US Drops Atomic Bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki
During what would become the final stage of World War II, the United States detonated two nuclear weapons over the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on August 6 and 9, 1945, respectively. The two bombings killed at least 129,000 people, most of whom were civilians. The bombs, along with the entry of the Russians into the Pacific War, are considered to be the main reasons the Japanese decided to surrender when they did.
Here is an excerpt from the eventual surrender speech, given by the Emperor of Japan over the radio to the Japanese people, which mentions the atomic bombs:
“Moreover, the enemy has begun to employ a new and most cruel bomb, the power of which to do damage is, indeed, incalculable, taking the toll of many innocent lives. Should we continue to fight, not only would it result in an ultimate collapse and obliteration of the Japanese nation, but also it would lead to the total extinction of human civilization.
Such being the case, how are we to save the millions of our subjects, or to atone ourselves before the hallowed spirits of our imperial ancestors? This is the reason why we have ordered the acceptance of the provisions of the joint declaration of the powers.”
Atomic bomb mushroom clouds over Hiroshima (left) and Nagasaki (right)