It was 6 August 1945, 70 years ago today that the Enola Gay dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan. The devastation is well known and here are some facts.

As World War II began it's sixth year, Germany was already out of the fight after surrendering in May of 1945. Japan however, did not agree to an "unconditional surrender" so the war went on in the Pacific theater.

After repeated warnings, the Enola Gay set out on her fateful mission to drop the first nuclear bomb, a uranium bomb named "Little Boy." Of course we all know that Japan still wouldn't surrender and another mission was flown over the city of Nagasaki to drop a plutonium atomic bomb named "Fat Boy" on 9 August 1945 which was enough for Japan to finally say enough is enough.

Here are some of the hard and cold facts:

  • Little Boy exploded 2000 feet above Hiroshima
  • Force equaled 12-15,000 tons of TNT
  • Immediately killed 20,000 soldiers and up to 146,000 civilians
  • Leveled 5 square miles
  • Other cities being considered were Kokura, Yokohama, Nigata and Kyoto
  • Nagasaki wasn't even on the 5 cities nominated for the bombings
  • Little Boy was shipped to Japan aboard the USS Indianapolis
  • Enola Gay was named after pilot Colonel Paul W. Tibbets mother
  • Call Sign for the Enola Gay was "Dimples 42"
  • Little Boy released at 8:15 a.m. local time from 31,000 feet and fell for 45 seconds
  • Little Boy was comprised of 141 pounds of Uranium-235
  • Only 3 of the 12 aboard the Enola Gay knew the true extent of their mission
  • Flight crew was 11.5 miles away when the bomb exploded
  • 165 Japanese people survived both atomic bombs

One of the most fascinating stories is of a man in Hiroshima who made it into a bomb shelter and then got up the next day to catch a train to Nagasaki so he wouldn't be late for work and then survived the blast there three days later.

Here are a few other interesting facts:

  • The Oleander flower is the official flower of Hiroshima because it was the first thing to bloom after the bombing.
  • A company who made an American made vault that survived the blast received a congratulatory letter from the bank manager.
  • The Gingko Biloba tree was one of the only living things that survived the blast, even in the direct blast zone. Those same trees still exist today.
  • A tournament of "Go" (an ancient board game) was being played when the bomb hit. The men finished the game later that afternoon.
  • Nagasaki was chosen as the second target because Secretary of War, Henry L Stimson had honeymooned in Kyoto decades earlier and loved the city.

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