Saturday, August 9, 2014

The End of World War II - 69th Anniversary of the Bombing of Nagasaki

Mushroom Cloud over Nagasaki as seen from Koyagi-jima on August 9, 1945
Today marks the 69th anniversary of the dropping of the atomic bomb on Nagasaki, an event that would lead to the end of World War II and the beginning of a nuclear debate that continues to this day.

On August 9, 1945, at 11:01, the American B29A Superfortress piloted by Major Charles W. Sweeney opened his bomb bay doors and dropped Fat Man over the Japanese industrial center of Nagasaki. The weapon exploded at an altitude of 1650 feet above a tennis court located half way between the Mitsubishi Steel and Arms Works and the Mitsubishi-Urakami Ordnance Works which made torpedoes for the Japanese war effort. The resulting 21 kiloton explosion generated temperatures of over 7000˚F and winds reaching 624 mph, vaporizing its victims and reducing much of the city to burning rubble in an atomic flash. Estimates of the death toll range from 39000 to 80000, and six days later the Japanese surrendered, ending World War II.

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