Today in AFJ History

August 5, 2013  

1945: Atomic Attacks on Japan

From the archives: August 4, 1945

U.S. Unleashes Bombs on 2 Jap Cities

The atomic bomb, product of three years of intensive scientific research, and an expenditure of approximately $2,000,000,000, has been hurled against theJapanese homeland with devastating results, as America’s answer to Japan’s aggression. Twice, first at Hiroshima and later at Nagasaki, have Japan’s military leaders witnessed the results of one of the greatest scientific developments known to present-day civilization, and upon each occasion they have been astounded at the destruction visited upon their native soil by two single planes carrying a single bomb each.

While the race to harness atomic energy and power has been underway for a number of years, American scientists, cooperating with those of Great Britain and other nations, in the last three years have found the key, and our military and naval leaders were quick to put it into practical use as a means of shortening the present conflict in the Pacific and of saving thousands of American lives.

Immediately following reports that the new weapon had been unleashed against the enemy in the Pacific, rumors of its destructive power swept the country. None of these has been officially confirmed as yet. Dr. Harold Jacobson, of Wilcox Incorporated, N.Y., immediately after the early reports of the bomb’s use over Hiroshima reached the United States, predicted that its effects would be felt in the area for at least 70 years hence. The War Department, however, was quick to deny this prediction, stating that based on all of its experimental work and study, and on the results of the test in New Mexico, there was every reason to believe that there was “no appreciable radio-activity on the ground at Hiroshima and what little there was decayed very rapidly.”