August 9th, 1945: Atom bomb hits Nagasaki

American forces have dropped an atomic bomb on Nagasaki – the second such attack on Japan in three days.

The bomb was dropped by parachute from an American B29 Bomber at 1102 local time.

It exploded about 1,625 ft (500m) above the ground and is believed to have completely destroyed the city, which is situated on the western side of the Japanese island of Kyushu.

In a statement issued from Guam, General Carl A Spaatz, Commander of the US Strategic Air Forces in the Pacific, said:


“The second use of the atomic bomb occurred at noon, August 9, at Nagasaki.

“Crew members report good results. No further details will be available until the mission returns.”


Important port

American airmen flying many miles from Nagasaki have said smoke from fires in the city was rising 50,000ft (15,240m).

Nagasaki is one of Japan’s most important ports providing vital access to and from Shanghai.

Three days ago a similar device was dropped on the city of Hiroshima on Japan’s largest island, Honshu.

The extent of the damage caused to Hiroshima is not yet known but Japanese broadcasts indicate that “enormous devastation” has been done.

No reaction to the Nagasaki attack has yet been given by Japan but pressure is growing on the country to surrender. Yesterday the USSR joined forces with the allies and declared war on Japan.

The Americans have also warned the Japanese people that further attacks of a similar nature will be made unless they petition their emperor to surrender.

More than three million leaflets were dropped over the country today from American aeroplanes warning the Japanese people that more atomic weapons would be used “again and again” to destroy the country unless they ended the war forthwith.


In Context

About 30% of Nagasaki, including almost all the industrial district was destroyed by the bomb and nearly 74,000 were killed and a similar number injured.

The bomb, nick-named “Fat Man” in a reference to Winston Churchill, measured just under 3.5m (11ft 4in) in length, had the power of 22 kilotons of TNT and weighed 4,050kg (9,000lbs).

The attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki were the first time atomic bombs had been used in warfare.

Residents of both cities are still suffering the physical and mental consequences of radiation to this day.

On 14 August Japan surrendered to the Allies.

The Sadako Story

The paper crane has become an international symbol of peace in recent years as a result of it’s connection to the story of a young Japanese girl named Sadako Sasaki born in 1943. Sadako was two years old when the atom bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, Japan on August 6, 1945. As she grew up, Sadako was a strong, courageous and athletic girl. In 1955, at age 11, while practicing for a big race, she became dizzy and fell to the ground. Sadako was diagnosed with Leukemia, “the atom bomb” disease.
Sadako’s best friend told her of an old Japanese legend which said that anyone who folds a thousand paper cranes would be granted a wish. Sadako hoped that the gods would grant her a wish to get well so that she could run again. She started to work on the paper cranes and completed over 1000 before dying on October 25, 1955 at the age of twelv

Sadako at 12 Years old in 1955

She point is that she never gave up.

She continued to make paper cranes until she died. Inspired by her courage and strength, Sadako’s friends and classmates put together a book of her letters and published it. They began to dream of building a monument to Sadako and all of the children killed by the atom bomb. Young people all over Japan helped collect money for the project.

In 1958, a statue of Sadako holding a golden crane was unveiled in Hiroshima Peace Park. The children also made a wish which is inscribed at the bottom of the statue and reads:


“This is our cry, This is our prayer, Peace in the world”.
Today, people all over the world fold paper cranes and send them to Sadako’s monument in Hiroshima.
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