Holy cow – I didn’t realize it was August 6 until listening to NPR on the way home. Today’s the 65th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima.

I love recent history because generally it’s easier to imagine what someone of my parents or grandparents generation was going through than Ancient history; Rome, Greece, or any other Empire might as well be an alien planet.

That being said, the way that the second world war ended still baffles me.

  • 130 pounds of uranium-235 created a blast equivalent to about 13 kilotons of TNT
  • A one mile radius of total destruction
  • A third of Hiroshima’s population was killed immediately
  • Within several months the death toll was over 150,000

    While this sounds beyond barbaric you have to put this in context; it had been almost 3 months since VE Day, the allied forces had been firebombing the hell out of 67 Japanese cities over the previous six months, without effect. The Japanese Emperor rejected the Potsdam Declaration in July. The ultimatum clearly stated that without a surrender, the Allies would attack Japan, resulting in “the inevitable and complete destruction of the Japanese armed forces and just as inevitably the utter devastation of the Japanese homeland”.

    Of course, it didn’t mention the atomic bomb – but that would be tipping our hand a little too much.

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