History > History of War > WW2
Daniel Halliday
Aug 9 · Last update 9 days ago.
Why did America choose to target Hiroshima and Nagasaki?
What was behind this decision?
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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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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 forces fire bombing campaign thus far, was the centre of Japanese shipping and held 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.

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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.

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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 had a back up location of Kokura, in case the pilot was unable to accurately locate Hiroshima. On August 9th 1945 the Americans planned to bomb Kokura with. Secondary location of Nagasaki following the pilots inability to locate Kokura. Due to the level of smoke coverage from the firebombing of neighbouring city of Yahata the day before the pilot was unable to locate Kokura and therefore bombed Nagasaki at 11:02 am.

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