Catalogue ref: FO 371/59640
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This extract comes from an American report looking at the dropping of the bomb on Hiroshima in 1945. It was very long and detailed and looked at the damage caused to buildings and people. It also looked at the lessons that could be learned from the dropping of the bomb.
This particular extract came from a section that looked at the psychological impact of the bomb on people in Hiroshima.
The war in the Pacific was fought mostly (but not solely) between US forces and the forces of Japan. It began in December 1941 and cost many thousands of lives. By early 1945 US forces were beginning to invade the islands that made up the Japanese homelands. In February-March 1945 the Allied forces suffered huge casualties when they invaded the tiny island of Iwo Jima. Soon afterwards they suffered heavy casualties again when they invaded Okinawa. After assessing the situation US military and political leaders decided to use the new weapon that they had just developed, the Atom Bomb.
US President Truman consulted his commanders, scientists and also his allies, particularly British leader Winston Churchill. Churchill felt the bomb should be used to shorten the war. The military leaders were divided and many of the scientists who developed the bomb also felt that it was wrong to use it. In the end, Truman did decide to use it, and even said later in his life that the decision was easy.
Hiroshima had not been heavily bombed during the war and as a result the population was less familiar with air raid protection than other Japanese cities.
Before Hiroshima, US bombers had attacked Japanese cities with firebomb raids that were devastatingly effective. Raids on the Japanese capital Tokyo actually killed more people than the Hiroshima bomb, but obviously not with just one weapon.
Use this table to help you plan your work.