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At 03:47 on 9 August 1945, a B-29 bomber nicknamed “Bockscar” took off from North Field, Tinian, with the mission of dropping another “special bomb”, as the nuclear bombs were called then, against the Japanese city of Kokura, Fukuoka prefecture. The Bockscar was accompanied by four other B-29 bombers, two as weather reconnaissance aircrafts, (with the “Enola Gay” among them), one with blast measurement instrumentation and the last with photography and observation equipment to take a faithful note of the event. The mission was called “Special Mission 16”. On this occasion, the cargo consisted of a plutonium bomb named Fat Man because of its shape. During the pre-flight inspection, a problem was detected with a fuel pump that prevented the use of the extra tank if necessary, but in order not to abort the mission, it was decided to take off with this inconvenience.
Kokura had to be ruled out as a primary target due to poor visibility formed by clouds and smoke from the neighboring city of Yahata, which had received an incediary bombardment the day before. In this way, Nagasaki became the irremissible target, after 3 unsuccessful attempts to drop the bomb on Kokura. Upon reaching Nagasaki, the B-29 also found the sky covered by clouds, but at 11:01 a.m. a gap opened between them and it was decided to drop the bomb. The bomb was dropped on the Urakami valley, about 3 km from the planned location, and after 47 seconds of free fall it exploded at a height of 500 meters above the ground. At exactly 11:02 a.m., the city felt the impact of the second atomic bomb in history.
The Fat Man bomb weighed 4.89 tons and its core consisted of a 6.19 kg sphere of plutonium-239 together with a modulated neutron initiator installed inside a depleted uranium tamper. The uranium device added 20% more power to the bomb, as it also undergoes fission during the explosion. This bomb had an implosion type trigger, different from the Little Boy bomb dropped on Hiroshima. This trigger system consisted of converting the sub-critical mass of plutonium-239 into critical mass through an implosion generated inside the bomb using explosive lenses that compressed the plutonium sphere until unleash the chain reaction. During the fission, about one kg of fissile material was consumed, that is, 16% of the plutonium-239 contained, which generated a release of energy equivalent to 22,000,000 kg of explosive TNT (22 kilotons).
That Thursday, August 9, an air raid alert was declared in Nagasaki at 07:50 in the morning, but 40 minutes later this alert ended without the city suffering any attack. It would not be until 10:53 when two B-29 bombers could be seen flying over the city, but these were taken as reconnaissance aircraft and a new alarm was not activated. Normally the dreaded air raids consisted of waves of up to 300 bombers, so seeing only two, no one thought about what was about to happen. At 11:02 a.m. and without warning, a flash brighter than any sun, followed by a thunderous explosion, shook the city. Above the industrial part of the city, in the Urakami Valley, Fat Man had just exploded, with a force like no one had ever seen. This explosion was 50% more powerful than the one in Hiroshima three days earlier.
Despite the greater power of the bomb, because it exploded in a valley, this partially mitigated the destructive power over the city. However, some 39,000 people died instantly from the deflagration. Around 1.5 km around ground zero they were reduced to nothing and the fires spread up to about 3 km south of the impact site. “Fortunately” for the surviving residents the fires did not unleash the horrible firestorm that occurred in Hiroshima, which partly limited the number of victims. However, it is estimated that until the end of 1945 the number of deaths rose to 60,000, taking this figure as the average among the studies carried out later. More than half of the dead were workers in factories and companies located in the valley.
Unlike in Hiroshima, where 90% of medical personnel died in the explosion and communication routes were destroyed, in Nagasaki many wounded were evacuated by train to hospitals in nearby cities. Some nearby fire brigades were able to come to the aid of the city, which despite their efforts was practically destroyed, as a huge fire spread through the valley due to the strong wind. In the following months, thousands of people would die from burns and the effects of radiation and in the medium-long term a significant increase in cases of leukemia and cancer was detected.
After this second nuclear bombardment, criticism was once again raised in some circles against the use of this new type of nuclear weapon. Following the Hiroshima bombing, the Japanese authorities were expected to surrender unconditionally to the United States after such a show of American power. On the same August 6, 1945, Shigenori Togo met with Emperor Hirohito, to whom he communicated that: “…the time had come to capitulate”. However, it was not until August 9 that the highest Japanese authorities met, including Admiral Kantaro Suzuki, who was in charge of the Government since April 1945. At that meeting Suzuki proposed to ask the opinion of the Emperor, who agreed to send the capitulation proposal outlined by Togo. This indicates that the bombing on Hiroshima had not only been effective militarily, but politically as well, since it opened a breach where previously the idea of ​​surrender was not even considered, despite the obvious defeat.
On August 7, the decision was made by Rear Admiral William R. Purnell, Commodore William S. Parsons, Colonel Paul W. Tibbets, General Carl Spaatz and Major General Curtis LeMay to continue with plans to drop another atomic bomb on Japan on August 11, as the Japanese had not yet surrendered. Most of the critics of the Nagasaki bombing will surely have wondered: what is the rush for a second nuclear attack? Does anyone really think that the decision to surrender in a war is made in 12 hours? Simply being able to convene a meeting in which the highest authorities are present takes longer, taking into account that you were in the middle of a war enduring a terrible bombing campaign. In addition, anyone who minimally knew the Japanese mentality of the time, knew that this decision could only be made with the acquiescence of the Emperor, who normally was NOT consulted any kind of political or military decisions. So why couldn’t they wait a few more days? …
In the case of Nagasaki, it cannot be argued that it was a “military objective of the first order”, even with several factories and weapons plants. Wouldn’t it have been worth carrying out one or two effective incendiary bombings to destroy these plants?. “Coincidentally” Fat Man was a completely different bomb from Little Boy, both its core, plutonium instead of uranium, and its trigger mechanism, implosion type instead of gun type, which may indicate that in certain circles it was wanted at all costs test the new bomb and experience the efficiency and effects of the new systems incorporated into the second bomb. Not only was the date of August 11 not respected as the day of the second atomic attack, but it was brought forward to day 9 because bad weather was expected, and well, why couldn’t the attack be “delayed” instead of anticipating?. And why couldn’t a Japanese surrender be given a little more time?. The incendiary bombing was becoming more and more effective, as the bombers encountered less Japanese resistance, so what was the real reason for the second nuclear attack?. In this photograph you can see how Tokyo was in 1945 after several incendiary bombings, can you see differences with Hiroshima or Nagasaki?. Honestly, there does not seem to be any.
Finally, on August 10, President Truman ordered a ceasefire and on August 11, 1945 the United States, United Kingdom, China and the USSR issued a statement in which they accepted the capitulation of Japan. It should be noted that days before another game in the World Geostrategic game had started. On August 8, the USSR declared war on Japan and began, a week earlier than expected, the invasion of Manchuria. On August 9, Truman made a statement against Romania, Bulgaria and Hungary being under the influence of a single Power, in reference to the USSR, and showed his disagreement with the establishment of an international control of atomic weapons, claiming that: “… The United States would be reliable owners and avoid their misuse, putting them at the service of Humanity….”.
Perhaps, to show the “service to Humanity”, on August 14, due to the delayed negotiations of the terms of the Japanese surrender, Truman ordered to resume the bombing raids on Japan with 584 B-29s that carried out 5 precision bombings and another 186 B-29s that carried out two incendiary bombings in Japanese cities. As a “final fireworks”, that same day 14, when the Japanese Capitulation was to be received at 6 p.m., Washington time, permission was given to carry out a massive bombardment of Honsu by 1,024 B-29s that launched 6,000 tons of bombs. Strange way to “serve Humanity”, though it was a very effective way to demonstrate your power to potential future enemies.
Again there were curious, or rather ridiculous circumstances, such as that in the measurement equipment launched before the explosion of Fat Man. Those devices contained an unsigned letter to Ryokichi Sagane, a physicist at the University of Tokyo who studied with several of the responsibles for the nuclear bomb. In this letter he was asked to alert the public to the danger implicit in these weapons of mass destruction…, (doesn’t that sound like a macabre joke?). Although the letter was found by the military, it was not delivered to Mr. Sagane until a month later. We can ask ourselves the reason for this warning, is it that the scientists involved in the development of these nuclear weapons were unaware of their power?. Or did they really think that the military would not dare to use them?. Whatever the answer, is in any case puzzling. Despite the censorship imposed by the Americans in the next months, the world ended up seeing sooner rather than later the images of destruction and the victims produced by their new weapons.

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