 entered Nagasaki airspace with only two hours of fuel left, and conditions were not clear above Nagasaki either. However a break in cloud cover allowed for clear site of the targeted Mitsubishi Steel and Arms Works, the bomb was dropped and detonated at 11:02 am.

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Daniel Halliday
Aug 26
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DH edited this paragraph
Although Nagasaki has become infamous as the site of the second atomic bombing of Japan, the proposed site of this bombing was actually Kokura. The bombing of Hiroshima originally had a secondary target location of Kokura, incase the pilot was unable to accurately locate Hiroshima. On August 9th 1945 the Americans planned to bomb Kokura with Nagasaki as a secondary target following the pilots inability to locate Kokura.
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