What role did the entrance of the Soviet Union into the Pacific War play? For more background information on the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki see: The UW Libraries has many books dealing with the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of World War II. For a more comprehensive listing of sources on the bombings see the bibliography English Books on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Concerned over reports that Nazi Germany was developing a new type of weapon using radioactive uranium, in 1939 U. government officials began to investigate the potential of uranium — particularly the uranium-235 isotope — for making a powerful bomb.
The hilly terrain of Nagasaki — and the fact that the bomb was dropped almost 2 miles (3.2 km) from its intended target — prevented greater destruction.
Nonetheless, by the end of 1945, about 80,000 people died from the bomb over Nagasaki.
"In the following waves [after the initial blast] people’s bodies were terribly squeezed, then their internal organs ruptured," wrote a journalist with LIFE magazine.
"Then the blast blew the broken bodies at 500 to 1,000 miles per hour through the flaming, rubble-filled air.
On the clear morning of August 6, 1945 a single plane, the Enola Gay, made it's way across southern Japan to the city of Hiroshima and dropped an uranium bomb nicknamed "Little Boy." In an instant the city was leveled and and estimates of those killed by the blast and its aftermath range from 70,000 to over 200,000.
Three days later, on August 9, the plutonium bomb nicknamed "Fat Man" was dropped on the city of Nagasaki.
About half of the city was reduced to rubble and ash by the blast and the subsequent fires. 15 — six days after Nagasaki was bombed — Japanese Emperor Hirohito announced an unconditional surrender, effectively ending World War II.
Jubilant celebrations broke out across the globe, but there was little to celebrate in Japan.