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18 Facts About Atomic Bombs And Their Terrifying Power to Devastate

13. The bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima on August 6th was named “Little Boy” and it was uranium-based. August 9th’s Nagasaki bomb was nicknamed “Fat Man”, and it was plutonium-based. “Little Boy” destroyed 5 square miles of Hiroshima while “Fat Man” annihilated 2.6. 

Little Boy Fat Man
image source: wikipedia.org

Both names were created by Robert Serber, a student of Robert Oppenheimer (Father of the Atomic Bomb). They were named for the way the bombs were designed – “Fat Man” was round and fat, and the name was inspired by a character in The Maltese Falcon while “Little Boy” earned its name after another character in the same movie.(source)

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14. In 1958, the United States lost a nuclear bomb somewhere on the coast of Georgia during transport. It was found by a couple of tourist divers in 2016, nearly 60 years later. 

tybee bomb
image source: georgiacoast.com

The vacationing Canadian couple found the thermonuclear weapon at the bottom of Wassaw Sound, a bay located on the shores of Georgia. Jason Sutter, one of the scuba-divers, said about the initial moments,

“When I dug it up a bit, I noticed that it was actually a lot bigger and that there was some writing on the side. When I saw the inscription saying that it was a Mk-15 nuclear bomb, I totally freaked out.”

A quick 911 call later, the lost 3.9 megaton bomb was located and carefully deactivated. The weapon was in great condition, although the task of defusing it took them hours of hard work.(source)

15. Kyoto was also considered as one of the locations for the second bomb that fell on Nagasaki, but Secretary of War Henry Stimson requested a change of location because he and his wife had spent their honeymoon there. 

atomic targets distances
image source: nuclearsecrecy.com

Before Japan smoke-screened Kokura from the bomber plane, Nagasaki was not even on the list of locations that were considered for the bombing. Stimson argued that Kyoto was a place of cultural importance and should be taken off the target board. He was so averse to the idea of destroying the city that he went directly to President Harry Truman and appealed to him. Eventually, the decision was made, and Kokura was chosen instead. Stimson’s colleague opined that his justifications for leaving Kyoto out of the mess were rather superficial, as his reasons were more personal than anything. Historians say that Stimson was a great admirer of Japanese culture; he visited Kyoto multiple times throughout the 1920s and even made it his honeymoon destination.(source)

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16. A man named Tsutomi Yamaguchi survived both the blasts. After escaping Hiroshima’s bombing, he fled to his hometown Nagasaki, which was hit three days later. 

Tsutomu Yamaguchi
image source: wikipedia.org

Along with Yamaguchi, his workers Akira Iwanaga and Kuniyoshi Sato survived the two bombings. About 165 people survived the blast, including a kite maker who was only half a mile away from Nagasaki’s ground zero. The Japanese government recognized Yamaguchi as “nijyuu hibakusha” or “twice-bombed person” and awarded him the distinction in 2009 a year before his death at 92 years old.(source)

17. The plane that carried the bomb was called “Enola Gay”, and only 3 of 12 people knew what the mission to Hiroshima was really about. There were also cyanide pills on board for the officers to take if the mission was unsuccessful. 

Officers
image source: EPA / express.co.uk

The twelve cyanide pills were kept in the plane’s cockpit, just in case the bombing mission were to become compromised. Mission commander General Paul Tibbets formally named the plane “Enola Gay” after his mother. He also said in a 2005 interview with Columbus Dispatch,

“It was going to be an emotional thing. We had feelings, but we had to put them in the background. We knew it was going to kill people right and left. But my one driving interest was to do the best job I could so that we could end the killing as quickly as possible.”

Tibbets returned to the United States as a national hero who ended the war on Japan and was awarded the  Distinguished Service Cross by Air Force commander Major General Carl Spaatz.(source)

18. In 1964, Japan erected the Flame of Peace in honour of the bombing victims. It continues to burn to this day and will only be extinguished when all the nuclear weapons in the world have been destroyed and the planet is threat-free from a nuclear holocaust. 

facts about atomic bombs
image source: asia-foodtravel.com

This monument resides in the Hiroshima Peace Memorial park, designed by Tange Kenzo, the then professor of Tokyo University and has become the ultimate symbol for anti-nuclear weapons. The pedestal was designed as two wrists pressed together with palms pointing to the sky to denote a prayer for a peaceful world. The following message is inscribed on it: “Let’s keep burning the fire until nuclear weapon is eliminated from the entire earth”.(source)

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