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Hiroshima: the first city destroyed by a nuclear weapon

On August 6, 1945, the Japanese city of Hiroshima was destroyed by a nuclear weapon, an atomic bomb dropped by the United States. Three days later, a second atomic bomb was dropped on the city of Nagasaki; five days after that, Japan unconditionally surrendered to the United States, bringing an end to World War II.

The atomic bombs killed several hundred thousand people, many instantly in the nuclear fire, many later with burns, injuries and radiation sickness, and still many others, over the years, with cancers and birth defects. These deaths continue to this day. Like most of the cities bombed in World War II, the majority of the inhabitants were women, children and the elderly.

Before the war began, bombing cities was considered an act of total barbarism; there were no “conventional bombs” and it certainly was not considered “conventional” to target civilian populations for mass destruction. But this ideal was shattered early in the war, and eventually all sides engaged in mass bombing raids against cities and civilians.

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After the Nazis conducted their massive bombing raids against London, the British retaliated by developing incendiary bombs, fire-bombs designed to burn down cities. British and American bombers dropped these bombs on 5 German cities, killing hundreds of thousands of German civilians in Hamburg, Dresden, Kassel, Darmstadt, and Stuttgart. In March, 1945, the U.S. fire-bombed the city of Tokyo, killing at least 100,000 people.

By the time the atomic bombs were dropped on Japan, 50 million people had already died in World War II. The bombing/murder of civilian populations had occurred so many times that it was no longer even regarded as unusual. I believe this is perhaps the greatest tragedy of the war, and it set the stage for the Cold War and the nuclear arms race that followed.

When you view these images of Hiroshima, remember that there is a good chance that a nuclear weapon may now be targeted on your own city and home. And consider that modern nuclear weapons are generally 8 to 50 times more powerful than the first atomic bombs that destroyed the Japanese cities.

Hiroshima & Nagasaki

Before Destruction

Nuclear Darkness would like to thank the City of Hiroshima (Cultural Promotion Division Culture and Sports Department Citizens Affairs Bureau) for letting us use the following images.

K-PC00015
photo by
Shigemi HAMAMOTO
Provided by Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum
K-PC00008
photo by
Shigemi HAMAMOTO
Provided by Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum
K-PC00114
photo by
Yasuharu OKADA
Provided by Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum
K-PC00032
photo by
Kenro HASEBE
Provided by Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum
K-PC00324
photo by
Yasuharu OKADA
Provided by Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum
K-PC00058
photo by
Hatsumasa TANIMURA
Provided by Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum
K-PC00154
photo by
Michiko KAWAKAMI
Provided by Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum
K-PC00116
photo by
Yasuharu OKADA
Provided by Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum
K-PC00173
photo by
Yoko SHINEDA
Provided by Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum
K-PC00179
photo by
Kenichi KAWARAZAKI
Provided by Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum
K-PC00192
photo by
Kenichi KAWARAZAKI
Provided by Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum
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Provided by Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum
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photo by
Takashi KATAYAMA
Provided by Culture and Sports Department, Citizenz Affairs Bureau, the City of Hiroshima
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After Bombing

Courtesy of the National Archives of the United States
photo by
Seizo YAMADA
Copyright © Chugoku Shimbun
Courtesy of the National Archives of the United States
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HG273
photo by
US Army
Provided by Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum
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HB402
photo by
US Army
Provided by Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum
HE101
photo by
US Army
Provided by Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum
USSBS429
photo by
US Army
Provided by Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum
SAAD18
photo by
Toshi KAWAMOTO
Provided by Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum
SA005-2
photo by
Masami OKI
Provided by Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum
AP Photo
photo by
Stanley Troutman
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Nagasaki
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Nagasaki
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Nagasaki
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Nagasaki
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Nagasaki
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Nagasaki
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Nagasaki
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Panorama Pictures of Hiroshima


Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, Photo by Shigeo Hayashi - RA143-RA152

Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, Photo by H.J. Peterson - K-HJP001-K-HJP013
Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum
Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum
Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, Photo by Shigeo Hayashi - RA143-RA152

The people of Hiroshima & Nagasaki

These images may be disturbing to some people.

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